Day 976: Ramping up to a strong finish

With less than 25 days to go on this, I feel like I’m on track (again). This does nothing to address the underlying issue that I’ve discovered, and failed to resolve, for 1000 days (almost).

Cyclicality.

I know that’s not a word.

As much as I’ve tried to resist the idea of the yo-yo, I’m, like, the platonic ideal of the yo-yo person. I am at the bad end of the yo swing right now, and fighting to get back!

So yeah. That’s the eternal challenge. I can get on track. But I can’t stay on track. It’s like the old joke: I know I can quit smoking, I do it twice a week.

Admittedly, I did go through a cataclysmic period in June. It’s still a bit haunting! I know that sounds melodramatic, but it’s true — that was a whole I did not like that and I do not want it to happen again, which applies to both the kidney stones and the bout with horrific depression.

Strangely, there’s a lot of overlapping Venn diagram between kidney stone advice and depression advice.

Exercise.

Drink a lot of water.

Eat smart.

I’ve been doing well about those, more or less, but I still feel like it’s been a slow climb back from June, and now that I’m back on the positive swing, stopping the yo is the challenge I’m going to be carrying out of this. I’ve got tactics! I’ve got methods! I’ve got a full toolbox of things I need to succeed, but it’s keeping that toolbox in use that’s the challenge.

This is where my head’s at for the last 20-odd days: I have a method, and if I follow it, I do extraordinarily well, and feel great. So why do I stop? Why do I let it fall off?

Can I crack the puzzle in 20 days?

Probably not, but I should try.

Day 947: Greetings from Toronto (hopefully)

If all’s well, I’m close to Oshawa and on my way to Toronto this morning, taking my mother-in-law to the airport (but doing the smart thing and taking trains in and out of the city, to avoid mental wear and tear).

Back to work tomorrow, and I’m actually kind of excited to be back to routine… I’ve been okay with food for the break, but am far from perfect and am actually kind of stoked to get back on a proper program without having houseguests.

Day 828: Routines work and yet…

I still didn’t do my checklist last night! I was tired, and just wanted to read in bed, and even the 15 minutes of checklist stuff seemed insurmountable. This doesn’t affect the logging streak (Day Three), but it does bum me out a little.

I coulda done it! I coulda just powered through.

And it’s not a big deal as a one-off, but when I’m trying to come back from a break, and I know that routines are what works for me, it’s hard to justify breaking from the perfectly functional routine.

An interesting mental challenge is “what if I had no choice?”. I ran 6+ km this morning; at the 2k mark I wanted to turn around, but I forced myself to do the extra km out, which then made me run the extra 1k back. 6k!

It’s a weird thought, but maybe I need a mental Lee Ermey or Freddy Krueger to remove choice from the equation. If there were a person with a gun, or a rottweiler, or something saying DO THE CHECKLIST last night, I certainly could have done it. I chose not to do it, but I was 100% capable.

I know the routine works, and I know I’m physically capable of doing it. How do I force myself to… do it?

Day 827: Routines Work

Picking up a thread from last week — multiple threads, actually. The routine is the only way for this to work for me. There are people who can live tremendously flexible lives and still get exercise in, eat right, etc. I’ve met them! Conferences and work trips and such from the old job. They’ve got this innate dedication that helps them prioritize the Right Things regardless of time-and-place curveballs.

I do not have that.

The pattern for me is “get on the routine, everything works great, then stop, and when you get back on the routine, it has all gone to hell,which is… it is what it is, I guess. I have lots of gifts, so I’m not going to get hung up on the lack of that one.

I think the reason I get so intellectually attracted to the ‘simplicity’ narratives that you see in Drug Nightmare documentaries, monks, samurai, etc., is that routine is pretty baked into those things. Oddly enough the military has no pull for me, probably because I like the idea of routine but I really don’t like being told what to do or think.

Back on the routine, obviously, and yo’ing back down the bad side of the yo…

Day 823: Up early, out of sequence

Insomnia strikes again, this time in the rare (for me) “can’t get to sleep” format; asleep at about 1 a.m., up at 4:30 as my wife was heading out the door. The cascade from there is exercise / feed cats / this, and I haven’t showered yet, which feels off.

The amount that routine matters never fails to amaze me with this. I do well when I have a routine, and I don’t do well when the routine falls apart. That’s all there is to it. I resist routine because it feels like I’m somehow losing flexibility or self-direction, or… something… but it simply works. Nothing works but the routine and sticking to it.

Why do I resist routine so hard? It clearly works. Is it an inherent lack of discipline that manifests itself, or some sort of rebellious streak?

Day 519: Reinvigorating!

Good little row this morning; my wife ran her race yesterday and I joined her in, I guess, sympathy eating (?) later in the day. Spent most of Saturday doing yard work and fixing up a fence, yesterday was kind of… spacey. Race and lunch, and then just puttering. Made veggie broth. Worked on a tofu press. Watched a terrible movie.

Feeling kind of flat today; I think I just need to get moving and get some stuff done.

Day 512: Back to normal

A nice vacation; back to work today after a good 8k run. Small pile of accumulated volunteer chores, and as mentioned, the foster takes time. Time I’m happy to spend, but regardless… time.

A good 8k… not a record speed but a good speed, especially after a week of vacation. Once again I find myself working in circles… I’m back to the idea of scheduling my day, to keep the train on track. There’s a LOT going on right now that has to be maintained.

  • Job
  • Volunteer radio stuff
  • Volunteer canoe club stuff
  • Foster cat care
  • Side hustle
  • “Me time” and “Us time”

It’s not insurmountable. It’s surmountable! Maybe even mountable. But I need to stay on top of a bunch of threads at once to be sure it’s working.

Day 499: Running on All Cylinders

As mentioned yesterday, this stuff really is all or nothing at all. That’s a song, right? I needs to either _do it up_ or not do it. Feeling like I’m doing pretty good, no need to log just leads to eventual backsliding.

The good news, I suppose, is the coasting pattern has been arrested after maybe two weeks. So it’s good to be back in the groove without having lost too much ground.

Fostering a cat continues to be a challenge! The little goof is now yelling his head off in his room, and I need to drop in and cheer him up. Including in the middle of the night, when I felt so bad for the lonely tiny fella. So… not exactly work insomnia, but being kept awake by a hyperactive kitten. Adorable insomnia. Adorbisomnia.

Still squeaked in a good row, and am racing a bit to get out of the house. Fostering cats!

 

Day 498: A Change is as Good as a Rest

A great weekend, but now it’s time to get serious again. I got May off on a strong foot, but have quickly found, again, that the “all or nothing at all” approach is true. If I’m not tracking food and doing the nightly checklist, I quickly slip into not great habits.

I’m still doing well, overall — I’m feeling good, went for a 7.5-k run, logged food for the day already. Things are fine. But I’d like things to stay fine, and it’s been about a month since I’ve been fulfilling the food logging and tracking end of this.

So time to get back on that horse.

Day 433: I Miss Being Good

After a bad week, I’m anxious to get back on track. It’s an interesting feeling, and it gives me hope. I’m actually a bit twitchy to get exercise and eat properly.

I have to admit, when I’m feeling down, taking an exercise and bad food break is about 50% “ugh” and “50% “thank god” — I don’t like the reasons I’m doing it, but freeing up the mental space around it is temporarily refreshing.

But I’m anxious to get back to it! Which, again, a bit surprising and very gratifying. I don’t think I’ll ever become one of Those People, but it’s nice to know that after a year and a bit, I’m calibrating toward a natural state of eating sensibly and exercising.