I just spent some time scrolling through this blog in disbelief.
It’s like reading about someone else. These past few years in New Jersey have brought so much change to my life. Some of it has been amazing. I moved across the country with my best friend and love of my life. We got engaged, then married. We bought a house together. I got my MA, then a job teaching high school English. In a lot of ways, my life has moved forward.
But health-wise, I have regressed. Moving to New Jersey was a difficult upheaval. I loved my life in Tucson, and I had settled into some (very healthy) habits. But the garden state brought winters, depression, diners, pizza, and malaise. While I was getting my MA, I was at least able to maintain a workout schedule. I love teaching, but it does not leave me with much time or energy for personal improvement. I come home exhausted, starving, depressed, sapped. My nights have been primarily Netflix and takeout. A year and a half wiped clean my healthy habits of 5+ years.
Once habits are formed, they are hard to break. So I scrolled through this blog, looking for my old healthy habits to re-emerge, re-inspire. And this is what I came up with.
- To have goals again.
This one may seem a little silly, but one of the things I liked the most about health and fitness was setting challenges for myself to strive for. I push myself harder when I’ve got a pre-set standard I’m trying to achieve. So I’ve decided to re-start monthly challenges. This month, I started off with the goal of exercising 6 days a week. Here’s what I roughly worked out my schedule to be:
- Monday: Gym class (cardio)
- Tuesday: Off
- Wednesday: Yoga
- Thursday: Run 3 miles
- Friday: Gym class x 2 (cardio + strength)
- Saturday: Climb
- Sunday: Run 3 miles
I can say upfront that I have not achieved this goal. Last week, I missed two workout days. This week, I’m counting my two 3-hour shoveling sessions as replacements for my Saturday and Sunday workout. But with all that said, I have worked out more this month than probably the past six months combined, and I plan on finishing out the month strong. I’m not sure what to do next month (suggestions?)–I might keep this schedule one more month, but combine it with my next goal, which is:
2. To eat healthier
This is a little more complicated. When I started to lose weight, eating paleo was all the rage. It was easy to stick to this with friends on board and support communities. However, “paleo” has taken a lot of flack, and now “intuitive eating” is in.
I hate intuitive eating. I tried it, I swear. Listen to what your body is telling you, they say! Eat “mindfully.” Pay attention to your cravings. Well, here’s what my body has to say:
The word “intuition” means having the ability to understand or know something without any direct evidence or reasoning. And maybe this works for some people. But I thrive on logic, evidence, and reasoning. I don’t know why my internal food clock always says it’s time for chocolate, but it does. And thankfully, my logical reasoning brain can tell me that eating Phish Food for dinner isn’t a healthy choice.
So I don’t care that “paleo” is out. I’m going to switch back to a “modified paleo diet,” which basically means a lot of lean meat and protein, healthy fat, and vegetables. This is the cornerstone of every healthy diet ever. If you’d like to read more about what this diet will entail, here’s a whole blog entry detailing what kind of food I’ll be eating.
3. To forgive myself
Nothing is harder than facing the reality of the situation. I’ve gained a lot of weight–around 20 lbs–and am in much worse shape than I used to be. I feel less confident in my body, my clothes fit tightly (if at all), and I can no longer do the same activities that I used to do. I can’t run as fast. I can’t climb as well. I can’t do pull-ups. I’m lucky if I can eke out 10 push-ups. I get aches and pains. I feel old. I’m less confident.
Forgiveness is an important first step. I’m an emotional eater, and when I feel badly about myself I binge eat. I become sedentary. When it’s hard to watch myself in the gym mirrors because I look chubby, when I can’t lift the same weights I used to, when I’m not as flexible as I once was, it’s easier to just sit at home and ignore it.
I need to forgive myself and accept the situation. I’m not as fit, and that’s OK. I need to accept that and move on. This is much easier said than done, but it’s important to get out there.
Fitness is a journey. I’ve come a long when from when I started, and I’ve had some setbacks. But I think writing this entry, acknowledging the situation, and trying to retake control of myself are important first steps. I’ll try to update this semi-regularly with progress, successes, failures, recipes, and challenges.