Jan
24

January health and fitness goals – my two minute warning

At the beginning of this year I described 3 major goals for 2010 with regard to my overall health and fitness (“2010: Setting them up and knocking them down“). So how are things progressing? I will do a summary post after the month is over, but with about a week to go I want to check in to give myself enough time to push a little if I’m coming up short. Here’s a quick summary of my goals, sub-goals, and the milestones I’m shooting for.

  • Year goal: Complete at least one major running event this year.

Sub-goal: Beat my aversion to running in the Oregon rain.

Milestone for January: Return to running 3 miles 3 times per week, with one 5 mile run by the end of January.

  • Year goal: Lose 75 lbs this year – and if I lose it early, keep it off.

Milestone for January: Lose 10 lbs this month.

  • Year goal: Start writing at least one meaningful post per week for Almost Fit.

Milestone for January: you guessed it – 5 Almost Fit posts.

So how am I doing so far?

Return to running

Grade so far: A-, but satisfied

What I’ve done so far: Running has been going really well for the most part. As you may know if you’ve been reading Almost Fit for a while, I am a big fan of interval training particularly for those of us who are overweight. It’s a great way to safely increase your workouts without as much risk of injury.

This month so far I’ve completed:

  • Five 3-mile runs
  • One 3-mile speed walk (recovering from a mild heel injury after my last run of 2009 on New Year’s Eve)
  • One 5-mile run

By my count I should be at a total of 9 runs so far this month (including the one recovery walk), but I’m only at 7. And yet I’m satisfied. Why? In a word, illness.

Down for the count

I’ve been sick this week with what started as minor chest congestion and sore throat, but concluded the week with a major asthma and fever attack. Without exaggeration, Friday night was nearly a visit to the emergency room. In fact I’m writing this post from bed, where I’ve stayed by direct order from my amazing and wise wife for the last two days. So the fact that I’m a little behind on the number of runs doesn’t bother me at all. It’s the smart thing to do not to push it too hard. I’m starting to feel much better today, but I’m going to lay low for a couple of days to be sure.

Oh and my sub-goal of beating my aversion to running in the rain? Check. Most of those runs were in rain and wind, and believe it or not I actually enjoyed the stormy Pacific Northwest winter weather on my 5-mile run. There is something thrilling about jamming out with your ipod while the world rages wind and rain around you – I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Weight loss progress

Grade so far: A+

My goal this month was to lose the first 10 lbs, which for me have always been the easiest. So how am I doing?

As Gary Vaynerchuk says, I am CRUSHING it.

Weight loss so far this month: 16.2 lbs, and counting

How am I getting there? Two things:

  • First of all, I have a specific objective for the end of the month. I am surprising my wife with trip (she knows we’re going somewhere, but I’ve kept the destination a secret), and I’m using that to fuel my motivation. When we head out in whatever transportation fashion we are taking (sorry love, no clues here :) ) I want to feel as good as I can feel. Losing weight is the principal way for me to achieve that.
  • Second, I am controlling what I eat, but in a slightly unusual (I think) way: I’m trying out what I’m calling the “keep my body guessing” technique. I’m using a combination of eating methods: I’ll practice intermittent fasting (IF) one day, then eat primal foods the next, then eat all things moderately the next, then have an IF day with an evening of indulgence – in good, real food, including on one night, (good heavens) beer.

With eating however, there are three significant undercurrents:

  • I am only eating real food, meaning well-sourced proteins and fats, moderate whole grains (with the occasional whole wheat English muffin), lots of vegetables, and some fruit, though I keep that to a minimum. Also no more half and half in my morning coffee (but that is more for digestive reasons). I’m also very water conscious, and have eliminated juices.
  • I’ve all but eliminated refined sugar from my diet. Here’s an article at one of my favorite sites, Mark’s Daily Apple on why this is crucial to good health: The Definitive Guide to Insulin, Blood Sugar & Type 2 Diabetes (and you’ll understand it)
  • I’ve limited indulgence in alcohol to one evening out this month (so far), and occasionally a small glass of wine with dinner (particularly on IF days).

For me, sugar is one of my worst addictions. Even fruit sugars (meaning the sugars in a piece of real fruit) activate strong cravings for more and more sugar, so I am keeping fruit consumption to a minimum. Literally an apple a day, if that.

I love this approach so far, partly because I’m rapidly growing fond of intermittent fasting-but don’t want to overdo it. By eating moderately across the board (sans sugar) on non-fasting days, I ensure that I’m getting the nutrition I need, I’m getting food satisfaction, and the pounds are dropping. And as I mentioned in the previous article, fasting brings a whole different set of benefits that I am increasingly enjoying.

Third goal: Writing regularly to stay motivated

Grade so far: B+

By my count, this is article number four of five for this month. Whether this particular piece is meaningful or not (part of my goal) depends on your perspective of course; but for me, it’s personally important, so I’ll take it.

Preview of coming attractions

I’ve been having some interesting conversations about calories, fats, and so forth (thanks Jen for the inspiration) via Facebook that have challenged me to dig deeper into the science of calories, so look for a post soon on that. I’ve also been studying more on the science and lore of primal and paleo eating, which I find interesting as well.

I also have an upcoming guest post from a friend who is on his way to losing 80 lbs by his birthday in just a few days, which is incredible considering he is a gourmet chef. Definitely stay tuned for that.

One more post this month and I’ve reached my goal for five in January. That said, I have room for improvement as I feel that its gone a bit too long between this post and my last. I’ll get there.

Wrapping it up

So far, January of 2010 has been a great, great start to reaching some major life goals. I hope you are finding success as well. Have you had success with fitness goals this year so far? What has worked? What hasn’t?

Thanks for reading.