Thursday, December 01, 2005

The couch escape...

Maybe its because its late and I'm stuck in work, but I've gotten to feeling reflective... as my blog description suggests the path to change was started with a skiing trip, it started long before that in a slow creeping way. I had during my PhD gotten into the habit of comfort eating, and a stressful PhD meant I needed a lot of comfort. I was not in a healthy relationship and so still felt the need to get comfort where I could, Twix bars, can after can of coke, pack after pack of crisps. The need for change was sneaking up on me all this time... I was getting slower, I felt tired more of the time, I looked huge in family photos, a rounder redder duller looking version of my teenage self.

Skiing came at the right time, it forced me to face limitations head on, during the time at altitude I did a lot of soul searching, even in the presence of a partner who didn't understand me anymore. I played the same song over and over on my Walkman, found alone places to be, aided by the fact that I couldn't ski from feeling so rough (although it turned out I may have had altitude sickness as well as unfitness).

I came home to the U.K. determined to make a change and sought out quick fixes, they were tough calorie starving diets that induced some yo-yo tendency, but in the main rapidly left me feeling lighter and brighter. It was enough to get me interested in true exercise and I soon found myself playing five aside football with work. I was and am rubbish at football, but running around frantically for an hour a week was again enough to begin to leave the couch behind. Sadly, the divergence of a relationship continued a pace without either admitting or noticing... I needed to do more and felt deprived of the support to do it. Despite the pull back to the couch things continued to improve little by little.

Holidays would put a dent in progress sure, but I began to get used to the rhythms of my own body. It is no use weighing yourself everyday, the natural fluctuations drive you to despair, until you see them for what they are. I started weighing myself on Sunday mornings, a pretty settled phase of the week, where genuine trends could be spotted.

Eventually I was single read a lot of self help books [I can heartily recommend Anthony Robbins books as a starting place for anyone on a personal journey of rediscovery]. When I found my own place I found the gym (after finding it briefly sometime before) in a big way, though all I ever did was the stationery bike, the cross-trainer (ski machine thing), the rowing machine and very rarely a few light (high rep) bench presses. I would go for an hour three or four times a week. The couch was almost forgotten, though I was dividing my time happily between couch and gym - such was my single existence for a time.

Then there came the run - Andy was on the run - I made a new years promise to my dad to do a half marathon with him. I bunch of research on the Internet later (in the quest for a training plan), and I was now a park regular... enjoying all that there is to enjoy of being outdoors (sorry, gym, but outdoors is best :o) ). Later came the first 10k and the first half marathon. I am still to keep my promise (latterly to myself) and run a full marathon... and hence my blog (thank you Sian for introducing me to blogging)... I will run one in the near'ish future, because now I am fully on the move.... "screw you couch, I don't need you any more!!!".

The fun bit is that being on the run / move, can encompass so much good good stuff. Rowing, cycling, running, walking, squash, footy, anything can be in reach now I am off the couch. Come on get off of yours, there's a world out there to interact and live within :o)

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