A Weird Summer

It’s been a weird summer.

Since coming back from Scotland in April, I’ve been returning to the office three days a week. It’s been good, but the office has been very quiet. (Sometimes eerily so.) Plus, my routine changed so much over the pandemic. It’s been interesting to step outside the habits I formed working from home for a few years and realigning myself to working outside of my home office. Re-engaging with a post-pandemic world would have been weird enough, but a lot more has happened.

In July, for Kari-Lise and my anniversary, I somehow convinced her to climb Mailbox Peak in the Cascades. It was a great hike, but I badly rolled my right ankle on the way down. Still six miles from the trailhead and way too big for Kari-Lise to carry, I had to hobble back. (Thank God for my walking stick.) Adrenaline kicked in about three miles later, and I thought I was doing well, and my sprain was mild. But when I got home and took off my shoes, my ankle swelled up to the size of a large grapefruit and turned black and blue. So, yeah. Not mild.

The following week, both Kari-Lise and I came down with COVID. We’re still not quite sure where we got it. She was hit a little harder than me, but our cases were mild overall. I would have thought it was minor allergies if I hadn’t tested. So we sequestered ourselves at home, watched trash television, and waited until we tested negative. Thankfully neither of us has had any lingering effects.

We were over COVID in a week. But it took nearly a month for my ankle to recover. I wasn’t moving much for the first two weeks and returned to working from home since walking (and therefore commuting) was painful. July was a wash workout-wise. I didn’t get back to my daily walks until August. But I slowly recovered, and I’m happy to report that I am fully back into my workout routine and down a few more pounds.

Writing in the summer has never been the easiest for me. Seattle only gets three solid months of sunny weather, and it’s not uncommon for Seattlites to go a little manic and fill up our social calendars. It makes finding the time to write a little more complicated. With the changes that summer brings and my return to the office, I’ve found my writing time shaken up a bit. Lately been trying to force myself to at least try and write, even if I don’t feel like it—kind of how I made my workouts a habit. It’s been good to adjust to that mindset, and I think it’s working. Words have been appearing on pages. It’s not a lot, but it’s momentum. Finally.

With autumn on the way and life returning to routine, I hope to get back to blogging. I’ve been quiet for the last year, and I’ve missed posting here. I always found this space freeing and less oppressive than the obnoxiousness that propagates social media. There’s less pressure to comment on every little dumb topic du jour, and I can ramble on the stuff that matters to me, like my weird summer.

So expect more from me going forward. Buy my books. Let me know what you think of them. Tell your friends, and be sure to check out my Reader Resources. Some fun stuff is happening there, with more to come.

I Lost 50 Pounds

Since the beginning of 2022, I’ve lost fifty pounds.

It’s been a process. One I started in January. On the first of the year, as millions of others do, I weighed myself and was the heaviest I’ve ever been. That was depressing. So, I moped around for the rest of the weekend, and then on Monday the 3rd, frustrated with myself and my health, I decided it was time for a lifestyle change. I put on my shoes, went outside, and went for a walk. And I didn’t stop.

My Apple Fitness Tracker Results for the first half of 2022.

For those unfamiliar with Apple’s fitness stuff, the three rings every day are Move (Red), Exercise (Green), Stand (Blue), and the little green dot represents a recorded workout. (Workout here being almost exclusively an outdoor walk.) I allowed myself down days when my body was tired. But I kept it up—rain, shine, cold, snow, or sun. The first month’s walks were slow and short. But I gradually became more and more confident taking on new challenges (stairs and hills and lots of ’em.) By the end of June, I had walked over five hundred miles, and you can see the miles in the soles of my shoes.

Old shoes on the left, new on the right—they’re Adidas Terrex Free Hikers, and I heartily recommend them.

I also began to count calories and track my weight regularly. I didn’t make any significant changes to my diet, but I did find myself cutting back. I kept eating what I wanted to eat as long as it fit within my daily caloric requirements. Even on “cheat” days, I counted my calories. Naturally, I gravitated to more whole foods since I could eat more of those, but I didn’t remove anything altogether—life is no fun without good food.

I faced challenges as anyone would expect. I was injured a few times, but I exercised through those and came out feeling better and stronger. Though some days were excruciating. I plateaued, which was frustrating, but I kept up my routine until the plateau broke. I fell into old habits and found myself climbing out of a hole several times, but I refocused on my goals and kept at it.

And it was successful. Fifty pounds are gone, and I feel incredible. My clothes fit better. I have loads more energy. I no longer fear hills. My overall mood has improved. My sleep has been better. I’m excited to get back into the mountains. And as a nice bonus, a lot of annoying minor health stuff has cleared up.

This wasn’t a “diet” for me. I’m not planning on returning to the same patterns I lived before this change. For me, I’ve approached this as a shift in lifestyle. Refocusing on what I wanted in life with my body and health. Every body is different, and every person has different goals and desires. What works for one might not work for another. But, I’m happy I found a routine that fits my life and has given me my hoped-for results.

I’m not planning on stopping. I still have more goals ahead. Don’t expect this to become a boring diet blog. But this was the first major milestone, and it’s good to celebrate those, and I wanted to share it with all of you.

Now, on to the next one.