Dieting and Training

Published 2012-02-09

I don’t “diet” and I don’t “train.” Neither do I “work out” or “watch what I eat.” I might be lucky in my genes (more on this below), but somehow I’ve contrived to have the same height, weight and measurements since I graduated high school. I never tried to do this, but neither did it happen by accident.

In my teen/college years I was a heroic eater and did very little by way of exercise. Certainly nothing remotely like bicycle racing. The rapid metabolism of youth kept me thin(ish). When I was 23 my dad had a bypass surgery. While my dad was in recovery, my mother and I went out to lunch near the hospital. I ordered fish and a salad in deference to my usual SuperMegaMapleBurger and UltraBaconCheeseFries. I was keenly aware of the poor cardiovascular hand the genetic house had dealt me. But I wasn’t starting a diet. It was just the first time I thought really seriously about what I was putting into my body.

17 years later, I live with three fussy vegetarians. I have lost my taste for rich foods except in small doses. Most of the time I don’t even think about it. I eat whatever I want, whenever I want. I still eat the occasional MapleBurger and BaconCheeseFries. But I have come to not want the SuperMegaUltra. A little MapleBaconCheese goes a long way.

By the same token, I have steadily constructed my life in such a way that I’m always active. I hate going to the gym. I used to lift weights, the very thought of that now depresses me. Instead I must expend a modicum of effort to fulfill basic life needs.

Last night I went to a Kindergarten roundup after work, at a school on the other side of Mt. Tabor. I had no other way to get there so I rode my bike. I don’t “work out” but yesterday I burned 1100 extra calories going about my daily business (in my street clothes, no less). 1100 calories, for me, represents about half a day’s worth of extra food, or five ounces of body fat, or five hours of a “light workout” at the gym. I didn’t make a resolution to do something like this, I never trained for it. In fact a decade or so ago this would have been an unthinkable athletic feat for me.

My lifestyle, for all that it keeps me moving, is secretly lazy. We don’t have a second car because I know I won’t look after it. I don’t watch TV because it feels like a big time commitment. We don’t cook lots of rich food because beans and rice is easier. (This is also why right now I’m wearing a pair of shoes that I bought in the nineties) I live like a peasant because it’s easy.

Little by little my life became more active and less foody and now here we are. So I never had to buckle down and consciously apply myself to “exercise” or “dieting.” I really admire people who do, they have far more willpower than me.