I was so not into getting up and dragging myself to the gym this morning. It was fatigue. It was eating crap. It was work. It was the niggling start of a sad news funk waiting to happen. It was life weighing and that little voice inside my head whispering that taking a day off from training would not kill me.

Except it might. Kill me. Slowly. Insidiously. Uncomfortably and probably painfully while I still have things on my lifespan to-do list.

While I am being a little dramatic about missing one day of exercise, I recognize that it now must be forcibly woven into the fabric and schedule of my life. While I do not feel like it much of the time, I have a chronic condition, type 2 diabetes. It is a condition that can be managed and controlled with medication or healthier lifestyle choices and medication (or maybe no meds – it could happen). But in the grand scheme of things, I truly have only choices I hate (medication and lots of it) or presently dislike a lot (restricted diet, daily exercise, some medication). No one should have to accept choices they truly hate, so I am going forward with what I presently dislike. A lot.

So I dragged my sorry ass out of bed at 4:35 this morning and got down to gym, clocking in at 5:32. Between waking up in a poor attitude state of mind and walking through the club doors, I had made a deal with myself that I would do 2 sets/minimum reps today and call it good. To me, minimum of 2 sets sounded a lot better than powering through the usual 3 sets at highly focused intensity to finish up in my allotted time. It was a cheering thought, almost a rest day for me. I would deal with the fallout and consequences later.

Except a weird thing happened when I actually began my practice. While I had consciously decided to take it easy on myself and only do minimum reps for 2 sets, I found I did not want to and physically could not allow myself to do that with crappy form. And for me, doing these movements correctly and precisely requires a lot more focus, concentration, and work than just sloshing through it without giving a shit about whether it was good or bad, right or wrong.

Damn you, J, and your constant drilling on form, form, form!

At the end of my practice, I was surprised to find nearly an hour had passed. My shirt and hair were drenched with sweat like any other day (lovely visual, I know). I was still unmotivated and wished I were home sleeping, but I was happy and relieved that I made myself just do it and do it right. Because if I let myself slip today, it is way too easy to not go Friday, then Saturday, and Sunday … until the only times I am at the gym is on training days with J. I know myself. I know how easy it is to justify and rationalize my backslides. Better to just make myself suck it up and deal than to completely relax my discipline and have to start all over again.

I realize, again, this is how it has to be for the rest of my life. I have to exercise. I have to eat healthier foods and monitor portions and carbohydrates. I have to make these lifestyle changes and make them stick if I have any hope of enjoying the life empty nest life and retirement with M.

For a lot of people they speak about goals as if everything is rainbows and unicorns forever once they cross that finish line. Maybe some goal and goal line will appear on my horizon to look forward to and work toward, but it certainly feels like I have to work at least this hard every day to maintain baseline good control (of diabetes) without any additional medications. Forever. My reasoning is that if I am disciplined about exercise, when I want to treat myself to crap food I will likely not have to work that much harder to stay on the health pathway.

I know there will come a time when vacation or work will happen and keep me from the gym. Taking a walk, using my bands, attending a yoga class will all be good substitutes. While I am at home and have the ability to schedule some time to get to the club and to complete my practice, I need to do so, without fail. And I just have to keep telling myself that, every single day, until I can accept it as my new reality and without getting my sulk on about it.

Compartmentalizing is my friend. Right now I am gazelle-intensely focused on my exercise routines, but I know the time is coming when I will be habituated to my exercise and will have to turn my attention to tightening up my diet. I have done pretty well – unhealthy snack foods have been banned from our household, only M’s favored crackers and small packets of almonds we both enjoy remain – and most of the time I am getting my vegetables and barely enough protein. The protein consumption needs work, as does cutting further carbs from my diet. Unfortunately, the holidays are nearly upon us, and there is a lot of social eating for me/us this year. I will do what I can to keep it in check, but it seems likely that food will not be the subject of intense focus until January. That gives me the balance of this year to strengthen my exercise discipline.

Small steps. I will get there.

