“I feel good.”
I think for the first time in almost a year, I can say with 100% conviction in my heart, and my aching legs and knees, that I feel good.
A few months ago, I brought most of you up to speed about my new exercise routine and what not, but I don’t really think I dissected it the way I should have. I posted my creative nonfiction essay about running a half marathon back in 2010. Eight years later, I’m training to run another half and really working on a lot more fundamental health habits.
WHEN DID IT START?
Back in May of 2017, I was heavy. No, that’s an understatement. I was really heavy. No. I was really, really, really heavy. My first official weigh-in in June is listed at 400.1 lbs. I know that when I was on a scale mid-May, it said 425.
Let’s flashback to April 2010 when I completed a half marathon. I remember vividly on race day that my weight was 220. For a 6’4” guy, my Body Mass Index (BMI) rating was 26.8, which is just barely into the “overweight” category. This was the healthiest I have ever been. I was active. Running 8-10 miles a day with no complaints.
Now back to 2017. Somewhere in 8 years, I got incredibly lethargic, which is an easy state of mind when you suffer from depression and anxiety. To not want to get out of bed or off the couch and just eat junk food and fast food is not a great lifestyle. Taking up work as a traveling consultant and having coworkers that throw caution to the wind with their diets also enables bad practices. It’s so weird to have someone older and in far worse shape than yourself lecture you and make fun of you for wanting to postpone dinner so you could go to the hotel gym and work out before dinner, or to not eat at Hooter’s for the third night in a row.
Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t completely voided trashy food from my life. I, like many of you live a very hectic lifestyle, so sometimes Chinese takeout or Chicken McNuggets are fast and supposedly satisfying options.
A picture taken during my yearly pilgrimage to Los Angeles for my Mecca nerd convention (E3) really resonated with me, and not just because the other guy in the picture is tall and thin.
This picture is a happy memory. It’s a moment in time where a lot of things were kicked into motion. But it’s a sad reminder of how far I let myself go. I look forward to recreating this photo in a matter of weeks, because that shirt doesn’t even fit me anymore – but like in the good way that it doesn’t fit. In the above picture? It’s a little snug.
WHAT DID YOU DO?
A lot of thinking went into this plan. Reading articles about healthy lifestyle living on the internet is a pointless thing to Google anymore. I can only hope that if you stumbled upon this article you know that I’m not sponsored by anyone and there’s no paywall on my website, so all the articles you subject yourself to are free of charge. I say this because I want you to understand there are truths to things you’ll read on the internet but here’s the one you need to know above all others:
YOU SHOULD DO WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU.
And consult your physician first. And if you can’t afford a medical visit, then at the very least consult with a physical trainer that doesn’t only see dollar signs for your meeting.
If you’re like me and stay on a budget, a gym membership can add up on your monthly expenses. So, running is a great cardio exercise for me as it’s something I’m familiar with, however my joints in 2018 would argue that they’re not so sure about that.
I’ve tried yoga before. I dated someone that used yoga as part of their lifestyle, and I unfortunately was not on her level. This didn’t cause friction in the relationship, but doing yoga for me is incredibly hard on the mental side of things. I can touch my toes in my stretches, so that aspect doesn’t bother me. It’s the deep breathing and shutting the brain off to really appreciate yourself that I struggle with. I will say that taking it on watching Yoga with Adrienne has been very beneficial on my off days from running. I’m still in the learning phases, but I can see and feel the benefits.
Swimming is a great exercise and one that I love to do. As a child, I had an irrational fear of the water and getting wet, but something changed in the summer of ’91 or ’92 for me and I thrived in the pool.
But I digress.
When I started getting serious about this back in May and June, I stopped drinking pop/soda/cola, whatever your region calls it. The amount of sugar in a can of pop is terrible.
And I miss drinking it. God, I miss Dr. Pepper or a McDonald’s Coca-Cola.
I miss adding sugar to my coffee.
I miss adding sugar to my tea.
I’ll still have the occasional cookie, slice of pie or cake, brownie, or doughnut.
Being on a strict water, black coffee, and black tea only beverage selection was not easy. I promised myself on my return to LA for E3 this year I would indulge myself with one soda.
And no, I haven’t given up drinking gin and tonics or beer. I’m not a sadist.
ABOUT THAT RUNNING THING…
I said it above. If running is not your bag, it’s cool. Honestly, 25-35 minutes of solid cardio every day is better for you than anything else.
I’ve been following the Couch to 5k plan. The idea behind it is that the average couch potato can get off the couch on day one and run for approximately 9 minutes with 90 second walking breaks in between each running segment.
I don’t believe the average person can do this. I firmly believe that if you can’t run a mile in 12-15 minutes, you’re going to have a rough experience with week one in this plan. If that happens, just repeat week one until you feel great.
WHY ARE YOU TELLING ME THIS?
Because once upon a time I remember what it felt like to feel motivated by someone else and then to be able to motivate others. That spark has recently come back into my life and sharing your stories, the good and the bad, connect us.
There are going to be bad days with any exercise regimen. There will be days where you are just not feeling it. Having the power to push through is where you learn more about yourself, maybe even learn to respect yourself if that’s something you struggle with, too.
There are going to be good days, too! Just remember, while we like to share the happy news with everyone, sharing the bad news invests others with your journey. When you receive comments a week after posting “not a great run today,” or “totally couldn’t even do 60 pushups today,” sometimes that is just the fuel for motivation you’ll need.
All I know is that I’m through week one of the Couch to 5k program, I’m alternating yoga, I’m crushing it with intermittent fasting (more on that soon), and I’m not eating complete garbage foods anymore.
And all I can say is, “I feel good.”