DAY 480: Revisiting Day 116 a Year Later
It is always amazing to review our past path for perspective of where we are. A year ago, I was 255 lbs. and feeling great having come down from 280 lbs. at the start of my MFP journey. I had just started to really believe that changing my body and style of living was possible and I was feeling the results of being consistent for 115 days. Made me smile to read this and I wanted to share it.
I am amazed at how a steady determination over the last 115 days has really begun to make positive changes in my life. The daily changes seem almost minuscule and easy to put off but they do add up en masse. Some of the ones which come to mind:
1. I don't really have a stomach any more but just a belly. It is so cool to be able to look down and see the top of my belt buckle (pretty scratched up actually). Update: I replaced this original belt and I am now on the 2nd to last hole on the new one. Not sure I will or want to shrink small enough to warrant replacing my current belt.
2. Working out every day has given me excellent muscle tone. Legs, calves and shoulders are rock hard without being knots. I actually have a respectable rump now which is mostly muscle instead of a fatty lump to sit on. As embarrassing as it may sound, they feel great to touch. I am inspired to get more and more of my body leaner. I still enjoy that more and more of my body is toned and lean and hard. Still a daily joy.
3. Almost all of my wardrobe prior to starting MFP is too baggy to wear and Big Brother is going to get a big donation in a couple weeks. It is great to start to work my way backwards into my closet and start wearing some favorite items I had to put away because I was too big for them. I'm pretty sure that I own very little that will be small enough at my goal weight. I only worry about what to wear to keep from looking "too fat" about 10% of the time instead of 95% of the time which is a great release. The remaining 10% is a great motivator to keep on track. My size is pretty much at my ideal size; at least for clothing. I have one more purge of my XL shirts now that I am a solid L and sometimes M.
4. People almost daily comment about how I look different. The main thing people comment is that "I have a nice tan". I do have a decent tan and my hair has bleached blonde from golf but it isn't anything different than the past years. It is still very motivational and makes me wonder first how bad did I look before and secondly, what will I look like another 35 lbs. along. I am past people that see me daily commenting about my change. What I am finding mostly is that people are amazed I have maintained it and not just ballooned back up. My consistency is starting to inspire those around me. I have to admit that it is better than just losing the weight.
5. I feel great almost all of the time. I don't have the post-meal crashes I used to have. My energy levels are up and my focus throughout a 10-hour work day stays sharp. My energy levels are still up but it is just how I live now. It is hard for me to stay inactive for any period of time. Bugs the crap out of those around me that want to just sit but as annoying habits go, I'm okay with this one.
6. I can feel myself significantly stronger and much more powerful. The added strength in my legs makes daily walking about almost a joy. I can feel my abdominals work and move and my shoulders and back react to my walking. Part of my fitness research has high-lighted the difference between power and strength. I am starting the task of building toward power over simple strength. It is a thought-in-progress but I am pumped up at the pursuit. My ability to increase my fitness and strength has plateaued. I struggle with always wanting more and having to accept my own limitations. Feels okay but I don't think I will ever be happy being anything short of amazing. Type A personality?
7. My libido is stronger. I don't have any proof but I feel like my testosterone levels are higher. I hadn't really noticed a decline before but I do notice a change for the better. Being older, I am better able to separate hormonal responses from my "feelings". Feels like getting a supercharger in your car even if you're not racing every day, you still feel the increased horsepower and torque. Enjoying every day still. It is amazing how much younger I look now than my peers. Many of my friends are generally younger than I am by a year or two and I definitively look younger than any of them.
8. I am simply lighter and my feet don't hurt anymore. Stairs are a simple task. I fit better in my car seat. I have been walking my golf rounds with a push cart. Earlier this Spring, I would have been completely winded and when I did try Memorial Day weekend, I almost collapsed at the end. This past weekend I walked both days (16.3 miles total) and was still feeling great at the end of the second round. Actually felt more comfortable to jog some of the longer walks between shots. Moving strongly through the world is awesome
9. I am now focused on studying and learning about fitness and trying to better myself and create a path for me to follow in my pursuit of better fitness. A much better use of my time than being simply consumed with work or mindlessly watching TV. I am a bit stagnant in finding new things to pursue. The knowledge I have accumulated continues to bear fruit and help me daily. Learning is an awesome way to invest your time and always pays dividends.
10. Working out in the early AM is not only no longer painful but something I feel privileged to be able to do. I generally wake up excited to work out and the few times that I feel a little weary, I have learned to just take it a little easier. A day or two later, my energy level is up again and I am fretting that I only have 45 minutes or an hour and often times push my time and get to work later than I would normally. I also now get the pleasure of coming home from work exhausted but with no obligation on my time other than dinner and a quiet hour to relax before bed. It has been 14 weeks and haven't missed a pre-work workout yet; even if it was only 15 minutes some days. The habit is formed and working for me. My streak has been broken after 14 months due to my new job. 5AM wake-up and workout now feels as natural as brushing my teeth. Positive habits are worth every ounce of effort they take to create and maintain.
11. I started this weight-loss pursuit with the priority on building healthy habits. (see my early blog posts) I am now passing the creation period for my new habits and really feel the momentum I have built. Healthy food choices and exercise are no longer chores which have to be done but privileges and I feel slighted when I have to compromise them. I am pretty close to putting together a winter-workout direction and excited to get started in mid-November. This is a completely new focus for me and just being new and novel is exciting. Still moving forward and again looking forward to a new routine for my Winter.
12. My resting heart-rate is now under 50 (46 to 48 beats per minute) mostly and even after several days of heavy training it only goes up to 52 to 54 BPM. This puts me into an athletic category for 18 to 25 year-olds. At a couple months shy of 45 years old, it makes me feel pretty good about my cardio-base I have been working so hard to develop over the last 14 weeks. My cardio-base is at a life-time best.
13. The quality of friends and support that I have developed here on MFP is outstanding. Almost without exception, everyone I have met (pretty much randomly) has been kind and supportive. Seeing other struggle alongside my progress or others that continue to have success and development is super. I don't know if I really understood what "inspiring" really meant until I got to watch my friend consistently push and strive. And also watch them struggle, stumble yet brush it off and keep on path. Simply amazing and inspiring and I often just try to keep or catch up. MFP friends and supporters and supportees are beyond valuable. I am inspired daily by so many by their daily application of effort and focus. Seeing people struggle and overcome is invigorating and something that I want to see every single day.
I am generally amazed at how much I was able to change in a relatively short period of time. At 45, I don't often find much new or effective in my life and the days pretty much proceed as if on rails. I had all but given up and accepted that I would never be thin again and that carrying around my mass was just part of my fated life. I started MFP with the simply hope to gain some kind of understanding about my eating patterns with no really concern about losing weight. It seems surreal how organically this all came about and how effective it has been. I still have a nagging fear that I will wake up one day and it would have been only a dream or somehow fall off the wagon and be right back to where I started like it has happened so many times in the past. Getting onto this health and fitness oriented path is a gift and one of my most valued treasures. I am still amazed at the life I am living now. I still wake up think I am heavy again and that it was all just a dream. I still pull out a pant with a 34" waist and expect them to be too tight to wear and yet they fit perfectly. I do have a deepening sense of confidence that I know the secret to controlling my weight and don't cringe at every jump in the scale any more. It is a powerful knowledge and confidence. I don't take it for granted though and work daily to work on showing myself it is true and deepening the good habits that empower me.