Monday, October 15, 2012
I have been thinking recently about the economics of obesity and weight loss.
At about the size 14 mark (up to size 18, depending upon the company), women's clothing suddenly turns about 10 - 25% more expensive. Now, truth be told, additional fabric is needed. And fabric is not free. I get the economics of this although it does not thrill me.
Larger automobiles cost more - and they often get worse gas mileage. Again, more sheet metal = more expenses. And that lowers fuel efficiency. Plus obesity lowers fuel efficiency. The same articles that tell you to take the junk out of your car's trunk in order to improve gas economy are often too polite to tell you to get the junk out of your own trunk. For gasoline efficiency does not care whether the extra 20 pounds comes from a pair of lounge chairs that are living in your car because you're too lazy to move them into your shed, or if it comes from a year's worth of Taco Bell.
Obesity can mean increased insurance costs, as your risks are higher. Insurance companies do not care whether your increased risk comes from cigarette smoking, living near an oil refinery, taking up sky diving as a hobby or that same per annum consumption of Taco Bell. They just make their actuarial calculations and you can come up short, and end up paying through the nose.
Yet, paradoxically, larger portion restaurants often cost less. And higher calorie foods (often the result of some serious processing) can also cost less. Funny, isn't it, that a lovely pound of apples which have had little done to them other than growth and harvesting can often cost more than a premade apple pie? Or a place that prides itself on its giant portions is dirt cheap, whereas a restaurant where everyone complains about portion size is often on the high end of things. Any size coffee - $2.69! Why the hell WOULDN'T you buy the biggest cup you could get? And cream and sugar are free. Why the hell WOULDN'T you load up on them as well?
It's an interesting dynamic, the push-pull of our culture when it comes to weight loss, dieting and obesity.
We recognize that we, as a nation, are getting fatter. We know we need to make better choices. We know we need to drive less and eat less and walk more and drink more water. Yet when it comes to that, we stymie ourselves at every turn. We make water hard to get (And public restrooms? Fuggeddabboutit!). We are plied with tons of cheaply made, mass-marketed, processed food for cheap. We are punished for our dietary choices with expensive clothing and the like. Yet we are rewarded for them with inexpensive food and billion dollar advertising campaigns and what is almost crack in that food, all to train our brains that it is delicious and addictive and we can't get enough of it.
We need to get off that train, people. We need to vote - with our wallets, and our feet, and our taste buds, and even our ballots.
Up with health!
Down with the paradoxical insanity!
Who's with me? I gotta find a castle to storm! Let's go storm a castle*!
*Er, maybe not a White Castle, okay?
Monday, October 08, 2012
A lot of people have busy summers, but I rarely seem to these years. Instead, this is suddenly the really busy part of my year.
Perhaps it has to do with the leaves turning, the students coming back and the nip that is now firmly ensconced in the air. Maybe it's the beginning of the fourth quarter of the year, as people are saying - Hey, it's time to get serious.
And so it is serious time.
I enjoy the color of early autumn and the relief from the blisteringly hot summer we had. My walks have gotten faster as I've been able to exert myself without flop-sweating. The water I drink is now hot from the tap (I despise ice water, always have). My creative juices seem to be flowing a lot better. Things are good. I just seem to be *on*.
But this is the first half of autumn. The second half, eh, I don't like it so much. You really see the effects of the equinox-tilt. You see the skies getting darker so much earlier. The trees become barer. It is, as Simon and Garfunkel sang, the hazy shade of winter.
But that is for after All Hallows' Eve. For these last precious few weeks, it's foliage time. It is time to see pouch-cheeked squirrels fussing with their acorn bundles as they prepare for winter. No flirty chasing each other now, like they did in the spring. No. Now is the time to buckle down.
The littler and skinnier dogs in my neighborhood are starting to sport little jackets. They wear canid Patriots jerseys to match their owners. Schoolchildren waiting for the bus check one last time - Do I have my homework with me? And they do, for they have turned serious.
And we are all through with coasting, at least for now, I feel, as we get the real work done. And the real work means not only more resumes going out there (and more interviews - I had one last week and I have two this week. When it rains, it pours) but also more careful meal planning. More measuring. More walking. More water drinking (good thing - for me - that it's hot).
And it pays off, as last year's jeans fit just fine, and I am sure I'm be able to stretch last year's warm jackets one more year. For I, too, will be pulling on the thermals soon enough.
And the riots of color and the jumps into piles of raked leaves will mask the true seriousness of these days, as the slide down turns into a run down and elusive goals are, again, sought with vigor.
Monday, October 01, 2012
It's a good day for a pic of a baby duck.
Hence the photo.
Anyway - 2 days ago, I ran my (gawd) 34th 5K. Every time I say the # these days, it's freaky. I mean, who the hell does that?
