Getting Healthier #1: Keeping Vices in Check

For a while, I wondered what all it would take to establish a system of health improvement. This first piece will serve as both a prologue and it will also discuss what I determined to be a vital first step to improving my overall health.

Just to be clear with you, I understand that this system is not designed for quick gains and dramatic, sweeping improvements. In fact, I figured this first segment of the system, getting everything established, will be the phase where we will see minimal gains until we hit a certain time down the road.

Like most improvements, you want everything “under the hood” to be established first. The reason being, you set yourself up for the long haul. That’s the chief difference between a system and a goal. After a certain point in time in the not-too-distant future, we will notice some of the gains and benefits making their way into what other people can notice.

If you’re going to take improving your own health seriously, you really need to get with the times and get some technology to help you along the way. The way things are in the modern world, we all get so busy and distracted. Establishing this system requires extra tools to help keep you conscious as well as for these tools to serve as a motivator. I mean, you should be your own motivator chiefly. It is nice though to have some technology to nudge you and encourage you for those times you’re by your own self and not around other people that also wish to serve your system.

For example, I work at home alone during the day. My wife works long hours and she’s a hard worker too. When she gets home, she’s quite exhausted from her physically demanding job. She is a big supporter of my movement to improve my health and she can keep me in check while she’s here. “Do you really think you’re gonna eat all that?” For the times she is not here, I need a little assist.

The device I chose for this task is a smart watch. You probably already know that I am somewhat of a thrifty techie, as previously alluded to with my “Journey into Chrome OS” piece that I wrote about a week ago. What I’m trying to say is that an Apple Watch was out of the question. For now, anyway. For my first smartwatch, I wanted a device that was highly capable of keeping up with getting healthier, but also easy on the wallet. I never had a smart watch up to this point and I really didn’t want something I would have to baby and handle with care. I went with the Fitbit Versa 2.

I should mention that I bought this watch during Holiday of 2019 when they were on sale at Best Buy. I bought my wife one as well. I used it during my first attempt to get healthier, before the pandemic, and it served me well. I figured it would be easy enough to brush off the dust, update the software, and pick up where I left off in 2021.

This watch will keep up with your daily steps, track your sleeping to see how well you get rested each night, keep up with your heart rate, and pairs well with any phone.

As an analytical person, I like the fact I can download the app and track things such as my food intake, my water consumption, and etc.

So, after establishing the tools that I would like to use for this endeavor, I decided it was time to dive head first and see what first major task I could accomplish.

I kept a mental journal of sorts, during Memorial Day weekend, and there were many places to begin.

First of all, when I eat, I eat a lot. Portions are quite a big task in itself.

Secondly, the frequency of when I eat is another major issue. I noticed this the Friday before the long weekend. I have a tendency to snack in between jobs, major meals, and etc. Often when I snack, there aren’t any healthy options nearby. It’s usually candy, sweets, junk food, you get the idea.

The third issue I noticed is that how I got a case of beer (30 pack) and I drank them ALL over a span of three days. I had a few on Friday and then the other three days were a massive blitz. I started to notice that it took at least 3-4 beers before I even really felt anything in terms of a buzz.

That got me to thinking. Can I even remember a time I haven’t partaken in drinking on the weekends? I could not even remember. Back in college, I’d have a mix of hard liquor and beer due to the stress of school. When I started working, it was due to work. Then, lately I kept saying all the stress from our move was a big factor. This time around, it just didn’t feel right. Work is fine, the dynamic at home is peaceful, nothing going wrong at the moment thankfully. So why am I drinking now? It’s almost a subconscious habit. Every two weeks like clockwork, I’d go to the liquor store and by 30 beers and a fifth of whiskey. Before the two weeks were up, it was time to load up again.

This has been going on since at least 2014, so over the years it’s gone on and on. I haven’t really done anything drastic even when I got severely drunk. My big thing is that I just throw up whatever I intake after so long and some unfortunate, more sober person, most of the time my innocent wife, had to clean up the mess. Looking back, that shit was not fair. Highly selfish if I say so myself.

So, I started to do some research on how alcohol affects the body under-the-hood after so long. I noticed that I resonated and affirmed many of the emotional negativity and apathy. Also, I agreed with some of the things going on with my body such as skin rashes, eye bags, just general fatigue. It’s hard to get motivated to get healthier with that crutch on my mind.

After all of this, I decided to reform my drinking habit completely. Keep in mind I’m not going stone cold straight edged sober and just put everything down for the rest of my life. There’s just no need to. Instead, I want to actively make some changes and see how it helps me with my overall system of getting healthier.

Instead of buying beer every two weeks, I’m implementing a new rule around the house. No alcohol. Now if someone’s visiting and wants me to drink a beer socially, it’s not a problem. I’m talking about constantly being stocked with booze.

This past Sunday, I went a few days without any drinks of any kind. We sat at the bar at Texas Roadhouse and I ordered one hurricane. It was delicious! I supplemented it with a water. After that drink was finished, I didn’t want any more. My wife and I sat and talked about what was on all of the televisions and had a good time while waiting on our food.

That encouraged me to just reform myself into a social drinker. The next company cookout, or the next time either of my parents host me and offer a drink, I’ll say yes to one and then I will most likely just be done.

That way, it doesn’t really sit in my system long term anymore and it’s just a social thing. Right now, I haven’t really noticed many improvements under the hood but I plan on typing another blog next week, around this time, that will give an update to this piece and see how things have gone. Let’s see if I’m as tired and wore out from yard work this time around.

Thanks for reading! A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Who knows, maybe one day I might actually just quit drinking completely, just for the hell of it.

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