Time for a change!

I fit the stereotype of the computer geek who lives mostly in front of a screen, at work because it’s my job, and at home because it’s fun. However, this lifestyle has its price… I’m fat, or as the Department of Health would put it, clinically obese.

I’ve lost the weight twice before… in 1989, I began exercising (and stayed with it till it started becoming enjoyable) and cut most of the junk I previously called "food" out of my diet. I began to feel better than I ever felt in my life, than I ever knew it was possible to feel. In Ohio, I found intense exercise difficult to keep up during the long winter , so over the years some of the weight came back, but it wasn’t too bad.

However, when I discovered the Web in 1995, my physical activity level plummeted. Pounds began piling on quickly. I was able to take them off once again in 1999-2000 when I did the wretched Atkins’ diet, with the predictable result afterwards. Since then, my inactivity and eating habits have mostly gotten worse. I need a lifestyle change.

Of course, I’ve known that for years, and not yet been motivated enough to DO it.  But something interesting is going to happen: at work, some of us have agreed to play "The Biggest Loser" amongst ourselves… and a few side bets on it kind of sweetens the pot, in a non-caloric way!

An American with bad eating habits is up against some formidable obstacles–there is more at work that simply weakness vs. willpower. Some of these obstacles might better be called dark forces… There are the demons of self-doubt, etc. (although I’ve kicked that one’s ass back to hell!)  Then there are demons that twist minds in corporate boardrooms away from quality and towards hooking people into greater and deeper addiction to worse and worse food. I watched Spurlock’s movie, Super-Size Me again tonight for added motivation and inspiration.  Yes, it gave me that, but it also made me cry.

They are not only wrecking our own health on a nation-wide scale, but exporting insanity and obesity to the rest of the world. When there’s a MacDonald’s in every Baghdad neighborhood, then we can rest assured that Iraq has been defeated as soundly as we have.

So the challenge I face isn’t merely of calories and motion, but also of faith and spiritual warfare, that thing that spiritual warriors train for. It’s about overhauling myself. I’m remembering that St. Paul said "Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold," and I want to take that to heart… I’m going to practice meditation again regularly, which I haven’t done for a long time. There are habits I must break, and others I must form. It’s time for  a change.


11 thoughts on “Time for a change!

  1. Ah, Jon; my heart goes out to you. Once a week I sit around the door at Walmart waiting for Ellie to finish shopping. In and out they stream, so many of them obese, ruining their bodies; it really bugs me.

    My nutritional affliction is similar to yours tho’ less acute. Computeritis: working on Blake, on blogging, on Linux, on and on. My hips are wearing out. I’ve (halfway) learned to get up frequently to get some blood back in my legs.

    My salvation is a good sport: Ellie and I play tennis about every morning. I can pray for you to find an Ellie or someone with whom you can grow together on the tennis court, or somewhere strenuous. It does give a great euphoria; it has kept me alive for lo, these many years. I hope my prayer for you has some effect, Jon, and thanks for being a good friend.

  2. I was going to tell you the discipline I’ve developed for eating, but am not sure I can add anything meaningful or new. I will tell you that going to 5 small meals a day has been nice, and no, I actually don’t eat a lot of fruit or vegetables.

    Should be fun to do with work-mates, especially if you can get a workout buddy out of the deal.

    My grandfather still plays raquetball regularly. If your knees are in okay shape, it’s hella fun.

  3. Thanks, Julie,

    I’m actually very interested in hearing about food a la Julie… Want to email me?

    I used to play racquetball regularly with a friend in Ohio, down here, no… that would be great, though.

  4. Slow and steady, my friend. It’s so easy on diets and programs to burn out – I’m not discouraging you, but rather discouraging any extreme behavior changes – unless there’s some sort of accountability set up. It’s amazing how even small, simple commitments and changes can make a huge difference in your health.

    BTW – I’m with julie on the multiple, small meals a day.

