Wow, so it's been almost a year since the last check in. I'll spare you most of the long story. I met and fell madly in love with an amazing woman. Pretty cool, right? Well, it happened at a rather messy time in my life and to complicate matters further, she lives in Ireland. The story is a bit wild, but we met on Facebook in a diet and fitness group. It started innocently enough. Things stayed on topic, but escalated to personal questions in private messages. We had so much in common and the things we didn't were intriguing (the Irish are great!). It was a confusing situation for both of us. There were ridiculously strong feelings for someone and we never met. It was a crazy thing to process in our minds. We skyped and texted for hours a day. With the time difference, she was up until the wee hours of the morning every day.
It was obvious this relationship had to enter reality, so I booked my tickets to Ireland last April. Talk about nerves! I was more emotionally invested in her than any other real life relationship, but we both knew that there was a huge unknown before us. Would we like each other in 'real life'? Let's just say the chemistry was there, it was beyond there. She ended up coming back to the states with me on my return trip home.
Sadly, she had to go back to Ireland, but that couple of weeks was the best time we'd ever had. By the end of her stay, we found our dream home and talked about marriage. In July, we moved into our dream and were married in that house. (Yes, I skipped a lot in between).
It's not happily ever after yet. I'm writing you from Dublin. My wife's son needed permission from his father to move to the states. The father/son relationship is strained, at best, but this still involved a court battle. It was settled in October and we're moving back home in July of this year. But the stress isn't over yet as we still have to wait for her green card. This can take six months if you're very lucky and most folks take over a year. We started the process in December, so we're hoping to be closer to six months. This is all very stressful. The process is difficult and very expensive and then there is no guarantee that the green card is granted. I'm staying with my inlaws on top of that. lol (actually, they're great)
OK, well that was all longer than I wanted it to be, but it served two purposes.
First, this last year has been the most emotionally difficult time in my life. There were some major ups and downs. It had life changing effects and some very difficult decisions and risks were taken. Routine was completely out the window. There were long stretches of heavy drinking and little to no exercise, but thanks to what I learned from this website and the people here, I knew how to keep it managed. I wouldn't say I made the healthiest choices all of the time, but I learned reasonable substitution. I could keep my calories down and my protein reasonable to keep my hunger managed and my weight relatively stable. I knew this life situation wasn't permanent, but life gets in the way of the best laid plans and having the knowledge from being a part of this group is what I attribute a lot of my maintenance success to. Thank you all for that.
Second, I'm happy to report that me and my new wife have a gym membership and she's been lifting heavy for the last couple of months with me. Now she's not new to the heavy barbell, but her progression is nothing short of awesome. She's classified as "advanced" in every major lift! And I've been no slouch. I'm still battling a nagging back from time to time, but I hit a PR on the bench press yesterday. My squat and deadlift are progressing and I'm not too far off of where I was at my peak in July 2013. We have our home gym ready for us when we get back home too!
I'm happy to say that I'm not coming back to tell you I'm off the wagon and need help. I'm here to say that with the tools and ideas I learned here, even when life was tough, I knew enough to keep close to the wagon. Also, with nearly a year off of lifting, within about 2 months, things are back to where they were. So you don't have to always be on. You can take long breaks, keep reasonably close to your desired calorie and macronutrient goals and still maintain. I feel lucky that my goal for years was to simplify this effort. The illusion of complex exercise schemes and magic diets pervades the mindset in fitness communities and I believe swipes success out of people's hands. Some smart dude named Albert said "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." I attribute maintenance success to the simple mindset of the people I've surrounded myself with in this community. Thank you all and in particular the maintenance group here.
I'll end it with a picture of the bride and groom. :)