fitness goals

My Weight Loss Story – Part 1

My Weight Loss Story – Part 1

by Michael

 

Every year, I set personal fitness related goals for myself. In the past, my goals have been around cycling a certain amount of miles. I have a back injury that rears its ugly head from time to time and this has lead me to conclude that if I keep doing the same things, I’ll keep getting the same results. As a result, I’ve decided not to ride my bike everyday or do any of the same exercises on consecutive days.

Last year, I pedaled 2,100 miles over several commutes from my home to work and back. For all of my efforts, I lost zero pounds last year. Losing weight wasn’t the focus of riding all those miles but you’d think that I’d be able to shed weight without thinking about it due to the biking but that just wasn’t the case. I concluded that while I enjoyed exercising, the reason I hadn’t lost any weight was because of my diet.

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My goals this year are to be able to do 100 push-ups in one set and do 10 pull-ups in one set. When I say things like, “I’m going to do more push-ups this year” it holds no water because there’s nothing holding me accountable. I need an amount and a time frame in order to be successful. At the start of this year, I was able to do 15 push-ups and zero pull-ups. My goals seemed lofty for sure but I’m a numbers guy and measurables like this are what drive me to success. I just needed to figure out how I was going to be able to accomplish it.

My first goal was to work my way up to being able to do 100 push-ups in a day. On the day of the Super Bowl, I was able to do 100 push-ups in a single day for the first time in my life. I did them in 5 sets of 20 over about a half hour period. This was a major achievement for me and it was the first time I believed that I would be able to accomplish the push-up goal this year.

Then I was able to do them in 4 sets of 25 push-ups. Shortly after that, 30, 30, 30, 10. Last month, I was able to do them in just 3 sets – 35, 35, 30. The next step from this point is challenging and I’ve concluded that in order to be able to do 100 push-ups in just 2 sets, I will need to do 2 things. 1 – I will have to do more than 100 push-ups in a day and 2 – I will have to lose weight. For every 10 lbs I lose, that’s 1000 fewer pounds that I will have to push-up over the set of 100. Tipping the power to weight ratio in my favor was obviously going to be necessary in order to be successful.

Just like I said earlier about exercising, I need a weight loss goal. I cannot just say to myself that I want to lose weight and have it stick. I just don’t operate like that. At the start of every month, I assess my progress and set a new monthly goal for myself and I get on a scale weekly to monitor my progress. I don’t know how much weight in total I want to lose, I just assume that I’ll know it when I get there. I know that I’m looking for an optimal power-to-weight ratio that allows me to accomplish my push-up and pull-up goals.

What I don’t do is count my calories. I don’t do this because it constantly makes me feel bad. It makes me feel oppressed, like I’m doing something bad that needs constant monitoring when in reality, I’m eating food and I don’t want to beat myself up for doing that. I know what’s good for me to eat and what isn’t. I don’t need to quantify all of the calories I’m consuming.

The other piece to this is that I exercise. A lot. But this isn’t the reason why I’ve lost weight. I’ve lost weight because of the diet. My exercise looks like this – M/W/F, I bike about 21 miles to/from work. T/Th/Sa, I run in my neighborhood. I created a running goal for myself this year of being able to run 6 miles in under an hour. I’m currently up to 4.7 miles in about 45 minutes. All of this is in addition to my push-up and pull-up goals, which I’m working on each twice a week. I wear a heart rate monitor to track this data and on average, I’m burning 6000 calories a week while exercising. Unlike tracking the calories that I consume, tracking the calories that I burn is empowering. It’s proof that I’m working hard and that I’m getting better as I’m able to run further and my per-mile pace drops. This also allows me to not feel any guilt when I want to drink a glass of wine with dinner because I’ve earned it.

So where am I at now with my push-up goal? I’m up to doing 160 (8 x 20) or 150 (6 x 25) twice a week. For the pull-up goal, I’m just doing as many as I can with the assistance of resistance bands over a few sets. The best part about these goals is that I’m not concerned about failure at all. If I do fail, I will have done thousands of push-ups and pull-ups this year and that itself is a huge personal victory for me. I’ll post an update in January and will let you know if I was successful or not in achieving my goals.

