Tuesday, December 10, 2013

288 ~ Back to the start.

Stress is a killer. It's a slow killer. You have to nip that shit in the bud quickly, because if you let it just control your life, you end up like me. Off the rails for so long that you gain so much weight, even your fat clothes feel snug. 40lbs gained in the past few months. Feels shitty. Here's what I learned.

Leg night, because why not make my
first night back in the gym the hardest one?
Hard times call for tough choices. My job can be stressful. That's a given. The only way to mitigate said stress is usually to finish whatever project I'm being pressured. Then take some time to relax and breathe. My personal life imploding at the same time as my increased job responsibilities did me in. I was spending so much time working that I had to stop going to the gym. I know, blasphemy. The stress caused physical tension and was making me dizzy during my workouts. I kept feeling ill, and thought I would hurt myself if I continued. My blood pressure was elevated. I started eating conveniently instead of sticking with my dietary routine because with my schedule upset, there was no time to prepare my usual meals. I had to get rid of the burdens. At the cost of personal relationships, I had to change my lifestyle. Some of it was simple. I merely negotiated with the sources of stress and they went away after some attention. Some of it was more hurtful. I had to end or upset relationships there putting too much pressure on me while I was trying to achieve balance. I even changed jobs recently as part of the effort to revamp my routine.

I have to handle things like a grown up. I'm in my 30's. So, I'm pretty much expected to handle my major life decisions on my own. Using video games for cathartic release and stress management seemed like a brilliant idea, but, the game of choice was bad. League of Legends is a load of fun. I learned to play it with some skill (Best Ashe NA!). I met some really cool kids and oddly a few military men who enjoyed the game as well. We played from late at night to early in the morning. Which pretty much meant that I was throwing lack of sleep onto my pile of problems. It came as no surprise that I had to walk away from my game account. Thankfully, an awesome friend of mine is taking that over and my work lives on! Thanks G!

The comeback is as inevitable as it is difficult. I've been easing myself into it in stages.
  • Stage 1, recognize and address my food addictions. I have deliberately started removing sources of temptation from my cupboards and fridge. Also, I have removed rotting vegetables I was totally going to get to right after this next burger. A new payload of fresh sweet fruits help me to drive past those fast food restaurants on my evening commute.
  • Stage 2, I'm now working near some healthier restaurants which offers me the opportunity to eat healthier and still access fresh greens at lunch. Shout out to Salad Spot! I really appreciate the menu. I'm eating oatmeal for the fiber and protein, and I'm forcing myself to use my kitchen more.
  • Stage 3, getting back into the gym.This whole process doesn't work if I'm not burning calories and improving my cardiovascular health. Working out gives me the endorphin boost I need for stress management, appetite control to help me avoid binges, energy to keep my personal life in order and, the confidence to engage in tense social interactions. I need the workouts so I don't get home and collapse at the end of the day in front of Hulu. (Except on leg night!). I need them so I can get out of bed on the weekends and get stuff done. I need to make this clear.

    If you think you don't have the energy to work out, and have no illness or conditions preventing you, then you're wrong. You have no energy because you don't workout.
    Got it? I had to go back to the because I was dragging myself through life propped up on caffeine and sugar. Sometime soon, I hope to make it through my days without caffeine. This will help me with ...
  • Stage 4. Improving evening patterns for better sleep. A healthy night's sleep will improve my energy levels tremendously. It helps my cardiovascular health. It's great for stress relief. I can focus better on work assignments and personal goals. It's the best. For now, I supplement to assist my sleep cycle.
The work isn't done until I reach my goal. Being back in the fitness groove will feel good as these benefits start kicking in over the next couple weeks. I miss being healthier. I actually missed working out. Okay, no. I missed having the lifestyle of someone who works out. Even with the routine muscle soreness, I still feel better overall. Happier. More capable. Better able to handle the issues day to day, and sharper at minding the pot so it doesn't boil over. Wish me luck! Phat Guy out.

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