#MondayMotivation - From puffy body to wearing that puffy vest

Disclaimer: This is a little more personal and a little less outdoorsy.  If that's not your thing, just check back for another post celebrating the outdoors later this week.

April 2012 - Bloated and puffy, motivational poster against drinking too much and eating whatever you want

This photo, from April of 2012, is one of my most motivating photos.  This photo showcases my puffiest time - the first time I was truly uncomfortable with my appearance and weight.  My weight has fluctuated so much in the past seven years, it's crazy.  Since moving to Texas seven years ago, I've consumed more calories per day than I ever have before.  From lazy days drinking on the water to just having more access to eating out, I know I have an unhealthy relationship with food.  Knowing this, it doesn't really mean I can manage the problem without a level discipline I often lack and can easily excuse.  In the past seven years, my weight has fluctuated 70 pounds which proves one thing: with discipline, I can make it happen even if it has been only temporary.

My favorite excuses:

  • I commuted, worked, commuted, and now I'm tired
  • We can't walk to the park
  • The trails are gross around here
  • I'm tired
  • It's just easier to go get food instead of making it
  • Portion control and good foods are boring
  • You only live once

Damn, I'm good at excuses.  I often use other people to get out of exercise or eating well, and I am really good at justifying anything bad because it tastes good.

What I know I need to do:

  • Cook at home, regardless of time or what my other half wants
  • Stop relying on other people to motivate me
  • Stop saying I'm tired - I can easily go walk a few miles after work
  • Stop drinking as much alcohol
  • Hike more and plan for it to be more adventurous
  • Really do the couch to 5K instead of just pretending

I always KNOW what I need to do - it's just a matter of doing it.  There's always an event, an outing, a celebration, SOMETHING.

This post is supposed to be motivational, or inspire change so I'm going to try.  I know what I have to do, and I know it can be done because I've done it.  I know health is an even more important factor than looking puffy, so there's that too.  Here's to trying new things, staying motivated, and knowing it's all about balance.  Here's to the 50th time I've tried this whole balance thing, and here's to hoping I've set up my plans and tools for success.

Sources of inspiration:

  • Fellow outdoorsy people - doing all the outdoorsy things I want to do
  • Mountains - I wanna climb your pretty rocks
  • All these damn babies my friends/family are having - I'd like to be the cool "uncle" who takes them on adventures and shit...can't do that from the grave or being out of shape
  • My puffy vest in my closet that is just a little too tight (and several other things, but mostly the vest)
  • Just the hope that I'll feel better about participating in group outdoorsy activities
  • My dog and his need to sniff and exercise too
  • My 2013 body, it was my favorite.  I wasn't my lowest weight, but I felt the best.

I have a lot of anxiety around hiking with people.  I always open my hikes to anyone interested in going, but I'm secretly terrified someone will judge my speed or ability.  I definitely hike my own hike - I sweat a lot, drink a ton of water, and am still mastering elevation changes.  I don't give up on my hikes, so why should I give up so easily on my everyday life?

Things I aim to do this summer that would be easier with a little less weight/a little better breathing:

  • Canoeing when I'm up in Michigan!
  • Hiking from Upper to Lower Tahquamenon Falls
  • Bike rides
  • Morning park walks w/ the dog
  • Evening hikes

I secretly love running.  Back in 2012/2013 I kind of got into it when I was living mostly alone and had a lot of time on my hands since my roommate worked away for weeks at a time and my other half was 40 miles away and in school full-time.  I used to incorporate running into my routine walks, especially up the hills and I always felt so damn alive.  I think I'd like to trail run or run a 5K or 10K, but I know it will require full dedication and a lot less bullshit than I allow right now.

I used to publicize these feelings and goals, then I stopped because I was such a failure and I'd essentially be lying about progress or motivation.  I'm trying again, to be vocal and public about this for my own reference and so people close to me can point it out and give me shit if they notice I'm a little too off course.

A few little goals:

  • In a healthy way, lose 34 pounds and maintain that loss before turning 34 in December
  • Before going to Michigan in June, drop some weight and at least be exercising daily until then
  • Start using the VERY NICE gym at our new apartment complex - baby steps, though
  • PLAN AHEAD to avoid most excuses... grocery shop like a normal person, check the weather for the week, and set aside time in advance

I had a real wake up call when I wen up the trail to Mt. Storm King... I am way the hell out of shape.  I don't want to feel that inadequate again - especially when exploring beautiful places.

Being chubby/fat/out of shape doesn't mean I'm incapable of doing things, it just means it takes a lot more work.  I'd like to work harder now so I can get even more out of my adventures, hikes, camping trips, etc.

I hope you all find your motivation, continue to enjoy life the best you can, and maybe even find some motivation in my endless post about excuses and bullshit.  Happy trails!

Here are some photos highlighting my general shape and face for each year beginning in 2012.

December 2012 - One of my lowest weights, wearing a size or two smaller shirt even!

May 2013 - Pants were several sizes smaller, shirt the same but fit better, and I looked good.  Up a little from 2012, but still good. GOALS...

August 2014 - We took a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park and I'm puffy again.

March 2015 - Puffy AF at Zion NP and not even trying at this point in life

June 2016 - I had been trying, but soon gave up (again)

February 2017 - I had been working on losing weight and getting healthy before a trip to Minnesota, less puffy but it didn't last.  Puffy again by summer.

March 2018 - puffy again, but still capable