February: Behind, but finally feeling better

Daily iPhone photos: winter persimmonEd. Note: Welcome to Almost Fit. Almost Fit focuses on enjoying real food in moderation as a core weight management principle, rather than common diet methodologies (a.k.a. “fads”) for weight loss. This post is a check-in on my goals for the year, which include losing 75 lbs through moderation, intermittent fasting, and a varied combination of eating methods. Thanks for reading – I’d love to hear your thoughts.

It occurred to me this morning that we are now in the “teens” of February, and I have yet to post anything on Almost Fit this month – not exactly in alignment with one of my year’s goals of regular posting, but so it goes. Time to get back on track.

Illness finally finished – I hope

As I mentioned in my last post, I fell ill to the flu at the end of January – illness of the swine variety apparently. It knocked me down much more¬† than I expected, considering nobody else in our family had symptoms as severe (we each got sick to some degree, but it really hit me the hardest especially in the lungs). I felt like I was recovering a week later, but even walking up a flight of stairs made me have to stop and sit down, sweating and out of breath. As it has turned out, it has only been this week that I feel that I’ve completely returned to normal. And hopefully that means a short run – my first in February – is on my itinerary today.

I decided to go easy on the diet and exercise while I recovered, which as you might imagine was pretty darn easy, right? Actually that is not strictly true – while doing “nothing” is certainly easier than working out regularly, for me it was frustrating to be making such progress in the “feeling good about exercise” department only to be held back by my own health. It’s a good lesson though – I can’t afford to take my health for granted. I plan to use that as a key motivator.

Ahem – did I just say “go easy on the diet”?

Really what that means is I didn’t focus on weight loss while I was ill. I focused on eating well, avoiding refined sugar and so forth, but I also had a couple of “planned” indulgences.

When I took my wife on a weekend getaway with our closest friends, I knew it would be several days full of enjoying the company, eating great food and not just a few drinks. Secondly, although I’m not really much of a Superbowl person, we were invited to a small Superbowl party that included 3 versions of award-winning chili – far be it from me to resist a bowl or two of that kind of goodness. There may also have been a beer or two.

Bottom line on weight loss however? I have gained back all of 1 lb from my January weight loss, which I consider negligible since I haven’t been able to exercise at all, and have been eating “normally” (meaning whole foods with a few indulgences, no fasting, and so forth).

I’ll take it. And here’s why.

January results

For the record, January was a great month on the weight loss and exercise front.

  • Total weight loss for January: 19.6 lbs (+9.6 OVER my January goal of 10 lbs)
  • Total Almost Fit posts: 4 (of 5)
  • Total 3-mile runs completed: 7 (of 9), with one recovery walk and one 5-mile run

Of those stats, the only one that I’m disappointed with is the number of posts for the month. But I’ll get that one nailed. The others – the weight loss and the running – I am thrilled with. As I’ve mentioned before, I am well aware that the first lbs of weight loss are the easiest, but what a way to build some momentum.

February goals

While I’m really only left with the last half of this month to resume some of my weight loss and fitness goals, I’m going for it anyway. No time like the present.

  • Weight loss: lose at least 6 lbs this month (5 lbs plus the 1 I gained back)
  • Exercise: 5 3-mile runs (A longer run will be a bonus this month, but will resume in March)
  • Exercise goal 2: Add in resistance training just once a week (baby steps)
  • Writing goal: 4 total posts by the end of the month

Of these goals, adding in the resistance training is the one that is most challenging, but will also reap great rewards. I’m a firm believer in exercise that is not only fun, but that does not require excessively expensive and complicated equipment. I’ll be writing a post in the near future on resistance training using body weight as the primary means of weight training, which is what I plan to do.

With resistance training I’m shooting for just once a week to start. While that may seem like barely a goal at all to many readers, for me the real purpose of this goal is to start to form a habit rather than reaping rewards in fitness. I need to start making moderate resistance training part of my life – and for me, starting with small, reachable goals and then building on that success is the way to do it.

Finishing up

Lastly, a note on fasting: I was really curious to see if I would lose ground on weight lost when I wasn’t fasting regularly. In fact, my sister echoed the thought in a conversation last month.

“But won’t you just gain it back when you stop doing that?”

A great question. Well I think I have the answer now: First of all, after having been sick for weeks, I have only gained back one pound even with a complete lack of exercise while eating without regard for weight. Second, I actually miss fasting, and plan to resume as a regular part of my dietary habits – not just for weight loss, but for general health. Compound that with returning to regular exercise, and I feel like I have a path for success that I can actually follow.

Now I just need to get back to work.

Thanks for reading.