Losing It For The Family

Losing It For The Family

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Flexibility

I don't know if this is a problem across the board with folks on fitness journeys, or if maybe this is pretty specific to me. What's the first thing you do when you get amped up about getting in shape? You make a plan, either a very detailed plan, or perhaps a broad strokes plan. But nonetheless, a plan is made and that plan, that is your salvation. This is your path to the promised land!! But here is the thing about plans. They are great for framework, but if you are the person that can't be a little flexible about when you do what or how you do what, then there may be issues in your journey.

Take me for example. I had a pretty big step off plan yesterday. I have been consistently leaving the office, going to Walmart, and buying a turkey wrap they make there. It is $3 and 360 calories. I am fully aware of everything about its nutrition and it fits my plan for each day. Yesterday, I wound up having work lunch at a locally owned restaurant. The kind that doesn't have a website that I can go check on the specs of a dish. That alone set me off a little. But I made the best choice I could on the menu. I forgot to get on MFP and find something similar to my dish when I got back to work. Then later, as I realized I had forgot, I also began to dread doing it, fearing I would find that I am not at the calorie point I want to be at for 4 o'clock in the afternoon. In all of this mess, I began to stress a little. I don't know why really, other than instinct I haven't beaten out of me yet, but I had a Snickers candy bar. I thought for sure that was going to screw me for the day on my calorie goal. Basically, I was about to throw this day away, as I have done many times before. But here is how the day wound up playing out. I had a talk with myself and basically said throwing the day away is not an option. I will chart my food on MFP, I will take what it is and learn moving forward to protect myself a little better. So i began to chart, even the candy bar, and turned out, I made a really good choice at lunch and the candy bar was actually not 1 million calories. In fact, by the time I was done charting, I had room enough for supper and a snack without going over. So I get home, and it was like Kathy knew I needed something to fix my day, she had made a big pan of roasted veggies! Meatless Monday to the rescue, and I wound up with a very low cal, but very fulfilling supper that saved my day!

Yesterday was a day I had to be flexible to succeed. The office lunch was a tough thing, but I made it work. The super low cal/high nutrition supper was not really something I cherish, because I like meat. Historically, I would have ate it and then raided the fridge for some meat. Being flexible and changing my attitude towards Meatless Monday was just the thing I needed to pull myself out of the bad attitude I had been having all afternoon!

Continue this theme on to this morning. I have a general overview of what my workouts are going to look like each day. For this week, my plan was to do weights on Monday, do the elliptical today, weights again tomorrow, then a long session of cardio on Friday. I woke this morning and found out that the weather was just right for a nice long walk around my neighborhood. We cut the cable, so my keeping up with the weather has suffered. When I realized this, I made a quick change and decided to go with my long cardio day today. I enjoy outside workouts so much more than inside, but the heat had been oppressive for the last few weeks around here, so I was going strictly indoor workouts. I know this sounds like a dumb example of flexibility, but I am that guy that getting off my plan for the day can seriously derail me, even if getting off plan includes getting a workout in. If it isn't the workout I planned, I am in trouble. Another issue I face is being flexible about what time I workout. One one of my attempts that didn't quite take off, I was determined that I will workout at 5 a.m. 4 days a week. And I did do a good job. But then I had a couple of jury trials back to back, and I started to use that time for prep. I could very easily have gone to the gym at lunch on those days, but that wasn't the time I had set for me to workout, so I couldn't go at that time! A little flexibility on my part may have made that particular attempt successful, and not left me kicking it down the road once again.

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Walk Back

If you are reading this, it is likely we share a few things in common, one of them being a health journey that has been stopped and started several times. And we probably have both had bouts of extreme success followed by no follow up. So what is it that keeps us from starting back on track when we see results slipping away? What is it that gets us back in that pit from whence we just escaped? I know there are lots of things, but today, I am burning about something very specific. The false narratives and realities that we let ourselves believe.

