Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

At Fault

It is my policy, generally, not to write in rage, so after composing and trashing several mental reams ranging from the furious to the maudlin, let me step back and tell you the very fine news that there is nothing wrong with me. I am in perfect health. My blood pressure, of a morning, is 120/80. Every lab a doctor runs at a checkup comes back just peachy. Even my teeth are good. My diet isn't a problem. I'm eating about as healthily as a modern American can without veering off into faddishness.

The reason I am tired and sluggish, the reason I'm not losing weight, seems to boil down to the fact that I'm too damn lazy.

The doctor didn't put it that way, of course. He asked about my level of daily activity, which ranges from "laundry" to "dying of heat on the couch". He looked at my chart and noted that four years ago I weighed forty pounds less than I do now. In those four years, I gained sixty pounds of pregnant, but that means that in 2.5 years since pregnancy I've only lost twenty, and almost ten of them were the baby himself. So now I'm to get 45 minutes of cardio a day -- "not Olympic level, just walking or something", because clearly I'm not even getting 45 minutes of walking around a day -- and take a multivitamin.

Is it the sixth baby? Four years ago I had a two year old as well. Is it getting older? Four years ago I was 33. Is it the move? But four years ago we were already in Ohio. Is the summer heat? Four years ago we didn't even have the a/c in the kitchen window.

So. I've had several days to stew this off. A week, in fact, in which I've discovered that I have a step counter on my phone, and in which I have boosted my daily count. A week in which Darwin and I have run 2.5 miles three times. A week in which I gave up sugar to support my sister giving up sugar. A week in which I did all these things and dropped not a single pound.

These things are not enough.

The fact that I can pick up running 2.5 miles after not running in ages, and that after a sedentary summer I could climb the toughest mountain in Virginia pretty handily, suggests that I am capable of a good deal more physical activity than I currently do, and that I need to do far more than I have any desire to do. My desire, to be honest, is to sit on my fat ass doing nothing, because I like to be comfortable, more than I like to be slim, or muscular, or be willing to have sex when I actually want it because my current weight makes the blood pressure risk of sixty extra pounds an okay prudential judgment...

I see that I'm violating my policy of not writing in rage.

Having to confront that a problem is My Fault is liberating, in a sense. I don't have to wait around any more hoping for a diagnosis that explains my weariness at some deeper level. I just have to get started on 45 minutes of cardio a day, or 10K steps, or improving my running distance. And these are concrete things. I can take one more step, as I tell myself when I'm running. I hate running, as it happens. I never feel light and easy. I feel every pound jouncing around on my frame. But I can do it, and without any more effort than getting up earlier than I want to and going out of the house when I don't feel like it. For the rest of my hopefully-not-goddamn life.


Looking back, I see I've been hating running for a good ten years.


Catholic Bibliophagist said...

Welcome to the club. I made the same discovery.

Not only did inactivity make me tired, but it also caused me to lose muscle and become weaker. (Though my age is also a contributing factor.) I totally sympathize with your dislike of running, and I think it's health benefits are overrated. Supposedly, brisk walking is just as good for you and is better for your joints. When I got my Fitbit and could actually see how much or how little I was moving, I was able to motivate myself into walking again. At first I had to walk slowly in order not to stress my knee. But now I can finally walk briskly again. I wish I had gotten my act together 10 or 15 years ago, so I applaud you for deciding to face this now.

All Saints Academy said...

After baby number 8, I was 35 lbs heavier than I had ever been before. I was always known as the thin one. I did however, get a membership to a local health club. After learning how to use the machines, I only did them for 15 minutes at a time, followed by 15-20 minutes on a tread-climber or treadmill. I did this 2-3 times a week. I dropped those 35 pounds pretty quickly. I have not renewed my membership, and I don't really work out, but that year of walking/machine work did help with the weight. I really should get back to exercising, because I have a foggy brain and terrible fatigue in the afternoons.Just moving helped a lot. I would work towards 15 minutes a day to start - because I know you can do that - right?

Also - you should be proud - I couldn't run half a mile if I tried.

Anonymous said...

Hi It's Jen B. I think there is a general confusion about how to lose weight and I'm not sure if cardio has all that much of an affect on it. There is a theory that the cortisol that the body produces when running tends to deposit in the stomach and cause that "runner's pouch". Moreover, If you hate doing something, chances are you won't do it. My suggestion would be to walk instead of running and try to really enjoy the process, being outside, observing nature, etc. I practice a vigorous form of yoga 4 or 5 times a week and quite frankly, I don't think my activity level or exercise out put has any affect on my weight other than the fact that I'm not eating when I work out. I do it because I love it and it allows me to forget about my real life problems for an hour or so a few times a week. I leave feeling energized and happy. I follow this guy Marc David on Facebook. He has this Institute for the Psychology of Eating and although some of it veers a little to the New Age, I find he has some interesting points on the connection of eating, exercise, weight loss and nutrition and the mind's role in all of it.

