Quick Results

Yesterday, I wrote about how I’ve not been doing the right things to lose the weight I’m wanting to lose. Well, I ate perfectly all day yesterday and got a good run in yesterday afternoon. I went into the pool afterwards as well to let the cool water ice my legs down a bit, and I’m finding that it helps a lot (thanks to my cousin Sarah for suggesting icing my legs down!). I got to sleep before 11 pm (which is my goal), and I awoke this morning feeling energized and wide-awake. My weight was down over 3.5 lbs from yesterday!

How is that even possible? Well, there’s a lot going on, but I think it’s the perfect storm of a bunch of factors that all come into play:

  • Eat right
  • Exercise
  • Lots of rest

This isn’t anything new. This is what you hear, see, and read about all the time. Eat right and exercise. The only thing I’ve added to that list is get lots of rest. It’s far more important than people give it credit for. I can’t stress enough that when I eat right and exercise yet don’t get enough sleep, my weight stalls. Every. Single. Time. However, when I get enough sleep, the weight comes off me with relative ease (as long as I’m still doing the “Eat right and get exercise” part).

I’m going to squeeze one last thing into this post: water. I don’t carry water with me when I run unless it’s over 100 degrees fahrenheit. I don’t prescribe to the school of thought that you must be ultra-hydrated at all times. To the contrary, I believe that I should get my body adapted to being slightly dehydrated due to my military service and the fact that I may be required to exert a lot of physical activity without the presence of a lot of water. I’ve been doing this for years and I have gotten quite adapted to it without any ill effects.

So, the point of this post is eat right, exercise, and get your rest. It works. You just have to do it right; cutting corners or taking shortcuts won’t do you any favors.

Where I am Today

I started my journey with health in 2015 at between 312 and 320 lbs. I don’t know exactly how high it was because I was too afraid to look. On August 31, 2015, I weighed myself at 312 lbs. My wife and I began our first Whole30, and within a month, I had lost over 20 lbs. 11 months later and adhering to a strict Paleo diet and without exercise, an additional 110 lbs was shed. Adding exercise, I lost an additional 20 lbs.

Today, I weigh around 184 lbs. The lowest I ever got to was 160 lbs, and I was able to stay in the mid 170’s for a long time until I went to Scotland last year. Since returning, my weight has been in the 180’s. This is due mostly to a lack of steady exercise, a lack of solid sleep, and some bad eating habits.

Three years and eight months after my wife and I took our first steps toward being healthier, I’m still down 130 lbs. I’m actively recommitted to dropping at least 10 lbs, with 20 lbs being the ultimate goal. With that said, I’m much healthier now than I was, and even if I were to remain at my current weight for the rest of my life, I’d be happy with it. I can wear normal clothes, I’m active and fit, and I feel great.

Was it easy? Well, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, but no, it wasn’t easy. I had to use a lot of discipline and motivation, but I had learned about delayed gratification and working towards a goal. I set my mind toward success and never let anything get in the way between me and my goals.

Today, I’m a little heavier than I’d like, but I’m working on it. I allow myself too many opportunities to eat foods that aren’t Paleo and to imbibe alcohol on occasions where I should just say no. Part of the problem is that I know how relatively easy it really is to lose weight. It’s not nearly as hard as I thought it would be, so that allows me to be a little lax. I need to cut that out.

But, with all that said, I’m proof that you can lose a lot of weight and keep it off. I’m actually below my one year loss weight, which I will take as a great success. Sure, I’m not at my lightest, but I’m also okay with that. As long as I can get to within 10-15 lbs of that, I’ll be happy.

Sometimes up, sometimes down

That’s my weight. I’m running. I’m eating well. The only thing I’m not doing again is getting enough sleep. I plan to change that starting tonight.

When things aren’t going the way I expect, I have to take a step back and analyze what’s keeping me from seeing the results I want to see. In this case, it’s not losing weight despite doing what I thought was everything right.

Nope. I need more sleep.

If you’re not seeing the results you want to see, you must take a very critical look at all the inputs. Sure, sometimes we don’t want to face the truth, but truth is the only thing that will allow you to get to the root of the issue and get back on track.

Getting Into the Winning Mindset

I’ve said it time and time again: losing weight and getting healthy is 90% diet and 10% exercise, but to get to the point where you can even begin to seriously work on diet, you have to get 100% committed to the work required. Food prep, discipline, and avoiding temptation. Perseverance is the name of the game, and until you can commit fully to the change required, you will spend a lot of time spinning your wheels, so to speak.

I have been stuck in a plateau for a very long time. The reasons are many but all boil down to one simple fact: I have not been fully committed. I’ve been sort-of, kind-of working on maintaining my weight below 190 lbs, and I’ve been successful at it. My weight has gone between 180 and 189 lbs over the past year, with it mostly sticking closer to 186 lbs. Why? There are a few reasons for this.

First, my body has reached an equilibrium with the amount of food I eat compared with the amount of physical exertion I’ve been expending. I sit a lot, and I haven’t been running 3x a week as I’d like to, so I’ve been stuck in the 180’s.

