Thursday morning and training day with J. This morning’s complication was my confusion about our appointment time. It was at 7 a.m., which is what I originally thought, but my calendar still said 8:30, and I had this irrational thought and feeling that it was actually 6. But it’s Thursday, I know there is usually another guy with a standing Tuesday and Thursday at 6 appointment, and my confusion was more likely a direct result of mixing up Monday and Thursday.
But pulling into the gym at 6:15, I started worrying that maybe it WAS indeed 6 and J was sitting around twiddling his thumbs wondering why I had not appeared on time and without alerting him of something coming up. Surely he would have at least texted me about my no-show status? Honestly, I have no idea what had come over me, but I was irrationally worried about it until I walked into the gym and J was not sitting around twiddling his thumbs and was out on the floor with his regular Thursday at 6 a.m. client. Bullet dodged, crazy brain repacked.
Sometimes it feels like drama and anxiety must be manufactured to fill in the blissful zen-like voids.
Today was review day, back to the FreeMotion cable machine. We went over:
A1 1.5 Squat
A2 Triceps Pressdown
A3 1-arm Lat Pulldown
B1 Split Squat
B3 1-arm Row
B4 Hip Rotation
C1 1 arm 1 leg cable RDL / regular cable RDL
C2 2-arm biceps curl
C3 Chest Press
Review days are good days. This morning I learned better technique on the triceps pressdown by stepping forward and letting the cable be straight up and down means it’s not right in front of or dragging along the front of my face. Then there was the hand rotation on the lat pulldown, something I have managed to overlook and not noticed it made a difference. Then there was the single leg RDL, J showed me how to do a “kickstand” with my rear foot when balance becomes frustrating. And of course the biceps curl; I seem to want to go about it backwards every time I step up to do this one.
I learn something new every review, every session. I love training days.
The week has been a good one.
My free-ranging conversation with J today was about relationships and dynamics of life. J paid me this huge compliment – he says I seem to have my shit together. I was truly touched by that comment, because for the most part I do have much of my normal day-to-day life and times pretty well in hand. Being a planner, M and I have worked very hard to fashion a life together that fulfills both of us. For me, that includes gainful employment, so M could leave the Hellish aspects of his jobs and life as a worker bee. Now he has his running, our domestic engineering tasks, his hobbies and interests and personal pursuits. I support him in that.
I truly cannot remember the precise moment we fell in love, but I can recall bunches and bunches of little experiences throughout our life together that make us fall in love over and over again. It’s a cycle I do not want to end because I am afraid or ashamed or too busy with other matters or letting old scars bleed. Even considering all the terrible, hurtful things we have said and done to each other through our earlier years as we grew up and gained wisdom, the good far outweighs the less desirable behaviors and staying together wins every time as the right choice for us.
The appearance of having my life together … therein lies the reasons why I have periodic anxiety about J and others within my tribe who get to see and hear the raw and gory details of what goes on inside my head behind the facade of a put-together, normal, average person. J has been the recipient of my rawest thoughts and fears, because him knowing my brand of crazy is preferable to allowing him to believe I am just a lazy slug client contributing to his paycheck every week. Yep, I care about what other people think about me, and it would bother me greatly if that were the perception I allowed J to carry forward through however long our training partnership endures.
I have and continue to reap the benefits of regular, consistent amounts of exercise. There is a certain element of mental challenge with the weights, whether I am working with dumbbells or cables or stretchy or mini bands. Each of the tools in my toolbox comes with its own set of good issues to face and conquer, and I am learning to love figuring out the ways to make this exercise thing work for and benefit me.
Mostly it is working out very well. The capris I pulled from the drawer this morning have not emerged and gone to the gym for a month and 6 weeks, and they fit differently now. Good differently. Like smaller me differently. It’s gratifying, because I do not perceive being physically less than I was a month or 6 weeks ago. But I will definitely take clothing fit for the win. The exercise, the eating modifications, the general uplift in my outlook all contribute and count for a lot. And sometimes it’s nice to have something just work and capture my imagination of possibilities.
So many words and descriptions about this process, my thoughts and feelings and ups and downs through the months. This week I am thinking a lot about aging and what it means to me right now. As I am stumbling along toward older age, recovering and improving upon my physical health is really important to me, as it should be for everyone. I have no regrets about the choices in my life thus far, and I am one who does not expect to be granted additional time for good deeds and clean living. I have no desire to live forever, because I obviously will not. However, I have yet to discover an expiration date printed on my person anywhere, so I have to believe I have more time to establish and pursue my personal version of happiness. Before I started seriously examining my thoughts and ideas on the topic, it truly felt as if I had no control on the ultimate outcomes and felt resigned to just sitting around waiting for death to happen. Perhaps not literally, but it certainly seems that way figuratively.
There is something about the idea of hope, of anticipating the potential of good things. It’s heady and exciting, even when keeping both feet squarely on the ground. I understand pragmatism and staying firmly rooted in reality and what I know, but if I do not allow myself a little room to dream and to hope for a different outcome I have lost something far dearer than merely being disappointed for not getting what I believe I want most. It is easy for me to look back over the months, to my first sessions with J and conversations I had with his then manager, to see myself so fearful and terrified and embarrassed about not being smarter, more knowledgeable, more interesting, and allowing all those things to keep me rooted and isolated in place. Not wanting to admit that I could not bring myself to try very hard because of my fears and anxieties, of being seen by others as the ugly shadow person I perceived myself to be. I was so consumed with my own conviction of ultimate failure lying in wait just ahead of me. I feel as if I must have reeked with the stench of anxiety and failure and refusal to be brave enough to take the tiny steps outside my comfort zone.
