May 232016
 

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.
May 112016
 

Just shy of two months postpartum and I’m feeling pretty good. I was itching to get back to some kind of fitness, even if it was going to be low-key and not as intense as I used to do. Even if it was just walking, I wanted to do something and it felt good to workout again.

I’m getting back into the swing of things and slowly introducing stuff back into my routine.

One thing I’ve found is that I feel really good when I workout and right afterward but later in the day I feel really tired. Not exhausted, but definitely depleted. It’s like my body has a limited amount of energy these days and on days that I workout I definitely need a nap because I can’t power through it like I used to be able to. And rest days I don’t need that nap to avoid feeling overly tired. I never had this issue before–I could go, go, go and rarely sat still but now? That’s not the case at all.

Saturday

I decided to ease back in to weight lifting at almost 6 weeks postpartum. It had been a little over a month since I lifted weights and it wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be but I took it easy nonetheless. (And I was surprisingly sore the next day.)

 

Then later that afternoon a friend and I went for a walk with Logan. It was such a nice day out! I took a little nap (and I mean little because Mr. Man decided he didn’t want to nap) and then my friend and I did a walk. It felt good to get outside.

 

 

Sunday

Michael and I finally got a chance to go for that “hike” we attempted to do a few weeks ago. It was going to be a lovely, hot day in Portland but we were up pretty early and out the door before it was much hotter than 65.

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We went to Mount Tabor Park and parked in the residential neighborhood near the base of the park entrance. Then we loaded up the dog and baby and hiked up to the top of the park. It’s a great little urban hike with tons of trails (dirt) and then paved roads for bicyclists, skateboarders, runners, walkers, you name it. Everyone was out on such a nice day.

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It was all uphill. We hiked to the top, did a circle around the top, went back down and then hiked back up part way before heading back down to the car. We both burned more calories than we anticipated.

 

It was a good little workout though. I think we will do this more in the future on nice days. We’re up early because Logan gets us up at the crack of dawn, so we are able to get to the park before it’s too crowded or too hot. It’s not far from the house, either, so the drive time doesn’t make it too difficult to do right now.

Monday

Monday I woke up and just needed to get out of the house so I decided Logan and I would go for a walk first thing before it got too hot. We stopped for iced coffee on our route first. 🙂

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It was a good walk and I got to clear my head and move my body and get out of the house.

 

Tuesday

Took Bella and Logan for a short walk before lunch today. Looking at the forecast I figured it might be the last opportunity for a walk for a few days.

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When Michael got home from work I went to the gym for yoga class. Unfortunately, when I got there class was cancelled. 🙁 I ended up on the elliptical and did 3 miles in about 35 minutes and then went home. And my heart rate monitor died on me, so no idea on the calories. Bummer of an evening!

Wednesday and Thursday

Rest Days! And it was kind of rainy and blah so no walking.  But honestly I needed the rest days, so that’s ok.

Friday

I’ve been itching to try running again (especially considering I have two 5k’s in a few months) but wanted to wait until I was ready physically. I think it’s going to be a slow process to get it all back.

 

I did a slow walk/jog on the treadmill. I did intervals of about 90 seconds jogging, then 60-90 seconds walking, and so on. It was okay but my knees felt a little creaky. I cut it short and then did the elliptical for the rest of the workout.

Saturday

I wanted to do something a little different this day. Instead of the treadmill I did the stair master. I used to LOVE the stair master. It is a major calorie burn. Even short sessions would make me drenched in sweat. But with my knees I kind of stopped using it. I’ve been slowly getting back to it.

 

This week I hope to go to yoga class, swim, and try running again.

What are you fitness goals for this week?