Who am I and why the hell should you care about reading my blog?

Avid motorcyclist & freelance writer, specializing in motorcycles & motorcycle related topics, with a healthy dose of good humor, good vibes & general advice on simply being a good person.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Weight Loss

Are you overweight?

As a society, we’re fixated on our physical appearance. We spend millions of dollars each year on gym memberships, special diets, supplements and even prescription medications just to shed a few pounds. We eat crap that we don’t really enjoy, drink junk that our 8 year old selves would have gagged at the very sight of, and we spend hours of our weeks in the gym, running to nowhere and lifting things up, all while listening to other people grunt and groan as they do the same thing. We stand in front of mirrors and criticize every curve and angle that we see. Then we take pictures of ourselves, all sweaty and red in the face, and post them to social media as if we’re hoping to get some kind of approval or validation from the world.

We’re so concerned about being overweight, that we put ourselves through this daily regimen, but does it actually make us happy? Are we truly happy and satisfied? Sure, don’t get me wrong, if you’re in your late 30’s or 40’s and you get mistaken for someone half your age, I have no doubt that’s an ego booster for you, but that’s not happiness- that’s just a temporary boost to your self-esteem that is completely contingent on your level of suffering. Sort of like, if I work a bunch of overtime, I’ll get a nice paycheck… but that extra cash only lasts, respectively, for about as long as I worked over my regular hours. Let me explain, if I suffered through an additional 20 hours of work, then I will get enough extra dough on my paycheck to pay extra on a bill or maybe take a weekend trip… but I’m not gonna be able to retire early on it. It’s all relative. You can find short-term happiness every single day, regardless of what you do. You might be happy because you hit your goal at the gym. You might be happy that you got a promotion at work. You might be happy because the waitress got your order right… but it’s all relative and it’s all just short term, superficial happiness. 

Weight loss is the key to true, life changing, happiness

I know what you’re thinking- this guy, who hasn't seen the inside of a gym in years, is about to preach to me about losing weight… well, yes… but not in the way that your probably thinking. You see, the weight I’m talking about isn’t the weight that you are bombarded with every time you turn on the TV or open a magazine (do people still read those?). I’m talking about the other weight, the obesity that no one wants to talk about. The weight that you can’t get rid of by simply drinking protein shakes or running on a treadmill. I’m talking about the truly ugly weight- the stuff that causes heart attacks and high blood pressure. I’m talking about the stuff that steals your energy, zaps your libido and strips you of your core happiness. I’m talking about the weight of your burdens. The things that cause you the most stress, anxiety, fear and sadness. The weight of these things are significantly more dangerous to your health than those few extra pounds you picked up from Thanksgiving last year. 

Now, I know that some of my friends who are really into the aforementioned workout routines are probably rolling their eyes and saying something like “being unhealthy and fat is way worse.” Okay… but… let me pose a couple of questions to you- what’s more dangerous to your health, what is actually worse for your heart? Eating an extra cookie, or being so stressed that your blood pressure is so high that you need medicine to bring it back down? What brings you the most anxiety? Having a bowl of pasta, or working late and missing out on important life events like your anniversary or your kid’s birthday? Look, I’m not telling you to not get (or stay) physically healthy, after all, while I may be carrying a few extra pounds of cookie weight myself- I’m not obese. I don’t have limited mobility or any serious medical problems, because I control my diet and I do get physical exercise. Sure, I enjoy a good cheeseburger from time to time, but I don’t eat like crap at every meal and I make sure that I stay physically active on a daily basis. For the most part, my cholesterol and blood pressure are in pretty good shape and I still wear the same size jeans and t-shirts that I wore when I was in my twenties (they just looked a little better on me back then). Physical health is important, but I’d argue that mental and emotional health is just as, or possibly even more, important. 

What’s our emotional weight?

If we go to the doctor, he can tell us with a quick reference of our height and weight if we are, or are not, overweight. But the ole sawbones can’t use the same technique to tell us that we are overweight emotionally. Let’s face it, as adults, we suppress a lot of our stress, emotions and psychological burdens, primarily because we don’t want to be a burden ourselves. We don’t want our family or friends to see that we are stressed out over our bills, a project at work or our health. We don’t want them to worry, or we maybe we just don’t want them to think that we can’t handle our own shit. Either way, we bury it down deep, put a smile on our faces and we trudge along, acquiring a little more psychological weight each day.

We can monitor our physical weight pretty easily. We can simply get on the bathroom scale, and it will promptly cite our exact weight within a few seconds of stepping on that abominable thing. It can clearly show us that eating a whole half gallon of ice cream last week has put a few extra pounds on us, but it can’t tell us why we stress-ate the whole damn container of frozen goodness in just four days in the first place. The bathroom scale can’t tell us that our stress level is redlining and that we are, or are becoming, mentally obese. So how do we know when our stress or burden is too much to carry? How do we know when we’re emotionally or mentally overweight? And more importantly, how do we shed those pounds?

