My Perfect Daily Schedule

What follow is a bare-bones example of my perfect day.  This is not what actually happens most days, but rather how I wish the day would go.

This is not meant to be prescriptive in any way.

 

6:30-7am Wake up, preferably naturally

7-7:30am Lounge and meditate (10+ minutes)

8am Cook breakfast at Home

9am Workout at Gym (1+ hour)

11am Shower at Home

12pm Lunch

12:30pm Write at my Home Office (2+ hours)

4pm Watch Television

6pm Dinner

7pm Read

9pm Wind Down Routine

9:30-10pm Bedtime

My Breaking Point – Health and Fitness

Brief context: Harry Potter as a series of books has always been important to me since they entered my life at age 11.  But I never expected how they would affect my life when it came to my weight.

During October 2018, I flew with a few friends to Orlando to go to Universal Studios and see the Wizarding World in person.  I’d been to the version on the west coast in California and didn’t deeply enjoy myself because of the heat and having a toddler in tow.  So I was excited to say the least.

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Diagon Alley, Gringott’s Dragon

The first day we headed straight through the main park at Universal and all the way to the back to enter Diagon Alley.  I was pumped.  I had a butter beer and was amazed at the detailed world around me.  Then I went to sit in a test seat for one of the rides.  I didn’t fit.  I was too big.  I was pissed and super sad.  I hadn’t thought about it, but my weight had gotten out of hand and now I couldn’t enjoy myself on vacation.

When I got home, I knew I needed to make a change.  I’d been seeing a trainer for over a year and nothing had come of it.  I didn’t push myself and he didn’t insist that I push myself.  I had started working out when I was in grad school, but I still ate a ton of garbage food.  I didn’t watch my diet and I didn’t exercise outside of our sessions.  I wasn’t taking care of my body while I enlarged the scope of my brain.  I didn’t feel like the workouts were helping and often cancelled when I just didn’t feel like leaving the house.

I was deeply depressed and isolated myself after I graduated in May 2018.  I would go days without leaving the house.  So I had been looking forward to my Orlando trip.  But I came back depressed and sad again.

I ended up looking for a new house in a new town four hours away.  I saw this move as a chance to make a dramatic change.  I looked into local gyms with professional trainers nearby.  After another bout of depression post-move, I sought out a new trainer in my new town.

I met Joel when I was 293 pounds and very out of shape.  During our first training session, I squatted into position and found myself stuck in an odd crouch.  I couldn’t get myself up and was left to sort of roll/fall to my side to get out the position.  This deeply embarrassed me, and I thought about giving up.  Joel asked me about my goals, and I told him about being upset in Orlando because I couldn’t fit on the rides.  He understood and set me up for 3 workout sessions per week.  I had only done 2 per week max before.  But I knew I had to get serious and I took him up on the challenge.

The first month or so was the worst, mainly because I didn’t to build the habit of driving myself to the gym.  My anxiety was often high, and I postponed or outright cancelled a few sessions.  But eventually I made it a habit, which helped dampen the anxiety.  I began losing a few pounds and I grew strong.  I saw actual progress, the kind I had never had before.

I was told long ago that I would not lose weight because of the medications I was on.  I resigned myself to be unhappy in my body forever.  I worked on my brain and didn’t look in a mirror.  I felt uncomfortable in my own flesh and I deep hated myself physically.

But then I lost 10 pounds.  Then 20.  And so on.

As of writing, I have lost a little over 40 pounds.  My first weight goal is to be 200 pounds.  My ultimate goal is around 175-180.  For the record, I am 5’9” tall.

Although it felt like shit in the moment and for months after, I have Harry Potter to thank for kicking my ass into gear and starting my weight loss journey.

And yes, I bought a cloak.

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Oct 2018, 293 lbs

 

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Sept 2019, 40 lbs lighter

There’s No Such Thing as Free Wifi

I have a strange problem.  I feel very guilty when I sit in a coffee shop, using their high speed Wifi, without buying anything.  Growing up, I was always taught to buy something—water, a candy bar—from a gas station after using their bathroom.  This polite gesture now nags at me as I write these words, sitting in a local coffee shop, writing and drinking water.  But the problem becomes more complex when I add that I am on a diet and I’ve already had lunch.  I would love to buy a sweet treat or a smoothie, but I don’t want the calories.  I’d buy coffee, but I don’t drink it.  Or tea.  A year ago, I would have bought a glass of fountain Coke, but I’ve cut it out of my diet.

