Its just a few days until my birthday (September 11) and as I’ll be 52 years old I’m feeling pretty good about my health, for a number of reasons.
First, I feel great! I’ve been enjoyably working out often and hard, in addition to and making changes in lifestyle. I’ve lost 12-14 lbs. this summer, my workouts have been fantastic, I’ve changed my diet, and I’m nearing 90 days without Coca-Cola products (my equivalent of quitting cigarettes – a Diet Coke or Coke Zero started many a day and don’t get me going on how awesome a fountain Coca-Cola from McDonald’s is. I’m pretty sure its because the mix of carbonation and Coke syrup is perfect, and – I’m serious here – the diameter of McDonald’s straws. Really! I’ve done a lot of research on this).
What I eat has evolved the last six, eight months or so and it’s paid off. For starters, I’m doing intermittent fasting – though I call it just how I eat – where most days I don’t eat after 8:00 pm and won’t have a meal until noon the next day. Despite working out every day at 5:00 a.m. I’m usually not starving the next morning and have plenty of energy at the gym (with help from C4 or an equivalent pre-workout drink). I also really curtailed my sugar intake and have been keeping my sweet tooth at bay which wasn’t easy – virtually anything chocolate, baked goods, ice cream, I’ll find an excuse to eat. Overall, I really don’t devour a lot of calories most days.
I’ve lost about 12 – 14 pounds since the beginning of summer.
Basically, it’s come down to burning more calories than I take in. I’ve always loved working out, but between my son having quite the active social life and a job, coupled with me being single*, I’ve got more time to myself and I’m more active and working out more than ever. Most mornings at my gym I lift and I kick some serious ass – I’m focused, there’s hard rock music in my ears, and I hit the weights with a vengeance. I’ve always loved to lift and enjoy it as much as I did 20+ years ago. I split the body parts up during the week – chest and back one day, legs the next, shoulders another day and I hit my biceps and triceps nearly every day. The latter might be a bit overkill and a bit over-training but its making a difference. Suffice to say, I’m looking, well, really good. I’m not going to enter any body building contests and my body fat percentage isn’t single-digits, but I’m making progress.
I’ve also been starting to run again. The last three years I’ve had pretty consistent pain in my hips, mostly in my left hip and buttock, and I all but stopped running. X-rays and an MRI showed I’ve got arthritic hips and all I did about it was to basically sulk and bitch about it until this past May. I went back to the doctor, had another x-ray and the arthritis hadn’t got worse; the doctor deduced that it likely wasn’t the source of the pain. Rather, it turns out I’ve got a weak ass, specifically, my left gluteus maximus. I’m basically a straight line from the shoulders to the heels and while my rear has been grabbed pretty tightly at times, there’s just not much there. I started physical therapy and daily exercises has helped me build some strength in that area and I’ve been running pretty regularly again, with very little pain. I don’t think I’ll be running a marathon again any time soon but the fact that I can do 3+ miles again and feel good makes me very happy.
The bottom line: I’m really healthy
I think I’ve got really good DNA – my biological mom lived to 87, my biological dad is still kicking and in great shape at either 92 or 93. I’ve got a lot of motivation to stay healthy. For starters, what kind of shape you keep yourself in now impacts what kind of shape you’ll be in as you age. Also, despite being single (did I mention its been eight months?!?), being attractive to the opposite sex and the possibility of sex itself has always been a big motivator to stay in shape. The last thing I’d ever want is to be sweating away on top of some woman and she’s looking at me with a mixture of revulsion and fear – because my body is a mess and I look like I’m going to have a stroke. No thanks! Plus, keeping in shape keeps my already prodigious libido…well, prodigious. In addition, I’ve always liked to push myself, to see how far I can take something – how good of shape can I get in? I also enjoy the discipline and the routine it takes to stay in shape.
Seriously, though, being in shape and healthy physically goes a long way in keeping me healthy mentally. There’s been a few mornings where I have what I call the “single malaise” – its another morning waking up alone, then I get lost in my thoughts, its like Groundhog Day and I just feel “meh.” But then I get to the gym, get moving, and when the dopamine starts flowing my mood turns around. The “distraction” of working out gets my mind right and my body feeling tight!
All together, I hope this doesn’t sound like I’m bragging. It is possible to get in really good shape at almost any age and the benefits are nearly endless. Whether its at the gym, walking every day, biking, whatever it might be…just get moving and have fun doing it!
*Yes, I’ve now been single for eight months, which could be the subject of yet another post or podcast about dating. This is due to being more discerning, timing, and circumstances with more than one person the last year or so and due to those things there’s no romance with any of those persons. And screw everyone who said I need to learn how to be alone. I’m pretty good at it. Most days. And, most, but not all, weekends.