When I knocked off the 100+ pounds in 2010 and 2011, I was on top of the world! I was in the best physical shape of my life, I was a runner, I was very active. I remember once I had some friends I was helping move furniture, and the girl was marveling at the fact that I wasn't even breathing hard, at which point, I noticed and marveled myself. I had literally achieved my dream and in my mind, I was never going back. I should have been aware of the dangers that lie ahead, as I had also worked my way into phenomenal shape in 2000 and 2001, and let that go. But I was cocky, and I didn't put a good plan in place. Not to mention, my life exploded in 2011, so I really really needed something to keep ahold of my progress, but I didn't have a thing.

So here is how the whole thing unraveled. Step 1 was that I had worked really hard and dedicated a crap ton of energy to losing the weight and getting in better shape in 2010-2011. The reality is, it was pervasive in my life. I tracked every calorie and I worked out excessively. I had a formal workout first thing out of bed, then on the way to work, I would do laps around Walmart. If I was at any event that the opportunity was available, I would do laps around the area to get a little more in. I blogged EVERY SINGLE DAY without fail. I poured all my heart and soul with every ounce of energy I could muster, every day. So when I first hit below the 200 pound mark on the scale, it was a huge victory. I pressed pretty hard for a few more weeks, but in my head, I was tired and I started to play like the game was won, and I was not required to protect the endzone anymore. I made a conscious decision to "start eating intuitively" which was the worst decision I could have made. I did however keep working out for a bit. But here comes the part where I really needed a plan. in July of 2011, I was accepted into law school. I was excited, to be sure, but the big problem I didn't have a way to combat was the school was 55 miles one way trip. I had a family and a mortgage and wasn't going to be able to work for 3 years, so getting a place near school wasn't an option. I was going to have to drive and 2 hours a day, on top of class and homework. In my mind, I simply ran out of hours in the day (false, I just didn't want to put the work in). So at that point, I had quit tracking my food, thinking I was smart enough to eat sensibly without supervising myself ( false, that has never worked for me) , and now, the exercise I was keeping up was going away too. This is all setting up for the obvious conclusion. I didn't protect my endzone, and I was going to lose it.

I think every failed section of a health journey has a moment in which you could have turned things around before you lost all the ground you just gained. I remember the one from 2011 very vividly. I had started law school and was about a month or so in. I recall I had a shirt that I put on and it was snug, so I decided to weigh real quick and see what the deal was. My absolute lowest scale reading was 196 lbs I think. On that day, I weighed 214 lbs. A thousand times or more, I have thought about the fact that had I said "holy crap, it's time to do something right now!" and decided to get a plan together, I wouldn't have gained back 80 lbs. Hell, if I could have just held the line at 214 for the duration of law school, I'd be in a better position now. But I didn't do anything. I believed everything would be fine, I just put a little on because I can't exercise as much now ( was doing zero). Oh to have that day to do over again.....

I am a huge believer in one thing. Every "failure" is only a failure if you don't learn something from it. I am old enough and aware enough now that once I am successful getting to a healthier weight (I am presuming success, another thing I have learned) I will protect that with all I have to give. If I have to track food and blog and say daily prayers from now to the end of my days on earth, so be it. I will never have to walk back down the road again.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Ch-ch-ch-ch- changing!

I'm only 2 weeks in, but I have to admit, I have done some changing. And ultimately, that is what I set out to do. The physical transformation that happens will be nice. But the reality it, it would only be temporary if all I was aiming for was to get to a number on a scale, or a shirt size or any other solely physical goal. Only when I am able to change myself, as in my habits, my thoughts, my attitudes or my emotional responses will any physical transformtion be a permanent one.

So far, I would say the biggest change I have made is the ability to not feel the need to finish all my food, or my family's food. In my world, food is king! And it is not to be ignored or wasted. If it is on my plate, I ain't leaving until I'm done. If it is on my family's plate, I'm not letting it be thrown away. It is perfectly good food. There are starving kids in Africa! However, in the last two weeks, I have not finished my kids food, and I have actually left food on the plate in a couple of restaurants. I also only finished part of the lunch I had yesterday, and put it back. I am truly turning a corner here, and I love it!

