the power of routine and weekly reflections: 6/30 – 7/6

Change in weight (6/30/20 – 7/6/20):  -2.4 LBS

Still trying to build those followers! Follow my blog and instagram @a_better_ben.

This week is a testament to the routine of my betterment journey. It has been around seven months and the weeks are melting together. The best part of this melting together is that the effort and the commitment is turning into a lifestyle. This lifestyle isn’t easy, and it is fraught with frustration and difficulty, but it is becoming more natural. I crossed another milestone this week and have lost over 40 pounds since December 1. 40.2 to be exact. It has take a month to lose 4 pounds since I posted 36 in 6, but despite that slow struggle, I am thankful for every ounce of the change. I feel a hell of a lot different than when I posted my first blog post months ago and I am in such a better emotional place from December 1, 2019.

So what happened over this past week that helped launch me over the 40 pounds lost mark? I think it is a little of everything. I actually didn’t have a week with as much exercise as usual, but I did have more movement. I took Wednesday PM through today off from work for some family time and a mental vacation. This did very good things for me. I got outside with my daughter, did more walks, and had a much lower stress level. Most days my intake was good, though we did have some celebrations with the holiday weekend.

I am not trying to cop out of coming up with a real detailed analysis of my success, but I am not 100% sure if any main action was the driving force in the successful week. I think much of it is because many of the changes I need to make have become internalized. I still can eat too much, but I am better about controlling it than I have been. I find my walks more therapeutic than a “necessary workout”. I also think the lack of stress did great things for me. I didn’t want to stress eat or get snacks out of boredom. So again, it was a little bit of everything.

I did fail at getting my run in this week. I have been trying to stay consistent with one per week, but between heat and time, it didn’t happen. I did feel great with one of my workouts this week where I absolutely crushed my PR in a 45 minute ride on the Peloton. What made it even better was I didn’t want to workout and figured I would just calmly work through an easy one. It shows the power of showing up. Sometimes all it takes is lacing up the shoes or getting yourself to the starting line. That is when your commitment and routine can carry you. I did both All for One Rides that Peloton offered this week. These were 2-45 minute rides that had sections with every instructor. Doing 2-45 minute rides this week was a step up for me and although my number of rides were not as high as usual, my minutes were. Last night also saw my 250th ride on the bike. We have had it for a little over a year and 2/3 of those rides have come since December 1. It is hard to put into words how thankful you can be for something that has become so central to your betterment journey, but I am that thankful.

This week we are trying to do better about our meal planning. Life has been very hectic and we have gotten away from it. We are starting off with some turkey meatballs with veggies and then some grilled chicken later on. I think a week of clean eating will do me good.

I cannot speak enough about the power of this routine. I have been sticking with the key strategies I talked about a couple months ago, and they are helping me continue on. Like I said earlier, it is not necessarily easier, but more manageable to try and impact the change I am seeking. I still have days where I want to sit on the couch and need to build up the will to exercise, but the months of effort make that easier knowing how great I will feel after and knowing the results of my commitment. Where I have noticed so much change is my awareness of what goes into my body. I still have times where I want and do eat too much, but I am acutely aware of those ramifications and cannot lie to myself. I know that this chocolate chip cookie has far more calories than I want to think it does. I know having 3 will equate to an average meal. These voices and understandings in my head carry a great deal of weight as I continue to make changes and good decisions.

How are you doing with your goals? Have you been needing some extra motivation? Do you find the difference by just ‘showing up’?

If you know anybody who you think might benefit from reading my blog, please share it with them. I would love to reach more people because the success I am currently experiencing comes after years of struggle and frustration that I know many others face. If I can help myself through this, wonderful. If I can help others, even better! I am here to cheer on your effort and work, to whatever goal you are aspiring towards.

Please leave a like or a comment!

How did I do on last weeks action plan?:

  1. 5 Cardio workouts. 1 45 min ride, 1 HIIT Ride, 1 Low Impact ride, 2 runs. Partially attained . 4 rides and no run
  2. 2 Strength Sessions (Tues/Sat) Not attained
  3. Plan out my meals, stick to them, and portion snacks. Partially Attained.
  4. 2 additional outdoor activities. This can include walks with my daughter, disc golfing, skiing, etc. Attained
  5. 3 dedicated stretch sessions. 2 10-min lower body and 1 10 min full body (Mon/Wed/Fri). Not Attained
  6. 20-30 minute midday walk on work days. Attained
  7. Track every bite. Attained
  8. Drink 10 glasses of water per day. Attained
  9. Find some quiet time to calm my thoughts and mind. 2 5-10 minute sessions. Attained

Action Plan

  1. 5 Cardio workouts. 1 45 min ride, 1 HIIT Ride, 1 Low Impact ride, 1 misc ride, 1 run.
  2. 2 Strength Sessions (Tues/Sat)
  3. Plan out my meals, stick to them, and portion snacks
  4. 2 additional outdoor activities. This can include walks with my daughter, disc golfing, skiing, etc
  5. 3 dedicated stretch sessions. 2 10-min lower body and 1 10 min full body (Mon/Wed/Fri)
  6. 20-30 minute midday walk on work days
  7. Track every bite
  8. Drink 10 glasses of water per day
  9. Find some quiet time to calm my thoughts and mind. 2 5-10 minute sessions

Please stay tuned for more updates. If you have been enjoying this, please become an email follower or a wordpress follower. Having this public audience has been a positive motivation for me to continue working towards my goals and so I really am thankful for all of you!

DateChange in Weight
12/1*
12/2*-5.4 lbs
12/9-5.4 lbs
12/16-3.4 lbs
12/23+2.8 lbs
12/29-1.2 lbs
1/6-1.4 lbs
1/13-1.6 lbs
1/20-1.4 lbs
1/27+0.4 lbs
2/3-1.2 lbs
2/10-4.6 lbs
2/17+0.4 lbs
2/24-1.6 lbs
3/2-3.2 lbs
3/9+1.8 lbs
3/16-3.2 lbs
3/23-0.6 lbs
3/30+0.4 lbs
4/6-1.6 lbs
4/13+0.8 lbs
4/20-1.8 lbs
4/270 lbs
5/4+2.4 lbs
5/11-5.2 lbs
5/180 lbs
5/25-1.0 lbs
6/1-1.2 lbs
6/8-0.4 lbs
6/15-0.8 lbs
6/22+0.8 lbs
6/29-1.4 lbs
7/6-2.4 lbs

* I first weighed myself on a Sunday night and began the regular weigh-ins the following morning

-Ben

exercise and weekly reflections: 6/23 – 6/29

Change in weight (6/23/20 –6/29/20):  -1.4 LBS

If you haven’t yet, check out my instagram @a_better_ben. I’d love if you followed.

I worked my butt of this week, I had some back sliding, and then I worked even harder to overcome those back slides and I am super pumped to have gotten my weight back in the right direction. I feel that I really focussed this week on the reality of my intake and exercise, and didn’t make excuses for myself. I responded to and took responsibility for my decisions.

