Thursday, December 31, 2015

All in All 2015 Was a Stellar Year

Well, I pretty much accomplished what I set out to do.  With my Fitbit in hand, over the year I completed the Cross Canada Challenge, which is the equivalent of walking from Halifax to Vancouver, a distance of 4435 kilometers.  I was able to do this in 48 weeks, logging in, on average, more than the distance of two marathons a week.

As well with my jeans, I dropped another size, going from a 38-inch waist down to a 36.  Considering that at the end of 2013 I was wearing a jumbo size 44-inch size of jeans, I have made considerable progress in my journey to become lean and fit.  Put another way, during 2015 I dropped 27 lbs: moving from 260 lbs to 233 lbs this morning.  In total, since beginning this journey in November of 2013, I have lost 57 lbs.  In doing so, I probably added six or seven years to my life span.

On the exercise front, I have been able to maintain the twice a week regime throughout the year.  I refined my workouts so now I do one strength workout, an Olympic lift complex with heavy weights (clean, front squat, and push press overhead) and alternate between a barbell or kettlebell complex from week to week as my second workout.  Importantly, the weight workouts enable me to retain my muscle mass while I get rid of body fat.

With regard to my level of daily activity, I continue to walk when I can and to work at an upright desk that allows me to compose this blog while standing.  However, my biggest and most pleasurable surprize came from taking up salsa at the Azucar Latin Dance Club.  Now, I take classes twice a week and go social dancing once or twice as well.  It's a lot of fun and I have met some great people.  I think I'm hooked and am looking forward to a year full of social dance ahead.

It's all very good, yet by far my biggest milestone is that during 2015 I finally learned the secret to sustainable weight loss.  I know have been somewhat evasive about my discovery because I have only been following my new way of eating for only four months.  Nevertheless, I have lost 22 lbs during this time that follows a nineteen-month weight loss plateau.  It's too early to draw conclusions, but I think I have hit on something that I would like to share with others, especially considering that 95% of the people who try to loose weight fail to sustain their weight loss.

So, 2016 is shaping up to be even a better year.  Tomorrow, I'm off on a 17 day vacation to Ecuador to celebrate what was truly a great year for me with regard to health and fitness.  When I get back, I'll get back into my routines with one exception.  I have made it my goal to complete an ebook entitled, Climbing Out of the Fat Trap One Step at a Time.  Wish me luck.

To all of you who read this blog, I wish you health and happiness for you and your loved ones throughout the entire New Year.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Two Years Later And Fifty Pounds Lighter

On the weekend, I had my official weigh in and I came in under 240 lbs for the first time in longer than I can remember.  So far this year, I have dropped 20 lbs, and since I began on this journey in October 2013, I have now lost 50 lbs. Not too shabby, especially for someone in their fifties!

Certainly, determination and perseverance have paid off, but without having the necessary information at the right time, I would have probably abandoned this project some time ago and joined the ranks of the 95% of the people who set out to lose weight but fail.

It is extremely interesting to note that during the last 24 months, 90% of my weight loss occurred during the first two and the last two months.  In other words, for an excruciatingly long time, 20 months to be exact, I experienced very meager results, losing only about five pounds.  Keep in mind that I biked and hiked more than 5000 km in 2014 and set out to walk across Canada in 2015.

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I understand why people get discouraged and throw in the towel.  In my opinion, the loss of the first 10% of body mass is relatively easy: reduce calorie intake and increase calorie expenditure and you'll get there fairly quickly.  In my case, it took me about two months.  Afterwards, metabolic adaptation sets in and what worked previous no longer brings in the same results.  In short, the thyroid turns down the thermostat so we burn less calories throughout the day and the hypothalamus increases production of the hunger hormone ghrelin so that we eat more.  Moreover, the reward of seeing the pounds drop off is lost, replaced by the sense of futility of seeing no progress for months on end.  In the vast majority of cases, the hormones win and the person returns to their previous weight, most often with a few extra pounds of fat tacked on for good measure.

In my case, I had read enough to know that the hormone leptin is responsible for energy intake and expenditure and that the problem of trying to use the calorie in, calorie out approach is doomed to fail in most cases.  Unless a person addresses what is the most likely gain of excessive weight in the first place, a combination of insulin and leptin resistance, the existing hormonal imbalance will thwart attempts of further weight loss.

