The exercise stuff gets easier

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Me in September 2014 vs me in September 2016.

For those who have been reading my blog for a while, you probably know that I’m not a big fan of exercise. I lost 110 lbs without it, and I only started doing so because I wanted to increase my fitness level and stamina (and maybe a little strength). Toning is a good thing, but I see it as an additional benefit versus the primary reason for me exercising. With that said, what I’m going to say next will come as quite the shock.

I’m starting to enjoy this exercise stuff.

I know. People told me it would happen, and I denied it. People told me they enjoy it, and I remember saying that I wish I could be one of those people. Well, I can’t say exercise is at the top of the list of things I want to do to have fun, but it’s no longer the least favorite activity I partake in. For that matter, I was actually looking forward to it this morning. So much so, in fact, that I contemplated running last night instead of this morning. My legs felt like they needed to run. Weird.

I think part of what has made it possible for me to get into the exercise is that I’m not pushing myself beyond my abilities, nor am I pushing myself into pain. This morning’s run was actually quite nice. I started with push ups and hit my highest number to-date (don’t laugh: 25). I then started my run. The first half-mile pace wasn’t my fastest, but overall, the average pace was probably my best. I also ran the farthest since doing the 5k in San Antonio, and I did so within 31 minutes, so that’s nice, too. The best part: after the first mile and a half, I felt good. Really good. Heck, for the last half mile, I was settled into a nice pace, good breathing, and I actually didn’t want to stop. I only stopped because I needed to get ready for work.

I might start waking up a little earlier on run days so I can run longer if I want to.

I think there is something wrong with me. E.J. likes running? Now that’s just crazy talk!

Help Sponsor Me in my First 5k Run for Arthritis!

I’ve registered for my first official organized 5k run in December to help raise money to find a cure for arthritis! I’d be honored if you could sponsor me or donate just a little bit to help find a cure. Many in my family have had arthritis, and I fear that it’s in my future as well. It’d be nice if we could help find a cure for it before I get to the age where I have to worry about it!

Here is the link to follow to sponsor me.

Is it really so hard?

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Me at Jungle Environment Survival Training in 1991.

What makes something hard? What is it about anything you consider difficult that makes it so? If you can think of the obstacles before you, then you can also think of the ways to defeat those obstacles. Losing weight and getting fit is no different.

But I love fast food!” So do I. I had to make a choice between the instant gratification of eating fast food to the long-term benefits of being healthy.

I hate exercise.” So do did I. Fortunately, weight loss is 90% dietary, so if you want to lose weight, it’s easy to do with some discipline and motivation.

It’s hard to stick to a diet.” What is making it hard? Your willpower? Your inability to resist temptation? Your extreme love of certain foods? If any of these are the case, these are things you need to address before you can really start on a diet plan.

I can’t give up donuts.” Or any specific food for that matter. Well, I’m not advocating giving up on any foods for life. You just need to cut them out for a while until you reach a goal weight, and then, you can have those foods as treats every now and then. You just need to cut them out from your daily or even weekly meals.

In the end, anything is only as hard as we allow them to be. I set my mind to losing 100 lbs in a year, and I did it because it became the most important goal I had. I accomplished my goal because I knew it was the best thing for me to do, and it was necessary.

You’ve done harder things. You can do this, too. You just need to decide: are you worth it? If so, then stop making excuses, make a plan, and execute!

First 5k Since Active Duty

This past Sunday, Sherry and I were in San Antonio for a weekend getaway. We decided to run in the morning to get in our weekend exercise, and we decided to go ahead and try to make it a 5k. Well, I’m happy to report that I completed my first 5k since leaving active duty. This was also my longest run in both distance and time since I started running again two weeks ago.

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I’m pretty proud of this accomplishment. First, it’s only two weeks after starting to run again, and second, I was able to get there without getting hurt or really feeling bad afterward. I was a little tired after this run, but ultimately, I feel good and I have no bad pains.

I’m proud of the fact that since day one of running, I haven’t stopped to walk or jog. I’ve run every run the entire distance every time. I was able to do this out of sheer determination. I wanted it.

You can do anything you set your mind to. You just have to want it bad enough.

