Published Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:16 PM PDT
I am not terribly fit, at the time of writing I am about twenty or so pounds overweight. Nonetheless I am working on that and have had some success at it in the past, so I'm going to write about it. If my current status as not being an Adonis disqualifies me for you on this subject, I will understand. But often those who are super-fit tend to have rather unreasonable views about fitness that have nonetheless resulted in their success due to a variety of factors, from genetics to obsessive adherence to a set of rules. I am someone who favors liberty and so has for a good amount of time tried to make my life comfortable and enjoyable, tried to balance all manner of things, and avoid limiting myself. But some limitations are useful, based in reason, and importantly, not that hard to follow. I seek those out and will comment on them now.
- Calorie restriction. This is, so far as I'm concerned, the only way to lose weight. I have done so successfully with this method countless times and am currently trying it again. By my estimate I should be down to my target weight within about six months. It varies based on age, gender, and body type but for me, consuming somewhere between 1200-1800 calories a day seems to be doable and will result in a steady loss of weight. One must become comfortable with daily fasting, the feeling of hunger, the gurgle of the stomach; I like to think that there is no tastier meal than the one currently on my belly. Through fasting, we get to enjoy every delicious meal we've ever had a second time. I also like to think that I have accrued a debt by overeating and it is now time to slowly pay it off. Hunger is like a constant companion, or friend. There is some merit to the "carbs" theory but honestly I think anti-carb fanatics end up mostly restricting calories. Also they tend to crank up their cholesterol to heart disease levels, to say nothing of the ethical considerations of eating so many animal products. I recommend a varied diet with a good balance of nutrients, and am totally supportive of consuming soy. Most importantly, and this is really the key thing for people like me, who struggle with alcoholism, is that alcohol is a source of calories. Most drinks are about 200 calories (beer and wine or cocktails), whereas raw liquor or a mixed drink made with artificial sweetener can be around 100 calories. Even still, if you drink ten of those "healthier" drinks, that's 1000 calories. Nothing to sneeze at. So binge drinking must absolutely be cut out as the first part of any weight loss routine. Binge drinking also results in hangovers which tend to leave us bed-ridden and gluttonous. Light drinking is fine, and recommended, but just include it in your calorie count.
- Exercise. The best form of exercise is walking, which you should do for 2-6 miles every day. It's very rejuvenating and gets you out of the house, it's visually stimulating, allows you to see nature a bit and get your heart pumping and breath going, it's good for your thoughts as well as your body (just ask Nietzsche), it has a clarifying effect. Walking around your neighborhood, or as part of a commute, is the normal method, but at least once a week it's good to go hiking in a natural setting, which is good for the spirit as well as the body. Each mile equates to approximately 100 calories. The other form of exercise that matters most is weight lifting and calisthenics, designed to exercise your muscles so they don't atrophy and even grow. It doesn't have to be intense power lifting, just do some shoulder press, curls, pushups, crunches, sustained stretching, and deadlifts every day or so, and you should be fine. This also feels great and is rejuvenating. You can buy some weights and do it at home, it's not expensive and doesn't take up much room. As for jogging, it's a bit high intensity but nothing feels better than after running a few miles. I used to do it all the time but I don't do it that regularly anymore, preferring the other methods because they are easier and even more beneficial and less harmful to the knees.
- Sleep. Now that you've given up binge drinking it's possible to go to bed at a reasonable hour, like a grown adult. I advise going to bed not long after the sun sets (taking time for a movie or TV show or something), between 9pm-midnight, and waking up at dawn. Sleep goes hand in hand with maximizing our sun exposure, which is also very good for our mindset. Nothing is quite as corrosive to our lives as nocturnal living, where you can't do anything and feel very alone. The never-ending darkness surrounding us is clear symbolism of our bleak lifestyle. Key to sleeping is not napping. If you don't sleep well one night, that's fine, just power through until the next night and you will sleep fine. I fully encourage the use of coffee in the morning to assist you in waking up and starting your day. Another important factor is getting some unique experience into your day; if you do something non-routine, you are more likely to feel as if your life is well lived and it will contribute to a better sleep at night.
- Nicotine. The occasional cigarette is fine, but at most two a day is probably best. Aside for the obvious cancer consequences of excessive cigarette consumption, smoking three or more in a day always causes me throat pain and a cough. I consider vaping harmless. It's one of our few pleasures when keeping to a diet, so I encourage it. It's analogous to caffeine in my eyes.
- Spiritual. We can't very well keep to discipline if we're in mortal sin, so clean up your act and get to confession if necessary. Daily prayer to honor God, give thanks, make contrition, and request assistance for one's family, friends, and enemies, and the poor, sick, lonely, hurt, and dead; this contributes enormously to mental health. I also find that reading a book most days can greatly contribute to our sense of spiritual and intellectual well-being in a way that Hollywood trash and online political commentary cannot. Choose a book that interests you personally, not merely a recommendation. Music is also useful; silence is wonderful, but music can be a comforting backdrop to a healthy mindset. Journaling with a pen is also excellent for purging your mind of repetitive thoughts.
Well that's about it. Thanks for reading.
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