A Decline in Health
A little over a year ago I posted about trying to get in shape. I considered my options, and began a program of P90X, as I had seen so many of my friends be successful with it.
Things started off well, and I got through the first month. Summer approached, and we started our summer vacation with a trip to California to visit my family and friends. While there I attempted to keep up with the workouts, but struggled to find the time.
Upon returning, I found that I could not get through the workouts anymore. I started feeling *really* bad, and it was as if I had never started the program, or even worse, it was like I had degraded. Obviously this was more than frustrating, it was demoralizing. I attempted to restart P90X several times, all with resounding failures.
I wasn’t sure what was wrong, and went along this path for several months. During this time I noticed my energy level dropping severely so that even a walk up the stairs would drain me. I rapidly gained weight (10-15lbs in the course of 3 months), and generally felt like crap.
Then it was time for my annual physical and checkup. I went in, and didn’t really tell the doctor that I was out of energy or anything, as I just felt like I was getting older, and my lack of drive was my own fault. I felt like if I tried hard enough, I could overcome it all, but I was having a hard time getting the motivation.
The next week my doctor calls me and says everything checks out ok, except that I might have “Hypothyroid” disease. This actually rang a bell since my mother and sister (and it turns out many people on my mothers side), have the same problem. All I really knew about the disorder was that it affects mostly women, and that it can cause rapid fluctuations in weight. Notably I’ve seen this in both my mom and sister. I never expected I’d end up with the problem, however, and never learned much about it.
After doing my research, I discovered that almost all my ailments, including a developing high anxiety, could be attributed to the problem. My body attacked my own thyroid gland and was no longer able to produce a much needed hormone, and the imbalance was causing all sorts of awful side-effects.
After another blood test to confirm, I started hormone replacement. At the same time the anxiety peaked. This was something I had *never* experienced before. It was so bad that I ended up having a full heart workup because I felt like my heart was going to burst out my chest. After everything checked out ok, and spending about 6 weeks on the medication, I started to feel a *lot* better.
My weight gain stopped, the anxiety disappeared completely, and some of my energy returned. The fact that I hadn’t done much and weighed a good 15lbs more still affected my overall energy level, and I knew the only way I could get back to something close to normal was to start exercising again. I knew I needed to start slow.
A Failed Goal revisited
I started borrowing my sons bike and taking regular bike rides. This was good, as I could push myself a little, and enjoy things around me. I’d start taking rides to the store, or just around, evening visiting a few roads I hadn’t been on before. Unfortunately the weather didn’t always agree, the amount of road that was safe to travel on was small, and my son wasn’t always willing to give up his bike. I began to wonder if I wanted to buy my own bike suitable for exercise (I do own a wonderful bike, but it’s a vintage style “cruiser” that Candy bought me). In the end I decided against it.
Then a Tae Kwon Do studio opened up a few miles away.
A little background: When I was a pre-teen living in Utah, I joined a Tae Kwon Do Club. For a couple of years I practiced and progressed quite well. I found something I really enjoyed, and was good at. By the time I left I was often teaching part of the class for my teacher while he taught some other students. But then we had to move to California. Leaving Tae Kwon Do was probably the worst part of the move for me. When we arrived in California, we temporarily lived in Atascadero, and I found a studio in Morro Bay that I attended for a short time. But then we moved to a ranch in the hills of Santa Barbara, a minimum of 25miles from any studio. I tried a few, but I was still too young to drive, my mother doesn’t drive, and my father was usually too tired from working to want to drive, wait for me to do the class, and drive back.
Long story short, my Tae Kwon Do path was over.
When I got into college, I joined a TKD club there in my last year when one was created, but that didn’t last either.
I don’t have many regrets in life, as I always figure the paths we chose, right or wrong, got me to where I am today, and I’m happy with most things. I have always felt a deep disappointment that I never achieved any real goals in my TKD life. I never got my black belt. I failed myself.
Back to present day…
I checked out the TKD studio, and found that I enjoyed it. I started going to the basic class as I was determined to start completely over and see if I could hack it. Fortunately a lot of it came back quickly. The workouts were very hard at first (the first one I thought I was going to vomit), but my restored health was serving me well. After a few months it was time for my first belt test, and I was promoted back to a Green Belt, which is close to where I left off. I’m still doing quite well, and have joined the “Black Belt Club” which puts me on the path to actually getting my Black Belt. I know it will not be an easy task, but this is one goal I’ve regretted not completing in my life.
Tae Kwon Do also teaches a balance in life that I’ve struggled with for years. The tenets of Tae Kwon Do (Courtesy, Integrity, Self-Control, Perseverance, Indomitable Spirit) are things I very much need to work on.
During this time, I’ve lost 10lbs of what I call the “thyroid weight”, and generally feel a lot better. The years have caught up to me a bit, and my knee does cause me some trouble, but otherwise I’m doing well.
Unfortunately this training isn’t without cost. This studio is not cheap, and I do feel guilty about spending so much money… I’m afraid my family doesn’t understand my need to try to fulfill this long-time goal, but I’m hoping they’ll grow to understand. Two other times in my life I’ve said “I have to do that” (the first was when I heard a Jazz band play, and I decided I had to play in a Jazz ensemble. The second was when I saw swing dancers dance for the first time and said “I Have to do that”. ) This third time is a bit different, in that I saw the goal: Getting in shape and getting my black belt. I have to do this, not only for myself, but to get myself in shape so that I can be happy and healthy for my family.
So that’s where I stand. At the beginning of something that will take 2-3 years to complete and will be a lot of hard work. Wish me luck, or better yet, wish me strength and perseverance…