I am guilty. I moved our celebratory father’s day meal to Monday night so I could have it after my Monday weigh-in… So the week started with a bigger meal. My wife was awesome and surprised me with a Ninja Foodi as a gift. I have been getting sick of cooking lately and she was hoping this would make it easier on a nightly basis, but also inspire some other recipes that can be cooked in it. It worked. The problem is one of the first meals I made was a Mac and Cheese recipe with all the fat and all the calories. Let’s just say it was delicious and I was worthless for the rest of that night.

I continue to have around 5 great days and 2 bad days in the week. And it seems that those 2 bad days are enough to limit my success with my weight loss goals. I am still happy with 1.4 pounds lost, don’t get me wrong, but it could have been better. I had to work out a lot this week to earn that change because I am still struggling with those couple days of weakness.

So let’s talk about my exercise successes this week. I have slowed my runs to 1 per week. I don’t want to hurt myself, especially because I want to sign up for a couple of fall races. On Friday I did the next run on my app. I know I am slow and am not a natural runner, but I am proud of this. The last run intervals were a warmup, 5 min run, 2 min walk, 8 min run, 3 min walk, 5 min run, cool down. This one increased to warm up, 10 min run, 3 min walk, 10 min run, cool down. I design my runs to be around 3 miles. This usually means that when I am done with my app’s running segments, I have .75-1 mile left which I interval with some different speeds.

To be honest, the 10 min segments scared me. I am in my head about my ankle pain and just my general ability. So I am really proud of myself that I did it! And I am even more proud because I was not feeling it. I didn’t hurt, but my body was just tired, uncomfortable, and all around not wanting a run. You know how somedays you are just on it? Like, you feel like you woke up to kick ass? I love working out on those days. Friday was the exact opposite, and yet I still pushed through.

I also pushed myself on the bike this week. I did 2-45 min rides, 2-30 min, and a 20 min climb paired with a 15 min Low impact. This rewarded me with faster recoveries, and a lower heart rate during less intensive rides. I have been exercising in the past few weeks, but have not exercised to the point of making me proud of myself. This week, I was proud of myself. Not for the volume, per say, but I felt like I was treating myself right. On top of this I continue to feel stronger and my thighs… damn.

There were definitely some days where I did not get my walks in. It was ridiculously hot and humid, so that made getting outside for them a tougher. This week should be a bit more reasonable for temps, so hopefully I can get out and stop making excuses.

On a different note, I am currently reading two very different books, but both are perfect for my betterment journey. First I am reading Grit but Angela Duckworth. My sister sent me this one and I am slowly getting through it (Toddlers don’t want me to read). But it is perfect reading for me when I think and talk about consistency and perseverance. I am also reading Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. This I just started the other day, but was recommended to me as I am trying to better understand how I can be an ally to POC and become more anti-racist. So far, seeing through the eyes of the author has been enlightening, humbling, and saddening. I can say the life I have grown into is remarkably different, for few reasons of my own. I hope to speak on both of them more in the future when I have gotten farther along.

Did you have any victories this week? Please tell me! Also, is there a good book that is speaking to you right now?

If you know anybody who you think might benefit from reading my blog, please share it with them. I would love to reach more people because the success I am currently experiencing comes after years of struggle and frustration that I know many others face. If I can help myself through this, wonderful. If I can help others, even better! I am here to cheer on your effort and work, to whatever goal you are aspiring towards.

Please leave a like or a comment!

How did I do on last weeks action plan?:

  1. 5 Cardio workouts. 1 45 min ride, 1 HIIT Ride, 1 Low Impact ride, 2 runs. Exceeded. 6 rides and 1 run
  2. 2 Strength Sessions (Tues/Sat) Partially Attained. 1 Session
  3. Plan out my meals, stick to them, and portion snacks. Partially Attained.
  4. 2 additional outdoor activities. This can include walks with my daughter, disc golfing, skiing, etc. Attained
  5. 3 dedicated stretch sessions. 2 10-min lower body and 1 10 min full body (Mon/Wed/Fri). Not Attained
  6. 20-30 minute midday walk on work days. Not Attained
  7. Track every bite. Attained
  8. Drink 10 glasses of water per day. Attained
  9. Find some quiet time to calm my thoughts and mind. 2 5-10 minute sessions. Attained

Action Plan

  1. 5 Cardio workouts. 1 45 min ride, 1 HIIT Ride, 1 Low Impact ride, 1 misc ride, 1 run.
  2. 2 Strength Sessions (Tues/Sat)
  3. Plan out my meals, stick to them, and portion snacks
  4. 2 additional outdoor activities. This can include walks with my daughter, disc golfing, skiing, etc
  5. 3 dedicated stretch sessions. 2 10-min lower body and 1 10 min full body (Mon/Wed/Fri)
  6. 20-30 minute midday walk on work days
  7. Track every bite
  8. Drink 10 glasses of water per day
  9. Find some quiet time to calm my thoughts and mind. 2 5-10 minute sessions

Please stay tuned for more updates. If you have been enjoying this, please become an email follower or a wordpress follower. Having this public audience has been a positive motivation for me to continue working towards my goals and so I really am thankful for all of you!

DateChange in Weight
12/1*
12/2*-5.4 lbs
12/9-5.4 lbs
12/16-3.4 lbs
12/23+2.8 lbs
12/29-1.2 lbs
1/6-1.4 lbs
1/13-1.6 lbs
1/20-1.4 lbs
1/27+0.4 lbs
2/3-1.2 lbs
2/10-4.6 lbs
2/17+0.4 lbs
2/24-1.6 lbs
3/2-3.2 lbs
3/9+1.8 lbs
3/16-3.2 lbs
3/23-0.6 lbs
3/30+0.4 lbs
4/6-1.6 lbs
4/13+0.8 lbs
4/20-1.8 lbs
4/270 lbs
5/4+2.4 lbs
5/11-5.2 lbs
5/180 lbs
5/25-1.0 lbs
6/1-1.2 lbs
6/8-0.4 lbs
6/15-0.8 lbs
6/22+0.8 lbs
6/29-1.4 lbs

* I first weighed myself on a Sunday night and began the regular weigh-ins the following morning

-Ben

the no glamour key to improving health

…walking…

I have noticed that there is a consistent theme to my weeks. Those where I walk a lot are better than those where I don’t. This goes beyond my weight loss goals and also includes my mental health. Walking has many benefits but is often overlooked for the more ‘glamorous’ exercises. Nobody brags to their friends about this killer walk they did that day. No. We like to talk about our squat PR, our run split, or our workout on our trendy bike subscription (shots fired… at myself). I also never hear people say how at peace they feel from a walk. It is always a hike, meditation, or yoga. I feel people think of walking as the stereotype of our grandparents power-walking down the retirement neighborhood in their track jackets and wearing those sweet wrap around sunglasses (you get the picture). Well I am here to say walking is awesome… maybe someday I will also have a sweet track jacket and wrap around sunglasses.

