Twenty four months

Twenty four months ago, I changed my life completely.

Twelve months later, I wrote a blog post about it.

For those who haven’t read the first post, it was my weight loss story. I’d like to think it’s worth your time: it’s not long, and it’s one of my best recieved pieces since I starting writing online. I’ve been putting these things up somewhat inconsistently for more than a year now, and one of the perks of that is that I can review stuff that I have written with the benefit of twelve months experience. So if ever there was a candidate for annual review, it was that piece. So this is my update, I suppose.

As of today, I feel like I’m in good shape, but we’ll get into the numbers shortly. The last month has been difficult, but if I was to give myself a mark out of ten for the year, it’d probably be a seven, maybe six and a half.

Things changed for me at some point in the first half of last year. I was running pretty hard, lifting pretty heavy and eating pretty light. I’d been living like that for a while, and I burnt out. I was physically weak. Stairs were an ordeal, pushing doors open became difficult. The funny thing about being focused is that sometimes it can be hard to see the forest for the trees. When I’m at my most disciplined, knowing when to stop can be hard. So I went and saw the physio and a sports nutritionist.

It really wasn’t rocket science. I wasn’t eating enough to pay for the work I was putting in at the gym. The physio pulled me up and steered me in the right direction. It was time to push the reset button: to eat more, to eat well and to put on some muscle. The bodybuilder types call it a bulking phase.

The idea with the bulking phase is that you eat more calories than your body needs to function, keep your protein levels up and lift heavy. This promotes muslce growth and enables you to put on mass. You still do some cardio work, but too much during this time can be counterproductive. Essentially it’s the opposite to what you do when you are cutting weight, which I think is what concerned me about making this sort of change in the first place. I suppose I connected eating more with letting go, when really these things need to be treated as a means to an end, ways to achieve what you want to achieve.

I did that for a few months. It wasn’t long enough for me to become big, but it helped. I got up to 80kgs before cutting down to where I am now for summer, about 76kgs. Up until the last month, in which I’ve my eating has been pretty undisciplined, I was in what I would consider the best shape of my life. I plan on bulking again in March, this time for a bit longer.

I got a pretty minor back injury a few weeks ago, but it was enough to send me back to the physio and keep me out of the gym for a couple of weeks. I missed it, honestly. Maybe it’s the endorphins and the adrenaline, perhaps it’s the guilt as well, I don’t know, but this thing is a big part of my life now.

These habits are crucial; they are what keep you in the game after a bad session or a bad day. Once you have an established habits, it’s easy to keep going with something because it is just what you do. It’s automatic. I know when I go to the gym, I know what I’m doing on each day. If I have to be flexible because something is happening in my life, I just find a way to make things work.

I’m not breaking my neck when it comes to food any more. I’m a bit more relxed when it comes to drinking, too. The occasional bad day is not the end of the world . I try to never forget there’s a life to enjoy and moments to share. If I’m getting it right the majority of the time, I figure that it’ll all work out.

For anyone who might be reading this and considering a similar journey, you should; it’s worth it. Establish good habits early, stick to the plan even if you have a bad day, do the simple things right, and understand that while getting healthier won’t solve all of your problems, it’s definitely worth the effort in the end.