#SpringThawChallenge Update: Merry New Year Beef Jerky Time

I’ll dispense with the trivialities. First weigh in since the beginning of the Challenge. We’re 20 days in. For those not paying attention – or too lazy to go back a few posts – I initially clocked in at 223 lbs with the goal being to maintain or lose weight over the winter towards a target of +/- 200 lbs.

Today’s Tale of the Scale: 214.8 lbs. It’s the .8 that’s really holding me back.

You’ll recall – or you may not if you weren’t playing along then – that the first weigh in was fully clothed – this one was done right though, nekkid. So there’s that discrepancy. Also, you’re welcome for that mental image. Far too early to declare any sort of victory as over my adult life I’ve noticed I’ll fluctuate 7-8 pounds over a month without even really doing anything, but certainly data points to movement in the right direction.

Save two days of slip-ups, my endeavour to do some activity every day has remained successful be it a walk, a ride, a run, playing hockey or a muscle workout. On some days I’ve even managed to fit 2 or more in. I had started out on the Fit Christmas challenge, and I’m keeping at it though there have been one or two days I wasn’t able to complete the workout. My consolation was that on those days I did do something else – in both cases a run (one of 10k) so I figure I’m ok.

Efforts to improve eating habits are additionally going well. At the beginning of the challenge I started writing down what I eat/drink every day and it’s helped me to ID what was good and bad about my diet as well as drink more water. I also tend to have a little more willpower to avoid the bad stuff if I know I’m gonna have to write it down later. Overall feeling real good and motivated to keep going which is good as I now stand at the precipice of the culinary abyss that is Christmas Vacation Week.

A Challenge Within a Challenge

Maybe he’s an enigma, a mystery wrapped in a riddle.” – Elaine Benes
“He’s a mystery wrapped in a Twinkie.” – Jerry Seinfeld

All Twinkies aside, day 11 into my #SpringThawChallenge and I’m feeling good about my progress. With the exception of a minor derailment last weekend – we’ll chalk it up to my depression over the discovery of my bathtub upstairs leaking into my basement ceiling – things are progressing smoothly.

I haven’t been commuting on the bike as much (at all this week) due mostly to a combination of schedule and weather, but I have gotten workouts in every day. I’ve been eating better and I’ve also gone 10 of the last 11 days without a soda. See aformentioned bathtub incident outlined above.

Came across a new mini-challenge-within-a-challenge on the Neila Ray website and decided to give it a go. Trying the Fit Christmas workout. Workouts everyday for 12 days. Sorta the 12 Days of Christmas Workout. Looking breifly through them, I think the hardest part for me might be the # of steps component attached to some of ’em. If it happens to be a day I can get a run in, no biggie, but on other days, I don’t walk a whole lot. I think I will try taking walks at lunch those days to augment my step count.

So tomorrow starts the Fit Christmas workout. 12 days will put my last day on the 23rd, so I can reward myself with some holiday treats afterward – in moderation – of course. Next week sometime I’ll probably do my first weigh in since the start – though I’m not expecting major results this early in, it will be interesting to see where I’m at.

#SpringThawChallenge: The Weigh In

Ah, so here we are at the threshold. Did the weigh-in this morning.

Was a time in my young younger days when I was skinny as a whip and ate whatever I wanted. Then in the younger days, I discovered beer and the couch. Got married and tried – and sorta succeeded – to sort myself out a bit. Then, kids.

I’m a relatively big guy – least that’s what people tell me. Broad shoulders they say. I don’t feel all that big, depending on the company I’m in. I’m right smack at 6’0″ tall, if I’m using my good boy posture that day. At my heaviest (think hating life at a miserable job, not riding any bike and trying eat and drink all the things to forget about it) I was pushing 250 lbs. I was out of shape and puffy. I didn’t realize it at the time, but looking back at photos now, eeesh. I think most ‘guidelines’ will tell you that for my height/age I’m supposed to be around 190. I think that would be great, but I think it might also be a fairy tale. Personally, I’d be happy if I could get to the 200 mark. End of 2013, I’d done a lot of work on eating and exercise and managed to get down to 215. This year I’ve fallen off the wagon a little.

So the moment of truth – this morning I tipped the scales at… 223. I did have my bike riding kit on (no shoes) ’cause I forgot to get on the scale before I got dressed, so there’s that, but I’m not gonna worry about +/- one or two pounds for clothes. So that’s where I stand going into this challenge. Try and maintain that over the winter and hopefully lose some while improving fitness and muscle tone. Before all you start chiming in with but muscle weighs more than fat – yeah, yeah, I know that. The real point of this whole challenge is to change habits, not micromanage pounds. If I come out weighing the same (or even possibly more due to increased muscle mass), but feel better, have lost some fat, have more energy and have been consistent with my workouts and habits, I’ll know I’m headed in the right direction.

Let the games begin, time to crack open a cold one.

My #SpringThawChallenge

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time browsing over at darebee.com. It’s a great site that offers simple workouts, tips, motivation and meal ideas to help you achieve your fitness goals and it’s all presented in a clean, clear, easy to understand way. And it’s free. You can donate a buck to help keep the site up, but really, they aren’t selling anything. I like the fact that there’s a large variety of workouts and they’re mostly non-equipment based and there’s new content all the time to keep interest up.

Up here in my neck of the woods, winters are hard. Weather, an abundance of holidays and good cheer (food and drink) all conspire to set you on hibernate mode for the winter. You emerge on the other side groggy, slow, and theres more of you. I’ve set myself a simple goal: come the #springthaw I want to weigh at least the same, if not less, than I do now and have some better fitness habits in place. The idea being that I maintain my fitness or even improve it over the winter. I’ll also be working on changing my diet for the better – mostly 86ing the refined sugars and processed foods (I’m a total pop/junk food junkie) and eating more whole foods.

I plan to try and incorporate 3 or more Darebee workouts a week, interspersed with things like running, cycling, snowshoeing and elliptical workouts. All my life I’ve participated in sports (cycling, hockey, soccer) that for the most part developed my legs. I feel I’m pretty good in that department. I’d like to combine some core and upper body/arm workouts to round things out.

More to the point I hope to change my habits from bad ones to good ones – this is always the hardest part, isn’t it? 43 years of doing things one way is hard to change on a dime. It will take time, I know, but my goal is to try and do something – a run, a workout, a session on the elliptical – every day. Regardless of how dark or cold it is or what kind of headspace I’m in. Fitting a workout into the schedule and getting going are always the hardest part. Once I’m doing it and after I always feel great and know I made the right choice. I’m also hoping to get the kids more involved in workouts and activities so hopefully they develop better habits at the onset, making things easier for them to maintain in the long run.

Last night, I did something I’ve done quite often over the past year. With 4 kids in the house, schedule is a nightmare and with activities on the go, finding the time to exercise is exceedingly difficult. If possible, when one of my kids is at an activity, instead of sitting around waiting – I go for a run. Last night, Emma was at swimming, so I brought the running kicks and got 9k in around the outside of the pool facility. There’s even a nice trail there. So now I know what I’m doing days she’s at swimming.

Today I’ve managed to get an abbreviated bike commute in (4k, but there’s going home too) and I’m shooting to get an Darebee workout in somewhere this evening. I printed out the workout cards (link) cut them up and I keep them in a ziploc. When I want one, I go pull a random one out. Keeps things interesting. I think there’s also a random workout generator on the site now.

I think I’ll use my long neglected blog here to post updates since it’s the easiest way to cross-post to all the internets. Feeling good about this winter!