Accountability

Accountability

It’s time I take responsibility for my health and general wellbeing. I have let myself down by using the past 30 months as an excuse for almost everything.

I am unhealthy. There, I said it. I am overweight, bordering on obese, and my cardiovascular performance is shit, “below average” as my Apple Watch likes to remind me.

Now, that’s a problem. I’ll probably invite a lot of vitriol for saying this, but obesity is a bigger factor in ICU overload and patient mortality than even COVID-19. Not only will more than five million humans perish in the next 24 months from direct consequences of obesity, being overweight or obese also makes most other illnesses, including COVID-19, much worse.

Sure, I can run a few minutes and I just finished a 1060-kilometer hike across Spain, but while the latter did wonders for my calf and leg musculature, it didn’t do much for my cardiovascular health. Surprising, given the elevation changes, I lugged an 8 kilogram backpack up and down every day.

If I could make it 1060 kilometer across Spain, I should be able to get to that goal as well.

Something’s gotta change!

The “big five-oh” is coming up in a few months, and that’s when I am resolved to have all my ducks in a row and my health sorted. No more long hour Netflix or YouTube Creator binges, bringing the excuse that my work exposes me to enough health hazards, I don’t need more in my spare time. No more pizza or double helpings of pasta, except on rare occasions where such a treat is indicated.

Food: Carbs are my Achilles’ heel. My blood glucose does not react favorably to them, but as a vegetarian, I am more or less dependent on high-carb meals to get anything into my body that isn’t a boring three-leaf salad. My personal opinion about high-fat/”keto” diets aside, I did find some great lower carb vegetarian recipes among the general hogwash that are “bulletproof coffee” and steak dishes with a side of steak and butter.

Exercise: I’ll be following a modified “X to Y” program, in which distances ran and weights lifter are progressively increased, first in repetitions and then, resetting reps to a lower count again, in overall per-rep exertion. For example, I will be doing two sets of six reps of a specific weight, increasing reps to seven the next day, eight after that, and so on. Once I hit eleven reps, I am dropping back down to six, moving up to the next weight.

For running/hiking I’ll be alternating days between the (idiotically named) “Rucking” and running. Rucking is a simple and low impact exercise in which shorter and longer distances are covered while carrying a weighed rucksack (backpack). Running will be interval, alternating between very fast (>7km/h) runs and fast walks. Initially, I’ll run for 90 seconds, followed by 90 seconds of fast walking, increasing repetitions for two weeks before increasing the running part by 30 seconds and doing two weeks like this.

Mental Health: I am a fan of the writings and research of Dr. Andrew Huberman (whom, funnily enough, I know from my time in San Francisco). I always wanted to give NSDR, non-sleep deep rest, a college try, but ironically never found the time to do so. Or, better, idiotically, considering the stress-laden landscape of the past 30 months. Additionally, because it helps, I’ll be going back to old school blogging on this site, writing about my progress, honestly and accountable, which has been shown to also improve mental health quite a bit.

I can do this!

Your friends are the ones who tell you when you fucked up and then help you to unfuck the thing.

Admiral William H. McRaven (loosely)

A little bit of a chronic illness aside, I am able to get there. Ten kilograms of weight loss should be achievable, as should be a much improved cardiovascular health. Additionally, I am trying out an Airofit (I’ll report back how that worked out) to improve my lung volume and drop my heart rate. Ten minutes of “lung exercises” a day, easily done while still following my YouTube addiction, aren’t too much of an investment into something that may help, even if it’s just a little.

I am writing this, to be held accountable. Kick me, scream at me, call me names, if I slack. As the great Admiral William H. McRaven once (loosely) said: “your friends are the ones who tell you when you fucked up and then help you to unfuck the thing.” He didn’t say “fuck,” but you get the gist, and I like the word.

Here’s to hopefully not being yelled at for sharing my wins and copious losses over the next ten months…