Fitness update

Fitness update

Back near the beginning of August I wrote about my fitness and plans to get back into a good routine and health. Today I hit a couple milestones so I thought I would give a quick update.

My main goals were to keep my physical activities varied and not only doing one thing. For both biking and running I set some minor goals for myself.

With biking my goal was to be able to make it from the bottom of our hill to the top without stopping. On September 1st I completed that though very slowly.

Since then I haven’t done a lot of biking as I’ve been concentrating on my running. My goal was to be able to run the Valley Harvest Marathon 5K race in under 30 minutes. When I started running again in August it seemed like a long ways away. That race was this morning and I did it.

Another fun milestone that came today was when I jumped on the scale I am now down 30lbs since April of this year. That is when I started but had a few big up and downs before I finally really buckled down in August.

There is still more work to go but I’m finally feeling like I’m back in a good routine with both my eating and activity levels.

New Running Goal

It was in mid July when I guess I started running again this year after taking a long detrimental break. After the 10K race for the Valley Harvest Marathon in October of last year I basically stopped running.

Getting started again was hard but it’s come along well. This year after the race I decided that I wasn’t going to fall into the same funk I fell into last fall/winter and I was going to continue on with the running. Looking through my Runkeeper stats I found that I had ran just over 300km since July this year. My best month was September leading up to me training for the race at a little over 100km that month. If I could do that for the next two months I’d be over 500km for the year in running.

That is my new goal. This time not to lose weight, but hopefully that will happen as well, but just to run 500km by the end of the year. That means I will need to do about 25km a week which is really achievable if I don’t slack off and let weather get me down.

My last goal setting didn’t end up in me meeting my goal, so I’m going to have to work extra hard on this one and maybe it will even help me reach my last goal as well.

running-goal

Saving Money

Besides vacations it’s been years since I’ve purposely set aside money to save for something I’ve wanted. It’s always been much easier to somehow justify and throw it on a credit card and worry about paying it off afterwards. 

Luckily for the most part I don’t usually  spend much money on myself, but I do have my moments and when I do it’s usually something more expensive than a small treat.

Starting tonight I’m going to try an experiment and stop that. When I look at my life there is absolutely nothing I need, so I’m going to stop spending money on my wants and instead put money away for something specific. 

When we were in Park City one of the most enjoyable things I did was go for a bike tour. It had been years since I’d been on a bike, but in my younger years I did bike a lot. A number of years back now I purchased a bike again with the intent on using it to lose weight and excersise.

The bike was cheap and not even the right size for me. One of my very first rides on it had me over the handle bars because things weren’t tight enough and when I turned the wheel didn’t turn with me. That and being very overweight made it awkward and really hurt my rear so I almost never rode it. 

Yesterday I took it out for a spin and things are seized so the brakes don’t work well and I can’t switch into most of the gears. Even with that I still had fun though. Having lost weight it doesn’t hurt by butt nearly as much. 

While I was away though I got it in my head that I was going to buy myself a new half decent bike. The day before yesterday I went down to the local bike shop to talk to them about what I was looking for and price point. It looked like we found something they had in stock that would work but more expensive that I was looking for so I walked away. Turns out that was a good thing. 

Right before I left for the meetup I had taken the car into get an oil change and checked over but it needed more work. So I left it at my mechanics while I was gone so he could take care of it. Today I went to pick it up and found out how much I owed. There goes my bike for now. 

That and other conversations got me thinking. As an experiment I’m going to stop buying any of the extra things I want, or treats I might see and start actively putting that money away to save for a new bike. That way maybe in the spring I’ll have saved a fair amount to put towards it just in time to enjoy it. 

As there aren’t many things I treat myself on the one big thing I see is coffee. I drink a lot of coffee so after I run out here at home I’m going to give it up and start saving that money instead. But there are other times where I’ll randomly buy myself something I don’t really need as well, that will stop too. 

I figure this will do a couple things. One it will start getting me back into a more disaplined state with money, and when I do buy the bike I won’t feel guilty about it because it will be like I earned it. 

BlogJam 2015

When I first found out about the BlogJam conference that was being planned for Halifax I was very excited. Reading about many of my co-workers who travel to WordCamps and other conferences related had me a little envious. Just the lead up to the conference is what lead me to discover the new WordPress meetup that I attended last month. Allison, one of the meetup organizers, presented at at the conference and her involvement let me to the meetup.

Getting myself to a WordCamp is still something I really want to get to, but having a conference solely related to blogging it is amazing. Getting to interact with other people who are passionate about the same thing as me is a wonderful experience.

The day started right from the beginning on a high note. A friend from University and I made arrangements to travel with each other to Halifax together. Alex is really one of the smartest, kindest people I have ever met and it was so nice to get to chat with him and his life.