Having lost only one pound after two months of eating clean, being very active, and working out two to three times a week, I knew I was fighting a losing battle.  So, I decided that if I wanted to continue with my weight loss, I needed to change my strategy.  Rather than focusing on energy expenditure and the right ratio of macronutrients (fat, protein, and carbohydrates), I focused on trying to regain my leptin sensitivity.

So far so good: I have escaped my previous weight loss plateau and am getting slimmer each week.  To date, in 8 weeks, I have lost 16 lbs!

Needless to say, I will forge on for the last two months of the calendar year and will give you a summary of my results and lessons learned to ring in the New Year.



Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Passing Through Calgary, Thinking That I Might Have Made A Big Breakthrough

Well, the Cross Canada Challenge continues.  This week I've made it to Calgary, which is the equivalent of the straight line distance from Halifax of 3754 kilometers. That's a lot of walking, more than 90 kilometers per week.  In short, I've already surpassed the number of kilometers that I walked all of last year.  I anticipate to finish the Challenge, barring injury or sickness, by the first week in December.  Yahoo!

Now, the big question: has all this effort made a significant difference in my quest to become lean and fit?  To be honest, not really.

If I look at my weight loss through 2014 and through the first eight months of 2015, it appears that my results have been meagre.  At the end of 2013, I weighed 263 lbs.  At the end of 2014, I weighed 260, and this was after walking and cycling a little more than 5000 kilometers during the year.  Talk about being stuck on a plateau.

At the beginning of 2015, I decided to take it up a notch, limiting my alcohol consumption to about a glass of wine per week, and increasing my non-exercise physical activity: working from a standing desk and increasing the number of kilometers I walked each week.  Again, not much in the way of results.  During the first six months of the year, I lost a grand total of three pounds to get to 257 lbs.

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Realizing that I was not getting the results I wanted, I decided to concentrate on my diet.  I went clean, meaning I cut out completely all fast carbs, no bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, pastry, and processed food with the exception of one cheat meal per week, while maintaining the same exercise regime and level of non-exercise physical activity.  After two months of having gone clean, I lost a grand total of one pound to get down to 256, a grand total of four pounds for the first eight months of the year.

Maybe, there is something to be said about the theory of body set weight, meaning that your body will accept some initial weight loss, but then go through a phase of metabolic adaptation to maintain a new weight, hanging onto the existing fat stores by lowering the basal metabolic rate, which is responsible for about 70% of our daily caloric output, while increasing production of the hunger hormone ghrelin.  

Not to be out done, I decided to tackle the phenomenon of metabolic adaptation head on.  To do so, it is no longer a simple question of calories in and calories out.  In fact, some would argue that calorie ingest and expenditure are the dependent variables that depend on the state of your endocrine system. From this point of view, the focus becomes on the manner in which you eat and move and how this affects the master hormone with regard to regulating metabolism, leptin.

After reading up on the subject, I deduced that my hormones were out of balance and that in addition to being insulin resistant, I was also leptin resistant, meaning that I had lost the ability to have my endocrine system effectively regulate my weight.  In other words, I have more than enough adipose tissue to produce enough leptin that should tell my brain that there is enough body fat stored away and, as a result, turn up the thermostat to burn off the extra fat that is accumulating.

But, if you are leptin resistant, your brain does not receive the message, and, instead of turning up the thermostat, mistakenly turns it down, believing that the body is in starvation mode, and thus bringing about metabolic hibernation.  Keeping in mind that the basal metabolic rate is responsible for 70% of daily calorie expenditure, the turning down of the thermostat effectively cancels the benefits of the calories burned from physical activity, which represent only 20% of daily calorie expenditure.  That explains why I couldn't get off the weight loss plateau simply by increasing my physical activity.

At this point, the key to further weight loss became increasing my leptin sensitivity, in other words, a hormonal reset.  Fortunately, I had just finished two months of eating clean, so it wasn't a big reach to go that one step further to bring my leptin levels back to normal.  All I had to do was to stop snacking between meals (even my healthy snacks of fruit or nuts) and not to eat after my evening meal.  No more grazing, just three healthy, well-balanced meals.

The results speak for themselves.  After one month of following this regime, I dropped 11 pounds, almost triple the weight loss I had experienced over the first eight months of the year.

