The last year and a half has been really hard for me. I learned I have bipolar II and a severe anxiety disorder, went through hell to find the right medicine and behavioral treatment for me, quit my job of nearly a decade to start freelancing, and dealt with overuse injury in my knee and a torn ligament in my ankle.
Between all of this stuff, fitness was either impossible or a total non-priority. Because of that, I gained about 40 pounds back. When my anxiety issues and knee trouble started in August of 2015, I weighed about 155lbs and wore medium shirts and 30-waist pants. Now, in January 2017, I weigh 195, wear large/extra-large shirts and 32 or 33-waist pants.
It’s hard for me because one of my biggest fears in the world is getting fat again. It’s taken a while for me to really come to grips with both the fact that it is entirely my fault that I have gained this weight back and that I am not fat. I am pudgier than I was, I am softer, and I am in the overweight range of BMI. But I am still not fat.
so what am I going to do about it?
Well, first of all, I have to recognize that starting over after gaining weight sucks, but it’s possible to get back on my feet pretty quickly.
The past 3 weeks have been taken over by the sickpocalypse. I am on my third round of antibiotics as I write this, but I am finally not being forced to lie on my back and moan from the pressure in my head caused by the microbial invaders that decided to take up residence in my sinuses.
And this past week, I have gone to the gym twice (and promptly fallen asleep within an hour of returning home both times). I did light stuff, nothing too taxing–walking a couple of miles at 3.5-4mph on the treadmill and doing a couple of quick upper body circuits of 8-12 reps for two sets.
Even that was totally taxing. Partly because I was sick. And partly because I let myself get so out of shape. Even after doing my #runstreak during the fall, I am simply not fit anymore.
I am going to change that
I am going to start over. And I mean that in the most literal sense. I haven’t been this out of shape since the summer of 2012 when I first started cycling and running. That was the last time I weight 190 pounds. I know that specifically because I weighed before I went to my best friend’s wedding.
That’s okay. People regain weight. I did not regain to the 310 pounds I was at my heaviest. I regained enough that I have to adjust my habits and get back my head right once again. That’s it.
I have to start completely over. I have to wean myself off sugar and fried foods. I have to eat more protein and look at calorie intake. I have to make sure I include enough fresh fruits and vegetables in my diet to counteract some of carbs I eat in oatmeal and sweet potatoes (the fiber, man…the fiber). And I have to make absolutely certain that I am moving around as much as humanly possible.
simple, but not easy
That’s okay, though. I can do this. I have done it before. And while I am not in the fitness season mindset of the new year like the fitness industry and corporations and pyramid schemes want me to be in, I am working on getting my lifestyle back on track after it was completely derailed by life.
Because life happens. We are not always going to be in the best shape of our lives. We are not always going to eat like we want to. Sometimes, we are going to grab fast food. Sometimes, we are going to eat some cake. Sometimes, we’re going to watch Jessica Jones or Luke Cage instead of hitting the gym. That is okay.
The good thing is that it’s simple to fix: do better. Go to the gym. Prep meals. Don’t eat that cake.
But the bad thing is that it’s not easy: it takes willpower, motivation, and a real determination to succeed to make those kinds of simple-yet-substantial changes to our lives for any significant amount of time.
So, like I said, I am starting over. I am walking. I am lifting. I am doing yoga and meditating. I am using the Fitdeck that my wife got me for Christmas. (It’s awesome, btw. Go buy one for yourself. You’re welcome.) And I am making sure to watch what I eat so that it includes healtful nutrition and not just feel-good yumminess (read: fried sugar nomnomnom).
starting over sucks
I can’t run. My asthma is not in check. And I grunt when I lift a gallon of milk (#clerks). I am not where I want to be. But I can be. By doing better. By starting over. The great part about not being in shape is that it’s not permanent. It’s not something I can’t control.
I can control this. I can make the decision for myself to get better, to do better, and to start over and not live this way.
So yeah, starting over sucks. But it’s totally possible to do, and once I get back into it, the pounds and inches will melt away, and I will be running and lifting like I was a couple years ago in no time at all.