Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sine Qua Non: Exericise (without which, it ain't happening)

I am certain -- as certain as one can be without examining the actual DNA -- that I have the fat gene. This is the little piece of code in one's DNA that predisposes one to packing on the pounds. This is why some people are happy with little portions of healthy food, while others of us crave piles of pasta and sacks of Big Macs. This is why some people eat all they want and stay thin as a rail, which others of us look the wrong way at a piece of cake and put on a pound.

This fat gene, called the FTO gene or more affectionately the "Fatso" gene, is on the 16th chromosome. This explains why I have always harbored a secret dislike of 16 (through not nearly as much as I dislike 43 and his dad, 41).

But just when you thought all was lost, the Amish come to the rescue. Researchers discovered that, among Amish men and women, those who were very physically active were able to circumvent the negative impact of the Fatso gene. Exercise, therefore, is the first number of the combination lock, the secret ingredient -- the sine qua non, that without which it ain't happening. (This is the sort of losey-goosey translation that would make my Latin teachers at Choate cringe and suggest I try Spanish or French.)

So my first step is to take my first step. Walk, that is. Rather than worry too much about what I eat, I am going to focus all my effort on establishing the habit of getting regular exercise. At first, this will be walking a lot. At least once a day for 20 minutes. We'll see where we go from there.

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