health challenge

How about a challenge to spark things up?

Some of you may have noticed that this blog, and my other blog, have both been suffering from a bit of neglect of late. I have been in a bit of a funk. I haven’t completely figured out why, or how it got started, but it has kept me from writing, and it has kept me from making progress on my journey. Today I was talking to a friend in a weight loss group on Facebook, and we both decided that having a walking challenge for the month of May might be fun. She is actually a jogger, so we called it the 100 Mile May Movement Challenge!

challenge logoThe challenge is to walk, jog or run 100 miles in the month of May. I will be using a combination of treadmill time, and outside walking. Because of my knees, running isn’t really an option. Just as I did back in August of last year, I will be posting my progress here. Something new this time, I might even post pictures from some of my outdoor walks!

Who is with me on this? Who else wants to take up the challenge to get the summer off to a great start with some healthy walking?

Update on my challenges, and a few thoughts

My next weigh-in is still a couple of days off, but I thought I’d give an update on my current challenges, and my thoughts on my activity level of late.

For the Daytona 500km challenge, here is my recent chart:

daytonaLately I have been doing 6.0km on each visit to the gym. The snow storm here over the weekend kept me away for a day, so I spent the next two doing some extra work. Then I realized that was unnecessary. On my current pace I need only to average 4.6km / day for the rest of the 18 days (after today). This weekend my wife and I are traveling and we plan to do plenty of walking so I should have no problem keeping that pace. This morning I was back to my 59 minute, 6.0km workout

The snow storm kept me from the gym for a day, but look what it did to my steps!

stepsThe storm hit on February 1, so that day and the day after I was digging out. We ended up with almost 17 inches of snow, so part of my strategy was to go out and run the snow blower multiple times over the two days. Because I was feeling good, I also ran it on the side walks of my two neighbors, and a few houses across the street. By the time I made the 6 or 7 passes up and down my driveway, and then repeated that whole process 6 or 7 times, I ended up with over 8,700 steps.

Monday (February 2), was more of the same. Because I was mostly dug out, I also went to the gym that day and did some extra walking in the parking lot after my workout.

I know I’ve used these words here before, but I will again… What a difference a year makes. Last year at this time I hadn’t started my journey yet.¬† We had a few significant snow storms, and running my snow blower took all the effort I had. And, I only did exactly what was required for my driveway and sidewalk. The effort to wrestle the machine through larger snow piles left me with a sore back for weeks. This year I look forward to being out and handling the snow, I go the extra mile to do neighbors’ walks, and my back doesn’t hurt. All that in one year.

Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t like snow. But my hatred of large snow falls is mitigated some by my renewed spirit of fitness.

Both challenges will be coming to an end soon. I have a few ideas floating around on what to do next. I really like being up every morning at the gym, and doing the treadmill gets my metabolism working hard. I am thinking of also working in some upper body stuff, possibly with weights. I will keep you posted on that.

How are you doing on your fitness goals? It’s never too late to renew them, and to get back to work. After you read this, get up and take a walk for 10 minutes. Then come back and tell me how you are feeling!

Week 48 – A modest loss

It’s weigh-in day!

Today I tipped the scale at 234.0 pounds. That is a 0.4 pound loss for the week. My total weight loss is now an even, 111.0 pound, or 32.2% of my original weight.

For the month of January I lost 8.8 pounds, and updated my monthly weight loss bar graph on my progress page.

This past week I was very diligent on my measuring and tracking. And, with the exception of Sedentary Saturday, I hit the gym hard as well as keeping up on my challenges (update is below). If anything held me back from losing more it would probably be the homemade pizza that my wife made for my birthday, and the 3 (small) pieces of cake I had over the course of the weekend and early week. All that is behind me now, and I still lost weight for the week, so I have no complaint.

The Daytona 500km Challenge

After today there are 23 days left in this challenge. To date I have walked 392.6km, which leaves 107.4 to go. I have a short trip coming up next weekend, which might make me miss one day of walking, but I am confident that I’ll still make the goal.Here is my recent chart

daytonaThe extra 1,000 Step Challenge

Fellow blogger Rachael, has challenged her readers to walk an additional 1,000 steps per day. Here is my latest chart for that challenge

stepsNone of the walking I do for the Daytona 500 challenge counts towards this challenge. When I started, my goal was 5,000 steps per day. Further, I set a goal to have not more than 3 days where I missed the mark. I’ve already used those up, so now I have to stay on top of things for the remaining days of the challenge. It is a 31 day challenge, and ends on February 12.

Week 47 Weigh-in, and updates on my challenges

It is Friday, and that means it is time to get on the scale for the weekly weigh-in. With working on two walking challenges, and knowing that I was diligent on my tracking, I expected to have a good week. The tale of the scale did not disappoint me.

This morning I weighed in at 234.4 pounds. That is a loss of 2.2 pounds since last week. My total weight loss to date is 110.6 pounds, or 32.1% of my original weight.

This is a great number. I am really happy to have crossed another decade threshold for weight loss. I had been in the 100s since November 14. Because of the 5 pound gain over the holidays, it took me 11 weeks to go from 100 to 110.

