Losing 10 lbs. seems harder than the first 50

I haven’t lost my desire, nor will power to lose 10 more pounds, but it feels so much harder right now. I’m motivated, but not charged. I’m only in the gym like 2-3 times a week, I really need to amp that back up to 4 – 5 times. I’m about even from my goal, sitting steady at that 220 mark. I really want to get down to 210.

I think I need to challenge myself more…. I think I need to establish a new goal. I need to find a run to train for, and keep running. I’ve only been running once a week, I think capturing these ideas from my brain here are going to help me.

I find myself making excuses, or allowing things that I wasn’t previously allowing to distract me. I’ve been crazy busy at work. Excuse. I’ve had lots of things going on in my personal life. Excuse. I’m starting to see that I need to re-focus my energy.

I know I’m capable of getting to my next goal, I just need to reset my expectations and realize that this one is going to be harder than my first one. It sounds crazy, but I already know that is how it’s going to go. I need to establish a bigger goal (aside from losing the 10 lbs.) and allow that goal to push me into my smaller goal. I think running a 5K or maybe a 10K is where I need to go. I think the Shamrock run is approaching, maybe I need to register for that, and set a goal to finish in a certain amount of time.

 

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Planning is Key

PlansOne of the things that continually throws me for a loop is unexpected things that happen in life. It’s the mundane, unplanned, and necessary things. Unplanned child pickups, work running later, emergencies, these are the things that can screw up your plans for the day. It’s ok to miss a workout here and there, but for me, I need to stay focused. My old track record is a series of events like this; getting sick or injured, being busy at work, or a busy home life. These are things that have traditionally derailed my success in the gym.

Now I’m trying to not allow these type of small setbacks be an excuse for failure. It all goes to where I’m at mentally. I have to realize that life happens, and I need to try to make sure I keep focused, and don’t let these things allow me to create an excuse for failure. So when I’m planning to hit the gym after work, and I have to do some unplanned thing, I’ll often try to go later at night when things have calmed down, or work out at home doing some sort of cardio.

Time isn’t the only thing you have to plan. Planning what you eat is crucially important too. There’s been days where I forget to bring my (calorie planned) lunch to work, and I just assume that I’ll go to Subway, or get some grilled chicken, or a salad. But days get hectic, and before you know it, lunch has passed, and the day is closing. Now I’m hungry, and not thinking clearly. These are the times when I make poor decisions. Decisions based on emotion.

It’s important to plan for these type of things. I usually try to keep some protein bars or other “quick-grab” things to eat. Where I work we have a little vending area that has the ubiquitous selection of chips, frozen pizza, candy, and other unhealthy options. If I don’t have anything to eat at my desk, I’ll go down and try to grab a yogurt, or some fruit – something. I look for a balance of satisfaction, measured calories, and something that’s better than fast food.

Remember, life doesn’t always go as planned, make sure you think about things in a way that you will ultimately be successful. If you have an “all or nothing” mentality (like I tend to) make sure that you approach situations realistically, with a plan, and a mindset that shit happens. Just make the best of what you can.

About a week ago, I had several (3-4) days of weight gain, not a ton, 1/2 a pound here, 1/2 a pound there, but I was wondering if I was going to hit the dreaded “plateau”. I was mentally prepared for this, but it was a bitter thought. I was doing everything right, eating right, exercising, so I was a bit confused. I realized a couple things, I had slacked a little here and there on a handful of cheerios, or a small amount of corn chips. I had almost started slipping back into old habits. I went back to my regimen, and over the next few days started to see the predictable weight loss I had been experiencing. I also realized that some sort of wall is coming, and I don’t know when it is. Several days of no weight loss, or even weight gain, are very normal in this process, just stick to what has been working for you.

If you encounter more than a week or two of a stalled plan, you may have to start changing things up. I don’t think I’m at that point yet, but I feel like I could be getting close. I’m so close to my first goal, a goal I’ve set many times and never achieved. But this time I will achieve it, failure is not an option.

10 lbs. Left Until My First Goal

I’m about 10 lbs. from my first goal of 220. I’m at 228.8 right now, so I guess 9 lbs. really. I’ve had a good week, lost about 4.5 lbs., but I think I’ll probably put a few pounds back on this week, that’s typically how it goes for me. I’m trying to lose about 2-3 lbs. per week.

