I just want to get healthy. You know, I want to take better care of myself. I would like to start eating healthier. I don’t want all that pasta. I would like to start eating, like, Japanese food.
I love this scene toward the of Lost in Translation. A tired Bob Harris (played by Bill Murray) whines about wanting to be healthier, seemingly out of nowhere, on a phone call from Japan to his wife back home in the States.
I often share this desperate sentiment (I’ve literally said the pasta thing to Mindy several times). It’s mostly about knowing what healthy situations and unhealthy situations feel like and wishing you could magically make more of the former and less of the latter happen. But you can’t. Unless you have constant vigilance to maintain the healthiest of diets, you will find yourself in situations that are just too difficult to work around. Like when you’re trying to watch your carbs, and dinner at your friends house is spaghetti.
I’ve accepted that I can’t have complete perfection with my diet. I’m just looking for some sustainable healthy lifestyle. But my all-or-nothing personality only seems to allow me to eat healthily when I’m on a balls-to-the-wall restrictive diet. So I’m low-carbing it now–because I’ve had success with that in the past–with the hope to transition to a paleo diet next (which I hope to make sustainable, but I’m not so sure).
My weight (and overall fitness level really) history is sordid, but over the last decade or so I’ve been reasonably healthy. I hit my adult low in the low 16os around the time of my wedding over eight years ago. But I’ve since then, I’ve fluctuated between the low 170s and the low 190s. I blame the suburbs for keeping me in around the low 190s for the last year or so, and that’s what I’d like to change.
So what’s my motivation, really? It’s difficult to say. I’ve long said I’d like to live to meet my grandkids–a feat neither my father or my father’s father accomplished–but that will only go so far in keeping you away from that fouth beer and that fifth slice of pizza on a Friday night after a long, hard week at work. And dropping those last 15-25 pounds may not even to lead to better long-term health outcomes anyway. So I to need source my motivation from more short-run concerns.
The best one I can come up with is clothes. I like they way clothes fit when I’m in the 160s. Size 33 pants fit great. Since I’m a 29 length, any more in the waist just doesn’t work right. Also, I’m a solid medium shirt size at the weight, which is nice. Now where I sit–in the low 180s–I’m some medium/large hybrid, which makes shirt shopping annoying. And I need 34 pants, which are tight (34s fit well in the mid-to-high 170s, and I can drop down to 33s comfortably below the high 160s).
And as much as I want to be a minimalist and barely own anything, I do like wearing new clothes. I’m only motivated to keep updating the wardrobe when I have the body I like. And as advance in my career, looking the part is becoming increasingly important, and I want to get excited about getting some new suits.
But the bottom line is I want to stop weight loss from being always in the front of my mind. I’m like this about most things. For instance, whenever the Power Ball jackpot goes north of $200 million and everyone at work throws in a buck to form an office pool, we all trade stories of what we’d do with that kind of money. My fantasy never consists of large material purchases, but rather I dream of simply having an accountant manage my cash flow by giving me one credit card with which to spend a certain (very large) amount every month.
That’s my weight management dream as well. I have the body I want and I have some sustainable eating plan where I don’t have to think to hard about what I’m eating on a day-to-day basis. And maybe like my accountant in my lottery fantasy who would call if I was spending a few thousand too much in a given month, in this health fantasy I have some personal trainer-type health adviser who lets me know if I’ve had one too many burgers this month. (Actually, the combination of the lottery and health fantasies is pretty sweet.)
But in reality, there is no silver bullet. There’s just Mindy who’s trying to get healthier along with me. There’s the neighborhood biggest loser contest we’re competing in. There’s Daytum and Excel for me to obsessively track probably arbitrary health metrics. And most importantly, there’s my burning desire to do this. This desire admittedly cycles between about a 6 and a 10 on the passion scale, and I’ve been in the 8 to 9 range for the past couple weeks. So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.