Weight Loss Ticker

Friday, February 1, 2008

More One Year Reflections

First of all, I want to say how humbled I am by all those comments. I started this blog mainly to help motivate myself. When others tell me that they are inspired or motivated by my blog, I am taken aback. Sure, I hoped others would read and give me encouraging feedback. That does happen, and I am truly grateful. But when others are encouraged by me, I am stunned. Anyhow, I thank all of you for all your comments...except those who I have to delete because they are just trying to advertise.

Today, I want to refect upon my mood. When I began my journey of fitness, I was down in the dumps quite a bit. My mother had passed away about 6 month prior. My father had Alzheimer's and I was put in charge of all his affairs. This required that I travel 3 hours 2-4 a month to take care of things. My father was living with me part of the time and with my sister the other part. Some people were making trouble for me at work. My wife and I wanted to move back to the suburbs. Small town life didn't fit us. I was not happy. I was always tired. I was frequently sick with colds and such, but also infection and gi problems. I was pretty down most of the time.

Things have changed over this last year including my mood. I have pretty much put all my dad's finances in order. I still travel the 3 hours to care of his two properties (1 is a rental). However, I usually go there no more than twice a month. My father now lives in assisted living close to us. The trouble at work has subsided, but we still want to get back to the suburbs. I have not been able to make that happen yet. I am rarely sick and when I am, I am still able to function. I suffer no more infections or gi problems (knock on wood). I am still tired much of the time, but now I have an excuse. It's because I exercise a lot.

So how's my mood then? Much better than it was a year ago. I am not down in the dumps all the time. But, I feeling down sometimes. I don't think a week goes by that I don't. Last year, I don't think a day went by that I didn't feel that way. I don't feel as happy and positive about things as I thought I would by now. I don't wake up in the morning jumping out of bed with excitement, energy, and enthusiasm. Many times, I have to talk myself into exercising. Strangely, I think that I feel best when I am exercising. I am pretty happy when I am playing with the kids too. Unfortunatley, I don't feel any more enthusiasm for my work.

The bottom line is that I feel like I am more on an even keel with a few lows and even fewer highs. Again, this is a great improvement from where I was, but it is not where I want to be. I guess I need to work on my mental health along with my physical health.

One more reflection for today. After a year of living fit, I still need to be on my guard so to speak. I still have to play mind games. There is a nasty little voice that tells me that I can let loose because it's been a year. I can eat horrible if I just exercise a little more. I don't need to control myself so much. I deserve to let things slip a little. What EVIIIIIIIL!!!! You would think after a year, the habits I have formed would steer me away from such thinking. Instead, I know that I am still on the precipice. No matter how many times I think I am taking paths that lead me far from the edge, I still find myself looking down into that deep chasm. It's like a bad recurring dream. By the grace of God, I am still looking down rather than up.

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!


Sayre said...

Long journeys can be like that, though. After a year, you're still traveling that weight loss road and your destination still isn't close. You're lucky. You are developing habits that will stand you in good stead over the course of your lifetime and if you get off track a little, you can snap back quickly.

I've been thinking about stuff like that too. Because of my nearly constant sidetrips, I now find myself stuck on that highway for life. I have no choice in the matter anymore - I have to stay on the straight and narrow road. It's a bummer, but something I can live with.

You can too. The very fact that you have fewer lows is a step forward. Those kind of changes seem to take forever and when you have the stresses on you that you do, those changes can seem even slower in coming. Perhaps you can look at your second year and see what mental changes you can make - just take it all one step at a time.

And know that we're all out here rooting for you!

BryGuy said...

Congrats on your continued success!

Great Blog!

Nona said...

I think when you are coming out of a really bad space it takes time to turn things around and feel better. Sounds as though you had an awful lot of huge devastating things going on last year, many of which you have dealt with successfully. It is perfectly reasonable that there are still a few things to work on.

