I don’t agree with the premise of Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin because the article assumes that all people who exercise rigorously reward themselves with non-nutritious food, thus negating the benefits of exercise, so why bother to exercise at all. That’s silly. Exercise is good for you, for a whole host of mental, physiological, and emotional reasons. Equally, if you find yourself rewarding your hard work with non-nutritious food, then yes, you’re taking 3 steps forward and 4 steps back. More to the point, while I will agree that exercise alone won’t necessarily help you lose and maintain weight (only proper nutrition can), I think a combination of vigorous exercise, proper nutrition AND (this is critical) MORE constant, daily motion are the key to better overall health. Constant motion? Let’s do the math.
24 hrs / day
7 days / week
60 mins / hr
10,080 Starting Mins Per Week
2,940 -- Sleep (7hrs / night)
3,600 -- Work (60 hrs / wk)
300 -- Travel (Commute, 30 mins * twice a day * 5 days); assumes automobile commute
420 -- 1 hr of TV every day (probably conservative)
1,260 -- 3 daily, 1 hr meals (Bkfst, Lunch, Dinner)
420 -- 1 hr daily on personal grooming / dressing (male + female average)
420 -- Misc (restroom, breaks, etc); 1 hr everyday
9,360 Subtotal Non-Exercise
420 -- 7 days of 1 hr fitness classes / gym / dedicated exercise (probably generous for some)
420 Subtotal Exercise
300 Surplus / (Deficit) Minutes
5.0 Surplus / (Deficit) Hrs
4% Minutes spent on exercise activities
93% Minutes spent on non-exercise activities
3% Surplus minutes
Based on the assumptions above, if you’re already spending roughly 90% of your weekly time on non-exercise (no motion at all) specific activities, nutrition aside, telling people to MOVE MORE makes more sense than telling them to not exercise at all. While your specific minute consumption times may vary, on average none of us are moving as much as we should, gym or not. Run your numbers and see where you shake out...I'm going for a walk.
Why is it so “un-cool” to be a Dad?
Alluding to Seth’s blog entry, I think it happened when it became “ok” to laugh at slovenly, impertinent, lazy Dads. It happened when it became “ok” for prime time TV sitcoms (and commercial advertisements) to depict most married Dads as non-thinking, bad-mannered ogres who are almost always insensitive, never help around the house – unless badgered by their significant other – and rarely have any ambition or drive to improve themselves or – even less so – their families, friends and communities.
Doubt it? Watch Married with Children, Everybody Loves Raymond, Rules of Engagement (this one is particularly painful for me because I like Patrick Warburton) sometime and pay careful attention to the commercial advertisements with Dads in them. You’ll spot the trend. They display the stereotypically “married suburbanite Dad” behavior. I don’t get it, the actors in these shows probably don’t behave like that in real life, so why is it ok on TV?
It makes sense to me now why in some circles whenever a new person (usually, younger, single, well-to-do) finds out about me being a Dad that lives in the “burbs”, the person gets this “oh, never mind” look on their face. Forget that only five minutes earlier we were both heavy into discussing the geo-political landscape of the Middle-East. Well, maybe not entirely, but you get the point. In that person’s mind I’m a suburbanite Dad, so I have no idea – nor care – about what’s going on the world besides mowing the lawn, belching and scratching myself.
So as an addendum to Seth’s entry I would add:
“…it’s an uphill battle, and until we get to the point where homophobia and racism [and all stereotypes] (even for laughs) is unheard of, we have a long way to go. Marketing is too powerful, imho, to be wasted diminishing someone’s humanity.”
Perhaps I’m more sensitive to the derision because I am a younger Dad that works hard, stays in shape, helps clean the house (without being told), tries to be well-read and seeks to improve the lives of my family and those around me. Perhaps comedy by definition requires the comedian to parody an element of society. Perhaps, like many things, it’s all in the eye of the beholder. Perhaps I should simply turn the TV off and stop talking to people that aren’t exactly like me…lovely.
I very recently arrived at the conclusion that distractions are a good thing. I am aware that this statement conflicts with the latest prevailing wisdom which admonishes multi-tasking, I nevertheless suggest that focused distraction can be very productive.