For a first year conference I was extremely impressed with how the whole day went. The organizers did a phenomenal job planning and executing it. The presenters they arranged, including the keynote speakers were all top notch. I found it hard to choose between the sessions, but the ones I ended up going to were all informative and well done.

The big thing I took away from the conference as a whole was that it is good for me to take a step back and look at the big picture sometimes. Because of my job it is easy for me to get caught up in the tools that people use to really get to their end goal. While the WordPress software itself I feel the best tool available to do that, the people using it don’t care so much about the tool as they do about getting their message out.

That’s the best part about WordPress, is it’s more than just the software it’s the mission behind it, to democratize publishing. Everyday I get to assist people with that mission, it just so happens that it’s by helping them use WordPress.

Week Four Summary

This has been a rough week. Typically I check in on the scales to see how I’m doing throughout the week to make sure I’m on the right track. This week when I checked in I was actually up a considerable amount. This had me feeling very down and unmotivated.

Up until that point in the week I was still doing great with my eating and exercise and yet somehow the scale had me up over 3lbs from what I weighed in at last week. I let this get the better of me. I let me eating slip a bit. Not much but I did give in and have a few treats that normally I would have stayed away from. I also skipped two of my evening workouts as my desire and drive were way down, and especially at night all I wanted to do was lie on the couch.

Luckily I was able to keep going with my running and even had a great win yesterday and was able to go the full 10k I wanted to. When I was back from that run the scale actually showed me at 200lbs which would have been down 1lb on the week. That is far from what I was looking for but still better than where I was mid week. To bad my weigh in day wasn’t yesterday morning because today I was at the same spot I was last week.

Results:

Last week: 201lbs
Now: 201lbs
Lost: 0lbs

It’s obviously better than going up but still makes me feel really crappy. Starting at 216lbs and being four weeks in I’m now officially behind on my goal of 3.8lbs per week. Realistically I know I need to look at the big picture and the fact that since mid July I’m down 25lbs and 15lbs in the last four weeks, but it’s hard especially when I can’t point to something that I know I did wrong the beginning of this week.

run

Back to Basics

About a month ago I finally started doing something about my gaining a bunch of weight back and poor eating habits. Things started off well but a cold slowed me down for a while. Still I had pretty good progress I lost close to 10 lbs during the past month. I’m very happy about this, but I’m impatient and last time I worked hard I was able to do better than that.

What worked for me last time. What got me started was a competition. Up front I had to put in money, there was a chance for a cash prize at the end, and there was healthy competition and motivation from the rest of the group. There was more than that too though, a big part was making the decision to do something, setting a goal, making that goal public, then working to meet that goal with frequent measurement and check ins. For me I think that is a good recipe to meet most goals in life.

If that worked before, I don’t need the competition part. I’ve always been good at competing with myself and that’s what I’m doing here. So what are my goals. Long term I want to get back to my healthy weight of being below 180 lbs. For not I’m going to look at where I want to be for October 11th, that’s the day I’m signed up to run a 10k race. Obviously part of my goal is to be able to run 10k again. Weight wise I want to be at least 185 lbs.

On July 13th I was right about 225 lbs. I’m very ashamed that I let myself get back to this point. Roughly a week ago I was somewhere around 220 lbs, today I’m at about 216 lbs. For my goal of 185 lbs that means about 30 lbs I have to lose in 8 weeks. That averages out to about 3.8 lbs per week to lose. Looking back at my last time this ambitious but achievable.

To keep myself accountable I’m going to start doing weekly weigh-ins again here on the blog.

 

One Year Ago

One year ago today I wrote this post A New Person, New Attitude, and New Goals. It’s a little bitter sweet looking back at that post. I had just hit my weight loss and fitness goal and set some other goals for myself.

Looking back I’ve made good progress on my three other goal areas: Time, Finances, and Happiness. A lot of that has come from me joining Automattic. There is still work to be done, but over the last year I feel we have become more financially stable. My time is more flexible and I get to spend a fair amount with my family. Overall I feel pretty darn happy.

Fitness on the other hand has taken a nose dive. Around mid October last year I ran a 10K race and after that was proud of myself and thought I would slow down a bit. That led to taking a break and falling back into old poor habits. It really seems to be all or nothing with me when it comes to fitness. If I’m not exercising I also end up making poor eating decisions.

Since mid July this year though I’ve started to get back into my good habits. Even though the past little bit I haven’t been exercising as much I feel like I’m pretty much over this cold except for a rotten cough. Last night I started doing Jillian Michaels 90 day body revolution. This is the same program I used when I lost all my weight. This time I’m going to tie it in with my running and am determined to do well in all four of my goal areas by getting my fitness right again.