August said...

Back when I was fat, I walked a lot. It didn't help me lose weight.
I lost weight by not eating much. A combination of Shangri-la diet, low-carb, paleo, counting calories, etc... Basically, SLD got my appetite down to where I could throw the kitchen sink of weight loss techniques at the problem.

Exercise is good, but it isn't the weight loss grail people think it is. In fact, there is a possibility that it can keep the weight on (if the body interprets it as chronic stress), or just make you more hungry. It does make sense to try to build more muscle though- muscle loss precedes death in many cases, across many illnesses. Additionally, muscle and fat compete, and unless we are paying attention, fat wins.

Anyway, I don't think the blame thing works. I feel that I don't have very much discipline, but that in this area, I was able to try a bunch of little experiments over time. Luckily many of them worked and worked together.

Michelle said...

Do you have anywhere that you go regularly to which you could walk or bike? We walk to the grocery store and bike almost everywhere else, and while I don't have a weight loss success story to offer you, I have figured out that it's a heck of a lot easier to build activity into your day when it's a part of living your daily life than if you have to make time to exercise purely for the sake of exercising. On the days we don't go anywhere I tend not to stir from the couch farther than the end of the hallway, but overall I stay pretty active just walking and biking to get around.

Daria Sockey said...

Get a treadmill and one of those plastic strap on laptop holders (I think the product is called Surf Shell or Surf Shelf) so you can watch dvds or stream tv shows while you walk on it. (do not run with laptop on the treadmill--that much vibration is not good for it.) I found this kept me on the treadmill much longer.

Banshee said...

You're middle-aged. Your body doesn't process food and energy as well.

Start taking more A, B vitamins, and D. Sublingual B-12 tablets are the bomb.

Eat a variety of fermented foods. Yes, it sounds stupid but it works, and sauerkraut and kim chi are awesome.

If you do this and do more active stuff, you will see a difference. If you don't get your vities, probably you will stay stuck.

Fancy Free said...

Mrs. Darwin, I'm late getting a comment in on this by-gone post, but I really relate to the rage. I myself feel so chronically ticked, and I complained about it to my doc. I have developed the self-control, fortunately, to keep my lips zipped modt of the time before I rage, but I didn't used to be that way. On the other hand, I said to the doc, considering the state of things, maybe feeling annoyed is an appropriate response.

Nevertheless, I'm reading G.K. Chesterton's book on Utopia of Usurers and Other Essays, in which he wrote:

"In short, they hold that the big businesses are businesslike. They are not. Any housekeeper in a truthful mood, that is to say, any housekeeper in a bad temper, will tell you that they are not. But housekeepers, too, are human, and therefore inconsistent and complex; and they do not always stick to truth and bad temper>" (I added the bold.)

BTW, I'm 65. The self-control is a recent improvement, and it's disturbing how frequently I need to call on it (if my husband only knew). But Chesterton's thought gave me a smile, and I hope you enjoy it too.

Fancy Free said...

BTW, my weight too has crept up, and exercise never produced results in that arena (did cardio and strength-trained 2006-2012 4 times a week). Three VLCD (very low calorie diets) since 2008 got results, but they don't last (I've given them up). Meds I take are known to cause gain, so 2012 thru 2015 I tapered and the weight dropped effortlessly, but the taper was a failure and had to go back on. Weight came back immediately. So I just eat low-carb/moderate-protein/high-fat (see Life Without Bread by Wolfgang Lutz M.D. and My Life Without Bread about Dr. Lutz). My appetite is small and my blood sugar steady. You're younger and maybe more problem free than I, so you may have your weight go down. I'm happy my appetite is orderly and smoother eating as I do. Good luck to you.

BTW, Valerie Bracken said the title should have been Life with Little Bread.

Emily said...

Dwija at House Unseen had pretty amazing results with that Trim Healthy Mama diet. For some reason the name makes me squirm, but maybe it works.

It's not a sixth baby thing. I had my sixth at 27. As usual, I weighed less right after her birth than I had at her conception, then packed on 12 lbs of nursing fat. It took me a year to loose that. I'm slow. My personal method for weight loss involves eating less bread and sweets and doing lots of work. The manual labor aspect is part of the reason I moved to the country, actually. It's really hard to find steady sources of manual labor in the city. I don't like to burn calories just for the sake of burning them. So I cut hay with a scythe and rake it by hand, garden with a baby on my back, mow an acre with a reel mower, build raised garden beds and truck countless wheelbarrows of dirt I dug up to put in them, chop wood, etc. All things you can't do in the city. So I'm not much help to you. I know what it's like to feel disgusted with yourself and fat though; pretty sure every woman who's carried and nursed a child does. I sincerely hope that you find a way to loose some pounds and don't hate it.

Running is hard on your body, especially your knees.