walking

February 1 – Exercising my mind and body.

“Exercise alone provides psychological and physical benefits. However, if you also adopt a strategy that engages your mind while you exercise, you can get a whole host of psychological benefits fairly quickly.” – James Rippe M.D.

I always have something playing in my ear when I am at the gym. When my workouts were less intense than they are now, I would watch TV on my phone. I watched entire series of shows over the course of time including Dexter and 24. I found that the shows helped keep my mind occupied and kept me from focusing on the clock.

When I stepped up to more intense workouts, I substituted music for TV. Same effect, but I don’t have to concentrate quite so much.

I used to see people bring books or magazines to the gym while they were on the elliptical, treadmill or stationary bike. I was never one for reading because the constant bouncing made it hard for me to focus on the page.

My point in all this is that I have always been one to include other, mental activities when I work out. I am not here to say that watching TV, or listening to music has any inate specific psychological benefit, but maybe when it is done while exercising the combination helps relax the mind.

This morning I did 42 minutes of interval training. When I got home I did another 20 minutes of snow shoveling in my driveway. While I was at the gym I listened to music. It didn’t occur to me to do that while I was clearing and salting…maybe next time.

Now that the Holidays are over, and we are in the doldrums of winter, I have been getting back to daily reading. At any given time I am reading 2 or 3 books. I find that the 30 minutes I spend in my chair after work, and before dinner, unwinds my mind and allows me to reset.

Bobby-C’s thought for the day…Keeping my mind and body occupied at the same time helps me have more effective workouts, and makes the time go by a little more enjoyably.

January 27 – Making health my primary focus

“We don’t get offered crises, the arrive.” – Elizabeth Janeway

Today is weigh-in day. I stepped on the scale and it registered 247.4 pounds. I didn’t weigh in last week, so over the last two weeks I have gained 1.0 pounds. For 2017 I am down 2.6 pounds, or about 1% for the year. I didn’t weigh in last week because I was fairly sure I had gained. This week I feel pretty good that I lost weight, although not all that I gained.

For the week I did well on workouts. I did a total of 3 sets of interval training on the treadmill of 58, 42 and 58 minutes. I ate sensibly, but didn’t track. That remains an issue. And, I didn’t do extra walking at work. On the whole, it was a good week, but not a great one. I can and will do better.

Handling crises is a big part of my job. I often am handed projects that are complex and filled with issues. It is my job to assemble the right teams to address the issues and get the project back on track. This year, as I have written in past posts, the crises have been of a budgetary nature. These have been the bane of my existence since the Holiday break. I am happy to say that there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Yesterday we had a breakthrough meeting and hopefully have addressed the problems with a set of plans that will be acceptable. There is still much work to be done, but now we have a plan, which is a quantum better than before.

Because I have a tendency to be an emotional, or stress eater, when there are crises it is particularly difficult for me to stay on plan. Not saying it is an excuse, but it is a contributory factor.

I have come to understand about myself that it is all about capacity. My mind, and my will has a certain capacity to handle things. When there is a crisis, much of that capacity is expended on solving the crisis. That is true whether it is a personal or professional situation. Whichever is the biggest crisis, or worry bead, in my life, gets the most attention. When I analyze why I was successful in 2014 and 2015, I believe it is because my health, and losing weight, was the biggest crisis I was trying to solve. In 2016, once I had my health under control, my projects at work took center stage, and diligence to my weight program was pushed back.

My guess is that it is similar for others. Something happens with our health to make it take the spotlight. It could be bad news at the doctor’s office, or something as simple as the turn of the calendar to a new age, or a new year. For a while, our health becomes the most important thing in our lives. And while our health is the focus, we eat well, lose weight, increase exercise, and so on. But, we humans are notorious for having a short attention span, so inevitably something else comes up, we are dazzled by the shiny bauble, and are off to something else. Soon, the progress we made in our health has ebbed, and we are right back where we started.

Part of my intent with writing this blog, and specifically for my 365 project this year, is to keep my health in my crosshairs. If you are a regular reader, you will note that I missed 3 posts in the last week or so. This week I plan to catch up on those missed posts, and stay on track for the new days.

So, here are my objectives for the week ahead:

  • Track my food every day, no excuses
  • Minimum 3 workouts, none less than 42 minutes, at least one of 58 minutes
  • 50 laps around the internal walking path at work (12/day X 4 days, plus a couple). That is about 8.6 miles

I would like very much to be at, or below 245 when I weigh in next Friday. That would restore me to 100 pounds lost in total.

Bobby-C’s thought for the day…Only when my health is at, or near the center of my focus can I have sustained success. Remembering what is important in my life is paramount.

