Being fat sucks! Down 40 pounds since last year, at least 27 more to go.
For years my weight has gone up and down, mainly up for the last 7 years. Last April, 2016, I weighed 267 with gusts up to 275! In 2010 I had worked really hard to get to 200 pounds then I stopped, or took a break, from exercising. I also tried to quit smoking. My appetite went up and I didn’t re-start exercising. Then I got to heavy to run and medicated my frustrated emotions with cake and ice cream. Years of trying to 10X my weight loss or lose 20 pounds in a month only to fail, get discouraged and quit, made things worse.
Last September, after getting sick of laying on the sofa and living a boring life, I decided to thru hike the Appalachian Trail in 2018 (this is my ‘why’). It was a goal I felt would motivate me and it has. I knew I would have to become a different person in order to accomplish that goal. And that is part of the appeal.
I also knew that I had to design something that would work for me; something I would follow. At 49 years of age and weight around 255 to 260 pounds, I could no longer jump around and push myself to the limit without coming down with a knee or foot injury. The advantages of youth has left the harbor some time back.
This had to become a lifestyle and a part of who I am based on my likes, goals and dislikes. I’ve tried the juice diet, the keto diet, the low-carb diet, the low-fat diet, etc. I’ve used kettle balls, took aerobics classes, rode the eliptical, etc. I needed something that fit into my life naturally; things I liked to do or don’t mind doing, otherwise I’m less likely to do them.
I don’t like going to the gym. It’s 20 minutes there, 20 minutes back plus the time to warm up the van, gas, wear and tear, etc. I don’t like pushing myself to exhaustion and being spent all day after a work out. I don’t like starving myself, getting injured or feeling miserable. However I do have to accept being a little hungry every now and then and be willing to push myself a little every day.
So I decided I would combine some things I’ve learned to create a daily fitness habit. My weight loss will come from my nutrition plan and my exercise will be for long-term physical conditioning. By long-term I mean how physically active do I want to be when I’m 70?
When I’m 70, I want to be able to hike, bike, row a boat, do push ups, and hopefully have sex and abundant energy. So I figured I need to create daily habits, like brushing my teeth. Also it needs to start off easy and progress. I should be able to perform the workout and not be burned out for the rest of the day.
I heard of a workout term called, ‘greasing the groove’ on the Tim Ferriss podcast while he interviewed Pavel Tsouline, the guy that started kettle ball craze (listen here). That’s where I got the idea to do daily workouts, 5 days a week, 3 sets per day and not to maximum amount of reps but about 30% of my max. Frequency is used to build muscle instead of intensity. This helps me because I’ve been injury prone lately and I have very little conditioning to start with. Think of it as how a farmer gets strong-through daily work. Not overdoing it but working day in and day out.
Also, my weight loss comes from my nutrition, not my workouts. I loosely follow the eating principles I learned from Beach Body when I bought the 21 Day Fix. It’s the best plan for me. I’m only trying to lose 1 to 1.5 pounds per week on average. Over a year I’ll easily be at my ideal weight. This plan includes lots of lean proteins and vegetables and I recommend getting a kit form them just to learn the nutrition part. It’s well worth the $160 or whatever. The workouts were too intense for me (21 Day Fix) but I’m getting close to where I can try it again and I will soon since I already have it).
So in the above photos, one was from April of 2016 when I weighed 267 pounds and yesterday (May 29, 2017) when I was 227. My biggest loss started in February when I created the plan I am on now and got c0nsistent. Proper nutrition and my workouts are a daily priority! I don’t get frustrated when the scale goes up a pound or two or three. I stay on course and it all works out because I am consistently doing the work. I’ve created a lifestyle that I can live with and prosper from physically.
4 Crucial Keys
1.) Think long term, be the tortoise, not the hare.
I was pretty fat for 7 years, still am. Playing the long game helped me stay on course. I won’t be in shape for this summer, but I will be in shape for next summer. All I’m aiming for is one pound a week. One pound a week is not difficult. It is the softer path with a higher chance of success. I’m giving my body time to adapt and I’m allowing myself margin for error.
