|Irene, I and the Sphinx, Vatican Museums. O Sphinx, reveal your secrets!
My father, though shy, was a highly original character. He loved anything sweet. When we went out to a buffet, or at a wedding for instance, he first ate dessert, filling his plate with cheesecake, black forest cake, trifle, Indian sweets, ice-cream. Then, if he was still hungry, but had his taste buds satiated by sugar, he would have some meat. Vegetables, he had a fine disdain for.
If he wasn’t married, and we did not have a full-time live-in cook, he would probably have lived on sweets. Somehow, he was never plump as he walked to work, walked back home for a cooked lunch and nap, walked back to work, and home again.
All this changed when he was 58. In a funny old irony, an Australian yogi came to Jamshedpur, the small Indian town in which we lived (I, however, spent most of the year at Nainital, in the Himalayas at boarding school). This Australian taught inspirational yoga to the officers of my father’s company, and they let him get away with astonishing things. For instance, at the requisite position in Surya Namaskar, they lay on their stomach, lifted their bottoms and farted in unison!!
And so my father began to eat salads, practiced colonic cleansing, became vegetarian, and took up yoga. For the rest of his life, and he lived for 31 years after that!!, he was basically vegetarian, did an hour of yoga every day, and walked for an hour a day.
So–don’t laugh–I had a cunning life plan. I would eat what I wanted when I wanted, never exercise unless I wanted to, take up exercise at 58, and then be fit and strong for the next 30 odd years, like my father was.
Well, when I had my first child in Williamsburg, Virgina, at 32, I had a thorough physical. It had included a strength test. “Grip harder,” she said, Oh believe me, I did. We re-tried it again, and again. My strength, she said, was that of a 80 year old woman.
In my twenties, all that interested me was reading. I got an undergraduate degree in English, a Masters in Creative Writing and English, and progressed some in a Ph.D in Creative Writing and English. Dropped out to get married. And then never really entered the work world, stayed home and read books, and thought and dreamed. And scribbled.
I was sent to the gym to lift weights, my strength was confirmed by the trainer, and though it gradually improved, it’s never been age-appropriate.
And of course, I’ve suffered from the other peril of a sedentary life. I started gaining weight when I was 13, never a whole lot at a time, 2-3 pounds a year, but it has been an inexorable increase over the decades.
And, as you can calculate, enough to affect my energy levels and quality of life.
Losing weight has never been easy for me. I am awed by my friends who can shed it by will-power and minor dietary tweaks. Not me!
I broke down and worked with a personal trainer and dietician last term. I had an extensive metabolic review based on “The Metabolic Typing Diet.” It turned out that I was a protein type, the type who can metabolize protein, in particular dark meat, red meat, fatty meats, and fatty fish well, but gains weight easily with starches and sugars. Duh!
All of years of trying to lose weight with vegetarianism, and counting fat grams. Turns out, I had no problem with metabolizing fat or protein, just with starches. And sugar!
Okay, so I have lost 9 pounds, painlessly, on a rather luxurious Atkins type diet of duck, goose, lamb, beef, veggies, and no starch or sugar.
Now I’ve plateaued.
I might try the South Beach Diet, like Atkins, but less restrictive. Has anyone tried it?
And I simply have to change my metabolism by building up significant muscle mass. How? Well, I am lifting weights three times a week. Doing some tennis, yoga, swimming and running.
But more sporadically than I should. Though I do enjoy exercise once I get going, I am somewhat addicted to reading, writing, and just plain old thinking, and to my laptop, and find it hard to close it. So I guess I have to have a schedule to make sure exercise doesn’t get done last–which might mean not at all.
Fortunately, exercise is addictive for me, and after a few days of exercising daily, I feel physically restless and uncomfortable until I have exercised.
Why is all this on my blog? Actually, for accountability of sorts.. I got the idea from Adrian Warnock’s blog–The Start of a New Era of Fitness and Well-Being. Feel free to ask me how I am doing. It might remind me and keep me on track.
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