You can see on my progress chart here, that I am very much back on track after shedding the gains of the holidays.

Daytona 500km Challenge update

This morning I did 6.3km on the treadmill. My total to date is 356.6km. Since last weekend I have increased my pace to 3.8mph when I walk. I have noticed a huge difference in the intensity from that extra 0.1mph. My workouts are a lot better now. Here is my chart for the last 10 days

daytonaOne interesting thing I want to point out. This morning marked the 10th day in a row that I have gone to the gym. I am really proud of that number. I haven’t gone this many days in a row ever during this journey. It felt great to walk in this morning and knock out a great workout.

Extra 1,000 step challenge

This challenge is indeed challenging. Because I only count the excess steps above the Daytona 500km challenge, it is easy for me to want to slow down in the day. I have really had to be diligent to make sure I get in my steps. Yesterday I was very close to not making it, and got in by the skin of my teeth.

stepsSo far I have only had one day where I missed my target of 5,000 steps. My goal was to miss no more than 10% of the days, so I am on track there as well.

The week ahead

January and early February are very busy times in my family for birthdays. Tonight we are celebrating for 4 different people, myself included. My wife asked me what I wanted for my birthday dinner, and I told her I wanted her home made pizza. Since starting this challenge I have had pizza only a few times, and with one exception it was her home made, deep dish pizza. I am in for a treat tonight!

For the rest of the week it will be business as usual. I will be tracking points, going to the gym, and doing extra walking at work.

What is new with you? How are you progressing on your goals? If you aren’t where you want to be, that’s ok, don’t beat yourself up. Remember that every day, every meal, every urge gives us the next, best opportunity to make a good choice. Make the next thing you eat the best thing you eat all day!

Weigh-in day – Week 45

Brrr… It’s a mighty cold Friday as the first work week of 2015 comes to a close. This morning I really didn’t want to go to the gym, I wanted to get back under the warm covers and avoid the new fallen snow outside. The wind was howling just a bit. When the alarm went off I went and checked my phone. Current temperature was 17 degrees F. That actually was 17 degrees warmer than yesterday! Woo hooo!

I got up, dressed, and worked out.Then I came home for a weigh-in. When I got on the scale it said I weighed 241.4 pounds. That is a 1.4 pound drp from last week, and puts me at a total of 103.6 pounds lost, or 30.0% of my original body weight! I am pleased.

As I said, I did do my 6k this morning. Here is what the last 10 days look like on my Daytona 500km challenge.

daytonaI need to average 5.0km per day for the rest of the challenge to reach 500. There are only 44 days left until the green flag at the Daytona 500! Awesome! (The 45th day is the actual race day).

I am feeling good today. I had a good week at the gym, and although I didn’t track every single bite of food, I managed to stay within my goals. For this week I plan to continue the momentum at the gym, and increase my level of food tracking. Also, I am concerned that I didn’t hit my hydration goals every day, so I will be tracking that more closely as well.

How did you do with the first week of 2015?

An update as the year comes to a close

As 2014 comes to a close tomorrow, it seems like a good time to reflect on this past year in terms of my health. Over the past few weeks, one phrase keeps ringing in my head… “what a difference a year makes.”

That difference has been evident in so many ways. There are the obvious, and easily measured ways.

  • Since this time last year I am down 100 pounds
  • My A1C went down nearly 2 full points from 7.1 to 5.3
  • My BMI went from nearly 47, to just over 32

Then there are the differences that show up in pictures. Here is a series of pictures of me. They go chronologically from top left to bottom right. The top left was a Christmas party last year, the bottom right was at that same party this year:

me progression-3

Then there are the other things, those things that don’t show up in pictures or in measurements.

  • I don’t get winded going up and down one flight of stairs
  • My knees don’t constantly hurt
  • I look forward to activities, like going for a walk
  • It’s easier to hold a child on my lap (because there’s actually a lap there now)
  • I don’t fear breaking furniture
  • I sleep better at night, and wake up more refreshed

I could go on, but the point is that I feel enormously better today than I did a year ago today. It seems that every day I come across another way in which that is true, and another way to make me say “what a difference a year makes”.

I still have a ways to go to my goal weight, and I want to tone up other muscle groups. Those who follow me know that I always consider myself a work in progress.

Here is an update on my Daytona 500km challenge:

daytona

I haven’t been to the gym yet today, but I should get there this afternoon. Through yesterday, even with some days missed while I was out of town, I am still on pace to walk over 500km by February 22.

On Friday I will weigh in again. I have no idea what tale the scale will tell. Whatever it is, I will accept it, and set my sights on the next goal on the road knowing that I am in a far better place than at this time last year, and that I will be in a better place still for many years to come.

Healthy and back on track

Last week¬† I was suffering from a head cold. It wasn’t anything too terrible, but it did mean that I lacked the energy to work out. As a result I found myself in a deficit for my pace to complete the Daytona 500km challenge. As a reminder, the challenge is to walk 500km from the date of the final race of the 2014 Sprint Cup Season (November 19), and the drop of the green flag for the Daytona 500, which is the first race in the new Sprint Cup season on February 22. That is 99 days, which means I have to average 5.0km per day, with an extra 5.0km thrown in.

