What do you mean it’s closed?

Is it bad blogging etiquette to post something on Thanksgiving?  Maybe so, but given why I need to post this today, I think you’ll forgive me.

ymcaToday, Thanksgiving, is the first weekday that I’ve NOT worked out since October 19, 2009.  Today would be the 29th weekday straight of either lifting weights or playing basketball.

Because the gym is closed, I’ll reluctantly take a (well earned) day off and enjoy time with my family.  Ok, that’s a lie.  I’m pleased as punch that I don’t need to go exercise today (even though leg day is my favorite).

It all started with a conversation with @gingervieira on twitter one Friday night. Within a few hours it evolved into an actual list of exercises to do the following Monday.

We need to pause here so I can tell you a bit more about who Ginger is. Taken right from her blogger profile:

T1 diabetic for 10+ years. Writer. Powerlifting for almost 2 years. Set 7 world records in the World Powerlifting Association and won overall best lifter on May 2, 2009. Won VT State Bench Press competition in July 2009.

Holy shit, right?  I met Ginger at the Roche Social Media Summit this summer.  We didn’t have much time to chat there, but I think her “awesomeness” was very apparent to me.  She’s a humble, genuine, funny, and super intelligent young lady.  And no, I’m not just trying to get out of doing more single stiff leg deadlifts (and yes, they are every bit as hard as they sound).

I’m no idiot.  When someone like Ginger starts sharing personal fitness training plans, I almost HAVE to listen, right?  People pay good money for this stuff!  And here I am getting it for a byte or two of bandwidth and some thumb typing on my iPhone.

So I’ve been working myself very hard for the past 28 weekdays straight.  In many ways that seems like forever.  Especially when I’m pulling up at the gym for another day.  It feels like I should be seeing some visible results by now.  But I’m not.  It feels like I should be losing some weight by now.  But I’m not.

When I stepped onto the scale and had actually gained weight, it was crushing.  I had been working so hard for so long – how can this be?!  There are a million and one reasons I’m not losing weight.  I don’t want to get into them right now.  Stepping on the scale was a serious mind screw.  With even a slice of positive feedback, I can boost my motivation and keep going with something that is hard.  But when doing something that is hard AND being faced with negative, motivation-sabotaging news, it gets twice as hard.

It made me ask myself why I was doing all of this.  Why am I physically hurting myself on purpose three times per week (basketball 2x/week is total fun, so that doesn’t count)?  I thought about that first day.  I thought about how much better I felt mentally, and how much more I was able to accomplish.  That is why I’m doing it.

The visible results and weight loss will happen over time.  It’s only been 28 days!  That’s nothing when you think about it.  Nothing.  In those 28 days I’ve only exercised my biceps (for example) five times.  I’d be crazy to expect giant guns after five days.  Thinking about it this way helped me be more realistic about the visible results.

The weight is a sensitive subject for me.  At first I thought “I am not getting my ass on another scale for six months”.  If I was doing this for the mental health of it, why do I even care about the weight?  But after thinking about it (well, sulking about it might be more accurate) I need to keep an eye on the weight.  It is another piece of information that can help me make better decisions.  It’s a hard piece of information to swallow at times though.

Balancing insulin use is important for me in this area too.  Not only does it directly impact blood sugar, but it is a powerful fat storage hormone that also inhibits the ability to burn fat.  It gets complicated quickly trying to keep blood sugars in range (when high or low my muscles are not getting what they need to build) while minimizing insulin use.  I’m not ready to take on all of that complication quite yet, but it is on my radar and gaining import every day.

When it’s all said and done, at the end of the day, I do feel better physically.  I feel strong, and I don’t hurt in places that used to hurt.  That feels good.  That along with the mental health benefits that I saw immediately will be enough to keep me going for some time.  The visible results will come with time.  If I were looking strictly for that, I would have been done with all of this right after stepping on the scale.

As Ginger once said, it is all annoyingly character building.  So true.

Thank you Ginger.  And a big “thank you” to all of you out there rooting for me – it is often a big boost right when I need it!

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12 thoughts on “What do you mean it’s closed?

  1. Nothing more discouraging than not losing weight when you’re working hard at the gym! Sometimes I gain weight when I increase exercise and it can feel so deflating. But it usually does turn around eventually for me. And I hope it does for you too!!

  2. Yeah, mental health benefits is the #1 reason I exercise. It helps so much! Just remember that, even if you see nothing physically different, that is worth it. And in the end, being in better mental health will help you take care of your physical health better.
    Days when I do less, I feel a lot worse. I’ve been biking a lot this summer, and am worried about my activity dropping off in the winter (wayy harder to exercise 2 hrs/day if it’s not incorporated into your commute and in gorgeous weather), though I did buy some winter biking gear.
    Also – muscle weighs more than fat. If you are lifting 3x/week and eating right you SHOULD be gaining muscle (it’s just a question if you’re losing fat on the side or not) – otherwise you couldn’t make any progress! Healthwise, even if you are the same weight, if your body composition changes, I think that’s as important if not more so.
    CONGRATS on 28 days.

  3. Hi Scott,
    I’ve been following your blog whenever I can :~) I applaude you on your consistancy in working out- ignore that scale for a while!!! You are developing muscle, which will increase your insulin sensitivity in a great way. Pay more attention to how you feel, your body shape ( I bet it is changing a lot) and your energy level.
    You are an inspiration to so many of us touched by diabetes. My son has type 1 for 18 years now. (he is now 19) We’ve been having some rough periods lately- seemingly for no reason.. anyway, your posts are always a gift for their honesty and heart.
    Thank you,
    Robin
    PS Can you post your twitter address? I know I followed you , but can’t seem to find you again 🙁

  4. Scott,
    Congratulations on staying so consistent over the past month. That is HUGE!
    I hear you on your frustrations about losing weight. I just came home from Ironman and had gained 5 pounds!
    But the overall health benefits (physical and mental) of exercising and staying fit are tremendous, so keep it up. Personally, I am not able to lose much weight unless I really pay attention to my diet. The amount of calories one might burn exercising can be pretty easily compensated for without careful attention. In my mind, I have to try to avoid thoughts like, “I worked out so I need extra…” Instead I try to fuel for the exercise as needed and then treat the rest of the day as if I hadn’t exercised. Maybe you are already on it but I know I slip into that mentality sometimes.
    You have worked really hard this past month–don’t get discouraged! It is also likely that your body is changing shape, as you lose fat and gain muscle. So taking some measurements may be a good way for you to track progress.
    Congrats and keep it up! Your body will thank you.
    -Anne

  5. Scott,
    I am so proud of you. Great job! Love being a #sweatabetes buddy with you. Keep up the good work. I’ve yet to loose more than a few pounds either, but I’m feeling more toned, so that’s a plus. Thanks for keeping me motivated. Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. Go Scottie! So proud of you! Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy a day off! Ginger is freaking awesome, I heart her. Did I mention she is amazing?!?oh, don’t feel guilty about posting on Thanksgiving lol I Did too.

  7. You know, Scott, it’s funny. I didn’t plan on checking in on any blogs today, but the Macy’s Parade doesn’t start for another 10 minutes so Evan and I are just killing time, waiting for all those floats…
    So no, I don’t think posting on Thanksgiving is “bad blogging etiquette” — far from it as you’ve just given me something worthwhile to read 🙂
    Keep it going, Scott. You WILL see the results you’re looking for. And in the process, you’re inspiring so many people.
    Enjoy your day off– you’ve earned it!
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    – Sandra

  8. It’s been great to see you on track 🙂
    Now if I could get my sorry self back on track. Ah well, I’ll start today with a long walk because it is gorgeous here.