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.