From Buff to Blob: Baby Boomers' Spread

Somewhere along the line we went from carefree youths that concentrated on who to sit by in the cafeteria, where the first kiss would come from, and how long until we got our driver's license, to adults focused on what we were told we should have. 

From that came many compromises to own a home, buy a car, buy another car, take a vacation, raise a family.... 

Pretty soon decades went by. 

Even though it seems like the world rushed by at a fast pace, we were seated almost the whole time! 

Middle-aged spread isn't quite like the Freshman 15. It takes time to get to a state of muscle degradation, poor coordination, inflexibility, bad joints, and body fat.

I'm the first to admit the condition called "everyone and everything came first and my life was sedentary and food was fast and easy to get." 

The photo above shows the results in my 50s on the left and the goal on the right of where I was before life heaped over-responsibility and general unhappiness upon me. We often get caught in a cycle we can't stop and become anxious and depressed because we can't see any other way to live but the one that has gotten us through one more day and another day and another day....

Move Thy Body

Most of us grew up riding our bikes around the neighborhood, skateboarding, walking long distances because, well, if you wanted to get somewhere you better hoof it! We played on the playground, we splashed in the creeks, we climbed trees. What we did as kids worked because we were mastering skills. There is a real thrill at competing with yourself to get better and better. My endless hours of practicing my tennis backhand against the elementary school brick wall and shooting baskets under a floodlight at night perfected much body confidence.

My suggestion has less to do with gyms and exercise tapes and more to do with mastery and industry. Build something, plant something, landscape something, hike a trail, swim a lake, even get on a swingset at the park and pump away late at night when the kiddies are gone. Play. Gain mastery at a new sport or new physical task. Consider the spiritual awakening of a quiet room, incense, and yoga poses. Just let the body move. I spontaneously dance while I make supper. Background music fuels your skills. 

Here's some examples of how to play - it begins with a kicking soundtrack.

Guide Thy Mouth

No matter what "diet" plan you adhere to, it all comes down to the same thing - making you aware of choices.

Be realistic about goals. These are my legs now, even though I'm overweight. I was blessed with awesome-shaped gams - partly from my height, partly from my mom's leg shape, and partly from early childhood sports obsession. Today, they stay neatly shaped due to a love of dancing around the house. 

Even though I have much to do to whittle down the middle, I also know one thing, where my body tends to keep fat - belly and arms. So, I am kinder to myself in those regions knowing that they are the first to show fat. 

At this time of life when we wind down more in the career front and wonder what's next, the time is open to play - hikes, kayaking on the lake, walking the dog, tours of the city, gardening, etc.  The raising kids and rushing to get somewhere in the career are trailing behind us now as a growing vague memory. 

What we do with this time says much about regaining ourselves. The selves we once were, only wiser and more adept.

Different Perspective

This seed, left to its own devices, creates.

It always amazes me - from this little pumpkin seed, a pumpkin grows.

The seed is planted and genetically understands to grow. It has no controls over the soil, bugs, temperature, competing plants, rain, location, and the like. It is on autopilot.

It made me think about man's own nature. We go about our days assuming our biology will keep the systems running. But we have something the plant doesn't have. We have conscious mind that can survey the situation and change the conditions for optimal health and survival.

We don't see pumpkins considering their diet or doing jumping jacks in the backyard, but we go on autopilot as if biologic blueprint is all we need.

Get out and exercise.
Consider your diet.
Wear sunscreen.
Use a seat belt.
Floss your teeth.

Simple conscious efforts that make us higher up on the food chain.