One side effect of taking a beach vacation is that people take pictures of you in your swimsuit. And then you come home and look at them. There was a time when I was OK with that. I could see the bits of my body I wished were different, but basically thought "OK, yep, that's how I look in a swimsuit."
This time, I saw the photos and thought "OMG. Is that how I look in a swimsuit?"
Now, on the grand scheme of things, this is no big deal. I've gotten older. I've had two kids. Etc., etc. But I also know that I've let things slide a bit. I can see how I could find myself in a pattern of gaining 3-5 pounds every year, and that math doesn't look good for me healthwise, regardless of how I look in my swimsuit.
So anyway, I've decided that I'm not going to allow that 3-5 pound per year gain to happen. I may or may not be able to reverse the gain that has happened, but I can definitely try to stop it.
I thought back to that Vox article I read a few months ago from the weight loss doctor. One quote from that has really stuck with me: "live the healthiest life you'll enjoy."
And the thing is, I'm not doing that. I enjoy being more active than I've been lately. I feel better, both mentally and physically, when I'm more active.
So, what's gone wrong? I think there are a couple of problems:
(1) I feel pressure to work a "normal" day to prove that I've not gone part time with my new career set up. Prove to whom? I don't know. Myself, probably.
This is silly, and I'm going to try to stop it. My career mantra right now is: "If I'm paying my bills and that looks like it will continue for the next 6 months, I'm doing OK." Because, honestly, that's all I could ever guarantee in my old career.
And, for the record, I just picked up a project that is likely to go through next year, and possibly through 2018... so I'm good. (Do you hear that, inner critic? I'M GOOD.)
My other career mantra is: "I will not screw over anyone who agrees to work with me." What this means is that if you book me for a seminar/workshop, it will happen, no matter what else is going on in my work life. If I've had to go back to full time employment, I'll happily take vacation days to fulfill my commitments. (But see above about my new project, so this isn't likely to happen.) If I take on a book to publish, I will work hard to get it the readership it deserves. I will just do that work over a longer timeframe than traditional publishers, both out of necessity and because I believe that is a better way to do it.
(2) I think I should do the most efficient exercise options, not the ones I enjoy the most.
This is probably related to point #1. To get the most "bang" for the time I felt I could spare for exercise, I've been focusing on running, which is near the bottom of my "I like to do that" list (although I still feel better after a run than before one). Even worse, I've been running in my neighborhood instead of by the bay. I actually sort of like running by the bay with my headphones in. Running in my neighborhood is something that I no longer actively hate, but I do it for how it makes me feel after the run, not because I enjoy it at the time.
So I've decided this is going to stop. I'm going to be more active and enjoy my flexible schedule while I have it. I have my time tracking to keep me honest and make sure I put in my 35-40 hours each week.
And I'm going to do the exercise I like!
I started this week. Instead of going out for a run in the neighborhood yesterday, I dragged out the wave bag and did some kickboxing. It was GREAT. And today, I feel the good kind of sore. Not so sore that I can't walk up stairs or load the dishwasher, but just a little sore to let me know those muscles worked. I'll be doing a kickboxing workout every Wednesday, I think.
Today, after work, I drove to the bay and went for a run before I went to pick up the kids. It was hot (for San Diego) today, but the bay breeze was beautiful. I enjoyed the run.
Next week, I'll stop work early on Friday and go rollerblading. I may or may not also do the Thursday run. We'll see how I feel. I don't want to overdo things. It is better to slowly increase exercise levels.
I was careful not to moan about the swimsuit pictures in front of the kids. However, they have coincidentally been helping me up my activity levels, too. Pumpkin had a tough time transitioning back from vacation. This was probably part jet leg and part just a huge drop in family time. One day last week, I asked her if she wanted to go for a walk after dinner. This was a spur of the moment idea to try to short circuit a meltdown I saw coming. And it worked! In fact, she liked it so much that she wants to go for a walk every evening after dinner. So we have been. I've learned a lot about the minutae of camp games and the plot of the books she's been reading, but we've hit on a couple of more substantial topics, too.
Petunia, meanwhile, has suddenly discovered a love of badminton (or "birdie" as she calls it) and insists on trying to hit the birdie back and forth for as long as anyone else can stand it every evening. We suck and we're using a badminton set I bought for $5 at the drug store. But we're getting better and she loves it... so I guess I'm going for a walk and playing some badminton every evening for the foreseeable future.
Improved fitness, here I come!