Checking In On My 2017 Fitness Goals

I’ve written a few times about how I have really tried to focus on better fitness this year.  I worried about our long camping trips and how that would affect me.  I’m happy to report that things are going well.  Here’s an update on my fitness goals.

Recap of My Goals And My Plan

I wanted to lose some weight and lose some body fat.  I’d spent most of 2016 gaining 0.5 to 1 pound per month, and there was no excuse for it.  I was just lazy and full of poor decisions.

I decided to commit 2017 to make better decisions.

My goals were two fold:

  1. I wanted to lose 13.5 pounds.
  2. I wanted reduce my body fat from 21% to 15%.

My plan was pretty simple:

  1. Work out more.
  2. Cut back on calories from alcohol.
  3. Eliminate all snacking at work.

Tracking Progress

Things have gone very well.  Just as I had a steady rise last year, things have moved in the right direction in a pretty steady fashion.

Here’s a quick summary on how things were at the end of each month:

  • January – Lost 4.1 pounds total.  Body fat: 19.6%
  • February – Lost 5.8 pounds total.  Body fat: 19.0%
  • March – Lost 7.8 pounds total.  Body fat: 17.4%
  • April – Lost 8.2 pounds total.  Body fat: 17.4%
  • May – Lost 9.6 pounds total.  Body fat: 17.3%
  • June – Lost 12.1 pounds total. Body fat: 16.9%
  • July (so far) – Lost 12.3 pounds total.  Body fat: 16.3%

What this represents:

  • I’ve lost 91% of the total weight I want to lose.
  • I have lost 81% of the total body fat I want to lose.
  • Finally, I’ve lost 28% of my total body fat.

Methodology: In order to smooth out the normal fluctuations, I take measurements every day, and then use a running 7-day average on both weight and body fat.

Slowing Down

Things have obviously started to slow down.  I’ve worked around this weight goal before, and I’ve always found that the last couple of pounds are the hardest.  In fact, the one time I hit it a few years ago I only got the last couple of pounds because I got food poisoning.  I’m hoping that I don’t have to rely on that this time.

I really want to get this last little bit.  Then, the real work starts.

Right now, it’s easy to keep staying motivated on my behaviors, but if I hit the goal, I have to make sure to stay motivated so that things don’t go in the wrong direction. Just like they have in the past!

This is similar to personal finance goals.  Many people work so hard for a goal (like getting out of debt) that once they hit it, they don’t have any idea what to do next.

The key is to look ahead.  I’m already looking ahead to how I can stay motivated over the next few months.  It’s not going to be easy.

Three Major Challenges Ahead

We have three things that I really have to watch out for:

  1. Our second week long camping trip – We do two trips per summer.  I got out of the last one relatively unscathed but will have to make sure I don’t fall apart on the next one.
  2. Our anniversary trip – We are going to Cancun for a few days to celebrate our ten year anniversary.  It’s at an all inclusive resort.  I’ve never been to one but I’ve heard that they’re like cruise ships, and it’s easy to indulge.
  3. Halloween – This is my Kryptonite.  Seriously.  After Halloween people bring loads of candy into the office.  And they bring the good stuff.  Hershey Bars.  Reeses Cups.  You name it.   I have never been able to resist the jar upon jar of chocolate goodness.  If I’m going to lose my work goal, this will be how it happens.  However, since by that point I’ll have 10 full months under my belt, I am confident I can make it.

So far, I’m happy with how things are going.  Now I just need to get those last steps and then make sure it doesn’t turn and go the wrong direction.

Readers, how are your goals going?  Let me know in the comments below.  Thanks for reading.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

How Will I Stay Motivated After Losing Weight?

I’ve written a couple of times about how I have been working to get in better health this year.  So far things are going great, and I’ve now lost about 9.5 pounds total.  Things have definitely slowed down over the past couple of months.  I expected that, as this is typically the area where my body hits a wall.  But, I’m still happy with where things stand.  The issue now will be how to stay motivated after losing weight.

Summer Is A Downfall

I wrote earlier about how I stopped snacking at work at the beginning of the year.  That’s still held up.  I haven’t eaten one single thing that I haven’t brought in!  If you know my typical snacking habits, that is a big accomplishment.

But my other normal downfall is upon us:  Summer.  We do lots and lots of camping, and this tends to bring about a lot of poor nutritional choices, at least compared to the rest of the year.

