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Eric Wise

Eric Wise is a stay-at-home dad with three children, ages 11, 9 and 3. He was formerly a reporter for the now-defunct Hershey Chronicle newspaper, and he has 10 years of experience in public relations with four different statewide associations. His home improvement column, "Around the House," appeared in daily and weekly newspapers around Pennsylvania from 2007 to 2009. He is a graduate of Hershey Senior High School and Elizabethtown College. He enjoys reading, playing guitar and photography. 

Sometimes it's hard to defeat negative thinking

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As I blogged about previously, I have spent a lot of time this year trying to improve my health and fitness. I started working out in January, and I have also been trying to eat healthier (although I love food too much to be extreme about it). 

In July, I saw my doctor for the first time since I started this adventure. He said my test results were all good and I looked better than I had for some time. He was also quite pleased that I had lost 15 pounds. I was shocked when I heard 15 pounds. My home scale had lied to me! I knew that I was adding muscle while cutting fat, but I thought I had lost quite a bit more than that.

It was difficult to step back for a second, take a deep breath and focus on what I had achieved. Since January, I had been working out regularly. I was lifting weights equal to or more than what I lifted in college. I participated in exercises classes -- high-intensity interval training -- at the gym (usually twice a week, depending on our family schedule). I had even started using my bike on a regular basis, introducing it to trips outside the block where I live for the first time. 

In July, I also finished the Spartan Race in the Poconos. For me, it should be the Spartan "Race." This event is a 5K mud run with 15 obstacles. It started with going a mile and a quarter straight up the mountain. At that point, we got to pick up a 45-pound sandbag and carry it up a steep incline -- either on slippery grass or loose rock. Ugh. I knew from the start that I would be walking the "race," thanks to the state of my fitness and a lifetime of exercise induced asthma. I had no idea that would mean finishing in a hair under 4 hours. It was a slow go, mostly because the hike up the mountain followed by the sandbag carry exhausted me before I really got into the other obstacles. In the future, I think I will chose events not held in the mountains or at ski resorts.

I had met some goals I set in my lifting routine in the first 6 months. These were basic benchmarks, goals that were in sight that I felt I could do in about 6 to 8 weeks. After I met a few in various exercises, I decided I wanted to be able to pull my weight. "Pulling" is the jargon for deadlifting, where the lifter grabs a loaded barbell from the floor and pulls it up until standing upright with the arms straight down in front. My trip to the doctor threw a wrench into this goal, as I was not quite as close as I thought I was. 

Although going heavy for just a couple of repetitions is generally not my focus, I decided to attempt my weight, and I was able to get it twice earlier in August. 

All of these things are important for me to keep in mind when I disappoint myself in other ways. There have been a few days within the last week where I fell into bad habits with heavy late-night snacking. I attempted to make it through a HIIT class when I was hungry, sore and lacking a proper night's rest, and it went badly. My inner voice beat me up during that workout and for hours afterwards. I know I could achieve more if I overcame these issues and started forcing myself to eat the right types of meals and got myself on a good schedule of a solid night's cleep. There's only so much your workouts can do without the diet and rest components.

"Aye, there's the rub." Find a way to stay positive while forgiving yourself for your stumbles along the way -- and yet push yourself to improve on that in the future. It's a work in progress. 

If any of you are working on self improvement through fitness or anything else, please share your ideas for staying positive in the comments. 

11 comments

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    Paseswida Saturday, 07 September 2013 19:58 Comment Link

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