Vacation wise, this has probably been one of my healthiest yet. My wife’s side of the family is very health conscious, so the food is healthy and in reasonable proportions, and everyone works out pretty much daily. There is also an adorable little niece who we hand off chasing duties to, meaning someone in the house is always responsible for following her around as she runs around and making sure she doesn’t bang her head on anything. It’s a running joke by now that she’s helping me get my daily steps in. Just now this blog was interrupted by following her around for 10 minutes, running after her, and occasionally sitting down to read half of a book.
Maybe it’s the mirrors here, or maybe it’s a weight loss, but I’m noticing some loose skin. The skin around my belly button is starting to sag a bit on each side. Just a bit. But I had my wife look at it, and she agrees it looks like loose skin.
I was hoping to avoid this. I was hoping I wasn’t too far gone, but the stretch marks that I’ve had for years likely speak against that. But it’s funny in that it’s both a positive and a negative. It’s something to celebrate and something to worry about. It means I’m making serious progress. But it’s also an unpleasant side effect of this whole process. It means I may need to have surgery, or do some special exercises to work on this. It means that I was working towards a place where I’d feel comfortable being shirtless in a pool, and now realizing I’m liking actually moving AWAY from that.
But it does mean progress. It does mean health. It does mean I’m moving in the right direction. It’s a funny little victory there.
It’s funny the way we think about things. I was ready to come here and post about how I’ve been stuck in terms of weight loss, losing and gaining the same 5ish pounds for the last 3 months. And in some ways that’s not untrue. 3 months ago as I was at 221. I’ve gotten down to a low of 214, and as of today am back up to 215. My weight will usually drop over the course of the week, and jump back up over the weekend.
But I came here to say that I had first hit 215 several months ago when, looking at my tracking, it was less than that. A couple weeks. October 18th, to be precise. About 4 weeks ago. Not that bad. And if I look at the graph, and drew a line to get the average trend like they taught us in grade school, the line goes down. Absolutely downward. But it doesn’t feel like it. It feels like I’ve been stuck. It feels like I’ve moved backwards lately, falling into old bad habits of mindless eating and cravings for chocolate and fried goodness. There’s been stress, and that’s part of it, I’m sure.
I feel better equipped this time though. Portion control. Exercise. I have tools. I have a community. I have some ideas as to how to push myself a bit further, and most of them aren’t undoable. They involve some unpleasantness. Resisting some cravings. Staying involved with the community.
I remember someone telling me a long time ago that, on average, once you’ve done something consistently for 6 months, you’re generally set on it. You need 6 months for a habit to form, to create something you’re doing constantly. For reference, I started actually working out on July 18th, 2016 and, with the exception of taking some time off for Legion, have worked out 5 days a week, M-F, since then. In order to work out for 6 months consistently I need to keep doing it until mid-January, 2016. I feel like if I can do that, I will get there. It may take me a while, I may not have the crazy huge results everyone else has in 6 months or 3 months or whatever, but that will help me keep the tools. Keep the faith.
Oh God the tags on this one are gonna attract SO MANY SPAMBOTS.
Last week I took the plunge and signed up for NerdFitness’s Academy, their paid course on weight loss and fitness. It was a one time fee of $99 USD, and I purchased their yoga course as well ($37 I think, half off when purchased with NF Academy). The Academy is essentially a large interactive book, coupled with a goal tracking quest system and tied to a large community, both on Facebook and in their forums.
So far, I’ve made a lot of progress and enjoyed the fuck out of it.
The course starts you off with mindset work, as the idea is less to have you lose weight fast, the idea is to change your relationship with weight and fitness, framed in nerdy and RPG elements. It definitely speaks to me very well, and it’s been successful. They hand you “quests” to complete, which include goal setting, logging your food, taking your measurements and taking before pictures, and as you complete them you get XP and level up.
You also choose a class, which generally symbolizes the kind of things you want to do. Druids, for example, do lots of meditation and yoga. Monks do lots of martial arts, warriors do strength training, etc. In his book, the founder of NerdFitness, Steve Kamb, even suggests creating your own class, though the website doesn’t support this currently. The class mostly comes into play in their forums, where you can join a guild for these classes and do challenges. A lot of people guild hop, however.