It’s been almost exactly 3 months since Aruba. I’m pretty happy with how it’s gone so far. Once I hit the 220 mark. I’m going to set another shorter term goal to get down to 210 lbs. That would be another 10 lbs, bringing my total loss to 50 lbs. At 210, I’m going to maintain that for a bit, and see if I think it’s even remotely possible to get to 200. I can’t imagine being any less than that, despite what the BMI charts say. I need new clothes. A lot of the stuff I have is just simply too big right now. Here’s some pictures, scroll to the bottom to see the ‘before’ picture!

John

10 lbs. to go! 228.8 lbs. Dec 5, 2012 – about 3 months since Aruba

10 lbs. to go! 230 lbs. Dec 5, 2012 - about 3 months since Aruba

10 lbs. to go! 228.8 lbs. Dec 5, 2012 – about 3 months since Aruba

Geocaching in Aruba

262 lbs.

Working Out Mentality

Establishing the mentality to lose weight and workout is hard. It’s probably harder than going to the gym and doing the actual workouts. There’s several components that I have to drill into my thick skull on an almost daily basis to ensure that I’ll continue to keep at it. Ensuring that I keep these things in mind helps me a great deal!

Dedication – Realize that losing weight takes dedication. If you don’t dedicate yourself to the process, the process will not work, no matter how half-assed you go at it.

Never take No attitude – Don’t let yourself become victim to excuses. Beat your brain into submission, that you will be working out a lot, and that you will be good at it. Don’t let your life be the excuse to hinder your progress.

Don’t settle – Don’t settle for less. Remember that you’re worth the hard work, and you shouldn’t settle for anything less.

Push yourself – For me this is key. If you’re not physically drenched in sweat at the end of your workout, my opinion is your weight loss is going to take way longer. I’m drenched in sweat at the end of my workouts, and I continually try and push myself further.

Try new things – Trying new things at the gym, or for your workouts will help you progress in your weight loss journey. I’ve tried running, spin class, and kick boxing.

Measure your calorie burn – Measure what you’re burning. You’ll feel a better sense of accomplishment and appreciation for what it takes to lose weight. Remember you typically have to burn roughly 3500 calories to lose a single pound. You’ll also develop a sense of how hard you have to work to burn several hundred calories. I try to burn 500+ calories at least four days a week. A good week I’ll see five days of workouts.

Know you’ll fail at times – Know that there will be setbacks, but don’t let them beat you. Fix the problem, and move on. Realize that some amount of failure is inevitable, don’t let it consume or beat you. It’s ok to cut yourself a little slack sometimes.

Calorie Budgets and Holiday Stress

During the holiday season it’s usually a very stressful time to try and lose weight. There always seems to be an infinite amount of food, candy and sweets no matter where you go, and people always wanting you to try their favorite (read – fattening, caloric, un-needed) food. Everyone’s favorite excuse is to delay making any sort of weight loss pledge until the holidays are over. “I’ll start after new year’s”. We all know how it goes, “This year will be different…” or “I’m going to get fit this year!”.

It’s always so relevant and decisive to be past the holidays, but people usually don’t stick to their new year’s resolutions for more than a month at best. That’s why I’m telling you now, don’t let the holidays be an excuse. If you can get through the tempting holidays while continuing to consistently work towards your weight loss goals, imagine how empowering that could be. It’s huge, and a testament to working hard, controlling your eating, and winning over your emotions.

Turkey on GrillThis Thanksgiving I was exactly in that position. And while I did eat more than I should have, it wasn’t repugnant like holidays past. I wasn’t sick-to-my-stomach full. The thing I noticed is I was eating because the food was available, not really because I was hungry. It was just there, and so easy to snack on. I snacked (a small amount) pretty much all day long. When it came to dinner, I was hungry, but not starving, I took a reasonable portion of turkey, a small amount of mashed potatoes, and some green beans, that’s it. I splurged a bit and had some wine too, probably 2-3 glasses. I was probably around 2400 calories for the day just about 800 – 1000 calores over my budget. When you figure most men eat 2000 – 2200 calories per day, that’s not that far out of whack.

