That Was A Lot Of Walking

Most days, I try to get some of my walking goal done at work. I park inconveniently far from the door, and go walking on breaks. As a result, I’ll usually be at between 3.5 and 4 miles by the time I get home.

Yesterday, I was at 2.75 miles. And I was trying really hard to convince myself that I should just sit in front of the television and play video games and not bother. I’d missed my walking goal on Tuesday and Wednesday, after all. What difference did one more day make?

Instead, I got myself up and drove to a park – the same one I mentioned yesterday, in fact. It did not rain on me, and I knocked out two solid miles without sitting down. My legs were tired but, between that and the incidental walking around my house, I hit goal.

Yay me! Right?

Today, though? I think I’ll try to get some walking in on each break. It doesn’t feel quite so hard, distributed throughout the day.

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Breaking The Day Three Barrier

It’s Wednesday, and Wednesday means danger.

All right, yes. That’s pretty wildly melodramatic. But I’ve been doing quite well since n my goals for the past couple of days (staying within my calorie budget, hitting my walking goals, and so forth), and I happen to know that the last few months it’s always day three of getting back on track that causes me problems. That’s the day when I blow out my calorie goals, or don’t walk, or do something else that ends with me looking back on Friday and wondering just what went wrong.

I don’t plan to do that this time. (Technically I never plan to do this, but you know what I mean.). Instead, I took some steps to prevent it from happening. For instance, I packed my lunch last night so I wouldn’t have any excuses, and I prepped dinner as well. The raw materials just have to go in the crock pot, and I’ll be having pulled pork for dinner! And possibly pork tacos for lunch tomorrow, because 3.5 pounds of pulled pork goes a long way…

The point here, though, is a simple one. The single biggest reason I failed on day three in the past was a lack of, well, not if planning. Of following through. I had the plan, but I didn’t do the plan. And it’s a lot harder to stick to a calorie budget when you’re eating out of a drive through, and then it’s a whole lot harder to stay motivated on exercising when you blow through your calorie budget. Especially early on, when you’re just getting (re)started.

Here’s to breaking the day three barrier!

*EDIT*

So, naturally, I forgot about the ice cream social at work today. Oh well.

Trying To Get Sone Traction

I have not been anywhere as successful in my efforts to meet my diet and exercise goals as I would like, and I blame Thursdays for this.

Well, all right. Not really. But it always seems to be Thursday when my resolve crumbles. I’m not sure why, exactly. But there is something about that day if the week that causes me to chuck it all in and overeat, or fail to exercise, or both. And then it always seems like it ends up being Monday (or, in this case, Tuesday) when I try to get back on it again. Pretty much like clockwork.

Clearly, the solution is more of the same. Right?

I joke, but I still can’t see a problem with my strategy: eat within a calorie budget, and exercise more. It’s just the execution that is a problem. That and the doughnuts, that is. There’s three bags of them sitting just to my right here at work as I write this. Check it out:

Fortunately, they aren’t really good doughnuts.

I guess the solution is to remove as much temptation as I can. Pack my meals, try not to have cash in me, that sort of thing. Stop making excuses, and start planning. I mean, I know I can do this. I just need to actually do it.

Small Victories Are Still Victories

Well, I’m two days into hitting all of my goals now – walking, stretching, staying within my calorie budget, all of it. And I feel pretty good.

It was a bit of a struggle last night, though. I’d had to run to the grocery store to pick up a few things. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but grocery stores are full of food. Including chocolate, which I dearly love. Chocolate I walked past twice, thanks to nearly forgetting something and having to double back for it.

In the end, I didn’t buy any. As a result, I stayed within my calorie budget. I’ll call that a victory, thank you.

Fun. Not “routine”.

So. It’s, uhm, it’s been a while. For pretty much all my goals, not just writing this blog.

What happened?

Not much, really. I just got reminded that, once you get into a routine, it’s hard to break that routine. That can be a good thing or a bad thing, really, depending on the routine. Sadly, for me, it’s kind of a bad thing. Because of this, I’m going to try and shake things up a little.

Some of this was my wife’s idea. She reminded me that I’m most likely to keep up with my goals when they’re fun. When I enjoy what I’m doing, instead of treating it like a chore. That’s why I play Pokémon Go, after all: to add a gaming component to my exercises. So here’s what I’m going to be trying to do this summer:

1. Stay on m calorie budget. This one really isn’t fun, but I have a plan. I promised my son that once every two weeks we’d make dessert at home. Ice cream, or cookies, or brownies, or whatever. Something. The rest of the time, desserts will be fruit or cheese or something healthy. That way, we start treating sugary snacks as a special treat instead of a regular thing.

