Inside: “Drop Dead Healthy” by A.J. Jacobs; Tough Mudder approaches; Not losing; Fat Acceptance
Drop Dead Healthy
I read “Drop Dead Healthy” this past weekend. You’ll be hearing about it soon if you haven’t already.
It was entertaining. It’s by the same guy who spent a year following, as literally and strictly as he could, the Old Testament.
As long as you’re not expecting any answers or guidance, it’s a good read. It’s not science. There’s nothing for you to follow. Jacobs explores just about every thing in the current health and exercise zeitgeist for a few weeks or sessions at a time. He does include in the appendices, little life tweaks that made a big difference for him. The general rhythm of the book is like this:
Low carb vs. vegan? Studies aren’t conclusive. This person says this. This other person says that. He tries each for two weeks and relays the sensations and experience and the reaction of his wife and kids to his dabbles. He explores his thinking and adopts aspects that work for him.
That’s the flavor of the book but with references to various interesting — if not conclusive — studies. Nothing in particular is pursued long enough to reach any scientific conclusion, but long enough so that he can pick what he prefers. You can read it and then justify whatever it is that you already believe and do, for the most part.
What is helpful is that he reaches a point of moderation and he ends up changing his habits and finding little techniques that help him hack his psychology, hack his habits, and hack his life a little bit.
Throughout, he’s working out and such. By the end of two years he’s much fitter. It’s like a meandering reality TV show. It’s meant to be ridiculous. Why else would you use the scent of Good & Plenty candy and cucumbers to try to spice up your love life? If that particular study had ever been repeated conclusively, then yeh. But otherwise, it’s just good shtick.
It is funny, warm, and engaging and you’ll get a broad sense of the what’s out there and what people are doing.
My conclusion: It’s all kind of nutty. Moderation is a good general rule. Moderation while avoiding sugars, most white foods, transfats and being sedentary will get you much closer to a healthy, fit you. I definitely plan to pursue portion control.
Here’s an actual, well-written review but it’s as much about the genre of writing as the subject matter: http://www.salon.com/2012/04/16/drop_dead_healthy_a_failed_addition_to_shtick_lit/singleton/
Ripples in the Puddles
You remember in Jurassic Park how the characters would hear a faint noise in the distance? Then they’d feel slight vibrations in the ground and notice ripples in puddles. A growing sense of inevitability. Soon followed by a hungry and irritated Tyrannosaurus Rex.
That’s how I feel about Tough Mudder, which is less than a month away.
I’m not really looking forward to it but I’ve already made a mental calculation. I’ve decided to have fun with it. Dread or no dread. Pain or no pain. Drowning or no drowning.
You know what’s weird? I’ve had a few people ask me if I’ve been running/jogging to get ready for it. I tell them, no. Even though they know I strength train — I’ve got pictures and it’s easy to get me to talk about it — they then say something like, “You’re going in cold, huh?”
It’s hard to explain, being a layman, how the various programs I’ve been given over the last few months plus the ridiculous Finishers have all been designed to prepare me and the rest of the UAs for the physical aspects. To build a tolerance for muscle fatigue and ward off cramps. I’ve got stretches built into this cycle. I need them more than I realized.
Now … literally ice cold water obstacles/baths and electric shocks. We’ll see how that goes. And I still can’t swim enough to cross any body of water, so not sure about that yet.
I haven’t lost a pound in a long time. I’m still hovering between 200 and 204 lbs. I’m frustrated. I want to get lean(er)!! In the sub-20% body fat fat range. I’ve definitely added muscle, but still. My belt notch hasn’t gotten tighter in a long while. I’ll be perfectly happy with 200 lbs. if that 200 lbs. is 85% lean mass (muscle, bone, organs, etc.). I have to be more strict about what I’m eating. And when. I think that’s critical at this point but I have been failing big time with my food discipline. Like, I can’t see it clearly. Can’t see myself clearly. Hm.
I know a lot of people who also want to lose weight. Well, lose fat. They want to lean out or slim down for all kinds of reasons. I ran across this blog entry the other day. I was glad to see it. I’ve clumsily tried to say it myself before, but the entry and comments say it so much better. Besides, a man making any kind of observations of women automatically makes me a troll in some circles.
I don’t really subscribe to -isms. I respect them, but the righteous political rage of -ists of any sort tends to lead to extremes and too often to ideological rhetoric. Everything from religion to the environment to various diets to social causes. Some of that rhetoric has very real physical life consequences.
I’ve read about Fat Acceptance advocates. I don’t disagree with the premise. I do disagree with the conclusions, because they seem to be reactionary and… well, just read this. This blogger’s “An Open Letter to the Fat-Positive Movement” says a lot.
Anyway, I’ll get there. Still ramping up. We’re not even a 3rd of the way through Spring yet. I plan to live up to my physical potential.
What do you all have going on for the Spring and Summer? Any vacations, events, races, gatherings, wanderings?