Daily Running

I’ve been wondering if running five days a week is okay for me to do, and I’ve been doing a lot of reading to find out what the right answer is. I’ve heard over and over that running is worse than walking for exercise, and that too much running, or even daily running, will wear down the joints in the legs. The conventional wisdom has been to ride bikes, swim, or do something every other day to allow the joints in the legs to rest. However, I’ve found more recent and respected authorities who advocate running daily as being a great way to stay healthy, get fit, and for those without joint problems, to keep joints healthy. I’ve been worried about injuring myself, so I’ve been taking it slow, but lately, I’ve felt the desire to run on my off days. It’s a strange, nervous, uneasy feeling in my leg muscles when I don’t run. I feel like the only way to make that feeling go away is to run.

So, starting soon, I’ll begin running daily. I will still be taking it easy, to be sure, but I will be doing it daily. I need to continue to get into better shape, and to lose more weight. My final goal is just 14 lbs away, and I want to get there by the end of the year, if at all possible.

If you were like me and never liked running or wanted to run as exercise, I recommend you rethink it and give it a try. I will admit that it sucks in the beginning, but as time goes by, and if you take it slow and easy with day(s) of rest in between runs, it gets easier and actually even enjoyable. I’m to the point now where I look forward to it. Not so much because running is so fun (I’m not that crazy yet), but because my legs feel so much better afterward. It’s almost like a relief to get done with a run.

If you don’t want to run or even try running, do something. I actually started with push ups. Getting stronger led me to start running. Baby steps are better than no steps.

Categories PT

Remember that one thing you wanted really badly?

Remember that thing you wanted so badly you saved up for it? How about that one accomplishment you wanted to complete and you spent months or even years attaining? How about that relationship you nourished and slowly helped grow into something that will last a lifetime? Yeah; all that stuff that didn’t happen in a day? You did it! You set your mind to it, and you did it.

You put aside other wants, desires, and yes, even needs to make it happen. If you were saving up to buy something, you skipped some meals out, or didn’t buy some items here and there that you didn’t really need. If you were studying, you spent more time with books and study groups and less time in the bar, hanging out with friends, or watching movies. If you were building a relationship, you were likely not spending as much time with others with whom your relationship would impede.

Your health and weight loss are no different.

How bad do you want it? How important is it to you? Where does your health and your weight rank in your priorities?

These are tough questions, and lots of people lie to themselves and say things like, “My health is important!” but then they go and eat half a pizza with some bread sticks while drinking a soda. This is like saying that safety is the most important thing to you and then skydiving without a parachute. It just doesn’t make sense.

Take a real, long, hard look at your priorities. Be honest with yourself.If your health isn’t your top priority, then admit it and move on. However, if it is, or if you want it to be, then commit to making it the most important thing and adjust accordingly. Every other aspect of your life has to adjust and change to allow this priority to have top billing.

In my life, health and weight come first above foods I like to eat. Do I like pizza? Very much so! But I place my health and weight at a much higher priority in my life than I do pizza. Exercise is up very high now, as well. There are computer games I’d like to be playing and TV shows I’d like to be watching, but I find myself spending more time exercising and working on projects than watching TV or playing games. Priorities are set, and I respect them by sticking to the plan.

Make a plan. Set priorities. Stick to it, and do it. You can do it. You’ve done much harder things before.

Barbecue for Lunch

This past weekend, Sherry and I went out of town and we were worried that we wouldn’t have time to make our lunches and dinners for the week as we normally do on Sundays. I proposed that we buy some prepared Paleo-friendly food to allow us to spend a little more time away from home this past weekend. As we stopped at an old fashioned barbecue stand called Martinez BBQ in Waelder, Texas, we decided that barbecue would be a perfect food to purchase prepared! All we would have to do was to make some sides to go along with the meats.

We found that the food was not only amazingly delicious, but that the food was all prepared without the use of sugar. After eating lunch on our way into San Antonio, the next day, we picked up some brisket, sausage, and ribs to use as lunches this week.

I had some of the ribs and brisket yesterday, and today I had brisket and sausage. The food is amazing, and it’s filling. Best of all, it’s absolutely delicious.

Not all pre-prepared foods are bad if you take the time to find out what is in them. Naturally made foods can be a great time-saver for when you need to get food together for the week and don’t have the time to dedicate to a full food prep day.