That’s what I’ve named my ‘FitBit activity tracker‘ – a device for which you pay actual money combining the hatefullness of MyFitnessPal with a Heart Rate Monitor in some kind of unholy union. My fluctuating interest in both is less focussed on engaging in some virtual training programme, more on a physical roundness and sticking out wobbly bits.
I used to tell myself any weight gain was merely soft fat transforming to hard muscle. But muscle doesn’t wobble certainly not in manner of visible external peristalsis. Ensuing further medical certainties, I’ve decided my perfect weight is 12 stone dead. Even if it kills me. 6 pounds below that and friends start to whisper rumours suggesting a terminal disease while half a stone more results in an every decreasing circle of riding kit which doesn’t pop studs or strain lycra while fatboy here is levering himself into it.
Not having sufficient motivation to do much about it – other than reach around a half drunk wine bottle for a chocolate biscuit – it’s down to gamification, targets and occasional guilt to get the job done. Six weeks since strapping the FitBit to my wrist, I’ve learned a couple of things.
Gamification works. Like marketing we all dismiss it for the feeble minded. Pah a virtual badge for walking up a few flights of stairs isn’t getting me off this sofa. But it does; the dog’ll find himself yanked outside for an unscheduled walk as I march off in search of a few thousand steps. Or running up and downstairs in search of some object for which I have no immediate need*
Steps, stairs and distance aren’t too much of a stretch most days especially since my current vocation has me planted to a mobile phone for most of them. So I stride from workshop to garden at high speed desperately multi-tasking between actually making some sense and checking for an elevated heart rate. In many ways it’s so easy, the more ambitious would raise their aspirations beyond the recommendation and set higher targets. That’s not me though obviously.
What’s a bit more me is a relationship with alcohol that’s pretty aligned with Winston Churchill’s ‘I have taken more out of whisky than it’s ever taken out of me‘. The problem with such as approach is each and every bottle is uncorked by twin devils. One has many calories hidden in this filtration of grape or hop while the other flicks my default state back to ‘gluttony‘ where chocolate and crisps suddenly become incredibly important. And frequent.
Which is a bit of a bugger when you consider the curse of being even slightly fit. A consequence of which is burning many calories becomes increasingly problematical. 45 minutes giving it ‘the full hamster’ on a spin bike is a mere 300, riding mountain bikes maybe a 100 more in a whole hour. Slobbing around with a resting heart rate in the low fifties- less than a calorie a minute. Sleeping, I actually put on weight.
Of course you could buy into all this training nonsense, so setting intervals and zones and misery and pointlessness. I know myself well enough to realise trying such a thing’d last about 10 minutes before I ate the heart rate monitor. Instead I believed just riding lots and moving about a bit more would bring forth** the Adonis like figure currently hidden under this middle aged spread.
A word to the wise here; it doesn’t. Some of this is probably anatomy, more might be the extended sessions in the pub after any such ride. A little might be the realisation that what worked when you were forty has nowhere near the efficacy when you’re closer to the next decade. And the fact that ONE chocolate represents a 1/3rd of a dog walk and as for a bag of crisps, well you might as well climb stairs to the moon.
I appreciate this isn’t very scientific. Our bodies – even ancient models such as mine – are far more complex than calories in and exercise out. You’re far better having a proper diet rather than actually dieting. There’s a reason cake comes pre-sliced and biscuits individually split. Which if you take to the logical conclusion, wine boxes must be a product designed by Beelzebub himself.
Right now, It’s 6PM and I’m 700 calories short of where I need to be. The pretty dashboard smugly informs me our lunch out has tipped the scales the wrong way. It’s going to take a bit of bloody effort and no bread for tea to get things back into balance.
Right then, where’s that bloody dog?
* although this is really just middle age – arrive in a room and wonder what the bloody hell brought you here. Wander out again before slapping your forehead and rotating back through 180 degrees. Repeat for a while.
** notice I don’t use the word ‘back’. It’s like playing on the wing for England. Definitely going to happen. This is how delusion works.