Why is walking awesome? Let’s start with reputable sources as opposed to my anecdotal blabbing. The Mayo clinic talks about walking as an effective way to manage weight, improve mood, and combat common health conditions. Harvard Health also says it can improve immune function and tame your sweat tooth, among others. It just takes a quick google source to find all the information from people far smarter than me. So it seems the experts are aligned on it, and I agree with the experts. I am sure they have been waiting for my approval.

I often fall into this trap of thinking that the general movement has less impact than if I get a good workout in. I may think its okay if I don’t walk at all, as long as I get a ride in. I may be okay with this, but I am missing out on real opportunity. The biggest thing about walking is it is low impact. I don’t feel like I have truly strained myself and I am not sore after a walk. And the kicker is, if you make the walk active, faster than a stroll, it can give you real tangible benefits.

Let’s compare my most recent run and walk, as recorded on my apple watch. Before you judge, this is me. I am a slow runner who has been doing interval training to get myself to be able to run a 5k straight. Others do it faster and can have more calorie burn, but this is me and my journey.

The left image shows my evening walk last night and the right is my run this morning. The benefit of the walking route I take is that it starts off with an uphill, so if I initially start walking at a good pace then my heart rate can stay a bit more elevated throughout the duration of the walk.

I clearly burned more calories on my run, but I did not burn a crazy amount more. The walk, because I made it active and more than a stroll, had an awesome end result. There are clear and documented benefits to higher heart rates that higher intensity workouts can give you, but a walk with a lower heart rate, but still elevated, can still be a key. The biggest difference is how I felt. During my run this morning, I felt like crap. My whole body was achy and was just not feeling it. I also, because of my size, have had to scale back to 1-2 runs per week or else the impact starts taking a negative toll. I still do it because I like it, I have goals, and the feeling of accomplishment after you finish is amazing.

But walking. After that walk the most discomfort I had was sweat. No aches and pains. No angry hip or knees. Walking is a sneaky, silent health booster. I felt great. I took an evening walk, got to see the evening light, and it helped me decompress after my day. Think of the cumulative impact of a 20-30 min walk every day, that goes along with your more intense exercise routines! If I do it with enough movement, I can add 300+ calories burned to my day, every day, and not feel like I worked out. This translates to better attitude and crushing health goals.

This becomes all the more important having a sedentary job. The weeks where I get a morning walk in and an afternoon/evening workout are the ones where I achieve the most success and feel the best.

Do you have a sneaky activity that gives you these benefits? How do you fit subtle movement into your day?

comfort and weekly reflections: 6/16 – 6/22

Got on the water this weekend. It was a nice escape.

Change in weight (6/16/20 –6/22/20):  +0.8 LBS

I experienced a pretty special thing after my last blog post, I got a lot of feedback. It was not online but through personal reach-outs and it was people checking to make sure I was okay. That was really something.

I talked about being angry and frustrated. I was maybe a bit more honest than I normally am. I am trying to tow this balance between being real and honest with you, but not to cross a line. In hindsight, I may have flirted with that line and did not make it clear I was expressing feelings, but am okay. But the outcome of that last post was awesome. It helped remind me of the loved ones in my life who may have read into it deeper than I meant. It made me realize that there are those who don’t just look, but also think. They think about what I say and how that my words compare to the Ben they know. That really shows how much people care even when you just are stuck in your own head. It provided a lot of comfort and really turned my mood around for the week.

I had a good week!

Sometimes all we need is a reminder that there are those who care about us. Sometimes we need a reminder that those who care for us, pay attention to us. I would encourage us all to make sure we let those we care for know we pay attention and want to know how they are. Especially today with all going on, let someone know they are known.

As you can see I gained back my progress from the week prior. I had an up and down week and am a bit frustrated by this result, but I know what I need to do to get back. The 300 pound goal by July 4th I set a few weeks ago may seem unattainable, if keeping with a sustainable pace, but I want to get as close as I can. It is worth noting that my workouts continue to improve. My interval run trainings are getting better, I have PR’d numerous peloton rides recently, and I am feeling stronger. I will not let this hiccup of a week distract me from the fact that I am still improving.

Father’s day weekend brought much fun, family, laughter, and food. This was a part of the week I knew was coming, but did not adjust my full week’s intake to account for the over-indulgences that happened. Despite this, I feel it is worth taking a moment to share some feelings and thankfulness that the weekend showed me. I am thankful that I have the privilege of being a dad. I am thankful for my dad, his dad, and the dads around me for helping to mold me into the father I am. I am not without fault, but am full of a desire to be better. It still feels weird that father’s day applies to me now. I still do not feel ‘adult’ enough, but here we are. I am humbled. I wish a late happy father’s day to all the dads out there. If you have a child or act as a father figure to somebody, you are deserving of praise. It is not easy, but still you do it.

Do you need to check in with anybody? How are you doing with your goals right now? Anything worth noting that you are thankful for?

If you know anybody who you think might benefit from reading my blog, please share it with them. I would love to reach more people because the success I am currently experiencing comes after years of struggle and frustration that I know many others face. If I can help myself through this, wonderful. If I can help others, even better! I am here to cheer on your effort and work, to whatever goal you are aspiring towards.

Please leave a like or a comment!

How did I do on last weeks action plan?:

  1. 5 Cardio workouts. 1 45 min ride, 1 HIIT Ride, 1 Low Impact ride, 2 runs. Partially attained. 4 rides and 1 run
  2. 2 Strength Sessions (Tues/Sat) Partially Attained. 1 Session
  3. Plan out my meals, stick to them, and portion snacks. Partially Attained.
  4. 2 additional outdoor activities. This can include walks with my daughter, disc golfing, skiing, etc. Attained
  5. 3 dedicated stretch sessions. 2 10-min lower body and 1 10 min full body (Mon/Wed/Fri). Attained
  6. 20-30 minute midday walk on work days. Not Attained
  7. Track every bite. Attained
  8. Drink 10 glasses of water per day. Attained
  9. Find some quiet time to calm my thoughts and mind. 2 5-10 minute sessions. Attained

Action Plan

  1. 5 Cardio workouts. 1 45 min ride, 1 HIIT Ride, 1 Low Impact ride, 2 runs.
  2. 2 Strength Sessions (Tues/Sat)
  3. Plan out my meals, stick to them, and portion snacks
  4. 2 additional outdoor activities. This can include walks with my daughter, disc golfing, skiing, etc
  5. 3 dedicated stretch sessions. 2 10-min lower body and 1 10 min full body (Mon/Wed/Fri)
  6. 20-30 minute midday walk on work days
  7. Track every bite
  8. Drink 10 glasses of water per day
  9. Find some quiet time to calm my thoughts and mind. 2 5-10 minute sessions

Please stay tuned for more updates. If you have been enjoying this, please become an email follower or a wordpress follower. Having this public audience has been a positive motivation for me to continue working towards my goals and so I really am thankful for all of you!

