tomfromhr.com a blog on tech, politics, life and zombies

5Apr/123

6 Months? 2 Weeks! Let’s do it 2 Weeks!

The title is an Arrested Development reference that may only make sense in my head.

I'm moving. The sooner the better. My goal would be to be moved by June, at the latest.

What prompted this was thinking about my 12changes change for April. I started to think about trying to be a bit more adult, doing things for myself. I live with my parents now and, for convenience sake, my Mom is a very traditional mother. She cooks, she cleans, she tidies. She doesn't mind doing this, and we offer to help out, but in the end it's just easier with one person doing this. But it means that I have a lot of little embarrassing moments, when people ask me about my life, and I'm forced to either lie, or talk about how much my Mom helps me out. Cause it's a lot. Far more than I'm comfortable admitting on this blog.

And it's easy to say "start doing things yourself." But there are practical and emotional concerns. To cook for myself I basically have to not eat with my parents, which would be rude, I would say. And on the practical side, it's very, very tempting to just fall into the habit of letting someone else take care of your laundry and lunches. Can you honestly tell me you wouldn't let someone else do it if they offered? If so, you're a strong person than I.

With the help of some friends, I realized that none of this, none of these adult things, are going to stick until I actually have to do them myself. I'm never going to learn to manage my money until I have to. Never going to cook for myself until I have to.

I keep waiting for the time to be right. To save up more, to get my weight under control, to get a new job. I keep thinking that I can gain the confidence that I am my own man, that I am capable of all the things I think I can, under my parent's roof.

But I can't. There's some shit that's not all internal, folks. Positive thinking doesn't solve everything. It may for some people, but not for me.

For my own sanity, for my own development, I need to move. More on the where, how, and when later.

5Mar/124

Exercising, Socialization, Skype and You

I'm supposed to go to CrossFit again tonight. Well, I say supposed to like someone else made the decision. I did.

It's been a week and a half since I first went. I didn't go back after due to a friend coming into town and then getting sick.

Then I started realizing how easily I could start cutting down calories and started thinking about life and how I want to make sure I'm spending time with the people I love, doing things I love.

Then I started talking to friends (including the current object of my affection) more on Skype and other voice chat systems.

And I know it's good for me. I know it won't be as bad as I fear, I know I'll have more fun than I think I will, and I know it won't even take as long as I fear. But I don't wanna. I don't want to leave this warm bubble of friends, of worlds I know. I don't want to dive into this cold and, honestly, seemingly unfriendly world of a gym.

I know it will be good for me. And I know I'll be glad I did it.

My nose is also sniffling today, heralding a resurgence of a cold. Experience tells me if I go and exercise I may exacerbate things, which worries me somewhat, but that's more of an excuse than anything else. And I know I can't go tomorrow, due to a get-together with a friend. And I won't wanna go on Wednesday any more than today. But I may be sniffling less.

I've been worried lately about stress, and I know that this exercise would, in the long run, help me relieve stress. But there's nothing I'd like more than to not have to face that room of people I don't know, to not have to find the trainer and ask for help, and to just say "hey, I'll lose weight through diet change," and never go again.

But I will go back. If not today, then Wednesday. If not Wednesday, than next week. If not next week, than the week after. In fact, I just messaged my friend who went there, to give me some support.

It's okay to not want to do something, for some things to be hard, for some things to be forced. It's about identifying how to make them less hard.

 

(that's what she said?)

3Mar/120

6Months and 12 Changes for March

I started off the 6Months Project with a bang by getting sick and feeling like crap. Yay!

It hasn't been all bad, because it has given me some time to reflect on myself and to relax a bit, even if I did feel like crap while doing it. I'm hoping to get back to CrossFit next week, though I may scale back my initial 3x/week plan to 2x/week.

Relaxing at home reminded me just how much I enjoy doing exactly that.

