Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Frustration and the Gym

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?

Leaving the gym tonight I was reminded of the above two quotes, and I’ll explain here how they tie together.

Three or four years ago I decided to begin going to the gym, to try and improve both my health and my physique. I went somewhat regularly – usually 2 or 3 days/week – until last August. Last August I became very busy and stopped finding time for the gym.

Last week I resumed my workouts, and since Wednesday I’ve gone to the gym 5 out of 7 days. According to my log at the Nike.com website (iPod tracks my workouts and uploads them automatically), I’ve run about 13.8 miles since Wednesday. Untracked by the iPod are the weight machines, that I also use each visit.

Even after I’d been going to the gym pretty regularly for two years I didn’t *look* any more fit or trim than I did before I’d started. And after hitting the weight machines and then running 3 miles tonight, I looked down at my pathetically sweaty and panting self, and I saw the same Homer Simpson physique that I’ve had for my entire adult life.

Working out doesn’t make me trimmer; it simply increases my appetite, cancelling out any slimming effects the additional exercise might have bestowed upon me.

But, thanks probably to cultural conditioning I still believe there must be some health benefits to the exercise regimen, despite my visibly unchanging fat torso. (“Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”)

And I keep returning to the gym, plugging away, and don’t intend to stop. (“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”)

I believe the only way I’ll ever slim down would be to eat more foods I don’t really like, and less foods I do like. Fifteen years ago I dramatically reduced my fast food and soft drink intake – that resulted in a one-time weight loss. I still prefer carbohydrates over other foods, and have no desire or intention of diving into veggies or salads. Thinking I’ll do that is unrealistic. When I’ve tried to eat healthier the effort usually fails within 3 meals. It’s simply not sustainable.

So it looks like the exercise alone is never going to make me slim, and yet I’ll keep doing it. I guess that makes me insane, at least on some level.


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