Weekend Hiking

I’ve begun to think differently about movement and exercise in general. There’s something about that gym lighting, that repetitive gym motion that just doesn’t satisfy me as much as finding other ways to move.

My thoughts on this were probably influenced by an audiobook I listened to recently (incidentally, while walking). The book is called “Go Wild: Free Your Body and Mind from the Afflictions of Civilization.” It’s written by John J. Ratey, Richard Manning, and David Perlmutter. 

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m highly afflicted by the afflictions of civilization. I try to be zen about it, and while I enjoy ordering food on grubhub, I also long for the days without email and constant contact.  I need to spend some time in nature, and disconnect. I think we probably all should.

In any event, this book talks about a lot of things. But one of them is the many benefits of taking a “wilder” approach to exercise. And I’m kind of loving the approach.

Don’t get me wrong. I think the gym is great. But I find myself lately focusing more on movement that just comes through natural activity. And while I’m hiking less than I did in previous years, I’m being careful not to let Fall entirely pass me by without getting at least a few nice hikes in.

Last weekend, I did two mini-hikes that I thought I’d share with anyone who might happen to live in the NY/NJ area.

Hike One

On the weekend, a few friends and I hiked Campgaw Mountain County Reservation .

This one was surprisingly close to home, although not very challenging. And I hate to say, it wasn’t the most exciting hike I’ve done.

However! There was one exciting aspect, a ski lift at the top. Sitting on it was fun 🙂 Why didn’t I take any pictures??? GRR.

Also – it’s Fall. So everything is orange and pretty. Plus, friends. ❤

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moderate, but festively fall

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view from the top 🙂 

Would I recommend? Maybe. If you live close by, it’s worthwhile.

Hike Two (barely a hike, but still).

This one I’d definitely recommend!!

I’m lucky enough to live just off the Hudson River in New Jersey, which means I’m super close to palisades hiking.  This was a weekday, and it was already late afternoon, so we kept it short. But you could hike all day if you’d like to!

We took an Uber from West New York to Fort Lee Historic Park which was nice and beautiful and orange everywhere. It’s part of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, which has a ton of highly unique terrain you can only really find here.

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Fuck People Who Hate on NJ

We then did a short hike on the “Long Trail” towards the bottom of the palisades, where we chilled in some chairs. It’s pretty there and I’d recommend it.

You can hike up or down, and theres also a shore trail.  A nice starting point is the Alpine Picnic Area (although, that’s where we ended up).

Anyway…

These were not the most intense hikes, and I have not been the most intense hiker lately. But still a great way to spend time outdoors with friends, while working out the hot bod. Exercise really doesn’t have to be a chore – it could be awesome.

If you know of any local hikes, I’m always on the lookout so hollz at me.

Happy Hiking!

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Walking in Beautiful Places

I don’t know what goes on in your head, I can only (attempt to) tell you what goes on in mine.

I enjoy everything, and I feel happy. I love being young, and my entire existence feels light and silly. In the same moment, I feel profoundly isolated. I disappoint myself, and I’m disappointed by others. I ruminate and dwell on things that I could probably change but don’t. I feel uncalm, yet strangely unfazed. I’m just watching IT happen, and IT is (for the most part) awesome.

Night time shore walks bring me stillness, especially in the colder months. Usually, I’m  there alone – little Dorit versus the entire ocean and world. I’m tormented by the most intense loneliness and sadness. I’m humbled and silent and reminded of my insignificance.

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Yes, I got soaked. 

Then, suddenly, it all feels like the greatest gift. I have to let it wash over me or I’ll burst. I feel almost unbearably grateful to be living the best possible life at the best possible time. The world is great, and its begging me to make it even better. I can’t be stopped (possibly because I’m having a manic episode?). It’s beautiful and special to feel all of these feelings.

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Night time skyline walks can have a similar effect. 

Then I start to feel that I’m crazy. Then I start to feel that I’m sane. Too sane. Maybe the last sane person walking on earth.

