I Sense A Trend, Here

Clearly, exhaustion is a cause of overeating. I think it’s because I crave sugar and carbohydrates when I’m tired, as the rush of quick energy helps to perk me back up. And I have been tired, recently.

I blame allergies. It’s hard to sleep when you wake up because of sinus drainage, and I’ve been waking up a couple of times a night with no idea why. But then, when I get up, I’m coughing and choking and generally feeling stuff oozing down my throat. Quite unpleasant, really.

So last night I went through a hay fever regimen – pills and sprays and all, and then arranging to sleep with my head elevated. The results weren’t perfect, but I slept better than I have in about a week. Now, I just need to see if that translates into more willpower about staying on my calorie budget.

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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.

Danger, Danger!

Sometimes, the trick to being at all successful with a diet and exercise program is to recognize the signs of impending trouble. Sadly, they don’t all come in the form of 1950s cinematic robots shrieking “danger, danger”. But, with practice, they become recognizable.

Case in point: I didn’t get up to go exercise this morning because I was tired and had a headache (which could have been caffeine withdrawal or, based on the way my mouth and throat felt, dehydration). And then I discovered I was nearly out of gas and had to drive all over creation looking for an open station at 5 am because the two 24-hour stations near my house were closed. So I grabbed breakfast at a drive-through and arrived at work utterly frazzled. And going through my mind was the thought “Well, my calorie budget is off to a bad start, so I may as well buy some M&Ms.”

Now, I didn’t buy them. Because I don’t need them in the slightest. But I had to argue with myself, and point out to myself that while I dented my calorie budget, it’s still recoverable. And even if I go over a little, I don’t need to go big bag of Peanut M&Ms over.

The temptation still lurks, if course. But this time I recognized it for what it was, and didn’t give into the impulse. Now all I have to do is remain aware, and be conscious of my decisions for the rest of the day.

Oh, and get to the gym after work. I still need to do that.

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.

The 501st Post

WordPress informed me that yesterday’s post was my 500th post. If I’d known I was hitting a milestone, maybe I would have done something more elaborate. Or, maybe it. I really was that tired, yesterday. And I still am, although I’m beginning to think it’s mostly being caused by the falling temperatures and shorter days and the stress.

Gotta live the stress, right? Thankfully, I’ve only got 16 days left until this test is over.

So, 501 posts. I’ll be honest, here. Way back when I started all of this, I wasn’t really sure I’d last. I’d tried exercising and weight loss before (without success), and I’d even tried blogging about it once before (it didn’t help). I was skeptical that his would be any different, but I knew I had to try. And now, 501 posts later, I… well, sometimes I’m still skeptical. I’m not where I wanted to be, after all. Really, I wanted to be at goal by now.

But then I look at the subtitle for my blog: “Changing my life, improving my health.” It sounds trite, but that subtitle sums up the whole point of all of this. Sure, I’m not even halfway to goal anymore – stress and the poor eating habits I develop from stress have eroded some of my progress. But i haven given up. I’m still getting up at 3 am to walk a mile and a half before work, and I’m still walking 6 and 7 miles a day. When I started, walking 2 miles seemed an insurmountable goal. I can’t run after my son for hours, but I can chase him longer and farther, and I can still pick him up and swing him around if I catch him.

I have changed my life, and for the better. And if I’m not at goal yet, that just means I have even more change and even more improvement to look forward to. And I can still look forward to sitting down with n my doctor’s office to talk about those last 20 pounds he thinks I should lose at that time, and reminding him that he’s literally talking to half of me.

501 posts. Thank you, everyone who’s been reading this, for coming along on this journey with me. And don’t give up on me! The best is yet to come!

Maybe Feeling Unmotivated Pays Off?

Right. Yesterday I wrote about how the treadmill died on me and I didn’t get to finish the 5K workout for Monday. And how I went walking after that, but I couldn’t work up the willpower to run. Remember that?

I just checked my FitBit. It turns out I walked 8.75 miles yesterday.

I figure that some of that is due to my department relocating to the 3rd floor in my building, and to me deciding to take the stairs as much as possible. But, let’s be honest here, not all of that is stairs. Which means that, despite the treadmill thing, I did all right.

Taking It Easy

Wow, that was an awful week. I made it in to work on Friday, started dragging again on Saturday, slept 12 or 13 hours on Sunday, and ended up taking Monday off because I was dragging hard Sunday evening.

Naturally enough, I was feeling fine by midday on Monday.

So, here’s where I’m at. I’m just recovering fro being awfully sick, so I’m not pushing myself. The 5K training is off the table until next Monday. Heck, I’m not even going to push myself to hit my 5.5 mile walking goal until then. I’ll walk on my usual daily schedule (sans hitting the treadmill each morning) and if I happen to hit that goal I’ll be fine with it. But it’s not mandatory.

Hitting my calorie goal is still mandatory, though.

Also, after talking to my wife, my exercise goals beyond walking are on hold until November 6. (Well, I say “talking”, but it was more like “arguing until I realized she had a really, really good point”…) See, I’m studying for the third(and final) level of my Certified Equity Professional certification, and that is a lot of work. Exercise and weight loss needs to be a secondary goal for the next eight weeks. So I’ll still be walking for stress relief, and doing some stretches, and watching what I eat. But the rest of my energy goes to studying.

Man. I can’t wait for this to be over.