And 365 Days Later…

It’s cliche as hell, but a lot can happen in a year.  Profoundly life changing events, changes of habit, moments of happiness, moments of sadness.  I say that despite turning 30 this year, and realizing it’s been 12 years since I graduated high school.  It feels like time has absolutely flown by, and yet when you break down the last 365 days into their individual triumphs and defeats, it feels like the longest time span imaginable.

But yeah, today marks officially one year since I committed myself to getting healthier.  It was November 14th, 2017 that this whole thing got started.  It was around that time I got promoted to the Systems Department and moved back to a regular day shift.  I’m not sure what prompted the shift from apathy, eating my feelings, and general laziness to becoming active, watching what I ate, and working to better my life – but that starting weight has been the biggest motivator.

Start Weight – 270.9
Current Weight – 211.3
Goal Weight – 200?  190?

As of this writing, I’ve officially lost 59.6 pounds over the last year.  Even now it blows my mind.  I put on my winter jacket for the first time (I hate snow) this season, and it was loose.  Like, almost awkwardly loose.  My work pants are several inches too big now.  Shirts that used to fit snugly hang weirdly on me now.  It’s a problem, but I guess if I had to take a problem it’d be that kind. 

It was May 31st that I first ordered my Saucony running shoes.  I haven’t actually put any effort into running, because of my flat feet, but I’ve walked.  I’ve walked a shit load.  I’ve walked in the sweltering 90+ degree heat, pouring rain, and sub-freezing wind.  Since May of this year, I’ve walked…

427.9 Miles

According to Runkeeper anyway.  Not bad for nearly 6 months.  The shoes are shot at this point, so new ones will be getting purchased before spring time.  Now that the weather has turned to garbage, I’ve signed up at Planet Fitness to keep this train rolling.  I’ve been lifting free weights in the apartment the last few weeks, and I can already see some slight (super slight) definition in my arms.

It was around May that I also picked up my Fitbit Charge 2.  I’ll admit I fought the suggestion of getting one by my girlfriend at the time, but I gotta hand it to her – she was on to something.  It’s a fitness tracker, not a smart watch, which means it focuses on fostering healthy habits, not apps or distractions.  Tracks steps and heart rate throughout the day, which gets you a more accurate picture of your caloric burn.  

Which leads into the next key player of this thing – tracking calories.  I’ve stayed diligent these last 52 weeks in keeping track – honestly keeping track – of how many calories I put into my body.  That’s the real trick.  It’s easy to “forget” to jot down that donut you had earlier.  It’s easy to track your calories with a little bit of a conservative edge.  But all that does is hurt your bottom line.  You’re using those numbers to make smart choices, and if you’re working off bad information, you’re more likely to make more bad choices.

Even if I’m an absolute pig one day (which has happened), I accurately and honestly track those numbers down.  Seeing me be 1500+ calories over my goal for the day sucks, but it is what it is.  And cheat days aren’t the end of the world, let’s be honest.  It’s when every day is a cheat day that you need to correct yourself.

And then there’s the stress and bullshit of everyday life.  It isn’t easy watching what you eat, remaining active, and trying to stay focused when there’s negative things going on in your life.  Whether that be drama with friends, stress from a new job or new position at work, or a depressing breakup with your significant other.  Been down those roads a couple times the last year.

I’ll be honest, I was emboldened to kick my healthy habits into overdrive when I found myself in a relationship after quite a few years of being single.  It makes sense, there’s a sense of “I can do anything” and “I’m on top of the world” and “I want nothing more than to impress this person” that drives you forward with more energy than you can imagine.  Looking at my weight loss you can see when that happened, I went from a minor, gradual decline to a sharp, rapid one.

But long story short, things happened and that situation had to end.  And regardless of what side of a breakup you’re on, there’s obviously a mental component to the aftermath, but there’s also a physical part of it too.

In my case, my resting heart rate was nearly 30 BPM higher than normal.  My sleep cycle was trash.  My weight loss stopped.  In fact, I gained 5 pounds simply because I didn’t care anymore.  I was depressed and just wanted to drown myself in all the bad habits I had moved past.  Emotional eating, smoking again, sleeping the day away.  I just didn’t care because all my attention was on the pain I was in.

But I never lost sight of the progress I had made.  I forced myself to get back on the horse, shut the hell up, and get back to business.  If you ever find yourself falling back into old habits – don’t beat yourself up about it.  We found our way out of the darkness once and we can without a doubt do it again.

So now that the winter months are upon us, walking outside as a form of cardio is out.  Unless you wanna deal with slush and all that garbage, anyway.  So that’s where a gym membership comes into play.  I’m still working on when I want to go – morning or nights – but the ability to get your cardio in while inside, plus hitting your strength and weight training, is a must have during the winter.  This is without a doubt the worst time to get in shape or try to maintain your weight.  Outside activities, if you aren’t already into them, like snowboarding or skiing, are hard to pick up and commit to.  But the gym is just down the road, and some of them are open 24 hours during the week.  Pretty killer.

And so, here’s to the last year of proving the haters wrong.  And here’s to the next 365 days of refining, weight loss, hydration, and getting SWOLE.  If the last year is any indication, nothing is out of reach.  

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