Handling Stress: A Learning Experience

So I’ve been kinda stressed the last week or so, which largely explains my intermittent posting. I’m sorry about that, honestly: I mean for this to be a daily exercise. In fact, I need it to be a daily exercise. Not just so I have a body of work – which is important for any writer – but also because I need the discipline. I enjoy writing, I’m good at it, and I need it to become second nature to me. Even if I produce something stupid and useless, it’s still production! It’s similar to what I’ve been talking about with fitness: just do better than what you did yesterday.

That’s not to say that this post is useless, just kind of airing out my thoughts as a preamble! This post is about stress and how I handle it.

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Changing Perspectives

For the last few weeks I’ve obviously been doing my bodybuilder challenge. Part of the challenge is to get my bodyfat percentage to an athletic level and that struggle isn’t just a physical one for me. It’s largely a psychological one that requires me to really change the way I looked at weight for most of my life.

weight-scale

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Bodybuilding: Week 4

(Previous week: 1, 2, 3)

Here after week 3 I’m beginning to wonder if every week is a mixed bag! Some things were great and some things were not. Though perhaps the things that weren’t great were mostly just perception and not reality – holdovers from when I was seriously fat that I haven’t quite shaken yet.

I’ll explain.

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Keto Quiche and Organic Dessert

There are a few snacks that I at times keep on hand to keep me on a decent eating regime. For many people, part of the problem with a diet is the feeling of hunger between meals, or the sense that you have to have a will of iron and give up on things like flavor. I don’t think that’s the case – there is a way to eat, even on my own regime of very low carbohydrates, where things actually taste good and you can eat when you’re hungry. Most of the time I, myself, won’t make these kinds of things only because I’m at a place in life where it’s just simpler for me to make chicken and broccoli for days on end haha. But I remember foods like this were helpful – and sometimes still are – when I’ve needed variety while still sticking to a low-carb regime.

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Mental Discipline

Body transformation obviously isn’t easy. The main reason that transforming the body isn’t easy is because the body isn’t just a thing to be shaped into whatever we want it to be. Our bodies are the evidence of the way we eat, the way we move, the way we sleep, the way we work, the way we play, the way we rest… Our bodies are evidence of the life we lead. Which is why when you are losing weight, a good health professional will tell you that changing your diet or changing your exercise routine isn’t going to fix your problem. If your problem is your body, and your body is just evidence of the life you lead, you have to change your life. People with amazing bodies don’t just have healthy bodies: they have healthy lives.

mindBut there is a tendency, while losing weight is our goal, to imagine our needs in that respect to be physical ones. And why not? It’s a physical problem. We’re fat. We look lumpy and rolly and big and so forth… Of course it’s a physical problem with physical needs and physical remedies. But in my experience it’s not nearly as simple as that. And I think a careful reader will have gathered that from my writing so far: making a physical change requires much more than physical discipline. And this may be the hardest part of the whole thing: changing your mind.

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On Those Days I Feel Awful

I feel awful… and since today I can’t generate a post that’s on topic about weight loss or fitness or being a fat kid, I’ll write about this. Hopefully since the blog is about me in a broad sense it still is kinda relevant.

There are days I feel awful and today is one of them. I sat down at my computer hours ago to try to write something, anything, so I could tell myself I’d written today. I started writing about 5 different things and in the process wrote a few pages worth if unfinished scrap. Nothing to show for it really. I have plans to work on my book chapter, plans to finish an article, plans for this and that… everything is in a stage of “almost there”. I just can’t focus: my mind is flooded today by anxieties and fears and frustrations and a dozen things that make me depressed.

I’ve been depressed for a few days. And not depressed in the vague “oh I’m kinda blue” way. If I’m doing something I really commit, and being depressed is no different. I’m overwhelmed by a lot of things ahead of me, even as I’m haunted by a lot of things behind me. The mountain of my responsibilities, of my uncertain future, looms above me and leaves me paralyzed it seems. Can I really do this? Any of this? Is moving to Chicago a mistake? Is committing to this writing a mistake? I’d a book something I can even do? Will anyone even read it? How do I get from here – from basically nothing – to the life I imagine for myself? Is that even possible for me? Can i move and find work and find friends and find a home and find love and find success… Can I do all of this?? And do it by myself?

I feel overwhelmed. I have too many things to do. I can’t do them… I want to give up.

And so today I can give up. I can’t do those things… so I won’t. This isn’t the first time I’ve felt this way and it won’t be the last, so instead of trying to shape my whole life I will just shape today. What can I do today?

I can get up and go to the gym. It’s small, especially in the face of everything ahead of me, but on a day like today I need to not focus on the things I can’t do and focus on the things I can. And if that is the only thing on the list, it’s still a step above laying on the couch with a pint of Cold Stone ice cream. I can’t be perfect and I won’t plan on it… but I can be better.

So I’ll hit the gym and take care of today. Tomorrow can take care of tomorrow.

My Bodybuilding Routine

So I’m a little late on this (since I’m a couple weeks in), but I wanted to throw up a post about what my lifting routine is and why I make some of the choices I made. I’ve already described briefly what I think are the building blocks of making a lifting routine, so those rules still control, but here I’ll describe how that actually payed out in my decision making regarding my bodybuilding goals.

I’ll walk through my decision process step by step, then give an outline of the whole routine.

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