Looking back at the pictures in my post a year ago is going to be my motivation. I looked and felt so good then, I want to get back there. There are about two months left before this years 10k race I signed up for so I have some work to do, but if I lose weight by working out hard and eating right it’s just going  to help my running come back even faster.

Things Not Working? Change It Up!

Last week was the first week at Automattic that I was starting to feel stressed and a little burnt out. This weekend I took sometime to try to figure out why, because nothing had changed.

Reflecting back it seems like it was a combination of things. Luckily all the things are in my own control to resolve. The first thing that I changed was that I was obsessing a bit about my stats. Trying to push myself to do better and be more efficient, the funny thing is that this pressure was all coming from me. We all set goals for our selves, I take them very seriously. I try to set reasonable goals but because of that if I don’t hit them it’s disappointing and frustrating.

One of the great things about this position is that I get to make my own schedule. One of the downsides to this position is that I’m responsible for making my own schedule. That sounds dumb but having all those options can make it difficult to find what works best and there is no one else to pass it too, it’s you’re responsibility to make it work. So I really looked at how I was typically spending my day and how I can make it work better for my personable life and be more efficient at work.

In the afternoon my day can be broken up due to picking up kids from school and getting them to where they need to go. So this morning I started with a new approach. I moved my tasks that are better suited for uninterrupted time to the part of the day that is less broken. Today, felt much better again and it flowed really well. Previously I felt like I was working a lot of hours to meet my goals. Where today I met and exceeded my goals and worked a much better portion of my day.

I’ll keep trying this schedule for a bit and hopefully now that it is better organized I can work at just getting more efficient.

Another change I’m working on is becoming a more efficient typist. All of my communication with users and colleagues is done in text, so any improvements I make in this area will have longterm benefits. So I’ve been teaching myself to use the Dvorak keyboard layout. Right now my speed is much slower than it is with QWERTY, but from what I’ve seen the speed will come and my fingers seem to move a lot less. That can only be a good thing my fingers and wrists. Right now I’m only using it during personable time as I’m way to slow to use it at work.

A New Person, New Attitude, and New Goals

A New Person, New Attitude, and New Goals

Seven and a half months of hard work and change have finally paid off. This morning when I weighed myself I’ve finally hit my goal.

My weight is now 178 lbs which means two things, I’ve lost a total of 80 lbs and my BMI is now in the healthy range.

See where I was and where I am now.

We all know the physical benefits of losing weight, so I’m not going to talk about them here, I’m going to talk about the way this has changed me mentally.

Over the years I’ve accomplished a number of thing which weren’t easy to do. Things I had to set my mind to and work hard at to achieve. A couple of big difficult ones were quitting smoking and going back to school with a large family to take Computer Science. Neither of those tasks were as difficult as this. Yes the degree took four years of work to get, but it’s over now, no one can take my degree away from me. At any point I could put this weight back on if I’m not careful.

There is something about setting a goal like this for your self and then having to battle to get it. Besides the self confidence I’ve gained just by looking better and being in better health, the act of reaching the goal brings a lot of that as well. It’s reaffirmed for me the fact that if I put my mind to something, and work for it, I can get there.

Of course none of the accomplishments I’ve mentioned can I take full credit for. My wife and family have been with me through all of them. They’ve put up with me when I’ve been cranky and tired, and helped motivate me to keep going. That will be the same in any goal I set. Knowing I have their support, no matter what, makes chasing my dreams that much easier.

With my new self esteem I’ve realized something else, I’m not done yet. Not just health wise, that is going to be a life long goal I work at now. My weight is where I want it but I can still be a lot more fit in general. Now I can look at the other aspects of my life and set goals for them to make them even better.

The most important part of my life is my family so what I really want to do is improve my family life. I believe I’ve identified four key areas I need to focus on to do this.

Health: Was/is part of that. I wanted to make sure that I would live a long healthy life in which I can play and help my family.

Time: Making the time to be there for them, to support them like they have me. Time to play with them, talk with them, just to be there with them.

Finances: I want to be able to ensure we always have everything we need and not need to worry and fret about money. That just takes energy away from enjoying my family.

Happiness: This is something else I’ve learned during this. I am responsible for my own happiness. I wasn’t happy with the way I was, now I am. I need to continue to make sure I’m happy so that the time I do spend with my family is positive. To do this I will be making sure I spend my time doing things I truly enjoy, staying challenged, and helping others. These are all examples of things keep me happy which in return I can pass it on to my family.

These are the areas I’ll be working on for the foreseeable future. They are all intermingled. As I’m working at some, the others will fall into place. I’m determined and I have a renewed self confidence that I can attain my goals.

Just because I’ve reached one of my big goals doesn’t mean it’s time to sit back, now is the time for me to keep pushing and make more progress in these other areas of life. Lets Go!