Health is the vital principle of bliss,
And exercise, of health.

James Thomson (1834 – 1882), The Castle of Indolence.

April 16. Wednesday.

I am not talking about the writing this time, but rather the other subject upon which I have seemingly unending opinions, my weight. I am beginning to see the paradox of age and the beauty of the passage of time. Even though it now takes me longer to lose any weight I need to or want to, at least now I have the patience and the discipline to navigate that course. As time goes on, I am losing that juvenile expectation that everything can and will happen in the blink of an eye and am starting to really appreciate the aging process, not only the human process, but the process by which all things mature and develop over time. I am starting to get a real appreciation for the flow of money and it’s innate coupling with the passage of the years, and I am starting to recognize the potential in life that until now has been too minute to see, but that is now revealing itself to me as the seeds of greatness.

However it still disturbs me that I am relegated to wearing my “fat clothes” since my waistline ballooned after surgery. I was 230lbs, quite fit and trim when I went in for surgery December 30th. I was 250lbs when I got back from Australia Feb. 28th and thanks to the weight I have gained back from the wasted muscle in my leg I was up to a mammoth 260lbs 2 weeks ago. Since then and a subtle adjustment in my eating habits I am back down to 252lbs and shrinking. In my optimism I am expecting that I will be back within 5lbs of my original weight in 4 weeks. However there is a wrinkle in the plan. At some point I am going to resume my whole body workout which will replenish the muscles that I have allowed to atrophy while in rehab. This, I am thinking, will provide me with another 10lbs of mass with which to deal. I am hoping that the addition of the mass will raise my BMR to a point where that 10lbs will simply melt into the exchange of tissues. Of course, at this moment I am not expecting to be able to do what I was doing before, since shoulder pressing 225lbs would not make my physio happy in the least. I have been promising myself for years that I would finally stop doing ridiculous weights but I find that even with the best intentions I just simply cannot resist adding more weight when I think I can. There is just something primal about being able to outlift anyone else that goads me into silent competition, and besides, bench isn’t bad for your back so I still have that, right? Right? Sure I do. But I have promised myself to take it easy with only machines for the first month until my basic musculature is once again sufficiently developed.

I often wonder if anyone else goes through the same kind of thought processes with themselves, fighting a never ending battle against ego and appetite. Then I realize that everyone does, that is why there are so many overweight people out there and why diet pills and gym memberships are at an all time high. I tried to explain a revelation I had recently to someone and got a blank expression of incomprehension so I will try again here. I realized recently that there is a paradox of knowledge that exists when it comes to experiencing almost anything. Take martial arts as a perfect example, I recall a motivational speaker using this example once and it has stuck with me as a great indicator of what I have seen. He said that in martial arts, a punch is just a punch. By that he means that in the final analysis, the extension of your arm to contact an object is that and that alone. However, as you progress through the ranks of martial arts, gaining belts and learning Katas that the punch becomes so much more. It has subtleties and technique, it has hidden power and commands intense concentration. But he said that a 7th Degree Black Belt will tell you that after learning all the intricacies, all the different uses both offensive and defensive that in the end, a punch is just a punch.
We see the same type of mentality on the football field, although the mantra of “learn the basics” is hammered into young players without the accompanying philosophy, the message is still the same. Besides all the technique, the skill, the hidden tips and secrets, what wins games and makes legends is a mastery of the basics of the game.
The revelation I had came in my relentless pursuit of the perfect health system, a system whereby everything would be in harmony with everything else, where each piece of the puzzle would fall into place revealing a beautiful and intricate tapestry of hundreds of thousands of pieces of information and experience. However I passed that point when explaining to a gentleman at the gym how I was hoping to rebuild my battered body after my surgery. After explaining my approach, my diet requirements and my exercise regimen, my concentration on certain aspects of my physique and my avoidance of particular dangerous situations I had a sudden realization that I knew what I needed to do to stay healthy for the rest of my life. It was so beautiful in it’s simplicity and yet when I hear it come out of my mouth this time it spoke volumes to me. I simply said “I have to eat right, and exercise”. He gave me a smile and a nod of his head as if to congratulate me on my revelation and said “simple isn’t it?”.

I realized at that moment that everything I had striven to learn over the years about kinesiology, nutrition, personal training, powerlifting, bodybuilding, digestion, food composition, insulin balance and the thousand other subjects I had touched on had come down to the most simple and basic conclusion. Eat right and exercise

I am not sure that this entry won’t leave anyone who reads it with the equivalent blank stare that I got the first time I explained it, but at least this time it makes more sense to me, and I hope it makes a little sense to you.