I don't so much mean sitting and doing nothing, but hanging out with friends on WoW, having long Skype conversations with special people, or keeping up with Twitter and other things. I may be able to incorporate some gym time, and I'd like to, but those things are important to me, and I want to make sure I'm not sacrificing them.

Around the same time I came across a neat tool, from reddit, for the site Wolfram Alpha. If you go there and search for "weight loss" you get this handy tool, which shows you graphs, time estimates, and all sorts of fun facts on weight loss. For fun, I put in my info, and, just out of curiosity, what I thought was maybe around a doable average caloric intake per day for me. And surprisingly enough, it showed me at my ideal weight in just over a year.

This got me thinking about how I could reach my weight loss goals without dedicating 3 nights a week to the gym. In this same reddit thread, there was someone talking about his own weight loss, and he confirmed one of my worst fears. See, I have always had trouble counting calories, or saying no to delicious foods, without feeling like I'm doing some chore, or depriving myself. I should probably try and frame it a bit better, and I've worked at that, but it's still there. This reddit user said, in his struggle, he'd found you can never not be a fat guy. You can never be one of those people who just doesn't watch what they eat and is okay. Your body isn't built like that, and neither is your mind. It is a constant struggle, he said.

And while I hope he's wrong, it reminded me that I will need more than the gym, and that I will have to find a way to eat sustainably to maintain a healthy weight. So this means watching and changing my diet.

So my 12change for March is to keep up my meditation, keep trying to eat more whole foods, and also document my foods, every day, with LoseIt, starting on Sunday. I'll try to ideally keep my calories per day at around 2000-2200. This may sound high, but realize that a) I'm a guy and b) I'm a big guy. The idea is finding a calorie level I can eat comfortably, without feeling like I'm depriving myself. Maybe reddit guy is right, and I always will feel like I'm depriving myself, but I'd like to try and prove him wrong.

So what do you think, reader? Do people ever get to the point where they can just relax about food, or if you've had to lose a lot of weight, will you always have to watch it?

23Feb/123

6 Month Project: Getting Fit and the Search for the Grail

I have to say, I was more than a little intimidated as I walked into the CrossFit gym.

I've never been much of a gym guy. At all. I've never been particularly fit in my life (except for a short period in 2nd year) and I've never fit in with that whole gym crowd. I can't discuss the game last night, or that crazy Ref/Ump (though lately I may be able to talk about the basketball game, thanks to GFM). I'm not particularly competitive, nor do I have any interest in being the fittest person around. A disclaimer; I'm not saying that all gym-goers are like this, only that many guy gym-goers, in my experience, have this kind of attitude. Plus, public showers? Ew.

So when I walked into the CrossFit and no one really greeted me, there was no one at the front desk, no one to hold my hand and encourage me along and say "Welcome!" I was a bit unsettled. I'm also used to yoga studios, where there are usually friendly and attractive people to guide you every step of the way, and encourage you to take it easy.

CrossFit is not that.

I eventually found the guy I'd spoken to before, let's call him Jim. Jim walked me through where to go and what to do step by step, but only so far as the next step, and occasionally interrupting mid sentence to say hi to people around him, chat to those folks, and to introduce me to them. I found it a bit unsettling, this all being very new to me, but I rolled with it.

He took me through a "warmup" which ended up being the hardest workout I had done in years, and the second hardest workout I would do that day, of two short sessions on the rowing machine. By the end my abs, arms and legs ached, and that had only been 5 minutes or so.

Then it was on to what they call their Baseline, or a set of timed exercises meant to see where you are in overall fitness, including rowing, pushups, squats, crunches and pull-ups. I managed to do fairly well, landing actually in the middle of the pack in terms of Baseline, taking about 9 minutes, when the average runs between 5-15 minutes, though a couple of the exercises were more forgiving versions (jumping pull-ups and knee pushups). Afterwards I rested for a bit, before going to their small change room, and realizing that my legs were seizing up and I couldn't walk.

