A decade or so ago, I never would have imagined that I would be concerned with being chunky. From childhood into middle age, I’d had a skinny build. Then I hit the mid 40s and something happened to change all of that. It’s not that I’ll be auditioning for the screenplay of the human dirigible any time soon. But I do have what’s teasingly called a spare tire around the middle.
Concerned that no matter what I did or tried out, the spare tire remained and sometimes grew just a bit more. I had been advised to go on low fat, low carb diet plans. As most folks who’ve gone on those diets understand, it’s not long before you ditch them. They’re not satisfying in a deep, primitive way. Plus, the dieter becomes somewhat overly focused on the content of fat and sugar content, measurments and portion sizes, of each meal.
I even went so far as to purchase a calorie chart so that I could closely guesstimate calorie content of foods when I was invited to someone’s home for lunch or dinner. It was handy at restaurants, too. The problem became a sensation of deprivation. Totals had to take into account a 2,000-calorie per day tally.
Even being very careful and mindful of my food intake, I noticed that I could take in close to the 2,000 calorie ceiling by lunchtime. Even then, I’d have a gnawing sensation of hunger by mid afternoon. By dinnertime, I might take in another 800 to 1,000 calories without even trying. On those weeks that I was able to maintain a 2,000 calorie per day goal, my anxiety and stress over hunger was front and center.
When a creature is not taking in enough energy to remain healthy, the brain focuses on ways to obtain more food. That means that after superhuman effort for a week, I’d cave in and eat what my brain and body “said” I needed. Fortunately, I’ve been an active member of a gym for more than a quarter of a century. I’m able to work off many of those calories that I take in.
The past few years, I’ve been engaged in a very active cardio program on Expresso exercise bikes at the gym. This program has been the best addition to my health regime overall. One of the most convenient aspects is that the Expresso servers keep track of my vital information.
Last week, I achieved a milestone that I hadn’t really given much thought to. That is, how many calories that I’ve used on the bikes. I usually glance at the calorie count and promptly forget it. Last Thursday, though, I noted that the tally read, “500,440”. At an average of about 450 calories per route ridden, I’m talking about a lot of time at the gym. And it has been. See the “All Time Totals” in the illustration.
It’s not only a lot of time, it’s a whole lot of effort. If I ride a couple of routes each day to counteract what I eat each day, I have achieved equilibirium. If something happens that I can’t do a workout, maybe an illness or accident, I will need to severely restrict my food intake.
I got to thinking about how the majority of Americans don’t have a fitness program integrated into their lives. It’s no wonder that we’ve become a nation of big guts and big butts. Most of us are concerned with how many calories we take in, and rightly so.
We need to remember how many calories we expend, as well. If you can find a way to achieve your own equilibrium regarding food intake and exercise expenditure you will not only find a more healthy weight and size for your body, but you’ll also find a more vibrant, wholesome state of mind, too. A sensible workout program is essential to beating the blahs and is also a good way to boost your mental abilities and overall state of mind.
The Blue Jay of Happiness goes for his early morning flyovers each day. Foraging for food is great exercise.