Absence or What I Now Know



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20 Months of Suckitude

The last 8 months of 2009 and all of 2010 basically sucked. And because of this, neglect has set in on this site. I can’t promise with this post that this will improve, but if nothing else, I do find I have things to say again. Topics are likely to be whatever the fuck I want them to be, though photography, computers and booze will, of course, be likely subjects.

Some things I have learned in the past 1.66 years of absence from this blog, in no particular order, that also may or may not be covered if I fucking feel like it:

  • Funeral homes and hospitals suck, I plan to do what I can to avoid those in the future (definitely more on that below).
  • Playing anything remotely resembling music on the guitar is really fucking hard. Also, my finger tips hurt. And I suck.
  • I have had a tendency to work heroically but not necessarily smartly. In other words, death marches and valiant failures have been a habit that I am now trying to kick. The kicking is for a variety of reasons, the foremost of which is that I’ve finally realized that the time spent sucked up in them is just not worth the loss of what I could be doing.
  • Sudden absences of loved ones take a big fucking toll. This includes dogs, parents and even those you’ve only seen in grainy black and white ultrasound printouts. End result, you start listening to Jóhann Jóhannsson and staring at the walls.
  • Twitter is a suckhole.

No visiting me prostrate (or prostate)

As for avoiding funeral homes and hospitals, I have taken this on as a somewhat personal passion. By personal, I mean that I don’t want to be the one being visited while lying prostrate at either of those venues. With heart disease and diabetes firmly ensconced in the genes this has become an even more serious undertaking (so to speak). Being a good 50 lbs overweight at the end of 2010, it was pretty clear what my first steps should be if I want to avoid that kind of visitation…

So in traditional New Year’s resolution fashion, I began to tackle the fat issue on Jan. 3rd. Just over a month later, I am down 10 lbs although I suspect (and have some evidence) that my actual fat loss has been greater than that (as I appear to be adding some muscle as well). My approach is basically to eat fat, good meat and veggies and Lose Weight Exercise smartly. There’s an odd assortment of books that have inspired me in my approach to this. The more important of these are Jonathon Safran Foer’s Eating Animals, Tim Ferriss’ The 4-hour Body, Gary Taubes’ Why We Get Fat and Doug McGuff and John Little’s Body by Science.

Although Foer hasn’t led me to become a vegetarian, he has made me conscious of the animals I do eat. Avoiding factory farmed meat like the plague can be expensive, but in general it tastes better and its nice knowing the animal had a better life before it was hit over the head and cut up into little pieces for my lunch… I tried going meatless for a few weeks, but I don’t think my body is rigged that way and the only real result was more Lose Weight Exercise gain for me. Should try again in a more controlled way but I will leave that for later. In the end, Foer made me think about what I eat and where it came from in a way I never had before which has led to more healthful and hopefully more ethical eating in my household.

Ferris is a bit of a showy dick, but for anyone looking to change their body his book is worth reading. I’m picking and choosing what I use from it but the concepts and ideas are both provocative and thoughtful. A big one for me is measurement. As a geek, I’m surprised I never did much of this before, but now I am very obsessively tracking and eyeing much more of my progress. A Withings scale helps with this, as do spreadsheets, food logs and glucometers…

Taubes’ book is a follow-up to his previous opus Good Calories, Bad Calories and is a more concise, less technical and up-to-date review of many of the same concepts. Definitely recommended if you’re still counting calories and think that low-fat Lean Cuisine meal is your path to real leanness. It’s not, dumbass. In fact, if it says “low-fat” on the label, I’d pretty much avoid it.

McGuff and Little I’m just tackling and it is dense and exciting in a geeky kind of way. Ferriss’ covers some of the same territory but theirs is a more focused look at the real science that has been done around Lose Weight Exercise. The results are stunning in that the prescription is clearly not what people have been told to do for so many years … i.e. no long jogs or aerobics sessions, no hours on the Lose Weight Exercise bike or treadmill. Instead quick, intense Lose Weight Exercise for a few minutes a week.

So to recap, I’ve spent the first month+ of the year eating shitloads of fat, lots of good local meat and a lot of spinach and asparagus. I’ve had nothing but water, seltzer, coffee, tea, wine and good booze to drink. And I’ve Lose Weight Exercised for a grand total of about an hour and a half during that time (and planning on cutting back a little). If you can believe the bioimpedance numbers coughed up by my scale (the margin of error is large), I’ve lost about 15lbs of fat and gained about 5lbs of muscle in that time. I’m stronger, have more endurance and honestly I feel better than I have in years.

More later…




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