DateChange in Weight
12/1*
12/2*-5.4 lbs
12/9-5.4 lbs
12/16-3.4 lbs
12/23+2.8 lbs
12/29-1.2 lbs
1/6-1.4 lbs
1/13-1.6 lbs
1/20-1.4 lbs
1/27+0.4 lbs
2/3-1.2 lbs
2/10-4.6 lbs
2/17+0.4 lbs
2/24-1.6 lbs
3/2-3.2 lbs
3/9+1.8 lbs
3/16-3.2 lbs
3/23-0.6 lbs
3/30+0.4 lbs
4/6-1.6 lbs
4/13+0.8 lbs
4/20-1.8 lbs
4/270 lbs
5/4+2.4 lbs
5/11-5.2 lbs
5/180 lbs
5/25-1.0 lbs
6/1-1.2 lbs
6/8-0.4 lbs
6/15-0.8 lbs
6/22+0.8 lbs

* I first weighed myself on a Sunday night and began the regular weigh-ins the following morning

-Ben

a serious note on current events and weekly reflections: 6/2/20 – 6/8/20

This morning’s ‘Leave me alone’ look

Starting with a serious note:

I have been emotionally struggling with what is going on in the US right now. I grew up in a bubble of suburban and rural New England. The types of racial tensions that exist here can pale in comparison to what people experience in other parts of the country and that can give me, as a white male, a sense that I am not part of the problem. What I am grappling with, is that you can be a good, even great person, yet that doesn’t mean that we do not fail at ‘not being racist’. This is because racism goes far beyond (and can be far more subtle) than the evil and drama of the KKK or open hatred of other skin tones. I have walked down the street in Boston and without consciously meaning to, assumed different precautions based on the dress or color of somebody near me. That right there suggests that deep inside of me I am using race as a primary determinant of a trait of an individual… which is part of the textbook definition of racism! “WHAT, ME!?!?!” I am realizing that the classic Ben has been a good person, but has also allowed these issues to continue. So how do I better myself through this betterment journey and how do I change so that new Ben is more aware and more of a force for good?

I am starting to get it. I can, despite my faults, be anti-racist and do my best to get better. Part of this involves educating myself more on what is happening today and what has happened historically to bring us to this point. How can I change to be a better ally to those who need allies? How can I raise my daughter to be the same? How can I support such a necessary cause, and not just let this continue on? I do not have all the answers to all of these, but I am trying and I am listening to the voices that need to be heard. Can I try to start with simple loving conversations with those I know? Maybe a new avenue will open up from there. I am confident that although initial education of myself may not change what is happening on the street, it will inform and influence my decision-making far into the future.

Please do not mistake this for me looking for praise or forgiveness, or for talking politics. I am talking about humanity. I am talking about how I do not want to live in a country where we accept such overt abuse of our fellow citizens. This is me starting another part of my betterment journey, to be a better neighbor, dad, and citizen. To be a better ally for my brothers and sisters who were created in the image and likeness of God, just like me. I would like us all to consider that the movement going on right now in this country is not to personally attack you, but to get us all to take a moment and reconsider what progress we think we have made, and act to continue towards progress. The Civil War was not enough. Ending Jim Crow was not enough. MLK Jr. and Malcom X were not enough. The Civil Rights movement was not enough. Ending credit and geographic redlining is not enough. And sitting on the sidelines is not enough.

Thank you for listening to me. Just because below is a classic weekly update, does not mean that the above hasn’t consumed my mind and thoughts. I broke them out because I do not have the literary skills to give each the proper gravity if talking about both together.

Now reflecting on my week:

Change in weight (6/2/20 –6/8/20):  -0.4 LBS

I woke up this morning in a mood. I felt like crap, I was in a fog, and I looked horrible. I sat down in my chair to log into work (I usually boot up before I do my morning weigh-in) and had a moment where I did not know if I could function today and if I should just call in ‘sick’. Well I stepped on the scale and saw that I have lost another 0.4 pounds. This didn’t even please me. I was muttering about how it should have been more and “why didn’t you do this?” or “why didn’t you do that?” I was a mess. I realized I just need to take a shower, shave, and maybe getting cleaned up will help.

You can talk to me now

Sometimes you just need to clean up. I left the shower feeling great and the shave made me feel like a new man. Now I can say I’m happy with my continued weight loss. Even though this week’s drop was small, it was still a drop. I need to remember to celebrate my effort and cherish the victories, not matter how trivial they may seem.

I listened to my body this week. I have been doing 3 runs per week for about 3-4 weeks now and until this week I have been feeling pretty good. But during my last run, I had to stop because the pain in my ankle was significant. I need to remember that it is one thing to push through fatigue to get stronger, but pushing through pain risks hurting yourself and setting you back on your goals. My plan is decrease to 2 runs per week, allowing at least two days in between, and I will continue the low impact Peloton rides to keep my cardio progress going.

I did hit another PR on the Peloton the other night! I again did the Greatest Showman ride by Robin, which I have coined my PR ride, and I kicked ass. It also helped that my good friend just got a bike so we did the ride together. My calves started cramping with about 90 seconds left and I am screaming “noooo” in my head because my daughter was asleep in the room next to me, so I had to be quiet! But I was able to get through and felt super happy,.. and breathless.

Sorry for the image quality, I haven’t been working on my food photography skills

My favorite (and healthy) meal of the week was a last minute, throw it together meal. We had Tempeh, sweet peppers, and broccoli. I ended up tossing together a stir fry with some Trader Joe’s Soyaki sauce and boom! It was fantastic. I must admit, this meat lover does dig himself some tempeh. I will say that one struggle I need to fix is my giving up on cooking when I am sick of it. I just say “screw it” and order food. This continues to be a struggle of mine.

I am 6.8 pounds away from 300. I want to drop below 300 by July 4th. This would be a huge step for me when looking at the lifelong struggle I have had with weight.

What is your favorite ‘quick hits meal?’ I need more ideas. My sister sent me a few the other day, but I need a treasure trove of quick, easy meals. Do you have any advice for me with running?

If you know anybody who you think might benefit from reading my blog, please share it with them. I would love to reach more people because the success I am currently experiencing comes after years of struggle and frustration that I know many others face. If I can help myself through this, wonderful. If I can help others, even better! I am here to cheer on your effort and work, to whatever goal you are aspiring towards.

Please leave a like or a comment!

