This week brought about a sea change in my approach to personal fitness.

Prompted by last week’s faux health scare, I’ve done a lot of soul searching. The upshot is that I’ve taken charge—really taken charge, this time—of my fitness goals. And I’m not just talking about losing weight—I’m talking cardiovascular health, muscular flexibility, and any other health index that I can impact favorably with diet and exercise.

To brainstorm a plan of action, last Friday I met with my family doctor. After taking my vital readings, he fixed me with his best Stern Doctor’s-eye, then socked it to me with some strict lifestyle prescriptions.

To achieve a decent level of fitness (not to mention to achieve a minimal level of eye-candy appeal), he told me that I must do the following:

· Rid my larder of any foods that contain hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, and anything containing enriched <nouns>. Those ingredients, it turns out, are serial killers of cardiovascular health.
Okay, I thought. Granted. Except—do you know how hard that is? Practically everything in my cupboards contains those ingredients. Especially my beloved, convenient meals-in-a-box. You know, the ones where you just add chicken or beef, stir in a cup of water, and—voila! Dinner for four.

Turns out those box-meal babies are loaded with artery-clogging hydrogenated oils. Without those culinary fallbacks, I might—gasp—actually have to cook! How can I be expected to cook on deadline?

· Walk thirty minutes a day. Every day, up and down steep hills, or their equivalent on a treadmill.
I really hate this one. ‘Nuff said.

· Work out with weight resistance.
I dusted off the free weights that have been rusting under my bed, and started alternating upper body and lower body workout days, using Body for Life by Bill Phillips as a guideline. There hasn’t been a dramatic transformation yet, but it does seem slightly easier to carry a 10-pound bag of kitty litter in from the car.

· Take up a stress-relieving pastime, like Yoga.
Here’s the scoop on me and Yoga—whenever I pretzel my limbs into an Awkward Chair Pose, I have to combat an overwhelming urge to burst into giggles.

All right, then—sheesh—maybe I’ll try Tai Chi. But wait—some Falun Gong practitioners hang out on the beach where I walk every morning. Maybe I can join forces with them, and become a fellow Enemy Number One of the Chinese Communist Party.

At the very least, becoming a political cause
célèbre would keep me from dissolving into a gigglefest every time I do my Uranus poses, or whatever-the-heck they call them.

High points of the week

After just a week on my new regimen, I’ve noticed some encouraging results:

· I feel a surge of new energy.

· My system has become more regular (I’ll spare you anything further on that).

· I feet…lighter. Substantially lighter, even though I lost only a pound.

· I feel less stress.

· My blood pressure has gone down.

· I feel more present in my body (don’t ask me what the heck that means. But it feels good).

Low point of the week

On Sunday around noon, I was overwhelmed by a sudden, sharp craving for a hot dog. I piled into my TR6 and drove up and down PCH until I found a place called Waldo’s Woofers, whereupon I downed Waldo’s Barkin’ Dog Special, a twelve-inch hot dog laden with chili, onion, and mustard. It was as if my system was experiencing nitrate withdrawal, and demanded a fix.

I sincerely regret that.

Guilty pleasure of the week

Am I the last person on the planet to discover Bravo’s TV series called Work Out, starring Jackie Warner? She’s a personal trainer who runs a gym called Skylab in Beverly Hills. Skylab is a fitness camp where you can immerse yourself in a regimen of fitness and nutrition. If only I were within reasonable driving distance of that gym, I would sign up!

Their web site is:

Go forth this week, and get fit!

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Comment by Chris Redding on September 9, 2007 at 11:12pm
Back to school means back to writing and fitness.
I have a neighbor to walk with about four times a week. We're both committed. And I have a dog to walk with. He's committed, too.
And I've begun weights. Try The Biggest Loser. The first video they came out with has five workouts.
And they personal trainer's kind of cute.
Good luck and now I've found a new author. Woo hoo!

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