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Thursday, January 23, 2014

"The green reed which bends in the wind is stronger than the mighty oak which breaks in a storm.” ~ Confucius say... :-D

Having reached my original goal, the one that I set before myself on that first day I began this journey, I'm very much pondering where to go from here. If I've learned anything in life, it's that plans and the future are always changing. Those who are inflexible to change... to adapting their plans depending on what life throws their way... well, they struggle to find their way in this world. When I made the goal to weigh 185 pounds, it was based on remembering the last weight that I felt happy at (over ten years ago), and by referencing my healthy BMI. So the plan was simple: lose 80 pounds, and reach that weight. As I got closer to this weight though, a funny thing happened... I found that I was finally completely happy and comfortable with my body despite not being at goal weight. I could very well have stopped there and considered it a job well done. For months, as I lost weight rapidly, I had begun to ponder the concept of maintenance and was gearing up for it... but something changed again. My personal goals evolved... happy with my body, my focus began to shift to my running, and at the end of October I found that I was able to run 4 miles three times a week. Whereas I once held 5k to be a good goal for distance, I suddenly had my sights on 10k. Then the challenge was dropped into my lap to attempt a half marathon distance. The reed bends and sways in the direction that the wind is blowing... and so I embraced that new chapter in my life, and with it a variety of new perspectives on things. As I crept ever slowly toward 185 pounds, I began to see that running had become more than just my path to weight loss, it's become a passion... something that pushes the boundaries of what I think is possible in my life and allows me to conquer my body. Although quite happy at 185 pounds, the truth is that through my passion, I'm going to continue to burn calories like mad, and will continue to lose weight... and so I adapt, and new goals have arisen. So, without further ado, here's what's next for me.

I believe that although I'm not attempting to maintain a specific weight right now, I can still characterize my status as being in a maintenance of sorts. It's not fixed on weight at the moment, rather is more a case of maintaining muscle mass, maintaining energy levels, maintaining a healthy body, and maintaining momentum. With running being more of a goal, it's easy to determine that my body will respond with more speed, endurance, and less wear and tear, if I continue to drop some weight from this frame. My loving wife bought me a fancy weight scale for Christmas - one that tells me a whole whackload of information. According to it, I have a current body fat percentage of 21%. This is considered smack dab in the average percentage range for my age - may seem strange if you see pictures of me or even when I look at my body in the mirror, because I look leaner than that, but clearly my body composition naturally disperses my body fat incredibly evenly... definitely not complaining, lol. My fitness range for body fat lies around the 15% mark. With all of this in mind, and knowing that my body will naturally continue to shed pounds in the months ahead, my new goal is one based around body fat percentage. I plan to lose another ten pounds of overall body mass (essentially ten pounds of fat), and gauge my body fat along the way. Once I clock in at 175 pounds, I plan to name that my game weight, and work toward maintaining that number. Since I would still be burning massive calories, I'll work toward increasing my protein intake to build muscle (along with more strength training if needed), and increase my 'good' carb intake to aid in my energy levels for running. This should offset my weight loss (in theory) and at that point continue to cut away my body fat percentage while maintaining a specific weight. Ideally, losing ten pounds of fat might land me really close to my percentage goal, but I'll simply evaluate that once I get there. I expect this to be much longer and more drawn out goal, and am happy to work at this for the next few years ahead. Patience is everything in this journey. Patience with ourselves, patience with our results, but as always, keeping the resolve to work hard as strong as possible. I'll be changing my ticker to reflect this new goal very soon, and am excited to see where this road leads.

Apart from this, I just plan to keep pursuing my passion for running. I've signed up for a 10k in April, and have the half marathon in May. From there, I plan to run the Toronto half marathon in October, and look for other 10k runs in between. Next year I'll be looking to run about four half marathons, and work toward the next impossible distance for myself... a full marathon distance. My running mentor, Stephen, has insisted that I not fill my head with too many thoughts on marathon running until next year, as he wants my primary focus to be conditioning my body over this next year. Once I'm conditioned for half marathon distance, then he'll be happy to guide me on in that sense. I can't tell you how much this man and his guidance has meant to me. I'm so fortunate to have him as a resource... as a friend. Once I'm up to running marathon distances, I've had the genius idea that it might serve as an outlet for meeting some of you in real life! :-D There are far more marathons run in the States than are available to me locally, and ideally I would like to run at least two per year. My dream is to travel to some of the cities near some of you, and not only race, but shake the hand of and share an embrace with those of you who've I've formed super close bonds. Though, I doubt I'll be able to afford racing near Venice (sorry Tina, lol). In the long of it... I have a big hope that now dangles ever so gently before my eyes. It's a very long term goal... it's one that I realize heading into it may never come to fruition... one that might come so close within my grasp but evade me none-the-less... I want to qualify for and run in the great Boston Marathon. The mere thought of this goal gets my heart pumping, and my soul smiling. It excites me... compels me... causes me to drop my chin ever so slightly, grit my teeth together in determination, and narrow my eyes in fierce desire for something that represents the final frontier in my imagination for what I'm capable of achieving physically. There's a long road ahead for training and conditioning, and there are many unforeseen obstacles that exist which may cause me to have to abandon this dream... but one foot in front of the other... one day at a time... this is where I'm going... ultimately, this is what's next. Boston 2018... I'm coming for you.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    1515 days ago
    You got this down man. I admire your determination & focus.Looking forward to seeing whats next for you!

