“I used to do a little, but a little wouldn’t do, so the little got more and more. I just keep trying to get a little better, said a little better than before.” – “Mr. Brownstone” by Guns N’ Roses
So…been a while. I’m not going to talk about where I’ve been this past…however long it’s been. Not yet anyway. Coming back here after so long reminded me that I had a fun plan associated with this whole fitness thing, a cosplay idea, and I want to resume that, even though the longer this process takes, the less relevance said cosplay character has, so better get moving.
Welcome to the Captain Hammer Project ver. 2.0: A Man on Fire. Time for the plan.
I’ve been pretty clean about my eating honestly, but the numbers are not quite decreasing at the rate that I would like, so it’s time for a tune up. I’m developing a meal plan where I am eating 6 small meals a day. I am aiming for around 1500-2000 calories a day, though sometimes that may be adjusted based on my activity. My focuses are mainly on lean proteins, good fats, lots of veggies, extremely limited sugar and carbs. I see a culinary future populated mostly by spinach, fish and eggs, but there’s only 14 billion things you can do with those, so it should be okay. My swamp water soup does everything I want it to do and is delicious.
I am eliminating all non-meal snacking, because I do it unconsciously and that shit adds up.
I need a better structure for my meal planning. The trickiest part of this for me is remembering to eat on days that I don’t have to work. When I am at work, I keep a strong schedule, but struggle with it on non-work days. Clearly, I thrive on structure and must build more of it into my non-work days if this is going to work. Getting to the point where my body is letting me know when it’s time to eat is good, and will help me to undo the bad habits of skipping meals and unconsciously snacking, which make for a nasty team. Setting alarms is likely the best way to do this.
Lastly, adding a multi-vitamin, an array of supplements and of course, tons of water. I will be nothing if not well-hydrated.
Obviously this is one of the most important aspects of this plan. I’m dedicated to exercising every day. Yoga, weight training, hiking, swimming, other cardio and just plain walking. I will slowly expand my methods of exertion as my abilities increase. There have already been some solid improvements made on this. My solitary dedicated reader will remember when I was laid low by a foul creature from beyond the fringe of sanity. I can now manage an HOUR on that beast. I’m specifically adding a lot of hiking to my plan for a reason you can read about in my next post. At some point down the road, I fully intend to go rock-climbing, for almost no other purpose than to flip haters (read: myself) the bird and prove that I can.
The little things add up too. I’ll never count them towards my daily efforts, but parking across the lot, taking the stairs, having dance parties when you’re cleaning up your place, doing toe raises while brushing your teeth, these all work towards the greater good.
This plan requires action every day. No breaks, no excuses. Even if I totally kill it at the gym and I am sore as fuck the next day, I can always walk. (and catch digital monsters with my phone). (Hell, Pokemon Go is probably the perfect gamification for an easy entry plan to get in better shape). The dark, otherworldly entities that I draw my power from demand frequent sweat sacrifices.
This is where the most of my work to be done lies. While I have accomplished some fairly significant achievements in terms of weight loss, I have not done so in a way that was sustainable, and worse still, I may have been actively hurting myself. As it turns out, you can’t hate yourself into a better body. I’m going to repeat that for the ones in the back. You can’t hate yourself into a better body. Yes, I accomplished the most of my weight loss driven by self-loathing. It can be a very effective motivator, for sure. The problems with this method are legion, but I’m only going to address a few. Firstly, burning self-loathing for fuel to get off your ass and move works. I dropped well over 100 pounds by being constantly furious with myself. And with those kinds of numbers, the ends justify the means, right? Not quite. See, the problem is that while the weight may go, the hate will not, and what’s worse, you’ve been feeding it. Nothing will ever be enough to sate it. You’ll lose a bunch of weight, and while you might be glad for it, you’re not going to be happy. And if you’re unhappy when you’re heavy and still unhappy when you’re not, that is going to compound on itself in an extremely nasty way.
Another problem is that you are seriously making yourself inefficient as fuck like this. Think of your general level of stress as a number 1-10. Any time your general stress level is at a 5 or higher, your brain is in survival mode. This is super shitty. This is a primal defense mechanism that raises cortisol, which makes it harder to lose weight. Your brain can’t tell the difference between being chased by a lion and having a bad day at work. It only recognizes that there is stress, and stress means holding on to the weight. Holding yourself in an extremely low esteem and punishing yourself at the gym for being so loathsome? It puts you in stress mode. Congratulations on shooting yourself in the foot, idiot. I lost a ton of weight doing this. I wonder how much more I would have lost had I been working with my body as opposed to against it.
To this point, we are at our best when we keep our stress levels low. There are a lot of external factors adding to our stress that we have no control over, so we need to be extra mindful of what we can have control over, and “mindful” is absolutely the operative term here. Establishing some good mindfulness practices can be a huge boon here. Recognize when you are getting torqued up, and take action to stop it. Focus on your breathing. Move around, shake it out. Pick a color and then look around to find 5 things on that color. Take special notice to feel the ground beneath your feet. These are all super basic things that require nothing but a small amount of effort, and they activate the smart part of your brain, taking energy away from the well-intentioned-but-explicitly-unhelpful lizard brain. There are plenty of other mindfulness techniques that you can find on the internets, do some research, find what works for you. Applying these things will help in every aspect of life including weight loss. Your lizard brain serves a very valuable purpose, but it is a huge enemy here and everything you can do to keep it passive is extremely helpful.
It’s not enough to not hate yourself. Another big point here is that you have to love your body. This one is the hardest for me. I have spent so long hating my body, that the idea of loving it is something that takes a lot of concentration for me to accomplish. I suspect that a lot of people have this problem. Society has not done us any favors by teaching us (and I mean all of us, not just fatties) that for whatever reason we are unloveable. We frequently hold that tighter than we are even consciously aware of. I’ve been in an abusive relationship with my body, and I am the abuser. We’re trying to work things out now. It’s not easy work, and I’ll be the first to say that sometimes I feel silly talking out loud to my body, encouraging it, complimenting it, congratulating it when I can do something I couldn’t do before, expressing gratitude for what it does, and forgiving what it cannot, but like everything else, repetition makes it stick. I tell my body I love it enough, and I will end up meaning it.
Journaling activity is a good way to stay accountable. I’m going to be recording my intake and my output in apps and notebook charts and all of that, but I am going to also make more time to write about it here. It occurs to me that when I was most active is when I was writing most. Writing is something that keeps me engaged and excited with the process, and taking any energy away from that is strictly counter-productive. I moan about not having the time to blog more, but reframing it this way takes away it being an option. This is as crucial a part of the plan as any of the others. I stay engaged, I stay interested, I keep paying attention, I get results. I know at this point you are rolling your eyes so hard that you can see your lunch. I’ve said a million times that I am going to write more. You keep taking me back, and I keep leaving again after promising that this time would be different. But for reals, this time will be different. I lead a pretty busy life, but posting like once per week is not asking too much.
This is the new plan, and it’s starting now. I’m excited about the prospect of breathing new life into ye olde blogge. I’m going to try to work in some game stuff too, but the Healthy Gamer has to take priority. I hope you want to stick around.
Next Up: Don’t Choose to Fail.