A journey in words...

Welcome to my journey in words! A story about health, exercise, weight loss, food addiction, humor, size discrimination, sarcasm, social commentary and all the rest that’s rattling around inside my head...

I now twit, er... or tweet. Anyway, you can follow me on twitter @Aeon1202

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Ammunition to Fight Concern Trolling

Below is my current weekly workout schedule:

Monday: One mile walk on my lunch break, followed by one hour of Zumba (high-low impact cardio) in the evening.
Tuesday: One mile walk on my lunch break, followed by one hour of Zumba (high-low impact cardio) in the evening.
Wednesday: One mile walk on my lunch break, followed by a two mile walk in the evening.
Thursday: One mile walk on my lunch break, followed by one hour of Zumba (high-low impact cardio) and then another hour of Yoga in the evening.
Friday: 20-30 minutes on a cardio machine (elliptical cross trainer or treadmill) followed by 45 minutes lifting free weights. When possible, I attend fun special events at my gym on Friday evenings such as Zumba Step or Glow Yoga or take a two mile walk.
Saturday: One hour of Yoga in the morning, two to three mile walk in the afternoon.
Sunday: Two to three mile walk.

This is my training schedule under ideal circumstances. I do not always do all of it every week (for example, if it’s cold, raining, or snowing, that impacts my taking a walk outside). However I do most of it on most weeks, so about 80% of what you see up there gets done on an average week. Also, you don’t see me taking a “rest day” because at my current fitness level walks don’t really count as “workouts” per say, they’re just my body performing its normal form of locomotion. So Wednesday and Sunday where all I do is walk – those are technically rest days.

So why am I sharing this?

For one thing, I’m sharing it because I’m proud of the level of physical activity I have worked up to. Judging by every statistic I’ve ever read I get far more exercise than the average American, and that is something to be proud of. I didn’t suddenly start doing all of this on a whim, I used to just walk five or six days a week and that was it. I’ve been working up to this level for the past eight months so as to include a good variety of cardiovascular training, endurance work, balance, and strength improvement. Even so, every single day, some part of my body is always sore. I don’t consider that a bad thing.

I am not doing this to make you feel bad if you don’t do this much. I have several things going for me that allow this schedule: such as not having to care for small children, not being impeded by a physical injury or disability, not working several jobs simultaneously, or simply not wanting to. It’s a human’s perfectly natural state to want to conserve calories – before our environment became so obesogenic that trait actually kept us alive. If you don’t want to get up and do cardio every day that actually makes you perfectly normal.

And even though I have the luxury of time to do all this, things suffer as a result. My family doesn’t usually get dinner cooked for them on Mondays, Tuesdays, or Thursdays – which means I eat a lot of quick sandwiches before running to the gym and my family winds up grabbing fast food burgers way too often. Left to their own devices the two skinny dudes I live with will tend to do that.

So I work out a lot more than the average American and have been doing so for the past eight months, and this is what I currently look like:

I am not thin. I may get thinner, I’m certainly trying to, but I don’t actually know what I weigh right now because I haven’t checked in over a month. My clothes fit, so I suppose I weigh whatever I did a month ago – which I think was 230 lbs. Believe it or not, 230 lbs. when you have the eating disorder that I do is not too bad. After all, I used to weigh 295 lbs. However for the moment I don’t seem to be losing weight to any large degree, and it is what it is.

So as you go about your life, you may encounter someone who snorts derisively at a person my size and says something to the effect of, “if they’d just workout now and then they wouldn’t be fat like that”, or “if they would just get their fat butt off the sofa and take a walk every day they’d lose all that extra weight”, or “they probably have diabetes, look at the size of them!”

If you encounter someone like that (often referred to as a “concern troll” because they exhaust a great deal of mental energy being overly concerned for the health of other people based on the use of physical appearances they think are ugly as a diagnostic tool), feel free to send them to this page so I can say, “hello”.

I realize they might shrug me off as a liar – but why would I do that? I’m not claiming that I defy physics by eating barely 1,000 calories per day and working out this much and still not being thin. True my metabolism is slower than average, but I still weigh this much because I still eat enough calories to support my 230 lb. body weight. I eat very healthfully overall but I struggle against binge episodes on a daily basis and I enjoy dessert now and again. That being said the concern-troll battle cry of, “put the fast food down, fatty!” does not apply to me either. I eat a fast food meal about once every three months or so – or about three times a year, which is not enough for it to account for my weight.

