What a summer, eh? Way back late last winter, the paying job offered me a fitbit. In case you’re uninitiated, it’s a little pedometer that you strap to your wrist and it will record the number of steps you take per day, how far you’ve traveled, how much you’ve slept, and a few other things that make me feel a bit creeped out.
I mean, I’m not sure what the criminal underworld would do with the knowledge of how many hours I slept last Tuesday, but I’m sure in the hands of the appropriately evil, it could be worthy of an expose on 60 minutes.
Well, the actual point of all this, of course, from my employer’s perspective, is to make sure I’m fit enough not to drive up our healthcare costs as a whole (joke’s on them, my wife carries my health insurance), and one of the big indicators of overall health is body weight.
I’ve spent most of my life being skinny, way too skinny as a kid and teen, there was a brief period in my mid-twenties where I plumped up, but then another decade (almost) of being skinny through exercise and a relatively strict diet.
Then, around the time I started this blog, I kinda let myself go. I stopped exercising and starting eating a relatively horrid diet. I got pretty big. Early last summer (2013) I managed to drop a about 25 pounds by living off of V8’s for a few months. But that leveled off once I determined it was untenable for me to live that way long term.
Cut to late Feb of this year, and these fancy fitbits that they were handing out at work. At the time I’m still 20 pounds overweight, despite having dropped the 25 I mentioned a moment ago. I think, Gee, I can take care of those last 20 pounds now.
So I start to walk, the target is 10,000 steps per day. For a stride like mine that’s just under 5 miles. Given my walking speed that’s about two hours of walking per day. Well, maybe an hour and a half, I’m rounding here for simplicity’s sake.
And to my great surprise, I found that I liked it. Turns out that I get about a mile per day just doing things like walking to the bathroom and piddling around the kitchen at home. The rest is something I’d have to do on purpose.
To rephrase that, the rest is me walking on purpose – for no reason. None at all. At first it was a bit tough, having to remember to walk, even if I had nowhere to go. My dogs appreciated it, they don’t mind walking with no destination. For me, it was a learning curve. I grew up believing that if you start going somewhere, well, there should be a somewhere you're trying to get to. You can’t just go off and wander about aimlessly. That’s the devil’s playground, or something.
Soon, getting 10,000 steps in in a day was too easy. By May I was regularly hitting that many by lunch. Putting in 10, 11 miles in a day wasn’t unusual. If I could only get a time machine and go visit the younger me that said he’d never consider ‘walking’ as an exercise, I’d show him.
So it was great. The spring came and went, and before I knew it I was in the middle of the dog days of summer. August came in with a whoosh and I was still at it. Maybe not quite putting in 20,000 steps per day, but still churning out 10k without a problem.
We’d purchased a fancy digital scale a couple of years ago, to better document my descent into Jabba-the-Huttness. I realized that I’d not weighed since I began my walking regiment.
Wow, six months. I had a routine when I weighed before. Same exact time every day, wearing the same thing, just to take out any possible things that might cause me to get a weird result (Like a big lunch). I had no problem getting ready to weigh in.
I stepped onto the scale last week. Wondering what 6 months of clean living would mean for me. These fancy scales don’t work like the old ones used to. I liked stepping on it and seeing the numbers spin by, slow, go in reverse, slow again, then start counting forward, and back and forth until settling on a nice number.
No, this one sucks. It just spits out a number, down to a tenth of a pound (as long as that tenth is an even number) and that’s what you are.
How’d I do, you ask?
I gained 8 pounds.
Sonuvabitch! I’d been wasting 3 or 4 hours every day, walking in the hot sun, including weekends, and in the rain, and when the mosquitos were out for vengeance, and when I wanted to just stay in and read a book, just to get fatter?
And with that it all came crashing down on me. I’ve been living a lie. Walking isn’t exercise. Younger me was right. It might be exercise when I’m 80, but it isn’t now.