fitness · Sat with Nat

The attitude of gratitude


It’s been a year since I wrote I can’t fight genetics? Looking back the themes of nutrition, medication, surgical interventions and exercise played out in my journey to be fitter. I posted a lot about the ups and downs, the ebb and flow of motivation, weight and being on and off and on medications.

I think of fitness both in the athletic sense and from a biological sense. In biology fitness is about an organism’s ability to survive and procreate in an environment. So, here I am, alive and adapting to my environment, totally nailed biological fitness!

I think much of my athletic fitness is hampered by the modern environment of office work and driving cars. My body feels best in motion but I also love a good nap or a layabout day. Both activity and rest have become a focus for me, making sure I schedule fun with friends, allow time for sitting in a hot tub after a workout and practice yoga.

Looking to blood pressure changes over the past year, it dropped dramatically from 155/118 to too low last summer but bounced back to 140/90 off medication and now 110/70 on a different medication. My pulse over that time has dropped from 90 bpm to 60 bpm. Those are nice, clear measures of fitness and wellness.

My attitude to food has changed, I no longer feel compelled to eat until bursting. Oh I still enjoy a hearty meal, I devoured a fantastic meal last night with Kim and Jessica (both bloggers here!) at a great restaurant but I don’t feel guilty about that. I take the long view on food, looking at the whole day’s nutrition and the week and I use my weight as a gross error check.

Speaking of weight, I have this graph that shows how rapidly it changed as I got therapy for over eating, down, down down it went, a blip up over Christmas then down until the past few months. I’ve plateaued around 40 pounds down from my weight this time last year.

Most importantly, my social network of supports have improved. My friends at one time came largely from my paid work and that can be a complicated gift when trying to have work life balance. Last night Jessica, Kim and I talked about how enriching your circle of friends beyond paid work is helpful. For me this is certainly true as
I’ve made many new friends this past year thanks to this blog. Blogging and cycling enriched my connection to Samantha and Tracy, both who’ve been tremendous supporters of my physical and psychological wellness. I’m very grateful.

Cycling has reconnected me to my sense of adventure and challenging myself as well as rediscovering the joy of group exercise. I’ve met many wonderful humans through activity who’ve helped me. Randonneur Dave has helped me push my self-imposed limits. We had a challenging ride in a headwind last weekend but the tailwind home was beautiful. It was my first 100 km bike ride. It felt awesome to hit that distance benchmark. It was only last September that I did my first group ride and 20 km had been my longest ride EVER. So, that’s improving and I haven’t hit my cycling distance ceiling where I feel like I went too far or too hard. I’m even planning on going on a cycling tour FOR FUN. Total madness.

I’m learning to trust cys men again, to let them in my personal space, to wonder at kind hearts and laugh at mischievous imps. I’m pleasantly surprised how fitness and therapy have allowed me to dialogue with my fears and move forward in my life.

My self discipline has responded to training too, it seems to take less will power to drive by the fast food joint, to eat at home where the food is cheaper and healthier.

So many things have changed over the past year. I’ve had some truly difficult times but they haven’t thrown me into a depression or utterly devastated me. That has happened in the past but now I feel stronger, able to recovery quicker from the upsets and have a well of resilience I can draw on for my family. I am very thankful. I had to change in order to be well and I did it. That’s pretty damn magical and I’m so very fortunate


11 thoughts on “The attitude of gratitude

  1. Happy to have you in our life, on bikes, in the hot tub, playing cards, whatever. Looking forward to Manitoulin this summer!

  2. Feeling gratitude for this post!!
    (and for this gorgeous idea of “wonder[ing] at kind hearts and laugh[ing] at mischievous imps”!!)

  3. Congratulations on your first 100km. Use the confidence from completing that ride when you feel like you are struggling on your next long ride.

  4. Having never met you I can only (poorly) describe the feeling of “oh my I’m so happy for you” & would love to give you a joyous hug (with your consent) Fabulous!! I love reading this. Now this may seem over the top but (well, that’s me) but also, I identify with your experience of getting the biological fitness sorted so you can really then just enjoy life and movement and new kick arse achievements. And gratitude, having it, expressing it, reflecting on where you’ve been, it is something that I have found incredibly enriching in my past year also. I’m not there with my biological fitness yet but I am getting there. I haven’t ridden 100kms again yet, but the other day I walk/ran 5 and recovered ‘normally’ (ie didn’t take a week and didn’t have unmanageable high HR) and this weekend I moved house with the aid of 1 strong generous friend who could drive a truck. And I’m feeling good. So thank you for sharing your story I have really gotten something out of reading it, a bit of hope in my direction and joy in yours.
    (And hot tub envy, seriously, does everyone in Canada have a hot tub???)

    1. Oh I use the hot tub at the gym!!

      Way to go on the 5 km and the pleasant recovery.

      I love hugs.
      Here’s to us being our awesome selves!

  5. I love this– it’s honest, optimistic, realistic, process-and-not-product oriented and humorous. The way life should be. Thanks!

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