Climbing A Stairway To Heaven

Sometimes it's the little things that matter. Let me show you something.

That is the stairway from the cafeteria up to the ground floor in the building I work in. It's about 20 steps, with a landing halfway up, and it was the bane of my existence when I first started my exercise and weight loss program. Getting up those stares felt like a challenge, and I'd frequently have to stop for a second when I reached the top.

It occurred to me, just a few days ago, that now I just zip right up them without noticing, when I get back inside from walking on break. And I've been doing that for a while now.

Yeah, sure, that hardly makes me a triathlete or anything. But it's a nice little reminder that I am making progress.

Maybe, one of these days, I'll get a picture of the three floor spiral staircase in here. That one still leaves me a little winded, by the time I reach the top.

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Oh! how I hate to get up in the morning,

Oh! how Id love to remain in bed;

For the hardest blow of all, is to hear the bugler call;

you've got to get up, you've got to get up, you've got to get up this morning!

Some day I'm going to murder the bugler,

Some day they're going to find him dead;

Ill amputate his reveille, and step upon it heavily,

And spend the rest of my life in bed.

That's pretty much how I felt this morning. My alarm went off, and I just wanted to toss my phone across the room and go back to sleep. My bed was so comfy, and I was tired, and I didn't wanna.

I got up anyway. And I sort of regretted it. It was warm and sticky outside, and I started sweating uncomfortably within seconds. But then, as I hit my stride, my attitude changed. I started enjoying myself again, started appreciating the quiet and the enthusiasm of my dog (who woke up with me today and was super excited to go for a walk), and had myself a good time. More importantly, it got the day off to a great start.

I'm still excited about not having to get up tomorrow, though. Maybe I'll sleep in. You know, all the way to 5 am.

But Isn’t That Dangerous?

I've been thinking a lot over the past few days, and all of it is due to my wife and her wise council.

It's should come as no surprise to you, if you've been reading this blog, that I've been fairly discouraged and frustrated for a while now. I mean, this is a blog chronicling my efforts to lose weight and get into shape, but I've slowly gained weight since January. That is a hard thing to face.

"You need to give yourself grace," my wife told me. "It's been a really stressful year." And it had been. Between my test, and my grandmother's death, and some excitement involving family health, things have been really stressful. But I didn't want to hear it. I was frustrated, and I interpreted "give yourself grace" as "just accept that you're failing", and I got cranky and defensive and more stressed.

Clearly, this is not what my wife meant. And I think I've finally realized that. Because she explained it, and explained it, and explained it, and explained it, and finally I actually listened to her.

This has been a really rough seven months. Consistent exercise has been difficult. Stress eating has been a (poor) coping mechanism. And guilt and frustration over not hitting my goals, and fear that I'll backslide and gain weight and be back to 420 pounds again has become a very real thing. Real enough that I refused to really acknowledge the fact that, despite all the stress, I've only gained back 20 pounds.

That's only. Not "only". Things got rough, and while I maybe could have done better I also could have done a whole lot worse.

It isn't easy, letting go of the guilt and frustration. There's no easy fix. But the first step is acknowledging – really acknowledging – my successes and the reality of the situation I faced. The second, as my wife said, is to forgive myself and accept myself. After all, I wouldn't treat my son this way if he was struggling with something. So why should I treat myself that way?

I won't say I've mastered this. Not by a long shot. But I'm working on it.

Next, of course is… no, not "getting back on the wagon". I mean, yeah sure. I do need to do that. But, more importantly, I need to develop a stress management plan. Some of the stress from the last several months won't be going away any time soon, and I need a better plan than "eat and then yell at myself". That part is a work in progress.

Also, I need to get back on track. And I'm working on it. But I doubt it'll be really effective until I manage to fully forgive and accept myself, and then get that stress management plan together. But once I do? Well, once I do, losing weight will be easy.

I have an amazing wife. I should tell her that, more.

Cool Weather And Sinuses

Right now, it's perfect walking weather. Nice and cool in the morning, with just a hint of a breeze. The kind of day that makes you glad to be out walking, and which doesn't get too hot even in the afternoon. A far, far cry from the unpleasant heat and humidity of the last few weeks – I have to work to sweat, right now.

So, naturally, my sinuses have packed it in. My fault for letting myself run out of allergy medication, but it sucks a lot of the fun out of the walking when you can't breathe very well. Still, so far so good. And I'm nicely on track to hit all my goals today.

And once my prescription is refilled? I'll be far more on track.

Ow. My Thighs!

I was going to write this yesterday, but was distracted by the whole not feeling well thing. So, here goes.

Saturday, I got back to work with the same personal trainer I've used in the past. And, after I described my frustrations with having fallen off the exercise wagon and regaining 25 pounds, she decided that the best thing to do was ease me back into exercise by killing me.

All right, all right, that last part was sheer hyperbole. But I haven't done any squats or push-ups or anything in months, and they are hard when you haven't kept up. So now I have aches I muscles that haven't been accustomed to aching for a while. And the fun part? I figure that, around the time the aches go away, she'll change things up and make me work harder.

Yeah. What I'm saying is that I needed this.

Not A Good Start To The Day

Here. Let me show you something.

That's what I saw when I woke up a 3 this morning. 78 degrees, with humidity like a wet blanket spread out over my condo complex. Faced with that, I simply couldn't work up the enthusiasm to go for a two mile walk. Heck, I couldn't find the enthusiasm to walk as far as the treadmill.

I am not particularly inspirational today. Just hot and sticky.