Note: This post is Part 6 of a 6 Part Series on how I lost 60 pounds. You can find a list of all of the posts in this series here. Or, if you want the whole kit and caboodle in one mammoth post, you can click here. (Update as of April 17, 2017: I’ve now lost 70 pounds and am no longer trying to lose weight, just trying to get fitter and stronger).
This is the end. When I wrote this post as one post, which you can read here, it was 6,184 words. When I re-organized it and broke it up into 6 different sections, I found that I had more to say. I needed to smooth over some transitions. I realized I’d left out this little detail that had helped me. Now, all 6 parts combined are a grand total of 8,198.
Over the years I may have earned a reputation for being a bit verbose, but honestly, I can’t believe that I have 8,198 words to write about health and wellness. What’s even more astounding is that I know in a month I could write more. And in a year I could write more still. Because I am still learning and still tweaking.
Three apps I use daily or at least a few times a week.
- Google Fit. This is as basic as it gets. I have a goal set to walk 12,000 steps everyday. That’s like a minimum acceptable level of physical activity. I don’t even use Google to track my workouts at the gym or other workouts that I do. I look at Google Fit every single day.
- Strava. I have my friend Bryan to thank for introducing me to Strava. Strava is great for my competitive nature as an athlete and pushing myself to go further, faster. Originally I liked it as a way of simply knowing how far I had ridden my bike or how far I had run. Using GPS it tracks all of that and will tell me I ran, today, for example, 2 miles, with 35 feet in elevation gain, at an average page of 9:08 minute/mile, and that based upon other data I have entered into my Strava profile, it tells me I burned 444 calories on this workout. But one more thing I really like about Strava is how it breakdowns workouts I do on a regular basis. There are a few bike rides I do regularly, and it will tell me how I did on one particular segment today vs. other days, and it breaks this down segment by segment, as well as showing me the workout as a whole. The more you use and play with Strava the more you will love it.
- 7-Minute Workout. This is a great workout I can do in 7 minutes. I’ll often do this when I am waiting for someone or something, or if I want to get a decent workout in without going to the gym, I’ll go on a run and follow-it up by doing a few 7-Minute Workouts back to back. It’s all stuff you can do without weights. I’ll do it in my front yard. Have done the 7-Minute Workout in hotel rooms and at campsites. It’s all these 30 seconds exercises the app walks you through — crunches, push-ups, planks, lunges, squats, wall sits, etc. It’s a great workout and so basic. I don’t use this app all the time, but it’s a great arrow I have in my quiver. I broke a bone in my wrist a few months ago that kept me from doing push-ups and tricep chair dips. When the app told me to do those things, I just subbed in 30 seconds of additional planks or some other exercise. After I ran 11 miles on Thanksgiving Day and my legs were thrashed, I took it easy on some of the leg exercises and subbed in some additional core and arm exercises.
New Year’s Slack
For New Year’s we went up to Tahoe to stay with some friends. I went ten days without weighing myself, which is an eternity for me. At home, I still weigh myself everyday. Still, sometimes, multiple times a day. So going ten days was like totally letting loose.
I was active in Tahoe. Playing with the kids in the snow, snowshoeing, skiing, snowblowing, and snow shoveling. But I wasn’t especially active. And, for about ten days, I ate whatever I wanted.
I came home and didn’t weigh myself the first day. I was nervous. Took a day and was really careful with my diet and went on a run. The next day I got out the scale. I was nervous. I weighed 238 pounds, which was two pounds more than when we’d left for Tahoe.
In reality, I wasn’t eating that terribly in Tahoe. Remember, my standards have changed. What I now consider a “terrible” day of eating I would have considered an “average” day a few years ago. Within a few days I was back down to 236 and then in another couple of days I was down to 235, which officially put me down 55 pounds. I took a few days off to give my body a break and then made another push and spent a few days between 232 and 234. When I sensed my body was “happy” again, I made another hard push and pushed through to 230.
235 was the number I thought I needed to get to when I started out. 225 was my wedding weight, and if you look at me in wedding photos I was very thin, and at that time I had to have intense workouts everyday in order to stay at 225. So I thought 235 would be about right. I feel like I’ve gotten to 230 easier this time, when I am 13 years older, than it was for me to get to 225 as a twenty-four year old. The only difference I can think of is diet, which I doubt I changed much in my early 20’s. If I was on a diet, I was only eating less, not thinking about the types of foods I was eating and learning about my my body reacts to different kinds of food.
Now that I’m here at 230, I still feel like I’m not “there” yet.” It’s harder to put an exact number on it now, though. I want to lose fat, especially belly fat, and continue to gain muscle. So maybe I need to gain 5 pounds of muscle and lose five pounds of fat? I’m still figuring this part out, but the scale is definitely becoming more limited in measuring my overall fitness. Some will say I obsessed over the scale too much throughout this entire journey. Again, this is what worked for me. I know others who weigh themselves once a week. If that works for you, great. But 2-5 times A DAY for most of this journey is what worked for me.
But I’ve realized there is no finish line. Even if I were to achieve the goal — “phenomenal shape” — I still have to maintain my body. I still have to watch my diet, be mindful about what I am eating, the amount of exercise I am getting, what muscles are getting weak, etc.
If I want to achieve, and maintain, phenomenal shape, I need to spend a proportionate amount of time thinking about my health and wellness. We become what we think about most of the time.
If you have struggled with your physical fitness and struggled with losing weight, I hope this post is helpful to you, and please reach out to me if I can help you in any way. I am happy to answer questions or check in with you to help encourage you on your journey.
This has been my journey, and the journey doesn’t end here. I am still learning, still refining. Others may criticize my techniques. Think I should eat less meat or not meat at all. I shouldn’t use “Cheat Days” or encourage binge eating on a “Cheat Day.” This is what’s worked for me, and I’ll continue to refine it to achieve and maintain the results that I desire.
Cheers to good health,