A few days ago I wrote about some of the folks that I observed at my new gym. As you might imagine, joining that gym wasn’t just a practice in observing the wild and wacky in a public setting. Nope. Actually, I’ve been saying for a few weeks now (dating back to before the new year, in fact) that I’d like to spend some time in 2011 getting into better condition in terms of my health. Right now I’m taking 10 pills each day (6 required, 4 optional) to combat Type 2 Diabetes and I’m hovering around 355 pounds (usually a few pounds less, but that’s been the ceiling over the last two or three years).
That’s not exactly healthy!
Back in 2004 and for most of 2005 I dropped a bunch of weight. I went from weighing 385 pounds all the way down to about 260 pounds. That’s pretty significant. However, during 2004 and 2005 I was a graduate student working two part-time jobs that really didn’t take up much of my free time. In those days, I would go to the gym twice a day if I was feeling good. Then in August 2006 I was hired by my current company on a full-time basis and things changed.
For starters, I went from a daily commute of about 5 minutes to a daily commute of about 2 hours and working 8+ hours in between the commutes. For those of you who are reading this and you’re just getting ready to graduate from college or graduate school – beware of your pending commute! I know that the job market is tough and people have to take jobs where they can find them, but if you’re the type of person that absolutely must spend a good deal of time in the gym in order to stay healthy, then please take that into consideration as you apply for jobs. Having a commute that can actually harm your health is one of the many dirty secrets that I found out about the working world once I got out of school (I found out some other really crappy stuff, but that’s for a future entry).
The other thing that changed was my Father being diagnosed with a terminal illness just two months after I started my new job. That diagnosis made me go out of my way to spend any bit of free time in a different part of the state from where I live (and, incidentally, from where I work). In other words, my free time was not spent in the gym – for good and obvious reasons.
The next big change occurred right after my Father passed which happened to be about a year after I was hired at my full-time job. The change this time was me getting hired as an Adjunct Professor at the local college teaching class two nights each week.
We’ll stop for a minute and review the timeline thus far: I went from having all of the free time in the world to taking on a 2 hour daily commute (not to mention going from a part-time employee to a full-time employee) to spending whatever free time I could muster an hour and a half away from both my job and my apartment so I could be with my family to being hired as an Adjunct Professor teaching twice each week at night.
On top of all of that stuff, I was still operating my website company and managing a few websites (including this blog) as well as reorganizing my finances to better prepare myself for the future (i.e. the huge student loan repayment push last year). When I thought I found a balance that allowed me a few hours of free time each week, I was elected to serve on the Board of Trustees for a national foundation which takes up more time than I care to let on about. Once I figured out how to balance the Trustee position with the rest of my life, I wound up getting hired as an online instructor at an all-online college (in addition to being an Adjunct Professor at the local college and my full-time day job with the commute).
I don’t have to tell you all, but this is an exhausting schedule to keep.
And in addition to being exhausting, it’s also not very healthy. So this year I’ve tried to take advantage of a few things that are working in my favor. First, I wasn’t scheduled to teach at the local college this semester. That means that I’m not going to be teaching in a face-to-face setting until next September so I don’t have to worry about that time constraint. Second, I’ve been spending a lot of time spinning off certain website clients that used to take up too much of my free time with silly, unnecessary requests. Sure, I have more clients to spin off, but the ones that I’ve let go thus far have dramatically decreased the amount of time I spend on dealing with my website company. Third, I’m coming to a head on many of the major items that I undertook as a member of the Board of Trustees for the national foundation. Once these major items are completed (likely by April), I’m going to only take on one project at a time for the foundation – and I’m going to make sure that the projects are small and manageable in my free time. Fourth, the all-online college didn’t schedule me to teach in either the January 2011 or February 2011 semester (each month starts a new semester for them which runs some 10 weeks).
And maybe the best change in circumstances of all is that my day job is planning to move its location from about 45 miles away from where I live to about 30 miles from where I live. In addition to the shorter distance, I plan on going to the office a little bit earlier each day and then leaving a little bit earlier to avoid traffic. With this plan, I could net a gain of about forty-five minutes to an hour each day of new free time.
With all of these constraints on my time being reduced, I figure that now is as good a time as any to try to get back into the spirit of 2004 and 2005 as best I can. To that end, I joined a gym, I spent some time doing research online to piece together a really good, low-impact weightlifting and cardio plan, and joined a calorie counting website to monitor the amount of calories that I’m taking in each day.
Tomorrow, I’ll post an entry about things that will be different this time around for my attempt to get a little bit more healthy. For example, back in 2004 and 2005 I was really looking to drop an incredible amount of weight for reasons of health, but also for reasons of vanity (who doesn’t like looking less heavy?). I don’t really care about that this time around. What I really care about this time around is reducing the amount of pills that I have to take everyday. I’ve had enough of these 10 pills each day!
Anyway, more on what will likely be different this time around in tomorrow’s entry.