How did I do on last weeks action plan?:

  1. 6 Cardio workouts. 1 45 min ride, 1 HIIT Ride, 1 Low Impact ride, 3 runs (Mon/Wed/Fri). Partially attained. Only did 2 runs
  2. 2 Strength Sessions (Tues/Sat). Not Attained
  3. Plan out my meals, stick to them, and portion snacks. Partial – Too much take out
  4. 2 additional outdoor activities. This can include walks with my daughter, disc golfing, skiing, etc Attained
  5. 3 dedicated stretch sessions. 2 10-min lower body and 1 10 min full body (Mon/Wed/Fri) Attained
  6. 20-30 minute midday walk on work days Attained
  7. Track every bite Attained
  8. Drink 10 glasses of water per day Attained
  9. Find some quiet time to calm my thoughts and mind. 2 5-10 minute sessions Attained

Action Plan

  1. 5 Cardio workouts. 1 45 min ride, 1 HIIT Ride, 1 Low Impact ride, 2 runs (Mon/Wed/Fri).
  2. 2 Strength Sessions (Tues/Sat)
  3. Plan out my meals, stick to them, and portion snacks
  4. 2 additional outdoor activities. This can include walks with my daughter, disc golfing, skiing, etc
  5. 3 dedicated stretch sessions. 2 10-min lower body and 1 10 min full body (Mon/Wed/Fri)
  6. 20-30 minute midday walk on work days
  7. Track every bite
  8. Drink 10 glasses of water per day
  9. Find some quiet time to calm my thoughts and mind. 2 5-10 minute sessions

Please stay tuned for more updates. If you have been enjoying this, please become an email follower or a wordpress follower. Having this public audience has been a positive motivation for me to continue working towards my goals and so I really am thankful for all of you!

DateChange in Weight
12/1*
12/2*-5.4 lbs
12/9-5.4 lbs
12/16-3.4 lbs
12/23+2.8 lbs
12/29-1.2 lbs
1/6-1.4 lbs
1/13-1.6 lbs
1/20-1.4 lbs
1/27+0.4 lbs
2/3-1.2 lbs
2/10-4.6 lbs
2/17+0.4 lbs
2/24-1.6 lbs
3/2-3.2 lbs
3/9+1.8 lbs
3/16-3.2 lbs
3/23-0.6 lbs
3/30+0.4 lbs
4/6-1.6 lbs
4/13+0.8 lbs
4/20-1.8 lbs
4/270 lbs
5/4+2.4 lbs
5/11-5.2 lbs
5/180 lbs
5/25-1.0 lbs
6/1-1.2 lbs
6/8-0.4 lbs

* I first weighed myself on a Sunday night and began the regular weigh-ins the following morning

-Ben

my 6 month health recap

June 1st marked six months since I began this journey. I have said from the start that my journey is not a weight loss journey, but a betterment journey. I still believe that and want to emphasize that, but the majority of my content thus far has been on my health and weight loss progress. Because of this, I want to recap what I have seen over the past 6 months.

On December 1, 2019, I had a moment. My shirts were not fitting well, I hated pictures of myself (confession, still do), playing with my daughter on the floor was uncomfortable, and getting off the floor was more difficult than I should admit. In addition, this lifelong skier put his winter jacket on only to discover how snug it was. On top to the physical, I did not feel good about myself. I was more self-conscious than ever, struggling with anxiety, and I lacked drive. I then stepped on the scale for the first time in years.

Let me preface my weight by noting that everybody should take pride in who they are, however they are. You are beautiful people with attributes that impact yourself and those around you than you may ever comprehend. Your potential in this world has little to do with your physical and almost everything to do with your mental. I encourage you to seek to be who and what you want to be and the best you can be, regardless of me, my numbers, or how I express the emotions that I feel and have felt.

I stepped on the scale and my eyes nearly popped out of my head. 343.2 pounds. I still am having trouble typing this right now. I still worry far too much about what others think, despite my preface above. I have always been big. I have been +300 since high school with some brief stints below depending on the fad diet or outlier circumstances. But this number seemed beyond real. I was expecting in the 320s, still much higher than I want to be, but not in the 340s. “But I have a lot of muscle.” True, but not 343.2 pounds of it. This put me in a rotten mood and was incredibly mad at myself. I was mad at myself because the Ben I want to be does not let himself eat his emotions to a weight so dangerous for his health. What I want to be is a person, husband, dad, friend who will be around for a long time and can get the most out of life. That life I want include sports, exercise, skiing, outdoors, activity, and longevity. So as I mentioned in my first post, I made a promise to myself to crack down and get better. I told myself I need to get better in my body and mind, and I need to do it in a long lasting and forever way.

So here we are 6 months later and I weighed 307.2 pounds on Monday morning. That is a 36 pound decrease, averaging 6 pounds a month and I feel so proud of myself. I still weigh much more than I want, but damn does it feel good to find that consistency that I have never had. It has not been easy every step of the way. The first few months I made far faster progress and these past few months have been much slower. The key is I am still trying every week to get better.

I laid out the 7 steps I have used to lose the weight i’ve lost in a previous post. Just because they are easy to list, doesn’t mean the process has been easy. I still struggle to track and control my eating. I at times just want to devour everything in sight and working from home due to COVID-19 makes that even harder. But with those difficulties come opportunities that I am trying to take advantage of. The same working from home which makes eating harder, allows me to do workouts at lunch or when I would normally be commuting. I also don’t have a cafeteria full of food to try and ignore.

The key to this all is I recognize that I need to treat myself with the respect it deserves. In every day life we expect people to treat us with kindness and respect, why can’t I treat myself that way? Why do I insist on investing in a shorter and harder life with the health choices I was making?

Does anybody else feel they need to respect themselves more? What do you do to show yourself you are great and deserving of the world?

This journey has seen exercise, cooking, eating, tracking, and everything in between. I have not denied myself cravings, but have fit them in to my broader calorie budget. I have found communities of people in the blogosphere, through my Peloton, and through my own friends network that have shown me support I could never anticipate or dream of. I have found frustration and elation. I have found sweat and soreness. I may have even found a couple yoga classes… who knew????? The best thing that I have found is a faith in myself that I can do it and continue doing it. By December 1, 2020, I hope to lose another 36 pounds. That will bring me 271.2 pounds.

Check out some of my photos along the way and leave a like or a comment! I am taking everybody on this journey with me and hopefully it continues to be one full of smiles and high fives!

36 in 6: weekly reflections: 5/26 – 6/1

Sure this run was from this morning, but it felt good.

My change from last week –

Change in weight (5/26/20 –6/1/20):  -1.2 LBS

Today marks 6 months since I began this journey. I am still here and I am still motivated. There is some real pride that comes along with accomplishments like this and I have stuck with it and continue to try. I dropped another 1.2 pounds this week and that brought me to 36 total pounds lost since I began!

Stay tuned for my 6-month recap post to come soon. In that post I will also map out my changes and actually start to share some numbers. I feel I have come to a place where I am comfortable sharing my weight and some of my statistics. It will be good for me, but hopefully it can bring comfort or motivation to somebody else.

