1½ months into my 2019 #FatToFit fitness and weight loss programme. Four months since I started making significant changes to my lifestyle and diet. And I’m still going strong.
Here’s my latest update.
Monday 4th February
Another week, another personal best.
Before December, I had only exceeded 100,000 steps in a week five times in three years. But last week marked the eighth consecutive time I passed the milestone, despite all the snow and ice. And 126,000-plus was a new record for me. I’m pretty pleased with that.
With the ice finally clearing today, I ventured out for my first run for six days with Isaac in tow. He was brilliant, offering words of support and encouragement when he could see I was struggling towards the end. He will make a great coach one day.
Thursday 7th February
I’m making good progress running but it’s hard not to feel frustrated and wanting to advance faster. Five minutes is pretty much my limit at the moment and I’m so slow that it feels like I’m moving no more quickly than a brisk walk. But the difference versus a month ago is undeniable, even though I wish it was more.
This is the double-edged nature of being a goal-oriented person. The more you achieve, the more you want to achieve. Good enough is never good enough. This tweet pretty much sums it up.
Friday 8th February
At the start of the year, I set myself the target of reaching my wedding weight by the end of March. That meant losing 11 pounds in 13 weeks.
Today, 5½ weeks in, I hit that goal.
I’ve been pushing especially hard over the past two weeks to get to the finish line as quickly as possible: exercising more, eating a little less.
So, what’s next?
I’ll certainly re-evaluate my weight goals. But on my last couple of runs, I’ve started to talk openly with the boys about us all doing a Parkrun before we fly to Disneyworld over Easter. Not just complete it, but run it from start to finish, no matter how slowly.
So now Saturday 6th April – eight weeks away – is pencilled in my diary. I’m a long way from being able to run for five kilometres. But it’s doable. I think.
Famous last words?
Saturday 9th February
Woke up all bunged up and with a sore throat, and with Storm Erik making it a tad windy outside. Old Me would have just written off my plan to go for a run and gone back to sleep.
But this is New Me. I went out anyway. I felt terrible: heavy-legged, ragged breathing. But I did it. To my surprise, when I got home I realised I was fully 1½ minutes faster than my previous run.
It just goes to show how much my diet and fitness effort is about winning mental battles, not physical ones. At the moment I’m definitely winning.
Sunday 10th February
A ninth consecutive week over 100,000 steps. 145,000 in total – yet another new personal best. Smashed it. Tired, though.
Monday 11th February
I’m now consciously preparing myself for the transition to phase three of my diet and fitness plan.
The objective in phase one was to improve my diabetic health, targeting a significant reduction in my blood sugar level. Over the course of October and November last year, I achieved that – with greater effectiveness and ease than I could have hoped for. Losing lots of weight too was a welcome side-effect.
Phase two, which has been my focus for the past couple of months, was a combination of weight loss and basic fitness. I’ve hit my weight goal and I’m making noticeable progress on the fitness front, although it’s been tough at times and I’ve needed the encouragement of my family to keep my spirits up.
So now I’m shifting gears again to concentrate on strength as well as fitness. That means two main changes for me. One: a little bit of free weights combined with upping my protein intake to aid muscle mass and recovery. (I’ve started adding protein powder to smoothies, soup and pretty much anything I can dissolve it in. It’s surprisingly fine.) And two: now that I have a reasonable base level of fitness, incorporate more high intensity interval training (HIIT) into my weekly routine so I can extend my power and endurance more efficiently.
This is going to hurt. But at the same time I think it’s going to feel pretty good too.
Tuesday 12th February
Today it’s exactly four months since I embarked on this journey. Not a diet but a complete lifestyle overhaul. This is my weight chart for that period.
I do like a round number. So when I stepped on the scales this morning and it reported my weight as exactly 200 pounds, it felt very fitting. That’s a total weight loss of 32 pounds in a little over 17 weeks – basically two pounds a week, and that includes giving myself a week off over the Christmas holiday. This is the lightest I’ve been since I was 17 or 18.
What’s even more pleasing is that the weight is still falling off steadily. I was expecting it to plateau by now but every week I’m continuing to see improvements.
There’s no magic formula. Just a combination of hard work, good choices and a determination that has been singularly lacking for years. I’m doing at least 600 calories’ worth of exercise pretty much every day. And I’m still eating bacon and eggs most mornings and cheese and nuts most evenings. (Low carb/high protein, you see?)
And more than the numbers, I can feel the difference. I’m now only slightly rather than chronically unfit. Where I used to ache for at least two days after every run, I only feel slightly heavy-legged the morning after. There is visibly less flab in places where previously there was only fat. (Although one of the downsides of shedding so much weight is that it really shows up how little muscle I have.) And I reckon I’ve dropped two cup sizes. (Not that I wear a bra, of course. Except occasionally at weekends, when I go by the name Sheila.)
So when I have those occasional moments of self-doubt, I can look back and see how far I’ve already come, which makes the journey ahead seem less daunting.
Now, what’s next?