Like many other people at this time of year, I’m aiming to lose a little weight. However, this isn’t part of a ‘New Year, New Me’ resolution. It’s the continuation of a journey I started three months ago that I am extending into 2019. So not so much ‘New Me’ as ‘Slightly Different Me’.
As part of this, I’m planning to keep a record of my progress and how I feel about it all. There will be ups and downs, no doubt. But by holding myself accountable in writing, it will hopefully help me through the darker moments. And maybe my experiences will resonate with others who are trying to do something similar.
There’s nothing special about me and what I’m aiming to do. I’m a 48-year-old dad of three. I’m overweight, unfit – with type 2 diabetes thrown into the mix – and I’ve been getting progressively worse on all fronts as I get older. The term ‘middle-age spread’ could have been coined for me. I’m not going to be featured on one of those World’s Fattest People programmes – but I’m not The Rock either. I’m not even A Rock. More of a Stodgy Pudding, really.
On the upside, at least there’s plenty of scope for improvement.
The journey so far
My journey started at the beginning of October with a diabetes education course, some new-found motivation and a switch to a low-carbohydrate diet. Over the last three months of 2018, I lost 18 pounds – and that was despite gaining a little weight over Christmas.
More importantly, I more than halved my blood glucose levels and upped my exercise. I didn’t do anything more strenuous than walking, but I did a lot of it and that’s not a bad start.
In terms of carrying some momentum into 2019, I couldn’t have hoped for better. And the knowledge that I can sustain a dieting effort for more than a couple of weeks has given me a real confidence boost. So I feel much better about setting myself fitness goals this year than I ever have before.
Rather than setting targets for the whole year, I’m splitting 2019 into smaller chunks to keep me focussed. So I’m starting by setting a deadline of 31st March, to get me into shape before we take the kids to Disney World over Easter (where I will no doubt put on about eleventy billion pounds).
Post-Easter, I’ll then set new goals to achieve before our summer holiday in August. And then finally I’ll re-evaluate and set goals for December.
So, let’s start with my weight targets for the first three months of the year.
I’m aiming to lose a further 11 pounds by the end of March – about one pound per week. That’s achievable but by no means easy.
To add extra motivation, the target weight I’ve chosen is personally meaningful. It’s the exact weight I was when Heather and I got married 22 years ago. I’ve never been close to that since, so to achieve it again would be a big deal. It’s helpful to have something more than an arbitrary number to aim for, I think.
I’m also aiming to improve my overall fitness levels. Walking is my baseline activity and I have been averaging five kilometres a day for the past couple of months. It’s low-impact and burns calories but it’s also time-consuming and it’s not driving a step-change in my cardiovascular fitness.
So as of January I am adding running to the mix. Now I cannot begin to express how much I hate running. Even in my twenties when I was doing a lot of sport, there was nothing I despised more than warm-up runs.
But I don’t want to join a gym and running is cheap and easy. So I’ve downloaded the Couch to 5K app and I’m going to slowly build up. It’s nominally a nine-week programme so allowing for my desperately poor starting point, I’ll be happy if I can complete it within 13. Although I suspect I will effectively be running at little more than walking pace to start with!
So those are my ‘Fat to Fit’ goals for the first quarter of 2019. I’m aiming to record a monthly diary of my achievements and failures, so check back in with me at the beginning of February and hopefully I will have good news to report.