For the previous couple of years, my birthday posts have been about my fitness quest. But this past birthday, my mind went to a more emotional place, and I wanted to write about the thoughts I was having. Now, though, for those who may be interested in knowing how the physical aspect of my middle-aged years is continuing, let me post this update.
This quest — to get super fit — started out as a mid-life crisis over three years ago. But since getting fit, I’ve continued the efforts because I really like it. And I say, “efforts,” plural, because this isn’t just exercising; it’s maintaining a good diet as well. Well, trying to maintain a good diet. The diet half of this whole thing has been the hardest overall. The workouts are hard, yes, very extreme, but they only require about an hour of my best effort 3-6 days a week. The diet, on the other hand, requires maximum attention every hour of every day.
I’m a stress eater. When I’m stressed out I want to eat. Plus, just in general, I love sweets, especially cake, cookies, and ice cream. And that means that when I’m stressed, my first instinct is to eat a dessert. I know this personality fault is the main problem for me to drop the last 3-5 pounds of fat down to my six-pack abs. I want the well-defined six-pack abs that underwear models have, but my diet weakness keeps me just short of that ultimate goal. (Also, male models are usually half my age.)
I started this quest in February of 2010, about three and a half years ago. At that time, I weighed 195 pounds. Not grossly obese, but definitely overweight for 5’11”. I didn’t really feel fat, but I did feel out of shape, soft. I mentioned to Wifegrit more than a few times that I just felt my body falling apart. I could feel myself getting older, weaker, even dying. I didn’t like that at all. Through my youth, teens, twenties, and early thirties I was thin. But once we brought the responsibility of kids into our life, my physical health started going down hill. All my attention was on my boys, to the dismissal of my own well being. I ended up gaining over 5 pounds a year.
So I ordered a video workout regimen I could follow in my home, and I resolved to get my shit together. The above photo was taken on my birthday this year. It looks identical to the one I took last year at the same time, (except that I’ve got a tan this year — I swear it’s sun-natural, even though it looks orange in that photo). I reached this shape, (150 pounds), after 9 months of effort, and I’ve maintained the same level since then. I still workout 3-6 times a week, and I count every calorie I put into my body. It’s truly hard to maintain, but I’m dedicated to this thing. I feel incredible, both in appearance and in healthfulness.
The picture on the left is me and my boys in June 2009, (four years ago). The picture on the right is me and my boys in March 2013, (four months ago).
2009: I had reached my heaviest weight ever, (almost 200 pounds). That picture embarrasses me, but I think I need to show it to really relate why I post about my fitness quest on this blog. That picture shows where I was physically when I decided to get back into shape. I would never have allowed a photo with my shirt off back then.
Now, though, I’m very healthy and fit. I’m strong [enough], with plenty of energy. The difference in how I feel from then to now is as major as how I look. This is important. I love exercise and working out, breathing heavy and sweating, cardio and weight lifting. This training put me in a good position for taking on a mud run this year. It has, in every aspect, made my life better.
But I have to admit, I still love afternoon naps on the couch, lying in bed on Sunday mornings, submersing myself in computer games, and vegging out on the internet, all for hours at a time. I still have stress, my kids still drive me nuts at times, and I’m so incredibly looking forward to the vacation next month for just me and Wifegrit, alone, at a resort on the beach. OK, so getting fit hasn’t magically cured all of life’s problems, but I can honestly say that living with the same ups and downs, enjoying the same joys and amusements, suffering the same frustrations and aggravations, I’m generally, overall better off experiencing everything with a healthy and fit body. Plus I’ll probably live five years longer than I would have if I hadn’t stopped my down hill trajectory.
My mind, though, probably needs some help.