Taking Control

Something happened this morning that hasn’t happened in a long time. I stepped on the scale and it registered a weight under 200 pounds.

Photo credit: dietitianseatcake.com

Okay, it was barely under 200 pounds (to give you some context, I’m 6’3″ tall), but one of my goals was to break through that barrier on my way to my target weight of 185. I checked my records (yes, I keep records on this stuff) and in the past year, I’ve lost about 26 pounds. In the past 45 days, I’ve lost seven.

It’s amazing what achieving a goal like this can do. I weighed myself first thing after I getting up this morning so I could get the lightest, emptiest weight I can. A little more than an hour or so later, I was at the gym. It’s Delts and Traps day, so I decided to go a little heavier and challenge myself. I had a great workout.

No, I didn’t suddenly turn into a weightlifting monster, but I was excited about being able to get under 200 and the motivation from that achievement really carried over into my workout. It was even better when I easily tightened my belt by one more “hole” while getting dressed for work.

I’ve decided to see how much more I can push it by increasing the protein in my meal plan today and substituting an additional protein shake instead of a “solid” food lunch. I won’t do that every day. In spite of how much I’ve read about how protein suppresses hunger, a liquid protein meal doesn’t chase away the “hungries” for as long as a solid protein lunch.

Nothing motivates me like actually seeing all my hard work pay off. My time at the gym is limited to an hour a day, so no matter how hard I work myself when I’m there, in an hour, it’s over.

Food, on the other hand, is something I encounter throughout the day. I tend to “graze” between meals and try to keep main meal portions (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) smaller. I don’t always succeed, but nothing’s perfect. As long as the chart at MyFitnessPal.com I use to record my daily changes in weight shows a downward trend, I know I’m still on the right track. Yes, it “jiggles” up and down day by day, but fortunately, there are more downs and ups.

So food is really a harder thing for me to be disciplined about than exercise. Unless you are a maniac marathon runner or triathlete, you can always overeat your exercise routine. That’s why I use the MyFitnessPlan.com app. I need to keep track (however imperfectly) of calories in so I can be aware of my food consumption and realize when I’m eating too much, and especially too much of the wrong thing.

burning caloriesBetween the gym and managing my calorie and food type intake, the hard work is paying off and I want it to continue to pay off. It’s like an upward spiral of motivation. You start by setting reasonable goals and working toward them. You start seeing results which tell you your work is paying off and you are moving closer to achieving goals. Knowing now that you have control of your body and your motivation, you realize you can push yourself harder and further than you have before. The result for me is I’m continuing to gain muscle, lose fat, fit into clothes I thought I never would again, which just prompts me to keep on going.

If I can do it, so can you. I’m not a world-famous athlete, bodybuilder, or exercise guru. I’m just an ordinary guy, an older ordinary guy, who has struggled with becoming more healthy and who has searched for ways to do that, ways that work for me.

Today’s going to be a good day. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings. Even if I pop up a pound or so tomorrow, I know I can keep working and take it down again. I can take control of my life and not let my past and my bad habits control me. You can do that too.

Time to get to work.

Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy.



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