Lately there has been a lot things about staying healthy, like how not to eat too much, and how not to drink a Coke every hour (which, I have to say, was one of the most amazing things I ever saw when I was about 30 years old and visiting different offices as part of my job of architectural rendering, and I would go around and meet young architects that were in important positions, or who should have been in important positions in some of these offices, because that's a whole nother story, and that they were the next generation back from me and from different parts of the country who drank Coke for breakfast, and I was, like, Dude, you are drinking a Coke for breakfast?!, and you would think they hated you because they looked at you like everyone drank Coke for breakfast,
and that's when you first realized that there were parents maybe from different parts of the country or from a new generation who raised their kids in a radically different way than your parents raised you. Because I could never have a Coke for breakfast and the proof that my parents did a good job with that is that I actually became an adult who would never even think about having a Coke for breakfast, and not just a New England snob or anything since I grew up in NJ, but someone who actually thought "That is disgusting! You just had a Coke for breakfast?!")
So that's how I knew that people were different, but now I have a plan for how anyone can weigh 200 pounds. The trick I use is to eat right, of course, but to trick myself into doing exercise that doesn't really seem like exercise and to try and only have half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich when I have one, and to not have the jelly, but just to put the organic peanut butter that's healthier but that takes forever to stir up from the bottom when you first open it on one half of a piece of wheat bread that's healthier, and then fold the bread over and eat it more slowly so you feel it) like one of those exercises could be riding an exercise bike when you don't want to, or sometimes now trying to climb Monument Mountain in Great Barrington as many times a week as you can because it also exercises Omar, and he gets crazy at night if you don't, and barks a lot at people (and at me trying to watch TV at night!) if he doesn't get outside, which is like me if I don't get outside but people just don't bark. I added this sentence later because he will just start barking in the middle of the room, but I think part of it is he is getting blind from some cataracts and he gets really bored if he isn't eating Kleenex out of the garbage cans, which are really more like the nice wicker ones that you put around in different rooms that aren't the kitchen or the bathroom hidden under the sink.
But the thing is you always have this nagging idea that you aren't getting enough exercise because your pants are still getting tighter and also because you look things up on the internet, like how many calories is there in a glass of wine, or should I drink beer or scotch tonight instead. (The answer, disturbingly, is about 300) And how many glasses of wine are in a bottle (the answer is, there are supposed to be four. If you to a restaurant with four people and watch the waiter pour if you don't believe me you'll see that that's what they get taught) because I hope there's a lot of glasses supposed to be in a bottle because it seems like I just had two big ones and it hasn't even gotten to the rachel Maddow show yet and I'm down to about a third of that bottle left, but maybe if I drank scotch the bottle would go down more slowly? But I'm not going to drink a whole bottle of wine on a weekday night because that would be so uncool, and then I usually don't and it's not so bad.
So then if you decide to get healthy, or maybe as happened to me recently you decide to get sick for about 8 or 9 days, and you don't actually drink a thing and you remember what that was like and that it wasn't so bad, although I started to get a little alarmed at how much I was looking forward to the Nyquil I was taking every night and trying to time it perfectly so I felt that Nyquil relief, but didn't get sleepy again until I saw most of Rachel, which I think she doesn't get enough credit for being really smart every night with the intro of her show, the way she makes this kind of perfect essay out of the issue of the day for her, and how people like my brother in Denver who's in energy think she's a radical even though they never see her show, especially when the people he watches really are radicals but he just doesn't know it because everyone out West is actually starting to think that way, at least not in San Francisco) or read some more pages out of one of those three books.
