Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Walking Away From It All!

That's it!  I'm walking away from it all!

No, I'm not giving up on my weight loss efforts.  I'm walking away... from my former self.  Not figuratively... literally.

About a month and a half ago, I started taking daily (or almost daily) walks around my neighborhood or in the middle of the day at work.  It started as small walks, but now I walk about 2.5 miles a day.  This has significantly helped with my weight loss.  So quite literally, I'm walking away from it all.

My daily walks have had some unintended results as well.  It seems to have significantly impacted my sleep cycle and how I wake up... for the better!  Starting a few weeks after beginning my walking routine, I started to wake up earlier and earlier.  I've never been an early riser in my life and now I find myself willfully waking up at 6:00 am.  I sleep much better now and I don't need to keep hitting the snooze button.

I've also never been one to be excited about exercise, but that has also changed.  I now find myself excited to take my daily walk.  It gives me a chance to think, relax and slow down.  Perhaps it's fatherhood.  Perhaps it's middle age.  But it has become one of the favorite parts of my day!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Kicking the Brown Dragon....

Hi, my name is Charles and I have a problem...

I have an addiction to diet soda.  I would drink it liters at a time from waking up to going to sleep.  I couldn't imagine a meal without it.  It was a habit that I didn't believe I could kick, but things change.

Last December, I gave it up cold turkey and haven't been drinking it since (with a minor exception for an alcoholic drink mixer on occasion, because I can't stand the regular soda).  I stopped drinking diet soda and replaced it with drinking water and a 50/50 mix of 100% fruit juice and seltzer.  I noticed the changes quite quickly.  I felt much better overall.  I had more energy.  As a big surprise, I didn't feel as hungry.  There was definitely something in diet soda that made me eat more.  It is now much easier to regulate my hunger and eat at a more regular pace.  In addition, I sleep much better now without all the caffeine.

I'm not going to delve into the science of why it's bad.  There are many different studies that have identified significant issues with drinking this stuff.  The bottom line is it's real bad stuff and I'm glad I don't drink it anymore.

I've learned that commercially produced "diet food" is perhaps the worst thing you can eat for a healthy life style.  Most of the time it's filled with horrible additives, which confuse your body and cause you to eat more.  If you're looking to lose weight, I recommend eating "real" food that is healthy, limit your portions and getting more activity.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Using Social Media for Accountability and Encouragement

For those of you who are friends of mine on Facebook, you will have noticed that I use social media extensively to track my health progress.  I post my weekly weight loss (or gain), when I'm excited (or dismayed) about my exercises, foods that I enjoy that are healthy, and even some of my vital stats (for example blood sugar) from doctor's visits.

Why do I do this?  Two reasons; accountability and encouragement.  First, by posting regularly and seeing that other people are following my journey, it makes me more accountable.  It's very easy to lie to yourself, but very difficult to lie to hundreds of your friends.  Second, hearing positive feedback from my friends gives me a lot of encouragement.  I'm always stunned to see the number of friends that "like" my weekly updates and leave great comments.  My friends also share their own experiences, which makes me feel that I'm not alone in my journey to better health.  To my friends out there who have given me some great feedback in the past, I thank you!

This blog is also another example of social media that I use.  I've been happy to see that it has helped.  Since I started the blog in April of 2014, I have lost more than 20 lbs.  I took a look at my post history and I saw that I mostly posted from April 2014 to June 2014 and then again recently for the past two months.  It's no accident that my greatest losses were during the same time that I was posting to the blog (as you can see below).  Accountability and encouragement works!