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It's time to get real: I'm not 25 anymore

Time to get healthy

3 min read

Last week, without warning, my back went “crunch”.

I’ve been dealing with what feels like a painful, bruised coccyx ever since. It should heal up within a few weeks, but until then, getting up from a sitting or lying position is really hard, walking has been awkward, and I haven’t been able to pick up anything particularly heavy (like, just for example, a toddler who happens to be in the 99th percentile for his height).

I’m used to my body more or less working properly — and now it just doesn’t. It’s been unsettling. In the scheme of things, it’s much less problematic than the injuries a lot of people have to deal with, but it’s also a wake-up call.

Here’s what I think I need to do:

  • Commit to radically losing some weight. My weight when I arrived in California was 196 pounds. The last time I weighed in, it was something like 260.
  • Gain some strength and flexibility. Once my coccyx is healed I intend to start taking home fitness more seriously, and also (finally) get into yoga.
  • Actually use my fancy standing desk. I need to spend more of my time standing rather than sitting, and aim to stand for at least 60% of my day.
  • When I am sitting, I need to take my posture seriously. I’ve been sitting on a Wit SitOnIt task chair (the same kind we used to have at Matter), but I need something with more lumbar and posture support. Not least because the back support strip went “ping” a little while ago and I’ve been sitting with almost nothing behind me.

So. Changes afoot:

I’m upgrading my chair to a Herman Miller Aeron, which is stereotypical for a reason: it’s far better for posture. I managed to find it at a surplus store for a very deep discount on its eye-watering usual price.

I’ll be standing for most of my day. If you’re in a meeting with me, you can expect me to be bouncing around.

I’ll be taking more care about what I eat, mostly by trying to go for less calorie-dense food. In a significant change to my California lifestyle, I already don’t eat out much. But there’s more I can do: in particular, the more fresh vegetables I can include, the better.

I’m going to try and resume my walking habit: a long walk at night, listening to podcasts or audiobooks.

And yoga. Which I am terrified of. My relationship with my body is fraught. I’ve never been proud of it and I don’t think I can make it do very much. So as challenging as the stretching itself might be, the psychological component is pretty much the hardest thing to get over.

Unfortunately, I’m not 25 anymore. In itself, that’s a painful sentence to have to type. But here I am, firmly entering middle age, and I want to be around for a long time to come.

These changes might be challenging — both in themselves and as habits to stick to — but it’s clearly past time that I do something. My painful back is a small signal; without intervention, I expect others to follow. It’s time to get real.

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