How did I get out of shape (again)?

Image by Matt Henry via Burst

Recently I’ve been confronted with the harsh reality that I am much heavier than I want to be.  Sure, I stopped regularly working out and I wasn’t on a strict diet, but I certainly wasn’t a total hog…was I?  The warning signs were everywhere, but I was in denial.

3 Forms of Denial

Photo Flinch

One of the first ways to recognize a slide into flabby mode is an adverse reaction to group photos, like a vampire to light.  A friend or family member shows you a group photo and a violent shudder moves through you.  I can’t possibly look that heavy!  The shirt pattern is weird, that’s it, definitely the shirt.  Also – what’s up with the lighting?  It’s true, the camera really does add ten pounds!  Self soothe all you want but you know you look heavy because you are heavy.

Clothing is tight

Your go to outfits are feeling real snug right about now, so snug that circulation is restricted and breathing is difficult.  You’ve seen the photographic evidence too, but your not ready to turn your self over to reality, this is when you retreat to your “baggy” options that now fit properly.  Every occasion leads you to hoodies or a sweater if it’s a formal occasion.  The bagginess enables you to slink through a few more weeks of  denial.

Regressed physical prowess

You know you aren’t fit as a fiddle anymore but that’s to be expected when you aren’t consistently getting to the gym.  So what?!  I get winded going up the stairs and maybe going down too, I can still flip the switch to beast mode when necessary.

With these delusions running through your mind a physical demand will arise, perhaps a frisbee gently floats over your waist high chain link fence whilst playing catch with the kiddos.  Fret not little ones – I got this!  You spring into action, recognizing only after lift off that clearance is going to be much tighter than anticipated.  Your Lavar leap digresses to a bad episode of Cops where the criminal biffs it and is apprehended.  Laying on your back you realize that you have literally fallen off track.

How did I get here?

You stopped working out

There are lots of obstacles to maintaining a work out regime, these are some of my classic ruts:

  • Unsustainable Routine: There’s an office pool or old college buddies are doing a weight loss competition with serious money at stake.  You wake up early and lift or run six days a week – denying yourself all junk food and this works!  You lose the weight necessary and collect your bounty, but the bad news is you are totally burned out and prime for a slip back into your sloppy habits.
  • Busy:  It’s busy season at work, whether you’re in retail and Santa’s sled  is overhead or the kids just signed up for judo, violin lessons, and traveling baseball – everybody in your world needs more from you.  Your time is gone before you know it.
  • Injury:  It doesn’t matter if it’s frisbee related or not, you’ve pulled your hamstring and anytime to try to lift or run it sings at higher octaves than Pavarotti.  For the time being you will be sitting on the sidelines, which can be okay because traveling baseball season just started, just don’t eat your weight in hot dogs.

Your “Diet” isn’t being followed

We lose our way with food choices and we also lose our bodacious bod.

  • No Clear Plan:  I can’t decide if I want to be a vegan weaving hemp necklaces in Oregon or if I want to do the all meat plan eating steak 6 times a day in Omaha.  Lots of ideas are floating around in your skull but you don’t want to commit to one because you will probably just keep eating whatever you want whenever you want.
  • Not Eating Enough:  You went with the hemp necklace idea but only rationed yourself two carrot sticks for lunch.  It’s dinner now and anything that isn’t labeled toxic is sliding down gullet into your expanding belly.  Whoopsy!
  • Emotional Binge Sessions:  You just got dumped or decided to be friends instead – it’s over and now ice cream is your only friend.  A gallon into your new relationship you miss your old human relationship so you decide it might be a good safety precaution to eat the licorice rope that’s been hanging around to avoid doing something drastic – like jump rope (I backed out of the suicide humor, too dark).  You’ll eat anything if it means not thinking about your most recent emotional trauma.

Great!  We’ve attained a new level of self-realization and sufficiently mourned our wrongs.  It’s time to workout again.

Cover Image by Matt Henry via Burst