Friday, September 11, 2020

One Year of Working Out (And Counting!)

Well, I managed to surpass a couple of significant personal achievements this week, and something that is probably worth writing about and mentioning (although I feel like I might mention it entirely too much.)  But I have talked about it before, and I made my major goal, so I do feel like I have the right to talk about it here.  (And if not here, on my own blog, then where?)

I've had a couple of minor achievements in the last few days, including a 37 mile bike ride to the Museum of Science and Industry and back.  See this Facebook Live video if you want to know more (I shot it halfway through the ride!)

I also made 1250 move goals on my watch a couple of days ago.  I estimate I've had my watch for 1798 days, which means my completion of move goals is approximately 69.5%.  Considering that some of those days I didn't wear my watch at all, I think that's pretty good.

But all of those pale in comparison to my big achievement of the year.


I have spent ONE FULL YEAR working out 30 minutes every day and writing down pretty much everything that I eat!  I've lost approx. 70 lbs during that time frame, and I look and feel a lot better.  I still have more to go, but my new plan is to work out everyday for the rest of my dang life.  Who knows, maybe I'll become the new Jack LaLanne! 

When I started back on 9/11/2019, I don't think I foresaw that I could do it, that I could have the stick-to-it-ivity to do that kind of hard work, day after day after day.  I knew it was possible for someone to do it, but wasn't sure that I could do it.  At least not anymore.  

I had spent previous, less well-documented amounts of time sticking to an eating plan (I ate low carb for about 2.5 years from 2002-2005)  And I had spent about 6 months prior to that (25 years ago, from 1995-1997) going to the gym 4 times a week, and eating a low fat diet.  

One year ago, I came out of the doctor's office convinced that if I didn't lose weight this time, I was going to have gastric bypass surgery (which is still a very real possibility, if I start gaining weight again. I am not going back to being over 300 lbs again.  I refuse.) 

There are 3 main components to my weight loss "plan"   Here I explain what my commitment is, I grade myself on how I'm doing it, and talk about what I want to do better or improve in the next year.


THE COMMITMENT:  I spend at least 30 minutes every day intentionally moving my body.  

For me, the important thing is not how much I sweat or how many calories I burn, but the fact that I am doing it with the right purpose of getting better and stronger.  It could be as simple as taking a long walk with that intention, or doing a series of stretching exercises.  What I don't count is walking or doing something for some other purpose.  So when we went to Disneyworld, and we walked 10 miles a day at the Parks, I didn't count that.  I still felt that I needed to get 30 minutes of exercise in to be true to my commitment.  Sometimes I go longer, sometimes shorter, but it has to be at leat 30 minutes.


I did it everyday, even when I didn't want to, I had several times when it seemed like things were conspiring against me to work out (I showed up to the pool to Swim and the pool was closed.  And I didn't have gym clothes with me) I could have just gone home, but instead I got in my swim suit and worked out at the gym in my swim suit.  And then when I finished, the pool was open, and I got my swim on then.  When I went to visit my sister-in-law for a week, I figured out how to make exercises every day work.


I could push myself more.  Towards the end of the year, I started jumping rope, but I'm moving at it relatively slowly.   I have a desire to start running, but I'm afraid of getting hurt, so I've been avoiding it.  I need to push at my limits a little more.  I'd also like to get stronger, so I am thinking about adding some kind of kettlebell or dumb bell workout to my mix.


THE COMMITMENT:  I watch what I eat and write everything down in LoseIt.

I have often said that tracking is more important than what I eat because it forces me to pay attention. Vigilance is the best defense.  I use the app LoseIt, and at this point, I have a lot of custom recipes and typical meals that I eat.  I'm not on a low carb diet per se, but trying to eat a balanced diet, and more importantly write everything down.


If this were pre-COVID, I'd probably give myself an A.  I did write down my food everyday, and I was mostly careful about what I've eaten.  Since COVID happened, I've definitely been a little bit more lax about what I've been eating.  I'm still writing it down, but I have eaten snacks and sweets that weren't worth it, but somehow I managed to convince myself that they would be.   Out of 365 days, I've eaten less than my allotment of calories about 335 days, and some days by quite a lot.  But my weight loss is currently at a plateau, and I'm pretty sure this is why.  (Other factors, like it being harder to lose weight the lower you go, and my body's metabolism getting more efficient may also play in)


Focus on making better choices, specifically in the snacking department.  I am often snacking on an ounce of pretzels or nuts or sometimes even chips (all of which are between 140-160 calories per oz)  I need to eat fresh fruit or have some meat when I'm peckish.  A 10 oz apple has 145 calories and is much more filling.  I could eat a cup of 2% greek yogurt for 160 calories and get 22g of protein!  I think I could also work on portion control.  My lunch is typically a giant soup, and while it's filling, maybe I could less and still be full.


THE COMMITMENT: I don't eat after 9 PM, and I don't eat the next day until after 9 AM

One of the things that is hardest for me to control is night time eating.  I am a night owl, and I like to stay up late and read and watch shows, and it's very satisfying to be eating while doing this.  I made this commitment when I started, and it was hard to keep at first, and then it got easier, and lately, it's been hard again.  About 4 months after I started this process, I started reading about the idea of intermittent fasting, which is what I was already doing.  Some people intermittent fast for a day or more, or fast 23 hours, eat for 1 hour.  That seems too extreme for me, but perhaps it's in my future...


I did almost always intermittently fast.  I had a few times in the past year where I did transgress, but when that happened I mostly made up for it by not eating until at least 12 hours after my last meal.  Sometimes I went 14 or even 15 hours.  The big problem for me is that I sometimes end up eating more than I expect to or want to because I wasn't eating before.


I could extend it out so I'm doing 14-16 hours of intermittent fasting a day.  And I could make that 9 pm deadline even stronger and more ironclad.  I could also go to bed earlier.  (I am much less likely to get up out of bed to go eat something, even if I am awake.)

So that's my story.  I'm doing pretty well.  And I'm on a good path, healthwise.  I still have a long way to go.  (It's a little humbling to think about the fact that despite the fact that I've lost 70 lbs,  my BMI (Body Mass Index) still puts me in the obese category.)  My plan is by next year that will no longer be true!

One year comparison
What a difference a year makes--(and an angle) Photo on left is a selfie taken at Eiffel Tower in Paris.  Photo on right is taken in my bathroom in the mirror after a workout.  The before picture is not a great angle, but you can see the difference regardless.

1 comment:

K A B L O O E Y said...

That’s a lot of incredible progress in a year in which doing a 180 would have been nearly justified. But I feel similarly, in that it has felt sanity-saving to improve my health/weight/life in some way and to maintain when that wasn’t possible. Good for you, Adam.