So what do I mean by an open source view of health and fitness? Well all to often as soon as people have an idea on how to loose weight or be healthy they turn it into a business model. Some of these idea’s turn into real businesses like ViSalus or AdvoCare. However some of these just turn into scam’s like the ones in the news lately with doctor Oz. My view is different… I believe that knowledge that is freely available can benefit everyone. I don’t do any advertising on my blog, I don’t charge for any advice I give. This is my way to give back to the community at large. I don’t blog about any products I don’t personally use and believe in.
This is post will probably stay at a high level with further posts delving into great detail about specific area’s of interest. Here is my story…
So about two years ago I was watching a fireworks display and was sitting there quite hot and sweaty. I was about three hundred pounds. I was obviously out of shape. I went to bed tired and woke up tired. My quality of life was not good. I decided I needed to make a change. I can still remember the moment sitting there… It was like a light switch flipped. I was done being out of shape. I realized I needed to make some changes but what? I actually new someone who was selling advocare and someone who was doing the body by vi program. I listened to each sales pitch (yes they were sales pitches) from my friends. I compared both and decided I would just try and see what I could do myself before I spent hard earned cash on some diet program. After all I wanted to be fit not skinny.
I looked at the situation like any engineer would and figured out what the moving parts were. ( the big problem was I was not moving lol ) So I decided that for my situation I needed to work on exercise, sleep and diet. I decided to work on them in that specific order. The first thing I did was take an inventory of my options. Being about 300 pounds the only two options that seamed to work for me was walking and biking. Biking was what worked for my situation. I started with the goal of biking just a couple miles a day. I did this most days of the first week. By the second week my goal was to increase my distance by a half mile. By the end of week two I was able to increase my distance to three miles… This was a huge achievement for me. I began to realize just how important short term goals were. I decided to set another short term goal and started thinking about long term goals. My short term goal was to increase my distance to 6 miles a day. My long term goal was to drop my waist from a 46 to a more acceptable 38. I thought this might take a year to do given my current trend. Now that I had a long term goal I needed indicators to figure out if I was making progress. The obvious ones were the scale and was my waist. As it turned out there were plenty of others I was less aware of at the time. Like how my watch fit or the amount of blood vessels showing. As week three came to a close I fell short of my six mile goal. This was my first failure to reach a goal… Don’t worry there were more failures ahead but the end goal was to become fit and I was becoming fit little by little. So I pressed on. Week four I made it to six miles and ended the week on a 6.5 mile ride. It was here that I started paying attention to the scale. And to my surprise I had gained 8 pounds the first month…
At this point I decided it was time to pay attention to what I was putting into my mouth a bit more. The first thing that had to go was soda. It had to redeeming nutritional value. Now I will say that it tastes great and well I was slightly addicted to it. That was enough change for week five. I continued to bike more or less each day. Slowly increasing my distance. I started drinking more water. Then a wonderful thing started happening. I started losing weight. The reality was I started losing fat in the beginning but I was also building muscle at the same time which was masking my fat loss and thus came my first ah hah. The scale is not the pinnacle of accuracy when it comes to fitness. Yes the scale is a general indicator but its not the end all be all.
I kept biking more and more… My goal was to add duration each week. It started to be a competition with myself. I started to look forward to how far I could push myself. By the end of month two I had lost the initial eight pounds I had gained plus lost an additional 20 pounds. I was starting to notice my clothes fitting looser and I had more energy. I was starting to sleep a bit better. With the pounds starting to really come off I thought it was time to work on my diet more. I decided to start eating more fresh fruit and vegetables. I started having some fruit with my breakfast. I researched super foods and found I could get most of the nutrients I was lacking via foods like chai seeds, walnuts, blueberries, avocado, bananas, spinach, oats, Greek yogurt, oranges etc… So I started making little changes… and another wonderful thing happened. I started feeling a lot better. I felt like I had more energy. My mood was generally a lot more positive.
I continued biking more and more… by the end of month three I was biking about 35 miles a day. This is wear I had to start making more diet changes. These changes were required by the amount of cardio I was doing. I could not make more gains in distance or endurance with out giving my body what it needed for energy. So now I got very serious about what I was eating. My choices became very deliberate. I started eating a bigger and healthier breakfast and a smaller dinner. This helped me a lot. It takes time for your body to break down food. So why do we eat out biggest meal at dinner? That makes no sense to me and yet I did it for several decades. That switch alone was hugely positive for me. By the end of month four I was down about sixty pounds. This was an insane amount of weight. I was getting near my goal of size 38 pants… but I also started to realize that I might want to shift that goal down to a size 36.
Month five had a couple challenges. First off it was getting cold and I could not really bike outside. There were two main reasons I was so cold. One was it was november and the other was after losing 60 pounds I was cold all the time. My body had not gotten used to my new lack of thermal insulation. I found a local gym that had a stationary bike. I started biking in doors. This was not in any way the same as biking out doors but it did have one advantage. I could bike till I was completely exhausted which is a state that would have been unsafe while biking outside. I started using a heart rate monitor to make sure I was pushing myself and not getting complacent. The second major challenge this moth posed was that it was the beginning of what I would call the holiday season. Which means a lot of eating in social settings. I still managed to take off another twenty pounds. At this point I was at my goal of a 38 inch waist. I was ecstatic to say the least.
Month six… Time to adjust my goals. I realized that a size 36 waist was indeed a possibility. So with that new goal in mind I started really pushing the cardio. I was biking the equivalent of 55 miles a day. And on the occasional warm day I did bike 55 to 60 miles outside. Thanks in large part to Under Armour Cold Gear. That cold gear is amazing. I don’t say this lightly, I love Under Armour Cold Gear. I was still losing weight and feeling great. By the end of the month I Was at 199 pounds. This was a weight I had not even thought possible. I was down to a size 36. I was cardiovascular y healthy. I was eating right and slept wonderfully. So in six months I had changed my life very dramatically and really in ways I had not even realized were possible.
So in summary I started exercising and eating healthy. I was diligent with both. I also made small incremental changes over a period of time so as not to overwhelm myself with a lot of changes at once. I saw tremendous results much like all the programs I was hearing about from everyone else. The difference was my changes were lifestyle changes that were permanent and have yielded permanent results.
But this was just the beginning. The next step was to get physically fit. I will delve into that in the next article. As always feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments bellow.
Edited to add – I probably should have titled this article how to lose 100 pounds in six months. But I didn’t because for me it was not as much about weight loss as it was becoming healthy and physically fit. In my book skinny does not necessarily equate to fit.
My new motto – just put your earbuds on, listen to some tunes and work out!
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