Part 2 will be posted tomorrow and will detail the food part of how I lost the weight.

New Year’s Resolution Time

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I saw a statistic recently that 36% of the people that make new year’s resolutions give up after one month. There is a 127% increase in MyFitnessPal app registrations in January compared to other months. There is an increase of +256 new class participants in Portland Crossfit in January but by February, -190 less people participate in those classes.

There is something magical about the start of a new year. A clean slate. It’s really only one day different from the previous day, but somehow in our minds we have a collective sigh in society — “a new year!” It’s got to be better than last year, right? But why? Why do we place so much emphasis on the changing year when things really don’t change all that different, than one number at the end of the year. Still at that same job. Still doing the same routine. Still dealing with the same struggles. But somehow we get enlightened and motivated.

I am definitely one of those collective sigh people — happy for a new year to start. Even though my life doesn’t change all that much. Ever since I decided to get healthy I’ve lived the “new year’s resolution” every single day trying to lose 100 pounds and then trying to keep it off. My new healthy lifestyle was no longer a resolution, it was who I am. So when the start of the year came around and everyone around me was signing up for the gym and going on a diet, posting on Facebook about their goals and progress and then eventually…February the quitting of said changes starts. Except for me, I was still plugging along doing the same damn thing every day that I’ve done for nearly 10 years now.

Why do people quit? I’ve wondered this for years and the conclusion I’ve come to is that it’s hard. It’s hard work. We want the easy fix (all of us, me included) and when the work is hard and we TRY but don’t see immediate results it’s easy to give up. Why bother? We tried, right? And it didn’t work. The other reason I think people quit is that they make lofty goals that are too damn big to achieve.

I saw another article: Just 8% of People Achieve Their New Year’s Resolutions. Here’s How They Do It. The conclusion: Keep it simple (maybe make 1 or 2 goals instead of 10). Make it tangible (becoming a millionaire movie star might be unrealistic). Make it obvious (convoluted goals that aren’t clear aren’t going to be easy to achieve). Keeping believing you can do it (DON’T GIVE UP).

bestnew-year-resolutions

Another article I read said this:

“No-Choice” Category: Most people have some positive behaviors that they might not consistently want to do but they decide to always do anyway. Dr. Beck calls this the “no-choice category,” and places putting on a seat belt or getting dressed for work in this column. “We do them without struggle because we don’t give ourselves a choice,” she says. “It’s the choice that makes sticking to a resolution so difficult.” She suggests putting positive behaviors on a mental “no-choice” list and reaffirm them daily. “If you never give yourself the option to eat dessert, you’ll never have the struggle,” she says. (source)

YES YES YES. When making goals, be CLEAR. BE CONCISE. Make it a “deal breaker.” For me, losing 100 pounds was a deal-breaker. There was no failing. Failure meant diabetes and insulin injections. Failure meant blood pressure medications to keep me from having a stroke by age 30. Failure was not an option. I DIDN’T GIVE MYSELF AN OUT. I was losing the weight. Period. And that seemed to work for me.

New Year’s Resolutions 2015

I don’t really make resolutions anymore because after changing my lifestyle and losing the weight I didn’t feel like I needed that title to motivate me. I had personal goals. I had monthly goals. I achieved some of them. I definitely achieved the big one: keep the weight off.

Now? 2014 brought a lot of life changes and stressors that I hadn’t expected but it also brought a lot of wonderful things! Marrying the love of my life was the big one. I definitely let things slide after that. I gained some weight on my honeymoon and then struggled throughout the holidays to get back on track. Truth. Trying to lose weight between Thanksgiving and Christmas is an exercise in futility. I just tried not to GAIN anything more!

Now I have that fresh start like everyone else. 2015 is going to be a great year. I feel focused on some of my goals.

Finish losing the 2014 weight!

Travel

Read more books

Walk Bella more and work on her training

Run another 5K

Spend quality time with friends, family and my husband

Finish the kitchen remodel!!!

Those are basically my goals for the new year. I’m excited about some of the things we already have planned and some of the things we’re still discussing. Stay tuned!

Do you have a new year’s resolution for 2015?