A Serious Need For Patience

I’ve been on my dumbbell workout routine for six whole days now! Why aren’t I ripped?

All right, so I exaggerate. But it is hard to beat unrealistic expectations. Feeling the workout get slightly easier doesn’t feel like enough, some days. Nor does feeling the bare beginnings of a bicep. I grew up in the Eighties, damnit! I want this whole fitness thing solved with a training montage overlaid with a power ballad! Is that so much to ask?

Sadly, yes. It is. Real life doesn’t have training montages, unless you count your memories of all the hard work. Fortunately, I do enjoy exercising. It feels good, working out with those (small) weights and doing the crunches and leg lifts. Even the little tyke soreness in some of my muscles feels good – although I will confess that I’m looking foreword to the day that said soreness is the result of using heavier weights.

So, clearly, I’m getting back on track with exercising. Now I just need to do the same with my calorie budget…

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Day One: (Almost) 100%!

I feel like I got off to a good start yesterday. I hit my walking goal, I did my workout cards and my warmups, and I… um.,. I sort of missed my calorie budget. Not badly, mind you. Only by 100 calories. It was just sort of annoying. Here’s what happened.

I was tempted by jelly donuts early in the day. But I only ate about 600 calories with, and I made wise choices with my actual meals, so by the time I was winding my day down I was sitting at 2,300 calories for the day. Yay me, right? Of course right. And then I took my dog for a one-mile walk to wrap up my walking goal, after I got my son to bed, and I was a little hungry when I got back. So I told myself I could have something as long as it was relatively healthy, and went with half a cup of lightly salted cashews. “They can’t be all that bad,” I said to myself.

Folks, I forgot the key rule of snacking while working with a calorie budget: check the calorie content before eating. Because it turns out that a half cup of cashews has 320 calories packed into it.

So, yeah. I missed that part of the goal. I still think it was a successful first day, though. And for today (day two)? More of the same. Only with more calorie checking before eating.

Time To Get Started!

I weighed in yesterday at 328.8 pounds. That’s a one pound weight gain from the last time I weighed in, but since that was a month ago and then I embraced the calorie-dense Christmas holidays with wide-open arms, I think that’s pretty good. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about today, except tangentially.

That’s right. I’m utterly fabulous.

See, today isn’t about weight. It’s about getting started. I just needed the weight to establish a baseline for myself, so that I have one of several metrics with which to gauge my progress. My head cold is cleared up (except for a touch of congestion) and, fun as they are, the holidays are over. Oh, and I don’t have the stress of studying for major professional certification exams hanging over my head. Once again, I am able to fully focus on my health!

And my family, of course. But I’ll be doing by a lot of this with them, since I’m the cook and we all want to go hiking (and play Pokémon Go) once the weather improves. Nothing says that getting healthy has to be tedious or lonely, after all. Right?

Although – and this just hit me – I’m going to ease back into the routine a little. I was going to jump in feet first and try and do everything, ignoring the fact that it’s been a while. I don’t think I’ll do that, because it seems like a revue for failure. So, instead, here’s my revised plan:

  1. Hit my calorie budget. I’ve been doing this successfully for the last four days, so I’m off to a good start.
  2. Meet my walking goals, starting today. This may be a little difficult, since it’s been a while, but I seem to average about 3.5 miles per day when I’m not actually trying. Adding 2 more miles is a little ambitious, but I know I can do it because I’ve done it before.
  3. Do my exercise cards 4 day’s a week, starting today.
  4. Do my Kung Flow warmups 5 day’s a week.
  5. Start the Flat Belly Workout next week.

That seems like a good strategy. I’ll let you all know how day one went in tomorrow’s post!

No More Excuses

Well. That’s a dramatic title, isn’t it?

Christmas is over now, and all of us in my family had a wonderful time. The most wonderful time of the year, you might even say. But it’s over until next year now, and with it goes the last excuse I had to be off track. It’s time to get back to work on my goals!

That’s not a “New Year’s resolution “, by the way. That’s a Christmas gift to myself. The gift of feeling better, of getting healthy, and if reaching my goals. And of getting up at 3 am to go exercise, of course. Check it out:

I got moving a little slowly, and so I only had time for about 15 minutes on the elliptical machine, but I’m not upset. Why? Because I did something. And something is a far better start than nothing at all.

The Good, The Bad, And The Christmas Cookies

A whole lot of this blog is accountability. I write for myself, really, trying to record my success and failures in an honest fashion. Hopefully, other people get some use out of it as well, but that’s not really the point. I mention this, just in case you are reading this and wondering why I talk so much about the struggles I have with my goals. I’m trying to figure out why I have those troubles, and what I can do about them.

Case in point: for about a week now, I haven’t even tried to hit any of my goals. Calories? What are those? Walking goal? Nope. Exercising? Naw, bro. I’ve just sort of been… drifting. And I’ve been trying to figure out why. I mean, I haven’t stopped wishing I was doing better. I’ve just stopped trying.