Yet I suppose I do.
It comes from doing 10 races/year, and having done them since '09 (the 1st year, we did a much smaller #, hence the overall total isn't going to be 40 by the end of the calendar year). We'll do 11 this year, when all is said and done.
We run a 5K every month except for January and February, and this year we ended up with two in September. It is not hard, particularly when you get into the mode of not giving a damn if you're last. And I truly do not. Actually, in some ways, that's kinda cool. Everyone sees me arrive! :)
For this one, I was in the middle of the pack, both for my age group and overall. But this was a far larger group than normal and it was about half walkers. Essentially, I am fast for walking but I am slow for running. C'est la vie.
We'll see how the next one goes (10/21). And the next (11/4). And the one after that (12/16). Yeah, really.
It shapes the month and gives us things to look forward to. We both have drawers crammed with tee shirts. We support funky causes (this one was the Good Samaritans, who are suicide prevention). Next one will be to support the local YMCA and I think the following two will be for Boston Children's Hospital. All of that, to me, is more important than "winning", well, anything.
Get into the habit.
Monday, September 24, 2012
You'd think, with all this "leisure" time I have, not working and all, that I'd be happily relaxed and not pining for a vacation.
A part of it is the inevitable worry, not just about money and bills, but also, a small, nagging voice saying, "You're never going to work again!"
I hate that voice.
Yet it is talking to me, and it gets louder at times, and softer at others. Yes, folks, same old, same ole - I can't find work.
It is not through a lack of effort on my part, nor is it due to a lack of prospects out there (although over the summer, it was dead, dead, dead here). Last Friday, I had a phone screen. It all sounded lovely. The woman I talked to was pleasant and liked my questions. And whenever I'd ask, "Now, let me see if I understand ...", I would be right.
And here we are.
Now, I am well aware that these things take time, it doesn't happen overnight, yeah, I know all of this. I know the lyrics to this old song because I sing it every freakin' day.
And of course I sing it about my weight loss journey as well.
Important things take time.
You didn't get heavy overnight.
Maintenance is harder than losing.
Long-term losing is especially difficult.
You're 50 so, by definition, losing is a pain in the patoot.
And on and on and on.
I am awfully tired of the song.
And I am so tired of it that, truth be told, I've been ignoring other still, small voices.
On Sunday (er, yesterday), I got out a pair of jeans and put them on. Now, this is not remarkable in and of itself. However, this was the first time I'd put on something longer than capri pants (other than sweats) since early June or so, when Massachusetts decided to become as hot as the surface of the sun.
Size 16, dontcha know.
And they fit.
No tugging, no holding my breath. No cursing the day I was born.
Yes, I have been smaller. During this weight loss journey, I flirted off and into size 10 territory.
But I am fine with this. For the voice that tells me I will never work again and that I am a 16 and should be a 10 is trying to drown out the other voice.
The other voice says, yeah, you're a 16, but less than 5 years ago, you were a 26.
It says you walk every day and you lift weights and you have stamina that other people of your age can only dream about.
It says you make good choices and you don't let a brownie pulverize your willpower and your desire.
It says this ain't easy but you are doing it pretty damned well.
Now I just need to get it to talk about my job search.
Monday, September 17, 2012
This is yet another pic from my birthday party. Oh, and the song? There's, erm, a few swear words in it. Enjoy but maybe with earbuds while at work.
Incredibly, I am on my second week in a row of losing.
What magical, mysterious thing am I doing?
I have no freakin' clue.
I am just doing my usual thing. If anything, I am doggin' it more when it comes to exercise. Hence it's possible that I was undereating before, and by working out less, I am actually fixing that issue instead.
I am still six (yes, you read that right) pounds down from two weeks ago.
Lower body measurements are up slightly, but otherwise, everything is hunky dory.
And so, dear readers, as I wonder wtf is going on (but am not complaining, mind you), I continue to attempt to focus. Last week I wrote about focus. Well, there is of course more to focus on.
I am starting to wrap my head around my mother turning 80. This will be in January, but of course one must plan for such things. With little disposable income that isn't promised to something else (like mortgage payments and the like), I am getting a little concerned about getting something grand enough, or making a grand enough gesture or the like. It is not that I don't care and it is not that I am reluctant. It's more that it's just a ton to do. And what I hope was made somewhat clear last week remains the case - life is busy. Hence getting from Point A (thinking about doing something) to Point Z (actually doing whatever that is) just looking daunting.
I will think of something, I am sure. But right now I am at the "it looks like a really big cliff" stage of things. I need to get that cliff to diminish, but only time will do that. Ah, well. Can we fast-forward to December, please?
In the meantime, I suppose I will keep doggin' it (hey, it's working!) and perhaps I can rope my brother into stressing about our mother's birthday! Enjoy the Hooters. With earbuds on.
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