LGN 73: Who We Want to Be

Inside: The kind of person I want to be; Suicidal mindset

HOW NOT TO START A BLOG ENTRY

I’m watching “Epic Yachts” right now. Caught the end of “Epic Pools”. I’ve seen “Epic RVs”, “Epic Houseboats” and “Epic Log Cabins”.

I don’t have anything against money or rich people as a class or socioeconomic demographic.

No resentment.  Not even if it’s inherited (as opposed to personally earned) wealth. But I kind of don’t like these people on these shows.

$800,000 doors. $45,000 carpets. $5,000,000 pools. $700,000 custom wood trim. And even though it’s not fair of me, whenever I see the kids of the people featured on these shows, I can’t help but think that the kids are going to grow up to be entitled supercilious douchebags.

I don’t know. It’s just … egos gone wild. But again. If you’ve got all that money it’s yours to do as you please. I hope that there’s also some philanthropy going on, too.

If I had enough money to buy a $2 million RV or a $2 million pool, I would definitely want to donate or build a community pool along with enough to guarantee its upkeep for years. A quality rec center. Something.

Of course, that’s big talk from a borderline misanthrope … well. An optimistic misanthrope. A hopeful curmudgeon.

Either give to the community or provide some kind of service that betters — something. I’m not saying that you should be taxed into oblivion either. I’m saying that I wish that it were a cultural norm. (I also wish that it was a cultural norm that we worked 4 days a week and that 5th day was culturally dedicated to pursuing a hobby or passion or small business or family edification time.)

It’s like, you know how people who homeschool or send their kids to private school will sometimes complain about having their tax money go to public schools? I mean, it’s your duty to provide your kids with the best that you’re able to, but I don’t get that isolationist mindset.

If the neighborhood next to yours is some kind of Mad Max dystopia where there’s an ennui of hopeless nihilism and Lord of the Flies anarchy, that hurts everyone. You and yours will be affected by that in very real ways.

Imagine if you insisted on upkeep of only the roads in your neighborhood. That’s fine until you need to go somewhere.

Oh wait. This has nothing to do with fitness. Sorry. I started on a tangent of a tangent and might have offended some people in the process.

THE PERSON I WANT TO BE

On the Fat2Fit Radio podcast their philosophy is to eat and exercise like the fit person you want to be.

I’m definitely trying to be less sedentary. Some mornings when the weather is nice and I wake up early I’ll walk to the grocery store, which is about a mile away. I realized that I live within biking distance of some easy rideable trails. Or joggable. I’ll ride my bike to the gym on Saturdays. Every now and then.

For phases, I eat better, too.

Why am I doing this? (Why don’t I do this all the time, would be a better question.) Not because I’m super fitness guy. I do it — when I work up the motivation — because that’s what the person that I want to be would do.

The person I want to be goes for walks and jogs and bikes. Trains hard. Eats well. Has a social life to speak of. Is willing to step out of his comfort zone to get what he wants or to the next level of whatever.

The person I want to be will say yes to a crazy overnight hike with unexpected icy rock scrambles. Or will spontaneously go on a road trip. Of course, the person I want to be also visits and spends time with his family.

He looks good naked (LGN), of course. He is very attractive to the women he’s very attracted to.

He is not prone to Armageddon level muscle cramps. He can work all day and still have the energy for whatever at the end of the day.

He lifts people up. He helps them to be better. He is positive and shows himself the patience and acceptance that he, ideally, shows others. Getting a little meta with that one.

And so on and so forth. I could go on. Haven’t even gotten to all the adult responsibility stuff. Like finances, career, life balance, etc.

THE BEST YOU

I want to show you something. I saw this the other day and took screenshots.

Monique has been on a journey to get fit and healthy. She posts photos on social media of herself working out. Thankfully, many of the responses are positive and encouraging. Unfortunately, a fair amount of responses are cynical and negative.

