40 by 40 - End of Winter Update

20-MAR-21

It's been a quick but somehow at the same time very long winter. We went through a lockdown at Christmas, we are about to go into another one but vaccinations are picking up and I--call me foolish--see the light at the end of the tunnel. We have to stay vigilant but we also have to stay positive.

On that note, I want to share some positive personal news since today is the first day of spring and I hit another milestone a little while ago.

Yesterday was exactly 6 months since I posted about the previous major milestone where I lost "30lbs in 4 months" by changing my eating habits and sticking to a plan of keeping track of what I put in my body.

Another 6 months have passed and I've not missed a beat. I'm on day 306 of signing into myfitnesspal. I have still been shedding pounds, albeit at a much slower pace. Since my last post, I have lost another 10lbs. So that's 10lbs in 6 months vs 30lbs in 4 months before that. Same plan, same routine. The body has its own schedule, I guess.

It all started last spring when I told myself "I want to lose 40lbs by the time I'm 40" but it seemed so far out of reach that I decided I'd settle for 20. Here we are, 2 months into me being 40 and I made it! I feel better than I have in a long, long time. Even did 10 chin-ups today! TEN! My max was 3 for like oh I don't know, the past 15 years. I can also jog and climb stairs with more ease. The only thing is I look a bit like a skinny old man now. I actually can't wait to be able to go back to the gym to put some proper muscle back on... 😎

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People ask me all the time what my secret is but when I say "keep track" or the dreaded phrase "counting calories" they shudder and say "nah, that won't work for me". If you've tried everything else and that hasn't worked, why not give this a go? I don't think there's anything wrong with counting calories, especially if helps you identify how much you're putting into your body every day.

Disclaimer: Everyone is different. There's no one right way to do it, but I know that there's no reason to set yourself on a 1300 calorie limit unless you're 8. I think this will have you crave more and end up gaining weight in the end because you either 1) end up quitting and over-indulging or 2) your body will probably store the bits of food it gets as fat because it thinks you're starving. They say the average person needs 2000 calories a day. Unless you're a professional athlete, you're probably in the average category too... so try that to start. I've learned that I can get away with around 2000-2400 calories with the amount of "activity" I get daily by doing my daily chores and being dad to a 7-year-old. But since have a desk job, I've for the most part stuck to around the 1800-2200 calories range. I've noticed that if I'm at the higher end of that range, that's when I burn/lose the most consistently. You'll have to do what works for you.

You don't have to do it forever and you don't have to be super accurate but at the least it will help you understand the ballpark you're in. If you don't like counting calories, try keeping track of your macros (carbs, fats, proteins). 15 years ago when I worked out, a fitness trainer said for my height (~5'9") each meal should be about 45g of carbs, 15g of fats and 30g of proteins. I kept to that back then and that worked too.

My message is: just pick something and stick to it. As I said, you don't have to be meticulous (read: anal) about it. Do it for a while to understand how much extra you're really eating. I also said in my previous post that the cravings will go away. In the beginning your body will ask for more. Because it's used to more. In most cases, a lot more... but if you stick to it, it will adjust. In a month or two you'll start to feel better and you should will start seeing results.

I haven't worked out in the past 10 months (other than some sporadic push-ups or chin-ups here and there) but I've seen better results than the couple of years prior when I was hitting the gym every day. Eventually, you'll get to a point where you understand what to eat, what not to eat, what makes you full, what makes you crave more. I stay away from fried or processed foods and sugary foods for the most part (some exceptions below). I don't drink soft drinks other than once in a blue moon when we end up at McDonald's I might splurge on a small fountain drink. Usually it is water, water and more water, though. And I haven't reverted back to meat (other than fish). I just don't crave it.

In all, I've learned a lot in the past 10 months. I know that I can indulge every now and then and it won't make a difference overall. I know not to beat myself up about the small details, or if I eat a lot more sushi than I should the one time we have it in a blue moon, who gives a flying fart. But the truth is, I don't eat that much more now, though, because my appetite has changed.

I have also learned to listen to my body when it says "OK, enough". Smaller meals, snacking in smaller portions. I still have a variation of either ice cream, cake, potato chips, popcorn, chocolate or iced cappuccinos. Smaller portions though. Just so you know I'm writing this with a bowl of ketchup chips beside me on one side, and a can of beer on the other side. 😄

Anyway, that's all. Just wanted to share this. I'm sorry for sounding like I was preaching or being a douche--it wasn't the intent. It just kills me--because it's happened at handful of times now--when people say "what's your secret" and then I get "nah that won't work" as a response.

With that attitude, you're right, it probably won't. 😒