Welcome 2021

Welcome 2021

I spent the holidays at home with my family, enjoying each other’s company. Because of the pandemic, obviously, we did not see any extended family. We did trade presents with people and make phone calls but that was it. Hopefully next year will be different. Since it is a new year, why not start setting up some goals and how this will go? I think everyone wants 2021 to be better, but hoping and doing are two very different things.

Making resolutions and sticking to them isn’t easy. People often fail at them because they are expecting to make an about face in their life. The most common change is to improve their health whether it be dropping a vice (like smoking) or losing weight (more exercise). The latter is why gyms are so busy in January.

Back in the day I used to skip the gym in January because they would be too crowded. I’d find I couldn’t get on the equipment I wanted when I wanted or the newbies would do things against “gym etiquette” like not wipe down machines or re-rack plates. This sounds minor but people who frequent gyms understand the frustration.

Today is different obviously, other responsibilities make it harder to get to the gym when I want, but I do luckily have a fairly equipped workout area here in our basement now. In 2018 and 2019 I did two sprint triathlons. I did train for them but never got my nutrition right so I competed in both races heavy. This is not something I would recommend to others. Running in 90+ degree heat when you are overweight sucks. I made a promise to myself I’d not let that happen again.

One of the most important facets of health I’ve found is nutrition, especially being over 40. Back in the day if I go too heavy I’d just skip dinners and then boom, the weight would fall off. That is not so easy anymore. Now skipping meals affects you negatively, especially if you are training. There is another way forward, one I’ve been working on and am slowly rolling out.

Although there are tons of diets out there, the one that is best should heal you too. Food is medicine, so why not put together a diet that makes you feel great? For one, I’m finding the less glutenous foods I eat, the better my joints feel. I am also finding that the more fiber I eat, the better my digestive system feels. Dairy and cheeses don’t really do much for me, but vegetables and fruit do. Over the last few weeks I’ve been tracking what I eat and I am finding I eat way, way less of those two items than I thought I did, so I am trying a new approach to eat much, much more. Most of this surrounds just making the foods I eat more healthy by adjusting what is in them and swapping out items for better choices. I am also using workarounds like blending fruits and vegetables to improve my consumption of them. My spinach/banana smoothie with flax and chia seeds is delicious.

Changing the way you eat should not be temporary, so what I am doing is not a “diet” per se. Shifting to more fruits and vegetables and away from sugars is something anyone can agree is good. So is dropping wheat products, unless they are whole grain, and picking up the brown versions of rice and adding in beans. These make sense, but until you apply them you don’t know what that means.

With 2021 here I can say that my preparation for the new year is complete. I have been eating better and I do feel better. I eat a lot less than what I used to eat, but I also eat a lot more. Weight is dropping off pretty quickly and I can actually train now without feeling too beat up afterwards. I can only imagine in a few months the effects will be more noticeable.

Beyond changing the diet, I am focusing on completing more personal improvement projects like reading and taking a little more time with my hobbies. With kids you have no time for any of that, you go and go and go. The days are long but the years are short. I am adopting a more structured approach to these things so that I don’t blink and another year goes by when I didn’t even wet a single fly line. But, I think 2020 was hard on everyone and I ended the year better off than I did the previous one.

Maybe my resolution for this year is to just take better care of myself. That’s something I can get behind.