Photo May 16, 7 44 37 AMPhoto May 16, 7 44 29 AMPhoto May 16, 7 43 31 AM

Monique is working her ass off. Eating healthy and moving more. I think that’s threatening to some people.

I’m still overweight and probably technically obese, especially by the standards of the BMI scale. Yeh, I know. BMI isn’t accurate at all. It’s a very high level way to try to get a sense of where one stands.

I have no desire to argue for or against it. It’s a waste of time to do so. I don’t need the BMI to know that I’m overweight and not where I want or need to be. When I look good (i.e. fit) in my birthday suite that’s how I’ll know I’m where I want to be. ‘Cause I’m gonna be functionally fit. The awesome physique is going to be a side effect of being active and healthy.

Birthday suit, I mean. Birthday suit in a birthday suite.

I’m down about 44 lbs. from when I started training.  And my body composition has changed a LOT.  More muscle, less fat.  Thanks, coaches and fellow trainees.  But I’m at that last, awkward body fat point.  The stuff around the middle that does not want to go.  And it needs to go because that last 10 lbs. or however much it is would make it a heck of a lot easier to do any kind of gravity resisting.

I have no desire in the context of this blog entry to pontificate about societal norms. Most of us know that fitness, beauty, and sex appeal comes in many shapes, sizes and proportions. And shoot. There are a lot of overweight people out there who are much fitter than I am in many ways.

I do believe that to be fit is to be healthy, although the latter requires knowing what the state of one’s innards are.

It’s kind of “scary” to me how fit a lot of people are and are getting. Whenever I feel smug about training a few times a week I just have to look around and see what people are doing to put things back into perspective.

Sure, I can lift the heavy kettlebells but I haven’t been able to get through a Tough Mudder due to severe muscle cramping issues. Meanwhile, a lot of people I know are running half marathons, marathons, mud runs, fun runs, 5Ks, 10Ks, playing sports, and who knows what else.

And kicking my butt in finishers. Doing brutal mental toughness and boot camp classes for the fun of it. Hot yoga.

Meanwhile, there’s a segment of the population out there who are just … lost. I mean, they’ve given up or have decided to accept their physical condition as their identity and/or destiny.

There are still people out there who are thoroughly convinced that working out and training and going to the gym are “white people” activities. Or that eating well is a California thing. It’s changing but it’s changing at a glacial pace.

I heard a radio show the other day. A doctor was saying how one of his patients had diabetes and he put her on a program that resulted in her blood levels going back to normal/healthy. It was a vegetarian diet. He said that his patient said, “Doc, I won’t give up my meat.”

She went back to diabetic blood levels and all the doctor can do is try to help her manage a disease that is going to eventually gut the quality and longevity of her life.

Make me wanna holler

WHY AM I INSIDE?

I don’t even know what my point is. As always, this is not condemnation or judgement. Obesity, overweight-ness, and un-fitness does not equal poor character or laziness. There are many factors involved and life is kind of crazy.

It’s so easy to gain weight/fat. Back in my early 20’s I went from being lean with six pack abs to being overweight and jiggly in about two years and had no idea how it happened. In retrospect, absolutely. At the time? No. Just a few bad habits and food vices compounded daily for a few years is all it takes, especially when you’re aging.

It is a matter of emphasis and priority, though. It usually takes a personal revelation or traumatic event to catalyze someone into prioritizing their physical fitness when there’s so many other things calling for our attention.

As always, this is an invitation to my loved ones and future loved ones.

I’ve made people angry writing and talking like this. I’ve made people cry or stop talking to me for weeks or months. But I think that the anger and hurt may be partially a defense mechanism. Granted, I can be clumsy because there are a lot of emotional and identity-related things involved when it comes to this topic. And what works for one person or many people may not work for someone else despite their best efforts.

But you know. We get one life. We have to find what works for us. If you’re going to be angry with me, let’s go for a walk or something while you lay into me. Tell me what an a-hole I am on a bike ride.

