Authorial Sludgebody: How To Fix?

Once again, it’s that time of the year where I feel like a hibernating bear who suddenly wakes up in his cave surrounded by candy cane wrappers and choco-smear paw-prints and the bones from various turkey dinners. It’s that post-holiday wake-up call where your body reminds you:


This is all pretty normal for me, though this year it seems a bit worse than in prior years (the curse of getting older? the doom of living with a toddler where it’s harder to amend my diet for the better?). I assume my routine will be the same as in former years, and the answer is of course a straightforward one — “Modify lifestyle by changing diet and increasing exercise.”

Still, I’m curious — the simple answer is a good one but I’m also curious about the more granular answers. For those of you who have tried or are trying to lose weight — what works? What didn’t? What diet? What exercise? Give a shout.

Curious to hear your experiments, expectations, and results.

If you don’t mind sharing, of course.

My hats off to those who do.

I’ll hang up and wait for your answer.



143 responses to “Authorial Sludgebody: How To Fix?”

  1. As far as exercise goes it’s best to always keep it changing. Run, swim, bike, hike, play a sport that involves running. Just don’t let your body get used to doing the same thing.

  2. On diet…

    Try eating smaller meals more frequently. Don’t eat to the point of feeling full – stop at what feels like 75%.
    Respect your breakfast – it sets the tone for the day. Drink water the moment you wake up. Throughout the day, drink water and wait 20 minutes when you feel hungry – your body uses the same physiological alert bell for thirst as it does for hunger. Eat a variety of veggies, and always with a little protein and carbs – the latter helps your body metabolize the fat-soluble nutrients in the former.

    On exercise…

    Go for a brief walk when you wake up every morning to get the blood flowing. For every 50 minutes of straight work, take 10 minutes to go move around. Keep a pair of 20lb dumbbells near your workspace and do quick low-rep exercises when your attention span gives out. Embrace any physical activity that makes you want to shout “WHEEEEEEEEE!”

  3. 10,000 steps a day with Fitbit. Am I loosing weight, not really, but I feel great, and my clothes fit better. I do what I can during the day, parking away from the office, doing laps in the hall at lunch, then end the day at the gym for whatever is left. Picking up speed on the treadmill. I naturally eat better, too.

  4. Winter is the worse. Every year when the cold sets in I load up on Mt. Dew, Coffee (looooots), tea (must have for any season actually. I’m addicted to Arizona sweet tea.), BACON, bagels, cookies (double stuff oreos and vanilla wafers are the choice this year), and pop tarts.

    However, I do eat breakfast (at least 4 times a week, and when I do the lollies don’t get eaten as much at night), I drink a full glass of water in the morning before any non water beverage (but then i must have the coffee), I walk around my house to take a good look at how the weather is treating my abode (we live near a beach so its mostly sand. you have to be careful there isn’t any holes created by animals that live in said sand that could possibly grow and become sink holes), I stretch on my back deck (this is a must because I hardly ever get to bed before 3 am anymore, and sleeping til noon is murder on the back and legs), most importantly I think is that I eat dinner between 3 and 4pm . (Mostly because of my mum. She cant have late meals) But Ive noticed that ever since I have taken on her meal schedule I’ve hardly gained any weight even with all the junk food. Once a week I go to Myrtle beach or the neighboring town and walk for a couple hours, (the hubby calls this my “walkies” because atrophy is not pretty). Sex a couple times a week is also helpful. (As memory serves anyway). I clean my “cave”, at least twice a week because a messy cave is a messy mind. OH and shower at LEAST 3 times a week. This helps keep the funk from weighing you down.

    With all that said, with a toddler in the house some things are probably not very practical. The showers for instance. (when my daughter was a wee monkey) I would take them in the afternoon when she napped. Now that’s become a habit that I like lots because it helps get that “second wind”, so I still do it to this day. Walking around outside with the offspring is good for both. Contrary to belief, bacon is awesome for an energy boost. A few slices in the afternoon when the appetite is not forthcoming with specifics but you MUST eat, is great for the tummy and the brain. If you need a nap, take it with the kid or do it sitting up somewhere. 15 minutes. That’s all your brain needs to reboot. Don’t do this in the chair or area you write in or your body and mind will start thinking it’s ok to fall asleep while in mid keystroke. Walmart sells those little dumb bells of which i have two different weights sitting on each side of my chair. When I need to stop and think over what I just wrote or contemplating, I pick those up, stare at the screen and lift weights. (you would think this would make you tired, it does at first, BUT, there is one thing I have learned from sitting for hours at my desk writing and that is……arms start to go numb after awhile because the only flow of blood that circulating, is in the fingers. While the arms, shoulders, back, etc, start trying to die on you so they can cease the torment.

    Ummm…any of that helpful?

  5. Hey – coffee snob! Don’t quit drinking coffee and don’t but anything off an infomercial!! Just simply apply your no-fuckery rules for writing a novel to working out for 45 minutes a day. After 5-6 days, eating more frequent smaller meals and you will literally feel you body temp going up, your nut sack will drop another three inches and your own muscle mass will iterally eat your sludge pack. The beauty of this, its addictive as hell. Married with three kids and a 50+ hour a week J-O-B and for me, nothing gets me prepped to write better than throwing some weights around or running. I used to run pushing a stroller, now the little ingrates run me into the ground so its good family time as well, whereas writing … not so much. You can even take the weekends off – not that you’ll want to.

