Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fitness update

Okay. I admit it. I've been lax about reporting on my Body For Life program progress. I've even been lazy about tweeting my food diary and workout summaries. This does not mean I have stopped working out. It only means that I've grown tired of the record keeping associated with the Body For Life program.

My 12-week challenge ends in a couple weeks. Next week is the beginning of week 11, and right now I'm visiting my sister and family in the Houston suburbs. I may not be able to find a gym that will give me a daily pass that's affordable, but I can at least keep up with the running and today used the Nintendo Wii Fit program, which I loved. I even gave my avatar in the game a mole on its forehead in the same spot as mine.

But while I feel full of energy and optimism at the positive changes I've made in my life, according to the Wii Fit, I need to lose another 50 pounds. After it did a body mass index assessment, it even added love handles to my avatar. Which brings me to a problem I have with the body mass index, which only takes weight and height into account. According to the height weight chart, the ideal weight for someone who is my height (6' 2") is 175 pounds. The upper limit of a healthy weight for that height is 197 pounds.

The last time I weighed in the 170-pound range was in 2000, after I had finished backpacking the Appalachian Trail. I left that trail looking like a refugee camp survivor. My arms were thin and had lost a lot of muscle tone, I felt weak and in a mental fog from malnutrition. And all my ribs showed. No one would be able to convince me that 175 pounds is my ideal weight. The inherent flaw with the BMI is that it only takes into consideration height and weight, not body type. I have a large head and am broad-shouldered and very big-boned. No doubt these factors add some pounds, but also mean that for my build and body type, the BMI numbers are not realistic.

So while it was disheartening to be chastised by a video game, I know reality. The mushroom cap is gone. I've never felt better. And my Body For Life experience, while driven by some very concrete end-goals, has always been about developing healthy exercise and eating habits that prove beneficial beyond BMI charts, food diaries, and workout summaries. It feels good to eat well and break a sweat every day. I won't let the Wii fit drag me down.

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