52 Things I Did This Year
I’ve written the title first, so hopefully I can come up with enough of them.
1. Understood it was a lifestyle change, not a diet. Losing it is easy (relatively), keeping it off will be the real challenge.
2. Decided to keep things sustainable and not go on an all kelp diet.
3. Decided to educate myself all the time in all areas of health…
4. …but didn’t believe everything I read just cause it’s says so on the Internet.
5. Understood that all the numbers are estimates.
6. How many calories in a piece of food is an estimate, even if it’s in a box, and companies are biased to underestimate as much as they can get away with.
7. How many calories you burned at exercise is an estimate, even with a heart rate monitor (tho that’s a much better estimate). Health kit manufacturers are biased to overestimating how much their equipment burns.
8. How many calories you need per day for your height, weight, sex and age is an estimate. Do the math – there’s a lot more against you than for you, it doesn’t even out by itself most of the time.
9. Didn’t worry about making all the changes at once. Cut out soda a bit at a time not big bang for example.
10. Focused on achievable intermediate milestones not the long-term end goal – I knew I needed to lose more than 52 pounds, but losing 52 was a good goal.
11. Tried to beat those goals.
12. Tried to keep it interesting (marathon anyone?).
13. Tried different things. Kept the ones that worked (breakfast changes) and ditched the ones that didn’t (remember Phase II with a 1.5 lb a week goal, push-up challenge or giving up coffee?)…
14. .. but didn’t quit prematurely. I finished Phase II. I tried cutting back the coffee.
15. Didn’t give up when I made a mistake – either by pure accident (not realizing the serving size on something) or willpower failure (nom nom nom can’t talk mouf full).
16. Started a blog to keep me accountable.
17. Remembered that it in the end – there’s no point in hiding from myself.
18. Got a decent one.
19. Weighed myself every day, often multiple times a day.
20. Recorded one weight (first one of the day) consistently. Even when it was not something I was happy about.
21. Learned that successful maintainers weigh daily and have a +/- 5 pound target weight that they allow themselves to fluctuate within.
22. Learned to deal with my own fluctuations – within the day and between days.
23. Started finding out how many calories were in what I was eating.
24. Learned that weight loss is 80% food, 20% diet – ‘Weight loss happens in the kitchen, fitness at the gym’ is one quote. Or as I say – it’s a heckuva lot easier to not eat a large big mac meal (1200 calories) than it is to burn it off at the gym after you ate it (about a solid hour at the gym for me I’d guess just to burn it off).
25. Tracked those calories every day, even when they were not pretty.
26. Started to figure out what food items were worth their calories (a taco bell hard shell taco for 170 calories, a pear, low-fat kettle corn) and which weren’t (volcano burrito for 800 calories, 90 calorie snack bars that you can eat in < 1 second, potato chips)
27. Found food patterns that worked for me. Salads from Cosi. Sandwich and yogurt from Daune Reade. Flavoring for water when I needed something more. That breakfasts over 400 calories made the day really tough to manage.
28. Improved the quality of the food I ate over time. Replaced soda with better drinks, including water. Switched to whole wheat where possible (cause it’s more filling).
29. Tried to plan ahead .. made room in the food budget for events I knew were coming over the days before it where I could.
30. Found and stocked snack foods that were calorie poor but satisfied the need to eat – plums, kettle corn, celery – without so many calories.
31. Didn’t strip all ‘fun’ foods from diet – but bought them in pre-packaged servings where possible. I don’t buy ice cream tubs anymore – I try to buy sandwich bars or sticks or cones or whatever. I know how many calories (are estimated!) in that item and it doesn’t depend on me measuring it and having willpower.
32. Tried different things – new snacks, yogurt, old hatreds (I’ll eat the random tomato these days). Kept the ones that worked.
33. Tried to plan ahead when eating out.
34. Learned how to use equipment properly.
35. Cardio first vs weights first? Whichever is your focus for the session is first – you give you max effort when not tired.
36. Fat-burning zone is another BS thing for most part – hard to replicate outside the lab. You want to burn calories – work as hard as you can sustain to maximum burn.
37. Try interval training for increasing what you can sustain.
38. Mix-it up regularly, your body gets efficient.
39. Always push yourself to do more – more time/more calories/more speed/more weight. Compete with the person you were yesterday, or if that fails, the person on the machine next to you.
40. Understand the latest thinking on stretching.
41. Learned what was baked into the calorie intake estimates already..
42. ….only recorded intentional exercise…
43. …didn’t mind a little unrecorded exercise as a bonus buffer…
44. ..tried to avoid eating those exercise calories, especially in the early days.
45. Kept my iPod charged and made playlists that got me moving.
46. Tried to make work work for me health wise.
47. Did my best to not eat the stress…
48. …ate better (coffee, water, fruit) when I did anyway (instead of snickers, potato chips, etc)
49. Instituted a zero tolerance policy for other co-workers bad habits (like bringing in cakes).
50. Brought the wife on-board …
51. … and received incredible support throughout (she lets me know how much of each item is on my dinner plate and lets me trains for marathons!)
52. Found inspiration where I could ..
53. ..and (one for good luck) shared it.
Happy Birthday To Me!
Also – some additional good life advice – an oldie but a goodie.