In fact, according to quantifiable physical metrics such as blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, triglycerides, etc. I am “healthy” – but I’d still like to take 60 more pounds off because I want my joints to last and those numbers may not stay so good as I continue to age. It’s not about appearance. An appearance that is physically attractive in the socially acceptable way would be nice, but it’s not happening. Sixty pounds down from here I’m going to look even more like a sag-bag than I do right now, and that is what it is, I’ve got to accept it. I can be healthy though, I can be strong, and I can have amazing endurance – those are attainable goals. Heck, I’ve already attained them I just want even more of them. I also have binge eating disorder and it’s not going away, so it could be a whole lot worse than it is right now and I’m genuinely proud of how far I’ve come.

Concern-trolls simply may be enlightened to know that sometimes the work a person puts in at the gym doesn’t show like they expect it to on the outside for a myriad number of complex reasons they surely cannot understand at a glance. And as always, it is impossible to judge a person’s health or even activity level by looking at them.

Friday, April 1, 2016

How I got Trapped in my Bra at the YMCA

My sister has a membership at our local YMCA, so she can go swimming. We both love to swim. As kids, we were both on swim team for years, and she eventually became one of those teen lifeguards who hang out at the pool all summer long.

I would love a YMCA membership, but since it costs $60 / month and my Retro Fitness membership is only $20 / month with plenty of Zumba and Yoga included – the cheap Scotswoman in me wins out there.

Still, my sister gets occasional guest passes to the Y, so this week I went with her to swim laps and check out all the improvements they’ve been making over the last year.

Some things are new, like a lazy river, a little water slide, and lots of water-dumping buckets and fountains to fling H2O all over the place. Some things are just the same, like when you walk out of the pool area into the hallway that leads to the locker room. It may have seemed like a perfectly reasonable temperature when you went through there dry a half hour ago but has morphed with the presence of pool water into sub-arctic temperatures. Always refreshing.

Behold the new pool!

The other thing that hasn’t changed is how much faster than me my sister is. In about 30 minutes I did nine laps while she did… I don’t know – about fifteen? It’s hard to count when somebody is winging by you underwater like a swim cap-clad bullet. This is why she became swim team captain and a lifeguard and I became that kid who goes to art camp and learns how to decoupage.

Not that I’m competitive or anything.

When we got out I saw that I only had a half hour to get back home for an appointment, so while my sister headed into the showers I returned to the lockers to throw on my clothes so I could leave.

I had brought one of my simple sports bras – one that Champion calls, “The Great Divide” because it supposedly doesn’t cause uni-boob (please note this claim on their part is FALSE, at least for a user as gifted as I am). It looks like so:

On this particular day when I went to pull it on over my head as is its sole mode of entry, I neglected to take into account that though my skin had been briefly swiped with a towel to remove excess water droplets I was still wholly and entirely damp both from pool water and a light layer of post-lap swimming perspiration. This dampness caused the fabric of my sports bra to drag heavily against the skin, which as I yanked it over my head caused the back of it to roll several times over until it had turned into more of a spandex-y rope across my back than the Y shaped racerback configuration it’s supposed to have. Since I had also simultaneously shoved my arms through the armholes, my arms were suspended over my head in a rather useless fashion and the front was stretched so tight that it was sitting above my chest instead of properly covering it – meaning my boobs were out. Way out.

Before swimming we had used the weight machines, then did a solid half hour of crawling and backstroking and breaststroking. My arms were tired like limp noodles, and my bra had become a skin tight rope of rolled colorful fabric jammed just beneath my armpits.

I was trapped. Completely and totally trapped. With my boobs out.

Granted, the YMCA locker room is a naked place, no big deal, but I’m one of those shy people who tries to minimize the nakedness, even in naked-appropriate situations. This was not good.

I glanced to my left, where the showers were, pondering having to hustle across the locker room to obtain my sister’s help in my current state, with my arms trapped over my head and my chest just kind of swinging free. Eventually, once she’d stopped laughing, I was pretty sure she would help me.

As I pondered this, and continued to uselessly wiggle, while simultaneously starting to panic, I heard a very quiet, accented voice from behind me that said, “excuse me.” And then with a sharp, efficient yank, I was free! A total stranger had come up behind me and yanked flat the back of my sports bra, allowing me to pull the front into its proper place as well.

I turned around to thank the small, middle-aged Asian woman who had come to my rescue, and she merely gave me an efficient nod before going about her own business. Mentally I could picture her a minute before pondering my struggle from behind with a quiet, resigned sigh.

People helping other people out of nowhere, even in small, crazy, totally embarrassing ways – it reminds you that sometimes the world is an okay place to be.

Also, the new pool at North Penn YMCA is really spiffy.