30 Days of Fitness – Sleepy Edition

If there was a theme for yesterday, it would be Hunger. I was hungry all day. I couldn’t get enough to eat. I kept having a small meal, then eating a bit more, then waiting, and having a bit more. I never felt full yesterday.

Today, I ate very little most of the day and had enough calories for a nice dish of ice cream after dinner tonight.

The theme for today would have been Tired. I felt it all day. Even though I slept fairly well last night, I was draggin today. Focus was a problem and after work, all I could think about doing was having dinner and going to sleep.

At 5:30pm.

In an effort to stay awake, I made the first fire of the season. It was nice to be able to enjoy our fireplace again. It’s really nice to have and the wood I kept under a tarp since last winter remained dry and burned well.

The fire felt nice and after watching some TV and eating dinner a bit later, we decided it was time to workout. It was not a hard day, with another round of Yoga. And while I didn’t preview this month’s Yoga with Adriene calendar, it’s worked very nicely with the 21 Day Fix on alternate days.

Today was Yoga for Chronic Pain.

It was slow and peaceful. More meditation than workout. It targeted some of the muscles we really worked yesterday and stretched them out which felt marvelous.

Tomorrow is Cardio Fix.

30 Days of Fitness

Fitness is my nemesis. For years I’ve struggled to focus on different parts of my life, usually at the expense of other major parts. The eternal struggle between Fitness and Finance takes all of my willpower to manage. This month is all about Fitness. Exercise and food tracking are on the menu.

For now, Finances are in a good place. We’re paying down debt. We can afford the upcoming medical procedures. Our new solar installation is starting to earn its keep and knock wood the house is cooperating. With the help of our financial planner and TillerHQ, our finances are in order and I can keep tabs on them.

That has been a long, and ongoing process. But it’s finally in a place where we feel we can turn some of our focus (and let’s be honest, worry) to better places. This month, my wife and I are going to workout every single day. 30 days. 30 workouts. 30 times we are are going to get up, put on comfortable clothes, close the blinds and turn our living room into a yoga studio and fitness center.

We decided to mix it up this month with a mix of 21 Day Fix and Yoga with Adriene. We used to subscribe to Beachbody and did the shakes and the On Demand video service and the whole thing. But it was very expensive so we’ve long given up the shakes and have DVD copies of the programs we wanted to repeat. Yoga with Adriene is free on YouTube. She puts out a monthly calendar with new programs, and we’re using her November calendar. She has a membership program as well but in balancing out finances, I’ll turn to a free Yoga program. She has a huge catalog on YouTube as well. So if you are looking to start a Yoga practice or are curious what it’s all about, she has a playlist for all skill levels.

I’m writing about this to keep myself accountable. For the next 30 days, I’m going to work out. And I’m going to write about it. At least a little bit about what I did and how I did each day.

Today was Upper Fix.

Upper Fix is all about Arms. I feel good tonight and even though I can’t do a push-up to save my life, the weight work felt good and my arms felt stronger when I finished. I’ll see how I feel tomorrow, that’s always when the soreness hits. But this didn’t feel too bad.

Tomorrow we will be Grounding Into Gratitude.

My first day with Daily Burn

I signed up for Daily Burn today. They are well-reviewed, it works on my Roku (or anything with a browser) and had a generous month-long free trial. I doubled the trial with a Groupon for 60 days free. I always look for a coupon, a promo code or a better deal when I can. The two pricing tiers are Standard for $15/month and Premium for $27/month. I don’t entirely understand the differences in the two tiers, but it seems like Standard would be more than enough as it seems to offer 20 workout series including the 365 show. They produce a 30-minute workout show every day of the year and stream it live at 9am. It’s then available on-demand after that.

I downloaded the app to our living room Roku and connected it to my account. (Sidenote: I did not have to sign into service on Roku, so you can use a generated password without having to enter it using the Roku remote or Roku app). The free trial is for the Premium membership. It provides access to a huge list of workouts and programs. It’s a little overwhelming at first. This is where the Premium access looks good for the amount of choice, but I don’t need 600 workout videos especially when I am on the beginner/intermediate end of workouts. I’m not going to do anything with hardcore or extreme in the name.

