Chapter 14 of my First book: Finding MY FIT-ness routine. A.K.A. MY HEALTHY-ness routine
CHAPTER 14: Finding MY FIT-ness routine. A.K.A. MY HEALTHY-ness routine
A picture of the physical results of MY
F**k the “NO PAIN. NO GAIN” to getting HEALTHIER approach.
I was going to have some FUN while getting healthy
Lots of it!
“Take care of your body. It is the only place you have to live” Jim Rohn
July 2017. MOVE. EAT. DRINK. SLEEP. LOVE. A new formula. Making it EASYer on myself.
This month marks the one-year anniversary of me sharing my second ever blog, “Dave’s Top 5 List: How I lost close to 100 pounds of Body Fat”. Although my initial motivator to making a change in MY life and my lifestyle was to “not die” and leave my kids without a father, once I started to make some progress on the health and wellness front, the results ended up being beyond my wildest dreams.
It was incredible how I was able to turn so many bad health habits into good ones. Before you knew it, I was buying a whole new wardrobe. I had taken close to 100 pounds of fat off of my body as a by-product of changing my ways, and unlike most people (by some counts, 90%) I had been able to keep it off for well over a year. Well, it is now another year later, and the weight has remained off and the healthy habits that keep it off, have remained.
In the first part of that blog, and in the first chapters of this book, I have shared with my readers how I put the weight on. It took me a while to put it on and keep it on. I had some ups and downs along the way, but in the end, I was able to come up with a bunch of nasty habits that helped me maintain my nasty weight and lifestyle. I even shared my magic formula with you in my blog. “Eat crap. Lots of It. Often. Drink Crap. Lots of it. Often. Don’t exercise. Ever.” I now like to refer to that formula as my “nasty health zone formula”.
In that same blog, I also shared with you my formula for taking off the weight, and keeping it off. As I also shared in that blog, the weight loss was not my goal but a by-product of changing my ways. Changing my unhealthy ways to healthy ways and the healthy habits that maintain those healthy ways. That formula was “Eat healthy. Drink in moderation. Exercise frequently. Enjoy”. What did I end up calling this formula? In the spirit of keeping things simple, I just dropped the word “nasty” and added a “y” to the word health and voila, I now had a name for my formula, my “healthy zone formula”.
Well, it is now a year later and now that I have had more time to try things out, I think that I would like to update that formula somewhat. The original name was inspired by a book by Tom Rath called, “Eat, Move, Sleep”. I really enjoyed reading that book. Lots of very simple ideas that I could pick and choose from to try out. Some worked for me and some did not. And remember, MY approach is to make things EASYer on myself and to have fun while doing it, so any and all of the ideas in that book that did not meet those criteria and a quick testing thereof were quickly tossed aside.
So, in the spirit of making things EASYer on myself, I have come up with a newly updated formula. I did not do it on purpose but it ended up being a top 5 list; MOVE. EAT. DRINK. SLEEP. LOVE. Here is the story behind that story. The story behind my newly revised formula, my updated “heathy Zone formula”. Remember that this is your health that we are talking about and your level of energy. It does not get much more important than that.
April 2013. MOVE (more). Finding my roller blades and dusting them off.
Some would argue that “Eat” should come before “Move” in the grander scheme of things, especially regarding weight loss, hence the title of the book; “Eat. Move Sleep”. Well guess, what? Since this is MY book, and MY life-transformation, I am starting with “Move” although “Eat” followed shortly thereafter, very shortly thereafter, a matter of days for those who are counting.
My first step toward Moving MORE, as I mentioned in my blog, turned out to be my first skate, my first roller skate on my roller blades. It had been so long since I had exercised that I had forgotten how to do it. So, once I decided that I would just try and do something that would get me to move, my biggest question as to an immediate next step was to find that one thing to do. One thing to try. What could that be?
I decided that the best way to find my fit while at the same time making it EASYer on myself was to try and find something that was both easy and fun to do. And that is what I did. I dug out my roller blades and I dusted them off, and the very next day, I put them on and went around the block. And then, once around the block, became twice around the block, and then it became once around the neighbourhood etc. Then I decided to dust off my bike, pump up the wheels and start pedalling it. Every once in a while, I would take the stairs instead of the escalator. Then I came up with the idea of joining a gym. A while later, I joined. A while after that, I actually went.