I’m not that guy

I’ll admit that I’m not that guy in the gym every week. I don’t do the fad diets, run for no good reason, pick things up that don’t need to be picked up or do any of that other stuff. I’m not criticizing anyone that does, mind you. I just don’t have the time in my life to do it. I know that’s an excuse that a lot of people give, but I’ll actually elaborate on it. I don’t get enjoyment from doing it, so I’m not going to carve special time out of my life to do it. I’m simply not going to dedicate a special part of my day, so that I can do something that I don’t enjoy doing. And before you fitness folks judge me for it, let me ask you, would you do it? Would you make a point to watch an hour long PowerPoint presentation on the economic strategies of a paper mill (no offense to the paper mill accountants that are probably not reading this)? If you say you would, you’re full of crap. Even if you are an accountant for a paper mill, you’re not gonna dedicate an hour of your life that you’re never gonna get back to voluntarily do something that you don’t enjoy. I like to ride motorcycles. I can spend a full day in the saddle. I’ll make the time to ride, because it’s something that I enjoy doing. I get plenty of physical exercise without going to the gym. I’m not saying that I can dead lift 250 pounds, but in my life… I don’t need to. If you enjoy spending hours in the gym perfecting your physical being, then go for it. Do what you enjoy doing, whatever that might be. Just don’t judge other people for doing what they enjoy, because you never know what else they are dealing with in their lives.

I ride

For me, as I’ve said many times before, riding motorcycles is more than just “fun.” Riding is my stress relief. It’s church. It’s therapy. It’s my emotional workout program that helps me to be a better, more healthy person. Riding motorcycles has helped me to deal with the loss of loved ones, accept personal failures and get rid of emotional baggage that I no longer needed to carry. Riding has also brought me closer to God. I have seen proof of His existence and I’ve felt His presence with me, telling me that things are going to be okay. From the seat of my motorcycle, at 60 miles per hour on some lonely, two-lane highway that cuts through the middle of nowhere, I’ve prayed. I’ve listened to the sermon that is sung by the birds and buzzed by the cicadas. I’ve seen the majesty of His creation, shimmering through the leaves of an autumn mountain forest and witnessed the power of His might, lighting up the sky in blinding bolts of electricity on a humid summer night.

Riding is my primary weight loss program, but what is yours? How do you de-bug? What do you do to isolate those necessary stresses and justified fears, from those that you should dismiss because they are doing nothing more than weighing down your soul? 

Writing this blog is another weight loss program for me. It gives me an outlet to express my feelings and share my thoughts with the world, absent of the pressure of making a paycheck or following some irrelevant rules that were arbitrarily conceived by someone else. Now, don’t get me wrong, if you click on one of the ads on my site every now and again, I’ll earn a couple of cents and by the end of a year, I might be able to earn enough to pay for one of those cheeseburgers I like so much. But the point is, I’m not trying to pay my bills with this blog, so there’s no pressure there. 

Working for a… living?

If you take nothing else away from this post today, at least try to remember this-  at work, you’re completely replaceable and the company machine won’t stop running once you’re gone. At home, however, with your family…everything gets thrown off when you’re not there and if it doesn’t, then that’s a problem that you need to fix right now. Take your family on a relaxing vacation- a simple retreat of face to face interaction with no distractions. Take time off from work now, while it matters. You’re not promised tomorrow. Your health is not guaranteed, no matter how much kale you force yourself to eat or how many times you lift a barbell. Don't believe me? Take a walk through a graveyard and look at the headstones. Those hallowed grounds are filled with people of all ages, races and economic backgrounds and no matter how many times they hit the gym, no matter how much money they made or how many vacations they took (or didn’t take), they all have the same thing in common. We say that we “work for a living” but somewhere along the way, we often forget to actually do some living

Go to work. Earn a paycheck. Pay your bills and feed your family. Just don’t forget to live. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we only have around 75 good years to make, not just a life but, a good life for ourselves. Sometimes you have to work overtime, and that's okay, just don't overdo it.

Deal with it

Take proactive steps to deal with the stress in your life. Talk to a friend, go to church or have a family gathering and for pity’s sake, let yourself eat a damn cookie every now and again. Take a road trip, go hiking, boating, fishing or, better yet, spend time with your favorite people. Just don't ignore your stress or your emotional burdens. Don’t starve yourself of the things that bring you joy, for the sake of dropping a few pounds- doing that will do more harm to you than eating a cookie, a doughnut, a cheeseburger or a bowl of ice cream, ever will.  

When you shed pounds, your body may feel lighter… but when you shed burdens, your SPIRIT will feel lighter. 

Ride safe and make good... healthy... choices, y'all. 

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