Reflections by Jerry Webber

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Insanity of Doing the Same Thing

Last week I made some shifts in personal practice. I re-upped on a commitment to healthier eating. I also made some changes in my exercise regimen. Here’s the back-story:

Up to my 40th birthday, my weight really wasn’t a problem. I loved to eat and didn’t have to be very attentive to what I consumed. However, the post-40 years have been very different. I slowly began taking on pounds and had to be watchful of what and how I ate. Then at the age of 46 I began regular schedules of chemotherapy and steroids. I was warned that the treatments would mean fluctuations in my weight; in fact, over the next three years I gained about 50 pounds.

Christmas 2006 I decided that enough was enough. I began to exercise daily. I cut out fatty foods and sugars. I worked hard and made up a workout program that I thought would help me. It did. After about 5 months I hit my target weight. I kept on, and over the next few months dropped even more weight, the weight I’d picked up post-40. That was 2007.

I maintained that weight for over three years, and in that time continued to alter my workout routine from time to time. When not wrestling through chemo/steroid treatments, I’ve felt good and fit.

All of that changed in 2010 when I went through 6 months of a stronger chemo and steroid protocol. I couldn’t exercise. I spent a lot of time sick and in bed. I lost of a lot of weight . . . about 18 lbs. I didn’t think weight-gain would be a problem when I finished the treatments, but then found that after the treatments ended in October I wanted to eat everything in sight. The six months of little eating gave way to undisciplined eating, taking in whatever was around me. I came back up to my normal, baseline weight, then kept eating and gaining . . . until now I’m on the plus-side of my norm by 20 lbs. (yep, that’s 38 pounds from the low point last year). I’d like to keep the blame totally on the steroids, but I can’t honestly do that.

For months now I’ve known that I needed to make changes, but always put it off a day . . . a week . . . until after vacation . . . after the kids visit, etc. I’ve continued my same exercise routine, but I’ve noticed that it’s not working any longer . . . and to boot, my eating has been undisciplined.

I reminded myself again a couple of weeks ago that the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing you’ve been doing, yet expecting different results.

So last week I decided to do something different. I’m eating in a more disciplined way again. And I’m changing my exercise routine. The biggest change is that I’ve started jogging (I thoroughly detest running!!). I’m using a running program that Peter Johns commended to me, one that encourages a gradual build-up in time and distance.

So here’s the goal, the carrot out ahead of me. While I’d like to lose some of this extra “20”, that’s not my primary goal. Rather, when my son – who’s been running for several years now – runs in a Thanksgiving Day 5K Turkey Trot this year, I want to be running with him. Well, not exactly “with” him. He’ll outpace me easily. But I want to be in the race with him. That’s the carrot in front of me. (I think there are a lot of literal “carrots” in front of me, too!!) 5K on Thanksgiving Day with my son.

You can ask me how it’s going if you’d like. I’m motivated to do this.

I’m thinking, though, that there are a lot of things for which today is the day. In all sorts of life settings, to keep doing the same things and expect different end-products is not only “insanity,” but “stupidity” and “craziness” and “illogical,” etc. Yet we all do it . . . whether it’s our health or our prayer or the fitness of our souls. We get the same results as always because we’re doing the same things as always.

For me, sometimes I just have to get fed up with myself and with the way things are . . . then, every once in a while, I’ll have the courage to take a new stance, to enter a new posture of openness, to embark on a new journey. I don’t know what the end result will be – I have my own hopes at that point – but I cannot control the outcome. All I can do right now is give myself to the journey.

So now, I’ll see where this one goes.

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