my body

There’s more of me around than there used to be. For someone who has never been particularly athletic or health conscious, I’ve been lucky enough to avoid any problems with this mortal coil. No allergies. Resistant to cold and flu. Fairly resistant to hangovers. Blood work always looks good. I do have a small problem with one of my heart valves, but it’s pretty minor.

Now, however, I’m concerned about my weight, which has reached a level that is still healthy but has done so at a rate that is too fast for comfort. When I was thirteen, I weighted one hundred and fifty pounds. I grew a foot taller over the next decade and ended up weighing the same. I gradually went up about ten pounds over the next few years. Weight gain has accelerated here in my thirties.

I am now twenty pounds heavier than I was a year and a half ago. My weight is still within the healthy range, but I had always been a pretty thin person. Now I weigh more than I’ve ever weighed in my life. I’m six feet and two inches tall, one hundred and eighty two pounds. No one in their right mind would say that I’m fat (and I don’t have a problem with fat people), but my body feels different to me now. There’s more there than there used to be. My recently purchsed jeans are an inch more around the waist than my older jeans. These are not twenty pounds of muscle.

It’s not traumatic. Just different.

I was at my most fit while finishing my PhD. The University of Maryland had just built a beautiful cathedral of a gym, open early and open late, with lots of big windows and free flowing air. It did not smell like the inside of a damp sneaker, the way many gyms of my youth did. I went there every single day for cardio and weights. I felt great.

I let that regimen slip as I started my job here about three years ago. Okay, it’s more accurate to say I left that regimen behind in Maryland. I began to lead a more sedentary life, reading, writing, grading. (My doctor pronounces it “se-DEN-tar-ee.”) I feel sluggish more often than I’d like.

Well, now I’m going to work out regularly again, and I’m altering my diet. It’s not that I am obsessed with what my midsection looks like (okay, maybe a little). Rather, I want to feel better. I want to have more energy. I want my brain to feel more excited about things.

So it’s back to the cardio and the weights, and back to paying better attention to what I eat. I’ll keep you informed about how it goes (because my life is so interesting that I know you’ll want to know).

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4 thoughts on “my body

  1. you probably know all these as you seem like a fairly health-conscious person but:
    take in less calories, zombie. (i know, easier said that done.) spend a week or so getting an average of how much you’re putting in, then try to reduce intake by 25%. you should see some results in a month, provided your activity level remains the same or increases.
    besides, as you grow older, your body has a harder time keeping up with the demands of digestion so it’s good to restrict them calories, amigo: http://apu.sfn.org/content/Publications/BrainBriefings/caloricrestriction.html

  2. Can I proselytize, G? Iyengar Yoga: I never resent the time I devote to it, the way I sometimes do with weights or swimming. I never *begrudge* it, in other words, feeling as though it’s pulling me away from other stuff that’s more important or has a better claim on my time. It’s rigorous, intellectual, very very precise, and it makes you feel absolutely fantastic. If there’s an Iyengar studio in your neck of the woods, you could probably try it for free.

  3. Thanks, y’all.
    J, most of what I eat is brains, of course, but I’m trying to cut back. That article is thought provoking. It will be interesting to see how the experiments with primates turn out, though I wish they’d just go ahead and experiment on people and leave the animals out of it.
    Kari, I dig yoga but have not practiced in a few years. Looks like there are tons of Iyengar teachers in London, a few in Manchester, one here in the KC area, and none in the place I’ll be moving temporarily in August. I would certainly like to get back to some kind of yoga, though.

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