On April 1st of this year, I stepped on the scale and weighed in at 266 pounds. 25 of the 30 days in April I ran on the treadmill. Toward the end of the month I had to take three separate days off because I was afraid I was going to injure myself, and for two days I was too sick to do anything let alone run. On April 30, I weighed in at 241, for a total loss of 25 pounds. Not quite the 30 I’d aimed for, but a smashing success nonetheless.
I considered that month a “boot camp” for myself. I’m 6’1″, so 266 pounds didn’t make me obese or disgusting but it was too much weight and I didn’t feel good. Most importantly, I was unhappy with myself for letting myself get to that point. Losing the weight was an important part of the success of that month, but the real victory was that I made a commitment to change my habits and I stuck with it.
In May I eased up on myself, and also joined a local gym so I would have access to more equipment and wouldn’t be relying to heavily on that treadmill. That didn’t work out, and I should have known it wouldn’t. Getting up early to work out at home is a lot easier than getting up early to drive five miles and work out in a gym full of strangers who seem to be in the way all the time. I ended up only using the exercise bike when I went so I wouldn’t have to stand and wait for equipment. Eventually I just stopped going and then cancelled the membership.
Over the summer, the eating habits I had put in place began to slack off. There were also a few weeks in there where I didn’t even work out at all. I intended to do another boot camp in July, but we had some trips that interfered with that, and it was just too easy to let things slide.
In mid-July Anita and I had a good conversation about our health and our goals for fitness. We made a commitment to each other and have been getting up at 5am at least five days a week to workout since then. We added a recumbent exercise bike and a weight bench to our little home gym, and really turned it into a great dedicated space to focus on physical fitness.
This morning I weighed in at 245 pounds. That’s four pounds more than at the end of my April boot camp, but I know it’s muscle weight and not fat weight. I’ve actually gone from a 2XL t-shirt size down to XL. My workout habits are consistent now, which I am also really happy about. But there’s still room for improvement.
I’m thinking of September as a “challenge month” rather than a boot camp. I’m going to step up my workout schedule to 40-60 minutes seven days a week. Now that I can rotate between the treadmill, the exercise bike, the heavy bag and lifting weights I won’t have to worry about overdoing it with one body part. And if I do need a break, I will be able to do an easier workout on the exercise bike.
The second part of my September challenge will be to stick to a strict diet like I did in April. I have a list of healthy breakfast and lunch meals to chose from. Breakfast will be my big meal, and it will consist of things like high fiber cereals, oatmeal, yoghurt, low fat cottage cheese, fruit and egg white omelets. Lunches will be things like rice and fish, hummus and pita bread, sushi, garden salads and fruit. Dinner will be whatever we normally have, but smaller portions. A slice of pizza instead of three slices, for example.
I will be drinking only water, and lots of it. Giving up my morning cup of coffee will be the biggest challenge for me. I don’t drink much pop, milk or tea. I will also be keeping cheese, breads and salt down to the minimum. With the exception of grapes, there won’t be any between meal snacking. I do plan to have one serving of desert during the month when we go out to dinner on my birthday, but it’s a planned thing, so I won’t think of it as a failure.
The third aspect of my challenge month is to attempt to read 10 books that will in some way contribute to my overall improvement. I’ll be finishing my current book today, so I’ll be able to open a fresh one tomorrow. The first book on my list is Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace which I am actually a couple of chapters into already. I may also pick up a copy of Tony Robbins’ Unlimited Power, which I partially read about fifteen years ago, and I’ve got a Buddhist book by Lama Surya Das to read also, but the title escapes me right now. The rest are up in the air right now, and I’m going to be open to suggestions. Leave one in the comments if you have any good ideas for me.
So that’s my plan. That’s my September challenge. I’ve planned out my 30 days in the hole and I hope to come out of it a slightly better person.