I am at “fat guy, you’ll feel better if you workout today” level.

Since I didn’t want to explore the pile of workouts available to me, I tried the Daily Burn 365 since it was 30 minutes and meant for anyone. It was a good workout. I was dripping and dragging by the end of it. But I was able to do every move in the program today. That’s a major accomplishment. The only thing I couldn’t do was a mountain climber move where you bring your knees to the opposite hand. I’m too fat to pull that move off, but I was able to do a modified version of it and felt good.

I like that there is a daily workout show I can do. That’s part of my problem with doing a workout program. Eventually you do the same routine for the 9th time and you know the same jokes and the witty banter is no longer enjoyable. I like that with a daily show, I get variety both in workouts and the banter. The latter is a small point but it’s something I notice.

Previously, I have only done the Beachbody on Demand workouts. Of those, I have done their 21 Day Fix (a variable-length introductory workout for the entire body), Core De Force (a 45 minute MMA-inspired workout that left me panting on the floor), Cize (a hip-hop dance program) and Country Heat (a country music dance program). There are plenty of Beachbody programs available but there are so many above my level, I will never attempt them. The P90 programs all live there. Lots of extreme and hard-core workouts. Lots of things for people who don’t look like they need to workout because they’re skinny and in amazing shape.

Show me a chubby person trying this workout. That’s the one I want to see. That’s where I need to start. I enjoyed the Beachbody on Demand workouts, especially with the in-set videos that focus on the person performing the modified activities. This was really helpful since sometimes they’ll talk about the modified exercise but will never show it, or show it for less than a rep so I’m left unsure of how to properly modify this crazy exercise I physically cannot do.

I understand it’s called Beachbody and they want to give me a beach body. However, I’m starting with a body that could pass for a sand dune. I am hoping the Daily Burn has more for me at my level. Even if I stick with the 30 minute daily workouts, it will be a huge improvement in my life. That’s the other hard part for me. When I finished a program with Beachbody, it was hard to decide where to go next. There was no obvious next step. I didn’t want to re-do the same workout program because I wanted something different. But the difficulty curve is so drastic, there’s not many options. For awhile, I was switching between something intense like Core de Force and Yoga on alternating days.

I hope with the 365 program, this will help keep me active and engaged. In addition to the huge amount of workout programs available to me. I hope when I finish something, there will be somewhere to go on a smaller difficulty jump. It’s only Day 1 and I’m getting ahead of myself. There’s so much about the service and programs I don’t know.

But I am optimistic after my first day. It felt good. I’ve got two months to decide if this is something worth paying for or not. By then I’ll know if it’s worth my time and effort or not. But there’s so much content, even if we opt for the Standard tier, it will be more than enough content to keep us engaged and moving.

Mindful Eating

My relationship with food is changing. I’ve always had a good relationship with it. I love food. I love to try new things and I love to eat. I always have.

I still struggle with not wanting to eat everything in sight. But since I started paying attention to what and when I eat, my relationship with food has improved.

When I have a set number of containers of food I can eat everyday on the plan I’m on, it helps me think through my choices. Do I want to blow all my carbs early in the day? Is that sandwich worth it?

What about proteins? Where do I want to spread them out? How will I ever fit that many vegetables into my day? And the fruit! What about those fruits?!

I’ve been at this for about a month and I’m far more mindful about what I eat. And I’m more appreciative of that food.

After dinner and my workout, I was hungry and looked at what I had left for the day. I had half a container of healthy fat (the blue container of cheese) and three proteins (the red/pink container with yogurt). My snack for the night was one red container of greek yogurt, 12 slices of lunch meat and a few small cubes of cheese.

Beachbody Containers for food

Before I started this plan, I would have reached for ice cream or more of the enchiladas we had for dinner. I would have eaten more than I needed to feel full. I would have eaten until I was emotionally fully. Not physically full.

