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I won’t miss winter, but I will miss the shoveling. Really.

March 23, 2018 - Andy Flynn
This week: 436 lbs.

Last week: 433 lbs.

Start (Jan. 2): 444 lbs.

Total lost: 8 lbs.

Now that spring is here, I’ll have to find new methods of exercise. While I’m less a fan of winter today than I was 25 years ago, I’m continually thankful for the snow and its unknowing ability to motivate me to get outside in the worst weather of the year.

I don’t regret putting my snow blower aside for the past several years. It was a smart move. Now, shoveling is the only real form of exercise I get in the winter. It may have triggered some lower back pain recently, very painful at times, but at least I was able to get the blood flowing through my system. Without shoveling, I’m not sure what I’d do while I wait for my gout meds to really kick in. Gout or not, shoveling is mandatory in the winter: to get the cars out, present our garbage to the collectors and receive our mail.

Ah, spring. I can’t wait until you’re really here, in spirit, not just on the calendar.

I must admit, though, I really enjoyed sitting outside in the sunshine this past Saturday, sipping tea after shoveling the deck. It was a perfect almost-spring day with temperatures in the teens. It was the kind of day I remember being perfect for snowshoeing, an activity I enjoyed 25 years ago when I was in better shape. I look forward to those days again, hopefully next winter.

For now, it’s time for a spring haircut. It’s time to work toward walking the roads again. It’s time to get past the internal and external whining of “my life is so hard” and rebuild my body. The first stop is normal activity: walking without a cane and walking up and down stairs without holding on to the railing as though my life depended upon it. The second stop is working toward a life of races, those 10k and half marathon events I used to walk several years ago when I started the Lake Placid Diet.

None of this will be possible without getting stronger and losing weight. It’s easier said than done, but it’s possible. I’ve done it before.

I just don’t have all the tools I used to have in order to do it, mainly pain medication. I can’t take ibuprofen anymore because of the anticoagulants I’m taking, and I always relied on ibuprofen to get me through the most painful times in the past. Tylenol just doesn’t do it. I need a better method of pain management.

That’s no excuse, though. I can easily sit here and come up with dozens of excuses, but that’s not useful. “No more excuses.” I learned in the past that when I stop making excuses, I get healthier. “Just do it.”

It’s all a mind game. I haven’t written a column in a few weeks because I’ve been stressing over a financial crisis in our household after my wife lost her job. That’s no excuse for not taking care of myself, but I will admit that I haven’t been trying to exercise, other than shoveling snow, and I’ve given myself permission to eat junk food on a regular basis.

Over the past four years of the Lake Placid Diet, I’ve learned that we all travel over life’s bumps in the road, some bigger than others, but we work through them and most of us come out OK in the end. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak, but we usually can’t see it when those times are the darkest.

And now, after almost five months of winter weather, it’s officially spring. Although it’s been sunny, it’s also been cold and the weather forecast calls for more freezing temperatures this week. Rest assured, spring will come, when it’s ready. Until then, hand me that shovel.


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