When I got ill I was on a pace that would have put me at 572.7km for the time. But then I missed 6 of the next 7 days. That put my pace down to 442.6. Thanks to feeling better this week, and 5 consecutive days in the gym, I am back on track.

daytonaAs of today’s 10km workout, my pace is back to 501.8km for the challenge. My plan is to continue to do about 7.5km per day until Christmas Eve. The holiday week I will likely miss a few days, so I want to have some extra in the bank.

 

How are you doing with your Holiday workout plan? Remember, staying ahead on working out is a great way to help curb your appetite and to help burn off the occasional holiday treat.

 

I did it! – Week 39 weigh-in, and an update on the Daytona 500km challenge

As you can see from the headline, I DID IT! I managed my way through Thanksgiving, and registered a weight loss on the morning after. Since last Friday I am down 1.8 pounds. That brings my total weight loss to 104.8 pounds, or 30.4% of my original weight. Here is how the food part of yesterday worked out:

  • Turkey (5oz – 6 points)
  • Mashed Potatoes (1/2 cup – 3 points)
  • Stuffing (1/4 cup – 3 points)
  • Steamed Broccoli (2 servings – 2 points)
  • Steamed Corn (1/2 cup – 2 points)
  • Green Bean Casserole (1 serving – 6 points)
  • Crescent Rolls (1 – 3 points)
  • Glass of wine
  • 1/2 serving of Cherry Cheesecake (5 points)

By eliminating the glass of wine, and the crescent roll, I kept the meal to a very manageable level. I felt great afterwards, and spent the evening hanging out with family, instead of fighting off the food coma I usually get.

This morning it was back to the gym. I did 10km, and here is my updated chart:

daytona

I have made it through the first milestone of the Holiday season with my plan on course. I am feeling more energized and motivated than ever. This coming week will be a banner week for sure.

 

How did you do with the Thanksgiving feast?

Daytona 500 Challenge day 1, and a fun progress picture

The Sprint Cup season ended today for NASCAR racing. Congratulations to Kevin Harvick on a magnificent season. With that last race, the Daytona 500km walking challenge begins. I started my day with a 10km walk on the treadmill, so 1 day into the challenge here is my chart:

daytona

I still have a very long way to go, but I wanted to get off on a good start and get ahead. I walked at a faster pace than usual (3.5mph), and when I was done I had a hot spot on my foot. Didn’t develop into a blister yet, so I am probably ok. But, I will be watching that closely.

Yesterday my family made a trip to Frankenmuth, Michigan. There we visited a Christmas store called Bronner’s, and it gave me an opportunity to recreate a picture from a visit a year ago. here is that comparison:

frankenmuth comparison

The writing on the picture tells the tale. As it turns out, my wife was able to buy me a polo shirt that was nearly the same color as the one I had on last year, only 2 sizes smaller. The jeans were bought on Friday night. I was apprehensive about buying 42″ waist pants because they fit me a bit snug, but I decided to go for it. Here is the best part, they weren’t from the big and tall section of the store!

How are you doing on your journey? Are you joining me in the walking challenge?

Reminder on the new walking challenge. It starts tomorrow!

Earlier this week I announced the new Daytona 500 Walking Challenge. The last race of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season takes place tomorrow (November 16). The first race for the Sprint Cup in 2015 is the Daytona 500, scheduled for February 22, 2015. There are 99 days between those two dates. The Challenge is to walk a total of 500km between those two events. That works out to averaging a 5km (3.1 mile), walk every day, with an extra one thrown in somewhere.

Some people have asked me questions about this challenge, so I thought I would answer them here.

Can I count bicycle miles? The basic challenge is for walking. If you prefer bike riding, and adding extra miles to your routine is a challenge, then definitely count them. I am thinking that you might want to make it a 500 MILE challenge if you are going to be biking, but set the bar where it works for you.

What about running? I am not a runner, the cartilage (or lack thereof), in my knees won’t allow it. So, for me running just isn’t a reasonable option. If you are a runner, then yes, you can use running or jogging to fulfill the challenge. Again, decide whether you are counting miles or kilometers.

How can I stay warm when walking outside in the winter? Honestly, I don’t have a definite answer for this one. My plan is to layer my clothes, use my silk long underwear as a base layer and some wool socks. I will probably develop this strategy over time to take into account foot comfort and overall warmth. Stay tuned on this one and we’ll learn together.

The bottom line…

The bottom line to this is that it is a challenge designed to keep me active during the months of the year when I’d usually become quite sedentary. My goal is to reach February 22 and weigh less than I do today, and be in better shape than I am today. If you are taking up a challenge to stay fit in the winter, and this one appeals to you, come join me. If you want to adjust it to your own circumstances, then please do. Any challenge of this kind should stretch you a bit, but not be such a heavy burden as to be impossible.

Come join me! This will be fun.