A few weeks ago, Conall arrived home a bit late from work. He’d had to stop at the office to pick up a pedometer.
“A what?!” I asked.
“A pedometer,” he replied.
“Whatever for?” I wanted to know.
It seems that his workplace is jumping on the “get healthy” bandwagon, and is encouraging all it’s employees to “get moving, get fit, get healthy.” I guess it could be worse, as they aren’t equating “lose weight” with “get healthy.” His take on it was that they are giving out incentives for walking however many miles. The ultimate reward is if he walks the equivalent from Colorado Springs to El Paso, approximately 600 miles.
He has until the end of August to get there.
Of course, there are smaller goals with smaller rewards. Unfortunately, the employer hasn’t identified what the rewards are — not for the smaller rewards nor for the ultimate goal. So of course, there hasn’t been a lot of people signing up for it. I mean, if they are going to have an incentive program to help people get fit, they need to define what the incentives are! Conall’s doing it because he knows he walks a lot at work, and it’s free — whatever — just for documenting what he normally does in a week anyway.
Conall is a tall man (6’2″) and weighs around 220 pounds. He’s just shy of 52 years old and, besides having a very active job (as I’ll show in a minute here), he also engages in fencing every week. He usually fences with “kids” half his age, and he keeps up with them all. His usual partner is a man who is in his late 20s, who is currently in the military (so he’s in the best shape he’ll ever be), and who has just been awarded our group’s highest honor for fencing. Now, I’m not saying that Conall wins against his friend very often, but he’s able to keep up with him, hour for hour on the dance floor. And there are many times they fight to a double kill (or draw).
And yet, Conall regularly is told (mostly by his mother, but also by coworkers, even the occasional doctor and stranger) that he needs to lose weight.
See, he’s got a little bit of a tummy. His BMI is 28.2, which according to the standard (which, yes, is completely bogus), means he’s overweight. *GASP SHOCK DISMAY*
According to the world, he needs to stop being overweight, stop watching TV every night, and just go out and exercise! I mean really! He NEVER does anything physical…
Oh, yeah, that whole fitness incentive thing. Remember how I said he was in a very physical job? Since he’s been wearing that stupid pedometer every day, we have proof of just how physical the job is. Well, at least how much he walks a day. Of course the pedometer can’t measure things like all the 50 pound bags of chemicals he hauls upstairs from one place to another. Or what type of energy and strength it takes to manually pull a 40- to 60-pound pump out of a deep pit. Or any of the other millions of duties that make up his job.
But it does measure his walking. And he has logged in about 35 miles a week so far. At this point, he’s pretty much made it over the Colorado/New Mexico border and is almost to the first town on the other side of the border. Raton is about 148 miles from here. He’s only had the pedometer for four weeks. With 29 weeks left to go, he could potentially rack up over a thousand miles by the end of the contest.
No wonder we have to replace his shoes every six months or so.
And yet, he’s still “fat.”
If somebody like him, who is in a very active job, who gets a lot of physical fitness every day, is still “fat,” well then we really do need to rethink what “causes” fat. Because even though nobody would ever believe that he does this much, we now have empirical proof of how much activity he gets in a week.
I can’t wait to explain that to his mother the next time she tries to tell him that he needs to get more exercise because he’s so fat.