Portrait by the 2021 YRTC Race Poster
Healthy Lifestyle, Independence, Wellness Wedbesday

Wellness Wednesday: Work is Paying Off

This Saturday in the wellness department has been monumental for me. Not only was it my 36th Birthday, but it was also day I completed a 5K Walk for the first time in over eight years. For only being serious about losing weight for only almost three months, I am proud that I did not finish last in the race and that I can compete at my age while still being well enough to do the basic things in life.

I have always liked competing in 5K Walks from they young age of 14. My autism and mental health challenges got in the way. The medicine made me not care about what I was putting in my body. I never knew a what a delicate balance was until now. I now have the capability to work on enhancing the ability to take care of my body better than I have before. Being on medicine for over twenty years then making the erroneous decision to not medicate until finally realizing that I need to be serious about medicating. It is a part of life and I need to make it a part of my life just as much as using the bathroom or going to sleep.

Also realizing that I need to take the medicine is realizing that I need to keep active and eat well. Keeping the two in balance seems to be a catalyst in myself successfully losing weight at consistent amounts. Two of my medicines have side effects of appetite and are the principal reasons that I have gained over 200 pounds in 22 years. I know walking works for me and I like it, but it can be a challenge to do sometimes when other activities in the day become overwhelming or uneasy.

Being in the 5K Circuit boosts my spirits, not that I am in a competitive spirit, but that I can do something with a goal in mind and get to a destination by a certain amount of time. One thing that has occurred with the onset of the COVID pandemic is the ability to participate in racing events virtually by the honor system while reaping the benefits of both walking where you feel comfortable and getting the promotion items such as T-Shirts and other things to say that you have done it. This is the autistic persons dream because they do not have to be in crowds of people or be in unfamiliar places that may be a challenge for them. Additionally, if they do not have a partner to participate with or have a way to an event of their choosing, they can do so without fearing of being in judgement.

While I did participate in an actual 5K this past weekend, it has given me the drive of the need to do these events and keep the momentum going so that I can continue to be on the weight loss journey. I know I need to do things to better my health and as such I will be looking into purchasing a bicycle and possibly looking into a gym again now that the pandemic restrictions have been lifted more.

Many people have gained some amount of weight due to the pandemic and the necessary lockdowns. We have been there, done that. Now is the time for me to work on me. I don’t have to really worry about anyone if I don’t want to. I only have to worry about taking care of myself to make sure that I am nourished and cared for, so I can choose what I put in my body. I can give into temptation if I really want to or avoid it. For instance, I in earnest attempt to stay away from deli counters because they are a trigger for me, or if I want something, I get a small portion of it so I don’t overload on it.

There is this great stereotype out there that autistics all look like skinny young men. If any autistic myth I wish I could eradicate from the world is that we don’t all look like an average nerdy white male. Autism comes from all walks of life and we aren’t all picky eaters. Like I said I take medicine that is necessary to have a fulfilling life. As a result, I have increased appetite. I spent two decades not being conscious of the need to recognize how to counteract this effect by working out and eating sensible, so as a result I gained lot of weight. The excessive poundage gained as a result of being more sedentary due to COVID has awaken my need to take care of my health. The cards are continuing to fall into place, so I am going to keep what I am doing because it works. I wouldn’t have lost 25 pounds if I wasn’t doing something right. So, let’s hope that this track continues down the road for some time.

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