Staying In Shape – Physically AND Mentally

I TURN 50-YEARS OLD IN SEPTEMBER and next to the anxiety of spending that day alone, I’ve always been anxious about not staying in shape. So I work out like crazy, and its not braggadocio: I am in the best shape of my life and for the last year I have not had a single bad workout. Kicked off last year by the demise of a long relationship, the ensuing depression killed my appetite for several weeks, which jump-started my metabolism, and the anger and sadness over getting destroyed fueled my motivation in the gym. Couple that with having more spare time, realizing then that working out is the only guaranteed thing that will change my mood, every time – endorphin and serotonin are very powerful – and I really do enjoy it, I’ve never felt better. Plus, I’ve changed my diet, cut out really cut down my sugar intake (sugar is EVERYWHERE!) and the sum total is I dropped over 20 lbs., have kept it off, look better, and feel great.

TRUTH BE TOLD, yes, vanity and self-consciousness are big motivators for me to stay in shape. See, starting around 4th grade I started gaining weight. Living with my grandmother meant heavy foods and large portions; couple that with a love of cheese (those small packages of Velveeta were like candy bars) and carbs in general meant that when my mom and I went clothes shopping and she was asked for my size I was generously described as “husky.” I was fat-shamed – make that teased a lot, really – and it prevented me from doing things like try out for sports. By the time I turned 16 being attractive to the opposite sex naturally became of paramount importance: I lost 33 lbs. the summer between my sophomore and junior years of high school and by college there was really only one motivation to stay fit. That’s still a major motivation: envisioning me sweating away, bouncing up and down between some women’s legs, out of breath with her looking up at me, thinking, I can’t fuck this guy anymore!  There’s recent examples of that fear that continues to motivate me (not me, I need to add). So there’s that. Also with truths being told here, still wanting to look like this guy, like I did, when I was a kid still motivates me as an adult.

REALLY THOUGH, ITS MORE THAN VANITY or a desire for a woman to find me attractive – the motivation to stay in shape has always primarily been driven by my genetics. Or, rather, the fact that I don’t know mine – I was adopted at birth. While I did meet my my birth mother several years ago (and learned some very surprising things about why I was given up for adoption), I don’t know any medical history of my biological family. I don’t know what runs in the family, anything that I might be predisposed to genetically, so better to stay in the best possible shape I can.

IT’S ALSO ABOUT HAVING GOALS beyond looks and being healthy – I want to live to be 100 – and I love the idea of pushing myself to reach different goals. Can I run a marathon this year (I’m going to try)? Can my back get wider? Can I lift heavier weights (trying for both)? The biggest goal of all has been – given how great working out makes me feel – can I always feel this way, every day?  So far, at the gym or running the lakes at least, the answer has been “yes.” Now I want to see how long I keep it up. So far, so good.

#gym #fitness #healthyliving

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