January 3 – “It is impossible to walk rapidly and be unhappy.” Dr. Howard Murphy

Where I work, my team moved into a new building about a year ago. It is a modern facility, built to encourage collaboration, with much open space and natural light. We moved in January, and one of the first things that I did was to lay out a walking path within the building. There wasn’t an intuitive path, so I had to be a bit creative. I ended up with a 0.17mile loop. When I finished laying out the path I made posters for the building showing where the path was, and giving encouragement to use it. Included on the poster was this quote:

“Walking is man’s best medicine.” – Hippocrates

When people ask me how I lost 130 pounds, I tell them two key actions I took – track all my food, and walk. The first year I was on this journey, I logged hundreds of thousands of steps. I did monthly mileage challenges, worked on the treadmill, walked the neighborhood, and spent my lunch times endlessly circling the buildings where I work. I am a huge believer in the power of walking. In these past 6 months, I have gotten away from that. I haven’t been going to the gym, or walking at work and home. This morning, before writing this post, I went to the gym and did 42 minutes of fairly intense interval training on the treadmill. On my phone is a step counter that has a goal of 8,000 steps per day. I haven’t hit that goal in months, but I plan to work on it today. (I have it at 8,000 because the time I spend on the treadmill doesn’t register. If I work out, and hit the 8,000 goal, I am somewhere in the 12,000 step range for the day).

Reckoning

I said that later in the week I would get up the courage to get back on the scale. Today was the day, and let me tell you…it wasn’t pretty. This morning I tipped the scale at 250.0 pounds. That is up 12 pounds since the last time I weighed myself on November 18. And, it is up 33.6 pounds since June 10th. On Friday, when I do my formal weigh-in I will update my progress chart.

I am disappointed in myself this morning, but not terribly surprised. Prior to Monday I was eating and drinking at will, with no regard for my weight. The fact that my total weight loss since starting on March 1, 2014 is now below 100 pounds REALLY upsets me.

But, as I said on January 1, there is nothing to be gained by berating myself for past choices. The only thing to do now is forge ahead, and make today the best it can be.

Bobby-C’s thought for the day… Accountability – to myself and others – is the surest way to get myself back on track. Hiding and hoping that the scale will take care of itself universally fails.

If you halve it, you can have it

When I first made my decision to lose weight in March of 2014, one of the first things I had to learn was the sizes of appropriate portions. In one of my first posts I took a humorous look at what I previously considered to be an appropriate snack, verses what was ACTUALLY an appropriate snack.

I have come a long way since then, and my brain is partially re-trained to recognize what constitutes a healthy portion. I don’t declare victory on this front because I know that if I don’t remain diligent, I will slip to old ways.

Recently an acquaintance on Facebook posted pictures of her husband. With diet and exercise he has lost over 80 pounds. He looks great, and he also reports that he feels great! When I saw the comparison pictures I offered a few words of congratulations and encouragement. He saw my comment, and mentioned that he has, over the time he’s been losing weight, used a principle that he heard from me. Namely…

halve it

Part of how he has learned to control his food urges, and re-train his brain, has been to systematically cut in half the portions he would normally have eaten.And he says it has worked for him

Just today I was talking to someone who asked how people who have sustained weight loss manage to cut out all those calories so quickly, without driving themselves mad. Speaking only for myself, I said that it was a matter of cutting back slowly on the portions at meals, and radically on snacks.

To this day, as I continue on my path, I use this principle to good effect. As you are working through your brain training on portions, and dealing with those inevitable snack urges, give this idea a try. All other things being equal, you’ll find yourself eating less.

Quick update on my week so far

Since my Friday weigh-in I have been very active. We had a weekend of absolutely gorgeous weather, and I did my best to take full advantage. I had yard work and garage work to do, so I turned on some music and got to work. As a result, my steps were well above my target on all 3 days (Friday through Sunday), and my yard and garage are in good shape too!

On the food front, the news isn’t quite so good. While I don’t think I particularly OVER ate on Saturday or Sunday, I wasn’t really diligent in my tracking. As a result, I colored those two days yellow on my chart.

Today I went to the gym after work and did a 42 minute interval training on the treadmill. I workout at Lifetime Fitness and their app connects to my heart rate monitor and gives me prompts to increase or decrease my intensity to match the target zones. At the end of the workout it shows me a graphical representation of the work I have done. In a future post I will pull the graphic in and show you what I mean.

The bottom line is that it has drastically changed how I approach the treadmill. No longer am I content to walk for an hour at 3.8 miles per hour, with an incline of 0%. Now I get up as high at 4.3 MPH, with an 8% to 9% incline. I have stepped up my game dramatically.

Today was as beautiful as the weekend, so I spent my lunch time walking at work. As a result, with still a few hours in the day, my step count is up to nearly 16,000.