 I think I might be onto something.  What remains to be seen is whether or not the weight loss is sustainable over then long-term.  Perhaps, I have just moved down from one plateau to another and my metabolism will simply adapt to my new lifestyle.  Nevertheless, I am very much encouraged to continue the experiment and you know that I will let you know how this all turns out before the end of the year.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

By the Time I Get To Regina, I Will Have been Clean For Six Weeks

My name is Brian and I am a carboholic.

I love eating doughnuts, cookies, cake, bread, pasta, and potatoes.

I love drinking wine and beer and assorted cocktails.

I love them all, but they don't love me.  They don't care about my health.  They give me intense pleasure, yet are totally indifferent if I develop diabetes or drop dead from a heart attack.  Yes, we have a love/hate relationship: I love their taste and texture, but I hate what they do to my body.

So, I have decided to make a clean break.  Well, not 100% clean.  I still allow myself one cheat meal per week, a precious moment when I can indulge my cravings for pizza or pasta with a glass of wine, even a clubhouse sandwich with fries, but for all my other meals and snacks during the week, I do not eat any high calorie carbs.

So far so good.  I'm coming up to the six week mark of eating clean, which more or less coincides with arriving in Regina on my Cross Canada Challenge: 3100 kilometers down, 1334 kilometers left to go.

As well, I have cut back on how many kilometers I walk during the week, but increased my number of workouts from one to three per week.

What kind of difference is this making?  I don't know.  The other thing that I decided to do is put away my scale until the end of the year.  All I want to know is what change occurred after a year's effort.  I don't want to deal with the frustration if I am not making much progress. 

At this point, I know I am all in.  I am very, very active with the amount of walking that I do.  I even have a desk at work and in my home that allows me to stand while I am working (all my blogs are now written while standing up).  I have reduced my alcohol consumption by 80% and have almost eliminated high calorie carbs from my diet.

However, this is as far as I go.  I have a life to live and, although I would like to make some health gains, I will not go so far as weighing my food and counting calories.  Having a healthy body is not a life project in itself.  Rather, it is a means to an end, like being able to enjoy time spent with loved ones.

As a result, I think it's time I addressed the question of what does it mean to be lean and fit.  Should we focus exclusively on the number on the scale or should we take other things into consideration?  For example, do we place too much importance on the Body Mass Index (BMI) to tell us whether we are healthy?  Perhaps, we need to consider notions of body set weight and our leanest livable weight.

In my next blog post, I'll explore these issues.

Bye for now.  

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

I'm Back!!! Having Left Halifax, I Have Arrived in the 'PEG'

It's always extra special for me to make it back to Winnipeg, even if it's only on a virtual tour.  As you can imagine, the thought of my home town brings back some sweet memories.

One thing I remember is that I lived in an urban village now referred to as Norwood Grove. It definitely has a lot of old growth trees, and to tie this in with my Cross Canada Challenge, Norwood was entirely walkable:  I walked to school, to the hockey rink, to the rowing club, and to hang out with my friends in the park, aptly named Happy Land

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I guess you could say that during my formative years I discovered the pleasures of walking long before I would come to learn of its health benefits.  Today, walking has, for the most part, relaced my exercise regime, and I am reaping the health benefits.

Looking back at the last six months and the 2575 kilometers that I have walked, the equivalent of the straight line distance between Halifax and Winnipeg, I can say that I haven't felt this good since I was in my early twenties.  I sleep well, manage my work stress, eat healthy, and have more energy than I know what to do with.

With regard to the changes to my body measurements, I thought that I would have dropped much more weight than I have, only three pounds to date.  However, on closer examination, the lack of weight loss has been offset by a change in my body composition.  Since the beginning of the year I have lost 8.5 lb of body fat while gaining 5.5 lb of lean body mass.  Not bad at all.  Not great.  But definitely moving in the right direction: a healthier, fitter, leaner me.

Probably the biggest change that has occurred during this trek is the manner in which I think about being active and exercise.  I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.  For example, I now realize that it is far more important what I do during all of my waking hours than what I do in the gym.  It's good to spend an hour doing resistance exercises, but it's all for naught if I spend the rest of the day sitting in front of a screen.  So, in keeping with my not so recent discovery, I am writing this blog while standing up.

All in all, I think the real test is coming when I get to compare by blood tests from two years ago to this year's.  Hopefully, I will see some improvement.

