Saturday, June 23, 2012

One goal's knocked down, while another's set up!

From a crag on Sandia, just off the North Crest Trail
Today I accomplished a huge goal for me - completed the fifth of my five planned 10-mile hikes. These were not mere walks in the woods. With the exception of one, which was a a town to town trek through the historic towns of Lincoln and Concord, Massachusetts, these were strenuous hikes with between 1,300 and 3,000 feet of elevation gain along rugged terrain.

Those of you who know me or who have been following my blog (which started as The Fitness 400 Project a few years ago), know that I stopped trying to lose weight about a year ago to focus on physical activity. I had lost more than 165 pounds by then, eating right and doing resistance training at the gym and using a medicine ball. I dropped from about 420 to 255 pounds. And though I was at that point still obese, I decided I wanted to prove what I was capable of. I wanted to demonstrate through hard work and dedication what any moderately in-shape obese person can do if he or she challenges him or herself to get out into the world and live life to the fullest!

My body aches after these hikes. It's like carrying an 80 pound pack. And now that I've accomplished these hikes I am ready to starting focusing on weight loss again. The reason is simple. Part of my original goal with hiking, which you can read about on my blog Man of Merit, was to plan and carry out these five 10-mile hikes followed by a long-distance 20-mile hike, to be carried out in a single day (no camping between two 10-milers).

After today's hike, I've determined that my body is just not ready for a 20-mile hike, unless I were to cheat a bit and do a walk on a totally flat surface perhaps. But instead I'm choosing to challenge myself once more to a 20-mile mountain hike. And this means I need to lose a considerable amount of weight first to ensure I don't injure myself in the process.

This is not going to be an easy task. I've become quite content at my current weight. I look good, and I feel good - especially when compared to how I felt living in a super obese body, not even being able to bend down to pick up something off the floor or walk without waddling. But I know that I'm capable of much more. And I'm going to prove that to myself, starting right now.

This means cutting out the splurges I've become accustomed to over the past year. I still eat very well, but I have to admit I've been enjoying ice cream from time to time, and this has definitely got to stop if I'm going to make strides with weight loss again. So that's my new commitment. No more late night snacks. I will also ramp up my exercise routine.

Since moving to Albuquerque in January I've been going to the gym and hiking, obviously, but I've not been using medicine ball and doing plank on a regular basis like I did in the past. Starting back at these core exercises three days a week I know will make a positive impact on my weight loss in no time.

So there you have it. I'm back at it, and I'm putting it in writing here so I know I will have accountability for this commitment. My goal is to lose 40 pounds by the end of December. And a short term goal is to lose 20 pounds by October 1.

I really appreciate those of you who read me and keep me on track with my goals. And as always, I'm open to your comments and suggestions along the way! 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Five tips to focus on in your fit life journey

"My fit life journey" can mean different things to different people. But weather you're trying to lose a few pounds, overcome obesity or maintain a healthy weight, the basics of living a fit life are basically the same.

When I started my fit life journey a few years ago, the tips I'm providing here were considered non-negotiable for me. And even today, as I'm closer to my healthy weight goal than I've been in two decades, I try to remind myself to stick within these guidelines in order to stay on track.

So check out this list, then comment. What do you do to ensure your journey a fit life journey?
  1. Hydration - Drink water all day long. How much? Google that question and add your specific weight and geographic area, because body mass and climate both have an impact. In general, drink eight 8-ounce cups of water per day, plus more if you're overweight and/or living in a dry climate or at high altitude.
  2. Portion size - The most common mistake any of us make with regard to our diet is eating more than our body needs. This takes focus, because the system these days appears to be stacked against us. For example, typical meat portions at restaurants are rarely less than eight ounces, but an appropriate serving of any meat is about four ounces. See a doctor or nutritionist (or Google) to find out how many calories your body needs. 
  3. Food is fuel, not your friend - Plan to have smaller portions spread out over the course of the day to ensure your body has nutrients accessible at times it needs them most. Then you won't be as tempted to have something to eat the next time anxiety, stress or emotional drain sets in.
  4. Plan ahead - By cooking and pre-packaging healthy meals in advance, say on Sunday night before a busy work week, you can avoid the pitfalls of eating out. This could save you considerable amounts of calories over the course of your week because even the "healthy" meals at restaurants often come served in portion sizes larger than your dietary needs.
  5. Exercise every day - They say you should always have rest days built in to your schedule, and that's true. You shouldn't hit the gym or go hiking or running every day of the week. But you should infuse an attitude of exercise into every single day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator at work. Park at the parking spot farthest from the door at work or at the grocery store. Take the dogs for a walk twice a day around the block instead of just having them do their business just beyond the front stoop or in the back yard. You will be surprised how this speeds you toward your goals.
These are not just a few tips to be implemented from time to time but rather they are key ingredients to living a fit life. Don't just pick up one or two of these tips and try them out; Commit to implementing them this week and focus on adhearing to a plan for at least four weeks in order to see results. Once you have made these five tips a habit, check back here for more tips for making the most of your fit life journey.