Hope you all are having a great week!

Week 116 – 7 days in to my reset

Happy Friday to you all. I have now completed 7 of my 50 days toward the July 4 weekend. And, I am happy to say I am on track and starting to see some results.

This morning I tipped the scale at 222.8 pounds. That is a 2.0 pound loss from last week. I am very pleased! For the week I met or exceeded all of my fitness and tracking goals, more on that in a minute. Right now I want to show you my current chart for 2016:

2016 - may 20

As you can see, I am not setting the world on fire, but this week the arrow is pointing in the down direction, and that is where I want to be.

Here is a quick summary of my week in terms of food tracking and activity:

Friday – 8,156 steps out of 8,000. To get there my wife and I had to walk our campsite in the rain. Totally worth it. I also stayed within my points for the day. I colored my chart green!

Saturday- Right on the edge on points, may have gone over. It is sometimes hard to track while camping. My step goal was 8,000 for the day. Thanks to a nice hike in Holland State Park, I ended up at 14,509 steps. I colored my chart green

Sunday – Did ok on steps – 8,360. Food I am sure I went over a bit. I colored the box yellow.

Monday. Did a 58 minute interval training on the treadmill after work, and it kicked my butt. I wanted to give up several times, but I stuck to it and finished. Stayed well within my points, and thanks to the treadmill time, I exceeded 10,000 steps for the day. I colored tbe box green!

Tuesday – 16,683 steps, thanks to walking with my wife, daughter and daughter’s friend. I also met a friend at lunch for a 45 minute walk. I stayed within my points. Colored the box green!

Wednesday – Went to work with my trainer. She worked me hard on upper body. To warm up I did 42 minutes of treadmill interval training. Ended up with 8,517 steps, and a 50 minute work out. Well within my points. Another green day

Thursday – 19,217 steps. Did landscaping work where I moved 8 24″ concrete pavers. I wad exhasuted when I finally went to bed. Stayed within my points. Green day for sure.

So that makes 6 of 7 days green, with one minor yellow. Not a bad week at all.

For the week ahead, the plan is the same: 3 dedicated work outs, 8,000 minimal steps per day, track all eating and drinking.

I feel like I am starting to get my groove back on this.

Week 103 – I swear, my weight is like gasoline prices

Good Friday morning. Today is February 19, 2016. My week 103 weigh-in revealed a 3.0 pound loss from last week. I am not at 216.4 pounds. My total weight loss to date, in 103 weeks, is 128.6 pounds, or 37.3%

Last week I had a 3.4 pound increase, this week I am back down 3.0. Have you ever noticed that when there is the slighted problem in the gasoline supply chain, prices spike over night, but when that problem is fixed it takes weeks for the prices to come back down? That’s how I feel about my weight. My 3.4 pound, one-week spike, will likely take a few weeks to get back down.

Today I am feeling good.

On the subject of my 1,000 mile goal for 2016, progress is accelerating. This week I more accurately measured the walking path inside my building at work to be about 0.18 miles. I have taken to logging how many laps I do each day, and then updating my log accordingly. Here is my progress over the last 7 days:

mile chart 2016

This morning I found out that my phone didn’t charge over night. It essentially died in the middle of my work out, but I stayed on the treadmill to get to 3.0 miles for the day. My intent had been to get to 5.0 miles today. had I realized that another 0.69 miles would have put me at 100 for the year, I’d have stuck it out in silence.

This weekend my wife and I plan to get to the gym at least once. I will do a 5 miler and get myself caught up from today. Also, it is supposed to be 50+ degrees here today and tomorrow, so there is the possibility of a lunchtime, neighborhood walk as well.

 

Week 100 Weigh-in

When I started this on March 1,2014 I wasn’t sure if I would sustain the effort for 10 weeks. This morning I conclude the 100th week. There is a part of me that is surprised that I have stuck to it this long. This is, by far, the longest I have sustained a health program.

Today I weigh 217 pounds. That is down 2.0 pounds from last week. My total loss to date is 128 pounds, or 37.1% of my original weight. For January of 2016, I was down 8.0 pounds.

This was a good week on the walking front as well. Here are my numbers:

mile chart 2016

Right now my yearly pace is 446 miles. That is largely because of missing the first two weeks. Over the last 7 days I have been on a pace that would be 907 miles for a full year. That is still below 1,000 miles, and I am still behind the pace I need for the year. But, it was a good week. Tuesday I elected to do my treadmill time after work, but later decided to come home to await a package delivery. Had I either gotten up in the morning, or worked out after work, I’d have logged over 20 miles for the week.

