Sunday, June 19, 2011

Brief Update : Fitness

Since February 7th I've been on a bit of a diet. And going to the gym. All which seems to have cut into creative time. Or, more sensibly, has cut into any energy I might have had to think up appropriate topics for the blog. So I'm just going to blog a post that's more.. bloggy.

The getting fit thing is something that I've been meaning to do for a while, but I finally snapped. Cumulative thing really. One of the straws was realizing that the amount I was overweight was like carrying my two kids strapped to me at all times. Another was I was getting short-winded typing.

My fitness regimen is a mix of things, really. The most important being diet, since it's far more important for weight loss.

I'm from the school of thought that goes, if it's too hard, I ain't gonna bother.¹ Which, granted, might be the Loser's Recipe for Life, but helped me to build the perfect program for me, so far.


A few notes:
  • in weight loss, diet is way more important than exercise.
  • keep it simple, calories in < calories out (there are no forbidden foods).
  • there are 3500 calories per pound of fat.
  • eat tons of veggies. I mean, a ton. I mean, 1/2 to 3/4 of my plate is heaped with broccoli or bell peppers or lettuce or some other leafy green, this is to keep me from getting hungry. Some veggies have a caloric punch to them, just look them up and count accordingly.
The first step is to  find how many calories your body burns doing nothing. Now, I'm a lazy lazy lazy man. I have no illlusions. I always enter activity level of 'sedentary', and that, only because there's no option that reads 'for all intents and purposes, functionally vegetative'.

The second is to count every goddamn calorie. This involves a calorie counting book/app/website of somesort, a weight scale, measuring cups, and severe OCD. Try and find a calorie deficit per day you can handle. A deficit that won't have you clawing at the walls for food. Keep in mind that there are about 3500 calories to a pound of fat. Plan your loss and expectations accordingly.

To keep you on the plan, I use the Seinfeld method.

To keep me from going insane from hunger, I eat food that's volumetric, which is a fancy way of saying 'pack as much water and vegetables and lean protein as you can handle so you feel full'. When that fails, diet coke.

Life is a constant balancing act and counting game. Trying to figure out if this weight of food will get me full, is a 'good deal' in my crazy diet parlance. It kinda consumes a shitton of mental room, but none of us are working for CERN, we can spare the brainpower.

One ends up having a weird knowledge of how many calories many common bits and pieces of food are. Slice of Bread= 100 cals, banana = 150, egg = 80, can of tuna = 120, bagel =300, big mac = 550.

And what I've found is that if I do count every calorie and try and pack lean protein (most satisfying filling for the buck) with tons of veggies (feeling full) plus some sort of carb (my body goes crazy on Atkins like things) I feel full², and can keep the diet going.

Inertia, I think, is the most important thing. Overcoming the inertia of doing nothing is the most hardest bit about getting fitter. The absolute hardest bit. I've been intending to do something about it for about, oh, five years? Likewise, the inertia to keep it going is even more important. Because I know how hard it is to GET going.


This is the graph I live by. You'll see that as you increase your effort, you get to a point where the additional effort you're putting in is TREMENDOUS, but the calories your burning per hour is hardly increasing at all. The trick is to find that sweet spot where it seems like you're barely exerting yourself at all, yet burning quite a bit.

I use cardio machines that have a heart rate monitor. Heart rate can be roughly mapped to your effort. If you can keep at that perfect pace, you'll never get that winded, 'going to die right now I swear drop down and die tell my wife I love her' feeling that you experienced in high school gym doing timed runs. It's that pain that keeps many from doing cardio, or at least me. Which will effect the all important inertia.

It will vary according to sex/age, but I find doing some cardio activity with a heart rate between 120-140 is sustainable for a ridiculous amount of time. 140-150 the sweat starts pouring in torrents, 150-170 is a full on sprint that is unsustainable.

You'll see that in both my diet and excercise, everything is planned to avoid pain, because pain (whether that be hunger or the sensation of your heart exploding like a pinata ) will bring your fitness and diet to a stop, will kill that all important inertia of keep on, keeping on.

That's all I have to say about that for now.  And as for results? I find bragging to be a character flaw, unless you're in a job interview. But it might be helpful to see if this crazy No Pain All Weight Loss system works.

February 7th 2011 : 211.7 lbs, ? % body fat
June 19th 2011     : 166.4 lbs, 19.2 % body fat

¹ Where 'hard' is defined as 'feeling fricking hungry all the time', or 'dying while exercising'.
² Example of a meal : 200g chicken breast diced (200cals), 1 cup cooked rice (200cals), 1 cup diced carrots (50cals), 1 cup diced onions (50cals). Cooked in a non-stick pan (oil is cals), mixed all together, seasoned with low to no calorie seasonings (soy sauce, hot sauce, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper, even some chicken stock (very very low in cals)). The result is a heaping plateful of food. Total cals, 500.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Just Saying...

Oh breaking buddha on a babbling baboon. That goddamn phrase is among several makes me briefly consider that the mandatory sentences for 'murder by blunt force trauma' are tolerable.

It's not just that it's the needless blathering of a word-hipsters trying to fit in. It's not just that it precludes any sort of actual, real personality of the writer and steamrolls it with a snarky asstit blunderbutt who's first opinion about anything is mockery and sarcasm.

It's that it creates a sort of verbal short-hand. A personality stand-in. It's a phrase most often used by the sort of people whose desire to point out their lack of a television is only eclipsed by an urgent impulse to proclaim their simultaneous love for a multinational grocery chain (their Raw Rosemary & Kosher Salt Kissed Brazil Nuts are AMAZING)  as well as an even larger multinational which manages to charge 40% more for electronics by making them 100% more ostentatious.