I think there are a few reasons, and it all starts with a slew of car troubles. It’s hard to get your exercises done when you’re driving all over creation juggling your new car while the other one sits n a garage. And it’s hard to eat sensibly under those conditions as well, because you’re driving all over creation and you really can’t effectively cook while driving.

On top of this, there’s a sort of defeatist attitude I start getting around day three of missing my goals. It sounds like this: “Well, I didn’t get my walking in, and I didn’t track my calories, so I may as well plant myself on the couch and eat a pint of ice cream topped with a large bag of M&Ms”. It’s a pretty immature reaction, but it’s a hard one to fight because it’s also the reason I’ll say something like “I’m at 5.90 miles right now. I should go ahead and hit that sixth mile”. There’s good and bad about that trait is what I’m saying, and I don’t quite know how to get rid of the bad aspect while keeping the good.

Also, it’s dark and cold outside in the morning. I’m sure I’ve mentioned that. And while I don’t mind the cold that much, I don’t like exercising in cold, damp darkness. Call me an undermotivated wuss, if you want.

Where do I go from here? Well, probably the best thing to do is to push myself into motion. The weather wasn’t too cold this morning – about 41 degrees – so I knocked out 1.5 miles in my usual morning route. And I’ve packed breakfast and lunch and planned dinner, so that will help. On the other hand, there’s birthday cake at home and I promised my son we’d make Christmas cookies, and I may be making a pie when my mom comes to visit on Christmas Eve. So, there’s that.

Frankly, I think my plan will be to walk and exercise and try to maintain this week. I can really work hard on my calorie goals after that. It’s not necessarily ideal, but it seems far more realistic than claiming I won’t eat cake and cookies this week.

Rethinking A Few Things

I went down pretty hard on Thursday – at a time that feels like the afternoon to me, but which everyone else would call “not even lunchtime”. Thanks, crazy early schedule. But I get off the topic.

I went down pretty hard. It might have Ben the flu, or it might have been a cold, or it may gut gave just been exhaustion. The point is, I went down. And I spent some time talking to my wife, and (thanks to her insight, because she is wise) I realized a few things.

I’m going about things the wrong way.

I don’t think it’s a shock to anyone who’s been reading this blog do a while – like, the lad year – that I’m frustrated with my lack of progress. What I didn’t realize – I mean, really realize – is that I’ve given up. Oh, I didn’t talk like I did. I still gave lip service to the idea of watching my calorie budget and exercising, but I haven’t been consistent with those things for a while. Worse, I’ve gotten down on myself for it, and I’ve been using my goals to beat myself up.

Yeah, now that I write it down, it doesn’t make sense to me either. But it’s what I’ve been doing to myself. It like I’ve been getting some perverse sense of pleasure out of setting myself up to fail, and then failing, and then wallowing in doughnuts as a way of rewarding and punishing myself.

Weird, right? So what am I doing about it?

This isn’t a quick fix thing, really. But the realization is freeing me up to accept what I’ve done, and to forgive myself. I mean, yeah. I messed up. That happens. I’m human. Messing up is a thing that we do. So is fixing it, once we realize what we’ve done.

Forgiveness isn’t easy. I’ve got one of those annoying inner voices, after all. You know the voice, right? The one that tries to undercut your confidence by bringing up that embarrassing thing you did in high school twenty-five years ago? That voice, when I’m down on myself, goes into overdrive. I’ll be arguing with that voice for a while, I suspect.

I’m also cutting myself some slack. I’m taking my calorie budget back up to 2,500 calories per day. That’s higher than the USDA recommended 2,000 per day, but every calorie calculator I can find says that it should still have me losing 1 to 3 pounds a week. And it feels less restrictive than the 2,300 calories I’ve been failing to eat each day.

Finally, I’m going to be reassessing my exercise goals. Sure, I need to do more than walk. But I’m probably better off with a modest exercise program that I actually do, then an ambitious one that I do sporadically if at all.

Nope. This isn’t going to be easy. But it’s all things I need to do.

Trying To Get Motivated

I managed to drag myself out of bed this morning and get some exercises done, and that’s when it hit me. It’s been at least a week since I’ve done that, and probably longer since I hit my walking goal. Or my calorie budget. Or, really, any of my goals I am, it seems, in a slump.

I’m not entirely sure why.

Maybe it was Thanksgiving? Or maybe it’s the wildly inconsistent weather – two days ago I needed a heavy coat, and yesterday when I took my son to Cub Scouts I probably could have gone in shirt sleeves. Maybe it’s me struggling with my latest mad project (trying to sleep a reasonable number of hours). Or maybe all of those are excuses. I’m not entirely sure, to tell the truth.

What I am sure of is that I got up this morning and exercised. And that I probably should have done just a little mire than I did. But even that little bit has left me feeling pretty good. I mean, planking and squats doesn’t have the same 3 am wake up punch that a mild and a half walk has, but I still feel good. For the first time in a week, I’m feeling a little more motivated.

Clearly, I need to do more of this. So, today I’m also going to make sure that I hit my walking goal. By the end of the week, I’m going to be all the way back on track – weird weather or not.