Walking my butt off

[This post will include discussion of exercise and weight loss, as an advisory for those who prefer to skip such things.]

Apparently moving house is a great way to lose weight.

I’m not entirely surprised by this. If there’s one thing I believe is true about body weight — well, if there’s one thing I believe is true, it’s that we barely understand the first bloody thing about how it works, and later generations will look back at us with the same kind of horrified disbelief we currently direct at Victorian icepick lobotomies. But if there are two things I believe, the second one is that there’s at least some truth to the idea that you can sometimes make a real change just by moving more.

I don’t mean formalized, focused exercise — though that’s good, too, for a whole bunch of health reasons. I mean being less sedentary: spending more time on your feet, more time walking, more time fidgeting. Because I haven’t been going to the gym lately, or even to the dojo . . . but I’ve been packing and unpacking boxes, shelving books, spending a much higher percentage of my day up and about instead of in a chair or on the couch. My weight’s been dropping slowly and mostly steadily for the last year, since I started trying to do that “ten thousand steps a day” thing, but the only time it went this fast was when I got stomach flu last fall. (And I don’t recommend that method to anybody.)

It still isn’t that dramatic: nobody’s going to look at me and say “wow, you’ve lost weight!” In a year I’ve dropped a little over fifteen pounds, which is a pretty slow rate. On the other hand, it’s sustainable. This isn’t a thing I do for a little while and then stop once I reach my target number; it’s a change to my lifestyle — a permanent one, at least until such time as injury or infirmity puts an end to it. I’ve gone from being the sort of person who defaults to getting into the car to the sort of person who actively wants to walk to the grocery store. I’m standing instead of sitting at my desk as I type this, swaying faintly to the music coming from my speakers; once I move the wall clock that is presently sitting on the other end of my treadmill, I’ll be able to start using that again while I’m at the computer. I’m not running three miles every morning, so my aerobic endurance is still the same crap it’s been for most of my life, but “activity” has become a thing I do all the time, in small, low-level doses, rather than a thing that gets fenced off in regulated blocks that are easy to fail at.

This isn’t the sort of post where I say “and this will work for you, too!” See above re: the one thing I believe; we have no real idea why some approaches work for some people and don’t for others, and there’s a lot of stupidity out there on the topic. But I know that shifting my thinking and my behavior to this mode has been good for me, and not only because it has resulted in weight loss. It’s good for my brain, good for my mood, good for my longevity prospects.

For people like me, whose job is inherently sedentary, that’s pretty damn important.

. . . but I don’t care how good moving house is for weight loss, I ain’t doing it again any time soon. I’ll just have to get my exercise by other means.

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