Second, I haven’t really committed to eating ONLY healthy foods. I eat ranch dressing with my wings, my portion sizes are a little on the big side, and I have allowed myself to imbibe alcohol on more occasions than I used to.

That has all changed. I’m back in the game. Fully. My mind is set on getting back into the low 170’s, or even into the 160’s again. I want to get my run times back down below 8 minutes/mile.

Without a mindset that is willing to sacrifice comfort, you can never get into making change. Change is uncomfortable, but the payoff is better health and lower weight. Keeping the benefits of that change involve sticking with the plan, even when it’s hard. Even when it hurts.

I’m fully committed to getting back down to where I was in weight and run times. I will not quit until I’m back there.

The Responsibility of Good Health

Sherry and I on a hike this weekend. The weather was beautiful, and we had a wonderful time together.

Let’s be honest. There are things about living a healthy lifestyle that, when you are accustomed to a life without rules, really stink. For me, some of those things include not having pasta, pizza, or hot dogs anymore. But when I thought about it (and I did think about this a lot), what I finally realized was that I had to say goodbye to being careless. I had to begin thinking about my health as an adult: being responsible, having a plan, and thinking for the long-term.

As a husband, a father, a Staff Sergeant, and hopefully one day as a grandfather, I have to consider other people before myself. I have to ensure that I am able to continue in my assigned or appointed role as long as possible. Not because I think I’m special, but because people need me or rely upon me for emotional or other support. I have a responsibility to keep myself around as long as possible, and in a way that doesn’t place a burden upon them. Being healthy is my duty.

Before I decided to be healthy, I could do what I wanted (especially if that meant not doing anything physical or active). I could eat what I wanted without a care. It was actually quite nice to be in that much control of things (even while my health was careening out of control, I felt like I was in complete control. Oh, the irony!). What I didn’t realize was I was trading my health for an artificial sense of freedom. While it’s nice to be able to do what you want, when you want, the reality is that the consequences were still there; I was just ignoring them. Once I became aware of the consequences of my carefree life, it became readily apparent to me that I needed to change my ways. And fast.

Fast forward three and a half years: I’m physically fit, I weigh 130 lbs less than I did when I began, and working to drop another 20 lbs to get back to my lowest weight a year ago. I let myself get lazy; I know how to lose weight, and I have unlocked the secret to doing so without a lot of pain and suffering, so I have let myself get lax. That ended this morning. While this weekend was a lot of fun and I spent it with all of my favorite people, the toll was heavy on my body. I’m back to my 2016 mindset: if it’s not 100% healthy, it’s not going in my mouth.

Some people see living healthy as being restrictive and most people don’t like living without the ability to do what they want, when they want. They see it as a negative, and regardless of the benefits, concentrate or focus on the bad parts (having to avoid sweets, alcohol, grains, etc). I see it as ensuring that I’m responsible for my health, ensuring that I have the best chance possible at living longer, and having a quality of life that makes it worth living. Most of all, I am taking responsibility for being around as long as I can for my wife, my kids, my friends, and my community. I have a lot to give, and I feel that being selfish and eating with abandon is disrespectful not only to them, but to my own health.

It’s not always easy, and sometimes I miss out on foods and drinks that may be amazing. I have to accept that as the cost for ensuring my health is as good as I can make it, and while I have to keep reminding myself of that, in the end, I think it will be worth it. I can’t change what genetics holds for my future, but I can make sure I don’t negatively impact my health through bad decisions and a lack of responsibility. That’s the best I can hope for.

Keeping Up with Fitness

I did it. I have run twice this week. If I’m good, I will either run, hike, or ride my bike at some point today. I am feeling better about it, and my wife reminded me that it’s hard to get back into the swing of things, but once you get going with fitness, it snowballs and you feel worse not exercising than you do exercising.

Is it necessary to exercise to lose weight? No. I have hit a decent plateau without doing much exercise in the past few months, but I want to get lower, and I know that the only way to get there is to actually do some sweating. So I’m doing it. Oh, and being in the military, fitness is an important thing, too. So, I’m back at it.

I’m still at the, “I hate starting” phase, but I know that within two weeks, I’ll cross the threshold and be back in the, “I’m looking forward to exercise” phase. That’s where I want to be. That’s where I will be. In the meantime, I will be faking it until I make it.

Keeping Up with Running

One of the more difficult things for me in the past few months has been to stay motivated to run. I’ve been averaging about one run a week, and it’s becoming clear to me that once a week is not nearly enough. I ran Monday; it is Thursday. I will run again this afternoon after work, but I’ll have to make sure to run again this weekend. The problem I have is that I have quite a busy weekend planned (well, Saturday, at least).

I have no-one to blame but myself. Sherry works out in the mornings before work, and I respect her motivation and dedication to get it done in the mornings. She also has two extra hours in the morning to get ready. I refuse to go to sleep at 7 pm (which is what I’d have to do to get the same amount of spare time in the mornings as she has). So, I just have to juggle.

The other problem is just making it a priority. I let myself slip here and there too easily. Yesterday, for example. I could have run, but I chose not to. I need to stop doing that. I’m tired of being in the 180’s. I also want to get back to eating breakfasts again.