A part of me thinks that everyone in America who's unhealthy and/or overweight should see the documentary that came out a few years ago "Super Size Me". I know there are probably arguments out there that hack Morgan Spurlock's argument to pieces, but it's hard to watch this film and not come away deathly frightened of food and all the nasty things it can do to you.
It'd probably help me if I watched the damn thing every day. I know right now I feel like getting out there and running 12 miles just to knock all the bad shit I've done to myself over the last three days out of my system.
I've never been one to go and count and document everything I eat and drink over a long period, mostly because I'm a forgetful bastard. But, let's see if I can figure out what I've consumed since I got off work Friday night.
For dinner, I had a cookie sheet full of fries and six chicken strips. I drank ice tea with my meal, but then I followed that by drinking a bottle and 3/4 of red wine. And I probably smoked 8 or 9 cigarettes throughout. I finished my evening by inhaling a large order of pork fried rice before passing out, thereby allowing my body to work off none of the food I'd just consumed minutes before.
Let's see, so on Saturday I stayed inside until about 2 or 3pm. I ate a can of chili with, I dunno, 10 to 12 crackers; and then a little while later I had one of those big bowls of ramen noodles with all the spicy shrimp and the like. After shopping for groceries, I think I went ahead and made ice cream my dinner, followed by a cherry lemon drop cocktail and another bottle of wine, with another 8 or 9 cigarettes. Then, I finished my evening with a midnight run to White Castle where I had 10 hamburgers. Again, allowing myself minimal time between late night food and sleep.
I woke up today around 7 or 8 in the morning feeling sicker than I have in a long time, guzzled an entire pitcher of iced tea and fell back asleep until about noon. I had a granola bar (vanilla nut from Nature Valley), a blueberry muffin, and some more ice cream. I ate a can of chili later on with another 10 to 12 crackers and for dinner I had another large order of pork fried rice. Only about 3 cigarettes today, no alcohol, only iced tea to drink.
The only exercise I've gotten this weekend was yesterday when I walked around shopping for groceries for the week. A far cry from the recommended 30 minutes of activity a day to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
You don't get to the point where I am by practicing Good Health. You get there through laziness, depression, stress, anxiety, and a general apathy towards personal healthcare. You get there because you just stop giving a shit about You. You're not thinking about where you're going to be in 25 years, you're not thinking about what these bad habits are doing to you internally, you're not thinking about any consequences whatsoever.
That having been said, there's no way this won't get turned around for me, by me. I attribute my stress and anxiety right now to the fact that I'm going to be moving and that my job situation is uncertain. When I was unemployed, living in Renton, with a few hundred dollars and my initial mounting debt back in April of 2005, my habits turned to shit. I went from running 4-5 miles a day to not running at all. I ate like shit (though, to be fair, I'd always been eating pretty shabbily), I started smoking again. I was stressed out beyond belief because I didn't know where I was going to get my income next, so I reverted to every bad habit I could possibly think of. The months leading up to my move to New York, I was smoking like a madman and running very minimally.
I know exactly when I started smoking again this time around: Friday, March 30th. That's the night I went out and saw those bands when I was shitfaced on wine from home. It just felt like the thing to do. I've burned through 3 packs since then, but it won't continue past this month. It can't, because I'm moving into a smoke-free apartment. Negative reinforcement is a deterrant for me, what can I say?
But, I'm not thinking about that right now. Smoking has never been something that I've felt has consumed me more than I want it to. Food is. Food is because food is something I rarely think about in a sense of what's good for me and what's bad for me. I try to eat cheaply, so I'll eat peanut butter & jelly sandwiches for lunch, bagels with cream cheese for breakfast, and whatever for dinner. Dinner could be a can of chili with crackers, it could be pasta with sauce and vegetables, or like last week, it could be 5 straight days of baked chicken strips and baked fries. Rarely ever am I of the mind to go, "I think I'll have a salad for dinner."
After watching something like Super Size Me, though, it's hard not to think about. It's hard to look at the meals I've set up for myself this week and not second guess. I threw out the remaining ice cream I had in the freezer; it's a start I guess.
Every so often, I think about what my reasons are for sticking around. If I truly didn't give a damn about myself, I'd go out and eat White Castle or McDonalds every day; I'd have ice cream and cookies and cereal and soda and chocolate milk and chips all over this place. I'd never exercise, I'd smoke a pack or two a day, I'd hit the bottle every evening, and I'd weigh 350 - 400 pounds. And I'd die sometime in my 40s or - if I were lucky - my 50s, with plenty of medical complications along the way to really depress the hell out of me.
So, I do think about THAT. I think that one of my main reasons for sticking around is that I don't want to deal with the bullshit hospitals. I don't want to be sick all the time. If I were sick all the time, if I had to take pills every day or get surgeries on my major organs, I'd hate life and I'd exit life as soon as possible. But, there has to be an actual REASON to stick around beyond illness avoidance. That's where art comes into play. Writing. Because, out there, somewhere in the future, I'm going to write something really amazing and people are going to take notice of me. I'm sticking around because I want to know what that feels like. And until I do, it's up to me to keep healthy enough so I can achieve everything I want.
Kurt Vonnegut died last week at the age of 84. He wrote many novels, many short stories, plays, whathaveyou. He's widely considered to be one of the greatest writers of the last century, especially in America where he's changed the face of the written word for all us contemporary writers out there. That's who I want to be. I want to die at 84 and have those kinds of credentials. But, to do that, I'll have to live, and that means more than sitting around and taking up space until my final breath.