Monday, January 9, 2012

2011 Part 2: Bouncing Back

Sorry that part 1 was so down and depressing. I can promise you this: the next two parts are much better!

I had a few people tell me, "wow that was a downer." Well, yeah haha. It was. Imagine living it. It's all good NOW, of course. But you know. It happened.

I was down as far as I've ever been down, and I needed a wake-up call. As I said before, when you're stuck in such a downward spiral, such a pattern of negativity -- it was just so hard to see what was happening. I didn't realize what I was doing.

Then, three things happened. One day, some time in mid-April, the ex-girl came to me and said she was unhappy with how things had been going. Between you and me, in hindsight, it's easy to see I had been taking things for granted. Well when she said what she said, I mean. Wow.

Talk about shaking things up, you know? Something I had never even considered doubting was thrust into question and was no longer certain. You could say I was awake.

I immediately looked at myself, and I saw a few things that unquestionably needed to change if I were ever going to be happy again:
  • I had to change my eating habits.
  • I had to get the fuck UP and out of my apartment.
  • I needed to make local friends.
  • I needed to start working out for real.
I am extraordinarily proud to say I got my ass the fuck in gear and DID WORK, SON.

I tracked what I ate obsessively. I mean, it had to be an obsession with how bad it was, you know? Every calorie, every gram of fat, every gram of protein, every carbohydrate that entered my body was recorded and tracked to make sure it stayed within an acceptable range.

I began walking Allie two miles twice a day instead of just once. Every two-mile walk burned another 200 calories, so why not do it twice a day? I hit the gym six days a week. I couldn't run just yet because of a hamstring that was still sore from a few months earlier, but I found I could use the stationary bike.

The second thing that happened was Jon's girlfriend contacting me to see if I wanted to fly back to Charlotte for Jon's birthday. Oh absolutely. The three of us went out for a great dinner with his parents, and then we hit a bar where I got more inebriated than I'd been in months. It was the first of many times I'd be able to say that over the coming months, but it had to start somewhere.

It was my first taste of actually going out and having fun in, embarrassingly, too long. But it is what it is. When I got back after that awesome weekend, I felt fundamentally changed inside. I felt a fire inside I hadn't felt in years.

So I kept doin' work. Tracking what I ate, making smarter decisions about what I ate, walking the dog four miles every day and forcing myself into the gym six days a week. The biggest lesson I learned was NOT to deprive myself of all the foods I loved the most. Some things had to go, of course. But Chipotle, Jersey Mike's -- things like that stayed as long as I made the necessary adjustments elsewhere in the day.

Progress was extraordinarily slow at first. It took nearly five weeks of kicking my own ass every day before I saw the first glimmer of success. By the end of the May, I'd lost 10 pounds. I knew then I could never go back. I was completely consumed with just doing better for myself.

The third thing that happened was maybe the best decision I've made in a long, long time. I joined the N.C. State softball team in CAN. I've written over and over about how awesome my experience was with the team, and how much I absolutely LOVED playing softball. Throughout May and June, I played softball downtown and hung out with the team for hours and hours afterward. It was exactly what I needed.

By the time the end of May/beginning of June rolled around, the ex-girl and I officially ended things.

But I had my obsession to keep me busy. I'd worked running on the treadmill back into the picture, and the weight kept falling off. By mid-June, I'd lost more than 20 pounds.

Remember in part 1 how I said I needed to get away? Well, in early June I did. My cousin Jeb had been trying to get me to go to Savannah with him and a few others for a while, but I just figured I wouldn't be able to because of dog logistics and money logistics, etc.

Once the break-up happened, I needed some debauchery, understandably I would think. I'm not going to go into everything that happened again, but feel free to check out my three-part Savannah story (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). It was the best weekend I'd had in a long time at that point.

Aside from a cracked rib at the CAN softball tournament in August, the summer was so awesome. I ran. I worked out. I lost weight and got in SUCH better shape. I played softball, drank way too much several times a week with my friends downtown. I was happier than I'd been in as long as I can remember.

The cracked rib sidelined me for a few weeks, but around the time Hurricane Irene rolled through D.C. in late August, I decided it was time to run outside for the first time since I pulled my hamstring the previous summer. I stuck to the treadmill because it's easier on the legs -- less wear and tear and such. But I'd registered for a 5K at the beginning of September, so I figured I should at least run outside for a few weeks beforehand.

And what happened was I rediscovered how much I loved running. Like whoa. I tolerated it on the treadmill because I wanted to get in shape, but when I started running outside, it was a ridiculous adrenaline rush. SO great.

I began to see the 5K as a milestone for me in terms of where I was in my weight-loss and how I was improving my overall fitness. The beginning of September marked around five months since I started trying to change my life and where I'd been going. It also marked the beginning of the most ridiculous four months of my life.

I mean, my life got ridiculous in so many awesome ways I can't even begin to explain. Sometimes, I really do wish I had an anonymous blog so I could share all the stories without anyone finding out it was me.

But more on that in part 3.

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