It's the 'just saying..' and the 'natch' and the 'What is that, I don't even' mental shortcuts, verbal junk of minds and personalities too worried about what someone might think of them; if they don't conjure up the correct bon mot, the slyest opinion, the blinking beacon that they are, indeed, One of Them, the smart set, the group that was into whatever band you are into but ten years ago, they'll be reviled and marched down the aisles of aforementioned grocery chain, being pelted at with off-brand dried fruit candies and magazines with not enough bokeh.

It's a waving the white flag while you say your peace. The verbal camouflage, the  meagerest offering to the strongest, tightest skinny jean-wearing beard-growing oversized-aviator wearing uber hipster, that hypothetical god of all that's in the know and cool and with it. It has a powerful whiff of servility to it, the submitting to the uber hoard, the sacrificing of your voice, the exposing your tastiest nether regions to horde in hopes they won't pounce.

It reeks of automata, of the Given, of fear.

And that, that's all I'm saying.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Opening Lines of Cormac McCarthy's "The Cat In The Hat"

The boy and the girl were  inside. Outside it drizzled an unending fall of dead cloud. They both shivered. Their ball sat motionless in the middle of the room. Not waiting, not sleeping. Maybe dead. The boy looked at the girl.
Not much to do.
Too cold.
They sat and watched the grey splatting outside their window.
She frowned and it creased her face until it might have been a smile but then the shadows faded and there was only that frown.
They both heard it, who first, didn't matter. It was a bump. They jumped.
And then they saw him. Tall, a grin ringed with sharpened canines and a clownish hat, bent in the middle, or sagging, or broken.
Sitting around? He said.
The girl shrugged, the boy just stared.
I know some tricks. Might be worth your time.
They both stared back now. The girl's frown deepened.
Our mother?
She won't mind.
The fish swam to the edge of his bowl, made bubbles like the last sighs of a dry corpse.
That cat must leave. You don't want to play. And he shouldn't be here. Not when your mother is out.
The cat flicked at his hat, the brim jounced a nodding bobbing yes to whatever he was going to say. Chicken?
These are on the up and up. Nothing bad about them. Watch. Up up up, fish.
He grabbed at the bowl, and fish could do nothing, only squirm. Don't drop me.
I don't aim to.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Crushing, Secret HR Policies

  • while fraternization is frowned upon, sexual harassment complaints from someone lower on  the totem pole about someone who has, quite literally, carte blanche will always end poorly for the complainer.
  • the Kleenex in the break room are for make-up removal or runny noses. Please bring your own supply for crying jags or otherwise personal issues.
  • our wellness coordinator is actually a co-op/intern position that's shared with six other mulitnationals across three states. You may book an appointment with him/her in March and late October.
  • people who are inordinately thirsty during the day will have their cubicles moved furthest from the watercooler. 
  • our 'paid grief time' is for recruitment purposes only. 
  • the 'security cameras' are actually used to record the time you take for your breaks and lunch.
  • smokers and people who have been deemed 'generally unpleasant' get fewer, and less enthusiastic email reminders to join the Summer Company Picnic.
  • there is no typing test when we interview for receptionists.
  • all calls that may be monitored are, all calls that no one could reasonably assume would be monitored are. 
  • business texts are checked for spelling accuracy, all managers are reprimanded accordingly.
  • the heater isn't really broken in the bathrooms. That would assume there are heaters there to BE broken.
  • The new front door is a metal detector.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The Waffling Waffle Salesman

Why hello there. You look like you're in the market for a waffle iron, am I right? Unless you're not, I mean there are plenty of perfectly acceptable breakfast foods in the bread group to satisfy the working man's needs, why only yesterday I had a...

Oh, you are?

Well then, well then. I have, I think, just the waffle iron for you. You live in an apartment don't you, or a condo, or a timeshare, or a sublet, or a parked RV, or perhaps a very large house tastefully decorated, or none at all, the bare look.

You.. well, that's not really important, I think you'll agree. What matters is that you are in the market for a waffle iron and I have it right here. The last iron you ever buy, unless you have need of more than one, or your residence catches fire and you don't have the opportunity to go back and get that iron and maybe choose to save a loved one or a photo album or a rather lazy cat, I understand.

We all have priorities.

I think you'll find this is a mighty fine waffle iron, the best money can buy, outside some gold encrusted one with rubies and diamonds and emeralds and maybe with a nice mother of pearl handle that you might have seen adorn the breakfast nook of Sylvester Stallone in a back issue of GQ where collarless tuxedos are actually recommended for weddings; let's just say this as much waffle iron as any reasonable man could wish from one. Not that you can't wish for more, this land was built on dreams and aspirations. We are nothing but apes if we don't have hopes and dreams.

Oh, I suppose we are apes, that's right. I mean the real ones, the ones with hair and live in the jungle and get shot in African civil wars that have raged for decades, those ones.

Let's get down to brass tacks shall we?

This waffle iron here, the Studger Rothsman 2900 has a preheat function, an auto shut off function, completely coated in industrial Teflon for easy cleanup.

But you're right, who knows what's in that Teflon or how much of it comes off in your waffle. I mean one day you're having a simple belgian waffle, maybe with a strawberry compote and the next you're in the CDC where all sorts of doctors are pushing needles and IVs and probes trying to figure out why your spleen and thyroid exploded at once. Not something that we should be paying for in a waffle iron, at least not extra. But you're probably right, where are we if we dont' take a few risks.

And isn't a hot, fresh waffle worth a few risks?

Unless you are averse to them. Or don't like waffles at all, come to think of it.