Two years running now, I’ve started keeping a “Health Journal” on this blog as one of my New Year’s resolutions. And two years running, that resolution has been the first to fail. I don’t think I’m going to make that resolution again next year. It doesn’t work well for me. Not only do I have trouble sustaining it, but it creates an obsessive, bean-counting frame of mind that is ultimately discouraging because I can’t accept that my weight will vary from day to day (especially when your scale measures in tenths of a pound, like mine does) and that it’s the arc that’s important.
Even so, I thought I’d give y’all an update.
First of all, that arc I mentioned above looks like this:
Starting Weight (High Point After New Year’s): 222 Pounds
Current Weight: 185 Pounds (approx.; goes as high as 190 after a big-eating weekend, has dipped as low as 182. Once.)
Doctor’s Recommended Weight: 180 Pounds. Nearly there. (I’d like to see if I could go lower, though. I don’t think that was intended to be a floor.)
My belt is two notches tighter than it was in January. I don’t have to hold my breath to tie my shoes or put on a tie. My digestion works better. I don’t have to hoss those 30-odd extra pounds up all the stairs I walk every day. There’s nothing I don’t like about this.
When I talk about this with my friends and family, I credit my progress to the fact that there isn’t a lot of good food in Newark that’s easy to reach from my office. Which is true. If my office was in New York, with good eats all around, the temptation would be much worse. But then, it was true last year, too, and you can see that first number up top there as well as I can. All it took was falling into a few bad habits: taking a few fun-size candy bars from the candy bucket someone left out in the office. Every day. For months. Getting the bag of salt & vinegar potato chips in the cafeteria. Going out to the not-so-good food places around my office once a month…then twice…then once a week…
(To cut myself some slack, the still-unexplained foot injury that sidelined me entirely for about six weeks last fall really didn’t help.)
This year, I’ve managed to stick to the Lean Cuisines (and similar diet meals) for lunch so far…for the most part. Those salt & vinegar potato chips are really good. And it has paid off.
Another thing that turned out to be a good idea was setting up a TV in front of the treadmill at home and switching to power walking instead of running. My workout may be less intense, but I don’t look for excuses to avoid it anymore. Oh sure, you can talk about discipline and pushing yourself to do what’s necessary, but in the end, choosing a workout that you enjoy makes sticking to the program so much easier.
Also…this is a little embarrassing…I got one of those pedometer apps for my phone, with the 10,000-step daily goal. Now I do things like get on and off the subway at a different stop, take the longest way around whenever I go somewhere in the office (I couple this with the classic weight loss advice to drink lots of water to make sure that I have to “go somewhere” a lot)…anything to run up my number of steps. It’s like the app is a game, and I’m trying for a high score. Which…mission accomplished, I suppose.
Of course, there’s more to health than weight. A lot more. I’ve been making fullest use of my new insurance and my company’s willingness to let us work from home (much better than missing work when I have an appointment) in order to deal with health issues that have been pending for years. I have new fillings, my heart health – a definite concern, given that my father had his first heart attack at the exact same age I am now – has been confirmed to be solid (although there is some talk of cholesterol-control meds), and I’m talking with a surgeon about fixing the hernia I’ve had since 2009. Once I’ve recovered from that, I may be able to go back to the gym and start building some muscle mass again.
I’ve even decided to try and do something for my mental health – and to save untold hours wasted out of a finite lifetime – by giving up on arguing with people who are Wrong On The Internet. Kickin’ my rage addiction.
In short, I’m in better health than I have been in years, and it looks like there’s better yet to come. When I think of where I was just a little over a year ago, I’m both amazed and grateful. In so many ways, I’m one of the lucky ones.