My regular walk takes about three to four hours, during which time the ocean regularly lights a fire under my ass. I write short stories in my head (usually about murder) and I think about how the world will end. I’m never very interested in the plot. I like to play with the sentences and scenes, and I text myself the favorites. Later, I’ll adapt them to whatever context.

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Isn’t this shit special?

When I walk all alone late at night, I feel unpleasant things.

I’d love a friend to talk to, but if one came along, I have a feeling I might lie and say I have plans. I need to leave the world regularly, and go to a beautiful place and just walk. Then when I come back, I can function (most of the time). The world is filled with incredible landscapes to walk through and appreciate.  It’s the greatest gift.

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On the Human Condition and Mountain Goats

You have more in common with a mountain goat than you may think.

Aside from your extremely hairy body and hooves, you also have a great ability to climb things. The invention of the elevator, escalator and that moving floor thats always in airports and Jamiroquiai music videos has left us weakened and afraid of anything that has the power to take us up and down things, yet remains stationary – and that is quite unfortunate!

Benefits of taking the stairs:

  • People are less likely to think that you are an asshole when you take the elevator to the 2nd or 3rd floor.
  • Burns the same amount of calories as doing moderate exercise.
  • Waiting for the elevator can take a long time, if you took the stairs, you might get to your destination sooner.
  • Good practice for the end of days or a power outage.
  • Endorphins are released, which makes you happy!
  • You’re less likely to touch the disgusting escalator handrail if you take the stairs.
  • Your legs will look fly as hell.
  • Improved lung and heart strength.

Basically, just take the damn stairs!

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Decisions, decisions…

Once you opt for the stairs a few times, you’ll start to feel like you are part of a secret club, you’ll nod to your fellow stair user: you’ve separated yourself from “the masses.” 

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WOW! Amazing views!

Before you know it, taking the stairs will come so naturally to you, you’ll wonder why you turned them down so many times before. Don’t worry, every stair I know has always been eternally forgiving, and your heart and the people who work in your building will thank you!

Climb onward,

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A Diet Pill State of Mind

Between the ages of 12 and 16, my friends and I use to hunt down 18 year old boys in the mall. And not because we wanted their AOL screen names. We needed someone with I.D. to buy us diet pills.

I suppose eighteen year old boys like prepubescent girls, because we scored plenty of pills. In all fairness, I got my first period by age 10, so by 13, I easily looked 45.

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me, aged 13

..Those poor chumps probably thought they were helping out some nice MILF or widow.

Specifically, I recall:

  • Stackers;
  • Stacker II’s; and
  • Slim Quick (aka “slim death.”)

The ingredient I sought most = ephedra. Especially when stacked with caffeine.

Even at that age, we knew that most diet pills were BS. We had experience, and we had the beginnings of the internet.

DNA helix inside pill capsules

“No snake oil pills for me, my friend. I have dial-up.” 

Stacker II (with ephedra) was my jam. It was the only real pill. You could tell by the involuntary hand tremors and headaches. And also by how quickly it was pulled of the market.

…No worries – you could still score travel size bottles of the original formula at unscrupulous news stands for about a year after it was pulled.

At some point during this time…

I’m in the car with my mom on a warm Spring day. We’re driving past the recreation center, and I’m telling her about these new chips I bought at CVS.  They’re called Lays WOW! Chips and they have so few calories that I’ll probably eat a few bags.

Mom tries one. They DO taste good. “Can you get me these if you see them at Sam’s Club?” I ask.

Lays Wow! Chips contained a magical ingredient called Olestra (aka Olean). Olestra is a fat substitute that adds zero calories to foods. Zero ! ZERO !!!!!!

 

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90’s Kids – do you remember these chips? 

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You might recognize them from the warning on the bag..

In exchange for zero calories, Olestra blocks essential vitamins and minerals from entering you. Essentially, eating these chips will give you malabsorption.

For optimists, this is excellent news. Why wait 30+ years to develop IBS, Chrohns, or bowel cancer? ..You can experience painful bloody stool within hours, no strings attached. In related news, here are Lays Wow! Chips topping off a list of Five Foods that Cause Anal Leakage. Arguably, this is not a list that any major food product should aspire to…

Let’s not miss the silver linings here. Low calories = good. Fatty taste = awesome. And while anal leakage sucks, it might contribute to even more weight loss!