In any case, it has been nice chatting with you, but I need to get back on the virtual road and head off towards Regina.

Talk to you later.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Halfway There With Two Weeks To Spare

Last week, I passed the half way point in my Cross Canada Challenge, walking the equivalent of the straight line distance between Halifax and Vancouver as measured by my pedometer.  It is turning out to be quite the challenge since it requires a lot of discipline to log in the miles week after week, like walking two complete marathons and then some each week.  As well, because of the energy it requires, I am no longer riding my bike and I have reduced my gym time to one workout per week.  Barring injury, I can keep up the pace for the rest of the year, but once it is over, I think I'll reduce the number of kilometers that I walk, get back to cycling. and add another workout each week.

One thing that I have to say is that setting a SMART goal for distance does make a big difference.  I know how many kilometers I need to walk each day and that it is OK to walk less on the day I work out since I know I can make it up later in the week.  Having the overall goal broken down into daily tally also forces me to plan out the activity spread out over the day, taking into consideration the weather and any social plans that I have made, knowing full well that more often than not visiting someone means sitting for a long stretch.

In two weeks, I'll be half way though the calendar year.  That's when I'll have another official weigh in, letting me know if I have continued to lose fat and hopefully having retained muscle mass.  In any case, I feel great and that's what really counts.

Hasta luego.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Sittin', I Mean Standin', on the Dock of the Bay

Well, five months have passed since I took up the Cross Canada Challenge (walking the equivalent of the straight line distance across Canada in one year or less) and I have pushed past the 2000 km mark.  To put that into perspective, that's the straight line distance between Halifax and Thunder Bay.  In order to keep on pace to meet the challenge, one has to walk the equivalent of two marathons per week, each and every week, for an entire year.  Of course, it helps to break up each marathon into many shorter distances that can be walked several times a day.

That's what I'm doing.

In the morning when I arrive to work, I park my car as far as I can from the door to the building.  Instead of going for coffee in the morning, I go for a 15-20 minute walk.  I always take the stairs, only three flights.  At noon, after eating my lunch, I go for a 40 minute walk.  Throughout the day, I try to maximise my steps.  Three weeks ago, I received a standing desk at work and while I'm waiting for my computer to refresh, I take a few more steps.  I also deposit any garbage in the lunch room garbage bin and not in the waste basket in my cubicle.  After work, when I pick up the ingredients for supper, I again park far from the supermarket.  After supper, I take a final 30-40 minute walk.  By the end of the day, I have taken 20,000 or more steps or approximately 15 km.

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As you can see, my strategy has changed since I started out on my journey to become lean and fit.  Now, I only make it to the gym once a week to lift weights.  Importantly, I want to lose fat but retain my muscle mass, so the time spent in the gym (only 1 hour) focuses on building muscle, and the fat loss comes through my non-exercise physical activity: walking, standing, doing the dishes, making supper, ironing clothes, etc.  In other words, I want to keep the slow burning fat loss going as long as I can during the day and to avoid sitting for long bouts like the plague.

Speaking about the plague of excessive sitting, I invite you to read the following article: Confirmed: He Who Sits the Most Dies the Soonest.

In closing, for anyone who sets out on the Cross Canada Challenge from east to west, there is a special moment when arriving in Thunder Bay, the place where Terry Fox had to abandon his Marathon of Hope for health reasons.  Terry, wherever you are, you inspired a nation, and we are forever humbled by your courage.

God bless you Terry.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Another Life Lesson Learned: We Can't Exercise Our Way Out of a Sedentary Lifestyle

We all have beliefs that we do not want to examine because the truth of the matter would impose making some changes in the way we live.  For me, it was the belief that I could simply train my way out of a bad diet.  When I was younger, I thought I could eat and drink whatever I wanted and as much as I pleased, and, until I was thirty-something, I was able to without gaining weight, without getting fatter. 

Then, I became a father and started to work in a office full-time.  Slowly, I began to gain weight steadily, nothing drastic, three or four pounds a year, the amount of weight we pack on at Christmas.  Twenty years later, I was obese, and I could no longer fool myself by thinking I had a carte blanche with regard to my food choices.  So, having researched the subject, I went on to change my diet.  Now, I am eating six to seven servings of fruit and vegetables daily, very little high-glycemic-index carbohydrates, and I drastically reduced my consumption of alcohol.

