All in all, I’m in good health. I’d like my cardio to improve, but I’m ahead of many people my age and most people my weight. Despite a family history of diabetes and high blood pressure, my blood sugar has been consistently good and my blood pressure has dropped from borderline to just a tick above normal (for systolic, anyway) in the last couple of years.
Cholesterol has been a tricky animal, but it’s under control. I take 20mg of a statin every night, and while my HDL is three points low, everything else is aces. I think part of the problem was the glucosamine chondroitin I was taking for my joints, but I’ve been seeing many reports about it elevating cholesterol and I stopped taking it the same time I started on the statin. Boom, my cholesterol dropped like a rock. (The studies may show the cholesterol isn’t going up, but I suspect it’s at least causing false positives.)
The only nagging problem I have is my weight. Now, to be fair, I’m still forty pounds lighter than I was in 2005. I also don’t put any stock in body mass index (but of course my doctor does because my insurer does), and I’ve never been the “ideal weight” for my height, even when people would have called me thin. As such, I don’t put a lot of stock in the actual number. However, I do concern myself with the extra padding I have around my gut, my sides, and my thighs.
It’s not so much a vanity thing (though I’ll admit, there’s some of that there) as it is a concern that this extra weight is starting to affect my knees and is generally slowing me down. When I spar, for example, I don’t think I’m getting beaten on skill, I think many of my opponents are simply faster. Blowing a knee isn’t going to do me any favors, either, and I don’t need this extra padding contributing to other health problems in the future.
My weight has been relatively static for the past couple of years. Here’s a picture of me from January 2008:
Wow. It's tough to look at myself in a blue belt now that I wear brown.
I should take a new picture for comparison, but really, it wouldn’t look much different. A year later I weighed seven pounds more, and today I weigh eight pounds more. That’s a small fluctuation given my weight, and I’ve been stuck right within that range.
I credited some 2008 weight loss to running, when I dropped down even lower than where I was above. I gained a few pounds back when I stopped running over the winter, but then I ran at least as often this year with no effect. I’ve tweaked my diet a bit, but perhaps not enough. One speculation is I’ve swapped heavier muscle for fat, but my pants still fit the same so I don’t think it’s that simple this time.
I think it’s time to change up the home workouts, get in some more cardio/aerobic exercise. That’s very easy to do with karate, switching over to bag work (I bought the damn thing I may as well get back to using it) and sparring drills on top of kata and wazas. Not to mention I need to start practicing my ju ju undo (free exercise) to music, which I need to do at least once to get to ikkyu (first degree brown belt).
In fact, it’s probably time to revamp the whole after-work routine. I’ve got a few ideas here that involve both karate workouts and writing. I’ll have to ponder it some before I move on to next year’s goals.
Meanwhile, it’s also time to take a harder look at my meals, both content and portion. I’ll get started right after the family goes out for Chinese tonight…
About Mike Oliveri
Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.