Wednesday, November 18, 2009

First Week Back

So here we are, a week after I decided that enough was enough and that I needed to get back to work. I am happy to report that my first week back went very well in spite of a few challenges, including a weekend full of travel.

The bottom line is that I'm four and a half pounds lighter, but more importantly, I'm in the process of reestablishing the good habits that got me to my preferred weight in the first place. Now it is all about following through with what I started.

A good start is always the best motivation. On to Week Two!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Back To Square Two

Hey, remember me? I used to write stuff in this space every now and then. Frankly, I'd be surprised if anyone still checks out this blog...

As you might have guessed from my unexplained disappearance, I fell off the wagon, hard. I have reasons and excuses galore, but the fact remains that the only reason I'm back is that I'm running out of clothes to wear. I think the smartest thing I ever did was get rid of all the clothes that became too large for me as I lost weight, because I can't afford to buy a new wardrobe full of the same clothes that I gave away not all that long ago.

So tonight I finally decided to get my act together and go back to square two and shred the excess baggage that's been accumulating in all the old familiar places. The reason I say square two is because I caught myself before totally undoing all the hard work I went through before.

Going forward, one of three things is going to happen. The first possibility is that this is the last post you'll see from me for another five or six months, in which case will probably mean total and abject failure. The second possibility is that I'll get back to posting for a while, run into some convenient excuses, lose my focus and fall off the wagon again. This is not a preferred course of action and will take some hard work and intense focus to avoid.

Finally, the desired third outcome is that I will get my mojo back and I will not only be successful with my efforts to get back down to a much healthier weight and in keeping it off, but that I will be able to continue to write about it here in a way that won't drive away any potential readers.

It's good to be back!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Bumps In The Road

My commute to work is a 60-plus mile round trip. Over the years I've become quite familiar with the route I take to get there. That doesn't mean that the trip is exactly the same every day. There's always something new demanding my attention. Construction, accidents, potholes and heavy volume are just some of the obstacles I must face regularly. Detours are something to be expected, no matter how annoying they are.

The road I'm navigating to return to the healthy habits I abandoned is also filled with obstacles to avoid. These "bumps in the road" must be handled carefully. If not, I risk running off the road and never reaching my destination.

This is my way of saying that I encountered one of these bumps last night in the form of ice cream and fresh-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookies. That left me with a question this morning: What was I going to do about it? Was I going to continue going "off road" or did I want to get back on the highway so I could resume my journey to better health?

My answer is simple. I am back on the road to the "No Junk Zone" after a slight diversion. No matter what your goal or priority, a slight bump in the road does not signify catastrophe. As Ol' Blue Eyes used to sing, "Take a deep breath, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again."

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

One Priority At A Time

Last night's plan for dinner was fettuccine Alfredo. Knowing that "fettuccine Alfredo" is the Italian phrase for "avalanche of calories," I opted instead to start off with a small salad, then I made a large stir fry of mixed frozen veggies and diced ham steak seasoned the way I like with a very small portion of the pre-Alfredo fettuccine mixed in.

It was actually a very tasty and filling meal. I also had a few small pieces of the garlic bread that was on the table. Then I topped the meal off with two, maybe three, forks full of the Alfredo-drenched pasta.

As I sat there afterwards I reflected on my meal. Yes, I ate more than I intended. I certainly know that I could have done without the garlic bread and the extra pasta. It was then that I decided that I had a very successful day.

Yesterday was a successful day for me because I didn't eat any junk food. Even though I had large dinner that included a few not-so-healthy choices, my priority for the day was to stay in the "No Junk Zone" that I've been in since Monday. Because that was my only priority, I didn't consider my dinnertime choices as setbacks to my attempt to get back on track.

In time I will expand my priorities to once again include portion control and better choices in my food selection. But for now I'm taking it one day and one priority at a time.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Song And Dance

When I started to write this post I was going to talk about what's been going on in my life that contributed to the recent unpleasantness between my bathroom scale and myself. But then I realized that it doesn't really matter. Everyone has things going on in their lives that make maintaining a healthy lifestyle difficult. In spite of that, there are countless men and women out there who have made made it a top priority to take care of their bodies. I had just stopped making it a priority in my life.

That's why you won't find any song and dance here today. No excuses or rationalizations. Just someone trying to reset his priorities so he can get back to where he was.

I declared yesterday a No Junk Zone, meaning that no junk food would pass my lips for the entire day. I made it my top priority for the day. It worked out very well even though my planning left much to be desired. In celebration of that success, I've decided to make it my top priority again today.

While it may only be one small part of living a healthy lifestyle, it is a move in the right direction. And that's all I need right now.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Whatever Happened To Skinny Guy?

Nothing happened to me that hasn't happened to anyone else. I fell off the wagon and lay there watching as it ran over me, backed up, and ran over me again and again. The good news is that I'm here and ready to make another attempt at getting back on board. Thanks to everyone who left a comment or emailed wondering where I was.

