It’s midsummer, yet I gained 10 pounds.
Pretty sure I know what happened. The obvious: I gave myself permission to have more carbs and sweets, like an oatmeal cookie here, a scoop of ice cream with family there, and rice or pasta with lunch and dinner. The less obvious: I gave myself permission because I was some kind of stressed (if you can’t quite identify, substitute tired, or distracted, or your chosen adjective for continuously juggling chainsaws).
And going sideways beyond one’s performance envelope is a recipe for, well, dismantling the fundamentals that make it possible to perform. (Or survive, if that’s how hard things are.)
In critical, high-pressure scenarios, ignoring fundamentals can lead to spectacular catastrophes. For me and the month of June, it led to an uptick on my scale weight and chubbier cheeks on either side of my mask. But still.
Had to put in some overtime, so bye-bye went the BJJ classes that coincided with those shifts. Granted, I couldn’t be in two places at the same time, but there went the regular sessions of intense exertion with some really nice folk. So the exercise leg of health got kicked out from under me (I kicked my own leg out from under me), and a social support leg was significantly weakened at the same time.
Had to prepare for a certification on behalf of the organization, studying material that was diametrically opposed to how my brain best learns. Medical school prepares you to be a grown up and Get It Done, but spend enough consecutive nights mentally chewing aluminum foil, and it becomes suddenly easy to give in to the dark side. My brain is so fried, ah what the hell, pass me that brownie, that plate of pasta, that extra large curry rice. And while you’re at it, good night, I’m going upstairs early, never mind the run/mobility session/strength work I had scheduled today. Or the writing session, the thoughtful consideration session, or the help family advance session.
This atop all the other usual and sundry matters pertaining to navigating and providing healthcare in America. Viruses, politics, and a June 30th deadline to catalog my patients’ conditions, oh my.
Stress, or whatever you call it, is a b%tch
Not only does it feel like crap, it’s corrosive.
If you let it, it will eat away at what you’ve carefully built up: the habits that maintain your performance. Without those habits, you will eventually be unable to do whatever you need or want to do, whether it’s lowering your cholesterol or getting your grandkids off to a good start in life.
Those fundamental categories of sustaining habits are, again:
- Macro and micronutrient-dense nutrition
- Physical activity
- Diurnal exposure
- Inner work
- Higher purpose
Whether you go Paleo or Vegan, pole dance or marathon run, Bible study or Wiccan retreat, D&D or TM dinner, if you go through life without your sustaining habits of choice, you’re trying to run Life’s 3-legged race missing some legs.
AT BEST, you’ll look funny, like a doctor with chipmunk cheeks.
At worst, stressorwhateveryoucallit will lead to a cascade of not-good decisions. Even if you’re no worse off, not making any forward progress is problematic, if you had goals and a timeline in mind.
In July, things are back on track
The scale numbers are going in the right direction because I didn’t entirely go off the rails. For myself and my family, I had gotten a Peloton bike in the spring for a no-impact Zone 2+ cardio option, and leaned into it during the past 2 months. My systolic blood pressure dropped 20 points, my calves look like they belong in a Nike ad, and hopefully I’ll have some semblance of endurance when I return to the mat.
That was the plan, to go sideways for a calculated month, then back to it.
Like stars gaining weight for movie roles. Right back to it afterwards, righto.
Any day now.