Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Feeling Good About Feeling Good

It was just a little over a year ago that my wife and I spent a week in Mexico and had a number of things happen that I described at the time as things that "shook my soul." One of these was the awareness that I was not in as good a physical shape as I hoped I could be. It was around that time that I made a commitment to discipline myself. I would work out every workday morning before work.

Which for me was - and is - quite a commitment. I am not now- and never have been a morning person. To work out every morning would mean a slightly earlier bedtime and a much earlier out-of-the-building morning time. Much to my surprise and to most of those who know me, I have hardly missed a workout morning when I have to be up and out to work for over a year now. Nearly 13 months.

And I notice it. I did more biking last summer and added a duathlon at the end of the summer. I have been snowshoeing this winter. Last month in Alabama I rented a bike and cycled over 85 miles in 7 rides. I am so excited by this new me. I feel generally stronger, and have a sense of accomplishment at something that I have never been good at before.

Not that all is rosy. I have been absolutely unable to lose weight. With all this exercise I am today almost exactly the same weight I was 13 months ago. I have known that there are two things that lead to weight loss:

1. Move more.
2. Eat less.
When I told a recovering friend about this, I then added,
Well, I have half of it.
To which he replied with a perfect quote from the AA Big Book:
But half-measures availed us nothing!
(Don't you just hate it when your friends know you as well as you do?)

So with the push of this past vacation time, I have decided somehow or another I need to kick this whole thing up a notch. I am not sure how, yet. I have started watching what I eat and keeping a daily log of my foods. I am going to explore some other work-out options over the next few weeks until that spring weather catches up with my travels back north and I can get the bike outside more often.

But in the end it has to be a commitment to commitment, a discipline to be disciplined. I have managed to do that for 13 months now, much to my own joy and shock. When that happens, and one begins to see the benefits of what one has been doing, it can begin to feed on itself.

That's the way recovery happened for me in that first year 20-some years ago. I got to the end of year one and liked what was happening so I just kept on doing it and kicked it up a notch with a more disciplined commitment (or a more committed disciple.) At first you do what you need to do because you have to. Eventually you can get to doing it because you like what it does for you.

I'm excited. If it works half as well for my exercise life as it did for my recovery, I will be even more surprised by this time next year.

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