Monday, December 31, 2012

new year?

I've not been a fan of New Year's crap for awhile.  Part of it is that it's an arbitrary system: there's nothing special about January 1 (on the Gregorian calendar), such that life will magically change up on its passing.  The other part is as I mentioned before: resolutions are about as arbitrary as the day and typically occur under duress.

I wish that this year flipping over could usher a change for me.  While there are things from the twelve months past that I am glad of, there's also been a ridiculous amount of frustration and setbacks.  I would like to pretend that there's a clean slate for me to write upon, as opposed to something scratched and pock-marked from prior abuse.  The idealistic notion of "living in the moment" is a great thought, but can only ever remain a notion.  Realistically, my past has an impact upon my present, and likewise my concerns for the future may dictate my actions now.

While I might try to slough off the mistakes I've made and the opportunities I've lost, I'm still carrying the luggage from them;  sometimes in literal weight (like my jiggling belly), but even more burdensome is the loss of trust and faith in myself to do better than I have before.

I can't promise that the bullshit of life won't stop me from getting to the gym or eating well or sleeping enough.  Quite the contrary, I know that it will.  I can only hope that the bullshit and setbacks and failures are temporary, and that somewhere I'll find the will to keep on trying and pushing and doing better.

Failing that, there's the next New Year's celebration in about 40 days.

Friday, December 28, 2012


I'm not a huge fan of New Year's resolutions.  It's because they so typically (in my hands, at least) are "inspired" by a calendar schedule and thus often rushed notions without any particular plan of execution.  A recipe which essentially dooms the resolution to failure within very short order.  I always felt like the beginning of September was a better time for resolutions, which I'd guess is notion shared by most people who were schooled outside the home.  New school year, new classes, new notebooks and pens, and if not a new attitude, at least a refreshment of the old.

That all being said, I also find that as much as part of me resists the beginning of a year as a time for change, the late December holidays invariably disrupt normal life and routines to an extent that it's difficult not to align the termination of the holiday season that comes with January 1st with the attempt to resume or initiate good habits and better routines.

This year brought a total disruption to my normal mode of living and working.  First a time course, then a ridiculously heavy work week (still trying to squeeze some useful information out of that experiment, incidentally), then... what?  disruption of normal climbing and lifting days thanks to gym closures, fatigue, inclement weather, pet-sitting, and now a cold.  I'm frustrated, but too tired to really give a crap.  I keep telling myself that I'm going to clean up my life and get back on schedule and I'll do something like go to the climbing gym, but of course absence begets weakness, which begets frustration and kills motivation, which begets absence.  So I tell myself that still the holidays are disrupting everything and maybe once this is all over I can get back on schedule.  We'll see how next week looks, yeah?

One thing that I am determined to do is to get more sleep.  I was running through all the crap that one should do to get a little leaner and a little stronger and trying to figure out where I was failing.  Diet: not stunning, but pretty decent: no processed food, fairly low on carbs, almost completely free of blood glucose spiking carbs, not ridiculous amounts of calories...  I should probably increase the vegetable content, and maybe double-check the fat.  Exercise, again not very impressive lately, but not horrendous:  need to be more consistent, maybe get some cardio in there (or stab myself in the eye because that's almost as fun), push myself a little harder, especially when climbing.  Sleep.... oh.  whoops.

I used to typically get 6 hours a night.  It never felt like enough, but I was totally functional on it.  Then I started to get treatment for the Graves disease and while I still was getting 6 hours or so a night, it felt hellish, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to get up and get going in the morning.  I was starting to sleep through alarms.  More recently, I might be getting somewhere around 7 hours on an average weeknight these days, but that drops precipitously on the weekends where I feel like I can stay up later because I can sleep in, but then I completely fail to sleep in.  It's still a struggle to get up and get going the morning.  I'm always tired, but that's not really different than any other phase of my life since I stopped being a slack-assed teenager.  We all know that getting insufficient sleep increased stress and cortisol and all sorts of other nasty things, so I'm not going to explain it all and link to good articles (although feel free to share some of your favourites, if they're from or informed by solid peer-reviewed research).  Suffice it to say that sleep is an obvious weak link for me and a little effort is probably going to go a lot further than my weighing my morning yogurt.

