Thursday, July 17, 2008

Goals don't work. Ambiguity does.

So I've been away for a couple of weeks, in the sense that I have not posted and I have not really been paying attention to my health. I have a bit of an excuse for the first in that I was away in the beginning of July and it took me a few days to get my head on straight after traveling.

Part of the reason for not paying attention to my health is kind of good. I'm not all that ashamed of my weight any more. I'm not sure what changed, as I am in no way close to my ideal weight. Sometimes I look in the mirror and have a "Hey, I look pretty good" moment. Maybe other people don't feel that way and a few minutes later I feel like I'm probably just fooling myself. But hey, that's why I use the name Fooled. My goal was to fool myself into thinking exercise is doable, even for me, to fool myself into thinking that eating right makes me feel better, and pretty much fool myself into being a better person.

That and the Led Zeppelin song "Fool in the Rain" is one of my favorite songs.

But anyway, I've achieved, or at least, had achieved my goals. I'd do four hours of various forms of exercise during the day, because hey, why not. And goshdarn it if I didn't feel better when I did eat right. I had more confidence, which is one of my prerequisites for being a better person.

But I set out these goals, or at leas the health oriented ones, because my health wasn't good, or at least wasn't going to be good. A doctor scared me into not being such of an idiot any more, hence why I started eating right and exercising. And I started getting healthier, and lost weight, and I met goals, and ironically that was what derailed me for more than a few days.

I had confidence, I had done what millions of people hadn't been able to do, namely lost more than twenty pounds. I could no longer shop in the plus sized department. My body had shape now, instead of resembling a pile of raw bread dough. And these were the things I focused on. I focused on my successes.

I'm not saying that is a bad thing. It's a wonderful thing. If you don't acknowledged that you've changed, you'd probably go insane and spend most of the time you weren't at the gym curled up on the living room floor, completely drained because you hadn't eaten enough that day for all the exercise you had been doing.

But it can't be the only thing. It can't even be close to the only thing. For me, it probably shouldn't even be in the realm of the only thing. I started off because I wanted to stay healthy, and I wanted to have a long, uncomplicated life. That's what had kept me going. My weight loss stalled when I thought about what was coming next. When would I hit the next ten pound mark? When would I be one of those people who made it to goal? When can I wear single number dress sizes?

When I first got on this health kick, if that would even be the right term for it, I looked for a lot of information on just being healthy. That was the goal. I wanted to lose weight so I could be healthy. Don't think too much about being thin or being more attractive. That will come if I just focus on the health. I came across a blog talking about how to change your eating habits, and the woman wrote about vegetarians. She said that people who became vegetarians because of a moral reason tended to still eat a lot of junk food, because seriously, how much junk food has meat in it? But people who did it because of the health benefits were able to stick with it better and tended to not have the side effects associated with vegetarianism.

Somehow the point was that vanity was not a strong enough reason to stick to a lifestyle change. If you went into it with your main goal being to fit into a size 6 or to look good in a bathing suit, you probably wouldn't be able to stick to it. But if you went into because you wanted to be healthy or you were at risk for diabetes, you were more likely to stick with it. That resonated with me and when I focused on that, it worked, but ever since the first thought of "I want to lose X pounds by Y date" I've sabotaged my efforts.

My goals needs to be vague. I can't promise myself that I will reach my ideal BMI, my ideal weight, or my ideal clothing size, and I especially can't promise that I will have it by such and such a date. I can't do this with the goal of running the Boston Marathon or biking the Pan Mass Challenge and I can't seriously listen to people who, upon hearing my "crazy workout schedule" suggest such things. Whatever happens, happens, and I'll do my best in the mean time.

In other news, my grandparents are moving to senior housing, and the aunts and uncles are cleaning their stuff out of their shed and basement and old bedrooms, which is how I scored a thirty-three year old men's Schwinn ten-speed. The tires need to be replaced and the chain is loose, but the thing actually works. I haven't had a working bicycle since I was 10, because the next bicycle I got, the gear changer thingy didn't work and it constantly felt like I was pedaling uphill, which is not something an 11 year old is interested in. So I'm absurdly happy about having a bike, as I've been thinking about getting one for months now. Even though I haven't gotten tires yet.

1 comment:

Just_Kelly said...

Hey! I'm a new reader. Did you say you execise 4 hours a day? What type of exercises do you do? Do you take weekends off?