This is the third in a series of two other posts about trying to make some changes in my life as we changed over into 2022. While the first talked about how I think about habits and the second described one of the tools I was using, Dry January, this last one is about some of the progress that I have made.
I have tracked my weight almost daily for the last eight years. Interestingly, I seem to go through cycles with a period of about eighteen months, but with a general downward slope.
The lowest I’ve weighed during this time was shortly after I did the 10,000 pushup challenge in April 2020. But as situations in my life changed, and COVID produced more local and global isolation, my weight climbed, soaring past the what would have been predicted by past trends.
For Christmas my sister got me a book called Burnout: The Secret To Unlocking the Stress Cycle, which she had heard recommended by Brené Brown. While specifically targeted to women (and the chapters about the patriarchy and the Industrial Bikini Complex didn’t perhaps resonate as strongly with me), she had found their idea of ‘completing stress cycles’ inspirational. The theory is that even after you have gotten rid of the ‘stressor’, i.e. the thing or person causing the stress, you still need to get rid of the ‘stress’ itself. While there are several different ways to do this, movement and exercise are the most effective. Interestingly, as I was reading the book at the end of December, my body started totally falling apart. I felt weirdly sore, despite not doing anything, and had strange pains. So that may have been the extra push that I needed to put my ass into gear.
Unlike previous challenge months, I didn’t start with a detailed exact plan from day one. I only knew that I wanted to exercise more and do Dry January. First day, I just did 30 minutes on elliptical. But then I brought on yoga (and journaling and mediation) every day. Also started lifting the second time I went to the gym (as well as using massage chairs). I began with two days on, one day off. Then three days on, and finally four days on, one day off.
By the end of January, I had done quite the turn around:
I also dropped ~10 lbs and significantly reduced by resting heart rate.
While I have been maintaining thus far in February, it is still quite demanding. So the goal will be to see how much continuing over time makes it easier, and how much I will need to tune down to maintain longterm longevity. But for now, I’m proud that I’m sticking with it.