I also have stopped thinking about food constantly. The reality is, I started to think about the next meal immediately after the meal I just finished. And that is just sad. Food was my life, and it was just as important as my family is. And that is a high level of importance! But here lately, it seems that God has seen fit to change me and now this health journey has taken food's place. I track my intake, with the goal of beating the calorie goal (as in staying under) being my day's goal, rather than the next meal. I have given the gym much more importance these last 2 weeks.

My favorite thing about this journey so far though? I have energy to do stuff. I got up yesterday morning, after my 3 mile walk, I was sitting around on one of my devices, but it wasn't really fulfilling as it had been historically. I just wanted to get outside and work on some stuff that, quite frankly, I had been ignoring for a good while. I spent the whole morning working on cleaning off my deck and back yard, I trimmed a tree that needed desperately, and I moved my "garden" to a better spot. I went school clothes shopping and grocery shopping with the fam. We didn't get back until about 5, and then Kathy started on supper. Usually, supper signifies the end of the day for me. I then sit mindlessly scrolling Facebook and other sites until bedtime. But last night, I started on getting the front yard cleaned up and organized. Then, after that, Kathy and I left the house and went looking for good clearance deals on patio furniture. We didn't make it home until after 8 for sure, but maybe closer to 9.

I know all this seems incredibly superficial outside my personal context, but trust me when I say, yesterday and the past two was pretty huge in terms of change for me. And I like the trend!I look forward to continuing the changes, and to a lesser degree, the physical benefits that come from it.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

It's Too Hard

Comfort Zones. They suck as a general rule. How do you think I got where I am healthwise? I got in a comfort zone, and packed on the pounds. It easier to eat junk food than prepare a healthy meal. It's easier to sit around playing on your devices all morning than to get out and walk or run the block, or go to the gym. It's just too hard! I don't want to choose the steamed vegetables over the fried jalapeños! I would be swapping out something I love and have a toxic relationship with for something that is good for me but brings me no immediate gratification! That's too hard!

And you know what, there is an argument to be made for it actually being too hard. The human will is resistant to wholesale change all at once. Do you know how many health pursuits I have dropped because it was just too hard to get up and cook a healthy breakfast, or head to the gym at lunch every day? I couldn't even begin to imagine the count.

It seems counterintuitive, but the reality is, for your very first steps into a journey to health, it may be wise to build a cheat day in. I have. Come Fridays, I let My Fitness Pal go, and I don't shame myself for a bigger and less healthy breakfast, or the fried jalapeños at lunch (in case it isn't obvious, I had fried jalapeños at lunch yesterday). But that is a slippery slope! To have the cheat day will require you to honor the fact is ONE DAY out of 7, and you must NAIL the other 6 days. I hesiateted to write this post because I know cheat days are a big temptation to go back to the comfort zone. But I am two weeks in to having Friday as a cheat day, and it has been both reasonably easy, and beneficial as all get out. Why does it benefit me? I am a big picture guy , so I am not caught in the moment all the time. I can see past the end of my nose. And I find it is much easier to kick ass outside my comfort zone if I KNOW there is a break coming. I have been so overwhelmed by the idea that I "can't have crappy food ever again" before that I just quit right then out of sheer panic and frustration.

Now let me say this. I have a plan even for my cheat days. The last two, I have just taken the leash off Friday morning, and had the whole day to eat whatever. But middle of next month, I am changing that up, and it will be that I take the leash off at noon on Friday. And who knows, maybe at some point I move it to 4 pm on Friday. But for now,I think it will keep me on track and headed in the right direction.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Crappy Workout

I swear, if I have ever had a worse workout than I did this morning. I struggled to go ahead and get up when the alarm went off. I was sore and still tired and my feet hurt pretty bad. But I want to make that change, I want to turn that corner an become the much healthier version of me. I desperately want it because I have so much more life to live and my kids are young and need a dad to Shepard them through childhood and early adulthood. I want to spend the golden years with my wife able to actually go places an do things and enjoy each other one on one.

