Tag Archives: health

Personal update is personal. And updated.

update

For a while now this blog has been largely on auto-pilot, with only my Tour de Holmes posts offering any sort of steady churn of posts. A lot of it has been due to my change of position combined with heavy crunch on Vampire: The Masquerade – 20th Anniversary Edition. I’m going to try to swing back into more insightful posts – I have some more “What I’ve Learned” game posts lined up, and a couple of things that I want to touch on that have come out of the Vampire process (not necessarily about the book per se, but rather things I’ve learned about myself and the creative process through that). But, to ease my way back into this, I’m going to do some personal updates.

  • Since May 5, I’ve lost 13 pounds. That’s less than two pounds a week, which was my original goal, but given that I had a week of vacation in there and I’ve been in serious crunch for most of it, that’s honestly pretty good. The past two Saturdays I’ve done some cardio work, and I’m going to buy a gym membership shortly so I can go more often. But more importantly, I haven’t been sick in several months, which is awesome.
  • Even though I’ve been slammed recently, I have a couple of new writing projects I’m working on. Since Tour de Holmes is wrapping up (I have one and a half books left to go), I’m starting to think about compiling all the posts into a manuscript, rewriting it, and then shopping it around. I’m also working on another compilation of fiction and essays I’ve written over the past ten years – I got edits back for that last week, and now I’m rewriting and adding material to it. I’m working with three of my friends on it, which is a lot of fun. After those two get sorted out, I have a few backlogged fiction projects, including finally finishing up Whitechapel and starting the rewrite process to turn that into a proper novella. I also have notes on a Sherlock Holmes pastiche (naturally), and a couple of reboot ideas I’ve been kicking around.
  • I’ve also been toying with a few personal RPG designs. Nothing that’s far enough along to share, but I’ve been playing with some different old-school but lightweight designs.
  • I’m going to be at GenCon this year. I may even be sober for some of it. We shall see.

Eating Less To Write More

467606704_3aa465c4ccAnd now, that inevitable blog cliché – a diet and exercise post. But I’ll make a stab at also making it a writing post.

For me, losing weight and being healthy isn’t really about looking better (although I won’t cry if I lose some of my gut). This is another stage in the ongoing battle between me and my body to make sure that I remain healthy. Images of consumptive poets to the contrary, I’ve learned that it’s really hard to be creative when you’re not feeling well. You might be sitting in a chair all the time, but that fleshy container your brain sits in can impact your ability to think, and it needs energy too. Since my job directly involves me being creative on a very persistent basis, I can’t afford to be sick all the time – I need to be on the top of my game as much as possible. I’ve gotten pretty good at making sure that I’m mentally healthy, so now it’s time to work on making myself physically healthy.

About five years ago in St. Louis (when I was a freelancer), I regularly worked out with a personal trainer, and followed a custom diet plan. The reason was that I had just come off of a few back-to-back invasive surgeries, and I was trying to get my body back to being healthy enough for me to balance a full-time job and my freelance work. For a while things were fine, but my body hadn’t really recovered, so I would regress and have spells of sickness, and I plateaued. Then I got hired by CCP, moved to Atlanta, and I just never really got back into the exercise habit (and our kitchen staff certainly didn’t help me being moderate in my eating). I made a couple of stabs at a vigorous exercise routine, but I always ended up getting sick, so it never really went anywhere.

Recently I decided to tackle the problem from the other side of the equation. David pointed me to a website called Lose It! that calculates a calorie budget each day for you and then tracks your food intake and exercise against that budget. There’s also an iPhone app for it, so I can quickly check how much a particular meal is going to cost me and plan accordingly. It’s like managing wordcount, or perhaps a very dull, very persistent resource allocation game (which, naturally, is how everyone in our family talks about it – “Hey, I’ve got some budget to burn right now” or “I can’t spend my remaining budget on pasta tonight”). It’s nowhere near accurate, but just thinking about what I’m eating and how much of it I’m eating is helping me to control portion sizes and moderate rich foods and snacks.

And through that, I’ve lost five pounds already in the past week, and I’m feeling pretty good. (I’m also taking vitamins daily, which I’m sure is also helping.)

Next week I’m going on vacation, so I’m going to use that opportunity to get used to walking a lot again. When I get back, I’m going to try to roll right into a regular walking routine, either around the parking lot at work or on a machine at the gym near our house. And from there, we’ll see.

Oh, hey, I had some surgery

Models of human teeth as they exist within the...

Image via Wikipedia

I realized that while I mentioned this obliquely, I haven’t actually talked about my recent surgery, or why I needed to have it. Let me correct that oversight now.

About a month ago, I went to a new dentist for a (long overdue) checkup. She took some X-rays, and said that all four of my wisdom teeth are sideways in my gums, and the lower two were pushing against my roots. She suggested that I get those two removed, and referred to me an oral surgeon. After I worked out the best time at work to take a few days off, I talked to said surgeon, and we decided to just go ahead and get all four removed so I don’t have to do this again in a year or so.

The surgery was Friday. As far as I know, it went well — I went to sleep and woke up with a sore throat and gauze in my mouth (which sounds much more interesting than it really was). Michelle drove me home, and I stayed in bed all day watching videos on my laptop and trying to find ways to swallow pills without opening my mouth too much. The next three days were an exercise in relearning how to chew, talk, and play video games while under the influence of pain meds. (Note: I have no idea how good it is while sober, but Brutal Legend is hella fun while on pain pills.)

Today I’m back at work. I’m mentally and physically exhausted, and I’m still not too far beyond eating soft foods, but I’m able to do more than sit on the couch and try not to accidentally bite my tongue. It might be another day or two before I do much more than get up, go to work, go home and lie on the couch for several hours, but I’m slowly ramping up to something approximating "normal." I’m going to have a post-op follow-up Thursday afternoon.

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