In August 2013 I hit my lowest weight since university; my perfect target weight without being a body builder. I felt great, had lots of energy and drive and had started branching out into doing different things like Yoga. Unfortunately all of the bending and twisting of yoga caused a lot of back problems and I couldn’t do much for a couple of months. For the first few weeks after causing my back muscles to spasm I was walking with a cane.
I allowed that situation to define my limitations and instead of getting back on my program I allowed myself to become complacent. I started eating things I shouldn’t eat, stopped working out, stopped running and 6 years later, I’m back at almost the same weight I started at. I allowed stress and laziness to unbalance my life. Now, 2019, I have a myriad of health problems.
Instead of beating myself up, I’m going to pick myself up. Compassion starts with me being compassionate to myself and letting go of the delusions that I have wrapped around myself that keep me from progressing.
It’s been a couple of weeks since I injured my back, the first time. About a week about I injured it a second time but I was fortunate it was not as bad as the first. That said, it landed me right back in physio and back to the chiropractor and it did hurt like hell.
In the two weeks I’ve been able to do a little bit of cardio on the stationary bike, but I’ve mostly been doing exercises recommended by the physiotherapist. In that time I’ve had a huge mental battle that I think I’m winning, but I haven’t come out unscathed.
For these past two weeks I been down, I mean really down. Not only could I not exercise but I had a room mate who left to join his family and while I was really happy for him it was hard for me to be left behind waiting for the opportunity to join mine. I’ve been lonely and not able to do too much other than sit around. On top of it I got the stomach flu. It hasn’t been easy. Some days I was so discouraged that I didn’t want to talk to anyone, not even my family. I couldn’t bear it. Some days I came home from work and went right to bed.
The mental and emotional battle has been tough, but this is where you find out what you are made of. Now my back is feeling a bit better. It’s still sore, I can’t walk long distances or stand for too long, but I’m sick and tired of feeling like shit and I’m not going to let myself get depressed.
I have a sign on the wall… ‘Don’t take shit from anyone, especially yourself.’ Well I’m done taking shit from myself. Today I woke up and ate properly. I then packed my bag, went to the gym, got on the stationary bike and did 20 minutes of cardio. Afterwards I was feeling ok so I stretched my back and launched into my upper body routine. I made sure to stretch between each exercise and not overdo it but I did about 70% of my normal workout! I left the gym feeling like a million bucks.
This is what Character is…. when you’re down don’t wallow there, get up, kick yourself in the ass and keep going!
Well, this is where you find out what you’re made of. Last Thursday morning I woke up and could not move. My back was locked up hard. It took a while and a lot of pain to get out of bed. A week later I’ve been to physio 4 times and this afternoon while doing some light stretching and the physio recommended exercises my back locked up again and I landed in a heap on the gym floor.
I have to admit, I’m pretty frustrated. My first impulse was to feel sorry for myself. Instead I stopped myself and said (inside my head) ‘Ok, it’s happened, now what are you going to do about it?’ Slowly I got myself turned around so I was laying on my back and got myself into a crouching stretch position. After a few minutes I laboriously got to my feet and once the pain died down I managed to get changed. This time instead of pain shooting up my back it’s shooting down my tail bone into my butt. Not fun. Thankfully, I have a physio appt in about an hour if I can bring myself to get into the car…..
Fun times… but I’m not giving up; I’m carrying on. You won’t keep me down, you hear me!
The day before yesterday I decided to look up some weight ‘cutting’ tips from professional body builders. What I found was really technical, but let me to run some calculations. I determined that I need to lose another 16.5 lbs. Initially I had guessed that my body fat percentage was sitting around 20%. When I got some fat measuring ‘calipers’ and measured it was more like 26.5% I was pretty deflated and demoralized. I’ve been hitting it hard with still so far to go. I started to feel down but when I looked up I saw a sign I had printed and taped to the wall. “Don’t take shit from anyone, especially yourself.” When I read that I refused to let myself feel down. I put my head up, congratulated myself for how far I’ve come, wondered in awe at how much my body fat % must have been when I started and then carried on. This morning, I hit it twice as hard and felt good. Reflecting on my workout in the shower the thought came to me on how important it is to celebrate your victories at all times. From that I came up with this saying I’m going to add to my wall. “If you don’t celebrate your victories, you’re doomed to only remember your failures.”
I’m so excited, the course details have been delivered! I called them to let them know my medical/dietary concerns and I’ve now got a list of things that I have to prep for.
There are no alcohol permitted at the camp, which I think is great. I’ll have to start getting my clothing together, rain gear, etc. They suggest you choose your clothes for comfort (check! I’m all about that) and thankfully they also ask people not to wear perfumes. At the camp there are no stores near by and there is also no cell phone service. We will be unplugged for a week, which I think is a great idea.
Here is the list of things you need:
- Athletic shoes (must be closed-toed)
- Appropriate footwear for hiking
- Rain gear, such as a rain poncho with hood, or rain jacket and pants
- Sunglasses with safety strap
- Workout clothing
- Hat (for sun protection)
- Warm clothing, including a fleece or wool pullover jacket
- Multiple pairs of athletic socks
- Multiple pairs of long pants and long sleeve shirts
- Cotton t-shirt that covers the shoulders
- Cotton sarong or long cotton shorts
- Easy, slip-on shoes (e.g., flip flops)
Toiletries / Medical
- Allergy and pain relief medications
- Blister care, such as band-aids
- Insect repellent (travel size)
- Personal hygiene products
- Sunscreen with high SPF
- Towels to use for activities
- Towels to use for bathing
- Sleep aids (e.g., ear plugs, eye mask)
- Note pad and pens
- Portable snack food
- Small camera (we recommend a disposable waterproof camera as we will be outside and active much of the time)
- Watch with alarm or an alarm clock
- Water bottles or a hydration pack that holds at least 2L of water
- Knapsack that will carry at least a 2L water bottle
- Flashlight or head lamp with fresh batteries
- Single sleeping mat or air mattress
- Sleeping bag & pillow
Sometimes it seems like you are going backwards, but this past week I feel like I’ve made a lot of progress. I’m losing weight again, increasing my flexibility and eating right. But… more than that, I’ve had more confidence and a surety of myself. I remember having the feeling, not that long ago, that despite my age I still just felt like a boy and not a man. The realization hit me this week that I don’t feel that way any more. I feel like a man with a stronger sense of who he is and what he wants and to me that’s huge.
Step by step, I’m overcoming myself. When I don’t feel like going to the gym, I go. When I don’t feel like eating right, I just do it. If I don’t do something perfectly, I just carry on and do better next time. I don’t feel like I have to be perfect in everything and as that need has dissipated I also don’t feel the need to believe I know everything or am terribly smart. I’m realising that I’m not nearly as smart as I thought I was and that’s ok. I’ve come to see that this is part of maturing… and I’m not over-analyzing as much as I use to. Now that I’ve chosen to be happy and to acknowledge my emotions I feel like I’m ready to get down to the business of learning and growing myself again.
My wife and children always use to say that I’m like an old man, and before I started this journey I would have agreed with them, I certainly felt like an old man; however, that’s not true any longer. I feel younger and stronger than ever and I’m far from old.
I’ve learned not to judge people, they can and often do surprise you.