So when I get that feeling that I'm starting to get over 200 pounds, or when I remember how nice it was to fit into everything because I was sick for 9 days and suddenly my pants go back together more easily, that's when I double down and try to remember to write this piece about staying slim and weighing 200 pounds so that other people can do it, too. So here goes:
When you're driving in the car, just put the driver's seat down and do a continuous sit up while you're driving. (author's note: I would also have an illustration here if I could, but it would take a lot of effort to do it and then scan it, although taking a picture of it with my iPhone would be faster, but then I would have to sync it and it would just seem like too much effort, so sorry) This works especially good if you have to drive to Boston or some place far enough away that you can adjust yourself and figure out just how far to put the seat back and just how far to lean the seat back back, and how close to be to the steering wheel, but once you get all those things adjusted, and for me that usually happens just about the time that I'm reaching that one rest stop across form that state police headquarters that has the Honey Dew donut place in the front when you first drive in before the part that goes off for trucks, and that is actually owned by MacDonalds, which is what I had to tell myself so I wouldn't stop there, but which didn't make much sense because then I got into the habit of going to the MacDonald's drive though next door to it anyway and just trying to get coffee only but then sometimes telling myself, naw, come on you have to drive all the way to Boston and you'll be hungry later and just eat more, so just get something healthy, and so I would get an egg McMuffin but not feel very good about it, but still feel good that I didn't get sausage, too. (But if I had vaccuumed the car out within the last two or three days and it would be clean, and you guys from the Berkshires and mud season and gravel driveways will appreciate this) I would at least still get the satisfaction of having a clean car for the trip to Boston, like I was finally doing something professional or that I had to do to make money, like taking a plane and having all that great time to think without feeling gulty that I wasn't doing something that I should have been doing, and even though I wasn't eating the healthiest and not having french fries drop down under the seats I was actually keeping the car clean.
Once you get the seat adjusted, just lean all the way back still while you're driving so your stomach muscles are completely relaxed, then like doing a crunch pull your stomach in while you're still down and try to coil up like a spring from below, and come up and hold your stomach in just a little bit of tension while keeping your grip just a little bit firmly on the wheel. If you get it right, you won't really feel like you're doing anything but then in about 3 or 5 miles you'll feel a little bit tired which is when you can lean back down and relax your core and then you really become aware that you were just doing a sit up while you were driving your car which you had to do anyway, so it was somewhere in there between exercising and not exercising because you had to drive anyway and you had all this time on your hands and you might as well have been doing something healthy with it. And then, if everything goes right, you realize you could do a sit up every time you get in the car and drive some place and that that could really start to add up, and to remind yourself to somehow try and figure out how many calories that burns or if there's a way to measure what you just did.
The other good thing is to do push ups. I read in the New York Times once (and don't get me wrong, I don't really read the NYT anymore but just randomly see articles from the internet) that push ups are the best single exercise, but then I read somewhere else that squat thrusts were but I hate squat thrusts because it seems like they are so hard and you get really tired, so I really liked the idea of just doing push ups, but the Times said for different age groups how many push ups you should do and at first I couldn't do that many. So a little bit like the sit up thing while you drive, I started to force myself to do push ups back and forth between the little room where I work at the end of the house and the kitchen where I'm always getting coffee, or microwaving it after it's done and cooled off or when I put water into it so it gets diluted and its not so bitter like in the afternoon if I made too much in the morning.
So I started by doing, like, twelve and being really tired, but now I'll cut to the end and just say that I can do about 32 comfortably but only if the first four are about halfway down, which is how I keep doing this routine without one day doing push ups too far down without being warmed up and then pulling something which would make me stop doing them for a really long time and losing all this progress, which is what usually happens to me when I exercise, like get a cold or something that no matter how much I was on a roll, suddenly I'm totally sick and I don't do anything for a week and then I lose it. So now I'm up to 32 if I do them that way and the good thing about push ups is that you could say you don't believe that I can do 32, but then someday I could have a bet with you and really do 32 (like that one time I did with Joe and Roxanne while we were at that little boat house exercise place with the tennis courts and the exercise bikes in Houston) and if I actually did them, which I would, you would say, wow, maybe that system does work, and if that system works, maybe I should try this sit up thing while you're driving? And that's not exactly as good because I found out that if you get good at that, you could actually end up where you're driving to being sweaty because it actually does take a lot of work to do sit ups while you're driving, and you have to not care if it looks really stupid to people who pass you or just learn to act as if the seat is broken like on Amtrak and keep yourself in the same place as you would be if the seat were up and not do any sit ups while people pass, but if you're sweaty then it really must work, which is why I thought it would be a good thing to do.
(The author and noted exercise authority James Akers specializes in digital architectural rendering, watercolor techniques, traditional architectural rendering, architectural watercolor rendering, architectural sketching, watercolor rendering techniques, architectural sketches, watercolor techniques, architectural rendering and the other disciplines associated with traditional architectural rendering. He may be reached at jakers3 (at) gmail (dot) com.)