Thursday, August 06, 2009

Being Healthy vs. Being Thin

It's now the third week of training for bicycle touring, and I am already feeling a lot fitter. The first two weeks were very difficult to get through- I felt tired all the time. But now I am recovering faster, and starting to feel a boost in my energy. My bike handling skills have gotten better as well--I am clipping in and out, climbing quite well (relatively), and rode three hours out to the beach with panniers (of course Rob takes the heavy stuff on his bike). Yay, me!

I haven't lost much weight, though. I thought I would be down about five pounds at this point. I was discouraged at first, but it has made me reflect on why I am doing this in the first place, and how important the weight loss is.

First of all, you have to ride intensely to get fit and start losing weight. In order to ride intensely, you have to build up your capacity to do so. Noodling around at 10 miles an hour isn't going to help you burn calories. So I need a few weeks to be fit enough to handle the intensity that will lead to weight loss.

Second, and more importantly, I need to keep in mind that being thin and being healthy are not the same thing. I want to be healthy. That means have a healthy heart, good lungs, some strength, and good energy throughout the day. I can be 15 lb.s overweight and have all this.

Losing 15lbs. is vanity. I don't want dimply thighs or a fat ass. I want clothes to look good on me. There is nothing wrong with this, it's just important to keep it in perspective. Judging one's health by weight alone is like judging the health of the economy by the stock market, and we all know how that goes. I've seen plenty of skinny people who drink too much, smoke too much, eat poorly, and have a high body fat percentage because they don't have any muscle. You can be skinny and unhealthy.

Of course I have some health issues that make staying thin a good idea, like type II diabetes in the family. But these health issues usually come at the border of obesity, and I am not there.

So I'm not discouraged by the scale. The weight loss will come. (My vanity cannot be shaken.) But more importantly, I have energy today! And after the months (years?) of suffering fatigue from being hypothyroid, this is heavenly. Dimply thighs or not.


Brian Boyko said...

Hi. I'm considering going to Buenos Aires as a field producer for a documentary. Do people in Argentina generally speak English?

Julia said...

Hi Brian,

In general, no. Most people have had some English in School, and it is not uncommon to find professionals such as lawyers, doctors, etc. who can speak English. But the shopkeepers, and general public speak Spanish. There is a pretty big expat community of English speakers, though.