    The best program I’ve ever found, though everyone’s different and it may not be right for you, is Bill Phillip’s “Body for Life JOURNAL.” It’s a workbook, and it does require a fairly big commitment, but what I like about it is that besides focusing on yourself, it also encourages you in the daily plan to record moments of encouraging/reaching-out to others in a selfless way. Plus I just think it works.

    It’s great to hear you’re looking to be healthier. It’s amazing how much better one’s quality of life is when the body’s healthy.

  5. “So the challenge I face isn?t merely of calories and motion, but also of faith and spiritual warfare, that thing that spiritual warriors train for.”

    Ya, sorry I just focused on the one aspect of your post and not the other.

  6. “They are not only wrecking our own health on a nation-wide scale, but exporting insanity and obesity to the rest of the world. When there?s a MacDonald?s in every Baghdad neighborhood, then we can rest assured that Iraq has been defeated as soundly as we have.”


    Not quite. We do have McDonald’s and the like over here in the Netherlands (where not, indeed?), but the European Union, Japan, Australia and probably the Middle East as well, has banned American meat and dairy products for a very good reason. These foods contain growth hormones which have been proven harmful to both human and animal health. Think steroids. Not only the cows get fat.

    I hope you don’t mind me being frank, but everytime I see, hear or read yet another overweight American blaming it (partially) on her/himself, I feel profoundly sorry. Like you, I’m a “computergeek” since 1996. I love computer graphics and spend a vast amount of time behind the computer. I’m not overweight.

    I have a story to tell Americans find hard to believe, yet it is true. I visited the USA in 1982. At that time I weighed 59 kilo’s. I’m 1.73m, so that’s almost underweight. During my 4 months stay, I hiked quite a lot in these beautiful national parks of yours.
    I avoided fast food. And yet, at the end of these 4 months I had gained 6 kilo’s, something I had not been able to do in Europe. It was fat, not muscle, since I already was a well-trained athlete.

    I can easily spend a week or three in Belgium eating huge portions of those delicious Belgian fries, attempt to complete my list of trying out all the Belgians beer brands (600+) and eating Belgian chocolates, doing little more than chatting with friends, attending Mass and strolling through museums and not gain an ounce. So why does American food make me fat and Belgian food doesn’t?

    It’s not to put you down. I sincerely hope and pray that you will reach your goal. But you might want to take a look at the hormones you’re eating rather than the fats and the sugars.

    Sorry for barging in this way. I read your blog from time to time and I enjoy it very much. But I just can’t keep my mouth shut about something that is perhaps not your fault or failing in the first place. Hope you don’t mind. Greetings and prayers from the Netherlands.


  7. Please don’t apologize, Margreet!

    I thank you very much for your comment… I’ve been eating vegan for the last three days and feel better than I have in years. I know that American meat is definitely to be avoided… this is the first time I’ve successfully avoided the dairy as well.

    Your comment is extremely encouraging… and makes me want to visit Europre all the more!


    Please comment more often!

    Trev, thanks for the encouragement. Both times when I took the weight off before, I had constant snacks. (actually when I put it on, I did too, but those were snacks of a different kind!).

    The last few days I kept fresh fruit and organic trail mix by my PC at all times… It’s helping.

  8. Margeet, thanks for your comment. Jon, I actually lost like 3# when I was in Singapore for 10 days. Granted we ate a lot of fish and I was a bit carb-deprived, but it was impressive. I’ve been slowly making my way to the bandwagon of buying the best food available just because, well, it’s better.

  9. Hey, I’ve been in that boat before. I’m a six-foot tall man and once weight 290 pounds; that’s morbidly obese (or by the standards of average people, “overweight”). Now, I weigh around 210, which is still considered overweight by government standards (but by the standards of average people “fine, just not skin and bones”). I think the worst thing you can do is diet or do extreme exercising or anything that you can’t continue doing over the long term.

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