Friday, April 28, 2017

Getting in shape for hiking

I'm not in the best of shape.  I haven't been for quite some time, actually.  I like eating.  I have a lot of bad eating habits.  I don't like exercising.  I don't do it very well or very regularly.  This makes my hobby of backpacking much harder.  What to do?

First; I eat too much.  As I've gotten older and more sedentary, my metabolism has slowed down and I need less fuel to get through the day.  However, I still eat like I'm a younger, more active man.  I don't eat like I'm a teenager anymore (although I did for far longer than I should have) but I still eat more than I need.  This comes in two problems.  One; I simply eat too much.  I don't usually have time for much breakfast—a glass of grapefruit juice and a multivitamin, most days, and I don't eat a big lunch—a Greek yogurt and a frozen dinner for lunch that I get out of the freezer and microwave—y'know, like those Healthy Choice or Lean Cuisine meals.  In spite of that, I'm often not that hungry at night.  So why do I eat a big dinner?  Often because one is put in front of me, and because that's just what you do.  Not a great reason, right?  So from now on, I'm going to not eat dinner.  I'll grab an apple or some carrots and just skip.  My lunch and breakfast combo is sufficient.

I also snack a lot.  I have a box of movie butter popcorn packs that I make every so often during the afternoon.  I buy hot dogs, chips, and stuff from gas stations.  I really like soft drinks and although I usually try to stick to diet, not always.  I've known for a long time that this isn't good, but I do it anyway, in part because it lacks visibility to me.  I don't see it as a big deal, and each individual instance feels like nothing.  I've always found it very difficult to motivate myself not to do it.  So... this time, I'm going to do some budget transfers to motivate myself.  I'm going to not buy any more soft drinks or snacks.  I'm going to finish the ones that I have, slowly, and not replace them.  And for every week that I don't buy any, I'll transfer $5 into a kind of virtual escrow account so I can use it for something later.  Now, granted—$5 isn't a lot.  I can spend $5 at the gas station on an energy drink, a smoked sausage on a hot dog bun and a bag of Uncle Ray's Mesquite BBQ ruffled thick potato chips for later and not really think anything of it.

But on the other hand, impulse buys never feel like anything; buys that you plan for, even if they're less money, on the other hand, feel like something, because you're planning on them.  So, after three weeks of not buying any snacks, I'll have amassed about $15, and I'll buy a subscription for that month to Star Wars: The Old Republic.  I think I'll enjoy the game quite a bit more as a subscriber, and it'll actually give me a ton more content and options.  I'll still probably stay away from a lot of the MMO type activities; the PvP, the non-solo Flashpoints, the Uprisings, etc.  But that is a motivation that I can actually get behind.  And, it's self-renewing.  If I want to keep up my subscription, I need to turn around and do it again the next month too.  I may not; I may get to the point where Old Republic gets boring and I move on.  But I'm sure I can find another equivalent.  This minor budget transfer is just the short-term motivation I need to keep me going until bad habits are broken and better habits replace them.

Working out?  That's going to still be tricky until the school year ends.  I'm too busy in the evenings, and honestly, too busy in the mornings too.  But, it's almost May—in six weeks or so, the school year will be over.  Then I can find a schedule that gets me doing some push-ups, some sit-ups and/or crunches, some curls, some squats, some planks, sets of stairs, etc.  Half an hour a day to start with is probably already a lot.  I'll build up to it.

A friend of mine I just saw yesterday for the first time in a good three years or so was looking super thin.  He was built; I dunno, maybe like me, roughly.  He lost 55 pounds in six months.  It's doable.  The biggest problem I've had has always been what I eat.  I eat too much food, and too much of what I eat is too fat.  I'm biting the bullet and changing that, but I'm doing it in a way that my motivation isn't something vague and far off that is difficult for me to get my arms around exactly why that means something to me right now, so I hope that I'm more successful than I have been in the past.  If so... well, it's almost five months until my backpacking trip—a little longer than I'd like, but let's make the best of it and have me going out leaner, meaner and better than I've gone on any of my prior backpacking trips since I picked the habit back up again, shall we?

And just in case I need something to remind me why: here's picture I found of one of the exact places I'm planning to go, and the exact time of year I'm planning to go, and hopefully I get views very much just like this...

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