Reaching Our Goals

Each time I enter data into the food diary of my Lifesum app, if my kids happen to be around, I can expect an incoming snarky comment or two. They are entitled to mock now and then because they know it’s safe to do it, and because they know it’s important to me that I stay with what works.

Keeping the data helps me to monitor what I am taking in. The exercise portion of the diary keeps track of what gets burned. The old formula works- calories in / calories out. My meals get rated according to their nutritional values as well as in reference to my preset goals.

I am working on weight loss as well as strength increases. Both of these are happening. There is nor much left before I break the 200 pound mark. As numbers can mean many things, 200 pounds for a man is interesting. If you are an athlete or not, the weight really depends more on a combination of factors. If it’s true that 69% of the population is overweight, then there must be some data to suggest what particular marks we are missing.

Body Mass Index, while it is better than just a number on the scale measuring simple mass, is problematic, at best. The number combines height, weight, and also age. It doesn’t, however, measure a person’s muscle mass, density, problem areas, personal aesthetics, or even other metrics connected to body type. Bone density is not uniform either. These variables all matter.

What type of body composition do you have? The scale doesn’t measure body fat percentages, but these can be measured. Does a heavily muscled man who weighs 250 pounds still rate as obese? Does it matter what you call it if the heart is weak or compromised?

When my mother died in the summer of 2015 I learned a lot about heart health and what it means to lack such health. A weak heart or a compromised cardiovascular system will debilitate anyone, regardless of outward health numbers like weight or BMI. So what I decided at that time was that a whole health approach would be best for me. I got badly sidetracked in that pursuit, but I am back on track. The health app on the phone doesn’t do anything for me that I don’t first do for myself.

I have supporters, one in particular, who checks in with me and helps to motivate me. A support system is essential for me. My kids are part of that system. Even if they support me by including me in some harmless teasing, they still do it with love and concern. When my oldest daughter listens patiently to me as I explain highland games techniques, or equipment I need, that is priceless support. When she walks with me to the local sports field to practice with the stones, that is beyond caring.

I spoke my goal of competing in highland games into existence. I knew I needed a vision. It isn’t for anyone but me to appreciate, but without it, I knew I would repeat again the same destructive patterns I had for far too long. I have never done the games, but I have been a fan for a long time. I have always loved strength sports. But I also quietly whispered to myself that I wasn’t good enough to participate in them. I listened to critics and their negative messages for decades. So now as I sit in quarantine, contemplating how to continue making gains, I see the vision of myself in athletic competition.

I chose the age marker of 50 for the games because it also seems to be one of the turning point numbers for many men. It is seem by many as the other side of the hill. I will have to disagree with that assessment. I am feeling stronger than I have in many years, and I don’t see an end in sight. The other day as I was walking one of my “sandbags of doom,” I came across a couple of high school guys, presumably footballers, pushing a car along in a parking lot.

I was walking along with a 78 pound sandbag on my shoulder. I don’t know what they thought about me, and it’s not my business. But I felt like I had something to say without saying anything. The white hair mixed in with the dark remnants can tell the wrong message. The man carrying the weight is comfortable doing it. Look at his expression. He is calm and confident. He has a long way to go, but he knows that the journey is important, too.

Maybe they eventually got in their car and laughed at the crazy old guy. When I was seventeen I would have appreciated the efforts of the man. I would have admired his determination. I would have thought, I hope I can be hauling sandbags through the park when I am that old.

Hmmm… I guess I am.

When I reach the set of goals I have set for now, I will reset them again. I like this pattern. This routine I don’t mind repeating. Peace to you, friends. Let me know you were here. You know how.

Published by blytheobservations

I’m an educator for many years in the great Midwest. I try to focus on being a decent human. My three kids are hopefully learning good things from me. Perfectly boiling an egg has been added to the resume. We take pleasure in small victories. I’m probably driving around right now looking for firewood.

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