  6. Yes. The old, eat less move more addage is true however they forgot to tell the whole truth. You have to eat ALOT less and you have to move A HELL OF ALOT more. Every fitness magazine sells the same nonsense within different covers each month. They advise us that we can drink our red wine because it contains antioxidants and indulge in a bit of dark chocolate because it may prevent cancer. What it should read is asparagus has antioxidants and nothing, not a single thing prevents cancer but then no one would buy ad space because no one would read it. Here we are back to eating less moving more. If you believed those lying rags you would believe you just have to take the stairs or park in the furthest spaces at the mall. Lies, all of it! You need to do something, bike, walk,run, swim ….fast. Right to the point your lazy butt and deconditioned heart screams…we are going to die. Then you have to sustain that for 45 minutes at first then add 5 minutes each week or so until you are at 75 minutes a session. Do that at least five days a week for multiple weeks in a row and you will a. most likely NOT have a heart attack, but there is no real guarantee and then b. you will lose weight.

    I am not a personal trainer and I have no medical background. So technically there should be one of those disclaimers that say “you should consult a doctor before beginning any exercise problem blah blah. I never understood why there wasn’t a disclaimer in front of each television program… sitting on the couch eating another bag of fritos and ice cream will make you fat and probably give you diabeties at best but I digress.

    I have gained and lost weight. Each time it absolutely sucked (sorry I know you are a writer and I should have a better word but it did…suck) Then for more than a decade I lived within 5 pounds of ideal thanks to rigorous exercise and no dieting. I recently moved, changed jobs, changed careers, injured myself and… and… and so I am back to square one of losing weight. Normally it was 15lbs give or take. This time it is 38 thanks to the injury. So please know that we are with you in spirit. Miserable every minute until the scales moves a bit and the pants fit better, way better. Good luck!!!!! You can do it. Again!

  7. I am right there with you! I’m going the 100 more pounds route. No seriously. I started with the whole cut my foods, watch what I eat, blah, blah, you know the bit, and I ended up dropping 3 lbs in like 4 weeks. (Frown) At that rate I will be back to where I should be in 10 years, so I started eating ALOT! Only gained back the 3lbs but have been eating like a pig. I will check back in when my fingers are too fat to type.

  8. Cutting all soft drinks is good. Personally, the thing that seems to work for me and keep those 22 pounds off I usually add during winter is actually very simple (in theory); don’t give in to my carb cravings. I even got off a few more pounds by eating the same except for the amounts of carbs (not none, just always a bit less than I was used to). Of course, I don’t know what you do that you add weight in winter, but for me that is a real issue.

    More exercise is good, but it actually doesn’t have to be all that specific. Just going for walks should work. If you have anything resembling seasonal depressions; go for a walk early in the day. It’s good to start with real daylight (even when it’s dreary outside).

    Eat slow and with attention is always a good thing. Makes one less prone to overeating.

    /as I think you already eat sensible, I have nothing to add to that. That said, I’m highly allergic to Real Diets. Changing habits is good. Diets not so much, imo.
    //is losing weight slowly but steadily with these simple changes (as I already cut out any soft drinks and other very sugary bits years ago). But I do eat (tiny) bits of chocolate and other deliciousness and enjoy those more now.

  9. Find something you enjoy doing for exercise – consistency over intensity wins and sustains in my experience. I really enjoy lifting heavy weights, it’s a challenge that gets me into my body in an almost meditative practice and I do it 4 – 5 times a week, really short intense sessions that get my testosterone pumping and focus me mentally.
    Cut down on your simple carbs and sugars, delay the gratification to one day a week. I tend to eat fairly simply( lean protein, vegetables for my complex carbs, little to no dairy) and i have one day off a week where I gorge like a death row prisoner. I think clearer and faster, and I sleep better. I also write more, although that too is subject to a routine that I stick to, which has given me the means to produce and finish written work.

  10. I’m a little late to the comments here (keep up with the site via RSS and get sidetracked often), but low-carb does work, and if you can’t or won’t go full low-carb, at least consider cutting out wheat. Resources: for low-carb in general, “Wheat Belly” by William Davis for getting rid of wheat belly. Good luck.

  11. A little late, but I’ll echo a lot of the comments made here and add my own bit.

    I lost 100 pounds in the course of my weight loss journey. Mostly, this was done by getting up off my ass but also from forsaking all calorie-having beverages in favor of wonderful, life giving water. That’s all I drink (save for the occasional glass of whiskey). Calorie counting, while many hate it, I found necessary for myself as well. Just knowing what you put into your body is helpful in terms of moderating.

    As for exercise, I ended up having to try for a while to find what I like. Like Matt says above, you need to like what you’re doing. For me, I love the hell out of wilderness hiking. I can do ten miles uphill, over treacherous terrain, and I’ll still want to keep on going. That’s how awesome it is to me. So I try to do that whenever possible. It also really helps as writer fuel.

    Another trick I found pertains to eating and feeling full. I found that at first, it was hard for me to feel full off the lighter portions I was restricting myself to. The solution was simple: load up the veg. If I made a sandwich, I’d make up for its lack of oomph by piling on copious amounts of lettuce. If I were to have pasta, I’d do a serving size of the pasta and the sauce, but then I’d pile in onions, mushrooms, peppers, all kinds of things and a small bowl of pasta would turn into a massive plate, 90% of which was veggies. It really helped me become satisfied with smaller portions down the line.

  12. Paleo-style eating. Check out Mark’s Daily Apple for an intro. NOT meant to be a diet or a one-time thing but an approach to eating that is helluva healthy for you and gets rid of the yo-yo of seasonal weight-gain/loss. Basically a low-carb/med-protein/high-fat/lots of delish. Before you think I’m nuts for the high fat bit (mostly animal/saturated), check out the reams of science supporting the approach. Oh and you’ll have more energy and a lower risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc. Not bad, eh?

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