Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sticking to the Menu

I'M NOT TOO HAPPY to admit that I have been a massive slacker this week, particularly with respect to my dining options. I bought bagels for breakfast each morning and purchased something in the city for lunch each day as well. This adds up. Though my spending records show I did better than last month in eating as many grocery-born meals and saving cash, I honestly try to keep from buying food in the city down to once per week, if not once per pay period.

Worse, this wasn't the best food on the planet to eat while keeping my weight under control, if not reducing it. Bagels are basically simple-carb globs. I got a burrito on Monday and Tuesday from Chipotle, and pizza today. I did manage to hit the gym last night, and tomorrow is my next workout day, so I'm at least staying active. Nicer weather and brighter mornings are luring me out of the house to the gym more often. Soon I'll even be able to take some good-length walks.

Still, as I have seen in many forms across several fitness-board posts, the war against overweight is won in the kitchen. I've got to admit the last year was lacking in that respect.

I attempted to institute a weekday vegetarianism. I kept meat to the weekends, and also tried to bring food as much as possible. This effort wasn't altogether successful. I didn't gain as much muscle weight, even with the protein shakes after working out, as I had wanted. Dropping fat is a two-step process, both increasing cardiovascular activity and building lean muscle.

I was better off when I was bringing carefully planned omnivorous meals into work, as I did back near the beginning of this blog, here and here. I think I could do better on the nutrient ratios, perhaps go for a 20% fat and up the complex carbs by 10%.

This would also help regiment my weekends more. I was making nice prepared meals for the week on Sundays with solid regularity. I also brought sandwiches for lunch, healthy ones with lowfat cheese and mustard instead of mayo. Spending some time shopping, cooking, and apportioning became a habit, one I can resume. And of course, all of this helped me get the hell out of the house faster in the morning and damn well saved me some coin. It was working, too; my percentage of body fat dropped, and some muscle was beginning to grow.

I do recall dropping out of the habits, however, and finding it tough to resume them. That was the same fall/winter in which I was too exhausted to organize the holiday party. I went through a difficult emotional separation whose details need not appear here. Still, there was no use to pile up excuses so high that I could not climb over them.

I am entering my final month of employment at the current place. It's not too late to exercise some self-control, both over my exercise and eating. I'll need both when I am on my own, especially if it takes some time to get employed again. And there's also that not-dying thing. This month saw the anniversary of Nick's death, and although I know that had nothing to do with physical fitness, I am doing myself no favors by remaining at this weight. Carrying extra weight exacerbated a knee injury my mother received 10 years ago, and she has steadily lost mobility and endurance as a result of not dropping any pounds. Furthermore, if I go out on my own as a freelancer and have to get health insurance, a slender frame will cut costs. All manner of reasons to go back to what was working.

If I am relegating the meat of the job hunt to weekends, I can stuff the mornings or evenings with exercise, and at least look presentable in interviews and at the two weddings I will have the pleasure of attending this coming spring. At which, of course, I will be sliding right off the wagon in both diet and temperance. Those days excepted, I can surely do myself a solid by easing back on the extreme of vegetarian weekdays and at least bringing balanced meals, with a limited amount of lean meat. Hell, I've read a number of obits recently with folks living to 100, and my own grandparents made it well into their 80s, two of them after lifetimes of smoking and drinking. I can be better to myself in some ways, but in others, I think I can fall back on a good set of genes.

And maybe a safe-deposit box full of stents.

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