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.

Running Funny

This has less to do with eating right than it does with me being a doof on the treadmill yesterday after work. I hope it makes you laugh.

I wear glasses because my vision up-close is horrible. I’m far-sighted. When I run, I don’t wear glasses because I can typically see anything past about three or four feet in front of me with clarity, but anything within that range is blurry. I can’t read numbers on my watch, for example, unless they are huge. Anyway, I set out to run on our treadmill last night (it’s nice to run indoors with AC and not contending with walkers, dogs, kids, insects, etc), and I decided to use the Quick Run feature. You push the number corresponding to the mph you want to run, and it starts the treadmill immediately. Only, I made a mistake, and instead of pressing the number for the speed, I pressed the number for degrees of incline. The treadmill responded by starting me running at 1 mph, and I thought to myself, this is weird. I hit the 6 and we’re going 1. I thought maybe I had to press 6 a second time, only the second time I pressed it, I pressed the right 6 (which was for speed). Now, I was running at a 6 degree incline at 6 mph.

Normally, 6 mph is a slow and comfortable run for me, but this was tough. Very tough. I was getting tired quickly, more winded than usual, and my left knee started hurting. I thought to myself, “Wow, not running as much has really taken a toll on me!” I decided I needed to stop for a moment due to the knee pain. That’s when I noticed that I was running at a pretty severe incline. I immediately set it to 0 degrees, started back up at 6 mph, and I felt like I was running with wings on my shoes. After that hellish half mile, I was flying and even raising the speed on the treadmill to run faster.

So, maybe in the future, I’ll incorporate some inclines here and there to help me build strength, but I’ll also be more careful in the future to make sure I’m pressing the speed button and not the incline button. That was silly of me.

A Weekend of Carbs

This past weekend was another National Guard Drill weekend which means I always have too many carbs. Mostly, it’s in liquid form, and this weekend was no exception. I was able to keep the food carbs limited with the exception of one evening: Saturday night’s Habitat for Humanity Fundraising Gala.

Sherry and I had a wonderful time helping to raise money for a charity we both believe in and support, and while most of the food was actually quite Paleo-friendly, the bread and dessert certainly were not. I did partake in both; they were delicious, and this was one of those “Life events” I encourage others to enjoy. And enjoy, we did!

I haven’t tallied the damage yet; I didn’t step on a scale all weekend or this morning. I will weigh myself after my run this afternoon and I’ll know how many steps backwards I took. My trousers didn’t feel too much tighter this morning, so maybe it’s not so bad. But, I did have the sweats last night, and I do feel a bit bloated. But the run will help even that out quickly.

I know I can’t drink every night, so I typically don’t. I know I can’t eat non-Paleo foods without ill effects, so I typically don’t. It’s always a good feeling to return to my normal diet after a drill weekend. I’m looking forward to eating my healthy foods this week. I can always feel the difference, especially in the mornings.