Tuesday, July 06, 2010


I talked in my last post about humility, track records, achievable goals, and all that.

Today, as I work through lunch, I am reminded of this.

The week I posted, I ran three times.
The next week, I ran once.  Stuff "came up" and ate up the time I blocked away for those runs.

I swore that wouldn't happen this week.  I looked at my calendar and was sure I'd have time to run.

And here I am, during the time I'm supposed to be running, cramming down a turkey sandwich in front of my computer.  "Something came up" at work and it demands my attention.  Maybe I'll finish this all up in time to steal away for a run, but I doubt it. 

This is how we lose this game.  One hour at a time.

It occurs to me as I write this that I've never figured out the secret to making time to run.  When my life is operating at a healthy pace, I have time to run. When things get out of control, running somehow falls away ... and that's when I need it most.

The unhappy truth may well be that I need to step way outside my comfort zone.  Run at 5:30 in the morning, or 9:30 at night ... because my lunch hour disappears pretty quick when work gets crazy, and in this job, it's crazy more weeks than it's sane.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I should know better

Let's just say that I am completely humbled by my own ability to discard lessons learned and regress in areas of fitness. 

This week I have gone for two runs (with a healthy dose of walking inserted). 

Past performance is not an indicator of future results.  But.  It feels good to be out there.

I realized something over the past few weeks.  My diet, my weight loss, these are important. I hate not fitting into the clothes I worked so hard to fit into.  But exercise is vital.  It's a canary in a coal mine -- if I'm not exercising, other things are probably also suffering.  My dietary success is always built upon my exercise success.  My mental health, my ability to cope with stress at home and at work is directly proportional to the regularity of my exercise.

It all came together when I saw some friends this weekend who have done such a kickass job at sticking with their fitness regimens.  I sat there envying them for at least an hour before I realized that a lot of what they had was within my reach, and all I had to do was make the decision to put on my shoes and walk out the door instead of firing up my video game when my daughter went down for her mid-day nap on Sunday.

So I did.

And I did it again today.

Of course, setting goals is important ... but right now my goal is to go for another run.  Let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Putting my chips into the pot

I've been dancing around the subject of getting serious with my fitness for the past few weeks, playing games, dipping my toes in the water and backing away.

The spring weather we've had here over the past week though has straightened my priorities out. It seems to have had a similar effect on my wife.  So we're both putting aside the half-ass attempts and getting more serious -- with what has worked for us in the past and what we know we have to do now.

In a game of cards, there's a time when you say, ok, this hand is worth sticking with for a while, let's see where it goes. You decide you're okay with doing more than just anteing up and folding when things get serious.

It's time to put a few more chips at risk and let your opponents know you're serious. 

So I'm raising.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Goals - Week 2

So, the first week of my experiment had these goals.  I've added my comments and "grade" for each.

Salad for lunch, MWF.  1/3.
I ate salad on Monday, a vegetarian soup on Wednesday, and went out for Thai food on Friday.

Fruit snack every workday afternoon.  4/5.
I forgot my fruit one day, but otherwise had no problem with this one.

 No beer Sunday - Thursday.  5/5!
Success!  This is about Calories not alcohol, as I'm not trying to alter my drinking habits for any other reason. 

Three walks.  0/3
That's right, a big fat zero.  I've been overbooked at work and busy at home, with some home repairs and a toddler teething and ... well, these are all lousy excuses.

Total: 10/16 (62.5%)

Plenty of room to improve.  Plus I ate too much fried food and too many sweets. 

So, my goals for next week?  Let's change it a little bit...  Fine tune the goals and add a different area of focus.

  • Salad for lunch, 2 days of 3 (MWF).
  • Fruit snack every workday afternoon, and no vending machine cookies.
  • No beer Sunday - Thursday.
  • 2 walks
  • Only permitted 2 deep-fried foods.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Iterative self-development

I set up some goals for myself this week ... it's a little game I am going to play to try and stay motivated.  Each week I will set some small goals and just focus on achieving them, and not sweat the big picture.  Not yet.  Get some small victories under my belt first.

My goals for this week:
  • Eat salad for lunch Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
  • To have fruit for snacks every workday afternoon.
  • No beer Sunday - Thursday.
  • Go for 3 "real" walks, indoors or out.

It doesn't sound like much but it's a few bricks in a row, and that's what I feel I need right now.

Today's progress: Salad and yogurt for lunch - check.  Apple for mid-afternoon snack, bypassing the candy on the admin's desk - check.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Honest surprise

This weekend, I was looking glumly out my kitchen window when my wife asked me what was wrong.

"I'm just surprised ... at how much damage the holidays did to my healthy habits."

It's become crystal clear to me that month-long breaks from healthy habits are akin to pressing the reset button.  A couple weeks of half-assing it trying to get them back isn't cutting it.  I've actually gained a pound in those two weeks.

So back to basics.  Start counting everything.  Set some goals, work towards them, handle exceptions by the meal not by the day or, horrifically, by the week.  The "this week is a mess anyway" may work between Christmas and New Years but writing off the entire time between your in-law's coming over for dinner and, say, the superbowl, is definitively awful.

Today's weight: 206.5
Next goal: 199.5
Summer goal: sub-190, maintained

Let's get cracking.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Reality check

I went into the end of 2009 having achieved my weight loss and fitness goals and making a conscious choice not to fret about these things too much during the last two weeks of the year -- my vacation from work.  Obviously I hadn't been paying too much attention in the first two weeks of December either, as I was in a kind of post-Thanksgiving and pre-Christmas funk.  But it wasn't the full-on vacation I allowed myself at the close of the year.

Anyway, now as I return to work I also return to "fretting" :).

So in the interest of transparency, here's the damage done in December 2009:

  • I put on five pounds in the month of December.  
  • I'm up about nine pounds from my absolute lowest (pre-Thanksgiving) point in 2009.
  • (On the plus side, I'm still down nearly 30 pounds from my peak weight in 2009)
  • I have not run in three weeks.

The last one worries me, because it happened so easily.  A lot went on, and I can list a dozen excuses, but I know that if I were in training for an event I would have made time to run.  I didn't.  I also know that my fitness goals for 2010 might be unrealistic -- I had hoped to increase my mileage throughout the winter but now I think aiming to maintain my mileage is more realistic. 

I'm not one for New Year's Resolutions.  But being back from vacation is a good time to refocus on goals and reprioritize.

Vacation is over.  Time to start paying attention to portions again and making time to run.  Let's see where I am in a few weeks and re-evaluate my goals accordingly....