Thursday, September 30, 2010

Not enough TIME!

Note: This is a cross-posting from my Losing Weight Now! blog.  A recent Grooming comment on my Schwan's man post made me realize that this should be cross-posted here.  If you are coming home from work "too tired to cook or shop" then something is wrong with both your diet and lifestyle.  Taking the path of least resistance is never a good idea!

Read the following post and get an understanding why watching TeeVee and thawing frozen entrees is not the answer to "today's hectic world" but rather a recipe for poverty, obesity, and an early death.

Most people claim they don't have enough TIME to diet and take care of themselves!  But you have to make time to be kind to yourself - no one else will!

My apologies to the three people who read my blog for not keeping it up as of late.

We are in the midst of selling our vacation home, which is distracting to say the least.  As such, I have no "time" to keep up on my blog.  This is a bad idea, if I really want to lose more weight.

For me, this is a temporary issue.  We need to pack up all our belongings, have garage sales, take things to the dump, to the goodwill, prepare the house for showing, and do 100 other things in the interim, including our jobs - and of course all our friends want to visit the lake house one last time!

But lack of time is one excuse given by many people as to why they cannot diet effectively.  "Who has time" they say, "to portion your food, cook your own meals, and keep track of all your calorie intake?"

Yes, in today's modern now-a-go-go world, who has time?  You do.  And you should.  Most people squander their time, taking care of THINGS and watching TEEVEE rather than taking care of themselves.  Taking care of yourself is not "selfish" but your primary duty before taking care of anyone or anything else.

Consider my schedule, back when I was a salary slave:

12:00 Midnight to 7:30 AM: Fitful sleep (ate too much rich food the night before)
7:30 AM - alarm goes off. Hit "snooze" several times.
8:00 AM - wake up in panic, shower quickly, wolf down coffee, huge bowl of cereal
8:00 AM to 9:00AM - commute to work
10:00 AM - meeting in conference room.  Coffee and donuts (ate three)
12:00 Noon - lunch with co-workers, Chinese restaurant.  1000 calories minimum
3:00 PM - mid afternoon coffee.  Leftover donuts or pizza in break room
1:00 to 7:00PM - work.
7:00 to 8:00 PM- commute home
8:00 PM - turn on TeeVee, make dinner (or call for pizza).
8:30 PM-  dinner - 1200 calories
9:00 to 12:00 Midnight - sit in front of TeeVee, fall asleep watching Leno.
* Repeat ad infinitum*

It is not much of a life!  Weekends were mostly catching up on housework, laundry, shopping, yard maintenance, and all the other things there was "no time for" during the week.  And occasionally, instead of eating at home, we'd eat out at a restaurant (1200 calories or more) with friends.  And over the years, we got fatter and fatter, 100 calories a day, 1200 calories a month, which works out to 1 pound a month, 12 pounds a year, 120 pounds in a decade (if you let it).

And many, many people I know live a life like that - for 20-30 years until they keel over dead.  They are "too busy!" to change their life.  But we both know this isn't really true.

If you look at the schedule above, you can see that television is the big time-waster, second only to commuting.    If you've read my blogs, you know how I feel about television.  It sucks 4.6 hours out of your life every day - if you are an average American.  This is twice what you waste commuting, about half what you spend working (for which you at least get paid) and probably half what you spend sleeping.  Television takes and takes and never gives.  And what little it does give is a series of horrible normative cues and really bad ideas, like dialing for take-out pizza.

Commuting- what a waste! The idea that you have to live in the outer suburbs and spend hours driving to work is nonsense.  If you spend a lot of money on a house, you may feel that you can't move closer to work.  But a smarter move is to rent a place, or own a smaller house, so you are not financially stressed and more mobile.  Think about it - which would you rather have, 10 hours more time a week, or a huge house in the suburbs (identical to everyone else's) that requires an entire weekend of maintenance every week?

It takes courage and confidence to say "The way everyone lives is not for me"  and to do something different.  Humans are herd animals, and we all nervously watch the rest of the herd for cues as to how we should behave.  Where to graze, when to move, when to stampede.  But we all know what happens to cows in the herd, eventually.  Life ends at the end of a ramp, with a retained-bolt gun to the head.

