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Hustle Up

I'm trying to lose 12-15 pounds in the next couple months so I can regain it during my upcoming resort vacation, but this time I want to lose the weight without resorting to the unusual tactics used during the great 30 pound weight loss campaign of winter/spring 2001.

To drop one's weight from 190 to 160 in under five months without exercising, unorthodox strategies are essential. Thanks to a regimen of eating anything I desired for breakfast, a late lunch, no dinner, generous amounts of bulk fiber and water, and consuming vast quantities of caffeine-laden lattes and coffees to boost metabolism and curb appetite, the pounds were shed with little physical effort.

There was only one drawback. While no physical effort was required, there was the force of will required to adapt to the low blood sugar levels resulting from those dinner-free evenings. Hey, it's never easy - something has to give. But it was the surge of blood sugar in the morning to boost my metabolism throughout the day and the low blood sugar at night while I slept that made the whole scheme work.

Thanks to serendipity (beautiful thing), I discovered and eased into the routine by chance through late nights at work and a 5pm coffee break when everyone else headed home, but that lifestyle sucked and I don't want to risk the same consequences to my personal life as last time. Living that way leaves no room for anyone else. So, I guess the magic lever will be none other than... exercise. Nothing major, mind you... a few minutes several times throughout the day should be enough to boost basal metabolism by a few critical points, enough to counteract the downward tendency of one's metabolism as fewer calories are consumed.

I'm trying to convince myself on the idea because it requires setting aside blocks of time (which I don't have much of) to do something I really don't much fancy. The selling point, however, is how an exercise program leaves me feeling between exercise sessions while living life: More energetic. Happier. A sense of well-being. Sharpened senses. Closer to nature. Healthier.

I mentioned feeling happier, which is perhaps a selling point of exercise even more important in the long term than weight loss. GNC is discontinuing their much beloved Concentrated St. John's Wort herbal supplement. Bastards! Their concentrated formula helps stave off the mild waves of depression during stressful periods in my personal, work, or school life. Exercise helps smooth out the emotional dips. If I'm high on life, there's no need to be high on anything else.

Yeah, okay... this is the right thing to do, right? Right.

:: Bryan Travis :: 04/30/2003 @ 17:49 :: [link] ::

Three Things Have Changed

I went on vacation in the southwest U.S. for ten days and noticed three changes upon my return to Louisville:

First, spring has sprung. The scent of blooming flowers is everywhere, and even walnut trees, which seem to be the arboreal late budders, have ventured leaves. It was a pleasant surprise after being in the desert for a while. The cacti in southern Arizona are beginning to bloom, but their rare splashes of splendid color don't compare to a field of wildflowers or a grove of trees covered in fragrant blooms.

Second, the walkways at work were repaved with a fresh layer of asphalt during my absence. Normally this wouldn't be worthy of a notable mention, but the place has been around for a while and the walkways were already sporting several generations of pavement. Being somewhat afraid of heights, when I walk into work from the parking lot from now on, I stay as close as possible to the median for fear of slipping off the edge and plummeting to my death in the grass far below. Just great, I thought. As if thoughts of losing my job weren't enough to haunt me, now there are the Sidewalk Gorges to contend with at least twice a day.

Speaking of, these are rough days for I/T workers. Like the manufacturing jobs of the 70s and 80s, the jobs are heading overseas, clustering in regions where labor is talent yet cheap. While project leaders and those in more business-centric I/T roles only see the ruddy glow of the fire over the horizon, it's enough to make one consider the alternatives.

Third, amongst all the pile of mail waiting in my mailbox, Toyota had sent a mailing announcing the redesigned 2004 Prius. Technically this is the second Prius redesign, the first being to convert the Japanese version into one more suitable for American drivers in the 2001 model year. Reading the pamphlet generated some mixed feelings:

On the one hand, the new, improved Prius signals Toyota's commitment to producing more eco-friendly vehicles, that consumer demand for hybrid technology has won it the critical "here to stay" status in the marketplace. Hybrid vehicle owners, unite! We did it! On the other hand, after going to the website and finding the new shape most pleasing, along with improved emissions and fuel economy, I want one! However, with only 16,000 miles on my "old school" Prius, I don't foresee a new one in the near future.

But come on, what did I expect after brazenly investing in the first generation of hybrid vehicles? If the technology doesn't continuously improve, it will wilt and die. And putting aside the interests of the small minority of environmentalists that includes likes of myself, the only way to convince the mass public to embrace hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles is to make them cheaper to own. For some reason, people will pay insane sums of money for a powerful engine or stylish trimlines, but the only way to make them pay for an eco-friendly car is to make it pay for itself. I just don't get the skewed value perceptions of Americans. It's all me, me, me! It may make the world a better place, but if doesn't make me, me, me look good, it's crap! How did we ever become so self-obsessed?

:: Bryan Travis :: 04/29/2003 @ 23:15 :: [link] ::