Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Health club re-visited

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I joined a health club at the end of last summer, and I felt good. My waist even trimmed down. 
I'd be up at 5, out by 5:30 and workout for just over one hour. Back to the computer and back to work. Every day. Every week.

But then came Thanksgiving, Christmas and two vacations and I was AWOL from the early morning routines.

Yesterday, I returned to Lifetime partially out of guilt and partially out of economic sense. And mostly because my gut had returned.

But what struck me was that after being away from the health club for almost three months, I noticed that everyone I had left and now re-encountered all looked exactly the same. Seriously. It was like I never left. That I'd been there the morning before and was now back on the treadmill and everyone from the skinny blond to the heavy set old guy looked exactly the same
Did they all also take time off from exercise? Or maybe, the benefits of the health club are all internal.
The way I see it now, your weight depends on your age and how much you eat. The older you get the slower your metabolism and the food hangs around longer. You gain weight in segments. Weight gain has been a step process for me that directly equates to my age.
I never exercised but my health has always been great -- except when I had heart valve surgery, which had more to do with genetics than a poor unhealthy lifestyle.
Then I got older. And that's when the weight started to add on. Little by little. About 15 pounds for every 15 years of life starting with my 20s. It didn't matter how I ate. I could never gain weight. Then one day in my early 40s, it just started to happen.
The treadmill and the weight machines make me feel good, even if my weight only drops a little. And that must be the same for everyone else. They all looked exactly the same. No one changed. No one had any dramatic physical change int heir appearance between when I left in November and returned this week in March. Not one person.
Exercise is a lifestyle choice. It does help, especially if you are having physical problems beyond just weight gain. Weight gain can stress the system, for sure but exercise can help off-set the downside of weight gain. I've given up the idea of returning to my 32 inch waist. But I'll get close. Because exercise also creates a larger regiment of self-control including being more conscious of what I eat and how I eat.
Diets don't work well. But eating habit changes can make a difference. I don't eat after 6 pm any more. I eat a big breakfast and nice lunch.
So'll I'll keep going to the Health Club, but with more realistic goals. I'll do my best to stay healthy, but losing weight won't be the priority. Managing weight will.
-- Ray Hanania

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