Health and Happiness

This will be the first post written on our… wait, I mean my new 27 inch iMac (I really New iMacmust think more selfishly).  The computer is beautiful.  I can’t afford a BMW but I can eek out the cost of one of these.  I ordered it December 11th and it arrived yesterday.  It was a long wait.  I suspect this thing will not offer any improvement in my writing, sorry.  It is, however, much nicer to write on than my little 13 inch laptop.  This is computer paradise.

When the computer arrived yesterday we had to go out to Ikea to find a desk for it.  While out we picked up another electronic.  A scale.  Yes, I am going to start tracking my weight.  Sadly, I am terribly afraid of getting round in the middle.  I suspect that like a receding hair line it is inevitable.  Unlike the hair though I can do something about the waist.

The Cure for EverythingI recently read Timothy CaulField’s “The Cure for Everything: Untangling Twisted Messages About Health, Fitness, And Happiness.”  The book was entertaining and occasionally enlightening.  I don’t agree with some of his conclusions (i.e. Yoga is a waist of time) because I don’t think that science has definitive answers in some of these areas (more research is needed) but his arguments are sound and engaging.

When I jumped on the scale last night my fears were confirmed… the scale read 149.8 pounds! Okay I know most of you hate me right now – for those of you who are still reading let me explain that 145 pounds has been my maximum… until now.  I am obviously not overweight or in any real danger of being so in the near future but it is mildly distressing nonetheless.  Having seen so many people try and lose weight I realize that if I put the weight on there is little chance of me taking it off.

So what am I doing to maintain my weight?  We are very blessed here at the American University of Sharjah to have access to the “Wellness Centre” facilities for faculty and staff.  This means access to personal trainers, exercise classes and great facilities.  This term I will register in circuits early in the morning three days a week and for the other two days I’m going to participate in running club.  The weekends always have something active going on – except Fridays as they are my day of rest.  So, I’ll remain active.

Exercise is good but it isn’t going to keep my belly from expanding… if that was all it took I’d have nothing to worry about.  Ultimately, if I want to keep the pounds off I have to pay attention to the calories.  I think we make relatively healthy meal choices already but there is room for improvement.  The first thing is smaller portions.  Honestly, I do not need that second or third helping at every meal.  And the Coca Cola has to go.  Can you here me crying as I write this?

If I could drink a Coke just once and a while I would.  I can’t though.  If I drink one I’ll drink another the next day and the day after until I’m drinking a litre everyday.  I have not had any soda pop of any kind since New Year’s Eve.  I’m convinced I will fail miserably at trying to kick the habit… but it won’t be today.

Outside of the fact that I am getting a little older, seasoned is more accurate, it is the Middle East that has me focused on my weight.  The UAE has one of the highest obesity rates in the world.  As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts fast food is prevalent and cheap here.

At the grocery store yesterday Lisa and I walked past a little kid – maybe 8 years old – who was drinking a juice box.  When he was done I was shocked when he tossed it on the ground and walked away.  This wasn’t a casual oops, ha ha, I dropped my juice box and no one noticed so I’ll just keep walking.  The kid threw it on the ground like it was what one is supposed to do. (Having been here a while this really should not shock me but it does).  What does this have to do with weight gain – I’m not sure but somehow I think they are related.

The Longevity ProjectOne of the more interesting findings of “The Longevity Project: Surprising Discoveries of Health and Long Life from the Landmark Eight-Decade Study” is that conscientiousness is connected to long life and health.  That juice box is an indication of sickness but a sickness that is taught.

Getting older, fatter and balder is the inevitable course of life.  I just don’t want to give up living before I have to and want to enjoy every ounce of life I have.  Despite my best efforts that may not be up to me… But that won’t stop me from trying anyway.

One last thing… The new LDS church in Abu Dhabi will be dedicated later this month (the first purpose built LDS chapel in the Middle East).  My favourite speaker will be here to dedicate the building, Elder Jeffery R. Holland.  Because the building can’t fit everyone from the region our congregation has to watch by web cast – sad.  But, Elder Holland will be holding a meeting for those that can’t attend the dedication that night in Dubai!  I don’t think I can express how happy that makes me.  My dad has quipped that I must have been born with a lucky horseshoe shoved up my… ahem.  Well, I think I’d know if I had one of those in there but occasionally I think I must have been born under a lucky star.

4 responses to “Health and Happiness”

  1. Great Post James! Quite true symbolism about the juice box.

    I like the books you guys recommend on your posts!
    My wife and I are contemplating getting The Entitlement Trap you and Lisa recommended a couple posts ago, given that kids will be on the horizon in the near future! And we may check out one of these books as well.
    As far as weight goes, I am the same way James. Not sure whether you remember back in high school, but I myself, have always been a smaller guy, and have hovered around the 150 mark. Lately, I have been hovering around the 160 lb mark, and I just KNOW that I could eat healthier! But I have learned through time that it isn’t as important to track the weight, as it is just to eat healthy and know that healthier food is going inside of you, and crappy food ISN’T (atleast not as often, hah). Given that you all seem to live quite active lives, I am sure being fit and healthy wont be a problem for ya!


    1. Yeah I think we’ll be okay as far as weight gain goes over time. Wouldn’t it be nice to just be able to eat whatever you want whenever you want it? These pesky things like discipline, self control and wisdom – who needs them right :)..


    2. Jeff, check out some of the other books or talks by Richard and Linda Eyre. They are fantasically funny and informative.


  2. You “think” you would know if you had a horse shoe up your. . . ahem. That is a bigger problem than a little weight gain. I would visit with a health professional soon, I would recommend in this case a proctologist, and watch where you sit when naked from this point forward.


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