With everything you have described it is not surprising that you are down sometimes. You are doing such wonderful things for yourself and your family and you are beginning to reap the benefits of the actions you have taken, but a year is not long enough. It takes time to recover and heal from the stresses and losses you were experiencing when you started your journey.

Just as you developed effective strategies for dealing with your father's affairs, and with your physical health, I guess you need to develop healthy strategies for promoting and protecting your mental health. Meditation may help. Also, even though I know some guys don't really buying into this stuff ;) there are lots of self-help books about loss, grief or just life changes that might also help.

Btw. speaking of mental health, my partner got me a light therapy box that is working miracles for me.

To end my essay ;) I just wanted to add that I suspect that when we lose weight if we are to maintain the loss then we have to live on guard with the constant memory of where we've come from. I don't know if this is true for everyone but it is certainly true for me. I lived in a nice slim body for about 10 years and the day I forgot that I couldn't eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, how ever I wanted, I began the slide into the back abyss and gained back all I'd loss and some. So I think you're definitely in the right place if you are on guard.

Ironside said...

That little voice is Satan calling your soul to the abyss. If your body is a temple, then by getting fit you are living a life which is right with God.

Kim Ayres said...

It's a lifetime thing. In some ways you need to think of it in terms of addiction.

Alcoholics who are dry don't stop craving drink when they are stressed, it's just they learn coping strategies and get used to it so itno longer dominates their lives. Over time it gets pushed further and further into the background.

But it is a lifetime thing.

I gave up smoking nearly 18 years ago. Most of the time I don't think a bout it now, but under stress there are still times when I would kill for a cigarette. I'll always be a smoker, who just hasn't had a cigarette. I accept that.

I'll also always be drawn to overeating, but after 3 years I have strategies in place that mean that despite going through one of the worst years of depression this past 12 months, I still managed to keep my weight within about 7 lbs of target.

It never goes away completely, my friend, but it does get easier. And of course the benefits really help too :)

Half Man said...

Sayre - Yes, the good habits are there, but I sense that I could easily set those aside...much too easily. Fewer lows is definately a huge improvement over last year.

bryguy - Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

nona - I am improving, but I am just too impatient. Thanks for the suggestions.

ironside - You make me think of Dana Carvey as the Church Lady.

Kim - I know you are right, and I hope it does get easier with time. I suppose in someways it has. I just wish that it was something that I could put behind me...but I suppose I never will.

Christopher Maples said...

I understand what you're talking about here. I've not been at this as long as you have (only in my 9th month), but I thought that the cravings would subside by now. But they haven't, and I'm coming to accept they never will.

And as much as I like to think I've changed my "fat" mindset, I haven't. My wife and I had two friends coming over for the Super Bowl yesterday. So four adults. Both children are under 2. So when shopping, I bought stuff for taco dip, pork rinds, tortilla chips, 11 lbs. of chicken wings, taqitos, a small pizza and a pie. There's no way four adults, even though none of us are small, could or should eat that much. But it's still the mindset I'm in. It still takes a minute to register when we go out for dinner that an 8 oz. steak is more than enough to eat, and that I don't need at least 12 oz. to be full.

What I've started doing to remind me of where I came from and how much I don't want to go back there is tivo'ing a lot of the fat shows on Discovery Health. I see these people that are 450 - 600 lbs. And it reminds me that I was only 75 lbs. away from that low end (my heaviest was 375). I've found I'm usually more than ready to hit the gym after watching one of those.

Don't get down about it. Your story and blog has given me so much courage and inspiration since I found it months ago. We're all human and we're going to slip up and fail sometimes. But it's those that can dust themselves off and climb right back up that are set apart from the rest, and you're definitely one of those people.

Kim Ayres said...

Sorry - reading back what I wrote it all sounds a bit doomn and gloom. The truth is it does get easier. However, you have spent years creating a default reaction to situations by overeating and it will take a long time to undo. You have to create new pathways in your brain so that your default reaction is something else, preferably less destructive.