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Finding Myself and My Body, Again

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I am not going to like this post.

Of all the things I am happy about in my life there is one thing that has bugged me since I was a kid. (Maybe this is not something I can completely overcome.) I was always a husky kid. I’m still a bit too husky. And with so many of the things in my life falling into place, at this moment, I am ready to turn some of my focus towards my Achilles’ love handles. And I’m going to make at least part of the journey available for viewing.

Through the years I have made very specific goals with my work, my relationships, my family and spiritual life, my creative output, etc. And for the most part, I am satisfied with where I have ended up. I still have mountains to climb tomorrow, but as a whole, I feel like my life is making sense and pointed in the appropriate direction. So what’s next? What’s lacking?

Let’s back up 40ish years ago for an illustrative story about my strength and size as a young boy. I played Pop Warner football as soon as I was able to. And I loved it. Crashing headlong into packs of other kids carrying the ball was my idea of fun. And for good reason, I had a weight and strength advantage, even at seven years old.

I remember one event almost as if it were mythology and not something that actually happened to me. My best friend’s dad coached our team. (My dad, divorced from my mom, would show up for games only occasionally.) So at the beginning of this game, we were required to weigh in. And I was just slightly over the limit. My friend’s dad and I walked around the field house, spitting and jogging. After a few minutes of pep talk and more spitting, as if this was going to make a difference, I weighed in, and they let me play.

What this meant, of course, was I was probably the largest kid on the field. So it was no wonder they often ran plays like Mac left and Mac right. This meant I would simply get the ball to the left or right of the center. And I would plow into the defenders and carry a pile of them with me as I pushed forward a few yards. Then we’d run it to the other side. Well, there’s probably a little of that same confidence in me today, but the weight limit part of the show is a real drag.

And it’s not like I’m eating all the time. But I do understand that over time the metabolism changes and even with fewer calories we still tend to gain weight if we don’t do some form of strenuous exercise on a regular basis. So cutting sodas and desserts ain’t gonna do it as it might have in my 30s.

To date, I have been very patient with myself. And today I am wondering if I have therefore been complacent about my weight while I was intensely focused on these other areas of my life. And it’s not that I’m not athletic or fit. It’s just that I’m wearing a few extra fur coats as I step onto the competitive tennis court. And even more critical, if I were looking to date someone, and take the reversed view of myself from that perspective, I probably wouldn’t date me either. (sigh)

A few simple steps are the first ones.

  • Today, I drank my last soda with my kids at a fast-food restaurant. I’m done with sodas through the summer. Easy.
  • Putting my tennis back into the weekly rotation. If I need to rearrange some of my family obligations to make this happen, then I will do it.
  • Adding yoga or aikido back into the mix. Feeling my body is the best way of getting connected to how things feel in balance and out of balance.
  • Consider a weekly appointment with a fitness coach. Still not sure about this one. Do I need ONE more thing? Obviously, I do, but I’m not convinced the trainer is where I will find my inspiration. But what I do know is that I ain’t finding it with what I’ve been doing.
  • So I have patience, yes. But I am not happy with the way I look or the way I feel a good bit of the time.

What I need is a radical rethink of myself and a full-court press on fitness as a priority in my life.

I’m not sure how this will play out as part of my blogging, but stay tuned. Things are changing for the better, and I’m committed to rewiring my body for the next 48 years so that I am bounding rather than complaining through them.

A few ideas on my radar:

  • Nearby karate dojo
  • Austin Cycling Meetup
  • MTN bike, I have it, but it’s … oh, where is it? Do I need new tubes?
  • Tennis (of course I’m going to up my frequency, who’s up for a game?)
  • Walking in the neighborhood
  • More fruit and veggies (Duh.)
  • What to do about working lunches? Or lunches in general.
  • Less sugar, less cheese, less empty calories

Update from 10-years ago: I just made a commitment to my kids. I’m not drinking sodas or eating candy through the summer. Just a start, but one I am confident I can keep. Once I set this kind of thing in place it gives me the strength to say no to sugar.


John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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