Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sabbatical FAQs: Health and physical stuff

In the course of the six weeks I was touring around Europe, a lot of folks asked me a lot of questions.  I answered some in email and filed away others for later.  I’m going to use this and a couple of other blog entries to try to answer the most common ones.  I’ll start with the many questions about my health and appearance.

What’s up with the short hair in that kitchen photo?

Before I went to work at the Shepherd’s Table Soup Kitchen, I asked Gina to cut my hair shorter than I’ve worn it since middle school, so that as it grew out during the trip I would not turn excessively shaggy.  As it turns out, I liked the really short cut, so I might ask her to repeat it.  Or not.  I don’t think a lot about my hair.  

In that one photo, you look like you’ve lost weight.  Have you?

I wouldn’t rely on any of the scales in any of the hotel rooms, so I can’t be sure, but I believe I’ve lost a little.  I think this because I’m now wearing my belt two notches tighter, and the notches are about an inch apart.  So, the odds are good that I’m down at least somewhat.

What diet did you use to lose the weight?

I didn’t follow any strict diet.  I tried not to eat when I wasn’t hungry, and I tried to keep most meals simple.  Most days, lunch would be a simple sandwich, and dinner would be a bowl of pasta and, if I could get it, a salad. 

That said, I ate desserts most days, though on many of them the dessert was the smallest cup of gelato on offer. 

I also ate quite a few large multi-course meals, though probably no more than one a week. 

I also walked as much as possible.  I have no clue how far I walked each day, though I joked often about trying to make sure I walked “a mile” each day.  I didn’t walk fast, but I avoided taxis whenever reasonably possible and just put feet to (uneven) pavement. 

In a show I saw at the Carolina Theater, Henry Rollins described the basics of dieting as requiring only seven words:

Eat less.
Eat better.
Move your body.

I vaguely and unintentionally, but not religiously, followed Rollins’ advice. 

Are you healthy now?

No.  Far from it.  I’m healthier, in that I am at least somewhat lighter and I can now walk all day without feeling it; on the first day in Paris, a long walk left me sore and exhausted.  I’ve also slept a ton (though not on my last night in Paris), and so I feel better both physically and mentally.

I am far from healthy, however, because I’m entirely too heavy and in nowhere near the physical condition I should be.  Getting into shape will be a major focus area for me for the next couple of years, which is how long I estimate it will take me to get into even half-decent shape. 

What’s your plan for getting in shape?

Right now, I have resolve but not a lot of plan.  I’ve also learned that the plans I talk about tend to be ones that I don’t succeed at, so I’m going to stay mum on this topic for a while.  If I can implement something that works, and if I can stick with it for a while, I may discuss it later. 

So, stay tuned. 


Anonymous said...

Mark - please check out the link below. I've given up my gym membership (after decades of belonging to various ones), after discovering this training. Fast and fun and it peels off fat. You can switch to water fillers and take the smaller bag on the road with you - it folds flat. Don't underestimate how exhausting working out with 20-some pounds of water, sloshing around in a bag, can be!! They have a workshop in Raleigh this weekend - Saturday afternoon. This may be the first NC workshop - I would go if I could.

Mark said...

Thanks for the tip.


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