28 May 2008

My Current Life Has Become Detrimental to My Health

The above fact has been increasingly obvious to me over the 2 years.

For the past 3 years I've sat at a desk and worked on a computer anywhere from 7 to 14 hrs every weekday. Don't get me wrong, it's nice. It's air-conditioned, I don't have to stand around on my feet, I get paid well, and I basically get to listen to as much music as I want while I work. It's really not a bad gig at. However, I'm heavier and in worse shape than I've ever been in my life... and I can't take it any more. I don't eat horrible foods all the time, but I don't really care what I eat as long as I'm not hungry afterwards. The combination of my complete lack of will power with regard to food and my sitting all day is just killing me. I've tried nutrisystem and it worked. I was only on it seriously for a month and I lost 15lbs. But I was spending every non-working hour keeping track of, planning for, and preparing the next meal. How do you not get burnt-out on that? And as far as excercising goes, I just feel like it's impossible to make up for 9 hrs of sitting every evening. I simply can't make the time to workout in the 4hrs after work every single day.

Basically, I come away from this thinking the only solution left is a change of life.

Jesse put a quote by Thoreau up on her blog yesterday and this really stood out to me...
"I went to the woods... to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms..."

I don't know about you, but that's damn intense to me. That moves me.

Which brings me to my point. In the last couple months I've been so caught up in and stressed out by packing and preparing for our 2 years in Jamaica that I've forgotten why I wanted to go in the first place. I've been so worried about having enough quick-drying clothes and camera stuff and computer stuff and concerned about our safety (the list goes on). But in the last few days I remembered that it wasn't about a job change or moving to a new city or going on a really long camping trip. It was about changing my (our) life for the better. It was about trusting God and taking a huge leap of faith to follow some calling in our hearts. But one of the biggest things for me personally was... it was about getting me the hell out of this downward spiral towards obesity, diabetes, or worse. I feel like I've been watching from the sideline as this sedintary lifestyle drug me down over the past few years and I'm done with it. And if getting my fat ass on a plane to Jamaica is the only way to get me out of it, well, you just tell me what time the plane leaves.

This is an interesting concept to me, changing your entire "place" because you can't find the power to make the small changes yourself. I'm usually not the first to be in favor of this. Seriously. Going to a bible college to keep yourself out of trouble seems silly to me; you can't stay in bible college for the rest of your life just as I can't stay in Jamaica the rest of mine. Eventually, you have to face the "real world." But recently I've started thinking that really it comes down to this: you do whatever it takes. Whatever it takes to make/change your life to the life you want or think you should be living, that's what you do. Maybe that change won't last forever. I mean, we all adapt to our surroundings and eventually find ways around things that "challenge" us, but you've got to start somewhere, right? You have to find a way to break out of whatever spiral you find yourself in.

And that's where I find myself on the brink of now. I'm 4 1/2 weeks from that change. I'm 4 1/2 weeks from getting away from a desk, fast food, and walking NO where. I'm still having trouble focusing on why we started this whole process in the first place, but it's starting to become clear again. And that makes me happy.


scott said...

I think the big problem with you and Jesse's last thing was that it was too aggressive... and some would say- "you've gotta be 100% if you're serious about it"... but then again- there's such a thing as trying TOO hard to the point of turning you off the change... Just from observing- the planning and stuff for the meals was such a huge chore that there's no way it could have become a permanent lifestyle choice- and I think that's what really works- something you can do that's good for you, that you also kinda-sorta enjoy- at least modestly enjoy...

also- and I don't think enough people know this- but there is an established rate of weight loss that, when exceeded, will cause you to rebound back up- and you can ask any MD this and you'll get the same answer every time: that rate is 1 pound per week... people who go on extreme diets and lose weight more rapidly than that are setting themselves up for regaining it because the body just can't adapt to that fast of a metabolic change and still be stable... some of the most successful people I saw in the diabetes clinic were the ones who ate modestly better, but nothing extreme- and went out and walked 30-60 minutes every day... no gyms or sprints or anything uncomfortable- just walking-

jesse elizabeth hunter said...

Well, walking we shall have(I think). I'll just need to horde anything green & leafy that I find, and get rid of carbtastic stuff before I eat it all.

I totally agree about the lifestyle change being a positive alternative, if you find you can't get motivated by other things within your current lifestyle. I look forward to seeing you more content with yourself and our life.

Josh Bush said...

I think if you have the power to relocate for change, then you have the power to make the small changes. Really, it just breaks down to recognizing your faults and taking the necessary actions to correct them.

I've managed to lose about 20 lbs just by making small adjustments to my diet and activity level. Small changes over time are cumulative and can result in big changes.

Scott is dead on. If you are doing something to lose weight that you don't like doing, then there is no way in hell you'll maintain it. I've started walking at lunch which seems to be helping me fit in that exercise that I need.

You don't have to wait 4 1/2 weeks to get started either. Any progress you make now is progress you don't have to make later. Start small and see what happens.

Jon said...

yo, That is nearly a word for word duplicate of a conversation I had with Tammy two days ago. Not only have I not run in a year but I find myself extremely unmotivated, and it is uber-frustrating in that my mind wants to workout and run, but my heart and willpower are thinking about how nice a cold beer taste after a 13hour workday.

anyways, all it really takes is turning off the tv/computer and walking outside but i personally convince myself that i deserve to relax and take time to just sit and veg out. However, we were born of a generation not raised for mindless, endless, daily work me thinks, and eventually self revolution is inevitable.

Summer V. said...

Awesome post. I'm diggin' your honesty.

Josh said...

first off, thanks for reading, everyone. usually when i write one like this it's really "for" myself and jess. i dont know how much i expect others to really read it, but it's definitely nice to know you do.

scott, i think that's what makes it so hard. when you take it more gradually it's so much harder to stick to. it takes more will power over a longer period of time. that's hard, but i agree on the more gradual being the optimal choice.

josh, yeah, i know i have the power to do anything (make the small changes), but those little things are what i seem to struggle with the most. i try them and fail so often that i'm relieved to be forced into a situation where i don't have to worry about my will power; a situation where i dont have to worry about failing because my lifestyle alone will dictate a more successful outcome. it's the change in lifestyle that i long for.

which brings me to... jon, i know exactly what you mean. it's extremely troubling to me that the career i've chosen could very well be an obstacle for my health the rest of my life. honestly, i dont know what to do about that. it's disappointing. i really hope to come across a solution to that in the next few years.

thanks, summer ;)

Anonymous said...

30 mins per day get your heart rate up...165-170.

21 straight days and it will become a habit forever.

problem solved. :)

scotts dad

Jeff said...

So are you quitting your job altogether or just taking a leave of absence?

Josh said...

21 days, eh? i've got 21. i may give that a go.

jeff: i'm essentially quitting, but i'm leaving my job on the best terms possible. so if i came back and did want "my job" back, if they were able to i'm sure my company would help me out.