Doin’ Stuff

Last update I made while I was sick over the weekend promised a run and a measurement log on Sunday. That obviously didn't end up happening, even though I really wanted it to. After forcing myself out of bed and into the office on Monday morning, I found myself feeling decent enough to get something done by way of exercise. I hit the streets and pushed myself to go further than I'd planned and clocked in over 5 miles, in addition to a light arm workout using two 25 lb dumbbells and a yoga session through an iPad app. Having been in a sedentary state for the past two and a half weeks, the two days after all of that were spent dealing with full-body muscle soreness.

This morning I woke up at 5 AM and went on a run before getting dressed for work and going into the office. I still felt some slight strain from Monday, but pushed through it. Felt good at the time, but once I got to work, I definitely paid for it. All day, my right knee and my left glute have been hitting me with sporadic shots of pain. I wish I had some epsom salts on hand to get in a good soak before going to sleep tonight.

So, I'm four days late on this update (and I'm placing fault for that on all the other things going on in life at the moment), but the important thing is that I've been getting the work that matters done. Starting back up after a prolonged period of inactivity is always a drag, since it takes my body time to acclimate. I'm eager to get it back to being capable of handling at least four 5+ mile runs per week. This excess body fat has got to go — I'm going to need to start investing money in new clothes in the not too distant future, and I don't want them to be the same size as the stuff already in my closet.

 

Feelin’ Fat & Lazy

I’m supposed to be exercising regularly and posting updates about it, but I haven’t. Two weeks ago, things were seemingly financially stable enough for me to give myself a small break from stretching every dollar and living the broke college student lifestyle. Last week I meant to get back to work, but I’ve fallen into the trap of prioritizing other things on the “to-do” list above exercise.

So to get the fire going again, I’m going to be doing a light dumbbell workout tonight and some yoga. Tomorrow will be a stat update and my return to running.

About 2012

I’ve been losing momentum on the blogging front recently, which is a personal point of embarrassment for me considering how little I got done. However, this lack of activity doesn’t mean I haven’t intended to post anything, I’ve simply been having difficulty finding the words and the time to commit them to text. One thing that’s repeatedly crossed my mind is how my recent posts have felt like laying a foundation — setting the stage for myself to start meeting my own expectations and goals, and expressing that with clarity and focus. To that end, I’ve been feeling the strong desire to revisit last year. Though it hasn’t been that long since I archived and unpublished my previous posts for divulging too many personal details best left committed to an offline journal, this is something very central to a fundamental change in my life that I’ve been implementing. Like a great accomplishment, which in some ways I suppose it could be argued to legitimately be, my 2012 is something that I do want to share with pride.

At the end of 2011, I was in a bad mental and emotional state. As I unintentionally let on in my last post, I’d been depressed for a many years at that point. I don’t mean that I was trapped in the listless melancholy that the word “depression” immediately brings to mind. In actuality, I’m fairly certain that outside of anyone that I personally shared personal details of my life with (or anyone who came across my previous writings and actually read them), no one thought anything was wrong with me at all. But there was something wrong, as far back as 2005. It was then that I first recognized that there was an irreconcilable disparity between my expectations of life and my reality. Back then, it was focused on my situation with my familial relationships. Having grown up in a Mexican household, I was raised to believe in the importance of family and the unending love and support it brings. Yet, I found myself not only cut off but betrayed by the people I’d trusted and cared for implicitly. Over the years, that gap between reality and my expectations extended to other areas of life — work, friends, dating — in almost all areas, I was constantly finding myself the odd man out getting screwed over in spite of all the praise and compliments I would receive for who I am and how I do things. Come 2011, I stopped being able to handle it all. Emotionally, I felt worn out and empty. Mentally, I felt stressed and overloaded, incapable of focusing and collecting my thoughts.

I convinced myself that a drastic change was necessary, and took a page out of one of my favorite books, Musashi, the story of the eponymous legendary Japanese swordsman. As the story goes, he was a brash youth named Takezo, desperately seeking to make a name for himself on the battlefield. Eventually he’s captured and imprisoned to three years of solitary confinement, with only classic Japanese & Chinese literature to keep him company. When he’s set free, he emerges a different person and given the name Musashi by the emperor who’d sentenced him. Realigned and set on a new path, he achieves greatness in many aspects of life. Since I couldn’t commit to three entire years, I settled for one. I deactivated my Facebook, broke communications, and focused on school (which I was able to afford to attend at the time) and work. I envisioned using that year devoid of any distractions to improve myself and acquire the knowledge and skill that I would need to measurably redirect my own path. Instead, I spent that year working on myself internally and attempting to undo a lifetime of faulty “programming”.

