Forcing Functions

I am staring down a forcing function Then Me put into place for Now Me, and would like to have a talk with Then Me. To be clear: Now Me knows Then Me was right. In just a little over six weeks I need to be able to run 9.3 miles (15k), and I have successfully run recently as far as… 3. Three miles. If you are doing math and saying, “hm… you can make it, but just barely”, you’re right.

This year I turn 50, which is a nice round number. This year also marks the fifteenth anniversary of when I first started running – I was at a birthday party and a friend waited until after the second glass to let me know we were all running in the Seattle Half Marathon (2008). When I told my (then boyfriend) he laughed, which was all the incentive I needed to actually do it. At 50, incentives require a bit more “oomph”. Signing up for events as forcing functions is one of the “oomph” things, reminding myself of the health benefits is another. But oh, it’s hard to wake up when it’s gray and rainy and tell myself I need to go running up my hill (I live on a hill. No matter which way I leave my house, there will be hills to run).

I also have purchased a Smart Scale. The Smart Scale is quite smart – so smart that it talks to my phone, and it talks to My Fitness Pal, and it talks to Apple Health, and it blabs about all of my intransigence, including my lean mass and therefore also my body fat percentage. You’re not supposed to weigh yourself every day, more like once a week. So naturally, I weigh myself every day. In the olden days, I could step on the scale, and if it said you weigh NNN.4, I could say, “well we can just round that down to NNN” and put that manually into my phone. Now… now my scale tells on me, with that blunt matter-of-factness that I know I do to other people sometimes, and now I understand the look they give me when I do that. It’s not that I (or the scale) am/are *wrong*, it’s just that the message could be a little softer.

I do know what I have to do to get the numbers to go in the correct direction, but after a Holiday Season TM stretching from October to early January, it’s hard to convince yourself that cauliflower rice is really that good, and that you shouldn’t have that cookie. Four months of “I’ll take care of it later” have come home to roost.

The problem with all of these forcing functions is they also come with a dollop of potential backfire: at my age (and this is not me pitying being nearly 50, it’s me celebrating it but being honest about some of the constraints of it) you can injure yourself a lot easier by pushing too hard, and having taken a nasty fall a couple of years back I don’t want to do that. I’ve started lifting recently and got lectured by my PT for not stretching adequately (such that standing up “straight” had me pivoted slightly to the left; my left hand was correctly at my side, but my right hand was about 3″ forward). It’s a balancing act, and when you layer on the realities of the current working environment and just being an adult in general there’s a lot of room for failure … and improvement.

And so, I have my forcing functions, and I’m trying to expand them… as long as they’re not too forceful.

1 thought on “Forcing Functions”

  1. More power to the ones impacted, stay strong and this too shall pass! But this is such a collated list, for people to be in the moment and understand what they’ve to do!

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