The 7 Steps

My anonymous fitness guru, let's for the sake of argument call him or her...uhhh...Guru, offered up seven pieces of unsolicited advice today. I thought it would be fun to share those as they may be of use to the readers of Middle Age Bulge and uncloseted members of the League of Extraordinary Middle Age Gentlemen.

Dear Guru,

Please forgive me if I paraphrase, truncate or completely bumble any or all of the seven steps to good health.

1. Keep a written log of workouts.

Good one. Since I'm only on day number three I can recall with certainty how many minutes I ran, the number of sit-ups I suffered through and the embarrassingly small number of push-ups I completed. But, as the days march along the numbers are going to turn to mush and be virtually irretrievable. Guru also noted that I'll likely see the number of reps go up before the weight substantively goes down. So the workout log doubles as a motivator.

2. Take the "Before" picture of the front and side view of what God gave you, so that the "After" picture can be viewed in context.

OK, I admit, this step is the hardest, especially the side view part. The thought of stripping down and digitally preserving the bulge is excruciating. I see a locked door, tripod, and self-timer in my future.

3. Don't worry too much about weight, rather focus on the body fat percentage and actual measurement of body parts.

First of all, get your mind out of the gutter. There's no need to measure that body part. Guru suggests the thigh, waist or hips as areas to target. The thinking is that I may see progress in the measurement of specific areas before the weight starts to fall. Guru also reminded me that as fat turns to muscle the weight can actually go up.

4. Digital scales are affected by your level of hydration or dehydration.

Guilty as charged. I don't drink enough water. My wife inhales the stuff, all day and all night, and subsequently is up and down needing to pee twenty times a day, but her level of hydration is outstanding. And her ability to withstand some significant health challenges is rooted in her constant ingestion of de l'eau.

5. Weigh yourself at the same time every day.

See, I love this one. I've been doing this. Finally I got one right. "Preferably in the morning, before you eat anything," suggests Guru, "and after you go to the bathroom". It's an ugly picture, but I get that completely.

6. Don't be afraid of fat, cause good fat is where it's at.

OK, I paraphrased here quite a bit. Essentially Guru says that the fear of fat is overrated and underproved. There are plenty of decent fats like olive oil (which I LOVE), sunflower oil and canola oil, which, if taken in moderation are just fine. Even a small dose of bad fat in my coffee once a day isn't going to make much of dent in my fitness plan. God bless you Guru!

7. Drop sugar and all refined grains.

Guru says this is the most important step, albeit one of the hardest, because sugar and refined grains are everywhere. I think of the number of rum and cokes I had over the holidays and I shudder. Do you know how much sugar is in a can of pop? Well, you know those packets of sugar you put in your coffee? One or two at the most, right? In one can of pop there are 10 packets of sugar. Ouch!

There you are, seven sage steps to sustained good health. Many thanks to Guru for allowing me to share these with you.

January 6, 2010 - 204.4 pounds, 32.8% body fat

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