Friday, October 26, 2012

Procrastination, anticipation, stress and guilt

For the past several weeks, I've been good about getting the cardio I need.  This fall, my eldest child is going to school one exit down the freeway from the office.  So, I drop her off at 7:45 or so, and head straight to the gym on our campus.  The motivation to get on the treadmill is generally easy to come by, and I've been doing well.

The excuses still come, however.  This morning, for instance, I knew that I had a workout scheduled with my personal trainer in the afternoon.  So, I figured, I should get to my desk early, get some work done (it's crunch time...more on that in a moment) then get my cardio in after my workout.

Which seemed a decent plan.  Except that it depended on knowing how the afternoon would go.  Too much.  Turns out my workout was very, very intense.  Which is a good thing.  We increased the resistance and/or reps for all of the exercises I've been doing, and added a new one that really cranked up my abs and lower back.  I'm proud of my progress.  I'm getting stronger.

But it really wore me out.  After the workout I tried the reclining bike, but my back started to cramp up.  In fact, it hasn't let up since.  Ibuprofin and some stretching has helped a little, but it's sore.  In the moment, I couldn't sit in the bike, and my muscles all over were too shaky and fatigued to take much time on the treadmill.

So, I stopped.  Had to.  But had I followed through this morning and done my cardio first thing, I'd have been able to do both.

And some mornings, truth be told, I just don't want to.  I give in to laziness or fatigue.  So I shower.  I head to my desk.  And then I regret it.


Eating has been a challenge, since I started getting the cardio in.  I think I've let myself think something like "well, I'm getting all this exercise...a little snack can't hurt too much."  But it has.  One snack has turned in two, and sometimes three.  And not good snacks.

The vending machines at work have been changed lately.  They now have one side full of the usual fatty, sugary treats, and one side filled with "healthy" options, subsidized down to $0.50 each.  Which is a kind of double enticement.  And something of a lie.

Those "healthy" treats are almost all things like baked chips, granola bars, fruit bars, etc.  Yes, they're substantially healthier than the full fat, full sugar treats in the other half of the machine.  But they're not healthy.  Massive carbs.  Sugar.  Even the trail mix, which at least has nuts, is loaded with candies like M&Ms.

They've lied to me.  And I've believed them.  They've tempted me.  And I've given in.  And my weight has climbed, not fallen.


It's a stressful time for me right now.  As I mentioned, we're in crunch mode at work.  My team is responsible for three different products, all of which are shipping right about now.  It's a very annual cycle, and that means these crunch periods are highly predictable.  And that helps enormously.  But it's still stressful.

My kids, whom I love and want the best for, are at ages that demand a lot of energy from me.  They all are growing into responsibility, but right now they need a lot of guidance, every morning and every night, on simple stuff.  Getting their chores done.  Finishing homework.  Getting to the dinner table.  Turning out their lights on time.  Turning off lights at all.  We try hard to eat as a family, but that means everyone is up early, and the timeline in the mornings is tight.  No room for flex or time to relax.  Evenings are go, go, go until I finally sit down at 9:30 or so.

I'm a creative man.  I need time to work on artistic projects, in order to recharge.  I need quiet.  Silence is best.  Which I get very little of in the evenings, after a long day during this crunch time at work.  The only time I have the opportunity to do this kind of thing is from 9:30 until whenever I decide to go to bed.

So, my sleep suffers.  Which feeds my stress.

And actually taking that time to create rarely happens.  By the time 9:30 rolls around I'm exhausted.  It's very difficult to summon the mental focus required to do anything artistic.  I try to edit my photographs.  I try to work on my toy soldiers.  I try to write my own software.  But the focus isn't there.  It's far easier to sit in front of the television for yet another mindless show.

I get something out of that.  Sure.  I like the shows.  And after an hour or two of that I've had enough relative quiet to feel calmer.  But I'm not getting anything done on those creative projects, and I end up feeling like I'm wasting valuable time.  Which, of course, I am.  But I'm so tired.

All of this feeds my snacking habit.  I snack because I need to get out of my chair once in a while at work.  I snack because I want to do something for me.  Which, short term, while I'm eating a cookie or something, feels like what I'm doing.  A little sugar rush.  A little treat.  Just for me.  What's one more?  Nobody's watching.

But long term...and I _know_ this intellectually yet still make these poor food's very, very destructive.  I'm well overweight.  I should be forty pounds lighter.  I have medical issues associated with that weight.  I have a family history of ever worse issues that I need to avoid.

All of which is hard to accept.  And scary.  And stressful.  Which doesn't help.


I need to change.

I have some tools at my disposal.  Some good books.  A motivating web site (more on that later).  Online tools and apps that could help me track my eating and my exercise.  A personal trainer who really wants me to succeed.  Friends and family who want me to succeed.  Many well wishers.

What I need, is to make my health, and my happiness, a priority.

What I need is to get good and scared.  Which I am.

More, as I work through this.  As I figure out how.