All I can think now, the distance between there and here is remarkable. My gym crazy flares and makes me anxious and afraid, but I found my brave these last few months. I strengthen my spine and get myself through that door and onto the floor to practice. My brave makes me wake up early on training days and worry that I have mixed up the time or not set my alarm. Because every training day is like another layer in the zillion layer dip that J and I are building, strengthening my resolve and desire to continue to improve and be better.
Still not clear idea of what improvement truly looks like, only that it is a process and not a destination. Maybe it is just the many different variations on what I already know right now and may forget in time.
Now that I am living a life without insulin injections or even oral diabetes medicines, my days truly feel like extra remarkable and amazing gifts. I never in my wildest imaginings thought I could get here, to the place where I am dwelling right now. Maybe it does not get to last forever, but I’m living this dream right now and savor the moments. I do not want to take my health for granted anymore; I want to appreciate how much work it takes to maintain it, and since I have to do the work anyway, find a way to make it a positive experience. I might intensely dislike the dreaded core work, but I’ll do it. Same with the balance exercises, and the yoga class I would like to fit into the weekend. I am plotting out the next 3 days, what I may do with the Free Motion cable machine upstairs, or my alternatives with the cables downstairs and the mini bands for lower body workout. I have options and the variety is more pleasant than I imagined.
Now that I have tasted life without the weight of diabetes shackled to me, I can and do imagine a different life. Again, I am very well versed in the expectation that this may not last forever, that my metabolism and body chemistry may change and amp up my blood sugar without any rhyme or reason no matter how much I exercise or how healthy my eating. And I am going to be okay with that, because if I at least tried my best to stay healthy and if my body breaks down and malfunctions it is the cost of living my life.
The events this week makes me reevaluate my faith. In myself and my tribe as well as those who believe in me. Maybe it’s a bit of a cliche, but their faith in me, their belief and desire and support as I pursue the objectives and desires I feel undeserving of having are points of light in my unique and personal darkness. J has told me more than once he trains for independence, so at some point I can go off and continue on my own, and I get that. Just … not yet, not right now. I dislike feeling dependent upon others, but with the exercise journey, I am a bit of a feeble, wobbling but not falling down, not completely, anyway.
I started seeing TM again when I realized no matter how much exercise I did to build strength in my body, my resolve to stick with it would waver and I would falter and fall apart if I did not build up my confidence and self-esteem. So I am working insides, outsides, maybe upside down soon. The exercises and homework he assigns are working as much as the things I learn from J. I feel as if I laugh more, sleep better, have improved my focus and ability to push through. I still chastise myself for giving up too soon too often, but I feel as if I am improving, even if improving is getting lost in my thoughts and losing track of reps and sets.
Inside the gym, and out, lots of little, incremental better things happening for me. I work hard for my gains, and I will not allow myself to minimize or downplay them. Not today anyway. *smile*
This week in food has been one without breads and crackers and other carby delights. Just to make it even suckier to be me, I have been sticking to real food I prepare as much as possible. My exceptions have been cans of beans, corn, and beets (all added to salads). The only other exceptions have been my protein powder every morning and frozen instead of fresh vegetables. Because I’m not eating soup if I cannot have crackers with it; just a rule in my eating habits. And at RD’s urging, I have been making regular oatmeal versus the instant packets. The first day was interesting – who knew you need this enormous bowl to keep 1/4 cup of oatmeal from overrunning and splattering all over the microwave? (Probably everyone who cooks more than I do.)
It has been … interesting. I feel pretty good most of the time, still eating defatted chicken, lots of salad and vegetables, potatoes, fruit, other vegetables. Primarily I am sure it’s a psychological withdrawal, just like getting up at 4 rather than 4:15 makes me feel even more tired. It’s 15 minutes – not going to make or break me. Same thing with bread. Not eating it for 7 days is not going to impact my overall health and wellness plan. But when you’re addicted and love, Love, LOVE the taste and texture of bread, 7 days feels like carb withdrawal eternity.
But I’m learning, albeit slowly. RD has kept in touch via text and email, and it’s been nice to have that helpful reassurance that I am not going to feel weak and collapse in severe withdrawal from lack of my favorite remaining carby delights. I will get back to moderate amounts of bread and crackers soon, but it’s only 7 days. Getting off sugar was much, much more challenging. And I have repeated that very same statement to myself at least 10 times daily this week thus far.
All in all, it was a great day today. Work was busy/hectic/crazy and perhaps my Friday will be less so. Or not. Tomorrow has mystery and intrigue, but I have already decided it will be an excellent Friday. M has trail running plans on Saturday, so I am expecting an amazing weekend on top of that.
But right now it’s late for me and 4 a.m. comes awfully early. Today was good, memorable, and so much fun. I love it when pleasant days string together.