  • Snacking.  There are always munchies and stuff around for camping.  It’s just the nature of things.  I’m always a sucker for a handful of potato chips or something.
  • Alcohol.  It’s vacation, usually at the beach or around a fire. These things make a nice cold drink or two a big temptation.
  • Lack of exercise.  Right now I’ve been trying to get some sort of exercise just about every day.  This involves a combination of running, walking, or lifting weights.  Last year, I tended to do very little of this while camping.

As you can see, these are all things that could definitely put at risk some of the gains I’ve made.

How To Combat The Dreaded Summer Weight Gain

So, I guess the question now is how do I fight this?  Here are some ideas I have:

  1. Hold myself accountable.  Last year, I knew I was gaining weight throughout the summer.  In typical denial, I basically avoided the scale.  This year, I’ll make sure to check in regularly no matter what.
  2. Carry a snack cup.  Instead of a handful of this or that, I’m thinking of getting my own little snack cup that I would have to use when snacking.  This would force me to go get it, force me to fill it, and hopefully put up a mental block if I fill it multiple times.
  3. Take some healthier options.  There’s between 4-8 of us on typical camping trips.  I can’t ask that people like be removed on my account. Nobody wants to be that person.  But, hopefully I can take some of my own stuff to mix in so that it’s not all junk food.
  4. Reduce alcohol and change mixers.  I don’t drink beer, but instead prefer mixed drinks.  Last year, my drink of choice was whiskey and Coke.  This year, I’ll probably switch to vodka and club soda.  Vodka has a few less calories than whiskey, and club soda is 0 calories, compared to a whole lot for Coke.  I’ll also mix them a little lighter.
  5. Exercise regularly.  I’ve gotten in such a routine of waking up and doing some exercise, that I’m hoping I just keep this up.  Right now, if I wake up and don’t exercise, I don’t feel right.  So, if I can tap into that when camping, it’ll keep me pushing along.

Crossing My Fingers For Success

This probably won’t be easy.  The work thing was actually easier because I went cold turkey.  But, I just can’t see myself going cold turkey on the fun things associated with camping.  I think starting off with an approach centered on moderation is my best bet.

The best laid plans, right?

Wish me luck.

Readers, how do you deal with temptations and other obstacles that can derail success you’ve made? Do you have any tips for me?  Please let me know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

7 Rules Of Gym Etiquette

I’ve been going to the local Planet Fitness for quite a while.  I think it’s been almost three years.  Over time, I’ve sort of figured out some do’s and don’ts.  Of course, I’ve learned most of this by having someone bugging me!  So, what is proper gym etiquette?  Here’s a few tips.

Don’t Hog The Equipment

Whether you’re alone or part of a group, taking excessive time using something is inconsiderate.  Even if nobody is waiting, there might just be someone that would like to us it, but doesn’t feel comfortable asking.  Limit your time on the equipment so that everyone has an opportunity to use it.

Leave A Buffer Zone If Possible

People get in habits of having their favorite equipment.  I have two or three different treadmills that I prefer to use. So I get wanting to use your favorite.  But, if your favorite is right next to someone else, and there’s a row of empty machines, find a different one!  I seriously had to give up my top favorite because one guy would constantly come right next to me, even though there were literally 20 machines in a row wide open.

Wipe Down Your Equipment

When you’re done using something, wipe it down.  Any reputable gym should provide paper towels and spray.  Use them.  You’d think this would be obvious.  But, I’ve seen enough people NOT do this that I will usually wipe my equipment before and after I use it!

Don’t Be The Smelly Person

I sweat heavily when I run.  So, I know the importance of making sure to take measures so that I don’t smell.  I wash my stuff regularly.  I put deodorant on before going to the gym.  Being the sweaty person is OK.  Just don’t be the stinky person.

Use Your Inside Voice

Are you coming with a workout partner? Do you have a group of friends that you come with to keep each other motivated? Great!  What’s not great is if you hoot and holler so that people clear on the other side of the gym can hear you.  While your conversation might be fascinating to you, it’s not fascinating to anybody else.  Trust me on this one.

Stay Off The Phone

This one should need no further explanation.  Exercising and phone calls don’t mix.

Mind Your Business

Two times, this guy has come up to my wife and started lecturing her on how she’s using the equipment wrong.  Both times, it threw her off enough so that she kind of brushed it off.  And both times she realized that it made her pretty uncomfortable.  Now she keeps a lookout for him, and has promised to say something to the staff if he bothers her again.  Seriously, as much as you might want to be helpful, butt out.  That’s what trainers are for.

Readers, do you go to the gym?  Have you seen any etiquette violations?  What do you think are some of the most important things to remember when working out?