2. Walk. My walking isn’t going away, obviously. But we’ll be doing more family walks, and more Pokemon hunting. And since I managed to set my son up with his own Pokémon Go account (on my tablet, using my phone as a hotspot to get an internet connection. Now he’s super excited about walking. Also, the Cincinnati Nature Center has a Hike Fir Your Health program my wife and I want to complete over the summer, so I need to get back in practice!

3. Contact staff instead of weights. I still need to do some crunches, to help with my belly, but the weights will be going on the back burner for the moment. Instead, I’ll be getting back to practicing my staff spinning tricks. It’s a significant workout, after all. And it’s a whole lot more fun than weights.

4. Swimming. Lots and lots of swimming. The pool will be opening in my complex this weekend, and my son is already planning to live there. And chasing a seven year old around the pool is always good exercise. Good, fun exercise.

So, there I go. I think it’s a good structure, and that I’ll be successful doing it and that I’ll have a lot of fun doing it as well.

No, Really, There Is No Finish Line

So, yeah, I’ve been feeling pretty demoralized recently. There’ve been a lot of things going on in my life, some of it good and all of it important, and my focus has been scattered and disorganized. And, as I always seem to do, I’ve ended up focusing on all of the things I haven’t accomplished, instead of in the things I have accomplished. It’s an easy trap to fall into, and I fall into it a lot. No, more than that.

Which is why my wise and amazing wife reposted a blog post I wrote two years ago, titled No Finish Line. To remind me that I’m on a journey, not heading towards a destination. And to do it in a way that I couldn’t argue with (as I frequently do when I’m down on myself), because I wrote the thing.

She knows me well, she does.

You can click that link up there and read the whole entry, but one paragraph really jumped out at me:

Generally speaking, I try not to think of the “end game” of all the work I’m doing. I stay focused on the here and now. On walking today. On hitting my calorie goal today. On exercising today. Do that enough times, I figure, and the goal will take care of itself. But I do think about the end. About hitting my goal. And when I do, there’s a temptation to think I’ll be done. That this will be over. That I’ll have won.

I go on to explain how that isn’t true, but there’s another aspect to that attitude that I hadn’t really considered. I do think about the end. About hitting my goal. And when I do, if I haven’t been making progress – even if I’ve been maintaining – there’s a temptation to think that I’ve lost. That I lost, and that I may as well quit because the game is over.

So, there I am. Declaring that I’ve lost a race that isn’t actually a race. Honestly, “changing my life” isn’t a game I can win. I can’t really ever say “my life is now changed, so now I can stop”. My goals – my exercise, my walking, my calorie budget – are all healthy habits to develop. They aren’t scorecard items that I have to check off to win.

So much of this journey is about reframing the way I think. About making changes to be the person I want to be. None of it is things I have to do to not be a failure.

I need to remember that.

What Are You Worth?

For various reasons it’s been a rough week

You know what? Strike that. It hasn’t been a rough week. It’s been a rough year. See, it’s been over a year since I started studying for the second and then the third level of my Certified Equity Professional designation, and it’s been a hard year for my health. I piled stress on stress, and thought I had a stress management plan but didn’t, and started eating junk because I stress eat. That made me feel bad about myself, of course, so I ate more and stopped taking care of myself. That lead to gaining more weight, which made me feel worse, so I ate even more and exercised even less.

Have I said this before? I think I may have, in bits and pieces, but I don’t remember if I laid it out like this before. But in the past, I’d close out with some quick peppy thing about how this time it’s going to be different. This time I just need to have some will power. This time I just need a few more rules, or the right new exercise, or something, and it’ll be all better.

It’s not that easy, is it? It never is.

My wife helped me realize something last week, though. I’d been thinking I was down on myself, possibly even depressed. And I was, but not for the reason I thought. I was angry, because the hard work I’ve done in several areas of my life hasn’t paid off the way I wanted (not yet, at least) and because I feel like I’m spinning my wheels. But I don’t deal well with anger I grew up believing that anger is a bad thing, that I should be afraid of expressing it because it made me a bad person.

Sure, it can. Getting angry and lashing out at people can totally make you a bad person. But anger can also motivate you. Some of the greatest things we’ve achieved – the end if slavery, for example, or women getting the vote, or the Civil Rights Movement – happened because someone got angry about injustice, angry enough to get motivated to try and make a change.

I’m angry. And admitting that has been liberating, because now I understand why I’ve been struggling so much. I turned my frustrations on myself and beat myself up for not being good enough. But I’m worth more than that. My family’s worth more than that.

There’s no miracle cure in this, sadly. I’ve still got struggles ahead of me, bad habits to overcome and all that. It’s hard making changes. But I’m worth more. I’m going to consciously start telling myself that and, slowly but surely, it will begin to sink in.

I’m going to eat a healthy diet: I’m worth that.

I’m going to exercise: I’m worth that.

I’m going to get a good night’s sleep: I’m worth that.

I’m worth the effort I’m putting into changing my life. And I will learn to believe that.