Please note, this is a tongue and cheek confessional about my laziness and apathy. Like my pursuit of a singing career, this confessional may or may not be based on delusion.
Much has been said about the differences between straight fat and gay fat. We gay men can be a superficial gaggle of judgment. This is why many of us come equipped with our very own fruit fly. Put another way, this is why many straight women have a personalized GBF (gay best friend).
You see, many XXs have learned that asking their straight XYs for opinions on a hairstyle, a dress or an expensive pair of shoes (a.k.a. an investment) is an exercise in futility. Their straight partner simply wants to keep the peace. Their gay partner, on the other hand, wants them to look fabulous at any costs.
It’s from this vantage point that I confess that I cringe when I see the naked effigy of myself in the mirror. Who is he? From whence did he come?
The downfall of my hot bod.
It wasn’t long ago in the club-thumping 2000s when I could join my people in a shirtless display of diva-house music abandon. It was less long ago that I became too old for this to be my main form of merrymaking. Work and life happened. Working out six days a week turned into working out six days a year.
I just turned 43 and Linda Evans* has been telling me since I hit puberty that “40 isn’t fatal.” My career, my relationship, and my life are all great. There’s no reason why this 40-something qualifies for Celebrity Fit Club.
When I read Why 40 Is the New Age of Fitness, I was assured that my masterpiece of a dad-bod is my choice and not my burden. I’ve adopted a lazy, sedentary lifestyle nourished by processed flour and sugar. I never ride a bike without a helmet only because I never ride a bike. I only buy organic, fair trade, and gluten-free food that never gets within a 10-mile radius of a peanut, but this clearly isn’t serving my waistline.
I argue that most of us Gen Xers (yes, Millennials and Boomers, we exist too) have chosen our physical states. With advancements in technology and medicine and our greater understanding of human physiology, all of the sexy excuses we manufacture don’t negate the fact that many of us have no valid reason for letting ourselves go.
I’m not clinging to my 20s like an aging pop star. I just want to be in the top 20% of my cohort.
I lied in the first paragraph. This is both a confessional and an accountability statement. I can do better and, I argue, so can you. Save for a valid medical condition, and only you can know that, you can get better with me.
Here’s what I’m doing to get healthy and back in shape:
I avoided the word “diet” because a diet is temporary and a lifestyle is forever.
With all my weight fluctuations and my exercise physiology degree, I know that a well-balanced, vegetable-based diet that avoids processed foods and includes more fish and poultry and less red meat is the best diet.
I’m seeking clean foods, like something a sun-kissed Greek server would serve me on holiday in Mykonos.
It turns out that couch-surfing does not burn calories. In fact, with couch-surfing related activities, couch-surfing increases one’s caloric intake. For most of us, it’s about calories in versus calories out. Let’s get off the couch!
I’m doing high-impact weight training for one hour a day five days a week. This is helping me gain muscle and strength. I started with low weights and am gradually increasing them.
High-impact weight training reduces the risk of injury, both exercise-induced and otherwise. It should also boost my metabolism. This means I’ll increase my caloric burn even when resting. These reasons are why weight training is important for women, too.
I’m running three to five miles a week because I enjoy it. As we age, however, our bodies produce more cortisol with longer aerobic activities. This is why many part-time running hobbyists struggle with weight loss. Adopt whatever aerobic activities you enjoy, even if it’s walking. Just move and be careful to not O.D. on cortisol.
I’ve started yoga, again, too. Yoga and I love each other “like a love song.” Yoga (and I) loves you, too. As we age, our muscles shrink and we lose balance. Losing balance, whether walking, standing or being active can cause injury. Our goal isn’t to go from the couch to the doctor’s table. Though, I guess that depends on the doctor.
We Gen Xers are entering or are in our peak earning years, have teenagers and college students, and have more exes than an NFL chalkboard. All are stressful.
I’m meditating. Oprah’s meditating. Somewhere in the great beyond Steve Jobs is meditating. Why? Because it’s good for us. Meditating reduces stress and taps into our feelings, those gut feelings that help us make better life decisions. Meditation can be a good part of a healthy lifestyle.
In fact, my husband and I follow Hal Elrod’s The Miracle Morning formula. This practice incorporates all the new-agey stuff many of the world’s most successful people do. Hal’s belief (and I agree) is that if the six practices outlined in his book are the most common practices of the world’s most successful people, surely one must work for us.
Being happy, like being healthy, is a choice that makes us healthier. I won’t get angry if I don’t get back into shape as rapidly as I did in my 20s. I won’t go off the rails if I see another wrinkle.
Victor Frankl said that between a stimulus and a response there’s a space, and in that space, we make a choice. If a concentration camp survivor chose to not let his circumstances destroy his happiness, I can do similar. This applies to every stimulus I receive and every response I choose.
This is how I’m proving Linda Evans right. Please support Linda Evans.
* Linda Evans in no way sponsored, endorsed, or even knows about me or this article.