On Wednesday a friend and I checked a walking path within our building. We each used a pedometer and independently arrived at a distances of about 1/5 of a mile for the path. This coming week I intend to use that path to log some miles at work. Until I find a more definitive way to measure the distance, I will consider it to be 1/6 of a mile.

For the week ahead the plan is to keep up with my walking, track my food accurately, and avoid after-dinner snacks.

 

A mid-week update, and a throw back to my childhood

When I was around 7 or 8 years old, I suffered from a few nasty ear infections. I recall one in particular when my Godfather picked my mom and I up to take us to my doctor’s office. I was in a considerable amount of pain in my right ear. On the way to the doctor, I felt a trickle of moisture on the right side of my head. My mom got one of her ubiquitous kleenex from her sleeve and wiped up what was draining from my ear.

The night before that incident I woke up in so much pain that I was crying. My mother got a kitchen towel, put a pile of table salt on it, and heated it in the oven. Then she put that wrapped towel under my pillow and had me lay on my right side. It soothed my painful ear, and allowed me to get back to sleep.

This past Sunday, at 3:00am, I was awakened with the worst ear pain I have had since back in those days. At first I tried to ignore it and go back to sleep. When that didn’t work, I got up and took some ibuprofen, then pulled out the heating pad. With it on the lowest setting I put it inside my pillow case and laid on my right side.

A Monday morning trip to see the Nurse Practitioner at my Doctor’s office confirmed that I do, indeed, have an ear infection She put me on antibiotics, and as of this writing I feel better than I have for about a week.

As a result of all this, I’ve been set back on my goal to walk 200 miles by Christmas Eve. Right now my priority is to get back to 100% health. I elected to take the extra rest today, with an eye to getting back to my routine beginning tomorrow.

Just wanted to give you all an update. By this time tomorrow I should be back to my walking routine, and scheming how to make up those missing miles to still reach my goal. Until then, good health to you all!

Week 88 Weigh-in and update on my Christmas walking challenge

Today is November 6, 2015. It’s a Friday and that means it is weigh in day. Today I weighed in at 213.0 pounds. For the week I am don 0.4 pounds, bringing my total weight loss to 132.0 pounds.

This week I battled a cold. I worked at being more diligent on my tracking, and saw some benefit. Last week I decided to challenge myself to walk 200 miles by Christmas Eve (56 days from the day I started). Here is my current chart toward that progress:

christmas 1As you can see, between slacking a bit last weekend, and taking a day off this week due to my cold, I am a little off of the goal in terms of my pace. Presently my pace would get me about 5.6 miles short of the goal. Not to worry, I am feeling better and plan to step up my walking (literally), in the coming week. I even plan to hit the treadmill this weekend!

For the week ahead I am about my walking and tracking my Weight Watchers points. On to good things!

Week 54 Weigh-in – Continuing the recent roller coaster ride

One of the things I am looking forward to this summer is a trip to Cedar Point. For those of you who don’t know, Cedar Point is one of the premier amusement parks in the Eastern half of the US – some would say the world. It features many roller coasters and other fun attractions. I last went there a few years ago, and it was an unpleasant experience because I couldn’t fit in any of the seats of the roller coaster. This year will be different.

Over the past 5 weeks I have been on a roller coaster of my own when it comes to my Journey toward better health. Today I weighed-in at 226.4 pounds. That is a 3.6 pound loss from last week. My total weight loss is now at 118.6, or 34.4% of my original body weight. Here are my results over the past 5 weeks:

last 5

The net of those weigh-ins is a 6.0 pound loss. That works out to a 1.2 pound loss per week. I will gladly take that long term average, I would just prefer not to be on the roller coaster both on the scale and emotionally. I know I shouldn’t let it, but when I have a weekly weigh-in that is up from the previous week, it bothers me. In some ways my reaction is good, because it makes me redouble my efforts. But I spend far too much time beating myself up about the result. I know, intellectually, that I am on a long journey and that one weekly weigh-in isn’t that important. And, I know that I am doing all the right things for my health: I watch what I eat, I exercise, I drink plenty of water, and so on.

This morning I am feeling very good about things. I know that I have to work on my own reactions to my results. So, that is my goal for the week, to be less obsessive about single-week results.

On another front, here is how I am doing on my 28 day boost through yesterday:

boost

I have been to the gym for a 45 minute work out today. I didn’t show it on this chart because I do intend to go back for another. That is what I did yesterday, I bookended my work day with two 45 minute work outs. I liked how I felt all day at work, and how I felt in the evening. I am not really a fan of after-work trips to the gym (more on that in another post), but I am a fan of the results.

As for my other goals, I have written and published a blog post every day, and I have logged everything I have eaten and drank since Monday. Two more checks there!

How are you doing this week?