On Keeping At It

Just after 8AM this morning I finished the last piece of my Monday workout. I start and finish with cardio (just walking on a treadmill) and have daily weight routines I do in between. Monday is also when I do my weekly weigh in. Going in I was already confident I knew the results. It doesn’t take a lot of thought to recognize that if during the last four days I ate poorly for three of them and was effectively glued to the couch for two others that I’m going to have one dissatisfying moment on the scale. 325.4lbs. Up 1.2lbs from last weeks weigh in. Fuck.

Despite anticipating that this would be the case it was still a hard pill to swallow. Watching the digital scale flash the number at me and reluctantly recording it in my Fitbit app was a disheartening moment.

It’s your own fault and you know it. You ate pizza for dinner on Thursday. Garbage food on Friday AND spent the night playing drinking games. You didn’t go to Muay Thai and barely moved from the couch either Saturday or Sunday. If you say that this is a surprise you’re lying to yourself and anyone you tell.

I know, inner self, I know. It’s something that I’ve been keen to remind myself on since I began this walk towards better health and feelings of myself about 3 weeks ago -- that this journey is one that lives or dies by my own determination. I won’t give anyone else the power to dissuade or distract me. So while there may be things that get in the way of my own progress, I’m very aware that I’ve allowed them to happen. Nothing is being forced upon me.

Dejected but painfully self-aware of my situation, I head home. When I got there I found myself on the couch debating how much effort I should put into the rest of my morning routine. It’s one that I started around the same time that I began this adventure on self-improvement. If I’m not washing my hair it involves showering with some nice moisturizing body-wash and using a face and beard wash. Once out of the shower I use some eczema lotion on some areas I tend to get flare-ups, then a face cream followed up by beard oil. I finish with a different type of lotion for my hands and arms (up to and including my elbows). It’s a hair washing day, so add in shampoo and conditioner.

I’ll pause here in case you want to either continue visualizing that or need to take a moment because you did.

It’s not exceedingly long and I’m sure many people would scoff at the simplicity of it, but it’s a routine that is new to me and this morning was one of the few times I debated saying “fuck it”, and just going with the simple approach. In this semi-apathetic state, upset with myself for moving backwards I started a mental chart of pros and cons of either approach.

PRO

CON

I feel great after this routine.

It takes longer than just a quick shower.

My skin and beard have been doing so much better since starting this regimen.

I didn’t lose weight this week and that fucking sucks and now I’m bitter.

Starting the day knowing I don’t have anything else to do to prepare for whatever might happen is great.

It…takes longer than just a quick shower.

Recognizing that I’m taking care of myself gives me personal satisfaction, even if it’s just a simple routine taking care of my skin every morning.

Fuck off.

It became pretty clear that the notion of sitting on my ass and not going through my routine didn’t have much of a leg to stand on. Ultimately it boiled down to one simple truth that I’ve been trying to tell myself anytime I feel like something isn’t worth it.

I am worth the effort it takes to improve or feel good about myself.

It’s a lesson that the guy who held my body hostage for the last 35 years didn’t really jive with, but that I’m now trying to force down his throat anytime he joins me for coffee in the morning. A simple idea that I picked up from Everything Is F*cked by Mark Manson. It wasn’t a prominent piece of the book, but it was significant enough for me at the time to kick something into place. I began my journey towards this new healthier lifestyle with a very negative approach. “I’m a fat asshole and I don’t want to be anymore” and “I hate the person I see when I look at pictures of myself.” It’s always been a knee-jerk reaction to jump to the negative side of things but fuck that noise. That mentality doesn’t get to stick around anymore.

From now on I’m worth it. I don’t hate myself. It’s literally the opposite. I really enjoy myself. I want to stick around for another bunch of decades and do a lot more cool shit. I want to see my step-kids fully grown and their own kids (if they go that route) fully grown. I want to tell them the same thing you’re reading now whenever they need it. You’re worth it. All the effort you put into yourself in the morning. All the pain you suffer to improve yourself. The mental turmoil you go through while trying to learn. You’re worth every bit of it.

It’s a tough mental shift, so if it helps think about how you’d approach other people in your situation. If you saw me at the gym, all 325.4lbs sweating his ass off doing step-ups on a box would you walk up to me and say “Don’t stop, you’re fucking gross”? If you would, you’re a really shitty person, but I doubt anyone would. So why would you say it to yourself? This is how I’m trying to take my steps forward (and up) and it’s something I would love for anyone who reads this to try. If you’re anything like me it’ll be hard and awkward. I’ve spent basically all of my life feeling like I don’t have value and anytime I’ve tried to improve myself I’ve done so strictly motivated by my own self-loathing. I can truthfully say it’s gotten me nowhere. It kept me on the couch eating fast food instead of going to the gym. Made it possible for me to sit on my ass and do nothing as a morning routine. Made it really easy to ruin relationships and relegate myself to the sidelines during most of my own life. It was dumb, and saddens me to realize that it took me so long to turn this page.

This morning I opted for the longer routine. I feel great for it. I rub my forehead every so often genuinely impressed and pleased with how soft and moisturized it feels. I stroke my beard lovingly knowing it’s getting healthier everyday I keep this routine up. Tomorrow morning I’ll be back at the gym pushing myself just a little bit harder than I did today. Not because I hate the person I am, but because I’m worth the energy, time, and effort it takes to improve myself.

You are too.



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