Tuesday, December 27, 2011

89 and 25

I went swimming this morning. It is the first time I've been to the gym since September. I did a little more than half a mile. I didn't die.

This fall has not been a good one for staying fit. I finished my last triathlon in late August (crossing the finish line as Hurricane Irene was ripping up the world around me-- it was epic), and that was the end of my season. School started the next day, soccer season kicked off and it was just non-stop from there. It's always non-stop from the start of school. I don't accomplish a lot in the way of fitness from September through December because of that. I was looking at my records from all the way back to 2006 and the latest into school I've ever kept up a training regimen was the third week of September. That's when I say, "&%#$ this!" and start looking for cookies. Or cake. Or fast food. Or anything that will stop long enough for me to eat it. Think Po from Kung Fu Panda.

I thought that if I added a race or something later in the fall, I'd be more motivated to keep training up into the fall, which would lead to winter workouts, which would mean I'd be fit and ready for something fun in the spring. Nope. I signed up for a ½ marathon, but didn't have it to do what I needed to, and the entry fee melted into the breeze. Lesson learned.

Two things -- stress and season -- seem to be at the heart of my problem. This year was especially frenetic, but even during a good year it's so crazy that, by the end of the average day, I'm so mentally and emotionally exhausted the thought of even watching tv is more than I can handle. I hate that! All the new shows are just coming out and my brain just can't process them, so I grab a cookie and go to bed. I've learned that if my brain is exhausted, my body goes into shutdown and the idea of physical exercise becomes as strenuous as the actual exercise.

And then there's the fact that autumn is in full swing. Autumn leads to the Dark Time, and it is the season when my body sends a near constant stream of commands to my hands telling them to keep putting food into my face. Clearly, I'm genetically tied to some species of human that, in prehistoric times, needed to hibernate for the winter. Some years, I'm able to resist (if not refrain from) gaining too much weight. This year was not a good year and the scale made that abundantly clear when I stepped on it this morning. It wasn't telling me something I didn't already know, though, based on the tightness of my heretofore loose-fitting jeans.

A week ago, I started to draw up the ganas to reverse the trend. I told myself it was time to get in the pool, on the bike, on the road, under the weights. It was time to put down the damn cookies! Today's trip to the pool marked the beginning of my yearly sojourn from sloth to fit, from fat to svelt (if still a little pudgy in places). I'm ready.

I'm very much a loner when it comes to training. I don't like to work out with people and I don't talk much about what I do, unless it's part of a teachable moment. I thought I'd share the journey publicly this year, though, because I want demonstrate that the process of realizing a goal is not magical. It does not follow a straight line and it is not without distractions, temptations, obstructions or doubt. It is a process of decisions, and it is as easy as making a choice. To be fair, there can be a lot that goes into making a choice well. There's a whole separate discussion to be had about all that goes into it, but that's a topic for another time.

In order to be ready for triathlon season, I first need to melt off the weight I've put on since September. Based on the scale's reading this morning, that's 25 lbs. My goal is to get rid of as much of that weight as I can in 90 days. I'm going to do it by doing the two things that are at the core of any effective weight loss program: Do more, eat less. Neither will be especially hard at first. It gets more challenging as it gets closer to tri season because there's a balancing act that must be played between eating properly for ever-increasing amounts and intensities of exercise and doing the kind of training that will continue to burn fat (as opposed to muscle). That's later, though. For now, I need to be concerned with rebuilding the routine of daily practice. My students know all about that.

So here we go! Day 1. 89 days and 25 pounds to go.


the passionate hairdresser said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
the passionate hairdresser said...

I removed the post because I didn't edit before hitting "print"..D'OH! What I said was: I'm right there with you! (although I didn't gain 25, I gained 12) While my life isn't quite as frantic, it is equally stressful...and I need to find a better outlet for my stress than shoveling food into my pie-hole. Maybe we should team up on the accountability?? (I hate exercising with others, too)