New Years Resolutions are BOOBYTRAPPED. Especially ones involving dieting.
And the Diet-Industrial Complex revs up for another January blitz.
I talk here a lot about body acceptance. This is not an accident. This is not dogma, this is a necessary starting point for a realistic fitness journey.
I’m not a religious person, but the Serenity Prayer has a message even for someone who is agnostic like me. Let me rephrase it a little.
Let me find within myself the serenity to accept what I cannot change, the courage to change what I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
We cannot change our genes. A fair amount of what controls our metabolism and our body type is genetic. Ectomorph (skinny, non-muscular) parents tend to have Ectomorph children. Endomorph (fat) parents tend to have Endomorph kids. Mesomorph (Average build) parents…you get it. Parents whose ancestors had to deal with food insecurity a lot tend to have slow metabolisms that hang onto calories. In turn, they have kids with similarly slow metabolisms. Those whose ancestors lived in relative plenty tend to have quicker metabolisms. Why do Frenchwomen not get fat? Why do we look at Greece and Rome for our body ideals instead of Poland, Hungary, Ukraine or Russia? Again, you got it. The more science looks at the connections between heredity and weight, the more it seems that our results are at least partially written in our genes rather than completely a matter of effort. This is something the American psyche rebels against, kicks against these goads until it bleeds, but it’s truth.
However, there are things we can change. We can get more active. We can eat more real food, more plant-based food. We can stop doing things that work against our health. We can control stress. We can get enough sleep. Ultimately it’s not going to provide the kind of OMG WOW results that you see all over the place in the media, but it will at least mean you will be a stronger, healthier person who will likely live a longer life than those who tend to not pay attention to things like that.
So yeah, let me find within the serenity to accept what I cannot change; (my body type) the courage to change what I can change; (my health habits) and the wisdom to know the difference.
I don’t know why “1200” managed to be the magic number of calories women should consume if they want to lose weight.
I don’t even know how I know of this number. Only that I know it, and my friends know it, and my mom knows it. Somehow, somewhere along the road, I was taught that if I want to have a flat stomach and tight tushy, I need to limit my calories to 1200 a day and do cardio. I don’t know how it got in to all of our collective brains, but somehow it did (if any ladies remember how or when they first heard the 1200-calorie rule-of-thumb for losing weight, please let me know via comment box).
What I do know is that 1200 is the general number of calories health professionals say women cannot drop below without suffering negative health consequences.
Interesting, isn’t it? 1200 calories. The…
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I have come to an uneasy realization. My entire fitness regime is going to have to be reconsidered, because of my continuing problems with my plantar fascitis in my left foot.
Yesterday and now today I have been having intense pain there, centering on and radiating from the left side of my heel. According to my Fitbit, I walked a total of almost 9 miles yesterday through all the things I did.
The idea of walking twice that at a constant pace is looking like something I can’t do under the current circumstances. Yes, I have put all the stuff I have needed to do in action: massage, myofascial self-release, stretching, taping etc.
So unfortunately, unless there is a breakthrough, I will not be able to do the Friends of Richie Walk or any other long-distance walk anytime soon. This means missing walking the LA Marathon too. It is sufficiently close to these events to make this determination. Not thrilled with this, but this is my reality.
Fell short of the mark
But I hung in there anyway
Better than nothing.
Warmup (2 sets, goal was 3)
20 air squats
(power clean, front squat, push press, back squat, push press, down to deadlift position, repeat)
2 sets 7 reps 15# (bar alone)
1 set 7 reps 30# (bar plus 2 2.5# plus 2 5#)
(Goal was 1 set each at 15#, 30#, 40#, 50# and 60#)
I began writing this on a bus headed for the Rose Bowl. Ali Vincent led a walk there, and I got up at absurd o’clock to get there in time for the event.
I have nothing but respect for Ms. Vincent. After she won, she has been strongly advocating health over simple weight loss, although if pressed she’d likely not agree with my advocacy of health at every size, and my evidence-based opinion that fat and fit is possible.
One need only look at Sarah Robles. She’s big. But she’s also able to lift many times her weight and is currently the strongest woman in the Western Hemisphere.
As you can see, she does not exactly look like a supermodel. But would you say she’s unhealthy? An unhealthy person can’t compete as a world-class weightlifter. And yet, one of Sarah’s teammates in 2012, Holly Mangold, is headed for The Biggest Loser this year. The reason she wasn’t competing in the Pan Ams this year was because she was prepping for the show.
Scale weight is not a great gauge of overall health. It is notoriously bad for differentiating the athletic and massive from the obese. Michael Jordan in his prime had a BMI that put him in the obese category. And there are lots of people who are ideal weight and sickly. There are also the “skinny fat,” people who weigh normal on a scale, but have a high percentage of body fat and a goodly amount of visceral fat.
So why not create a competition that uses several metrics to judge the health and fitness of the contestants? Not just scale weight, but blood pressure, metabolic blood panel, fat to lean ratio, and performance tests like how fast you travel a mile, be it walking or running, how much weight can you deadlift, and so on. It would be rigorously monitored by doctors, exercise physiologists and physical therapists.
It would be visual, too: the best way to find out body fat percentage is an underwater weighing. Imagine how that would look on screen! The tank of truth. The winner of this contest would be the most improved over the most metrics. You’d probably want to weight (no pun intended) some of those metrics a bit: someone reversing their type 2 diabetes would be a more impressive feat than someone who can box jump higher than the rest, or had lost the most scale weight. A broader set of metrics would mean more size diversity on the show. You might see a big person win this contest. It would be a very important message to send to people: fat does not necessarily equal unfit.
I’m giving you a gift, TV industry. Call this new competition Survival of the Fittest. I guarantee it will be a hit.
Scientists are finally going to do some serious study on the matter. I am looking forward to what comes of this experiment. However, don’t hold your breath waiting for it…the study is estimated to finish in 5 years.
Home WOD at the Geeklair
There’s no place like home
To thoroughly bust your butt
Yes, I got this, folks.
20 alternating lunges
20 air squats
10 min jog in place
Buy-in: 10 minutes of rowing, 25 stroke per minute pace
(Goal pace was 20 strokes per minute)
3 rounds of:
10 front squats, 55#
10 kettlebell swings, 7# (looking at form more than weight here)
Cash-out: 10 minutes of rowing, 26 stroke per minute pace
(Goal pace again was 20 spm)