Much of this week was punctuated by my body informing me that I need to rest. For the past few weeks, I have kept up a very high pace of exercise and movement. I jumped back into running while trying to keep up my rides and I think that caught up with me. 6 days with 30-60 minutes of intense exercise can require some build up, especially if including the high impact sport of running (and with this body, it is high impact). With this understood, I listened to my body. I still did 2 runs and 2 rides, but I tried to focus a little more on getting my calorie deficit from my intake, less from my exercise. Even last night, I was going through this mental struggle about whether to ride or not and I finally just realized that I would do 30 minutes of stretching and give my body some love. I am thankful for that decision.

I feel that my exercises this week were nothing to write home about. They were good, I accomplished all the running intervals designed in the program and the same with the bike intervals. But no best splits or PRs, which is fine. I also helped my brother-in-law move on Saturday, which I guess could count as an exercise. I did take my tracker off so it wouldn’t get broken with all the heavy garage tools and such, so I guess if it didn’t track… it never happened (just kidding). There were also some good walks with my daughter in the mix. These good walks are the subtle secret to success. You burn more calories than you realize and it doesn’t hurt like running.

This week I am hoping to up my exercise again and continue doing my stretching. We are also trying out some healthy recipes to try and keep the daily meals new and interesting. All this staying at home is making cooking pretty boring. Anyway, thanks for checking in and stay tuned for my 6-month update coming later this week!

Do you have any good recipes you want to share? How are you doing with your current goals?

If you know anybody who you think might benefit from reading my blog, please share it with them. I would love to reach more people because the success I am currently experiencing comes after years of struggle and frustration that I know many others face. If I can help myself through this, wonderful. If I can help others, even better! I am here to cheer on your effort and work, to whatever goal you are aspiring towards.

Please leave a like or a comment!

How did I do on last weeks action plan?:

  1. 6 Cardio workouts. 1 45 min ride, 1 HIIT Ride, 1 Low Impact ride, 3 runs (Mon/Wed/Fri). Not attained. 2 rides and 2 runs
  2. 2 Strength Sessions (Tues/Sat). Not attained
  3. Plan out my meals, stick to them, and portion snacks. Attained
  4. 2 additional outdoor activities. This can include walks with my daughter, disc golfing, skiing, etc. Attained
  5. 3 dedicated stretch sessions. 2 10-min lower body and 1 10 min full body (Mon/Wed/Fri). Attained
  6. 20-30 minute midday walk on work days. Attained
  7. Track every bite. Attained
  8. Drink 10 glasses of water per day. Attained
  9. Find some quiet time to calm my thoughts and mind. 2 5-10 minute sessions. Attained

This week’s action plan:

  1. 6 Cardio workouts. 1 45 min ride, 1 HIIT Ride, 1 Low Impact ride, 3 runs (Mon/Wed/Fri).
  2. 2 Strength Sessions (Tues/Sat)
  3. Plan out my meals, stick to them, and portion snacks
  4. 2 additional outdoor activities. This can include walks with my daughter, disc golfing, skiing, etc
  5. 3 dedicated stretch sessions. 2 10-min lower body and 1 10 min full body (Mon/Wed/Fri)
  6. 20-30 minute midday walk on work days
  7. Track every bite
  8. Drink 10 glasses of water per day
  9. Find some quiet time to calm my thoughts and mind. 2 5-10 minute sessions

Please stay tuned for more updates. If you have been enjoying this, please become an email follower or a wordpress follower. Having this public audience has been a positive motivation for me to continue working towards my goals and so I really am thankful for all of you!

DateChange in Weight
12/1*
12/2*-5.4 lbs
12/9-5.4 lbs
12/16-3.4 lbs
12/23+2.8 lbs
12/29-1.2 lbs
1/6-1.4 lbs
1/13-1.6 lbs
1/20-1.4 lbs
1/27+0.4 lbs
2/3-1.2 lbs
2/10-4.6 lbs
2/17+0.4 lbs
2/24-1.6 lbs
3/2-3.2 lbs
3/9+1.8 lbs
3/16-3.2 lbs
3/23-0.6 lbs
3/30+0.4 lbs
4/6-1.6 lbs
4/13+0.8 lbs
4/20-1.8 lbs
4/270 lbs (no change)
5/4+2.4 lbs
5/11-5.2 lbs
5/180 lbs
5/25-1.0 lbs
6/1-1.2 lbs

* I first weighed myself on a Sunday night and began the regular weigh-ins the following morning

-Ben

weekly reflections: 5/18 – 5/25

Got to spend a little time on the water yesterday. That was good for the soul.

My change from last week –

Change in weight (5/18/20 –5/25/20):  -1.0 LBS

First of all, I received a tremendous response to my last post about how I have lost 30+ pounds so far. Thank you to everybody. That support helped carry me through the later part of my week, where I usually struggle the most. My drive in the early part of the week stems from the motivation and good feelings from my last weekly update and the end of the week is where work, life, and a lack of desire to cook usually derails me a bit.

I had a really good week with my workouts and fitness goals (outside of again missing my strength workouts). I did my interval run trainings and they felt great. My third of the week had the least ankle pain and the best splits. The weather for running was also perfect, 50s and 60s for most of the week. I also got my rides in and also did an extra ‘recovery’ ride. I have been doing a lot of exercise. This is contributing to both a very tired body and an increased appetite.

This increased appetite, combined with a lack of desire to cook, is what limited my weight loss this week. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy I lost a pound, but I feel I could have lost more had I been more disciplined with my food consumption. There were a couple days of takeout, which included pizza and chinese. These two are where I have trouble limiting how much I eat. There was also some ice cream mixed in…

I am not mad at myself, as I know what I did and was okay with it at the time. I understood these decisions and what they would do to my week when I made them. I do wish I was better at limiting the amount I ate, but we can continue to work on this. I will also note that, unlike when I posted about rage baking and cooking therapy, I have lost my creative drive again and am sick of cooking. I need help finding it again because home cooking is almost always healthier than takeout.

We did have these killer flatbreads for lunch this week.

For the next week I am planning on keeping consistent with my exercise as I did this past week. I know that my body will continue to get stronger and I am very excited for that. My wife and I planned some good looking meals for this week so I hope to lower my caloric intake a bit.

What do you do to maintain your motivation through the whole week? Do you find work and the weekend to throw off your discipline? How do you keep yourself excited with cooking?

If you know anybody who you think might benefit from reading my blog, please share it with them. I would love to reach more people because the success I am currently experiencing comes after years of struggle and frustration that I know many others face. If I can help myself through this, wonderful. If I can help others, even better! I am here to cheer on your effort and work, to whatever goal you are aspiring towards.

Please leave a like or a comment!

Check out the lists below for the full breakdown and let me know if you have any suggestions, feedback, inspiration, or thoughts. Stay safe out there and stay home if you can! I am thankful for all of you.