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Looking back, losing the first thirty pounds was relatively easy.  I cut back on calories and increased my amount of exercise and incidental activity.  Then, I hit the plateau and stayed there for about eight months.  Increasing the amount of exercise didn't work.  I couldn't cut back any further on food calories, but I could reduce liquid calories by going from 6-8 glasses of wine per week to just one or two.  So, I did.

That left one remaining big, fat elephant to deal with, the amount of time I spend sitting on my ass.

Think about.  On average, a person living the North American lifestyle sleeps seven hours, is behind the wheel for two, sits at his or her desk for seven, and then adds on another three hours of screen time in the evening.  That's 19 out of 24 hours a day.  Now, that's what I call a sedentary lifestyle.

Sleep is good, so we shouldn't cut back there. But what about the twelve hours sitting on our butts? 

Sitting, as we have been recently told, is the new smoking.  It is an easy way to take years off your life and put slabs of fat around your middle.  Watch this one minute explanation video of why sitting is bad for you.    

So what's to be done?

Simple.  Get off your ass and move.  Going to the gym three to four times a week doesn't do it because while you are sitting, your body stops burning fat as a fuel and starts stockpiling the glucose that your muscles or not using into your fat deposits.  In short, prolonged sitting negates the benefits of exercise.  In fact, in my case lifting weights combined with long bouts of sitting was a recipe for getting big and strong and fat! 

What good is it being big and strong if you develop Type II diabetes, or worse yet, get cancer or have a heart attack or a stroke, all of which have a greater likelihood if you lead a sedentary lifestyle, regardless whether you exercise regularly?

Fortunately, you can teach an old dog new tricks.  The first step for this Big Dog was to to increase his non-exercise physical activity, concentrating on the most natural movement known to man, walking.  That would explain the cross-Canada challenge of walking within one year the straight line distance from Halifax to Victoria.

The second step is to reduce the time sitting on my ass.  To that end, I now have a desk that rises and allows me to write while standing up.  No longer am I sitting seven hours a day at the office, and at home I simply place my laptop on top of a box that sits on a counter.  Indeed, this is my first blog that I have written while standing.

Like making any change in lifestyle, time will tell if the benefits pan out, and you know that I'll get back to you on that one.

One thing is for sure.  During the afternoon, my mind is more alert and I get more work done.

Hasta pronto.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

I think the biggest harm the television shows like "The Biggest Loser" bring about is to create false expectations with regard to weight loss.  Certainly, I tip my hat to anyone who can lose one hundred or more pounds of body fat.  More so, if they are able to keep it off.  However, the reality of the matter is that if we use the criteria of success as a 10% loss of body weight, kept off for at least one year, 95% of those who try will fail.

Personally, I am all too aware of the challenges of trying to become lean after fifty.  Hormonal changes mean that our bodies are less apt to react quickly to changes in diet and exercise regimes.  Nevertheless, we can achieve encouraging results, but we need to be realistic when setting our goals.

Presently, I am about 16 months into the journey of trying to become lean and fit.  Like many, I experienced rapid weight loss as result of reducing calories and exercising more.  In 2014, I lost 30 lbs.  Unfortunately, I lost 20 lbs of muscle and only 10 lbs of fat.  I now regret having chosen this method because I will never be able to regain all of the muscle lost, which is important since the amount of muscle mass one carries is one of, if not, the best indicator of increased longevity and reduced morbidity. 

Moreover, as could be predicted, I hit the plateau of weight loss.  Additional exercise, in my case cycling to work each day, did not bring any additional benefits.  Most probably, my metabolic rate slowed down and the only thing that increased was my level of frustration.

This year, however, I have changed my method.  Walking remains my primary activity and I have set my sights on walking the equivalent of the distance across Canada, but now I am focused on calorie shifting instead of calorie reduction.  I have abandoned the calorie in, calorie out approach.  Instead, I am now eating more fat, more protein, and less carbs.  As well, my carb intake is mostly complex carbs, high in fiber.

So far, so good.

After four months of this new approach, I have lost seven pounds of fat and gained one pound of muscle.  For some, this might seem to be a meager result, but as far as I am concerned this is a great result because, unlike last year, I am now becoming leaner without losing muscle mass.

Now that the good weather is upon us, I am interested to see how I will do.  I always have the expectation that becoming more active will bring about better results, and I am always disappointed to learn that my expectations have not been met.