Let's assume I'm working on some business analysis. Sometimes the analysis is in response to a specific question, meaning that the analysis already has clear assumptions, objectives and desired results. I call this Type1 analysis, I’m merely validating what the requestor already feels or knows to be true. Sometimes this analysis automatically bubbles up to Type 2 analysis when my analysis proves the requestor’s assumptions were wrong – ouch. According to my spectrum then Type 3 analysis is white space analysis, there is no pre-determined outcome, no reconciliation, no fact finding mission. Type3 analysis starts with a blank sheet of paper. It is here (Type 3) where creativity and energy play heavily. It is here, ironically, where distractions, focused distractions, are vital.
So here I am with a blinking cursor, no direction. Where do I start? What do I have? I have questions. What else? I have data. Great, now what? It is at this particulate juncture that I noticed something peculiar – my mind started wondering. “Wonder if the US won...?” “Let’s check the blogosphere.” “I really enjoy writing, but when do I have the time to write?” “I should watch less TV, I could probably be more productive.” Here is where the focused of focused distraction comes into play. Instead of feeling guilty and admonishing myself for checking the news reels or blogs, I’ve begun, lately, to open a separate blank document and start writing or journaling about a topic or issue that’s of interest. Then, at some point during the writing or journaling, my mind will start to wander back to the business analysis. It’s crazy, I’m actually distracted from my distraction! The next thing I know I’m linking my analysis questions with the data and starting to construct a valuable piece of analysis. Best of all, the analytical side feeds off the creative side and vice versa; i.e. you need a disciplined, analytical approach to put together a cohesive, structured piece of writing just as much as you need creativity to find the correlation and interdependence between multi-variable pieces of business-specific data.
Some life improvement hacks call this right-brain, left-brain optimization. Some folks like to listen to classical music to stimulate both hemispheres of the brain; some like to exercise, while others simply get up and go for a chat by the water-cooler. I say embrace whatever distraction it takes to keep the creative and analytical juices flowing in tandem, so long as the distraction is constructive and of mutual benefit. Finally, I’d recommend giving yourself a time limit, even white space analysis has a deliverable.
Just read this: "Every year, seemingly due to New Years' resolutions, sales of cigarettes drop by about 30 percent in January, but then regain half that in February, and are back to normal levels in March."
I say the same applies to gym memberships, diets, and any other "behavioral change" tied to a date. No need to tie life improvements to milestone dates like New Years (or Lent, etc). I postulate that enduring change doesn't occur overnight and doesn't care about the date -- so start now, keep at it, don't give up.
PS. The same applies to the other 1-day celebratory events: Valentines Day, Birthday, Mother's / Father's Day and even Christmas. Celebrate the moment and the person (as applicable) every day, space it out. It's less expensive than 1-time, all-out blowouts and - more importantly - the person (or persons) will appreciate the longer-term commitment. Space out the love and fellowship throughout the whole year!
By my last count, I've lived in 2 countries, 7 states, 15 different cities and have had 20+ address changes. Personally, I have never seen anything "wrong" with my personal statistics. Quite the contrary in fact, I relish - and if asked - will brag about them. Even so, the other night a student challenged my position by asking me, "what about your kids? Don't they want to grow up around the same friends?" I replied that they, nor I, know anything different. I've been on the move since I was kid, moving back and forth across the US and Mexico border and spending large swaths of time in Central Mexico as well.
So will all the relocating negatively affect my kids? Ben's bias is that "geographically rooted childhood tend to be more confident and happier, if less interesting." I lean more to what some of his readers comments: you can't change your childhood and it all comes back to parenting. My kids appear to get a great deal of joy from being able to send Christmas cards to 4 different continents and across 16 different states (when my wife pinned the addresses on a world map, their eyes lit up!). More so, whenever they start a new school, they seem to radiate when they are asked to present of picture collage of themselves. It's not too many elementary school kids that have experienced as much as they have in such a short time frame.
As I told my student, my kids grew up relocating with the military and now in Corporate America, the same stays true - they've only known this life. More importantly, my wife and I ultimately determine their relocating response: If our attitude radiates positivity, then so shall theirs.
What is the difference between being comfortable versus being complacent? I have no idea, so I challenge myself. Challenge my thinking, my parenting, my husband-ing; attempt to challenge my assumptions and my understanding of things. I won't get it right all the time so I welcome all constructive feedback. The goal? To "...be satisfied with life always but never with one's self." (George Jean Nathan)