Saturday, August 9, 2008

The point of it all

So, what kind of crazy world is this where Travis Spomer is buying a car, you ask? (I'm glad you did; otherwise, I wouldn't have anything to post.) I've decided that I'm ready to get really serious about getting healthy. For the past year or so I've been working out off and on, but I'm ready to move forward. I've had my doubts in the past that I can realistically expect myself to stay dedicated to a regimen of diet and exercise, but I've been training and testing myself for months now, and I believe I can do it. I've stuck with an exercise schedule, and I've stopped finding excuses to skip it. I've even been pretty successful at removing unhealthy snacks from my house, and preventing them from infiltrating again.

I should be able to do this. It's going to drive me a little crazy (crazier), but I should be able to do this. I know I can't do it by myself. I've tried. I even made some progress in college—I lost about twenty pounds. But I fell back into bad habits. I feel... I really hope... that this time will be different. There's a popular "lifestyle management program" run by the gym club near me, and I plan to enroll (enlist?) in that. I'm going to hate it. Oh, I will absolutely hate it. But I know that I'm clueless about nutrition and exercise. Even if it's all over and I haven't lost any weight or gained any muscle, it will be impossible for me to have made it through the program without learning a lot, and I think even that would be a success.

So, my focus is not entirely to lose weight. Besides that, my goals are to learn better nutrition and how it affects my body, to learn to exercise more productively, and to build muscle and stamina. I don't have a goal weight, or a goal amount to be able to bench press when it's all over, or anything like that. I hate goals. What will motivate me is noticeable change. At first, it's going to be easy, because they're going to make me eat weird stuff that will slowly chip away at my sanity. That will be enough of a noticeable change. But as long as I keep noticing the numbers on the weights go up from time to time and the numbers on the scale go down from time to time, no matter how slowly, I think that I can keep myself motivated.

I haven't explained yet how the car ties into all of this—I think you've waited enough, patient reader. It's perhaps ironic that a plan of diet and exercise would coincide with the purchase of one of the laziest vehicles imaginable (at least the Segway makes you stand up). I'm doing it to remove barriers. I need to prevent myself from making excuses and lapsing into bad habits. I have a fear, very much grounded in reality, that I would not succeed in the program if I had to depend on the Segway, walking, buses, shuttles, and the like. Those things are time-consuming, and the program will be enough of a drag on my time as it is. I saw getting a car as a necessary step in preparation. I'll need to make doctor visits, work out with a trainer, buy fresh groceries, and all of that stuff. My fear in the past is that doing something like this would unacceptably raise my stress level, and while I'm sure that will be totally true at the start, my sincere hope is that I can deal with it and make it into an experience that isn't making me pull my hair out.

In complete honesty, I'm exhilarated and actually a bit nervous and scared right now as I type this. I've been throwing around the idea for months, literally, but it's only been about two weeks that I've been reasonably sure that this was what I wanted. I've been in Big Decision Escrow for all that time, and I finally decided I was as sure as I was going to get. Today I've put my foot down. It's going to happen, dammit. I must not spend more time unsure and deciding. I can't talk myself out of it anymore. I'm going to try. And it's going to freak me out. As odd as it sounds, this is all going to change my life, at least for several months. (I soon won't have much of a choice; once I start, I have to see it through, because if I don't, insurance doesn't cover it, which is a whopping $6,000 fine.)

And, in the worst case scenario, it did not escape my purchase decision that Honda Civics have excellent resale value.

Currently listening: Garbage—Breaking Up the Girl


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you are in the right frame of mind approaching this decission.

If you end any help, advice, someone to vent to, or even someone to periodically go to the gym with you, you know some of us won't mind :)

Best of luck! I know you can do it!

Anonymous said...

So, I'm slightly confused, but here's probably why.

I tend to relegate exercise purely into the realm of physical perception. As in, people exercise so they "look better." Looking better tends to be a comparison between people, and viewed externally, and therefore, a "shallow" and "superficial" pursuit. I don't think you're shallow or superficial, ergo, slight confusion over your desire for exercise.

However, I realize that that thought process is ridden with fallacies, starting with all of the premises....

But, have fun and I admire your discipline.

Travis said...

Well, it's certainly plausible that I would like myself to look pretty regardless of how other people look. And looking good is not entirely superficial; it's a basic component of human attraction and interaction.

Looking better is not the whole point, though. The point is that I've got a lot of years left to go (well, hopefully), and I'm no longer sure that I'm adequately prepared for them. I don't really know anything about nutrition or how my body works, and I'm not in great shape. I'm no longer sure that I want to live the rest of my life with so many risk factors for diseases and disorders. If you go by the wonderfully accurate and reliable BMI system, I've got 80 pounds to lose before I'd even get down to the bottom end of the "overweight" zone on the scale.

Maybe I'll decide that it's not for me, and I'll just die young, fat, and happy. I've decided same thing that many times before. But I haven't given it 100%. And I think that deserves a try.

Anonymous said...

Don't use's total crap. I doubt you need to lose that much, since you are as tall as you are.

Dying young, fat, and happy. Yeah...that was what I was aiming for...since I figured genetically I'll be luck if I make it to 60. But that really isn't a sure thing, especially since I don't do any crazy things like ride a motorcycle, jump out of airplanes, or do drugs. However, the only part I have right is fat...since happy seems to be something I am not always getting right now-a-days! :)

Travis said...

Perhaps you missed the "wonderfully accurate and reliable" in italics in my post.

Unknown said...

Glad to hear you're making this an important part of your life. Hopefully it'll just eventually become part of your normal routine and you won't even think about it. That's the main reason I workout 5 days a week is just so that feels normal to me. Good luck on your quest.