All of a sudden, a pattern started to emerge. I was starting to move more. Hitting the GYM but NOT hard. I am still a member today. I still roller blade today. In hindsight, Item #1 on that top 5 list from that Blog seems to have weathered the test of time; “Build Momentum. Slow and steady wins the race. Start slow. You will be surprised how quickly you will build momentum.” Well, I did. I started slow and I have not looked back since.
Oh, and guess what? Item # 2 from the list was bang on as well; “Enjoy what you do. It should be fun and not hard”. Well, I continue to take it easy on myself and have fun. As previously mentioned, I will leave the “No Pain. No gain” approach to someone else.
April 2013: EAT (healthier). Remember it does not have to taste like s**t
Eat less? That was part of the strategy. Not better at first, but at least less. As I mentioned in my 100-pound weight loss blog, three chocolate bars instead of four with my glass of milk before I went to sleep at night. Then two instead of three. Before you knew it, I was down to none.
I was cutting down on meal portion sizes as well. A bit at a time. And then I started to eat vegetables and they actually tasted quite good, so I ate more. As I mentioned in my blog on how I was able to start eating healthier; “Eating healthy does not have to taste like S**T”, eating healthy can actually taste quite good.
It took me a while, but I eventually changed my eating habits and that change included eating things like Kefir and Chia seeds. What is Kefir? You may ask. What are Chia seeds? Good questions. I had no clue in those days. I now eat them almost every day for breakfast and guess what? They taste good! And they are healthy.
In the old days, I did not even eat breakfast, but one thing at a time. One step at a time. I will not repeat the top 5 list from my nutrition blog here, since it resides on my website for your reading pleasure, but I will share the #1 item since I believe it sums up my approach quite nicely and that is, drum roll please, “Make it Yummy (Healthy but Yummy)”.
Before you knew it, I was Moving more and eating less. Eating less portion wise and eating less s**t. It would be another year before I had built up enough momentum and changed enough bad habits into good ones before my body really started to recover, but that was enough to provide me with the energy to start turning things around.
Thank you oxygen mask! And thank-you Dave, for grabbing hold of it. Oh and, by the way, the fact that your new healthy eating habits started to rub off on your children, bonus!
May 2015. DRINK (Less. Less booze that is). The final frontier, or so I thought.
Drink more water and green tea is where I think the author “Eat. Move. Sleep.” seemed to be going with his “drink” recommendations. My focus was more on drinking less, less booze that is. I mentioned it in my blog and I will mention it once again here, cutting out the booze was not on my priority list back then, back in the summer of 2015. Or so I thought, until one of my friends came up with a challenge for me.
The challenge from her, went somewhat like this. I give up drinking booze for 30 days, no exceptions. This was presented to me 2 weeks before I was heading off to Paris and London for a visit with my son. I was not sure if she was aware that these were countries associated with fine wine (the former) and a good pint of ale (the latter). She did not drink alcohol so she had no idea what a sacrifice this would be. I tried to explain the rationale behind having a nice buzz on every once in a while, but it seemed lost on her. Besides, I had already undergone enough change on the “Move” and “Eat” sides of the equation for at least one lifetime, or so I thought. But as I tried to explain my pro-drinking rationale to her, I started to question the logic behind it myself. The verbal processor in me was finally verbally processing on this topic, and he was having troubles coming up with a whole lot of pros to getting his buzz on and a whole lot of cons. In the end, I finally decided that I would take a pass on the challenge. If I felt like a glass of wine or a beer every once in a while, then I was going to have one, or two or three or more. We only live once, was my logic at the time. Screw the sugar. Screw the calories. I might not always be fully present with the people around me when I have my buzz on, but screw that too. Surely, I am allowed to keep a couple of vices.
Well, a long story, short. I did end up having a glass of red wine in Paris, and a pint of ale with my chips in London, 2 beers over 2 days to be exact, but I have not had a buzz on since that discussion with my friend back in May 2015. I have not had a buzz on since. I still enjoy a glass of wine on occasion, a maximum of 2. Same for the beer. That includes social and networking events, so, no more liquid courage when connecting with people. I will just have to get by with my boyish charms. 😊
Making the shift, or transition, from drinking a lot of booze on a regular basis to drinking a little bit of booze, less often, turned out to be easier than I had thought. Maybe because during that moment of reflection and the insights I gained during my poor attempt to convince my friend of the merits of being drunk, I had convinced myself that it was not something I wanted, nor needed to do anymore. When there is a will, there is way. Well. Bye-Bye booze, (at least the booze buzz) and Hello snooze. Yes, one of the benefits of not drinking too much is that you end up getting a better night’s sleep.
