I’m now back to pretty much where I started.
Iv’e spent some time reading some of my old posts – which I typically forget moments after writing and have to ask: who IS this guy? He seems more eloquent than I. He seems more curious, more committed, and more energetic.
He *is* younger than me – and thinner. I don’t think that time spent on the right-hand side of the big five-zero has been kind to him. He can’t claim any bad luck – actually the Universe has been quite generous to him in comparison to many of his age. Yes – there have been the sort of things one starts to expect as the car passes the 50,000 mile mark. Parts start to wear.
My eyesight isn’t what it once was and while wearing readers for almost a decade, it seems I need them now more than ever. I also have Uveitis in one eye – a condition that makes the vision quite blurry in that eye – and is treated with an injection – INTO THE EYEBALL.
Did that make you cringe? It really isn’t as awful procedure as you’d imagine, but it does make your eye blood red for a while.
And the 12-year-old in me get a kick by seeing the faces of the people who ask why my eye looks like that and I tell them it’s because I got an injection in it.
An appendix got removed. It’s wasn’t a big deal except that it was a milestone of sorts: my first surgery. Yet more proof that the Universe has been kind: how many people get cut open for a myriad of reasons well before the half-century mark?
Still – despite my good fortune in many aspects of my life, something seems changed. I’m different than the guy who wrote all these posts.
First, I’ve become somewhat tired of the science aspect of a lot of nutrition. Perhaps it’s that I know enough – or at least I think I do.
I think that it was the Buddha that tried to teach his students that his teachings didn’t need to be worshipped, made sacred, or endlessly studied but were only a tool meant to be used to accomplish a goal and discarded. He described it as a boat to cross a deep river. Even though it was valuable to make the crossing, once the river was crossed there was no need to carry the damn boat all over creation – it could be left on the shore while the journey continued unburdened by it.
In Zen Buddhism there is a state where an adherent is said to ‘stink of Zen’. It means they are going overboard. The tool has become more important than its purpose. The study has become more important than its application.
Zen has little tolerance for righteousness or for excessive knowledge. It’s about the practice.
Perhaps I know enough and it’s time to get my nose out of the books and practice more.
Second, which might be the bigger problem, is that I’ve become bored with low carb eating – and this extends from the fact that I’ve become tired of low carb cooking. As my enjoyment of cooking has waned, low carb eating by necessity becomes less varied, and perhaps this is what is derailing me.
Third, perhaps the gain in weight, combined with age, and combined with the fact I no longer drink 3 pots of coffee a day, contribute to a lack of energy. I used to happily get up at 4am, drink a pot of coffee, write blog posts, maintain a little notebook of goals and to-dos, then leave for work, put in my time while putting away another 2 pots of coffee, and come home and cook and do other chores. Now I get up between 5 and 6, have a cup of coffee while staring into space, then go to work where I have maybe 3 or 4 cups.
The decline in coffee drinking was not intentional – not something I wanted to necessarily do – it just happened. Perhaps being a caffeinated speed-freak was good for me, but it’s not me anymore.
Fourth, perhaps my long-documented love of sloth – and the ability to lose weight without it – has to come to an end. I don’t know where I read it, but the case was made that, while this nonsense of burning calories talked about as if it is a financial transaction: “If I run for 30 minutes I will burn 200 calories” is a simplistic explanation, wrong, and yet enshrined as a myth so strong that every treadmill purports to tell the user down to the calorie just how much they’ve ‘burned’, it was said that there is *something* more subtle going on with exercise and weight. It isn’t well understood – but there’s a connection.
I can buy that.
After years of reading all sorts of research on these topics, I’m more comfortable with the people who know that ‘I dunno’ is not an admission of stupidity but one of honesty.
A good friend is moving and giving away their treadmill. I’m going to try to get it. Maybe it will jumpstart some better habits.
Maybe my repeated failures shows I’m not ready for a full-blown low carb diet just yet. I’ve done a hard-core program before with great result – and I can do it now, too – for about a week. Then I crumple like a cheap suit.
Maybe I’m not ready for a diet just yet, but instead in need of a ‘pre-diet rehabilitation’. Maybe I should start small, make small wins where I can, and proceed slowly in the direction of the headwinds of the right direction than to think I’m going to do it in a dash.
After thinking this, I bought a salad – just vegetables – and bought that home. My wife asked if this was the start of a new beginning. I told her: “I’m not being that ambitious. I’m just thinking that ‘maybe a salad now and than wouldn’t kill me'”.
Her birthday is soon and I’m thinking of giving her a gift: I abstain from alcohol until I’m under 200 pounds.
The dynamics are different here: promising yourself is one thing – but promising the spouse you love? That’s another.
The occasional salad and the abstention from alcohol are not going to result in an almost 60 pound weight loss – but they might not hurt.
I have a quote on the recent change in dietary guidelines that has announced that all the dietary cholesterol we were supposed to be worried about? Nah – they were wrong. “It isn’t a nutrient of concern.” Apologies to all those egg lovers frightened into avoiding a food they loved by science that has now been dismissed.
One section really struck me of the article on the topic in the Washington Post (emphasis mine):
“These reversals in the field do make us wonder and scratch our heads,” said David Allison, a public health professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “But in science, change is normal and expected.”
When our view of the cosmos shifted from Ptolemy to Copernicus to Newton and Einstein, Allison said, “the reaction was not to say, ‘Oh my gosh, something is wrong with physics!’ We say, ‘Oh my gosh, isn’t this cool?’ ”
Allison said the problem in nutrition stems from the arrogance that sometimes accompanies dietary advice. A little humility could go a long way.
“Where nutrition has some trouble,” he said, “is all the confidence and vitriol and moralism that goes along with our recommendations.”
Perhaps professor Allison’s admonition to his colleagues might apply to those of us trying to lose weight as well. More humility, less moralism, less hubris about progress – those resolutions the emptily echo because you know you and know it ain’t gonna play out like that. Patience and tolerance for ourselves while gradually moving toward a better way of eating – without worrying about the scale as much as how we feel might do a world of good before taking the plunge into a more serious diet.
For me that means trying to score me a treadmill and maybe replacing a few meals a week with a salad.