I really debated about quitting after my 2nd set on the cable machine this morning.I felt weak and unmotivated. But I finished out all the sets on that exercise, then all the sets on the next one, and all the sets on the last one. And in between each set, i walked laps around the gym. And I feel like I learned a pretty important things about me today. I am able to not quit just because it's hard. I am a finisher. I am strong even when I am not physically strong. And I proved to myself that the paragraph above is not just words, but it is the truth. I am no longer seeking happiness or solace from something I stick in my pie hole. I want my happiness ad solace to come from my love of my family and all the extra years I will get to spend with them when I have my head completely pulled from my ass and get back in good shape. I think the last two weeks have been a significant step in the right direction. Now He and I will finish this!!

A Little This, A Little That

I don't really have an overarching theme for this post today. I guess I will just spout of a few things on my mind.

I am really glad that this newly revived effort has made it longer than any other newly revived effort in the not so distant past has. I was thinking about that, and I came up with a somewhat random thought. The last time I was able to put together a string fo success and lose 100+ pounds, it also started in July. July 2010 to be exact. Maybe July is just my month? Haha. Anyway,Tomorrow will mark 2 weeks of tracking my intake and getting in 4 workouts a week.

Today is Thursday. As I said last week, this is the day I usually take a turn for the worst. Last week, I turned to some support from a friend, and checked in throughout the day, and I prayed and found ways to keep myself focused on the benefit of no failing off the wagon. Today, I will make it a point to do the same.

I have started Plexus,and I have to say, I think it is helping. I am experiencing less cravings, I am experiencing less hunger, and I do have an improved energy level. I realize that Plexus isn't the only factor in all that, but I feel like it is a factor. I am thinking of adding probiotics to my list of supplements and see if they offer the benefits they claim.

Tomorrow is weigh and measure day. I feel like the scale and the tape are going to be good to me tomorrow! I haven't talked about it anywhere else, but I wore a pair of jeans I haven't been able to wear in awhile. Now in the interest of full disclosure, they were a big effort to get on, but as recently as 2 months ago, I could even button them or do the button first, then pull over my hips move. So woo hoo!

If anybody is actually reading this,I apologize for being so random! I just didn't have a theme readily available today!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Don't Ignore The Little Things, They Make The End Result

I have talked about this before, but I don't think you can talk about it too much. We are a "I want it NOW" society. Immediate and amazing results are the only acceptable results, otherwise, you failed. But the truth is, even if I don't always stay conscious of it, it's the little things you need to hold on to. I thinks that is especially true if you are on a healthier lifestyle journey. You won't lose 40 pounds this month (or at least not in any healthy and sustainable manner.) It's the little this and thats along the way that make a successful journey.

Today, I was reminded of that when I pulled on my shirt before heading to the gym this morning. This particular shirt is a fairly new addition to the workout shirt rotation. It is a 2x, but the day I bought it and came home and put it on, I was not happy with the fit. It hugged the middle section a bit tighter than I liked. But if I am being honest, many of my shirts, workout and otherwise, were starting to hug my middle section a bit tighter than I liked. But that shirt this morning was not quite as snug as it was last time around. In fact, it almost had a little space between me and it. And I am hesitant to say this, but my belt may be fixing to get taken down a notch. I was on my normal notch yesterday, and by gosh if I wasn't hiking my pants up every 2 seconds. And finally, I went to a function last night, and despite there being free and quite frankly delicious food there, I only had one half of a wrap and one fancy piece of rolled up meat. There were cookies and cake and cheeses and all sort of deliciousness, but God saw fit to give me some self control here recently, and you don't scoff at a gift from God!