Saturday, November 28, 2009

02009 New Year's Resolution #36: Exercise My Demons, Exorcise My Muscles, Something…

Yesterday, before I got into the shower, I did 20 push ups. I don't know why, exactly, I decided to do so. I guess I looked in the mirror and saw that my gut is smaller than it used to be and it really struck me that the loss of 27 lbs. this year is a substantial reduction in my weight. Ergo, doing push ups should be significantly easier than it would have been if I had tried it a year ago.

It was fairly easy. I didn't feel any pain. I didn't get winded. I didn't feel like I put any undue strain on my cardiovascular system. It seemed like an okay thing to do. And intellectually, I know that it's better to get exercise than to not.

I did not choose 20 because that's all I could manage. I didn't push myself to the limit. I just decided that 20 was what I would do, so I did 20.

This morning, before I got into the shower, I did 21 push ups. It felt not unlike yesterday's exercise. Good for me.

I'm not necessarily aiming to add one push up every day until I end up at this time next year doing 385 push ups in a day. But I am making my thirty-sixth New Year's Resolution of 02009:

I resolve to exercise much more regularly than I ever have before.

Ideally, I will fit in some exercise every day so that it becomes a habit. I'm not sure whether push ups will be an everyday exercise. I suppose that might get kind of tiresome. But maybe not. I might add in some sit ups. And I really want to be able to keep up with Beth on a bike when springtime comes around, so I'll probably put in more time on the exercise bike as we get into the winter months than I have done through the end of the summer and into the fall.

The simple truth about me is that I am not at all predisposed to being a health nut. This is the reason why so many of my resolutions have had something to do with improving aspects of my health. I have, for too many years, relied on a functioning metabolism and a fair amount of luck to keep me from falling into a high risk group for cardiac failure or diabetes. Well, I'm approximately at the midpoint of my life expectancy (based on actuarial tables). I figure it's about time to start putting a little effort into staying reasonably healthy for the second half.

I do have a coupon on the refrigerator for a free trial membership at a health club. I will have to check, but I don't believe it has an expiration date. Who knows, maybe I'll get around to taking advantage of that offer sometime in the next year. What could it hurt?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

02009 New Year's Resolution #35: The Non-Resolutions

This particular resolution isn't really a resolution at all. Instead, it is a way for me to sort of take credit for some "positive" things that I've been doing without having really ever resolved to do them. They're the sorts of things that could have been resolutions on their own merits. In fact, I could have just declared them to be resolutions and nobody would have been any wiser. However, I would have felt (in some strange way) as if I were cheating. So, I've decided to let the group count together as a single "Non-Resolution" New Year's Resolution.

Here they are:

I have largely stopped eating potatoes. My doctor told me that they are "empty calories". I'm not sure what that means, exactly. But he said in such a way as to indicate that he thinks that I get no benefit from eating them. I'm not completely off potatoes, but I'm eating a whole lot less of them. I haven't had a single potato chip in months (and I am a big big fan of potato chips!). I miss them sometimes, especially after eating a peanut butter sandwich. But I'm doing fine without them, and I figure that there's some chance that their disappearance from my diet has been a contributing factor to my weight loss.

I have largely stopped eating fast food. Again, not cold turkey, but significant. This has been partly a financial decision and partly a matter of wanting to increase my chances of continued enjoyment of reasonably good health and the benefits of weight loss.

Generally speaking, I have curtailed my ingestion of "junk food". I haven't bought a package of cookies in I don't know how long. I haven't been eating candy (except the little bit of chocolate that Beth gave me as a gift). Ice cream has become an occasional treat instead of a regular snack. (Although I must admit that I firmly believe that calling ice cream "junk food" is really quite unfair. Ice cream is nutritious and you'll not convince me otherwise!) When I have splurged on ice cream in recent months, it's almost always been light ice cream instead of full fat.

I have been eating yogurt. This is not exactly an ice cream replacement, as such. It's something that my doctor recommended for my health. I started eating the yogurt before I cut out so much of the junk food and ice cream. But I've learned to start thinking of the yogurt as a yummy treat instead of as a nasty necessity. My ability to do so is, I am sure, entirely thanks to having found a particular flavor of yogurt that tastes a lot like a dreamsicle. After trying a variety of different yogurt flavors by a variety of manufacturers, and finding most of them unpleasant (especially the goat's milk one (YUCK!)), I settled on one that I really like and I generally eat 1-2 cups per day.

I have lately been trimming my finger nails with a tool designed for the purpose instead of using my teeth. I can't explain why I have finally made such strides in breaking this lifelong "bad habit". Whatever the reason, I figure it's a good thing (or at least not a bad one).

There may be a few other such "good" non-resolutions that I've implemented in my life recently, but none that I can think of now.