Feeling full and being done is something I struggle with. In my head, I need to clean my plate every time with every meal. It doesn’t matter if I’m eating at home or out at a restaurant with a 3-meal portion of food. I need to make it disappear.

It’s a behavior I am fighting and this is helping. Being mindful of what and how much I am eating helps. I have a structure for food. And tonight, as I laid in bed reading, I enjoyed every single slice of that ham and turkey and I savored each little bite of cheese.

I’m seeing the changes in my body an I’m really happy with it. I’m down 20-25 pounds. I can’t tell for sure because when you’re as fat as I am, despite ordering a scale online that supports a weight larger than yours, it still disagrees with itself. It varies 3-5 pounds even when I step on it twice in a row.

But the difference is clear to me. The number is not as important to me as the inches I’ve lost around my waist. Nor as important as my wife being able to reach her arms farther around me when we hug. Or when my shirts fit better and I look better in them.

It’s still a very, very long journey but I’ve made that first step and I’m not dead yet.

How I lost 20 pounds in 21 days

Less of me.

It as the name of a Tumblr site I started years ago. Then it was abandoned just like the effort it was started to support.

I am fat. When I bought a new scale that wouldn’t error out when I stepped on it, I was around 380 pounds. I was dangerously close to 400 and that was frightening because I want to be around for many decades to come. I want to be there for my wife and to live the life we’ve worked so hard to make for ourselves.

It was time to change. I’d talked about it and made small efforts before, but it was time for a big change. That change has come in the form of BeachBody’s 21 Day Fix.

I am wary of all the competing weight loss ideologies and programs available. Many of them require massive life changes and specific eating regimens. They require math and points and other nonsense to eating right.

21 Day Fix is a simple container system. You get X number of containers for fruit, vegetables, carbs, protein and healthy fats. The containers are sized to promote better eating. The program also comes with a book and app that lists examples of each food group and quantities of those foods. This may sound like a small thing but for someone who knows little past what’s a fruit or a vegetable, it’s very useful as a starting point.

There’s also a shake mix that comes with the program that’s chock full of nutrients. It has the added benefit of being a replacement for sweets. My wife has serious sugar cravings and the shake killed her cravings altogether. It’s also been a good way to eat vegetables I wouldn’t ordinarily enjoy.

Eating is half of the story. The other half is a daily workout program. For 21 days, it’s work and sweat and suffering but with noticeable results. I just finished Day 10 and I am already noticing differences in my body.

Granted, I started around 380 pounds (I say around because the scale couldn’t quite decide if I was more 385 or 383. Maybe 386). But I started very heavy so I had almost nowhere to go but up.

In the past week I’ve noticed my belly getting smaller. My arms are stronger. This change was punctuated by my wife saying the shirt I wore to a recent family dinner looked looser and better on me than it ever had before. What more motivation do I need than the woman I love telling me I look better?

She’s completed her 21 days and has moved on to another program and saw great results too. She’s lost weight, gotten stronger and feels better about herself.

I will be honest. She was my gauge for whether this program was worth it or not. There’s so many options out there and everyone wants to sell you a slimmer you. But it’s still up to me to put in the work to make it happen. I don’t want to buy all my food from a program. I don’t want to perform algebra at every meal. I wanted something simple an effective.

Seeing her lose weight and inches was exciting and I hoped with all the weight I have to lose I would see good results quickly too. There’s nothing worse than putting in work for a long process and not seeing any changes for a long time. That killed my motivation in the past. But this has been good for me.

So where am I after 21 days? Am I all talk and no action or have I seen some changes?

Today is Day 21. I am 15 pounds lighter and 3 inches less around the waist. My wife gasped in surprised when she hugged me Christmas Day after I had worked out. She could get her arms further around me than she could before. And that’s thrilling to me that not only am I seeing the changes, but she is seeing them too. It feels good and I want to keep that feeling going. Tomorrow I embark on my next month of working out and eating right.

If you’ve been looking for something easy to do at home and make a change in your life, won’t you join me?