    Rock. it.out.
    1543 days ago
    Great goals! Congratulations on all that you've accomplished thus far! Building and maintaining muscle is key to keeping your metabolism rolling. You are very lucky to have a mentor. I've had to rely on trial and error for my successes and weed through all the incorrect information out there and boy is there a lot of it! Good luck with everything and thank you for being apart of my journey. :-)
    1543 days ago
    I'm so happy you are at that weight where you feel body comfortable. I remember being there and it was so freeing not to worry about tight clothes anymore and not worrying about seeing fat photos! I look forward to reclaiming that feeling and maintaining it! The best result in your weight loss process is truly finding an exercise you are passionate about. Running is great, because it is a portable exercise you can do anywhere. The road is a great listener and it feels wonderful to just have that time to yourself! How cool do you feel when your child sees Dad's running shoes? You can know that you are an awesome role model.
    1546 days ago
    Awesome Job Greg and I know that you will reach each and every goal that you have set for yourself! I need to get myself a BMI scale! emoticon
    1547 days ago
    Love that you've caught the running bug! It really is a life-changer.
    1547 days ago
    Man, I'm totally bummed out that you can't make it here for the Venice Marathon, lol! If you do end up running in Boston in 2018, I'll try my darndest to make it there and cheer you on.

    Your goals look great, Gregg, and like you've said, there's much more to maintenance than just trying to stay put at a particular weight. Identifying your passions and pursuing them, predicting obstacles and working to overcome them and setting new goals to keep yourself motivated are all important keys to long-term maintenance success.

    There's no doubt in my mind that you'll continue on your path to success and happiness.
    1547 days ago
    Gregg, it's so refreshing to read a man's journey on SparkPeople. Yes, men are out there, and they blog, but most of us here are women. Keep working toward your goals, and please keep sharing.
    1547 days ago
    Firstly, high five again for reaching such awesome goals!!! Secondly, hells to the yeah on what is planned for the future!! I have no doubts that you will be able to reach each and every goal you have set ! I'm so proud of you and all that you have accomplished. You're always there to cheer people on and help during times of struggle and that makes you even more fantastic! Great job, man!! Keep it up!
    1547 days ago
  • KANOE10
    I know you will reach your goal of 175 and I expect to see you on TV running that Boston Marathon in the future. Your passion for running and staying healthy is so inspirational. You are great!

    emoticon emoticon
    1547 days ago
    Shed a couple of tears towards the end of the blog because I'm a sentimental mess LOL. Thanks for not only sharing your journey but your wisdom! Boston 2018 will feel oh so sweet :) emoticon
    1547 days ago
    Great blog & congrats on the weight loss! That's what life is all about; setting goals, Achieving those goals and accomplishing them, then setting new goals! Always push farther and higher in this life and become the best you can be! And you are doing just that! Again congrats you are a true success story and such an inspiration! Keep up the great work! emoticon
    1547 days ago
    You. Are. Awesome!
    Spark on!
    Run on!

    (I feel super jazzed right now! Great motivating post!)
    1547 days ago
    Love your goals and that your "maintenance" goals aren't really about weight. Great plan!
    1547 days ago
    Hi Gregg! Thanks for adding me as a friend. I look forward to getting to know you. This blog is awesome and it sounds like you have a great plan in place. Congrats on your success!
    1547 days ago
    All sounds great! Go Gregg go! BTW just signed up for the Brooklyn Half. I've been running 10 miles on Saturdays for the past month, pretty easily, so I figure another 3 miles won't be that much to add on, especially since we run to Coney Island!!
    1547 days ago
    emoticon This, sir, is mega awesome!
    1547 days ago
    Love your blog and your goals! You have come so far and are such an inspiration. Even though I only recently found your blogs I love reading them and they resonate with me and hit me on a very emotional level. You have accomplished some amazing things - and have a way of making me think that maybe I can do the same. Thank you and looking forward to reading about how things go as you tackle your next set of goals! emoticon
    1547 days ago
    OH! Boston is also a goal of mine! That is why I am working so hard to get my half marathon time down. It is the first goal that I have to meet to start running a marathon! Good luck and Way to go!
    1547 days ago
    You are so amazing and such an inspiration. Just the way you are with words made me get goosebumps!! You have already accomplished so much I have no doubt that you will be in Boston in 2018 running the marathon you are working for. Good Luck and I can't wait to follow on the next stage of your journey with you!
    1547 days ago
    Gregg, you freaking rock.
    1547 days ago
    1547 days ago
    Hey Gregg,
    you must be excited to take this new journey in life. And also to be focused on different goals. I am, ever so slowly, shifting my fitness goals as well. On a much smaller scale though. I had to quit the gym so I've decided to attempt a couch to 5k. I'm excited about it. Looking forward to hearing your advice as you "pave" the way for me. I have a scale like that. It is a weight watchers scale? My husband bought it for me for Christmas last year. (romantic, right) I love it. Is that the one you have?
    emoticon emoticon
    1547 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/23/2014 4:51:05 PM
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