Monday, September 29, 2014

Fat Is Awesome. But, not.

Anyone else see this?

Funny, right? I mean, fat really does sound awesome.

But, not.

It can be awesome to completely discard what you know to be good for you - eat healthy, be active, repeat consistently. It makes for easier, more indulgent days and nights. But not for long. Because soon enough, ignoring the basics begins to show in your health, your fitness level, and your body.

And I'm there. After nearly a year of going through the motions, I'm fat again. And no amount of wise-cracking or fast-talking will change that fact.

I have no idea what I weigh, because I long ago gave up using the scale as a measure of my health. Whether I weigh 160 or 360, I don't care. The scale just shows a number and that means nothing.

So what do I measure, instead? Ultimately, how I feel as I go about my day. Right now, my days are not good. I feel sluggish and tired. My clothes don't fit comfortably. And I can't just reach into my dresser drawer or closet and wear anything in there. I have to make choices based on what "feels too tight."

There's a more shallow component, too. I don't like the pictures that I am seeing of me right now.

Not great, right? I'm currently in the body I have earned, and I've earned it by not being active regularly, by not making healthy choices with my eating, and by not making my own health a priority.

Facts can be terrible things, but it is what I've made it. It's not enough to just run on marathon day, or half-marathon day, or relay weekend. That sort of half-assed commitment doesn't work.

Which brings me to today. I know what I need to do. I'm returning to the basics, and I'm starting with a 30 Day Reset Challenge. I'll track my food, run my miles, get out on my bike, and even commit to regular strength training. It won't be about perfection, but it will be about consistency.

(My one exception? The celebration after my Capitol to Coast Relay in Texas mid-month. I do enjoy my post-race fun with friends, and there's nothing better than enjoying a cold draft beer while standing in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.)

Why am I sharing what some might reasonably call my complete and total failure? Because...

  • I'm not ashamed of it.
  • I'm only human.
  • Healthy is the new skinny.
  • This is a journey, not a destination.
  • For some, I'm a role model. And honesty is part of that.
  • Sharing my challenge helps me stick with it.
  •  Failure is only failure if I give up.
And believe me, I am not giving up.

So, today is the first day of my challenge. I dragged myself out of bed, ran a 5k, and rewarded myself with an unsweetened ice coffee. Best single-digit use of calories I could think of!

If you want to join me, feel free to use #30DayReset on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Your journey is your business, but if you want company, say the word!

Friday, September 12, 2014

The New York Times and My Wedding Photo

Fun story that I meant to blog about and just never did.

I follow a columnist named Steven Petrow, and last year he posted a question from a reader in the military about how to introduce gay couples. I replied, we struck up a conversation, and he asked if I would be okay with him using my wedding photo in a future column.

Of course, I said yes. And he did. And just like that, my wedding photo appeared in the digital issue of the New York Times. And it's awesome that I get to say that.

How To Introduce A Gay Couple

Full disclosure time. I did not retire from the Marine Corps and I was not a commissioned officer. Mr. Petrow is not familiar with military terminology and misunderstood when I said that I was an NCO. No harm, no foul, but I do not want to claim service that I did complete.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Quality over Quantity.

I've been spending time this week trying to sort out what is going on with me and my bad attitude. I don't feel comfortable in my own skin and I'm bothered by so many things that normally wouldn't even make my radar, and I need to work out a solution.

And then, just like that, a single post on Facebook smacks me in the head and helps me reframe everything.

The post itself is simple enough. A man changed his behavior on Facebook, choosing to no longer click the LIKE button on anything. Instead, he either scrolled right by or took the time to leave a comment. And he shared how that simple step changed his Facebook experience for the better.

That seems straightforward enough and I'm going to try doing the same. In the first two minutes of using Facebook after reading the article, I could already see a difference. Instead of clicking LIKE for the 10-15 things I read, I had to be selective and respond to the two that I felt most drawn to.

And it was immediately better. In one instance where I know I would have just clicked LIKE, I took a moment to articulate exactly what it was about my friend's comment that I appreciated and how I saw the same situation. And a dialog started that would not have if I had done my normal click-and-go.

Instead of clicking LIKE for everything and moving on, I'm choosing one or two opportunities to truly engage with people. Quality over quantity.

And here's the bigger wake-up call for me. This idea can work for me outside of Facebook, too. 

For example, when it comes to social events, I go with the "more is better" attitude. If we're meeting friends for brunch, my norm is to invite lots of people and create a big event. But I realize that, while fun, it's difficult for me to engage in any meaningful way with all those people at the same time. It's just not possible to have that many significant conversations in so short a time and with such a large group.

Instead of inviting everyone all the time, I'm going to be more selective about the people I ask to join me when I am planning a social event. With fewer friends present, I can give more of my attention to each person. Quality over quantity.

And this is a rather timely shift in behavior. All summer, I have been planning to run the Venture Marathon on Sunday, September 7th. But recently, my running buddy and I decided that we are going to switch events and run the Ventura Half Marathon, instead.

Why? Because while we both know we could run the full 26.2 miles, we also know that neither of us has trained sufficiently to run a strong marathon. We would struggle through the long miles, end up exhausted and possibly injured, and feel bad about the entire event.

A better idea? We run a stronger half marathon, enjoy the miles and the experience, and then set up a new training plan as we look ahead to the Phoenix Marathon next February.

Run fewer miles but do them stronger and happier. Quality over quantity.

I'm making choices that are good for me, and hopefully, will also help improve my relationships with my friends. And friends... true, good friends that support me as I try to make better choices... are definitely proof of quality over quantity.