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Let's get physical.
It's not the willpower I lack, I have lots of that.
My partner Emma walks most days. She will listen to podcasts and walk briskly around the neighbourhood, sometimes even running, something my knees will no longer allow me to do. On occasion, I might join her, but I am a fair-weather exerciser. I don’t like walking in the rain, as many people who wear glasses have found out, visibility is greatly reduced. I am also not a fan of the wind, so I often opt to sit out on walks where there is anything above a gentle breeze. I used to live in one of the country's windiest places, Wellington, and then moved to a small town called Featherston, which believe it or not was even windier. After losing part of the roof of our house one windy day, I am no longer able to enjoy the wind as I once did.
The peculiar thing is that while I often grizzle about getting out and exercising, the times I do, I quite enjoy it. I am often glad that I did get off the couch, but even knowing that, putting clothes on to go out seems like too much effort and discomfort.
I am often confronted by a great inertia when it comes to exercise. I don’t particularly enjoy the exercise, but I am always glad to have done it once I am finished.
The walks or bike rides I enjoy most tend to be at the weekends or during holidays and usually involve a cafe somewhere along the way.
My problem is not so much lacking the willpower, but rather lacking any won’t power. I won’t have a vanilla custard cronut with my coffee, is something I find difficult to say.
I guess the reality is that while I don’t consider myself particularly unhealthy, I am heavier than I would like to be, by about 10-15 kilos (22-33 lbs in old money). I don’t smoke, I try to eat well, and my alcohol intake is mainly limited to a couple of craft beers on a Friday.
I know I could exercise more, and I know I would benefit from losing some weight, but I also want to enjoy the life that I have.
My diet is complicated by some underlying medical conditions. That sounds more serious than it is, but there are some foods that I shouldn’t eat and some that I can’t eat. My doctor has advised me to cut back on carbs. It’s a pre-diabetes thing. My HbA1c level is hovering in the high 40s, and it seems that a high-carb diet is likely to tip me over the 50 mark, which is apparently the point at which you are considered to have the condition.
Added to that is my propensity to suffer from gout. It is mainly a genetic thing, but there are some foods that will trigger an attack although medication assists greatly and makes it manageable. Red wine, shellfish and some other fish, most offals (liver, kidneys etc) some vegetables and high fructose corn syrup all aggravate the condition but are okay in moderation so long as I keep taking the pills.
When people would ask me about what foods I couldn’t eat to manage the gout, I used to jokingly say anything with any flavour.
Having said that, there are some foods that prevent the medication from working, and I simply can’t eat those. Things like Grapefruit and pineapple, both of which I really enjoy, are out. Even a small serving will stop the medication from working and unchecked, I won’t be able to walk with the pain. Lamb is off the menu, but that is no hardship for me. Despite being a red-blooded meat eater from a country well known for its lamb exports, I have never really been fond of it.
The gout is managed, and I haven’t, touch-wood, had any pain for a couple of years.
One of the biggest problems I encounter is trying to avoid carbs. That means pasta, rice, potato, chickpeas, lentils and bread are all off the menu.
As someone who often eats in cafes while I’m travelling for work, there are very few things that are low carb. I usually opt for the omelette, although here in New Zealand they are often served with bread, which basically means scrambled eggs on toast.
Carbs are cheap and easy for cafes. A rice or pasta salad is cheap to make and filling. Chips (fries) or bread with your food helps fill out a meal without adding too many costs. There are now plenty of gluten-free or vegetarian/vegan options, but very few places offer a low or no-carb option.
I often find that when I ask for low-carb options, the staff appear embarrassed and uncomfortable as they apologise for their lack of dietary diversity. I imagine vegetarians and vegans must have experienced this in the times before those options became mainstream.
Every time I visit the doctor, his advice is the same. Losing a few kilos will make a big difference.
I know he is right, and I know I should do better, but part of my problem is that my naturist friends are the most non-judgemental people I know and accept me for who I am, not how I look even if I am a little overweight.
Everyone says that naturism is a healthier option, but there is more to being healthy than just getting naked. Having a gym membership or buying a rowing machine is not enough, you have to actually go to the gym or use the rowing machine regularly before seeing any results.
I exercised once, but found out I was allergic to it!
My skin flushed and my heart raced. I got sweaty and short of breath.
Thank you for reading and have a comfortable day.
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