Missed these little check-ins from the final year of my fifth decade?
Fret not, they’ve not been pushed far from the front of my mind…they are only a trip past my bathroom mirror away, as a matter of fact. But, this final week of the third quarter of this trip around the sun for me seemed like a good time to check-in again.
First some obvious accountabilities: exercise and diet.
I’ve quit my gym. That may not seem like anything but a big step backward, but I think it’s not. Sure, this was initially a financial decision, the money I spent on gym membership could be better spent on wine, after all!
What I came to realize, though, was that at this time in my life, lifting weights was problematic. More of a tether or a crutch for my old fitness mindset of recreating or restructuring my physical self…making it into something it’s not.
I have some 4-25 lb dumbbells at home that I can use for a variety of toning exercises when the mood hits. Overall, that’s what I want to rediscover: tone. My arms were as thick as my neck in my 30s – don’t get excited, I’ve been called pencil neck before. My chest and ankle measurements might make you wonder if my “father” was, in fact named Frankenstein.
What happens to that forced physique when you stop feeding it iron plates is not pretty. Over the past three months, as I’ve changed my exercise regimen up – mostly changed it to “rest” – is that those muscles have softened. My chest does not have as much in common with a 35 year old man as it maybe does with a 50 year old woman.
And that’s ok…for now.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want either of those racks. But it’s a stop on the way to slimming down.
So, what’s this new regimen?
It’s more intense cardio based, as far as structured exercise goes. Spin class. God bless RevoCycle and the Filipina Fox for getting me back into spin! I really love it…it’s prohibitively expensive, so I’ve been on a little break for the last few weeks, but the time commitment vs results impact is exactly what I want as I try to return to a slimmer silhouette overall.
The remainder of what I’ve been doing outside of mini weight workouts at home and spin class is lifestyle exercises. Things designed not to get me out of the house and into the gym, but rather to get me out of the house and outside.
Hiking, mostly. I live in the Pacific Northwest…God’s Country. I have 40 miles of trails in Forest Park, a quick two mile urban hike away. I live on Park Ave – between 8th and 9th St in Portland’s Alphabet District. My stretch of Park is between Everett and Flanders – do not stalk me…you’d be gravely disappointed. Forest Park has an entrance at about 28th and Thurman. That’s 14 blocks over and 19 blocks up.
We all need a little touch up now and then, eh? That’s what this year-long theme is about! But I found an alternate entrance a few blocks further up the hill and have had myself a couple of nice 10 mike hikes over the last few weeks. It rained almost all of last week, but today on my weekend agenda…yeah! More hiking!
Remember, what I didn’t want to do was overcorrect here and go radical self-deprivation by only allowing myself chicken and broccoli for dinner. That usually leads to chicken and broccoli for most lunches, too. And that leads to Unhappy Xtopher.
Also, I didn’t want to not drink.
I wanted to eat real food, have real junk food and get my drink on when I wanted to. Be that when hanging out with friends or doing a little self-soothing after work.
I’d say the one thing my diet is missing right now is protein. In eschewing chicken, I’ve become cognizant of the fact that I’m not chewing enough of anything that used to be alive. Almonds, peanut butter, lunch meats and tuna ain’t cutting it.
Non-Dad-Bod Xtopher needs some red meat.
Shut up, Diezel.
Other than too much pasta in my diet, I’ve been happy with my intake. Oddly, I’ve found myself craving kale lately. I should definitely give into that, I bet my body is feeling less nostalgic than it’s actually trying to tell me it needs something.
My alcohol consumption is steady, I know you were worried.
I find that my drinking has become less…binge-y and more consistent. Neither in a bad way. When I was drinking before, I’d drink for several hours, ignoring the fact that I was setting records with how many drinks I could consume in an hour.
I’ve gone from drinking 2-3 drinks an hour for several hours to drinking 2-4 drinks a night. Maybe I drink 5-6 nights a week versus 3-4 nights a week, but I’m not waking up groggy after and I find myself deciding to have another beer versus just giving into habit or simply being handed one by an attentive bartender.
All this came to the front of my mind during last week’s acupuncture appointment. My Needle Man had been diagnostically probing my abdomen and when he was done, instead of quickly pulling my shirt back down and making a comment about covering my shame, I began absent-mindedly playing my belly like a drum. He smirked at me and when I realized what I’d been doing, smiled sheepishly and apologized.
He made a comment about enjoying seeing such self-acceptance in today’s body shaming culture. Someone just innocently enjoying their body without realizing it – literally, in my case, he said – was refreshing.
I told him that I planned on enjoying my body in not so innocent ways later, which gave us both a chuckle. That may sound a bit depraved to you, but we talk about my sex life almost as often as we talk about my digestion.
If we’re gonna talk shit, nothings off the table. Plus, there’s a couple of treatments he does that have a great reproductive side effect. It may not be strictly necessary in my case, but that doesn’t mean it still can’t be appreciated!
The conversation eventually led to – well, directly led to – how self-acceptance was kind of the theme of 2017 for me. I described how nothing I did physically replaced running in my life, how I could run in the rain but cycling and hiking in the rain were no-goes for me.
“Why don’t you run anymore?”
So, I gave him the back story and then short-handed it to “bone density issues in my lower legs”.
I’ll short-hand his response to “There’s a needle for that”.
Me: Do not get my hopes up.
Not at all, he told me, cautioning me that it will take time and be something I have to build up to, but there’s probably no reason I shouldn’t count on running again.
So, as I enter the last quarter of this Fitfy (mis)adventure, I find myself looking forward to an unexpected and welcome gift for my 50th birthday…an evening jog to close out my work day.
It’s just what I wanted.