Taiji Day 233: Go To It

My body woke up at Ungodly-O’Clock this morning, so after an hour of lying in bed being completely awake, I got up, and did tai chi.  I’m now finishing at the hour I normally start, and writing the diary entry at the time I’m usually rising groggily from my bed.

Not ideal.

Not ideal in the sense that I would like eight hours of sleep like all the studies say we should get.  Not ideal in the sense that I don’t want to wake up thinking about the quizzes that didn’t get completely graded last night, or the big presentation that I’m giving at an AISNE event on Tuesday.  Not ideal in that I want to wake up when the alarm goes off.

(The same alarm clock has been waking me up since I was in high school.  It was sort of a tan color — khaki, perhaps — when I got it in 1985.  It’s survived something like 18 moves in the last 27 years. And it’s still going strong. No, I don’t want a new one.  Yes, the noise it makes is annoying.  That’s sort of the point of an alarm clock, right?)

It’s going to be a long day.  But I did get a full set of tai chi in, at a slow enough pace for that something extra. And it’s working, slowly but surely.

Today during the practice I noticed that my downward motions are getting easier, although they are still too fast.  This is because my calf muscles, thigh muscles and hips are getting stronger.  There’s considerably less flab on them than when I started; my pants fit better (some of them are at risk of slipping off me, and I have to stop wearing them), although my weight hasn’t really changed at all.  This is the frustrating part. And it’s also the potential source of insight in this particular moment.

What if it’s not really possible to shed much weight?  I mean, we hear all the time about how we should be skinny and diet, but I’ve been changing how I eat and what I eat for months now.  I don’t think it can be said that I don’t exercise.  Maybe not as much as other people, but I’ve been doing this for almost two-thirds of a year: you would think there’s some change.  Except that muscle and bone are both denser than fat.  And tai chi has been connected with increases in bone density.  What if I’m making my bones denser, even as I’m losing fat?  What if I’m increasing muscle mass, even as my waist size changes subtly?  I don’t have good answers for these things.  There are ways to find out, of course, but they involve being hooked up to expensive machines with expensive doctors, and I’d rather not, thanks.

Maybe the emphasis should be on fitness and exercise instead, rather than weight loss.

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