Getting Healthier in 2018: January Challenge Complete

Getting healthier is often a top 10 New Year’s resolution every year. What’s wealth without health? If you’re a Godfather fan like I am, you know that the Godfather is full of important life lessons. You might recall in Part 2 where Michael is in a business partnership with Hyman Roth a wealthy, but crooked, financier. They plan to open hotels and casinos in Cuba. Mr. Roth is also a lot older than Michael and has a lot of health issues. In one scene, Mr. Roth is talking with Michael after he blows out the candles to his birthday cake and says, “Good health is the most important thing. More than success, more than money, more than power.”. In another scene, he’s a bit more vulgar about the importance of health, “I’d give four million just to be able to take a piss without it hurting.”

Godfather Life Lesson takeawayHealth is an important thing to get right in life.

With the New Year, I challenged myself to regain discipline by getting back into shape and lose some weight. I wasn’t completely out of shape in 2017, but I had gained a solid 10 pounds over the holiday. There was so much good food around it was tough for me to pass it up. My challenge in January was to commit to run everyday. I figured this would help me drop some of the additional weight I had gain over the past two months. Seeing everyone’s resolution on to get healthier on social media was also an inspiration. 

This week I completed my January challenge. While I did miss a couple of running days, I stayed dedicated and ran 84% of the days in January (26 of 31 days). I covered 67.1 miles over that time period. Here are some of the benefits and challenges I encountered over the past month.

Benefits

The biggest benefits I got from committing to running everyday were as follows:

  • I have regained a disciplined mindset
  • An increased cardio capacity
  • I have become re-committed to daily exercise
  • More alertness
  • I have sharpened my focused by sustaining focus for 30 days
  • Kept myself accountable by posting my daily runs to social media and tracking the mileage on my iPhone

  • Discipline has begun to influence other parts of life that need work, specifically diet

Committing to running everyday has spilled over to being disciplined with my diet. Exercise alone was not helping me to lose weight which was an expected side benefit to committing to running. This was a challenge. Fortunately this forced me to rediscover a disciplined diet.

Challenges

I kept track of my weight over the past month expecting to see some significant weight loss. Before my January challenge, I had been lifting weights but because of the holidays, I saw my weight get up to 195.6 lbs. I’m normally around 185 lbs.

While I did see some promising results initially, over the course of the the month I didn’t notice the pounds shedding off as fast as I expected. I bounced between 192 and 194 lbs over the past couple of weeks. Here is a breakout of my periodic weigh-ins:

My Non-Weight-loss Chart

Date Start (lbs) End (lbs)
12/27 195.6 193.5
1/8 192.6 190.8
1/12 195 192.6
1/17 194.2 192
1/26 194.6 192
1/31 193.4 190.6
2/2 190.6 189

As you can tell, during the first week of running, I lost 3 lbs. Hooray! I really wasn’t paying much attention to my diet, so I assumed my metabolism was increasing so I kept my diet the same. This is reflected in my less than stellar weight loss progress for next couple of weigh in periods. I basically gained back most of the weight I had lost during the first week. Up until the last week in January, I had only lost about a pound. I was stuck at 194 lbs despite my running distances increasing every week.

As I discovered, my weight fluctuation was directly related to my undisciplined eating habits. Unfortunately, I wasn’t disciplined in my diet until the last week of my challenge. The good news is that figured out what I had to do to see weight loss. I had to change my diet. I am now seeing the results I expected to see within the first couple weeks of running. Over the past week (1/26 – 2/2), I’m down 4 lbs.

Diet Change

Those holidays really impacted my eating habits. I was unconsciously eating too many carbs. Before the holidays, I had a good gauge of how many carbs I was taking in and effectively maintained my weight at 185 lbs. I’m not sure what was special about this holiday season, but apparently I simply consumed to many carbs daily which over a course of two months, got me up to 195.6 lbs. Yikes! During this time, I lost my ability to gauge how many carbs I was consuming on a daily basis and had to re-program myself over this past week.

A History of Weight Flux

I have had to deal with weight fluctuation for most of my life. Most recently, after I got married in 2007. Quite simply after I got married, I got lazy. I had been 175 lbs through most of my college years, but after I got married, I let myself go. I got to 212 lbs. A similar thing happened to me in high school. I changed high schools during my senior year and stopped playing basketball. I jumped from 165 lbs to 193 lbs. In both cases I stopped working out and as as a result gained weight. I didn’t help that I like food either. Maybe a little too much. Without the workouts to support my eating habits, I simply gained weight. Gaining weight made me feel lazy and before I knew it, I had gained 10, 20, even 30 lbs.

Different Weight Loss Situations

I had to deal with weight loss differently in each situation. In high school and into college, I simply started getting active again. I started playing basketball, running, and lifting weights. I was still in my late teens/early twenties so my metabolism took care of my weight loss without me having to worry about diet.

For my weight gain during my marriage, I found losing weight was a bit more of a challenge. While I started getting active again by running and lifting weights, the with wasn’t falling off like it did when I started getting active again to lose weight in high school. I was in my early 30’s so weight loss had become a different ballgame. I had to look for a diet to help me this time around. The diet that did the trick for me was Atkins. Essentially, Atkins has you learn how to optimize and control your carb intake over four phases. During the the first phase, you basically cut your carb intake to 0 (actually its around 20 g) which allows for rapid weight loss. As you progress through the phases, you add carbs to your diet, your weight loss slows, and you eventually figure out where your “carb happy zone” is. Over the next couple of months, I learned what my body needed and I lost 30 lbs. I also reached my “happy zone” to maintain my weight for several years.

Carb Reduction

With all that said, I knew I wasn’t losing weight because I wasn’t being disciplined in my diet. Everyone is different, but I knew I was eating too many carbs ant that I was just being stubborn. So, since this monthly challenge was all about discipline, I figured I needed to get back to a disciplined diet. My running challenge has definitely influence me to challenge my diet. Over this past week, I returned to Phase 1 of the Atkins diet and, like last time, I have seen a rapid loss of weight. Over the week I’ve lost 4 lbs and finally saw my weight drop below 190. Win! I’ll continue this phase of the diet for another week and start increasing my carb intake next week. Stay tuned!

 

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