About eighteen months ago I started golfing again. In fact, I became a very frequent golfer, often playing 5-6 times per week. I would either play with friends, or I would go to the course and let them pair me with someone new. It was quite relaxing, and very enjoyable. With very few exceptions, I would take a cart, and I would smoke a cigar (or two… or three) throughout the course of the eighteen holes.
I have heard people argue as to the legitimacy of golf as a sport, and I think that is a silly argument. Of course golf is a sport. Whether or not it is exercise though… that is a different question.
Leading up to my return to golf in October 2020 I was either walking or jogging up to ten miles per day. When I started golfing (which was usually a 5-6 hour commitment) that ended, and it should not have but it did. I figured that if my fitness watch was registering over 10,000 steps per day when golfing, then I was fine. When I realized that driving the cart registered a lot of those steps, I should have immediately gone back to proper exercising… I did not, and over the next couple of months my weight crept… and then slid… and then completely fell off a cliff, and I was back to my heaviest weight ever.
I want to be clear (I say that a lot) that eating has more to do with my terrible weight gain than did the exercise… but when I am in an exercise routine, I am focusing on my health and improving it. I know that if I am walking or jogging, for example, if I have a heavy meal then I will feel sluggish walking or jogging the next day. I watch my speed and distance when walking and jogging (using a combination of apps and other technologies), and I like to compete with myself to best my previous records – either weekly or monthly records, and sometimes my best-ever records. When I cheat, the results are immediate. I might jog a mile a minute or more slower than I had the previous day… and that is no way to best a record.
It is a slippery slope that starts and ends with what you eat (and drink). There are, however, factors that can make you forget the dangers of ‘just this once’ or ‘I’ll just have a little.’ Coming off the golf course, I knew that when I got home, I would immediately have to take Princess Sophie to the park. I remember the first time I decided to stop at the supermarket on my way home to pick up a sandwich to eat in the car. I felt guilty as I sat there and ate it, however good it was. In fact, I likely took one of the slices of bread off and threw it away, so I was eating the sandwich open-faced, meaning less starchy bread. I probably did it again a few days later, and then again, and at some point, I stopped eating them open-faced. By that point, why not just have their delicious fried chicken? After all, the sandwich cost $5.99 and the eight pieces of fried chicken was only a couple of dollars more… and I would get two meals out of it. That’s how diets collapse.
I was doing so well. In September 2020 I was at the lowest weight I had been in twenty years… and then it fell apart. By January 2022 I was at the heaviest weight I had been in my life. I did not get fat again because of golf. There were myriad life stresses going on through that fifteen-month period that all contributed to it, and there were two virtual launch spots for my falling off – one was the sudden passing of my father, and the other was my sudden relocation back to Canada. Had I still been exercising when my dad died, I might have taken the week off for the shiva but resumed right afterwards. Had I still been exercising when I came to Canada, I would have continued to do so here… and likely would not have made the myriad poor food choices that I did when eating out.
If you have ever lived through a Canadian winter, then you know that starting a workout routine in the dead of winter is not the easiest thing to do. If you have lived through a Canadian winter during a pandemic where gyms and fitness centres are all closed, then you’ll know it is that much harder. I am not going easy on myself; I will continue my diet and I will lose enough weight so that by the time the snow is melted (and there is no risk of ice on the sidewalk) I will be able to start going on serious walks, and eventually starting to jog. As I have always done, I do not want to start jogging until I am below a certain weight, for fear of doing real damage to my knees.
Yes, when the weather gets nicer, I will start golfing again. I do miss the Southern California climes in which I was able to golf year-round… but here I am, and I will settle for a May-October golf schedule. By the time I do get my first round of the season in, I would like to be fitting into some of the nicer (smaller) golf shirts that I sorted by size last week, and not the XXXL shirts that I know fit now.
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