Day 737: So Much For The Easy Weight

I just went through 2018 looking for my longest streak. 20 uninterrupted days of logging. Only 20! That surprised me, as well as how absolutely terrible the back half of the year was for logging and fitness in general. I chalk it up to some work issues, which were resolved before the end of 2018, and I now have a streak to break: 20 days. Three weeks! One already down. No sweat.

The last few days, I think I’m through the easy weight — whenever I get back on track, there’s kind of a four-or-five pound drop that happens almost immediately. I don’t know if it’s just water weight that I’m carrying due to eating garbage that happens to be salty, or if it’s mind over matter, or if focusing on my health makes me poop more — whatever it is, there’s a quick rush of “easy weight” that always makes me, well, overconfident.

I ran out of easy weight a couple of days ago — I think I’m into the grinding work of this now, which is fine. Everything is fine.

Art by the legendary KC Green, from Gunshow. Buy his stuff!

It does get harder from here, though. I think — again — this is almost a job for Sober Brain, where I need to take the same determination I apply to not drinking and just turn its unblinking eye on following the program every day come hell or high water.

It’s a good program; it works. Even if I didn’t know I was doing it, I spent two years developing it through trial and error (and error, and error).

Day 590: Rethinking Full Focus

After yesterday’s podcast, I jumped on the scales following a nearly month-long break and… yeesh. It was pretty dire. Like “maybe I should pull a Tom Hanks in Castaway and see if somebody can strand me on an island for a month” kinds of results.

So we’re back to that old core truth: I need to log food. I need to track things daily. And dancing around it just doesn’t work.

It’s… hm. It’s been eighteen months; more, really, since I started this. I seem to circle around the same issue.

I am a smart guy. This is indisputable. I am really goddamn intelligent. I can make websites and podcasts. I’ve written a few books (although never had the guts to try to publish them). I have a prestigious job at a top university.

But I cannot do this consistently. It’s maddening!

I know that intelligence doesn’t equal motivation. There are probably genetic triggers and what-have-you going on.

But really. I’m a smart guy. I can lick this thing. I just haven’t found the key that will keep me from sliding off doing this when I slide off doing it.

Arrgh!

Day 528: Short run, good chores

Faffed about on my phone this morning so got a short run in, then when I got home thought no, that won’t do and set about some outside chores I’ve been meaning to tend to. Stump-killing with epsom salt! Look it up.

I’ve been having a weird time of it lately. Sobriety’s been on lock, but it’s been hard to get my head into a routine of good exercise and a sensible bedtime. I did get back on the checklist yesterday, which is great. It’s more of an anchor than I give it credit for, and the just 15 minutes of ukulele a night is showing results. I need to get back to the banjo.

I read an interesting thing this morning about diet — somebody saying they were a 220 pound person and needed to eat like a 180 pound person. That seems like a sensible idea if not taken to extremes. It also gives you an abstract mental checkpoint that isn’t negative… it’s not “don’t eat that, fatty, you’re terrible,” and it’s not “arrgh I’m dieting,” you’re eating… aspirationally. I kind of like that.

 

Day 467: Sadness Cookies

A short one today: a good friend and lover of dogs had to say goodbye to a friend the other day, so I’m trying to juggle everything while baking cookies, which means I’ll have to run downstairs momentarily to take them out of the oven.

The good news is I have my mornings down to a science to the point that I can sort of slide baking cookies into my routine. Exercise is ON POINT this week, even if food hasn’t been great — this circuit training thing is destroying me, in a good way, four days a week, and rowing and running are going strong.

Food and weight? I’m in a holding pattern, and I’m okay with it. I’m not losing weight the way I want, but I’m not GAINING weight, and with everything going on, honestly logging what I eat and tracking my weight, sleep, mood etc. every day is a good baseline. I don’t think I can be motivated on all of the things, all of the time, so my motivation is sliding from diet to volunteer business. That’s okay.

Quick blog post, quick recording, off to get cookies out of the oven!

Day 449: Weight Up, Still Upbeat

Things are going well on all fronts but weight today — I have to admit I got a bit lazy over the weekend, but nothing terrible and I’ve been logging faithfully. I feel good… best 5k yet this morning, a little arm work. Work is nuts, but work’s always nuts.

