Know thyself, first

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Several years ago, my body decided that it was no longer equipped to process the boundless array of empty calories that my brain seemed to enjoy so much. While Cheetos probably aren’t an appropriate food for a 35-year-old man anyway, I did enjoy them. And for much of my life, the pounds that they might have added were dispersed through the activities of my daily life. I played competitive adult basketball, ran to and fro, and lived what might be known in the current lexicon as the active lifestyle. Yet almost by stealth attack, the bulge continues to expand.

Once I resigned myself to the fact that no amount of willpower could force my metabolism to return to its former pace, I began to look for other mechanisms to tame the ever advancing fat. Chief among them was a simple habit of weighing myself each and every morning before taking a shower. Seeing a daily number appear helped me associate a connection between my actions and my weight. While it may not be for everyone, it did help me remain aware and therefore motivated. And, it has remained a useful tool even as I slide further into middle-age.

In a conversation with a younger friend recently, he was asking for tactics to begin his own path to age-appropriate fitness, but his ego dreaded the experience of knowing his starting number. I asked, “If you don’t know where you are, how can you ever hope to know how to get to where you want to be?”

Why do we so mightily resist understanding where we are in our relationships, in our jobs, and with our health? If it is true that ignorance is bliss, why is it so often that the ignorant are the first victims of their own disinterest?

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