It does take time, particularly initially, to start taking care of yourself better.  Finding time to figure out what it is your are eating and  how to change that is hard.  Finding time for a walk in the afternoon or evening seems hard at first.  But when you cut out all the other time-bandits, you'll find you do have more than enough time - in fact, your available time expands.

Consider this change to the schedule of the "working stiff" above:

12:00 Midnight to 6:30 AM: Good night's sleep (light dinner the night before)
6:30 AM - alarm goes off. Get up right away.  Take short walk around the block
7:00 AM - shower and dress, coffee with balanced breakfast, prepare lunch
7:30 AM to 8:00AM - commute to work (live closer, spend less time commuting)
10:00 AM - skip meeting in conference room - just people hearing themselves talk. Eat prepared mid-morning snack instead.
12:00 Noon - skip lunch with co-workers.  Spend half-hour eating prepared lunch
3:00 PM - mid afternoon coffee. eat prepared mid-afternoon snack
1:00 to 5:00PM - work.  Get more done in less time, go home earlier.
5:00 to 5:30 PM- commute home, take walk around block
6:00 PM - make a small dinner, possibly have friends over.

7:30 PM- take a walk, work on your finances, clean the house, read a book, whatever
9:00 to 12:00 Midnight - sleep soundly
Sounds like a much better schedule, but it does require effort to create less effort in your life, as odd as that seems.  Preparing and making meals is the hardest part.  Many people get like small children and whine, "I don't know how to cook!" or stare into an open refrigerator with a dumb look on their face as if the food they bought magically got there somehow and they have no idea how to prepare it.  Yes, it takes time to make all these meals - but you end up with more time as a result.

The main problem many Americans have is that their blood sugar rises and falls during the day, due to their poor food choices.  Carbohydrate meals, in particular (cereal for breakfast, donuts for a snack, lots of rice in the Chinese food, pizza slices, etc. in first example above) tend to give you a carbo-sugar "high" which makes you too manic to get anything done.  Then you crash, and you are too depressed to get anything done.  If you are lucky, there is a brief period between the high and the low when you might be cognizant enough to work.  So you end up spending more time at work, wondering why you aren't getting any work done.

Changing your life doesn't mean going to the gym 5 times a week or having to puree wheat germ in a blender.  It just means not eating the horrible foods most people eat and not having the totally sedentary lifestyle most people live.

As I noted in my companion Living Stingy blog, the secret to wealth is not some elaborate scheme or plan, but merely making rational market choices in a largely irrational world.  You need only not buy the seminars and tapes proffered by the con men, not buy the gold advertised heavily on TeeVee, not get payday loans, not lease new cars.  All you need to do, in fact, is just see all the idiotic things the herd does and not do them!

Similarly, to lose weight, all you need to do is not buy diet books, not buy diet powders, not buy prescription foods, not go on Jenny, not join a gym, not eat delivery pizza, not go to lunch at restaurants 5 days a week, not eat 1200 calorie entrees, not sit in front of the TeeVee.

Americans don't like to hear that.  They want there to be a magic secret "trick" to wealth and weight loss - because then they can convince themselves that "but for" knowing that trick or secret, they would be thin and wealthy.  No one wants to believe that the real reason they are fat and in debt is because of their own actions.

Getting back to my delinquency, I have no excuse for not staying with the program.  Now that we have been doing this nearly a year, it is becoming more second nature.  My desire for more food is dropping, but it still takes some effort to avoid over-eating.  The last month has been a stressful time, selling this house and selling off nearly half my possessions (two cars and a boat, furniture, and a lot of junk - so far - with more to go!).

The good news is that my weight has stayed at a flat 229, which is about 7 pounds more than my low of 222 earlier this summer.  The other good news is that I have not had any serious gout or diverticulitis attacks this year.  And this was the main reason I started this blog.

Once the house is sold, and I no longer need to spend so much time on house maintenance, I think we can have a lot more TIME to take care of ourselves.  But in the meantime, I will make time for myself, as no one else will.  Starting with a good walk this afternoon.