Posted by: cmittermeier | January 6, 2014

Has my life (physically) peaked?

I have been thinking a great deal about whether my health has peaked or not.  If I had lived at the top of my game all my life the answer would be unequivocally yes – its well known that our muscle and cardiovascular peak is well before the forties.  I have never been at the top of my potential physically, so for about a decade I have realized that because of this it was still possible to reach a peak.  At this point, however, I’m starting to realize that I will likely never get extremely fit and I’ve started to wonder just how far I can improve instead of trying to reach some life peak.

I am not talking about raw potential – take me out of my life and place me in some strange world and it might be possible to recreate she-hulk.  No, I am talking about the realistic options.  We are only given a finite amount of time and resources.  I am too old to look at adding any new task without first considering what I would remove.  I totally underestimated the holiday time toilet, tomorrow will be the first time back on the treadmill in weeks.  When I look at the question if I’m only going downhill from here, its stuff like that which comes to mind.  This is real life folks, and getting fit has to fit in.

I seem to have several issues holding me back.  If I can’t find solutions to these hurdles then I really have peaked and must accept a gradual decline in physical health along with a gradual increase in bulk!  As used as an example above, holidays are an issue.  In the general sense all gatherings are difficult, but some are much worse than others.  Funerals are extremely difficult for me to handle, I’m searching for any sort of relief.  When there are hiccups to the event, for example, when there are too many unknowns and people get in a tizzy because no one knows whose doing what, I tend to eat more.  When there are underlying problems with events or people that you can’t change (mainly because they aren’t ready to deal with the issue), I tend to numb myself with food.   When people make bad choices, I also turn to food.  Better to make a poor decision of my own than watch them destroy themselves… I know, makes no sense to me either.  So you see, I still have emotional issues that I resolve by using food to numb, control, soothe.

There are environmental ones, and these are generally ones I can often find work arounds.  Food has to be readily available.  I do much better when once a month I cook up a storm and freeze ready-to-go lunches and dinners.  I have to make sure there are ready to go veggies or else my go-to snack will be grain based.  In winter it is very hard for me to get in fruit, its just not in season!  Conversely, soups and roasted veggies are so easy to eat.  My space has to be set for success, too many sweets and treats and I’m doomed.  This caused havoc over the holidays because I had a number of drop in guests and I would put out a small tray of things… that small tray would later get emptied after they left and I’m not talking about putting it back in the package for the next guest.  I would like to spend more time looking for healthy treats, but that will come in time.  For now I’m contenting myself with finding ways to modify recipes to include whole wheat flower, less fat, and swapping some of the processed sugars for more natural forms.  Its easier than I thought, but at the same time still a bit new.

There is exercise time issues, and that falls in between the previous two issues.   Its not as difficult as the emotional issues, but its hardly routine like the environment ones.  I still have to work hard to ensure that a workout time is maintained.  I’ve decided that I will double up my time slightly to try and add to my exercise.  I do not watch much tv, but I do watch some.  In general I keep up with Dr. Oz, and before bed my hubby and I will watch a couple of shows (off dvd).  A character in a show with great abs nonchalantly explained that he did crunches while watching tv and it was one of those silly moments where I realized I could do that during Dr. Oz!  Obviously I’m not going to do 40 minutes of muscle work right away, but its the perfect match.  I don’t generally have enough brain power to work well that late in the evening, but lets face it folks, you don’t need to think much to do squats, arm curls, and crunches.  If I’m going to get the treadmill in regularly, I have to go with the flow and get out of bed at 6:30.  I wake up generally around 6 anyways, but I don’t get out of bed till the boys wake up at 7.  I have to stop this and make better use of my time.  If I could sleep till 7, so be it, but I can’t let that time be for naught.  Not if I’m going to make this stick.  I am not sure I’m up for it, but with God’s help, anything is possible and no matter how I look at it, that morning time slot keeps staring at me.

In terms of those emotional issues, well, did you notice that paragraph was more “here’s the problems” and not so much on solutions?  I sure did.  I’ve got a meeting with my old psychologist later in January, not just for my weight but that will be part of it.  I need to deal with some of those emotional landmines instead of dealing with the fall out after I’ve stepped on one.

All of this reflection was possible because of Epiphany, more specifically, the homily.  Father went over some basics – are we traveling toward God, or trying to destroy him?  The Magi and Herod, who were we?  My journey to health is part of my walk toward God, and though I felt quite stalled, after hearing the homily it was easier to let God lead.  I had, temporarily, moved my health into the herod side – self-serving.  Once I stopped looking at it from some great life-peak moment and back to the “God wants good things for me”, it was easier to identify the hurdles and in knowing them I was able to see the solutions God had been gathering to me.

I promise to write tomorrow, even if its just the readings from the treadmill.

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