 

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Why I Keep Bugging My Wife About My Fitness Goals

I’ve been driving my wife a little nutty, and she has no idea why. I’m not normally one for New Years resolutions, but I set one this year.  And it’s not really a resolution as it is a goal.  Here are my fitness goals and why I keep talking about them to my wife.

My 2016 Fitness Goals Fail

I’ve had a target weight for a number of years.  I’m about 5’8″ (or maybe a little smaller as my wife says I’m shrinking).  I’ve never been muscular and I’ve never been dramatically overweight.  I hover somewhere in the average range.  My ideal weight is 155 pounds, along with a 15% body fat percentage.  I’m normally closer to 160-165 pounds, and around 20% body fat.

To start last year, I was around 162 pounds and 21% body fat.  I wanted to run regularly for the full year, and figured that I could maybe get to my target weight goals.

It didn’t happen.

Instead, I went backward.  I actually checked in a few times throughout the year, and I basically went in a straight line upward.

I only put on about 6 pounds but every 3-4 months I’d be 1.5-2 pounds heavier.

It was annoying and as I got to the end of last year, I decided it was time to offer a little more than lip service to the idea.

My 2017 Fitness Goals

My goals were simple: The same as I’ve set in the past.  155 pounds and 15% body fat.  I realize that as I get older, these are probably harder and harder to reach.  Your body just seems to add a little here and there along the way.  But, I figure at 42 I have a shot, right?

My Plan To Reach My Goals

So what am I doing to hit my goals?  Nothing drastic.  I’m not going on any big diets or embarking on any big fitness changes.  It’s a series of small things that I hope will add up for me.

Admitting I Failed

I actually spent some time looking and thinking about what went wrong.  I not only missed my goals, but I went completely in the opposite direction.  Seeing that I missed the mark throughout the whole year was evidence that I didn’t just miss my goals.  I’d failed.

Revamping My Exercise Plan

I have really enjoyed running since my wife introduced me to it a few years ago.  I do this activity primarily on the treadmill at the nearby Planet Fitness.  My problem is that I set a goal last year to run as many times as I did the year before.  So all I did was run.  I ignored all advice, both from professionals as well as my wife, urging me to do different exercises.  I never lifted weights.  I never did other cardio.  I just ran.  This year, I stopped tracking running and started tracking walking, running, weight lifting, and other activities.

Getting Serious About Cutting Back Snacking

I love to snack.  Practically every day at work, I’d reach into my drawer and pull out a Nutri Grain bar or some crackers or something else.  I’d get home from work and have something to get me through dinner.  Then, after dinner and before bed, I’d be good for something else.   Three snacks, each probably 200-350 calories.  This was a couple of thousand empty calories per week.  While I haven’t and probably won’t cut snacking altogether, the plan is to cut back my snacking intake about 80%.  So far, I’ve made the adjustment and kept up.

Reducing Calories From Drinking Alcohol

My drink of choice for the past few years has been whiskey and coke.  I’m going to try to reduce my alcohol intake but am also going to shift to what a few others around me have taken on as their drink of choice.  This is vodka mixed with La Croix.  Just changing mixers will cut at least 100 calories each time I pour a drink.  Add that together with trying to reduce my intake, and it should again cut some significant calories.

Having An Accountability Partner

As I mentioned to start the article, I’ve been keeping my wife in tune with how things are going.  When I get back from the gym, I’ll tell her about what I did that day.  If I get back from work, I’ll mention if I had any snacks or that I haven’t snacked (so far it’s only not having snacked).  I’ll make a point of saying that a drink has 100 calories less than one I would have had last year.  When the scale tells me I’ve lost half a pound, I’ll let her know.   I know this amuses her, but I do it so that I can stay accountable.

I learned last year that trying to be accountable only to myself didn’t really do a lot.  But by telling her of how things are going or what I’m doing, it keeps me accountable and keeps me more on track.  I don’t need her to do anything more than listen, but just having someone that I know is keeping track other than me (even if she doesn’t mean to), is a difference maker.

Staying Focused Is Key

So far I’ve seen some positive results.  I’m down 3.5 pounds to 165 pounds and down to 19.5% body fat (starting off at 21%).  With the fact that I’m just making small changes, I know that hitting my targets aren’t anything in the immediate future.  But, I’m hopeful at this point that I can make slow progress to at least get closer.  More importantly, I’m hoping that this year my trend doesn’t go up.  Even if, at a certain point during the year, my progress flattens, that will be a turnaround in itself versus what happened last year!

Readers, do you have any fitness goals for 2017?  Do you have a plan?  Does one of them include any type of accountability partner, whether that be a family member, significant other, or even something like a blog?  Let me know in the comments below.

 

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.