How did I do on last weeks action plan?:

  1. 6 Cardio workouts. 1 45 min ride, 1 HIIT Ride, 1 Low Impact ride, 3 runs (Mon/Wed/Fri). Attained
  2. 2 Strength Sessions (Tues/Sat). Not attained
  3. Plan out my meals, stick to them, and portion snacks. Partially attained
  4. 2 additional outdoor activities. This can include walks with my daughter, disc golfing, skiing, etc. Attained
  5. 3 dedicated stretch sessions. 2 10-min lower body and 1 10 min full body (Mon/Wed/Fri). Attainged
  6. 20-30 minute midday walk on work days. Attained
  7. Track every bite. Attained
  8. Drink 10 glasses of water per day. Attained
  9. Find some quiet time to calm my thoughts and mind. 2 5-10 minute sessions. Attained

Action Plan

  1. 6 Cardio workouts. 1 45 min ride, 1 HIIT Ride, 1 Low Impact ride, 3 runs (Mon/Wed/Fri).
  2. 2 Strength Sessions (Tues/Sat)
  3. Plan out my meals, stick to them, and portion snacks
  4. 2 additional outdoor activities. This can include walks with my daughter, disc golfing, skiing, etc
  5. 3 dedicated stretch sessions. 2 10-min lower body and 1 10 min full body (Mon/Wed/Fri)
  6. 20-30 minute midday walk on work days
  7. Track every bite
  8. Drink 10 glasses of water per day
  9. Find some quiet time to calm my thoughts and mind. 2 5-10 minute sessions

Please stay tuned for more updates. If you have been enjoying this, please become an email follower or a wordpress follower. Having this public audience has been a positive motivation for me to continue working towards my goals and so I really am thankful for all of you!

DateChange in Weight
12/1*
12/2*-5.4 lbs
12/9-5.4 lbs
12/16-3.4 lbs
12/23+2.8 lbs
12/29-1.2 lbs
1/6-1.4 lbs
1/13-1.6 lbs
1/20-1.4 lbs
1/27+0.4 lbs
2/3-1.2 lbs
2/10-4.6 lbs
2/17+0.4 lbs
2/24-1.6 lbs
3/2-3.2 lbs
3/9+1.8 lbs
3/16-3.2 lbs
3/23-0.6 lbs
3/30+0.4 lbs
4/6-1.6 lbs
4/13+0.8 lbs
4/20-1.8 lbs
4/270 lbs (no change)
5/4+2.4 lbs
5/11-5.2 lbs
5/180 lbs
5/25-1.0 lbs

* I first weighed myself on a Sunday night and began the regular weigh-ins the following morning

-Ben

7 things that helped me lose my first 30 pounds

I see weight loss stories of people who lose 50, 100, 150+ pounds and it can make 30+ pounds seem relatively insignificant. We need to remember that it is all relative and depending on your goals, anything is an accomplishment.

When I started my weight loss and betterment journey on December 1st, I had a lot of hopes, fears, and emotions. I still do. My initial thought was to lose 30 pounds by June. I figured that was something I could accomplish in 6 months but to be honest, in the back of my head, I really didn’t know what to expect. I have gone through ups and downs with weight loss for my entire life. Whenever I get back to really wanting to change, I have that doubting voice in my head saying “you can try, but you won’t succeed.” Fast forward to May and I have done what that voice told me I could not do. I lost 30 pounds and am going for more.

I am trying to celebrate this success in the best ways I can. I deserve to give myself credit for this accomplishment and I deserve to be optimistic that I can continue on. As I have been reflecting on this, I wanted to document some of the key steps that helped me get to this point, and will drive me farther as I continue to work.

  1. Track everything you eat

This one step might have had the most significant impact for me, when I actually started to do it right. I have used MyFitnessPal for a long time to track, but I only began to see changes when I really disciplined myself to track every bite. That includes the random grapes, or the bite of food that my daughter didn’t eat. It also includes the ketchup or condiments I used to not log.

When you track every bite, mindless eating becomes mindful. It becomes part of how you think and how you plan. It also becomes a wakeup call when you track the three pieces of pizza you had and realize they are 800 calories… damn. That didn’t just happen tonight, or maybe it did. But I found this required more strength than I thought. I couldn’t stay in denial and trick myself. I knew if I wasn’t being honest with myself and isn’t it the truth that sometimes it is the hardest to be honest with ourselves? It can be so difficult to truly look in the mirror or at the tracker and admit that this, this is actually what I ate.

Once I got over the fear of being honest and tracking everything, it became my strength. Knowledge is power. I took the knowledge of my intake to power me to working those calorie deficits. I still am not perfect, but this has been a key step in my weight loss journey.

2. Increase activity of any kind

When I think about losing weight and being ‘active’, I can fall into the trap of thinking activity has to be big workouts with tons of sweat and sore legs. This is not the case. Sometimes, it just means moving more than you did before. This can be exercise, walks or at home workouts. I have found that the weeks where I struggled most keeping my weight loss goals, I not only had less working out or increased intake, but I had fewer steps and less movement. I was more sedentary. I make it a point to get my 10,000 steps just to make sure I am moving. Even if the walks are not strenuous, you burn more calories walking and moving than you do sitting!

I have tried to incorporate more movement and exercise in my daily routine. The 4-6 exercises a week I attempt works for me and my goals, but everybody should find what works for them. You can use baby steps with this as well. The amount of movement and exercise you can do on day 3 of your journey will not be the same as week 9. Be real with yourself and listen to your body.

3. Drink more water

There is endless data and studies that preach the benefits of drinking water (https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/6-reasons-to-drink-water#1). I have found that it has helped me tremendously. Not only does the proper hydration help your body in many ways and aids things like workout performance and metabolism, but I also have found it helps to decrease mindless calorie consumption. Instead of drinking a beer with dinner, or orange juice with breakfast, I drink water. I can still have those other beverages, but my water intake can displace potential other intake.

I have always been bad about hydration and get thirsty easily. Because of this I will drink almost any liquid as if it were water. Juice, tea, milk, beer, soda, you name it. If I feel thirsty, I will drink more. By drinking more water, I drink less calorie filled beverages. And plus, I would rather eat my calories than drink them.

4. Calories in / Calories out

There are many strategies and plans for weight loss out there. I myself have done many of them (I will discuss these experiences another time). I have found that focussing on the difference between my consumed calories and my burned calories is the method working the best for me. This point connects directly to my tracking and movement points. If I am burning more calories than I consume, I will lose weight. This method relies heavily on the honest tracking and measuring of our workouts and food intake.

I like this method because there is nothing weird or hard to understand. It also leaves very little else to blame. I ate too much. I guess that is my fault. It has truly helped me to view my intake as a budget, allowing me to eat what I would like, in moderation, and to balance it with my movement and other meals. This has allowed me to plan for a special event, a holiday, or to simply know why my body is reacting the way it is. I don’t have carbs to blame or a type of food, I have my commitment and discipline.