Are you ready to hear about my Big Master Plan for getting back on track? So am I! But it occurred to me that the bigger the plan, the easier it is to fail. That's why my Big Master Plan can be summed up in two words.

Baby steps.

That's all I'm committing myself to right now. Something small that can done without extreme amounts of effort in a 24 hour period. Something that I know I can do. And if I manage to do it today, I will try to do it again tomorrow. But I'm just concern with today for now. And today's baby step is one that I know I can do.

Today is a No Junk Zone. I will eat a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner. Any snacks I have will not have a list of ingredients on them. I will do my best to keep any and all cakes, crackers, chips, pretzels, candies, and other "goodies" away from my mouth.

If I can do this for today, I will be happy.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

My Name Is Skinny Guy

And I'm a carboholic. I've been on a two month bender that has seen me sabotage all of my attempts to get back on track. There is usually no shortage of baked goods present in the house, but I'm usually able to avoid them because they're the boxed, over-processed variety of store bought junk, and they don't usually appeal to me.

But throughout the holiday season, my wife went on a baking spree that pushed me past my ability to control myself. Lord knows, she did her best to protect me from myself, but I was determined to commit carbocide.

Once I plowed through all the good stuff, I showed even less self control and started eating all the crappy stuff I could get my hands on as well. Even as long ago as last night I was popping boxed mini-donuts into my pie hole.

So as of this posting, I'm going to try to put the brakes on. Again.

"Persistence, not perfection."

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

2009 Goal #2: Build Some Muscle

[It is traditional for nearly everyone to make resolutions or set goals for the new year. Over these next few posts, I will be discussing my top goals for 2009.]

At the end of yesterday's post I said that this post would be about losing the fat. I've decided to rethink the order in which I'm posting my goals, so today I'm going to talk about another goal instead, that of building muscle.

When I lost 130 pounds, I did it mostly by counting calories (points) on WeightWatchers with some cardio work thrown in for good measure. The cardio training consisted mostly of walking and I didn't do any strength training at all.

While I will always be grateful to WeightWatchers for providing me with a program that I was able to follow and use to transform my health, I've done a lot of reading and studying since then. Now I realize that if I had included strength training in my regimen, I could have added more fat-burning lean body mass to my frame instead of almost certainly losing the lean body mass that I did by not doing any strength training.*

By beginning some sort of strength training now, I'll be able to build up some of that fat-burning muscle that will help me improve my fitness and maintain my body fat percentage at a level that is appropriate.

I haven't settled on an exact strength training plan yet, but more than likely it will be something I can ease into, most likely with body weight routines. Maybe I'll even start off by actually completing the Hundred Push Up Challenge that I started twice last year.

*To be fair to WeightWatchers, they do mention the importance of exercise, mostly cardio, in their materials. Any lack of exercise of any type during my weight loss was strictly my (lack of) doing.

Tomorrow: Goal #3: Eating Well

Monday, January 5, 2009

2009 Goal #1: Run A 5K

[It is traditional for nearly everyone to make resolutions or set goals for the new year. Over the next few posts, I will be discussing my top goals for 2009.]

Back in 2007, I participated in my first official 5K race. I walked the entire way. Last year I tried another 5K and managed to run about half the distance and even managed not to come in last! So this year my goal is to run an entire 5K race from start to finish.

The 5K I've chosen is the Shirley Mae Run in Atlantic City, NJ which benefits the Shirley Mae Breast Cancer Assistance Fund, a non-profit that benefits patients in Southeastern New Jersey who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and who demonstrate financial need. This is the same 5K I participated in last year, and I'm looking forward to doing it again.

Traditionally held the day before Mother's Day on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, the Shirley Mae Run (and the Gilda's Club Walk) celebrates the survivors of breast cancer while remembering those that have passed. It's a great event for a great cause.

As the spring draws closer I'll be formulating my training plan, but at the moment I'm leaning towards the popular Couch to 5K program (C25K) that can be found at the Cool Running web site. I'll be sure to keep everyone posted.

Tomorrow: Goal #2: Lose the Fat

My Goals For 2009

As is traditional for this time of year, I've set a few goals for myself for the new year. Over the next few days I plan on sharing them with you and look forward to your comments. I also invite you to share some of your goals for 2009.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy New Year!

Even though 2009 started several days ago, the new year didn't start for me until this morning. Now that all the holiday parties are over and my clothes are stretched to the bursting point, it's time to begin anew.

I know I've said I'm going to restart my healthy habits multiple times over the last few months, when I've decided to post at all. I realize that asking you to believe me again may be asking a bit much. To be honest, I won't believe it until I see it either. All I can say is that this time feels different, and that I plan on posting more details as the week progresses.

Time will tell.

In other news, I am also contemplating some changes to the blog. Besides being badly in need of a face lift, I'm tinkering with the idea of switching platforms and possibly moving it to its own web site. It won't happen overnight, but it will happen.

I have also jumped on the Twitter bandwagon. If anyone is interested, you can check out my profile here.