Monday, May 30, 2011

Born This Way

One of the biggest factors in my decision not to pursue even higher education is the fact that my least favorite part of educating myself was doing the research. No amount of scintillating class discussions, speech and debate trophies as tall as I am, or waived tuition  can convince me that I want to spend any more time on doing research; which is, you know, 100% of what you have to do to create theses or dissertations. I can read the hell out of anything you give me, and even draw my own conclusions when reading articles and studies in conjunction with each other but the process of tracking down information is to me what picking socks up off the floor and making the bed is to an 8 year old. I don't wanna, and you can't make me.

I just finished watching the documentary "Fat Head", comic/author Tom Naughton's response to Morgan Spurlock's "SuperSize Me". The premise is that he found SuperSize Me to be over-the-top and laughable, and set out to possibly prove Spurlock wrong. Naughton's tone the entire time was one of ironic superiority, causing me to wonder if Spurlock gave Naughton a swirlie during an intermission at Sundance in the past, though I did find myself liking Naughton and the cut of his jib. I also recall enjoying SuperSize Me and liking Morgan Spurlock as well. Troubling. Now I (as well as most people, I would hope) approach media of all sorts, especially documentaries, with a healthy dose of skepticism. I'm not as stupid or gullible as advertisers and promoters wish we all were. Fat Head made a lot of questionable claims, but it's difficult to argue with Naughton's main conclusion: this is a free country and people are different. They make different choices, they have different values, and they have different preferences (though he does deliver this with a meaningful glance over his glasses after accusing I, the watcher, of choosing to sit on a couch eating Rice Crispy Treats instead of taking up volleyball).

All in all, I've drawn the shocking and controversial conclusion that Eating is Tricky and Bodies are Weird. Last year when I was doing my personal training and struggling with a high protein, low carb diet I lost around seven pounds (the goal was fifteen), lowered my body fat percentage, and was pleased with how flat my stomach looked. Unwilling to keep up all that hard work, I reverted back to my old habits with a vengeance and as predicted by statistics gained the weight back and watched my tummy flub return. Thanks to the fancy scale Seester got me for Christmas last year I am in possession of the knowledge that today, I am ten pounds lighter than I was two months ago and a full three pounds lighter than I was when I was doing with three months of intense (for me) diet and exercise last year.

I certainly didn't do it on purpose. Armed with the basic knowledge that in order to get less flabby I'd have to eat better and exercise more I settled instead for trying to love my body the way it was. My kitchen manager tried to fight me about the fact that I had lost weight when, after he admiringly asked if I had, I responded that I didn't know, I hadn't been trying. He insisted that I must have changed something (drinking less? stopped eating at night?), so I suggested it was because I stopped eating Friday's food since we weren't allowed to hang out at the bar anymore. He looked a bit wounded. He IS in charge of that food, after all. Alls I know is that I eat a lot of fried and carbohydrate'd crap, usually in one large sitting before I go to work, drink more beer than I probably should, and avoid anything that resembles exercise like it'll give me cancer on the spot. How I've lost weight is beyond me.

What bugs me, and what was highlighted after watching Fat Head, is that I will probably never know what it is that has caused my body to become slightly healthier. It clearly varies from person to person, and diet, exercise, and health are all extremely relative. This means that in order to figure out what my ideal mixture is I will have to do, you guessed it, research--all KINDS of research, since there is literally an opinion backed by a study or PhD or MD to support every single version of diet (or lack thereof), exercise (or lack thereof), and standard of health. I am way, way too lazy to bother with that nonsense.