Mantra Monday: Here We Go Again…

Quarantine or None, It’s Time to Get My Body Moving Again.

SITREP: Mission compromised, but recovery and accomplishment still possible. Beginning in November the pressures of juggling multiple jobs, combined with the growing darkness of the season drew me into a hibernation period. I was aware of it, and I told myself it was just for the season. I did my best to limit my calories and weight gain for the first couple of months. I stayed within about 10-15 lbs of my summer weight.

In February, I was ready to start working out again. I ran a mile and a half a few times, and it gassed me, but I felt good about it. I still felt in relatively good shape.

Then came March, and with it: COVID-19.

My anxiety kicked in, and I turned to food and calories for comfort. Now I have about 25 lbs to lose before I’m back where I want to be.

Throughout this time, I’d gone out on a few walks, sometimes with Jake, sometimes with human friends (yes, we stayed six-feet apart). Nothing strenuous, but I was testing the waters, because I’d noticed my anxiety was worse, my face was fatter, and so was my gut. Lethargy and a general malaise—twin boa-constrictors, those two—slithered slowly and silently around my soul. Had I not been vigilant, their coils would have surely turned me into a jelly-roll again.

Ahhh… But I was vigilant. I will NOT ever feel “fat” again.

So Here’s What I Did:

Last weekend, I took Jake out for a walk, determined to run just a bit. I’ve never run with him before, because, frankly, he’s not the best on a leash. I decided on a two-mile loop around the neighborhood. It’s relatively flat, though the first leg is slightly uphill, and there’s a section with a significant dip downhill then back up. The final leg is slightly downhill, though, so it averages out. We walked the first two thirds of the way, then I started running with him. He did really well, actually. He let me lead, and actually tired out before I did. We only ran maybe a quarter of a mile, but my heart rate was definitely up, and I knew that I was, indeed, out of shape again. 

Red Alert! Rectify Immediately!

Ordinarily I’d just say, “Okay… Back to the gym.” and that’d be that. But obviously, I can’t go to the gym now because, well, death lurks where people gather at the moment. So that’s out. 

There’s also another complication. In September, when I started my new job, I set up a few new pieces of equipment in my home office. One of those things was a nice new big second monitor, and a wireless mouse. I thought I was being ergonomically smart by having my mouse far away, so that I had to spread out a bit and not hunch while working. Unfortunately, I didn’t actually do any research on ergonomics before I spent six months working this way. 

During this time, I noticed that my right shoulder was sore in certain positions and during certain movements. 

This complicates things with working out because a lot of the “at home” equipment I have involves free-weights and a punching bag. Now, yeah, I could just go running every day, but I also want to get back into fighting, so I want to take advantage of the quarantine and use do some cardio bag work.

But not with an injured shoulder. 

So I went to the doctor on Wednesday of last week. He gave me some easy shoulder exercises to work on, and told me to move my mouse, or better yet, get a track ball.

Day 1

I started icing my shoulder a few times a day, and on Thursday, the weather cleared perfectly right around 5:30, so Jake and I went for a walk/run again. This time, though, I started by running. We did the same two mile course, and I’d say I ran about half of it, though in smaller spurts, walking in between.

Day 2

Yesterday, I decided that I’m also going on a strict diet. For the next few days, the only thing I’m going to eat will be brown rice, canned chicken/tuna/shrimp, and a touch of sauce to add flavor.

I know. Dietitians everywhere hate me. And I’m by no means advocating that as a “healthy” way to eat. But for me, it’s a quick way to make sure that my calorie intake stays low and that I get protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals from the rice and the meat. I’m not really a vegetable eater at all, so I can’t just say “Oh, I’m gonna just eat salads for a month.”

Also, my living situation is such that my cooking options are relatively limited. I need something I can make in a few minutes that satisfies my hunger, has proteins and good fats, vitamins and minerals, fibrous carbohydrates (not starchy ones) and electrolytes. I get all of that from these meals. I checked the labels.

And I could eat it for every meal for a month at least if I needed to. It’s better than MREs and makes me feel good about myself for not going and getting Jack in the Box. So, come at me, dietitians. Yeah, I may not be doing it perfectly, but I know for a fact this method works for me. 

Then I did an indoor workout that included VERY LIGHT bag work (no my shoulder didn’t hurt during or after, and I iced it afterward just to be safe; it feels fine today, too. (I’m writing this on Saturday)

I did three rounds, three minutes a piece. Then I did some lunges with 25 lb dumbbells. After that it was ab time. I planked for a minute, then did three sets of fifty flutter kick straight leg raises. I felt AWESOME afterward. 

Oh, one more note… I’m limiting alcohol intake at this time, too. I love me some beer, but that’s a lot of calories I don’t need right now. 

Today—Day 3

Today I got up feeling great! That’s the first time I’ve been able to say that in a while. It’s raining out, but if it clears up I’m going to go on a bike ride. If not, I’m going to do yoga in the living room. And I’ll have two meals of my rice bowl recipe. And I’ll keep it up, and in no time, I’ll be back in shape for summer!

Note: If you’re new to Brandonia, Monday’s posts are about our mantra, which I borrowed from Steve Kamb’s book Level Up Your Life. That mantra is “F*%k motivation. Cultivate discipline.” The idea being, motivation is unreliable, whereas discipline is solid. I let my discipline slip, and now it’s time to get back into gear. I hope you’ll follow me on my journey to live my healthiest life in my forties.

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