Alright. I’m going outside. Hopefully, traffic has chilled out on 66 by now. This is a good day for a photo walk.

ONE MORE THING

Something about the heat and humidity have been sapping the energy out of me during workouts. I sweat like a nervous pig when I’m exercising anyway. (I know. Pigs don’t sweat, but you get my point.)

And when it’s humid and you’re not used to it, it feels like you can’t breathe. Like carbon dioxide isn’t being exchanged for oxygen. I’ve even wondered if there’s something wrong with my heart or lungs because I’ve been short of breath at points. Maybe it’s just the amateur hypochondriac in me, though.

If I were to drop dead during exercising for some reason, so be it. I’d still say that training is the best use of time and money that I’ve ever invested. Use it as a reminder or motivation to get your heart and blood checked out so you know where you stand. Or if I get run down riding my bike in traffic. I saw a ghost bike on my way to the Potomac Hunt Races last Sunday.  Wear a helmet and be safe. Don’t text or drink and drive.

Sell my stuff and use the money for the nephews’ college funds.

Then play Bobby McFerrin’s “The 23rd Psalm” from his “Medicine Man” release.

and/or “Movement V – Grace” from Jonathan Elias’ “The Prayer Cycle” (the one with James Taylor).

Then party hearty.  To “Apache” by the Sugarhill Gang.  And “Clap Your Hands” by Sia.  And “The Drumming Song” by Florence and the Machine.  Some Earth Wind and Fire, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, The Jackson Five and The Jacksons.  “Off the Wall”.  You get it.

If I may quote Rear Admiral David Farragut at the Battle of Mobile Bay:

“Torpedoes?! Ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat!”

Okay. Now I’m done. Have an amazing Memorial Day weekend, everybody.

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4 comments

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  1. jannamo

    That doctor makes me angry. Meat is certainly not the cause of blood sugar problems, so I want to yell at him for not helping his patient find a diet that worked for her that also handled her blood sugar. Obviously I’m commenting on an anecdote of an anecdote so I’m sure I’m missing some crucial details, but it sounds like this doctor was more committed to a vegetarian diet being the right way to handle diabetes than to actually helping his patient.

    You keep on doing what you’re doing, and thanks as usual for sharing. It’s a lifetime journey, not a race, you’re doing great, G.

    • garyarthuryoung

      Hey, Janna! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      I forget that you probably have half a hog in your freezer right now.

      He is big on the vegetarian thing (maybe even ideologically so), but the changes included avoiding fast food and processed foods in favor of fresh food. Quality.

      But meat/no-meat isn’t really the point at all here.

      Whatever he did, it effectively controlled her diabetes until she decided that she couldn’t do without whatever pleasure food x brought her.

      Whether it’s sugar, dairy for some, wheat or whatever.

      People will often choose sickness and even death over wellness for some substance that brings temporary emotional and psychological comfort.

      Mmmm, I do miss Ghirardelli’s Double Chocolate powder.

      But yeh. Life is a journey that has more miles behind me than ahead of me.

      No. Correction. I have more years behind me than ahead of me. How many miles I have ahead of me –that’s what it’s all about.

      • jannamo

        Ah, I get it. I was rallying against dietary dogma that wasn’t there. 🙂 There is a lot of that out there in the world, though: the “I know what you should/shouldn’t eat and since you’re not listening your cancer/diabetes/obesity is your own damn fault.” And there’s a lot of what you are talking about to: the “I know what to eat to be healthy but I don’t give a shit because I just won’t eat that way.”
        I think they need to eat somewhere in the middle. Both sides are so extreme that on one side people are righteous about their superior diet but don’t understand why they are getting “adrenal fatigue” (epidemic in the super-fit crossfittish type communities), and people on the other side are left feeling like healthy eating is too expensive and miserably hard, and just not worth the suffering.
        Haha, I just said we need to *eat* in the middle when I meant *meet*, but I think I’ll leave it that way. 🙂

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