A Diet Pill State of Mind

Why have I shared these two anecdotes together in one post? 

Well, riddle me this…

..In the epic quest for weight loss, does it really MATTER  whether you rely on death pills as opposed to POTATO CHIPS THAT OPENLY MAKE YOUR ASS BLEED?!

Really, these two stories are the same. They illustrate the 26 years I spent searching for a magical weight loss solution. And yet all of that time, beautiful, delicious, colorful whole foods were right under my nose.

The Diet Pill Mindset

These stories reflect what I call the “Diet Pill State of Mind.”
..And in my experience, it’s not a helpful mindset to have.

Does this mean that you absolutely MUST take a 100% whole foods based approach to weight loss? No! …It doesn’t mean anything.

I think you can lose weight fast, OR you can lose weight slow. You can lose weight:

  • doing paleo
  • doing weight watchers
  • drinking slim fast shakes
  • eating nothing but pickles
  • drinking your own urine
  • doing isogenix
  • eating nothing but three pretzels all day long for 17 days straight

I don’t know what the right thing is for you. Because:

  • I don’t know where you are starting,
  • I don’t know HOW you became overweight in the first place; AND
  • I don’t know what your goals are

I also believe that weight loss is very different from weight maintenance.

When it comes to weight loss, I say do what works for you. Who cares how crazy or stupid  it is, provided that:

  • it doesn’t give you nutritional deficiencies; and
  • it doesn’t give you an electrolyte imbalance ; and
  • it doesn’t kill you

BUT! When it comes to maintenance, you MUST get onto whole foods. You can’t waste your beautiful life dieting. You need to (mostly) eat foods that come from the earth.

Another Thing I know

As you can see, I don’t know much. But what I DO know is this: a diet pill state of mind was NOT helpful for me.

..I needed to get on to whole foods in order to experience what I believe humans beings are meant to experience when it comes to food and satiety.

Slowly ridding myself of processed foods was the ONLY thing that worked for me. And I hope you find what works for you.

Here are a few articles that might help:

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Reading with Your Ears

Books are such a gift. Aside from that chocolate crispy layer of an ice cream cake, there is NOTHING better on this planet than listening to a great book while going for a nice walk.

It doesn’t hurt that this is my view:

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Audiobooks and Podcasts

Audiobooks and podcasts are FANTASTIC tools when it comes to achieving your fitness goals. This is especially true if you’re not the biggest fan of exercise. For more details on why, check out my post on Temptation Bundling and also my Serial Challenge for Gym Haters.

You don’t have to suffer while you exercise. If you keep a healthy diet, a nice walk with a book is just fine to keep you in shape.

Additional benefits:

  • For awkward people – You’ll always have new things to talk about
  • For premature geriatrics – Music is loud
  • For people who hate exercise – A compelling book means a 30 minute walk becomes two hours
  • For people who want to impress other people – Your friends will wonder how you got so fit AND so smart

Pro-Tips

Pro-tip: If you’re buying from Audible.com, listen to a sample first. Make sure you like the narration.

Pro-pro-tip: Audiobooks are expensive. Many local libraries provide free remote access to a wide variety of audiobooks.  Call your library to find out if they offer this service.

Here is my audio-reading list from the past few months:

  • “Bold” by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler
  • “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan
  • “In Defense of Food” by Michael Pollan
  • “Go Wild” by John Ratey & David Perlmutter
  • “Thinking in Pictures” by Temple Grandin
  • “The Autistic Brain” by Temple Grandin

I highly recommend any of the books from this list. I especially enjoyed the Temple Grandin books.

If you have any recommendations, I’d love to hear.  My preference is non-fiction, but I’m open.

And now, for my walk 🙂

Happy “reading”!

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Did I Just Feel Warmth?

I must be mistaken.  Did I just feel the Sun through the window?

