Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Measure of My Success in 2014: I Dropped Three Pant Sizes

When it comes to fitness and getting into shape, there are many measures of success.  For example, it could be the number on the scale, a change in the percentage of body fat, or the waist to hip ratio.

For me, this year, the best indicator of my success is that I now wear the same make and style of jeans that I wore at the beginning of 2014, but three sizes smaller.

I guess you can say that I walked my butt off.  Having hit the pavement for 3800 kilometers and having biked for another 1400 kilometers, plus severely restricting my simple carb consumption along with alcohol, I think I may have finally figured out what works for me.

Move more.  Eat better.

Not all that difficult to do, but I had to get out of denial.  I had to drop my belief that since I went to the gym regularly, I could eat whatever I wanted, when I wanted.  As well, I had to admit that my moderate alcohol consumption was sabotaging my efforts to get into good shape.

Sometimes the most difficult part of making transformative change is coming clean with our dysfunctional behavior, especially when the behavior in question brings considerable pleasure as eating bread, pasta, and pastries and drinking alcohol most certainly do.

It's not that I can no longer eat my favorite foods and drink my favorite wine; it's just that I can only partake once in a while, one cheat meal and one glass of wine per week.

I can live with that.  In fact, I will live longer with a better quality of life if I just keep on keeping on with what I am doing.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Well Folks, I Made It! 5000 Km in 2014

Last year, I received a Fitbit for Christmas.  Since then I have been faithfully logging my distance covered each day on foot.  When summer rolled around, I decided to do the same for my bike, using the GPS in my cellphone.

When I began the year, I had no idea about how much ground I could cover over the next twelve months.  In this instance, what can be measured definitely counts.  Once I started tracking my daily movement, given my personality, I started to push myself.

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The first goal was to get up to 10,000 steps a day, which is for me about 7.8 km.  After a while, reaching that goal was relatively easy.  Just moving about around the house and at work brings me to 4000 steps, so to get to 10,000, it only takes about an hour of walking.  Add in two, 15-minute coffee breaks and a half an hour at lunch and voila, the Fitbit reads 10,000 or more steps by the end of the day.

I then decided to increase my goal by 30%, in other words to move up to 13,000 steps per day, which works out to be 10k.  That I can do, but it requires more discipline, in particular, at least 30 additional minutes of walking in the evening.

Sometime in the late fall, I realized that I had already walked the equivalent of the distance from Ottawa to Calgary.  I then added the number of kilometers I had cycled and knew that I had covered approximately 4600 km, the distance from Ottawa to Vancouver.  Then I thought, "if I pick up the pace, I'll make it to 5000 km before the end of the calender year."

As a result, over the last six weeks, I have been walking on average 12km per day.  That means parking the car as far as possible in the parking lot at work and when I go shopping, taking the stairs, and a minimum of 30 minutes on the treadmill in the evening.

Well, I made it to 5000 Km with two weeks to spare, and I must say I feeling pretty good about myself.  In short, I have walked on average 10km a day for the entire year.

Pretty good for someone who was 56 years old until today, my birthday.

Without question, the best gift I have given myself has been the heath gains I have experienced over the last year.

I am definitely looking forward to 2015, the year in which I can hopefully say with confidence that "I am lean and fit!"