As I thought of how to start this post, one version was , “Hello Blogosphere”, and then I immediately felt old, as even I haven’t heard that term in nearly a decade. Blogging has transformed so much over the last decade and how we share is not merely through news or personal posts, but through snippets on Facebook or photos on instagram; a much more rich and diverse way to “blog”. That tangent aside — It’s has been nearly two years since I actually wrote anything here, which really blows my mind. For a long time, the domain had expired and I had trouble accessing it all, and it never took priority.
That alone is an interesting concept — what we choose to push to the front of our day. We only have 24 hour, how will we spend them. As it relates to fitness and health, professionals used to say 30 minutes of exercise a day to keep good heart health, and over time that number has increased (I believe it’s closer to an actual hour now). I know from my own experience that 30 minutes is better than nothing, but if you are looking for results, the priority needs to be set higher. We all have things in our life that we want to do in a day and do not get done. Children get in the way, family stuff comes up, we have to work late; every one of those is a legitimate excuse. It sounds bad to call those things excuses, but they are. When we don’t make time for ourselves, we lose out on valuing ourselves. Over the last year and a half, I have done a lot of self exploration, and one of the philosophies that I try to go back to when making decisions is “what do I value”.
Sure, many of us want to lose weight, or get trim, or bulk up – I have spoken a lot about what “motivates” us on this page, but motivation, at it’s core, has to be directly aligned with your values. So many people say, “I want to lose weight” or “I’ll start tomorrow”, and so many people fail because when you have a desire to make change, but it is not part of your value system, it is difficult.
For example, over the last 5 years (almost 6 years, can you believe it!) health and wellness has integrated as a different value in my life than it used to. It relates to physical, mental, and emotional well-being. When I first stepped into the gym, it was hard — a different kind of hard when I go now. When I go to the gym now it’s about pushing myself, it’s about redefining who I can be from a new lens because when I started losing weight, I didn’t have a lens, I didn’t have a framework, so it was impossible to value what exercise and nutrition could do for my life. That’s the point I believe people fail. How do you make something that has never been a value, a value?
My struggle over the last year and a half after I moved to Portland was throwing myself into a new environment. Not only my job, but my friends, my activities, everything. It was difficult to find my way and even though I joined a gym; it has been a difficult time to reintegrate those values into my daily life. The difficult part is — they ARE part of my values, and I have certainly failed at working in alignment with them. We aren’t perfect, we don’t always make the right choices, but how can we establish healthy habits?
I think one important way is to reflect on what your values are. Okay, so many eating lots of cheese is amazing, and you don’t value proper nutrition — how do you stop eating the cheese? Even now, I don’t want to stop eating cheese. The secret, when everyone asks “how’d you do it?” or “what was your plan” — it doesn’t matter what the plan is, the ability to be tenacious is at the core. People lose weight running, people gain muscle by lifting, people gain less weight by eating less food – it’s not a secret. People want to think there is some secret so they feel like it was something they couldn’t do before they held this knowledge, which, to some degree, is true. I know when I was 20, I didn’t see myself as someone who needed to lose weight or focus on health — my academics were my focus, but once you have an awareness, it requires Pure.Mental.Grit.
So, the last two years, for me, have been met with flux and flow. After you lose weight, maintenance….eternal maintenance becomes the new goal. For someone like myself, it’s difficult to wrap your head around a goal that doesn’t actually have an end point. I will say that part of what has inspired me to redesign and relaunch this blog is that I have been doing well. Even though I have often shared my struggles here, it’s important to honor the positives. Over the last 2 months I have worked out ~42/52 days. That’s an 80% rate of workouts. My eating could be a little cleaner, and it’s hard to not see any progress on the scale, but I am trying to redefine my values in relation to my health. Although the value has always been to become a more fit person in order to love myself more – in some ways, pieces of “fat Matt” will always be in my head. That just makes sense, and to be mindful that those are simply narratives, and we can rewrite our stories at any time — and we write them on a daily basis. Every piece of cake, every workout, every step we take is an opportunity to go in the direction of our values.
One last thought I will leave this post with is that the narrative of our past does not define the narrative of our future. Having “fallen off” several times (hard) since I moved, each time I “reignited” (see last post from Feb 2014), I burnt out. Therefore, every time that I got to a similar point I would tell myself “okay, this is where I usually fuck up”, and low and behold; I would fuck up. Right now, I’m almost at the 2 month mark of being back on track, right around the time I fuck up. This time, though, I have signed up for a CF competition (which I had done in the past around the same time), but I do not have to let my past failures define my future. So, on January 26th, for my 6th healthiversary, I will have broken that cursed cycle because, I know I can, and you can too.
In part, this post was just to reintroduce myself to writing. I want to open up a bit more about life not strictly as it relates to health (although, in many ways, everything relates), but part of what transforms us is not simply a decision to join a gym or to eat better. You transform your life, it changes your relationships, your passions, and your identity; all of which I have spoken about before, but I think the integral part of that is passion. I think, in order to make these life changes, you have to find passion in it. Whether you become passion about the process, being successful in your goals, looking good in the mirror, lifting heavier things, whatever it is – you have to fall in love with SOME aspect of it. It sort of relates to your values – we have values because we feel conviction towards the things that matter most, which is why people fail so much at this particular thing – a lack of passion and conviction. When something moves from a necessity to a value, it can really alter how you interface with a challenge.
So, that’s what I want to share more of, I want to share my passions through this. Although I have gone through a transformation already, I am still working through it all, and there is no lack of perspective on these things. So, share your passions with me as well!