The goal setting section is a big part of it, and that’s been helpful. I set a few big goals, including a “Big Why.” Mine was, in short, that I need to give my wife a good, long life, and there’s a lot of things I’d like to do that I can’t currently, stuff like play golf with my in-laws, fit into suits that aren’t custom made, and keep myself well read, both on current events and in terms of fiction and non-fiction. NF focuses on physical fitness, but also has elements of just generally levelling up yourself and improving yourself overall.
So far I’ve been logging my foods and generally making better choices. I’m doing less emotional eating, less moments of “I’ve had a bad day so I’m getting M&Ms,” and it was that loss of control that really got me. Doing something that was legitimately bad for me, that I knew was, both from a financial and physical perspective, because I craved that momentary high of chocolate, of sugar, etc. I’m not saying I’m never eating M&Ms or junk food ever again, but trying to make better choices about when I do. I’d do things like graze on candy if we got some in the office, or if there were appetizers out I’d pretty much graze constantly. Last night we had chips out, and I ate some, yes, but not nearly as many as I wanted to, not nearly what I thought made sense.
And this is my problem really. It’s not about never having those things, it’s about those emotional moments where I go to eat something and regret it afterwards, because I overeat, my stomach hurts, cause it is never as satisfying as I think it will be.
So I’m hoping this will stick, and we’ll certainly see. I’m trying to take the victories where I can get them, make better, small choices, as opposed to big ones where I feel like I’m cheating myself or depriving myself. I do feel like my mindset has shifted a bit though. I know this will be hard, but thinking about “this is what’s healthy for me, and this is what I need to do” has been helping.
And there does seem to be a good community out there to support me! NF’s one is top notch, and there are daily Facebook posts of people sharing their victories (and defeats, occasionally) and I’m excited to dive into their forum, the guilds, and challenges therein. The ever-inspiring Jenn has also offered to help me dive into the Instagram fitness community, which looks like a good one as well. Debating if I want to set up a separate fitness Instagram account, as I’ve seen a few others do. Leaning towards it.
It feels good, and it feels like progress, which I haven’t felt in a long time. I haven’t taken any measurements or weighed myself yet, but this is more about lifelong change that will get me there, not about a quick fix. My mind feels better, and I’m excited about the future, and eager to accomplish the things I want to do. I have an idea for a walking challenge that has me really excited, specifically trying to walk the distance from Hobbiton to Mordor. Not barefoot, though.
I’ll do my best to update when I can, folks!
So today I'm doing Wine and Love again, hosted by Suki! Here we talk about the things making us reach for the wine glass (or alcoholic beverage of choice) and the things we love this week!
- Seems to be a lot of folks losing loved ones these days. Pets, parents, grandparents, a lot of folks I know have lost someone in the last few days. I try my best, to help and be there for folks, but everyone handles it in their own way, and there isn't really much you can say. Though if anyone has any tips on this, I'd love to hear them.
- Work continues to be very busy. Nowhere near some other folks, of course, but busy all the same. I was asked to do some extra work, that I was paid for, but it meant a late and stressful night, and it's throwing me off a bit. Nothing terrible, of course, but it's less than great.
- Weight. Things are on the upswing again. I try to keep an eye, but like many things, this could be helped by moving out and not having pie, cake and ice cream around at all times. Sadly, this is not something I have a say in currently. I do need to learn to say no to these things too. But when you're a bit stressed, it can be tough.
- I have an interview on Monday! I'm excited about this. I love my current work place, but I'd welcome the chance to try something new. This job would be closer to where I live (even closer if I move to the area I'm hoping to) and would be a great step up for me. Challenging, but worthwhile. I'm also just really glad to have the opportunity to interview and see their whole process, so I think this will be good.
- I'm doing better at reading blogs, keeping up on twitter and reading the papers every day. It's very easy for me to get caught up in my own stuff and miss a lot of what's going on, both around the world and with my friends, so I'm glad I've been able to do that. Next up; keeping up on YouTube!
- More wine! I've been drinking a bit more lately. Just a bit here and there, which may not be the most healthy, but it's nice. Latest favourite has been the GFM Approved Blanc de Blanc. Very nice, and relatively local!
What are you loving, and not loving this week?