Curiously nerdy posts.
This is a departure from my usual content, I know. But I want to talk about fitness for a minute.
My wife did some digging on my facebook this weekend while I was driving us around doing errands. As she looked through my pictures before she met, she pointed out how far I’ve come in my journey to be more fit and lose weight. To drive this point home, she made a comparison picture when we got home.
The picture on the left was from around 2012. The one on the right was from this weekend. 2012 was around when I was at my heaviest. Since then, I’ve lost about 40-50 pounds, and my full head of hair.* Surprisingly, some people on my social media have said they prefer the old me. But I can readily tell you, it feels much better to be the new me.
*My hair was thinning, so I simply started shaving it off. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’d advise a lot of guys to do the same thing, if they too face this problem. Own it, rather than hide it.
So, how did I do it? It’s kind of a collection of reasons, rather than one simple fix.
1) I stopped drinking a lot of soda. I’m sure I’ve touched on this before, but I love soda like alcoholics love beer and wine. I used to drink 3-4 cans of the stuff a day… sometimes, even more than that. That all changed about a month away from my wedding last year. I realized that I was about to take a bunch of pictures that were going to be sticking around in frames in my home for the rest of my life. I did not want to be flabby in those pictures. Say one thing about me, say that I’m a vain man sometimes.
So I stopped. Cold turkey. I used to drink tons of soda and a glass of water per day: I changed to drinking only water, and when I got bored of water, I added flavor packets. I could probably make money endorsing Crystal Lite at this point.
The results came almost overnight. From April 1st, 2014, to May 17th, 2014, I lost about 14 pounds. I looked better – as in, not terrible – for my wedding pictures, and everyone thought I looked a lot better. I’ve slackened a bit since then, given that I love drinking it. But I limit myself. I drink maybe one can a day at dinner, and I share that one with my wife. I’ll also drink it when eating out, but I don’t actually eat out all that much.
I think the important thing to my anecdote is this: find your soda, that one thing that is fattening you that you can better moderate and control. My wife has a similar issue with baked goods, and started seeing results after we put them at arm’s length.
2) I hit the gym. Sorry, there’s no magic secret to losing weight and getting in shape. My wife wanted to get a gym membership. I agreed to get one for her, on the proviso that we get one where I could go too on a guest pass whenever I wanted. I’d go use all the machines in a row, and then get on the arc trainer for some cardio. Treadmills have always intimidated me, so I thought I’d try something easier.
I was wrong. The arc trainer is BRUTAL. 10 minutes on it wore me out more than a full set of reps on all the other machines combined. I figured something that owned me that hard had to be good for me. So I climbed back on the next time, and did it again. I kept going longer, and longer, to the point where I could do it for half an hour while maintaining a pace of 180 heartbeats per minute. Was it brutal, and wearing me out? Yes. Did it get me to a level of fitness I’d never known before? Also yes.
When I finally decided to try the treadmill again a month later, I could run a mile, for the first time in my life that I could remember. And I could do it easily. I’ve built on it since then. I can now run 2 miles without my heartrate even going over 160. Sometime this year or the next, I want to run a 5k. Just because I can. It’s an excellent feeling.
3) Stop eating when you’re not hungry anymore. This is an issue for some folks, especially those that were raised to eat until their plate was clean. But it’s a simple thing. Avoid that “full” feeling at all costs. Just stop when you’re not hungry. Do what you need to do. Control your portion size at the start, if you MUST clean your plate. Do what you have to do, but moderate yourself.
I’m sorry I don’t have any real revelation as to how I’ve gotten to where I am, but trust me when I say this:
If I can do it, so can you. Trust me. It’s not easy, but not all is lost if you stumble. So what if you miss a day of working out, or eat 3 slices of cake in one day? Pick yourself up tomorrow, and keep going. There is no pass/fail in fitness. It’s an ongoing thing. Treat it as such.
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