First Goal – Achieved. – What’s Next?

"Goal Achieved"

When I set out about four months ago to lose weight, I had an ambitious goal. There of course was a number that I wanted to hit, but really what I wanted was to feel better about myself both physically and mentally. I wanted to shed physical and emotional weight. Yesterday, I was one pound from that goal, as close as I’ve ever been. I’ve set this goal a number of times before, but never had the gumption to make it. I was a little worried that I’d stall for this last pound, and somehow never make it.

Today that has changed. When I “weighed in” today, I had exceeded that goal by almost an additional pound and a half. I started out 262lbs. and had set a goal of getting down to 220lbs. Today’s weight was 218.7. I weighed myself twice, as I didn’t believe it, the second weight was  .1 less. It’s official, I’ve hit my goal! I’m so happy with everything the way it’s gone. No crash fad diet, no feeling of dread about working out, I’m not restricted to certain foods, it just feels way better than other approaches I’ve adopted in the past. I’ve “technically” lost more than 50lbs, as at my worst I weighed 270lbs, but was 262 when I started back in Sept.

Now what? Well the first thing I can say, is that I’ll continue to blog, and hold myself accountable. Getting on the scale every morning is probably one of the biggest motivators, the fact that every time I weigh myself, the difference (plus OR minus) goes right to this blog on the left hand side! That is huge for me, I’m putting it all out there. One thing I know is that I don’t ever want to carry around that much weight – ever again.

I had been previously losing about 2 lbs. per week. I’m going to scale that back a bit, and lose 1 – 1.5 pounds per week. This slower approach of losing weight will allow me to up my calorie intake from 1600-1700 calories I had been eating to almost 1900 per day. My next weight goal is to get to 210 pounds. (Only 8.7 pounds to go!) After I hit 210, I’ll evaluate where I’m at, and may try to get to 200 pounds, I’m not sure yet, I’m still kind of taking this as it comes. I think I need another trip to Aruba, so I can go rent a wave runner, that’s kind of what started all of this.

Not to sound cheesy, but if you’ve been sitting back, wanting to make a change, yes, there’s will power and a regimen to follow, but I really think the harder part is what your brain is telling you to do. Conquer the “no way” or “can’t” attitude and know that if I can do this, there’s no reason you can’t too. It takes hard work and dedication, but as you commit yourself to the process, you start to see that the weight comes off faster than you think. There are even times in the process where you get so excited about waking up to weigh yourself that the whole thing snowballs, you’ll do more than you think you you’re capable of.

The way that I feel when I wake up, walk around, and live live lighter than I used to be is so much better than I could have realized. So many things are just easier now, I enjoy getting out to do things where I used to just stay behind. I’ve blogged about this in the past, but don’t mess around with it, just decide to do it and change. It’s not really as hard as you may think.

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Work Out at Work

It may seem obvious, but it’s worth pointing out, that a lot can be accomplished during a lunch hour. Take your lunch to work, and when you’d normally go out to eat for an hour, go for a run. If you’re lucky, your work may even have showers and locker rooms. My office has a small, but decent gym, so when I know I won’t be able to make it to the gym after work, I make sure to try and squeeze a work out in during the day.

Even getting outside to just walk for an hour is a great thing to do. You don’t have to become a sweaty mess. At a decent pace, you can easily walk several miles, and burn a few hundred calories. Eat your lunch at your desk when you’re back to work!

Another great thing to do at work is stairs. Sure you may get some weird looks, but remember you’ll be getting fit! A good set of stairs is a great workout, up and down, burns a ton of calories. Set a goal of 25 flights of stairs, and then go for a small walk to cool down. If you have a large office, chances are you can find a low traffic area.

The point I’m trying to make is plan ahead. If you know your normal gym night is a busy one that won’t let you get away, find a way to cram something into your day, whether it’s before work, during work, or even later, make sure you don’t let it slide. Even if you’re not doing your full workout and calorie burn, get something in, you’ll feel better, and it’s a mental win.

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.

Family Life and Weight Loss Goals

FamilyWhen you are motivated to accomplish a goal, it’s important to remember that regular life needs to happen in parallel. Just because I’m super charged in my desire and actions to make big changes to lose weight doesn’t mean I can just let everything else slide. I’m trying to be sensitive to my work, kids, loved ones, and friends. I’m also trying to keep up on the details, paying bills, keeping the house clean, cooking, and groceries and errands, it’s a lot to manage!

The most important people in my life right now are my kids, my girlfriend, and her kids. My sister lives in Seattle and we talk a bit here and there, same with my parents, so there’s not really any danger of alienating them during this process. But my kids and girlfriend and her kids, do sometimes bear the stress of me needing to be at the gym. I try to be sensitive to this and make sure that I do several things: communicate when I’m planning to go work out, work out during times when it won’t impact them, and take opportunities to work out at home or with them.

Communication is something I’m a huge fan of. I probably over communicate at times. I try to be in the gym 4 days per week at a minimum. It’s about an hour and a half of being away from home and I’m pretty much unavailable to the outside world during that time. I’ll even put it on my calendar for the classes and things I can plan out in advance, so that my girlfriend knows.

Let me take a second to say how great she is. The spin classes are 2x a weekat 6 PM, I am not done until 7PM and come over to her house afterwards, she generally makes me something healthy to eat, as I’m starving by this point. What a great gal I’m with!

I’ll also try and work out when my kids are with their mom. They come home to my house every day after school, so I do get to see them quite a bit. The days their mom comes to get them, I spend time with them from after school on, but then I usually get to the gym if it’s a workout day about 1/2 hour before they are picked up. I’ll also work out later at night sometimes, even close to 10PM. This can be a good time as my youngest is in bed, and my older one is responsible enough to be home for a short amount of time. It’s weird working out later at night, sometimes it’s the best thing ever for getting to sleep, other times, I’m wired past 2 AM.

The best thing that can happen is when we can all work out together. Whether it’s all going for a long walk, bike riding, or our group favorite, Geocaching. I’ll write a whole other post about Geocaching. We sometimes all play Xbox Kinnect games too, like dance central, or a fighting/kickboxing game, which you’re probably thinking is a simple work out, but when I play the kick boxing game, after an hour I’m drenched in sweat – it’s totally fun too!

It’s also important to remain realistic. If you’re not a morning person, and you think you can squeeze it all in before you need to be at work, you can probably hold it together for a while, but ultimately you’ll probably end up bailing on things. I’m a total night owl, so working out later works for me, it’s actually nice, the gym is empty, and I enjoy it. But if you go to sleep before midnight, this is probably not an approach for you. It’s important to remain realistic as you don’t want to adopt a philosophy that will ultimately cause you to fail. What would be worse is to feel like you failed because you didn’t want to sacrifice your personal relationships. Just realize like everything I’ve talked about so far it’s about balance and moderation.

I feel blessed and lucky to have such an awesome support network. Supportive kids, friends, family, and an amazing girlfriend that also has amazing kids. I’m a pretty lucky guy.