According to the actual internet, here is the 10 day forecast for the NYC area:

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You probably have some questions:  

  • Yes, this is an actual screenshot.
  • No, I’m not making this 10 day forecast up for attention. Not after last time…

Attention ladies! This means:

  • Unless you’re a feminist, it’s time to shave your January coat. If you have a January coat, then you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then god bless your hairless soul.
  • …Don’t forget your armpits

Ladies and Gentlemen of NYC Public Transportation:

  • deodorant, while not required, will be greatly appreciated beginning this week

Fat People (myself included): 

  • The Sun has entered our fat miserable lives, and being cold and miserable is no longer a valid excuse to not exercise
  • A gym membership is not necessary in this weather, so your wretched state poverty is also no excuse. Less money = less food.

Now is the Perfect Time to Get into Shape!

Forget January. Now is the BEST time to get into shape.

Why:

  1. You don’t feel cold and miserable, and can thus bear torturing yourself with diet and exercise;
  2. Longer sunlight hours means more time for working out and more energy;
  3. AND YET! The party season is not here yet. So you can cut out booze & snacks for a little while without undue hardship.
  4. Eating salads is somehow much easier in warm weather;
  5. The prospect of looking good and being less sweaty this Summer is so close you can taste it!

WALKS WALKS WALKS

I’ve lost so much of my weight just by walking. And this is perfect walking weather. It’s also perfect hiking weather 😀 😀 😀

Yesterday roomie and I went for a nice evening walk along the Hudson. So what if the walk was to PF Changs and back? Fit Girls need lo mein too.

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It’s OK to be the Scumbag Friend

I am not much of a morning person. The way Garfield feels about Mondays is how I feel about every. single. morning.

Tragically, the hatred of the beauty of an early dewy morn means that people view you as a worthless, lazy piece of crap. In the eyes of most, I’m not much unlike the good-for-nothing teenage boy who leaves single, random used socks around the house and sleeps till noon. I would like to argue this point, however, because I do happen to hold down a stable job, I work real hard, I work out several times a week, I have an active social life and I, as far as I can tell, have (almost all of) my shit together.

When I do work out, it is always after work. Despite many pleas from my colleagues who far more enjoy the grating sound of an alarm impeding upon their wonderful dream-sesh while they lay around with no pants on in their comfortable-ass bed on a daily basis, I cannot concede to their demands to get up, go to the gym, work out, shower and THEN start my work day. Does it make you feel awesome all day to work out first thing in the morning? Sure. But sleep also makes me feel awesome.

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Does this make you happier than back sweat in the morning?

 

If you are like me, let the haters hate cause working out post-work has it’s benefits:
  • You are much more likely to be able to use your own shower after you work out
  • If you forgot your deodorant pre-work-workout, your associates may #neverforget that you’re the stinky one
  • Going after work means you are less likely to just go home to sit on your ass, drink wine and watch nature documentaries on Netflix (who does that though?)
  • On that note, it removes idle time from your evening which is primetime for needless snacking
  • The likelihood of taking co-workers up on happy hour is lessened (provided you have awesome self-restraint like me)
  • Your muscles warm up as the day goes on, so you are actually much more flexible and less likely to hurt yourself
  • It’s a much more effective way to release the rage collected throughout your terribly stressful workday than committing heinous crimes such as property damage, libel or identity theft

I read something about accountability being more of a thing if you work out in the evening, as your friends are more likely to join you, pinning you down to the commitment. This is not true in my case, as I am the only scumbag of the people I know that is unwilling to accumulate sweat between my ass cheeks before I even have my morning coffee.

The sleep argument: Some say you are more likely to be something like an actual responsible adult and go to bed earlier if you know you have your work out at the (sweaty) ass-crack of dawn, however, after I work out, I am beat and just want to go home, shower and go to beddy-poo. So, I dunno about that one….

Some also argue that morning people are more consistent, but I have to disagree: when I am tired in the morning (which is usually), I am MUCH more likely to bail on a workout than I would after work when I’m already up, out and living my life.

Basically, as long as you stay committed to working out, whether you are a psycho who likes going in the morning or a normal, grounded person who likes going in the evening, you are doing awesome things!

You do you,

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