Will this summer be any different?  I don't know.  What I am hoping for is that this trend of losing body fat without muscle loss will continue.  At least this summer, I will be able to enjoy a big fat cheeseburger without any qualms, as long as I skip the beer and the potato salad.

Have a great summer.  Move more and eat better. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Taking Up the Cross Canada Challenge

I'm now ten weeks into my fitness challenge for 2015.  It's time to take stock and adjust.

On the positive side, with the frigid part of winter now behind us, I can say that this first part of the year has been a grand success with regard to rolling out the kilometers.  As of today, I've walked a little over 1000 km, averaging 95 km a week.  I now know that I set the bar too low when I decided to aim for 4000 km for the calendar year, which requires moving ahead at a pace of only 77 km per week.  So, I have decided to raise the bar.

As it turns out, the straight line distance across Canada, from Halifax to Victoria, is 4,473.3 km, which works out to about 86 km per week, slightly less than what I have been doing since the beginning of the year.

Say, no more.  I'm up to the challenge.  In 2015, I will walk a distance equivalent, if you were to draw a straight line, from Halifax to Victoria.

I think I'm going by myself a new pair of walking shoes. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

This Year's First Report Is Looking Good

Well, let's get with it.  The SMART goals are in place and you're wondering how I'm doing.  I must say pretty damn good!

This year I'm tracking kilometres walked, number of resistance workouts, units of alcohol consumed, and body weight broken down into lean mass and body fat, made possible by my new Aria scale from Fitbit.

Here goes.

Kilometers Walked

Week 1    95.97
Week 2    93.30
Week 3    98.17
Week 4   104.99

Total       392.43    Weekly average:  98.10 k

Required weekly distance to meet goal of 4000k in 2015: 77 k
Surplus kilometers to date: 84.43 k

Resistance Workouts

Week 1   2
Week 2   2
Week 3   2
Week 4   1

Total       7

Required number of workouts per period: 8
Deficit to date: -1

Units of Alcohol Consumed

Week 1   0
Week 2   1
Week 3   1
Week 4   1

Total       3

Maximum number of units to be consumed per period: 4
Surplus units waiting to be consumed: 1

Body Weight

Sat. Dec 27, 2014: 259.7 lbs   37% fat
Sat. Jan. 24, 2015: 256.0 lbs   36% fat

Weight loss: 3.7 lbs

Lean vs Fat

Dec. 27    162.6  lbs lean    97.1 lbs fat
Jan. 24     164.4 lbs. lean    91.6 lbs fat

Lean mass gained: 1.8 lbs
Fat loss: 5.5 lbs


This is the kind of start that I wanted.  I don't expect that I will be able to maintain the same level of fat loss and lean mass gained through the upcoming 4 week periods.
However, compared to last year these results are far more encouraging. For instance,  instead of aiming for only 10,000 steps per day, now I aim for 17,000 steps.  Last year I dropped 30 pounds.  Unfortunately, it broke down into 20 pounds of lost muscle and only 10 pounds of fat.  My goal for this year is to maintain my lean body mass and lose the fat.  Since this is the first time that I am tracking body composition, I really don't know what is possible over the course of the year.  As a result, I am not setting a meaasurable objective other than keeping the muscle and losing the fat.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

My SMART Goals for 2015

A New Year has begun and with it a new opportunity to put into place a set of goals to guide me for the upcoming year.  To get better results I make my goals SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely.

So, as a result, I have decided that by the end of 2015, I will have walked 4000 kilometers; I will have completed 100 resistance workouts; I will not have consumed more than 50 units of alcohol; and I will be able to fit into a pair of 36-inch-waist-jeans.

Using my Fitbit tracking application to divide the year up into weeks, I started my year on December 29, 2014, and my first week was a smashing success.  I walked 94.27 kilometers, did two workouts at the gym, and didn't consume any alcohol over the week..  To reach my goals, I will need to walk approximately 77 kilometers each week, hit the gym twice, and limit myself to one unit of alcohol.

As you can see, I have already built up a small surplus of kilometers walked and units of alcohol that were not consumed, and I am on pace for the 100 workouts.

No, I didn't try on the jeans.  It's far too early to even think about it, but as soon as those 38-inch-jeans start to feel loose, I'll be heading to the store to try a smaller size on.

Wishing you all the best with your plans and projects in 2015!