Thursday, March 6, 2014

Chasing Endorphins

Chasing Endorphins

I hadn't made it a quarter mile when the burning in my legs started whining. I decided to focus on the music and not my legs. Would I get a 5K in this evening? Probably not and that's okay. I'm not back there just yet. At about the 3/4 mile point I noticed my legs feeling better and stronger. I was determined to make it at least 1.7 miles. By the time the 2nd lap of the trail was finished, I was so into my music and feeling good--I pushed it another lap, ending with a solid 2.64 miles. That's fantastic. I honestly felt like stopping that first 1/4 mile, but as I alternated between air guitar and air drums, I was thinking about how it was when I first embarked on this trail September 15th, 2008 at 505 pounds. I only made it 1/4 mile on that first day because I was convinced another step further would literally kill me. I knew pushing it tonight wouldn't kill me and I was after those mood altering endorphins. And I got 'em, I got 'em good.

I left the trail feeling accomplished. I felt proud and happy. I made it to the store, picked up a few ingredients I needed to prepare dinner and I cooked a meal I felt good about.

Today was a good day. The choices I made alleviated the familiar struggle I often feel in the evenings. Morning to late afternoon is often the easiest time of day for me because it's more structured with my work schedule. The evening is up to me. And when there aren't any boundaries and I'm free to navigate my evening in whatever way I choose--that's when it's the toughest.

I confided in a friend recently about how I felt like I was on the verge of a calorie bank meltdown. Instead, on that particular evening, I went to bed uncharacteristically early (7:10pm), thus avoiding what felt inevitable. It wasn't a bad move, really. I did what I felt I needed to do in that moment in order to maintain the integrity of my calorie budget. But after tonight, I must question, had I exercised, how would I have felt at 7pm that particular evening? I'm betting I would have been in a much stronger mindset, influenced by the bio-chemical reactions released by exercise.

It's a positive momentum dynamic. I exercise, I feel better, I struggle less (or not at all) and I ultimately feel great about my choices. And good inspires more of the same. I must keep this in mind the next time I'm on the fence about whether or not to exercise.

I'm a pro at finding fantastic reasons why I shouldn't exercise on any particular day. Granted, I've had legitimate circumstances for a while now because of my sleep issues. But now that these are being treated, I'm getting more rest. And suddenly a long work day doesn't seem like a good enough escape clause. And why would I avoid exercise anyway? I do quite often. But I can't recall ever regretting a good workout. Isn't that interesting? I always feel better afterward. Always. And since I listen to my favorite tunes while I'm doing it, I'm actually having a blast, (see the air guitar and air drums reference above.) I've even went so far as to play air piano, air violin and air upright base.  Will somebody see me? (Somebody did this evening--I know, because they mentioned it on my facebook post) I don't care if they see me! This is what I mean when I talk about becoming "lost in the music." This is why I prefer to workout alone. My exercise time is my time to dream within the rhythm of the songs that inspire me. I've compromised before, trying not to embarrass my walking partner: I would often curb my enthusiasm. I will not curb my enthusiasm ever again! So if you've ever asked me to walk with you and I haven't accepted, please don't take it personal. It's just me being me...gloriously me!  

I've noticed a major positive difference since declaring to be more self-compassionate. The guilt and shame of regain is pretty much gone. I give an incredible amount of credit to the numerous people who have come forward, sharing their own stories of regain. Feelings of shame and guilt prefer to be alone for optimal growth. And because so many have shared with me their stories and their hope, I know I'm not alone, ever.
Getting back on track has been another big factor in alleviating the brutally abusive thoughts and resulting emotions. I know where I'm headed. And it feels good to be going in a positive direction. The hopeless feelings of a downward spiral always feel that way because of the decent. When we're back up and moving in a positive direction we suddenly realize there is hope after all.

I better wrap this up. I've enjoyed some wonderful perspectives on facebook recently. The other day I posted:

"I've heard from several people recently who have told me they're “starting over." First, realize you're not completely starting over. Now, you're armed with new information about yourself—some you may not have considered before now. Every “failed” weight loss attempt in my life wasn't a failure, it was a teacher. With this new perspective--approach with simplicity, confidence, and joy. And know: This time will be unlike any other because the focus is heavy on YOU and the real changes you desire,—the ones you once thought impossible...they're not, they're yours for the choosing."

Michael Prager, Author of "Fat Boy, Thin Man" commented:
 "I start over every morning, regardless of how yesterday went. I only have today."

Isn't that the most wonderful perspective we can embrace? What if we let go of yesterday and fully embraced today? Now, if yesterday was awesome, then fine---but still, today is all we have. Truly, this is a one day at a time road we're traveling.

I invite you to friend me on Facebook: On Twitter: @SeanAAnderson and on My Fitness Pal: SeanAAnderson

I keep most of my food pics and "in the moment" type stuff on twitter. I micro-blog and interact on facebook and I log my daily calorie bank, exercise and water consumption on My Fitness Pal.  And of course, this blog is...well, you're here...

Thank you for reading,
Goodnight and...


  1. I see maintenance as "starting over" every morning. Sometimes I'm totally in the zone and it is easy, and sometimes I'm struggling. Still I jump on that scale, record my weight and start the day new. Great post as usual.

  2. I work out quite a bit, but not for weight loss -- always for mood, attitude and strength. Good to see you back in the game.

  3. Hi Sean! I love it! Playing "air piano"! I am a firm believer in being yourself and enjoying life. Music really helps, I grew up in a home filled with music, my father was a Jazz musician and later was in the music business myself. I cannot do housework or work out without it. Music just adds pizzazz to life. What ever it takes to keep you going and building that momentum! You go!!! Take care~Jules

  4. it is a good reminder...we aren't starting over. We do have tools. And exercise has been my life saver.


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