Early 2016. SLEEP (more). No cheating allowed.
I read somewhere that adults require somewhere between 7-9 hours of quality sleep a night to be at their best the next day. Cheat and you pay the price. I only realized that when I finally stopped cheating, and by cheating, I am talking drinking huge quantities of coffee and booze to make up for my lack of zzzz’s. Well the booze was now gone and, I was slowly replacing my coffee with non-decaffeinated green tea, so maybe it was time to finally explore the last pillar of the “EAT. MOVE. SLEEP” triumvirate, Sleep. And by sleep, I mean quality sleep. Not the waking up every 20 minutes type of sleep.
Well, this lifestyle change took me a while to get going on. I was skeptical at first, and, besides, we are talking about giving up a whole lot of productive time, and time is money, and time is precious. In hindsight, if I had had some sort of sleep versus productivity baseline to help inspire me, it would have made things easier. I did not have one since I rarely allowed myself the opportunity to sleep long enough to develop one. Ironically enough, my baseline turned out to be how unproductive I was when I did not sleep enough, rather than my increased productivity when I did.
As I started to become more disciplined and aware of where I was spending my time, as part of my quest to lead a more balanced lifestyle, I really started to notice things. I started to notice that it was difficult to concentrate on my tasks at hand when I was short on sleep. Since I was now my own boss, I would shut down my career quadrant when I got too tired and push the item off to the next day and guess what happened? Something that would have taken me an hour to finish the day before, because I was too tired, took me 10 minutes the next morning. Wow. What an eye opener. I guess that sleep is important after all. Time for another change, a change that involved me changing the time on the setting for my alarm clock. Not to wake up early, but to go to bed earlier, and least until it becomes a habit.
April 2017. LOVE (Love Yourself). Especially when you do eventually cheat.
This was the month in which I had received my latest and greatest health statistics. It had been over 2 years since I had gotten back to my normal weight BMI score after over 15 years of hovering between overweight and obese. My latest results? I was at my fittest ever as measured by both my BMI and % of body fat. Wow. How cool. Those good habits must be taking hold after all.
Well, as it turned out, that was also the month that I cheated. I cheated by eating a bunch of cookies, not one cookie, but a bunch of cookies, over several days. Yes, I cheated and it was not even what I call a good cheat, like joining my son for a hamburger every once in a while, at one of his favourite burger joints. It was what I used to call a bad cheat. It was brought on by no other desire than a desire to eat something that appealed to me, at a time, when I was feeling a little bit on the low side of my emotional spectrum. Yes, those pesky emotions. So much for feeling happy all the time. So much for never cheating. It did not happen often but when it did, I often felt badly about it. So much for my self-compassion.
Then one day I was having lunch with a friend of mine. She had also recently undertaken a healthy lifestyle change, which also resulted in a significant loss of weight. She too had managed to keep it off for longer than the other 90% of people who are not able to. Well guess what? She also has times when she cheats. But unlike me, she does not seem to mind as much. I asked her why? Her answer went something like this. “I love myself. I trust myself. I know that I will return to my healthier ways sooner rather than later. So, I go with it. I don’t get down on myself. I continue to love myself”. Wow. How cool is that. I think that it is about time to upgrade self-compassion to self-love.
Make it EASYER on yourself, lover boy, try a little bit of self-Love. 😊
So, What did I learn?
How did I make change EASYer on myself 😊 (or not ☹)
Lacing up the roller blades. Just lacing up the roller blades and skating around the block. It was not far, but it does not get any EASYer than that. I did not know it back then, but that is when I first came up with, what is now my new Modus Operandi of making change EASYer on ONEself. It has served me well ever since, as long as I don’t forget to keep asking myself the question each and every time that I am about to undergo a new change i.e. What can I do, to make this change EASYer on myself? Oh, and it has also served me well when it comes to maintaining a change, at least until the momentum kicks in and it becomes a new habit, a positive new habit. 😊
What is your Healthy Zone formula?
How is it working for you these days?
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