The next day I woke up, kind of scared to get on the scale. I had gained two pounds. I was so disappointed. It was a setback, I kept thinking how long it takes to lose two pounds and I just undid this in one night? My (awesome) girlfriend said I was being too hard on myself, she was right. I used to let something like this be enough to derail me and send me packing. Not this time, I decided I was over-reacting and headed to the gym. I drank tons of water, and went back to my calorie counting regimen. The next day I had dropped those two pounds, and a little more. Sure there’s probably some ‘water weight’ in play, and it’s normal to fluctuate a bit, but my point here is realize there will be setbacks and failures, make sure you don’t let these bumps in the road over power you.

My holiday advice is pledge to lose weight now. Don’t wait for the holidays to be over. Create the challenge for yourself and excel at it. Realize that on the holidays you may go overboard a little, have a reasonable amount of snacks and candy, but don’t make that be the norm. Keep focused in your goals and fight everyday to ensure you get to where you want to be. It’s all in your control, it’s all up to you. Now go and do it, because you have the ability, desire, and drive to accomplish whatever you decide to do.

Small Victories

When I started running, I could barely get a mile or two in under an hour. I probably honestly walked more of it than I ran, it felt horrible. As I’ve stated before I’m not a good runner, but I’m getting faster, stronger, better. I’m by no means fast by running standards, but compared to MY standards that I started with, I’m way faster. I’m trying to push myself out of my comfort zone on almost every run. It’s a weird thing, some days I feel invincible when I’m running, others, I just want it to be over, and I’m beat.

3 Months ActiveI really try to approach every run with a positive mindset. Even though I’ve said I hate it, or that I’m not good at it, I really try to be happy about doing it. I’m trying to remember that it’s making me stronger, thinner, and a better person. I’m trying to do a number of things, and building character is one of them. So I’m learning to celebrate the days where I feel like I can push past what I had historically struggled to do. They’re small victories, but they’re huge. It’s something I need to remember not to glaze over and forget.

Fastest Mile So FarThe running application I use does a great job of keeping track of so many things I never even considered; your fastest 1K, 5K, mile, most calories burned in a single run, as well as a plethora of other milestones. It’s great to see with each run that I am consistently improving some of these metrics. This week I ran three times instead of two, and the application even applauded me for “running more than you normally do”. Awwww shucks, thanks! So, while my achievements may not impress hardcore runners, they’re impressing me, especially when I see improvement almost every time I go out.

Sure they’re just silly images on a web site, but they’re motivating, and something that makes me keep wanting to do this, so I think that’s great.

No More Excuses

Face it. Life happens. There’s always going to be a reason that you can probably legitimately convince yourself that you don’t have time to work out, or to be bothered with losing weight. We do it every day, put things off, steer clear of people that we don’t want to talk to, avoid, dodge, and hope that things will just work out.

I’m sure we can all justify this, right?

The things that happen inside your head are so important to identify and fix as they occur. When you’re faced with a challenging situation, think positive, if you hear your brain telling you something else, change it. Sometimes during spin class, I get to a point where I think “This is too hard, I can’t do it.” Right about then the instructor blurts out something like “If you think this is too hard, stop it. Do it. Rise to the challenge.”

It’s amazing when you can identify the things your brain is telling you, without you even really knowing what’s going on! The big focus I have right now is not making excuses for why I can’t get to the gym, why I can’t work out, etc. etc. There’s always a way. I’m a busy guy, work more than full time, have two kids, a girlfriend, and friends. I have to balance this all while I try to meet my fitness and weight loss goals.

I think one of the things that I hear a lot from people is that they can’t afford the gym, but these same people spend money often frivolously. You can get good deals on gym memberships at Costco. Even just walking in off the street to most gyms, you can pay about $40 a month. Cut dinner out for two nights per month, problem solved. There’s even smaller independent gyms around where I live that cost as little as $15 a month.  I got very lucky, I had purchased a membership in Seattle for a small chain of gyms that was acquired by 24 Hour Fitness. I’m locked in to $10 a month for life. There’s been years where I never used it, but always paid, it’s worth it now.

Do little things that add up. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park in the furthest space at the store, go for walks instead of sitting and watching television. When you’re bored (not really hungry) drink water instead of eating. All of these little things add up over time and can make a big difference!

So don’t start Monday. Don’t start after the holidays. Don’t wait until there’s a certain number on the scale. Start now, hold yourself accountable, and know that whatever you want to do, you are capable of and able to do. No more excuses, now is the time for action.