2 thoughts on “The rest of my life

  1. Ahhh my friend…I so understand where you are in the journey because I am right there with you – sometimes behind you, sometimes ahead, sometimes right beside you – but remember you are not alone on this journey in the sense that there are others with the same struggle, same feelings, etc and we are rooting for you and ourselves – just as we know you are.

    So… Do it anyway. It is my 2015 motto but will live on in 2016 and perhaps from now on. Because as much as we dislike the exercise, food habits, medication, etc – it doesn’t matter. We *need* to Do it anyway. Much like work – these are things you have to do to enjoy the life you want now and in the future with M and family and friends.

    It will get easier – all of it – just not soon. First it will get easier because you will gain physical confidence at the gym, mastery of the work so to speak, and the food choices will become more automatic. And then once you get to a good place – maintaining will be easier than the getting there.

    Some random thoughts on food. It will take a long time for these changes to stick 90% of the time. Accept that and every time you eat try your best. No thinking – I had donuts (yum yum) for breakfast, day is shot, let’s have pasta!!! Donuts for breakfast – next meal try for a better choice. Say good buy to the clean plate club – membership is overrated anyway. Eliminating temptation is the right thing – why stress yourself by relying on “willpower”. Remember that one bite of a yummy desert can be far more satisfying than the whole thing. Make sure all the good parts (like all the frosting ;-)) get on your fork/spoon, Eat it slowly. Savor it. Lick the spoon/fork (no really it is OK). Smile. Or frown if it wasn’t good. Move on. Maybe one bite of something else. Maybe not. There is no perfection here – no 100% of the time. There are slow gradual changes that you stick with 90%+ of the time and that will be good enough. Perfection isn’t necessary.

    And also: Sulk away. Curse how unfair life is. But keep doing it. The only person hurt if you don’t is you. And you love you! Be kind to yourself. As kind as you would be to the kids. Supportive, encouraging, understanding when they don’t follow the plan perfectly and loved regardless.

    BTW – J is right on form – better to do the exercise right one time then sloppy three times.

    This was meant to be motivational – not sure it is. But I’m rooting for you!!! Hugs!!!! And BTW – you got clothes shopping to do next year – eyes on the prize!!!!

    1. Sulk away? Yes, I LOVE that idea!
      Seriously, it was just one of those mornings. I woke up, I felt like shit from eating pizza (OMG, one of the great loves of my life!) and working late last night, and I really just made myself get up and get down there. I figured it would be kind of a restful day, but no, J’s soundtrack of cues playing in my head I worked just as hard as I would any other day. And it was fine. Once I’m there and into it, doing only 8 reps rather than 12 felt like a huge luxury. Even rest day, doing only 1 set, seems like a big pile of fluff compared to a regular practice.
      Food is always going to be an issue with me, but being fresh off the needle – I so want to be as close to perfect in my eating all the time. The specter of having to go back on insulin looms large in my head right now, so I am extra cognizant of it. But really, so far, so good. This morning was a little higher than it has been at 138 – pizza at 10 p.m. is a bad idea bear – but still under the 140 guideline. I have just gotten accustomed to under 100 every morning, so there’s that.
      I’m working very hard at increasing my protein intake. Love, Love, LOVE my daily protein shakes, and that was part of my motivation this morning to finish my entire practice, because then I could go home and have some of that chocolatey goodness.
      I know J is right on form, and I listen carefully to him and event take notes about what he says. But for whatever reason I thought I’d go through it faster or quicker today, because I was in a pissy frame of mind, and instead I’m thinking about form and making sure I am doing what I am supposed to be doing and working as hard as I typically would on any other day. I don’t know why I thought it might be easier; it’s just another of the little pretend games to cajole me into action when I really want to stay in bed and sleep until 7.
      Clothes – don’t even get me started! I am trying to find a good fitting pair of workout pants right now and am being thwarted at every turn. Either they are too big (yay me!) and the next size down feels tight or the material feels too sheer or they just are not right. So I’m going to the gym daily and doing Bikram a couple of nights per week, plus doing workout laundry every other day. I know, I know – first world problems. Still a hassle. Hopefully the latest set of capri tights will work so I can have some laundry relief.

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