I originally set out to make this theme a weekly check-in for this final year of my 40s. The larger goal was to motivate myself into finding a balance between a reasonably healthy physical self and mental and emotional satisfaction with how that state of physical being manifested itself.
Y’know, to ditch the body-negative mindset that I’ve been emotionally kicking the shit out of myself in pursuit of for the last 20 years or so. I didn’t quit this theme so much as I took a hiaitus in order to refocus on that goal when I found myself falling back on the same habits that had delivered me to where I found myself on Jan 22 of this year: injured, eating emotionally, physically and mentally depressed…your basic nightmare.
So, that’s what I did. I put down my phone, walked away from the laptop and WordPress app – at least as far at Fitfy was concerned – and focused on collecting myself mentally to re-engage with diet and exercise.
I addressed diet first.
Before it addressed me.
Also, because I’d gotten comfortable being physically lazy.
I’d been having a real challenging time at work with a really unhealthy emotional situation with Capt Can’t. I’d been drinking too much and too often to self-soothe instead of dealing with the situation. I went 29 out of 30 days with more than four drinks in me.
In addition to the drinking – as if that much alcohol wasn’t enough of a red alert – I’d been eating crap. Candy and coffee for breakfast and chips or popcorn with my alcohol for dinner.
It’s a wonder I survived the month. Luckily, I had my righteous rage to sustain me.
But, changing the diet was hard. I needed some crutches. Like sharing my bottle of dinner wine with the Silver Fox instead of hiding out in my living room overfilling my own glass.
See? That’s a 50% reduction in consumption right there.
Ok, 60/40 since I’m kinda tricky.
Fine! 70/30 because he’s more disciplined than me to begin with…but, still – a reduction in consumption!
Other nights, I would switch to a diet soda overdose to distract my way through a couple days of not drinking.
Then there was reintroducing real food to my diet. I focused on significantly reducing my “reward days”. Actually, the goal was more to flip the ratio of healthy meals with bullshit junkfood reward meals by 180 degrees. I had to be willing to allow myself to waste food while doing this, because normally I will resist cooking at home under the auspices of not liking leftovers.
Step one here was a win-win because I challenged myself to cook food that created leftovers I can tolerate eating, like Italian food. The bonus here was that I had a couple days of lunches afterward.
What I was most proud of with this first step was that I was eating friggin’ Italian food. This isn’t something I would have entertained back in June after slipping back into my old food punishing ways of plain grilled chicken and broccoli for dinner.
I was making fun, carbolicious food that felt like a mother’s hug in my belly.
It was a treat, but still healthy-ish.
It wasn’t popcorn.
There were a few nights I’d steer myself away from eating take out for dinner and cook up some tasty red meat protein at home, not great for me…but good enough. Yet on other nights, I’d order that pizza and then only allow myself one reasonably sized meal off of it. No eating the entire thing in one sitting or breakfast pizza the day after. Wasting food isn’t my favorite thing, but I needed to force some discipline into my diet while fending off a potential binge by making myself feel deprived.
Ok, enough of my public diet shaming…it’s making me crave chips for dinner.
The other piece I needed to address was exercise.
I’d already gone butt-wild at the gym early this year and ended up reinjured for my troubles. The healing break that caused in my gym goings came at a not awesome time: right on the heels of my Capt Can’t work stress and subsequent medicinal regimen of booze and comfort food.
I think I put on 15 lbs in 30 days.
That also didn’t help with my healing – carrying around a bunch of extra weight.
So, coming off the bench, my mind was set on cardio to slim down versus focusing on those gay muscles. A nice chest and arms is aesthetically pleasing, but I’d have to look pretty hard to find anything darker than a dotted line between my Fitfy Mission Statement and chesticles.
Complicating the matter, the cardio machines at 24hr Fitness tended to tweak my knee injury pretty easily. This is something I wished to avoid.
Cycling, it was.
Sadly, I wasn’t getting home from work until around 5 each day, which made getting on the bike for a couple hours hard. Particularly when you factor in that I’d need to come home, shower, make dinner and hopefully be in bed by 8 for work the next day.
I was averaging one ride a week.
Fortunately for me, The Filipina Fox had just started her new spin instructor gig at RevoCycle, just a few blocks from my house. She taught Tuesday and Thursday nights and encouraged me to use the first two free gymcentive – Chrisism – to try the gym out.
I was skeptical.
I loved the results that spin produced as a workout, but these classes are in the $13-18 range.
Too rich for my broke ass and its paycheck to paycheck existence. I’d already let my 24hr membership lapse in arrears, though, so in this particular moment, “free” was just inside my price range.
Of course, I loved the workout.
It was all the usual good stuff about a spin workout: intensity, intervals, instruction, motivation…but their equipment was unique, too! Their bikes are free-wheel affairs, like a real bike versus the typical weighted wheel you usually find on spin bikes. The free-wheel meant no added stress on my knee.
Being able to walk pain free the day after class: priceless.
After my week of free classes was up, it was time for an overdue vacation and time with the fam. I swear, I will get around to writing about it, but for now, just know that I spent plenty of time on my bike. And, my parents being the awesome folks they are, they slipped their broke ass boy some walking around money before putting me on a plane. I swear, this whole “walking around money” phenomenon that happens in my family before someone gets on a plane? I’ve always been a little jealous when I’m not the one traveling.
But, thanks to the parentals, I had a few shekels for some spin classes.
And that’s where I’ve been putting my exercise effort, 2-3 times per week. It’s nice, most of the classes I take are 40 minutes of spin and 20 minutes of what they call body sculpt. Basically, that’s a 20 minute barre class…which is just enough to finish kicking my ass.
It’s been a great few weeks – this is the last week of my pass, so someone start a GoFundFatty to raise money for my next pass! I’ve dropped enough fluff to fit quasi-comfortably into my 33″ waist shorts. That’s a nice benefit…one that doubles my shorts wardrobe, too! I’m still closer to 200 lbs than I’d prefer to be, but I’m moving in the right direction and I also know that some of my weight loss is camouflaged by lean muscle gain as I begin to regain leg muscle that has eroded over the last year of poor exercise.
It’s nice to see some definition peeking out from the shorts I now fit into again. I call those muscles my eighths but people who are not cursed with chicken legs would call them quads.
The last month of exercise has been largely pain free! Like I said earlier, I can walk without soreness the day after class. That’s a huge plus.
My one instance of suffering was not so much a result of my exertion in class as much as it was a side effect of my usual gracefulness.
I’d been pushing myself hard in this particular class. It was my second of the week and I’d noted the drop off in performance compared to the first class of the week earlier in my month-o-spin and wanted to push through it.
Mostly, I succeeded.
We were doing climb intervals. Slowly increasing resistance until you were forced out of the seat to finish the interval, then repeating the process – the climb, if you will – about three times during a song.
It was the second song, second climb. I already felt like I’d left it all on the last climb, so I was struggling…but determined.
Once that second climb ended and the Filipina Fox gave us permission to return to the seat…I sat. As a matter of fact, I didn’t just sit, I fucking sat.
Right on poor little lefty, if you get my drift.
No idea what he was doing hanging out back there, but I’ll tell you this…I didn’t pedal right for the rest of the class.
Meh. It’s ok, though…it’s not like I’m using those muscles anyway, so I guess it could have been worse.