It was not easy to get in the rhythm. I found that I still struggled to properly track and to get a true handle on how many calories my body burned. For burned calories I use MyFitnessPal, which has a calculator for how many target calories you should burn in a day based off of some body metrics. This then has an exercise adjustment the is informed by my apple watch (but any fitness tracker can do this). I have designed it to have a slow weight-loss progression, as I really want this to be a forever change. Losing weight too quickly scares me.

5. Weekly weigh-ins

With tracking, exercising, and watching my calorie deficit, I realized I needed to check if I was actually accomplishing my goals. I realized I had to weigh myself. I hate the scale and I hate the effect it can have on people, but I understand the need to know where you stand and how you are doing. I have written about my methods for how not to let the scale rule you here.

The first step was to figure out how often to weigh myself. I know people who weigh in daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc. I believe the answer to this question has more to do with you and your personality than anything else. I chose weekly. I did not choose daily because I know myself and I would start to become obsessive. The daily ups and downs would control my emotions. I also knew that monthly would not be enough feedback to keep me going. And 5 months in, the weekly weigh-ins have been perfect. It is enough of a gap to keep the daily ups and downs from controlling me and frequent enough for me to understand my body, what is happening, and to correct where needed.

That is really what the weigh-ins are all about. Get the feedback about your performance so you can make adjustments where necessary. Please remember, the scale does not reflect your effort!. It only gives you a snapshot of your weight in a singular place in time. It does not show your drive, your motivation, your effort, or reflect who you are. Only you can show that. I will forever cheer you on your effort regardless of what the inanimate object called a scale, says your weight is.

6. Long Term Perspective

If you want your weight loss to be a quick fix, this is not the post for you. If you are looking for lasting change, then you need a long term perspective. We didn’t get into our careers and jobs overnight (unless you did, then kudos to you!). Many of us had years of education and/or training and developed positions to get where we are. If we want to attain a goal, it sometimes takes time and effort if it is going to last. I am using that approach to weight loss.

I have lost weight quickly before, and every time I gain it back. When I began this new, and hopefully permanent journey, I recognized I didn’t want to rush anything, but wanted the process to be slow enough to make it a new norm. I have been averaging about 6.75 pounds lost per month since I started this journey. This has definitely fluctuated, but it is not a fast loss. I have found it to be a sustainable weight loss pace. I continue to shoot for 1-2 pounds per week, and know that I can still maintain a lifestyle that I enjoy while doing that.

I have lost 20-30 pounds before in 2 months. That is when I gained it back. Understanding I am in this for the long haul lets me recognize that 7 pounds a month, although it leads to slow changes, means 42 pounds in 6 months and possibly 84 pounds in a year. That is a lot of weight and something you can be incredibly proud of. But regardless of the weight, recognize how you are helping yourself for the long run. Weight loss or not, you are working to get your body healthier for you now, tomorrow, and in years to come.

7. Communicate Your Goals

I started this blog because I wanted to communicate my goals to others. I have incredible support in my wife and broader family, but when I am communicating to others, it almost fills my efforts with more responsibility. I owe it to those I am sharing with to continue on. I owe it to myself. By communicating with others, I am allowing myself to recognize that although I am, and you are, strong enough, there is no shame in accepting help and support from others. It can be a game changer.

It doesn’t have to be a blog and it doesn’t have to be public, but do you have people in your life who support you? It may be worth sharing your goals with them and asking them for that support. It can have such a positive impact. It may take some humility on our part, especially if we really want them to support us and give us feedback, but we have goals! As one of my favorite Peloton instructors, Robin Arzon, says, “Do you want it more than you fear it?”

I am here for myself, for my goals, and for my positive change. I am also here for you. I may know you or not know you, but I will support your effort and champion your goals. I will be a positive voice if you need it. Just tell me. To those who have supported me thus far, thank you. Your help has been incredible!

-Ben

dusting off the running shoes

Please note the quarantine hair, it is majestic. Please ignore the goober smile.

In my first post, constantly inconsistent, I talked about running the Heady Trotter 4 mile road race a couple years ago. This was a really proud moment for me. I ran 2 straight miles, at 30, for the first time in my life. I was not my lightest by a long shot, but I was in the best running shape I have ever been in. After that, fatherhood and being a new dad took charge and did not sustain that success. I have ran very little since.

I think it is time to dust off the running shoes. I think it is time to get myself outside a bit more. 90% of my fitness routine has been my Peloton bike. I love it. It has help transformed my reality and has been a catalyst for my betterment journey. I also miss being outside. I try to get out for hikes and walks in the woods, but that is just a bit harder than running out my front door. I would like to get back into running and supplement it with my bike routine. This can only help me, right?

I do think I need to update the running shoes.

I thrive on competition. My wife and I avoid many games because we both recognize how competitive the two of us are. Apparently we are wise enough to understand what we should and should not do when it comes to things like that. But although it’s not always constructive for a relationship, this competitive nature is awesome for motivating me in more personal pursuits, like fitness. Running my first race was incredible for me. I specifically remember looking at one individual in front of me after a few minutes and saying, “I can tag along with this guy… do it.” This competitiveness helped push me through many moments where I wanted to stop and walk. It pushed me past seeing others slow to a walk. It eventually pushed me past the individual I was tailing as they slowed to a walk. At that point I picked the next goalpost and pushed myself towards it.

I want to get back into the game to beat my old time. I want to get back into the game to beat my old distance. I also want to get back into the game because I know I weigh less than I did when I ran that race and I want to accelerate my success. I also want to run a longer race.

I have done some reading of other runners and realized some misconceptions I have at what running success is. I have seen that runners, using a planned interval style, can have a faster time than somebody who runs as far as they can and then intervals the last bit. Others run the whole thing and crush it. What is success in running? I think it definitely depends on the individual and what they are going for. I have a dream to finally run a 5k start to finish, regardless of time. I also want to run a 10k, but care less about how far I can run straight and care more about finishing with a time that makes me feel accomplished.

I am going to try and sign up for 2 races this year. Who knows if they will actually be able to happen. With COVID, I won’t even try to guess. But I would like to shoot for a 5k in the late summer/early fall and a 10k in late fall. The 5k would be just for me and my personal pride. This is a race for Ben to prove to Ben. I have some other plans for the 10k that I will address in a new post when I find the race and date. I would like the 10k to be about others. The 5k is for helping myself, the 10k is for helping others. I plan on running in honor of a different cause. So stay tuned in the next couple months for me to write about that.

With this new drive I am setting up a plan to go along with my regular routine. I am going to start training for a 5k and a 10k. I ran twice this week and will shoot for 3-4 runs per week. At this point I am doing interval training. As I build back up my running abilities, I will probably shoot to make one of the runs a more distance oriented run.

This week’s runs felt great. It is such a different feeling compared to the bike and it felt so nice to be outside with the breeze. I do need to be disciplined and remember to pace myself. The impact of running is real on your body and if I am not careful, I can just push too hard and hurt myself. My speed is definitely slow, but I feel good about this and feel good about this trajectory. Let me know if you re going to run with me!

More to come!

-Ben