Much like a gas station bathroom, I am expected to buy something in exchange for sitting and writing in their establishment.  It’s an unspoken pressure I feel every time, causing me to write at the local public library instead.  But the library often has screaming kids that even my Sennheiser noise-cancelling headphones can’t block out.  There is a din at the coffee shop, but it becomes a low white noise with my headphones on.

While I love supporting my local library, I prefer the environment of the coffee shop.  Yet I can’t shake this nagging feeling.  To be clear, if it was a Starbucks, I would not feel guilty.  I have no moral problem ripping off a giant corporate company.  But this shop is local and only one of two locations.  It has a hipster aesthetic and good lighting.  I can spread out at a table or sit in a leather chair by the fireplace.  The bathrooms are clean.  What’s not to love?

So that’s why I feel so guilty.  I feel like I’m stealing from the owner.  I’d be happy to tip the coffee shop a few dollars for a few hours of peace, but I don’t want to waste my calories on a food item I don’t want.  This feels like the most #FirstWorldProblem situation I have ever been in, but it begs the question: Is there such a thing as free Wifi?

Higher, Further, Faster: Imbuing Captain Marvel with Meaning

I used to have Deadpool on my iPhone as the Lock Screen and Home Screen.  But after starting my weight loss journey, I wanted a sort of motivation mascot and the best place to keep this icon was my phone, which I look at often.  After a few months of searching, I settled on Captain Marvel as my mascot.

I’ve never read a Captain Marvel comic (but it’s on my list, I promise).  I saw the character for the first time when she debuted in the MCU this year.  Although I have mixed feelings on the movie, I watched it twice in theaters this March.  There has been debate about Brie Larson’s portrayal and her dynamics with other characters.  I’ll admit that besides the memory loss plot structure, it was a cookie-cutter Marvel movie.  So what did I see in Captain Marvel?

Captain Marvel, for me, has a character similar to Captain America Steve Rogers in that both are empty signifiers.  Both have vague characteristics, but they stand for a bland positive idea.  Carol Danvers is a mere human before she gains her power through an accident.  It is not her power but her character that gives her strength.  She always gets back up when she’s knocked down.  I’m willing to admit that I’m imbuing Danvers with more that appears in her movie or Avengers: Endgame.  But she is the most powerful character in the MCU and she’s able to go against Thanos one-to-one.  She protects people with her immense power.  Someone with her level of power could easily be greedy, but she empowers her friends and helps the helpless instead.  Like Rogers, she does the right thing.  She uses her power for good.

I first saw Brie Larson acting in The United States of Tara as Toni Collette’s daughter.  I have a few of her well-praised movies in my Netflix queue (I’ll see them one day).  I loved her in Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World, which is one of my favorite recent movies.  (You can’t go wrong with Edgar Wright.)  I cheered when she won an Oscar.  She is going to be one of the defining actors of my generation.  And despite the backlash, I like her politics based on what I’ve seen.  Larson also seems like a cool person.

So one day I searched for iPhone wallpapers featuring Captain Marvel (see below).  I bid Deadpool farewell after explaining that I needed a new icon to motivate me.  He’s cool with it.

Now when I look at my phone, which I do too much, I feel a warm spark of empowerment.  Yes, Captain Marvel is not perfect—no one is.  But, like me, she tries every day, and I think that counts more.

“Higher, Further, Faster” – Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers)

For those wondering, after six months of work, I have lost around 40 pounds and I have gained tons of muscle strength.  So I guess Captain Marvel as motivation icon is working.

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Lock Screen

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Home Screen

 

PS: I know I’m putting way too much thought into this entire thing.

Update (September 2019)

After a month’s of writer’s block, I am finally writing again.

That said, my current priority is not this blog.  I am working on expanding my MA thesis into a full-length manuscript.

I am not ignoring this blog, but I wanted to update everyone on my plans.  While my focus will be the thesis, blog posts will continue, if not at the same pace as before.