Not quite sure what to do about the weight thing. For today, I’m’a chalk it up to the weekend and not exercising Sundays (or that much on Saturdays, TBH). We’ll see what happens in the next couple of days if I’m real good. I suspect it’s messed up hydration, as well — I’m pretty good about drinking water at work, and had a system that I let slide at home, so I’m back to not being great about it at home.

Science says I should give it a few days of being really on the ball. It’s amazing what a psychological distance two pounds can generate, from “I’m on top of this and everything is awesome” to “arrgh, I’m doomed.”

Let’s experiment, then: really stick to the plan for a few days. See if I get that ground back. If not, it’s time to think of something different.

 

Day 281: Aftermath

Wow. So I weighed myself last night, and let’s just say I’m going to give myself a few days before I start logging that again, lest I despair.

I learned a few things about myself during bachelor week. The key thing being that the real bachelor is the friends I made along the way. Also that I’m better in a partnership than I am in bachelorhood, or at least I’ve evolved systems that have made me a partner.

So I’ve kinda let myself go over the last week. Nothing tremendously terrible, but that’s a thing. And I still have the cough from my cold a month ago, which means it’s time to suck it up and call the doctor. I really try to avoid that, but I think we’re now in “lung infection” territory, which is bad. Pneumonia would be worse.

Anyway — it’s Thanksgiving Monday here in Canada, so we’re giving ourselves one more day of bummin’ around. My wife needs to decompress from her trip. I… well, I like bummin’ around. So tomorrow is back to basics.

Again, this whole project seems to be kind of “advance and retreat.” Each advance puts me a bit further ahead than the last. So bachelor week was a retreat, in many important ways. Time to advance again!

Day 248: Doing Good, Looking Bad

This is not the first time I’ve lost weight. I did this dance back in the early 2000s, faster and more successfully. I was younger then! And had a much simpler life. And the whole foot-break thing was what threw me off for a few years.

At any rate. I’ve lost weight before. And this bit is the worst.

I’ve lost about 10 pounds (up and down), which is not nearly as much as I’d hoped by now, but it’s still an achievement. And I’m hitting the point where I’m doing better, but looking worse.

I can’t explain it. It’s like 10-pounds-heavier me was heavier but more tightly packed. I could see the shadow of a six-pack. I didn’t really have man-boobs.

But now that I’ve lost a few pounds, everything’s looking kind of bloaty and saggy.

And, coincidentally or not, running has been real hard this week. 10k this morning, but every step was just kind of annoying. The whole run felt like I had energy locked in me somewhere but out of reach.

I have a vague memory of all of this before — it’s some sort of weird interim phase. It’s like the medium point when you’re growing your hair out. There’s like this shoulder-length bob that you get for about three-four months.

Those are memories from much longer ago, by the way. If I grew my hair out now I’d look like Limekiller from Bloom County. Now that’s digging in the crates.

Day 227: Three out of Four

Feeling pretty good these days about sobriety and exercise. Recovering from the half-marathon and overheating, but did a good 10k this morning.

Sleep is going well, too. Operation Don’t Get Up seems to be working! The cat has been doing a lot better about morning antics. I’m trying to get to sleep before nine every night, with more or less success.

All of this, and weighing/food tracking has fallen right back off. It kind of starts with vacation and being out of town, but then turns into a “meh” thing when I get back. And I’ve been pretty good about food lately. Not perfect, but pretty good.

But, as past experience has shown, repeatedly, being pretty good doesn’t mean I don’t need to keep track of it. That’s the cycle I know well. Doing well,  giving myself permission to slack off with tracking, then getting off-track entirely.

So it’s time to start reasserting the food stuff.

Again, I’m feeling good. I’m batting .750, with sobriety, sleep and exercise going well. But the missing leg of the table, or chair (what’s my metaphor again?) needs attention now, while it’s still going pretty well.

So I think it’s time to re-institute the evening checklist and morning food check-in. These aren’t big deals, they’re just minor pains in the ass. I don’t like doing it because they’re pains in the ass. But they’re necessary pains in the ass, and I need to stop looking at them as optional and more as mandatory.

 

Day 116: Daily Weigh-In

Yesterday was the first day I straight up didn’t weigh myself. I would say “forgot,” but it was only semi-forgetting. I was fogged on a lack of sleep. So I remembered the weigh-in, but only when I wasn’t in a position to to it.

