Sunday, August 05, 2012
Today, I finally get it. I think I reached that perfect balance between mind, body and spirit on my trail run this morning. Not just that I beat my PB and came in under an hour for the first time but totally and completely enjoyed it! I begin to feel it in my daily runs now about 20 minutes in and I can command my body to hit another gear and it's just there. The glucagon stores, muscles, aerobic capacity and mental toughness are all there as I begin to move. I know my capabilites and as they continuing to improve I gain renewed confidence. Its a kind of nirvana I never experienced in exercising, let alone running before. I always heard about this from distance runners but until recently it made no sense to me why anyone would actually enjoy running? What? But now, I'm looking forward to every single run as I prepare for my first Half Marathon and beyond. I am a runner an I enjoy it!
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Well, my health and fitness motto for this year is "No Excuses" and so far it working out very well. I have been able to stick to my written goals so far this year and making health and fitness a major part of my every day life. I can't imagine going back to an unhealthy lifestyle. I like to work out now ... this would have been unthinkable just a few short years ago. I had started on the fitness and weight loss journey in April of 2011. Last year, I lost 65 lbs and my doctor took me off my medications. Now, my fitness level is excellent!
So, getting to reason I started writing this blog entry I was considering what would I consider "too far" to miss a workout ... what is the criteria or an acceptable excuse for not making a workout because so far I have been sticking with 5-6 days per week. I can't imagine what would derail that. This came up because I could easily use weather like "its too hot" ... I just do my run in the morning. "I can't afford a gym membership" ... running, walking hiking don't require a gym. "I am traveling" ... so far each time I have to travel for work or vacation with the family I have been able to find some creative alternative such as using the hotel gym facilities or walking stairs or finding a hike near where I was staying. I have been able to bring my workout gear and make sure I am ready so those excuses don't derail the progress toward goals.
Today, I made my morning run and realized I forgot to bring a towel to dry off so I improvised ... had to use paper towels ... not ideal but again I won't let a small thing like not having a towel keep me from working out. It could have been an easy excuse for skipping the run. I'm so glad I didn't because I made a new personal best on my 5 mile run. I feel so good about the accomplishment and just good about being healthy in-general. Last weekend, even after a 10 mile hike I still was able to keep up with my teen-age sons tubing on the lake ... no soreness just feeling great.
So, it's called "No Excuses" ... as a mindset it keeps you on track and it works!
Monday, February 27, 2012
Well, Lent kinda snuck up on me this year but It got me to thinking about the whole "giving up" concept. Somehow Lent has become a diet plan instead of a spiritual preparatory time as originally intended. Usually, people I know give up sweets or alcohol or eating out ... this gives the individual the intended reminder. I also see folks giving up Television or lately Facebook is a popular one. My lifestyle journey started after Easter last year so, this would be the first Lenten sacrifice since then. However, I don't see the new lifestyle as a sacrifice so how would that fit with the reason for the season? Perhaps, this is the main reason why I have been successful in my journey is it simply hasn't felt like I'm "giving up" anything. I have improved my discipline but I eat same things as before but just as long as it fits into my eating plan, I'm good! Also, I like to eat so it encourages me to exercise because that's what gives me more food to eat! I don't want to miss my daily exercise because I simply want to eat as much food as possible and still meet my goals ... I have to eat Breakfast ... Lunch ... Dinner ... Snacks ... But just all in moderation.
So, what am I giving up for Lent? ... first, the unhealthy lifestyle had to go ... second, unhappiness with my appearance kicked to the curb ... third, lack of energy gone ... finally, poor health is over ... and now I'm ready for Easter!
Thursday, February 09, 2012
This is my first Blog in Sparkpeople site. I'm new to this site but I actually have been on a Spark-like fitness journey for about 10 months now. That said, I should give a little background. Last April 2011, I was 45 and 240 lbs, sedentary with a number of health concerns. I was already taking medications for high blood pressure and reflux with having been hospitalized for diverticulitis and colon surgery. I was also diagnosed with Grave's Disease, fatty liver and sleep apnea. In addition my cholesterol was also creeping up. In short, I was on my way to very poor health outlook and probably much shorter life. Not only those health issues but it was obvious that I couldn't do things I used to be able to do easily without becoming winded. I was too fat to fit into the amusement park rides, do certain chores around the house, etc. I couldn't do things and slowly began to feel like an old man. Was this what it was like to be in my forties or was it just because I was living an unhealthy lifestyle?
Something had to change ....
I began by slowly getting active with 10k steps per day program. I did all the usual stuff like parking in the back of the lot at the store and walking up and down the steps at work. Instead of sending email I walked over to the desk to talk to people. At home I volunteered to take things up to the bedroom or down to the basement just to get in as many steps as possible. It didn't take long for me to realize that I needed to do some dedicated walking to get up to 10k steps. That's when I set my goal to 30 minutes of walking per day for a minimum of 5 days per week. The weight slowly began to come off. This was not easy to start out with and took some time to build up my fitness level. But, I kept at it until it became a daily ritual for me. Where was I going to get the time to do all this walking? I chose to give up unproductive time of going out to lunch at work and TV watching at home. It was an adjustment but with busy work and home life it was all I had to work with. Giving up significant sleep was not possible as I already had a lengthy commute.
Later, I began to count my calories on a daily basis to keep a daily and weekly caloric deficit which led to a steady 1-2 lbs per week weight loss. I reduced or eliminated many unhealthy foods from my diet. After a few months, I added other activities like running and hiking which I enjoy doing. These would have been unthinkable just a few months earlier. Later, I increased my walking distances on weekends to 7-8 miles and 4-5 miles during week days. In October, my Doctor was amazed I had lost 50 lbs and blood pressure and cholesterol were back down to normal. I asked if we could be taken off the medications and he agreed! I keep monitoring but today my numbers continue to be excellent.
So, this brings me to today I am 172 lbs and feel great! I wish I could explain to everyone how fantastic it feels. The best way I can think of to describe it is I feel like I'm in my 20's again. I did my daily 4.5 mile run today and felt awesome! I'm also hiking a nearby mountain tomorrow and planning to long-term backpacking trip in March. I have no concerns about making any kind of hiking/backpacking trips now and in fact I'm looking forward to planning out even more trips. I'm taking my wife to the Grand Canyon in a couple of weeks. I also joined an outdoor club that's pretty active and fun group. I have lots of energy and using that to do more around the house. I don't like sitting still any more ... I prefer to be active and doing things. I am looking at Mountain Biking with my son.
In closing, I was trying to decide what to give my wife and three kids for Valentine's Day and finally it struck me I can't imagine a better gift than my long-term presence in their lives. A healthy and vital husband/father is the best gift I can give my family. There's also the intangible gifts for myself such increased confidence, a positive example and role model. For my teen-age children, security in the knowledge that it is possible to set goals and achieve them in a powerful way and in the process change your life!
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