So.  I'm going to try to get more sleep.  No more late-night web surfing or Netflix, even if I'm trying to settle after getting in from climbing, that fluorescent-light emitting screen has got to be off by 11! ... er... midnight?  at the latest? know, after New Years...

Friday, December 14, 2012

Never Enough Caffeine

I'm sitting here in a bit of a haze.

I've had a stressful chunk of time at work.  Right now, I'm waiting on seeing if the past three days, (aka, 40 work-hours and over $2000 of reagents) are successful or not.  When you're trying something new in the lab, it takes longer than it should.  When you're doing something that has a lot of money and data riding on it, it takes longer still.  I have about 39 more hours to wait until I have a good idea if this all worked, but in about an hour I'll have a crude notion.

Before I started all this, I was coming off an experiment which had me in the lab at 2 am for 4 nights running.  Sleep hasn't been something I've been doing enough of this week.

I'm trying to remind myself that it's ok that I've only been to the gym once this week, because lifting hunks of metal when  even a coffee cup feels heavy is probably not sensible.

The good news, of course, is that I've been so preoccupied with this lab crap that I'm not really thinking about how blubbery I've been feeling.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Needing Encouragement Again

Last week I was all psyched and excited to be lifting again, and I was enthusiastic about climbing (yet didn't manage to do it at all that week), and right now at this moment part of my brain is curled up in a corner whimpering.

I had a crappy day of climbing on Tuesday, and not much better last night.  The joke amongst climbers is that it's a "high gravity day" because it feels like every move is harder than it should be.  Like your bones have turned to lead when you weren't looking.

While I avoid weighing myself as a general rule, I have regular dates with an endocrinologist and hopping on the scale seems to be part of the deal.  This means that since I've been dutifully medicating for my Graves' disease, I've got to watch my weight creep up and up and up.  I've been in laundry crisis this week and thus discovered that some formerly baggy pants are now tight enough on the waistband to be uncomfortable and essentially unwearable.  Despite getting overheated I've stopped wearing tank tops to the climbing gym because they don't hide my flab well enough.  I skulk from the shower to locker in the Uni gym with a towel clutched in front of my ballooning belly.  My body and I are not getting along well.

I don't have the best diet in the world, but it doesn't suck.  My carbs are fairly limited, and I don't do processed food.  The dietician was complimenting my eating habits last time she was looking at my food log.  I kind of am at  loss as to what more I can cut out without getting all bingey (and I will binge if I try to restrict my eating).  I could probably make an effort to sleep more (but I have a hard time going to bed the moment I'm home from the lab).  I could do cardio (although I hate it beyond words, and when the hell do I have time?!)  I'm feeling a little stuck.

I feel like I can still lift, so that's good (although maybe I ought not have goals that are related to body weight because at this rate I'll never keep up), but I'm having problems climbing.  I'm worried for my fingers like I've never been before.  I'm getting new pains in one of my already bad fingers, and I jarred one of pinkies a long time ago and it won't heal... I actually had to tape it up last night.  I'm starting to tape my bad fingers when I lift, too.  While I know I need to work on my finger strength really badly of late, I'm scared that I've already put too much stress on them and that any more will put me over the edge.  Climbing is something that keeps me sane in the way nothing else I've ever found does.  Climbing poorly, as I've been doing for over a year now since moving is a slow heartbreak, and while I keep working on trying to regain just the joy of climbing and have phases of doing that, I don't think I could keep at it indefinitely if I stalled here forever.  I'm starting to think that maybe I'm too old for this.

I'm having a really hard time now that I've let doubt slip in and take hold.  I think it was inevitable with the steady increase in weight and pain I've been having.  I don't really know how to hold the dark cloud back anymore.

You must all think I'm bipolar or flighty or something.  I'm typically not.  Maybe it's just exhaustion because it's been a couple of crazy weeks at the lab again (including something that has me here babysitting cells in the middle of the night for the next few days).  Maybe it was an excess of caffeine when I was feeling good.  Whatever it is, I need a little kind and sweet kick in the ass or something.  ...and some more tape for my fingers.