Fitness Update: Carelessness

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I have seen a lot of talk on fitness sites and Facebook fitness posts about tracking and following and using this regimen or that. Discipline, discipline, discipline is the name of the game. While I realize it is important to have structure if you plan to reach or maintain a certain goal, I think most of this programs make a serious mistake in emphasizing the discipline, the program, so much.

For this week’s fitness update I am going to refer to one of the greatest fitness experts of all time: G.K. Chesterton.

No, this 20th century apologist and author didn’t have six-pack abs. If I am correct he was somewhat portly. But what he did have was a view to what it meant to have a healthy life — mind/soul/body.

To quote Orthodoxy:

If any human acts may loosely be called causeless, they are the minor acts of a healthy man; whistling as he walks; slashing the grass with a stick; kicking his heels or rubbing his hands. It is the happy man who does the useless things; the sick man is not strong enough to be idle.

If we don’t have a careless and causeless portion of our activity, if everything is chosen, if we monitor every bite we eat and every exertion that we make, we aren’t healthy, we are a maniac, one on the way to madness. There must be freedom in our activity.

Which is why I like the point system on my MisFit. I don’t have a plan for exact amounts of everything, I just freely choose to combine them to reach a daily total. It is also why I cannot monitor my food through MyFitnessPal on a consistent daily basis. I should be able to be careless about what I eat — not totally, but I should be able to react to life before me, not the universe I choose to construct that must meet my standards instead of me living in the universe that is there.

I have seen a lot of pictures of people following healthy lifestyles. But while they think they are showing me pictures of a good example I can follow, what I see instead is a certain manic pursuit that is making them gaunt, tired, and even sad-looking.

In the past month I hit my lowest weight ever since I started my biking/running/swimming trinary program. But I haven’t done it by manic attention to perpetual detail, or a denial of any serious whim. I haven’t pushed myself into gaunt health or so fanaticized my output that it had the opposite effect intended in driving people away from the health suggestions I was promoting. I have enjoyed life, and the people around me have enjoyed it as well.

Let me encourage you all: employ discipline, but also employ carelessness in your pursuit of the good life.

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