Well, to be clear, I'd end up sitting down, or standing up, and realize that bending my legs caused me to curse wildly. I started to worry about driving home. Getting my socks on. And the fact that I was half naked in a change room (a single one), with my one friend who I knew there well out of yelling distance, and my phone locked away in my car. I started worrying about if I could actually do this CrossFit, how the Hell I was going to get fit in an efficient way otherwise, how my parents would react when I needed a drive home and for them to pick up my car and a bunch of other things.

But after a minute or two, I started tentatively moving my legs a bit, and finding only a dull soreness. I carefully got my socks on, collected my things, and got out of the room. Met up with my friend, and signed up as a member. It'd be scary, yeah. But sometimes with scary things you just keep going. You take a minute, sit down, give yourself a minute to feel it, to worry. Let the fear run it's course. Then move on.

So I intend to be going back 3 days a week. They have some daily workouts which vary up, and scheduled times for instructors to run small groups through them, but ideally, eventually, you should be able to do them on your own, at whatever time you like. My idea is not to do this forever. While it's challenging, and interesting, it's not what I'd call fun. While there seems to be a good community, I'm not sure I fit in with that crowd. I've still yet to find the physical activity that I would actually choose over lying on my couch watching TV or gaming, but I'm trying to be open. No, CrossFit is a means to an end; I intend to use it to build up a baseline level of fitness in myself; get my weight down, build up some strength and agility, maybe, so that in 6 months I can settle things down a bit; do more walking, cook better for myself, and maybe play a bit of Wii Boxing to work up a sweat. I have no interest in being in peak physical condition; good will be just fine in that front. I may end up, as my one friend said, getting hooked on the adrenaline rush of working out, and start to enjoy this kind of activity, but I have my doubts.

Would I recommend this so far? Yes, absolutely. It's an amazing, full body workout that I'm still feeling two days later, and it is fun enough that I can see myself doing this for the next 6 months. But it's still not, to me, the Holy Grail of physical activity. Still searching for that

17Feb/122

6 Months

"So the minimum commitment is 6 months starting in March. You still want the space?"

I paused for a moment as the man said that. I was rushing to get things done, it was around 4:45 on a Friday, and I didn't want to make this decision now.

The man had called me from GO Transit because, a few months ago, I had applied for a reserved parking space at the station I go to every morning, and one had become available. As it stands now, I get driven every morning, as finding a parking space is increasingly difficult there.

However, 6 months is a long time. In my head, I was moving away next month. Getting an exciting new job. Maybe even giving up my car and living in the hip downtown. I hadn't decided yet. All these were possibilities of the next 6 months. Committing to this meant either throwing away good money, or staying with my parents, at the same job, for 6 months.

But here's the thing. I like deadlines. I like having an end. I like dates that force me to think about things, to limit me, to say "this is when this has to be done." So this is a little arbitrary. But it's a good start.

So in the next 6 months I hope to work on a few things. I hope to have a new job lined up. I hope to be well on my way to moving out of my parent's house (perhaps with a closing date exactly 6 months from March 1). I'm going to have a new blog, and a new blog identity set up. And I hope to be more physically fit and, ideally, have lost 60 pounds. I know, that sounds like a lot, but if I'm going to be at my medically ideal weight, it's gonna be around that kind of loss.*

I've already made good strides. I've started applying for jobs. Somewhat haphazardly, but at this point I'm just trying to get my name out there. I've been keeping up with my Whole Foods challenge, though not perfectly, but it's been on my mind and I've made some small changes (more fruit and salads, so far). I've been looking into starting CrossFit, and I'm actually really excited about that, as it seems like it might be the answer to weight loss I've been looking for. It will be physically challenging, but that in and of itself I have no problem with, particularly if it will bring me results.

So I'm excited. I feel like this little thing is a way of giving myself a goal, an endpoint. I have 6 months to work with what I have now, to get the most out of it, and get myself ready for the next stage of my life. I'm starting it a little later than I'd like, yeah. But I'm starting it.