Dark stories, tales of whimsy and random brain droppings.

Shack Wacky May

So, it’s a Saturday morning and I have the house to myself. It’s June 1st. That means it must be time for my monthly reflective post. It’s been a busy month with our youngest finishing high school and getting ready for university in the fall. He’s a bright kid with a fantastic future. It’ll be weird with just the two of us rattling around the house come September. Well, maybe.

Anyway, first off. I weighed in this morning at 235 lbs. That’s a zero change from last month, but at least it’s not a gain. So there’s that. I have to keep reminding myself where I came from in this journey north of 330 lbs. I’m due for updated blood work. That should give me a better sense of my overall health and progress.

I mostly stayed on track with my commitments last month. I did indeed complete the Bluenose 10K without dying. I managed to write nearly everyday. I kept up with my fitness regime as best I could, adjusting for the weather and the month’s other time demands.

Diet-wise, I was pretty loose. Outside of some birthday cake (mostly icing), I stayed away from the grains. Then there was that cookie. Oh, the ice cream from Cold Stone. Twice. And then there was that chocolate bar. The bag of hickory sticks. The other cookie. Some more ice cream. You see where this is going. Dammit.

Part of the problem is that I do better with journaling and I’ve gotten away from the habit. It’s an excuse, but since I upgraded to the new Blackberry, I lost a convenient always-with-me tool to aid in tracking. Curses, MyFitnessPal! Can you see me shaking my fist? At least I got my Endomondo back…

The other part of the problem is situational. The current thinking is that willpower is a finite resource. It’s a muscle that can get overworked and fatigued like any other. I have most of my day fairly structured. Egg skillet for breakfast. Salad, tuna and boiled eggs for lunch. Suppers are usually what everyone else has, substituting broccoli for the starch. I like to cook, so it’s not a hardship. It’s a damn good thing I like broccoli. Sunflower seeds and almonds fill the snacking gap. My beautiful bride and amazing son are fantastically supportive with my dietary needs. I’m generally not exposed to bad choices at home. That’s how I manage my willpower. I try to make it so I don’t have to use it.

I’ve whined before about the wide availability of candy and junk at work. Well-intentioned people doing nice things. It my issue, not theirs. If it’s in front of me, I’ll eat it eventually. Sometimes, it feels like I’m a recovering alcoholic at a beer garden. Like I said, it’s situational for me.

Now, the month of May has been particular challenging. My mother-in-law has been staying with us. All. Month. Long. She has vascular dementia and it’s progressing very swiftly. It’s really hard on my wife on many levels. Her mom is confused, argumentative and depressed. A lot of history exists between them. My evening routine is pretty set pat. I get home from work and get supper out of the way. I tag my best girl out to give her a break. She retreats to her craft room. Her mom can be left to herself for short periods, but in the evenings it’s hard. She sundowns pretty bad these days. It’s unkind, and possibly dangerous, to leave her alone. So we sit together. I am completely caught up on Criminal Minds, The Mentalist, Flash Point, Family Feud (gotta love Steve Harvey) and Match Game. It’s rained most of the month, so I’m getting shack-whacky anyway. Everything is on hold. I’m not getting stuff done.

Tie back to the situational nature of my relationship with food. One functional loss that comes with dementia is taste. Everything tastes bland except for bitter and sweet. The gerontologist took my mother-in-law off her diabetic mediation and restrictions. She was losing too much weight. My pantries are now stocked with cookies, chocolate and ice cream. I have yet to figure out how to cope with this Willy Wonka environment. Home is not a safe place for my health goals. The inactivity and junk food are a part of an older version of me that I thought vanquished.

She goes back home to Sydney next week, but will be back in early July for most of the summer. Our home is the staging area for the visits of my brothers-in-law and their families this summer. It’ll be stressful but worth it. I miss my nieces and nephews.

To that end, my only real health commitment for the summer is to figure this out and survive. Specically, it looks like this:

  • Remain grain-free and as paleo as possible al la Primal Blueprint.
  • Walk 5K to work everyday. No music. This is my secret weapon for mental and physical health.
  • Do 30 minutes of interval running every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at lunch. Hit the treadmill at home if need be.
  • Do 30 minutes of weight training every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesdays and weekends are rest days.

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