That aspect of things is going well — a simple number, easy to do and to log. Really, failure to weigh yesterday was due specifically to sleep fail. And again, it’s all connected — good sleep, good exercise, good diet, staying sober.

Weigh-in every morning, first thing

The key really is to do it very first thing: get up, go to the bathroom, get on the scale, log the number. It’s oddly not a habit yet, though, despite it being a thing for almost two months now — you’d think it would become instinct at some point, but it still takes conscious thought.

Of the “simple ideas that are working out,” though, it’s one of the leaders. Again, it’s linked at the top menu of this site, so you can keep track of me (and some exercise numbers, too). Public accountability for the win!

 

 

Day 100: 100 days!

So this is what 100 days feels like. A good time to take stock of what’s gone on so far, and take a beat to think about what’s working well, and what’s not working well.

100 days of sobriety:

Working well This was what I thought would be hardest, and 100 days in, turns out to be easiest. Maybe because it was the thing I was mentally girding myself for.

Key lessons:

  • Don’t drink. That’s a probable truism. But that simple decision, made daily in an affirmation, was pretty damn useful.
  • Don’t freak yourself out. Overthinking it, burning your brain out on never again? isn’t helpful. “One day at a time” really is a powerful tool.
  • Tell people. Don’t get preachy about it, don’t declare things. If you need to be socially diplomatic, “I’m trying a thing where I don’t drink for a while” is a good out that doesn’t unnerve people and makes them feel okay about their choices.

Future:

Keep on keepin’ on.

100 days of exercise:

I’m doing something every day, sometimes just stretching, sometimes not working as hard as I could. I think there’s a factor here, a fourth pillar, that I need to get into starting on day 101.

Key lessons:

  • The metaphor of running 10k by running 5k in one direction is a good one. Set myself up for exercise in ways that are hard to get out of. Make appointments with friends to run.
  • Try to figure out my fine line between “take it easy and don’t hurt yourself,” and “go hard and work for it.” I don’t know how to navigate that yet.
  • As much as I hate it, I need to have stretching and strength as part of the routines, not just running/rowing.

Future:

Give myself a few more ease-into-rowing sessions, then set myself up with RowPro or a rowing app so I  have rowing appointments that will be hard to break.

100 days of eating sensibly:

Ugh. This is the boondoggle. The beast. I thought this  one would be easiest, and it’s hardest — maybe the most insidious of the areas. I’m still not great about diet, snacking, etc.

Key lessons:

  • I can’t keep snacks in the house. Period. It sounds childish, but having my wife hide the jellybeans and mete them out every evening was the best move I’ve made, foodwise, in 100 days.
  • I clearly have undeniable stress eating issues.
  • Keeping bad food out of the house is key, and avoiding food when out of the house is also key.

Future:

Food logging is going to be key. I have to tackle why I’m not doing it head-on, and aggressively attack any thing that’s preventing it from happening. This will be a major endeavour — it’s going to involve meal planning, more time in the morning, and a solid partnership with my wife.

100 days of sleeping poorly:

I don’t think of this as taking on more, I think I’ve been trying to build a stool when I should have been building a table. The fourth leg is sleep. I’ve always thought of sleep as a value-add: it’s great to have, but I can do without. I’m starting to realize I’ve been wrong, wrong, wrong about sleep. Sleep’s a foundation.

Key points:

  • I need to be less churlish about sleep aids, especially ones that are supposed to prevent middle-of-the-night wakefulness. Not get hooked on ’em or anything, but be open to them as a tool.
  • My bedtime wrap-up needs to be something I take more seriously, rather than just being on devices up to the minute I hit the hay. Less electronics, more books and writing.

Future:

Better sleep.

100 days in summary:

The above is kind of necessarily self-critical, but I feel good. Right now, but also in general. I feel better than I have in a while. An older version of me would be despondent at not having reached all my goals by now; current me is learning, slowly, to look at the trend lines. The trend lines are good.

I’ve got a table instead of a stool now, and some solid objectives in every area.

Bonus challenge:

No Netflix except for stuff I watch with my wife until the next milestone. I’m burning too much time on shit TV.

250 days is the next milestone.

Let’s do this thing.