For the last 2 weeks I didn’t lose anything. I actually went up a couple of pounds. But I got stronger! I added more reps and more weight to my workouts. And now, 2 weeks later, I’m losing scale weight again. That’s how it’s been working. It’s a mind game. 2 weeks without losing weight might have made me quit under a more aggressive plan. In the long game, it’s easier for me to stay motivated and on track. If I fall behind it is not by much, since I’m going slow, and I can sacrifice for a few days or a week and catch up. A roast cooked in a crock pot is better than a roast made in a microwave. Be the crock pot.
2.) You lose weight through nutrition.
Don’t cut too much either. Your muscles need nutrients to recover and grow.
I loosely follow the eating principles I learned from Beach Body when I bought the 21 Day Fix. It’s the best plan for me. I’m only trying to lose 1 to 1.5 pounds per week on average. Over a year I’ll easily be at my ideal weight. This plan includes lots of lean proteins and vegetables and I recommend getting a kit form them just to learn the nutrition part. It’s well worth the $160 or whatever. The workouts were too intense for me (21 Day Fix) but I’m getting close to where I can try it again and I will soon since I already have it.
3.) Priority: Have healthy food available to snack on at all times.
I snack and I’m gonna snack. This is a weak link in the chain but I strengthen it by having better choices available.
I like chicken breast. If I have several packages of pre-cooked chicken breast stored in the freezer I can take one out and leave it in the fridge when I’m a little hungry. Think about it, chicken breast or a chocolate chip cookie? The cookie is designed to make you crave more and it does. With chicken, you just grab a few bites and your on your way. And there’s no sugar crash.
Also, I can be lazy. If I’m hungry and there’s nothing I like to eat in my place, I’ll walk to the supermarket right next door to me and get something cheap, easy and sweet like day old cake or cookies. Yet if I have a choice between something in my fridge that I like (chicken breasts) and is good for me or something I love (chocolate cake) that I have to walk to get, I’ll take the easier path and go to the fridge. So, for me, it is vital that I have healthy, protein filled snacks available.
Instead of ice cream or potato chips at 7pm, I drink a protein shake with a banana and some spinach mixed in. Or else I’ll have some walnuts, almonds, raisins and dehydrated fruits I made like pineapple.
4.) Start with 1.
1 push up, 1 sit up. I had to start with where I was. At the beginning of February, 2017, I couldn’t do a push up. I had to do the girly push ups with my knees down. So that’s where I started. Soon afterwards I was able to do 1 push up. So I did 1 push up, 3 times a day for 5 days, Monday thru Friday. The next week I moved it up to 2. Soon I added sit-ups, dumb bell shoulder presses, curls, shrugs, body weight squats, leg curls, leg raises and now burpees (it took me 3 months of training to be able to do 1 burpee). Now I’m doing 5 sets of 12 push-ups for 5 days per week. I accept that I have to touch every rung on the ladder to climb it. I accept where I was and where I currently am. and I’m moving forward. I’m the tortoise, not the hare. I have learned to have patience.
These principles have really changed my mindset and my body in the last 3 months since I started it. I weighed about 252 pounds on February 20, 2017 and now, on May 31, 2017 I weight 227. So that’s 25 pounds in 14 weeks, 1.78 pounds per week. What that doesn’t measure is the strength and speed I’ve gained in that time. I went from not being able to do a push-up or burpee to doing 60 push-ups per day for 5 days a week and 12 burpees per day!
When I started my walk/run (20 seconds walk, 20 second jog for 30 minutes, 5 times per week) I was above a 15 minute mile time wise. Yesterday I ran 30 minutes at 10:48 minutes/mile!
I can fit in a size 34 waist Gap jeans (Gap is the only brand, as I get thinner I’ll be in Levi’s) and I went from wearing XXL to XL’s. It’s a long row to hoe, but if you don’t hoe the weeds the crops will die. It’s the same with diet and nutrition for me. It takes daily work and sacrifice. I just made it a little easier based on my personality.