By stripping away external influences, I indirectly ripped out core components of what used to build my identity. Without the obligations to my friends and family and the roles and expectations that come with those relationships, I was left having to answer the question of who I truly am, what and whom I care about when I have to choose for myself rather than draw on past experiences and interpersonal influence. It was a transformative experience that I’m extremely glad I elected for myself. Without the guiding vision I built for myself, many of the challenges I faced this year (and undoubtedly, those still yet to come) I would not have been able to successfully face before.

Earlier this year, I was inspired by a post on Lifehacker to map out my career path using a mind map. Though I did create my own, I find it to be more of a representation of where I want to go rather than of who I am. To that end, I think it’d be best to allocate some free time in the coming days to putting together a personal manifesto. Though I’ve yet to verbalize and/or visualize it, it’s nice to once again feel attuned to my life and my identity without all of the fear and doubt that plagued me in years past.

Weight Loss Project: Day One

After uploading the posts I drafted yesterday, I went on a good 8 mile jaunt. There was an issue with my primary app not tracking distance, which I only noticed about 2 miles in before switching over to the RunKeeper app. As I told myself I would yesterday, here’s the first of many progress updates. Time to make this finally happen. 

STARTING MEASUREMENTS

Stats
Height 5’ 10”
Goal Weight 165
Day # 1
Date: 09/01/2013
Measurements
Neck  16.75
Chest 42.5
Upper Arm (Left) 12
Upper Arm (Right) 12
Waist 37.5
Abdomen 40.5
Hips 40
Upper Thigh (Left) 23
Upper Thigh (Right) 23
Calf (Left) 16
Calf (Right) 16
 
Total Inches 279.5
Total Inches Lost
Weight 199.9 lbs.
Weight Lost to Date
BMI 28.7
Change in BMI
Goal Distance 34.9 lbs.

First Things FIrst: This Body of Mine

When it comes to getting to work on long-standing personal projects, the thing that immediately comes to mind is my physical state in relation to health and fitness. Getting in shape has been, at this point, a goal that I’ve been meaning to accomplish for years now with very little traction. All of my life, I’ve been on the heavy side. As a child, my diet was controlled by my parents who seemingly had no notion of proper nutrition and portion control. What started as my 9 year old self having to resort to wearing “husky” sized childrens clothing culminated in a record weight of approximately 255lbs when I was ending my time in high school. Up until that point, I had somehow always managed to be comfortable in my own body. Shortly after I turned 18, I started running regularly even though I had a long-established hatred for the act, and dropped my weight into the lower 200’s. Over the past few years, I’ve fluctuated through the 200–230 lb range, the lower end at which I presently find myself.

Throughout this time, I’ve tried many different ways to motivate myself to not simply lose the weight, but to implement a complete lifestyle change. I don’t just want to fit into smaller pants and have my shirts flatter my form, I want to have the option to engage in physically taxing but rewarding experiences like learning how to rock climb. To this end, I’ve invested money in workout equipment, gym memberships, smart scales, and various fitness training/tracking smartphone apps; I’ve written public blog posts with photos to shame myself into maintaining a steady pace; I even buzzed off all of my hair, one of my most personally prized features, and told myself I had to reach a target goal weight before I’d allow myself to grow it out again. Yet, all these mechanisms have resulted in failure because I’ve lacked a key component, an actual interest in myself, my life, and my well-being. I don’t want to deviate and go into detail since this isn’t the post for it (and also one of the reasons I archived all of my existing posts a couple weeks ago), but I’ve admittedly been in a very long depressive state for years. Now that I’ve found my self and my way again, it’s time to start turning desired goals into achieved accomplishments.

One thing that I do want to carry over from my old composition style are the weight loss centric posts I used to put together where I log my activity and progress. I still intend to document that progress photographically, but those will be kept offline (for the time being, at least) and I’ll continue to use numerical data and narrative text to represent the outcome of my efforts. Tomorrow will be my “day one”, and I’ll upload my first check-in then. In the mean time, more writing and productivity, and perhaps a good run/walk later in the evening — this whole California-currently-being-on-fire thing is making the weather quite the de-motivator.