Let Down

by the other theo

Ok, I’m back again after a two month hiatus.    It turned out to be a pretty rough Spring, in some respects.   The Peanut brought home a cold in early April that got passed around to me by the end of the month, and ended in both sinus and ear infections.   Since then, my schedule at work has heated up.  Two week code development sprints became the rule of the day, starting in May.   Those sprints did a lot to end some work-related doldrums I experienced in the first quarter of the year; they forced me to travel more often to the office where the bulk of the team works, and I delivered key components of the new product we are creating.   I worked some long hours and burned myself out a bit, but my overall feeling is positive.

The main thing I want to write about right now is my weight.    The last year and a half have been both triumph and tragedy as far as my weight loss and fitness goals are concerned.   On January 1, 2014, I was hovering at about 24 pounds of weight loss from my peak weight almost 4 years ago.   That weight was a little higher than the 27-29 pounds of weight loss where I was  hovering for the previous two years.

So, I made a 2014 New Year’s resolution to lose some weight.  I checked some (seemingly credible) online sources, upped the amount of protein in my diet, cut out some carbs (but not completely), eliminated pretty much all between meal snacking, and pushed hard on my daily routine on the elliptical trainer.   The weight started coming off, and fairly quickly.   Soon, I was back down to 29 pounds of weight loss, and the weight kept coming off.    I dropped below my previous best weight since I turned 30, and crossed 37 pounds of weight loss — a key round number that I used to define my ultimate weight loss goal.  By early June 2014, I was hovering at around 46 pounds of weight loss.   That’s a huge number… the kind you see on weight loss ads on TV.   If I lost about 5 more pounds than that, I would cross another big round weight number that I never thought I would get close to again and weigh about what I did at age 19.

The Peanut, the Missus, and I had to travel to a family wedding in early July.   I was thrilled for everyone to see my “new” body, including wearing a nice wool suit that I bought sometime in the 1990’s.   It was, in some ways, the peak of a giddy climb.

It didn’t stay that way.   My resolve to let my body adjust to the “new” normal wavered.   I began to consume what I called “the fourth meal” in the evenings — snacks and alcohol, mostly.   There were lots of calories, and less nutritional value.  Some of it was a response to stress.   The Peanut started a new therapy regime in September,  and the first few weeks were tough.   It was a new routine for all of us, and he wasn’t a happy camper AT ALL for a while.    Then layoffs came at work in late October, followed by my assignment to a new team.  Some changes in my extended family also happened last Fall, and some of those added to already busy schedules.

By the end of the summer, I was hovering at about 42-43 pounds of weight loss and by December, it was hovering at about 38 pounds.

In December, my body failed.   I started experiencing pain in my right leg when it moved in certain ways.   This was especially problematic at night; sometimes I rolled over or my right foot got tangled in blankets in ways that caused shooting pains that woke me up.  I began to skip exercise days to try to rest my leg, if that was somehow aggravating the problem.   I saw the family doctor in February or March.   He determined that the problem was very likely not joint damage, and referred me for physical therapy.

The Peanut’s life also became more than a little chaotic from January through March.   He did not get along with his speech therapist, was evaluated for additional services, and then placed in a new preschool for kids with special needs.   This process had all of us just trying to roll with the changes.

The weight began to pile on: first 36 pounds of weight loss, then 34, and then… I stopped getting on the scale.

By the end of my physical therapy in April, we determined that the leg pain is very, very likely due to some kind of ergonomic issue at work.  Knowing that has helped me deal with the problem, but I still need to talk about it with human resources at work.   I need a better chair.    The physical therapy also helped me develop some muscle groups to combat the problem.

By May, I resolved to start working out more regularly again.   This was aided by the gym I belong to opening a new snazzy location much closer to our house.   The strength in my workouts has come back, and my resolve to eat better is returning. The scale says that I’m hovering it about 27 pounds of weight loss, about where I started on January 1, 2014.

I’m trying to take stock of the last 18 months.   Do I have the resolve to bear down and lose the weight again?  Can I do the same thing and repeat the result?    Did I lose the weight too fast for my body to adjust?   Did I just wear myself out in the process and increase the possibility of injury?

If I am a duality of body and spirit, I feel that each let the other down.   My spirit broke when I started eating and couldn’t stop.   My body broke when sleep and exercise became more difficult.  I reached for the brass ring, got it, and fell.   That’s a let down all the way around.