I was going to necro-post on The Fitness Thread but it was all about bicycling. You nut jobs. (Wish I could bike.)
In theory a year of isolation would have been a good opportunity for self-improvement but in practice for me the political and public health crises just sank me into a downward spiral of doomscrolling. To counter that we got a pair of puppies, and while they did bring companionship to our lives, they also brought their own stress factor as we worked to housebreak them (one is dramatically stubborn).
Accordingly, stress eating and alcoholic self-medication gave me an extra (COVID-)19 pounds and I also had gained some (2020-)20 pounds on top of that since January 2020. I knew what caused the weight gain, and I knew how to fix it… I just didn’t want to.
Fast forward to a mental health break in mid-February. The weight gain, booze, doomscrolling, and needy puppies caused me to have severe sleep deficiency and I am no longer young enough to cope with inadequate rest. From then on I went cold turkey, and also jumped on an intermittent fasting diet that I know works well for me (16:8, 16 hours fasting, 8 hours feeding).
Since February 18, I lost 15 pounds and I have a goal of losing at least 20 more. That is a dramatic change in weight and I don’t have huge hopes of sustaining this rate but I’m going to ride this train until it stops. It’s hard to be hungry but it helps to look at the big picture. I’m already sleeping better, even if the stubborn puppy still wakes me up to go outside in the middle of the night.
To maintain focus on improving my body I’ve resumed a strength training program that helps me with self image, and goal setting. I’ve also hopped on my Concept2 indoor rower to work on cardiorespiratory health, hoping to create a healthy habit to sustain me through my middle age and beyond. Finally, to keep my dogs from destroying the house, I walk them 3-5 miles a day over 2-3 sessions. I look forward to taking them on hikes when the weather starts to cooperate.
As for mental health, I’m reading up (again) on mindfulness and meditation. I keep it secular and filter out the woo-woo but it’s important to me to relearn the peace I’ve had in my younger years. The frequent walks have been great for this and sketching/drawing has been a great form of meditation.
This is a lot of things to tackle at once and I’m sure I’ll have to scale it back somewhere. The point is, for me, there is such a great relief in the political climate normalizing (sort of) and the COVID-19 vaccine rollout that it’s time to get ready to join civilization again.