Panic, procrastination and food

Do you know that feeling, way down in the pit of your stomach? That feeling you get when you put off doing a piece of work, then you put it off some more, and some more again, until finally it’s due tomorrow (or yesterday)? And because you put it off you now have to rush it through, right at the last moment? It’s that feeling of panic, that seems to attack your brain and your stomach at the same time. You kind of feel sick, and you feel anxious, and panic sets in.

I’m a procrastinator, and this feeling’s not unusual to me. I felt it throughout high school, I felt it throughout uni, and I feel it at work. For me, it’s about finding that sweet spot between last minute and overdue. It’s about balancing the adrenaline of the last minute, without hitting full-blown panic mode. When I hit that sweet spot I’m really productive, and I produce my best work. When I go too far into the panic zone, I procrastinate more because I get myself worked up to the point that I don’t even know where to start.

As I said, this is not a new phenomenon to me. What is new, though, is the situation in which I’ve recently felt the panic set in. I knew my eating wasn’t going to be great over Christmas. I accepted that, and honestly, I embraced it a bit too much. Christmas came and went, and the start of the year was busy. It was hard for me to put in the time for food preparation, so I stuck with convenient eating. And because I was eating ‘conveniently’, my brain justified that it was ok to eat the crap. The chocolate, the cheese, the soft drinks, the junk food- they were all ok, because I was eating for convenience. As soon as I ‘started eating right’ again, all that stuff would go.

The problem is, it’s nearly March and I’m still eating ‘conveniently’. Not because I need to in terms of a busy life, in most cases, but because I’ve hit the panic zone. I’ve passed the sweet spot- I kept saying “next week I’ll start again. Next week…” but there was always a reason not to start next week. I was busy on Sunday and couldn’t make lunches for the week, and Monday morning would role around and I didn’t have breakfasts ready for the week either. Oh well, back to the convenient eating (read: buy all meals from the café downstairs at work)- I’d start next Monday.

This morning I realised that I’ve had that sinking, sick feeling in my stomach recently. Part of it’s to do with work (where I’m struggling to find motivation), but some of it’s also to do with my continual putting-off of getting my food back on track. And as if to justify the fact that I’m not eating the right foods, I’m eating more of the wrong foods. I’m pushing my body into a worse and worse state, because it’s easier to keep saying “this is my last binge” than “say no this time, and say no next time, and things will get easier”. As well as eating bad foods when I have no choice, I’m making poor choices when I do have a choice.

There’s no answer or solution to this post. If you’re reading this and you know the feeling, I’d love to hear about it. I guess I’ll self-resolve, although I’m concerned that this is the start of a bad ongoing cycle. I’ve got to give myself a wake-up call. Problem is, just thinking about trying to find that wake-up call sets off that panicked feeling inside me- I’m in so deep, and I don’t know how to find it.

Pull-ups and t-rex arms

t-rex

This is how I feel this morning. My arms are swollen from the top of the bicep to mid-forearm, and holding them in any position other than a weird kind of bent right-angle hurts. A lot. Straightening them out is pretty much a weird kind of hell, that results in my fingers going tingly. It started yesterday, the day after I did the most full-on pull-up training session I’ve done. I’ve set a goal with my trainer for 2015 that I want to be able to do one unassisted pull-up by the time the year is out, so the pull-up activity has been upped recently.

I most often do pull-ups on a machine, the kind that counterbalances your weight so you’re only pulling up with the weight you’re capable of. I also use the bands, but only when I’m working with my PT- even with the thickest band I still need help. Traditionally I’ll use the thickest band, and do 3-4 sets of 10 pull-ups. The first 5 are easy, the next 2-3 get harder, and I need assistance with the final 2. I’ve also done jumping pull-ups: jumping to the ‘up’ position, then focussing on a controlled ‘negative’: the decent.

On Monday we tried a whole new ballgame though- a very thin elastic that, while providing some resistance, seemed to go further in stabilising my movement that relieving weight from my arms. My trainer was lifting me when I needed the help (the whole time), then I was doing a controlled decent. Because this was pretty foreign to my body, we did 10 sets of 5 reps with a good minutes rest in between (minimum). I played with different techniques during the session and walked away feeling pretty positive- until I woke up Tuesday morning. The T-Rex arms had hit.

Since then, even the most basic tasks have brought tears to my eyes. Brushing my hair, opening a door, typing, holding a coffee, eating soup, holding a phone to my ears… they’ve all become very complicated tasks, given my very swollen and sore arms.

I consulted Dr Google (I know, I shouldn’t), pretty much to get an idea of whether I’m being a big baby or whether I should be thinking about heading to see a doc. My body’s experienced a lot of new and foreign things since I started training with a PT, and many of those things have been painful- but never in a way that made me think something was wrong. Only in a way that made me realise I’d worked my body hard, and it was repairing.

So Dr Google (and the gazillion Cross Fitters online) reckon that my symptoms add up to some kind of mild form of Rhabdomyolysis. The general consensus seems to be that it’s pretty normal when starting out on pull-ups or doing a lot of negatives. It can be super serious in that it can effect your kidney functioning, so I guess for now I just keep an eye out for other symptoms. Given that it’s day 3 post-workout, and my range of motion has definitely improved overnight (albeit mildly), I’m going to see what tomorrow brings. When I experience soreness post-workout it normally flares up on day 2, and by day 3 is starting to go away again, so this is an interesting exercise in pain threshold and sensibility. Stay tuned- I’ll keep you updated on the T-Rex arms in the next few days.