New years commitments – not a resolution

I never really got into the “New Year’s Resolutions” thing. Too much pressure to succeed, that ironically virtually guarantees your failure. That said, I havd a few things i am going to do better this year.

My weight

I have been letting my weight inch up. Stressful job, not enough time to exercise, and comfort foods all conspire. Add in the medications that I take that lower my metabolism, and it is a perfect storm.

I know how to lose weight, having dropped 25#’s in 2013, so it isn’t a trick. Eat less, exercise more, and be sure that calories in is less than calories out. Easy peasy.

Back to a measured breakfast, a predictable (and countable calorie) lunch, and modest dinner. Counting calories, and keeping track is key.

Two weeks in, and i am probably down 7#’s already (the easy initial loss). My pants fit better, and I can tell the difference. Already, I am adjusting to the smaller portions. Woot.

My drinking

Our tequila consumption had gone through the roof. Not an every day occurrence, but enough to become a concern. Last night I finished the last of my holiday ale from Christmas, and I will stop buying beer.

I will occasionally have a glass of wine or a pint of ale, but it will become a once a month thing, not 2 or 3 a week thing.

Exercising

This is tougher. My schedule at work is brutal, and I really can’t break away cleanly to exercise at lunch like I have been able to in the past. Still, I need to work harder at getting out on the weekends. Bicycling where I live is choice, so that is a huge positive.

I still try to get out and walk occasionally too, and I need to start hiking the trails in the Santa Cruz mountains.

As I approach the magical five-oh, the body clearly needs different behaviors. Time to get serious.

Back in the saddle – lunchtime exercise

Today was the first time in almost a month that I was able to escape the office at lunch and work out. Heck, for that matter, it is probably the first time in more than 3 weeks that I was able to bring in my lunch.

Launching a product, sales training, travel, and then having to run home at lunch to take care of the hounds, means that I have been severely curtailed in my lunchtime run/walk. Add to that brutally cold (for Phoenix) weekends, so I haven’t been able to cycle either.

Today I got out for 4 miles at lunch. Felt good, but I am definitely out of shape.

Next week we are shut down, so I will take that opportunity to get aggressive with both the exercise and diet.

Fitness Update – Long Absense

Early in August, I had my 30th high school reunion. It was a blast, but I made a decision to not worry about my calories that week.

I came back to a foot that bugged me and kept me from any serious exercise. I was careful about what I ate, but I didn’t track it meticulously. Some splurges, some good days, some less good.

I have been dreading the scale, but this morning I stepped on it in preparation for “getting back in the groove” and was pleasantly surprised that I weigh the same as I did before the reunion trip. Woo hoo, I didn’t backslide too much.

Now to get back on the plan. 20#’s to go.

Fitness then and now

Back in 2003/2004 I lost a ton of weight. I went from a peak of about 265#’s to ~185#’s where I stabilized for a long time. I did it the old fashion way, by eating less and exercising more. I counted calories, targeting ~ 1,400 a day (give or take). I started exercising in a gym (because I was really out of shape, it seemed the safest way to get serious), but graduated to running and cycling (even completing a 100km fundraising event that summer).

While I kept at that low weight for a long time, the following year we took a two week vacation in France, and I packed on a few pounds (don’t judge me, the food was OUTSTANDING).  Then I turned 40 (and 45) and the weight was harder to take off.  Just cutting my calorie intake wasn’t enough. Throw in plantar fasciitis and it wasn’t possible to do my daily exercise ritual anymore.

Fast forward until now.  I got back up to 232#’s in early 2013, and I wasn’t happy. I decided to get serious about it. Fortunately, there are lots of tools available today that were just not an option in 2003.

Perfect Diet Tracker – Byoni Systems. A great program that helps you set goals, and track your intake. It has an amazing database that users contribute to, and in the event that something is not there, it is trivial to add it to the database from the nutritional label. I can also enter in my exercise, so that I keep a running tally. Setting goals is easy (and it will warn you if you are being too aggressive, or losing weight too fast), and takes the guesswork out of the process. It is reasonably priced, and it is cross platform, so I use it on my mac as well as my work PC to track while I am on the road (it also has a Linux version too). It syncs with Dropbox, so my data is wherever I am at.

Runkeeper – Application on the iPhone. I started using the Nike application, but it was buggy and crashed a lot.  A friend recommended RunKeeper, and I haven’t looked back. It has all the exercise types listed, and tracks your progress cleanly. It also integrates with a heart rate monitor so I can accurately track my cardio work. I use it for walking, hiking, and biking. There is a great website that you can use to review and track your workouts. It shares automatically with Facebook and Twitter. For what I use it for, it is free, but there is a paid version that will help you train for things like Marathons.

BlueWazoo Heart Rate Monitor – A chest strap with a blue tooth sender unit, it pairs with my iPhone and RunKeeper app. Instead of just tracking speed, distance, and elevation, this option adds a real time tracking of my heartrate. Something I am concerned about being a victim of coronary artery disease.

Excel – I take my blood pressure daily, and track it in an excel spreadsheet.  I also daily track my weight (I weigh myself first thing in the morning, and measure my blood pressure before I drink coffee. Excel is a great tool for this, as it lets me graph the results in a variety of ways that are useful to me.

The world has changed, and the technology has made the exercise portion of fitness and the nutritional tracking to be more exact, and relevant to the process.

To date I have lost 22#’s in 2.5 months. A good pace, and I am satisfied.  About 20 more to go.

Diet Update

One of the hazards of dieting, and the process of losing weight is the inevitable plateaus that you will encounter. They are frustrating as hell. You know that you are not going overboard on the calories, and you are doing your exercise, but the needle doesn’t budge.

I had been stalled at 214#’s for almost 2 weeks. It was frustrating, particularly because I picked up the intensity of my exercising, doing more and longer bicycle rides. Hell, even my tracking program was telling me that something was broken.

Fortunately, I broke through that plateau, and am now down to 212#’s. That marks a milestone. Since I started in mid April, 9 weeks ago (roughly), I am down 20#’s.  I am almost half way to my goal. Woo hoo!