Work In Progress

Posted in My Life


So here’s the new me, at least for the time being. It’s the thinnest I’ve been in roughly four years at least. It’s also the most in shape I’ve been in forever. I still have a belly, which with my back being the way it is these days, may stick around for a while yet. Even so, I feel 100% better about myself than I did just four months ago.

So, how did I get here? I’ve pretty much changed everything about how I live over the last several months. To be honest, it hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would be. That said, it continues to be a struggle to keep it going, at least mentally. I’ve gotten it engrained in my head now though, so it’s almost like I’m on autopilot most days.

Here’s a breakdown of what I’ve done and what I do:

I didn’t go from 0-60 in a day.
I think this is where I’ve failed in the past. I’d go from sitting on my ass all night to immediately working out the next. Consequently, I got over the idea of working out pretty quickly. I needed more of a slow burn.

The idea of going to the Y even three times a week at first was daunting. So, I didn’t go right away. I started by walking around the block every day after work. If I could get into a simple routine for a few weeks, then the idea of switching to the Y would be much easier, and it was. I walked around the block once per night for about three weeks (late June and early July), interspersing that with swimming in the apartment complex pool.

Then one day, I just shifted to the Y. I tried swimming there for a while, but their pool schedule is a joke, so I went more toward riding the bike. I found walking on the treadmill messes with me too much physically, so these days I pretty much only ride the bike for cardio. The rest of July was spent getting used to the bike and the hand crank cardio machine.

In August I started upping the difficulty on the machines I had been using. I also started using the various weight machines. As of today, I can do 20 minutes on the bike at level 2 (and 10 of those minutes at level 3), four minutes on hand crank at level 4 (couldn’t even do a solid 2 minutes on level 1 when I started). I also do three sets of 10 reps on the weight machines at various weights, mostly the upper body machines.

And that’s pretty much it. I go to the Y 4-5 times per week. I’m in and out of there in just under an hour. Could I do more? Sure. Do I want to do any of it? Lol, not really. I fight a war with myself every day that ends as soon as I enter my apartment after work. I then go on autopilot and get my workout clothes on and head out the door. It’s weird how that works.

I stopped drinking pop and changed what I eat.
I was really surprised at how easy this was, and how easy it’s been to continue. I didn’t quit cold turkey though. I was able to cut my pop consumption down to just one per day for just under month before I decided to cut myself off completely.

In addition to quitting pop, I’ve also quit fast food for the most part. In the last four months, I’ve had fast food exactly once. I don’t count places like Subway and Qdoba as fast food. Subway is, well, Subway. At Qdoba, I get the naked chicken burrito with no cheese or sour cream. That makes it no worse than a place like Subway. Do I constantly want Taco Bell? Believe it. I’ve almost given in a few times, but I can’t do it.

At home, I simply don’t buy what I don’t want to eat. If I don’t buy it, no one else will, so pizza rolls will never mysteriously end up in my fridge one day (unless Jesse is in town). I’ve replaced cookies and snacks with fruit and yogurt. Do I want chocolate? Hell yes I do, but I don’t buy it, so it’s not laying around to tempt me.

Do I still eat like shit sometimes? Absolutely. When Kristin and I go out on the weekends, chances are we’re eating at Chili’s, Pizza Luce or Applebee’s. The difference is we don’t order pop, appetizers, or dessert like we used to. The main meal is all we get. You need that cheat day so your metabolism doesn’t get too comfortable.

Mild competition.
Kristin and I don’t work out together, but we do push each other in small ways. Something as simple as her telling me how she can now fit into something pushes me to keep going. Seeing her not order pop at dinner reinforces my resolve to order water when I really want a Diet Coke. We both have mental relapses. We always want that dessert after dinner, but we’re always able to talk ourselves out of it.

I don’t weigh myself.
This was and is probably the biggest reason for my mental well being to this point. Weighing myself was doing nothing but further depressing me. I’d work and work and work, just to get on the scale and not see any movement. That is fucking depressing. So very early on I buried my scale deep in my bathroom cabinet and resolved to never get on it again unless necessary (mainly when I go the doctor). The same goes for calorie counting and food tracking. I’ve found that by getting caught up in numbers, I’ve been nothing but depressed and pissed with the overall results.

What do I do to track my weight? I buy smaller clothes. Seriously. I was a hefty extra large when I stared, to the point where I asking myself, do I need to go up one size? I’d go in stores like H&M and not be able to fit anything. That was completely depressing. It really did shatter my self-esteem.

I can now fit most (sensible) larges just fine. I waited until late July before I bought my first large t-shirt. I took a chance, thinking if it didn’t immediately fit, then it would soon. I’d try that shirt on every week or so until, one day, it fit. I didn’t track numbers on a scale or log workout routines in an app. I just bought one size smaller and tried it on every now and again. It worked wonders for my self-esteem. I’d stand in the mirror and be literally agog with how well it looked on me. I still have issues with larges in “slim or athletic” fit, but even those are becoming less of an issue. I still wear extra larges that fit like larges, but I’ve put away the majority of my extra large t-shirts in favor of the better fitting larges.

I’d like to able to tell you I lost 50 pounds, but I honestly don’t know how much I’ve lost to this point. A lot of what I’ve lost has been turned into muscle, which weighs more than fat anyway. All I can say is I can now fit the jeans I bought two years ago and have never been able to wear because they were way too tight on me. I was also able to fit into one size smaller khakis for the wedding last weekend, which is huge for me. Khakis usually run small in the waist on me even in my normal size.

Two of Us

So overall, I’m pretty stoked with how this has been turning out for both Kristin and I. I’m still a little sad my belly is hanging around, but that will go away in time. The main take away from this should be that anything is possible if you just do it. I had my Y membership for almost two years before I started really using it. Now, I can’t stop using it.

Is what I’m doing for you? I have no clue. I can only say what’s worked for me. What I think has been the most important to me is to not beat myself up over anything. I’m not on a diet, I’m just eating better. I may not be able to fit a shirt right now, but give it a few weeks and I may be able to. It really is a work in progress, and I’m loving where it’s going.

October 2, 2012
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