There’s nothing wrong with trying it once or twice, but once you know you won’t do it, stop wasting time on something you’ve been sold as laudable.
Too many people are trapped in the mythology we stole from Greeks and Romans about having a perfect physique and long lives. You’ll notice the Bible never says much about it. On the one hand, a long life is commendable, but there’s no shame in a short life lived for the Lord’s glory. But the Bible says virtually nothing about physique. It notes in passing that some folks got it and some don’t, but only in terms of hints; it’s seldom all that important. It was considered shameful to dress so as to expose whether you had an attractive shape.
I’ve never had it. You can find photos of me on this blog with my shirt off, but my point in posing was to show it’s possible to lose some weight. It wasn’t about pursuing an ideal body. It had to do with being faithful to a calling from God to get as fit as possible. There was never any objective ideal; it was a matter of doing what was within reach. A bit of fat loss is just an indicator of obedience.
For example, I did spend a lot of time in the gym a few years ago. But eventually the arthritis caught up with me and made those three days per week impossible. You can only do what your body can tolerate. Things have happened since then. These days, it’s one hard workout per week at the park, like today. I got home with just a half-hour to get ready for yet another bike ride to see a tech support client. By the time I got home, my bad knee was complaining just a bit. It wasn’t just the riding, but riding after all the other stuff I did. And then I had to do some shopping, after which that knee simply hurt enough to make me lose interest in any kind of activity at all.
I’ll probably be ready to ride somewhere tomorrow, but I won’t ride hard or fast.
When I started taking those beta-blockers to control my heart rate, one of the side effects was doing something funny to my metabolism. On the one hand, my heavy workouts result in visible muscle growth. On the other hand, my weight went up, and it also meant adding some fat around the middle. While minor adjustments in my diet are feasible, major changes are simply unsustainable. I’ve tried revving up the metabolism by doing some exercises the moment I get out of bed, but that means I won’t be able to do quite as much later in the day. There’s only so much I can do before the joints start getting stiff. Maybe I could beat it if I tried hard enough, but it’s not worth the trouble. It cuts into some other things I consider more important.
It’s not a question of making excuses; it’s not a high priority to go beyond a certain point. I’ll do what I can to match my efforts to my convictions, but fitness is a relative thing. Go ahead and call me “fat” — I’m not sensitive about it, nor do I feel guilty. My conscience is clear enough for me to keep working on fitness at a realistic level. Physical activity is not a discipline; it’s play for me. I’m still tweaking and adjusting the wake-up workout routine to find something I can do daily without hindering anything the rest of the day. It’s reason enough that it makes me feel just a little more energetic through the day.
The goal has nothing to do with what most people around me think to be important. I’m going to make the most of what God puts within my reach. I’m still a kid at heart, delighted to experience life as it comes. I enjoyed the tedium of repetitive tasks on the client’s computer; I like working better than sitting at home. I enjoy knowing how to do the stuff I do with computers. I ride my bike because it’s fun and my body tolerates it. I like the feeling of fitness, however much of it I can get. It’s not important if anyone else admires what they see in my efforts.
This is the joy of living.