On October 1st I set a goal to lose 20 lbs by October 31st. I ended up being 6 lbs short of reaching my goal, but I’d hardly call this month a failure as far as my health is concerned. I learned a great deal about self-discipline in the realm of food control, which I’d like to share with you in this article.
First, I’ll tell you one of the reasons that prompted me to go on this little health kick. I started reading Steve Pavlina’s book, Personal Development for Smart People, and the very first chapter came with a self-assessment exercise. After taking the self-assessment, I ranked my health a 1 out of 10. Judging by such a low rank you would think I’m completely immobile or bed ridden with some horrible disease.
I’m 23, and grateful to be pretty healthy. However, the reason I ranked myself so low was based on the path that I was on, instead of ranking myself based on how healthy I am at this exact moment. After traveling a lot this summer, and eating a lot of carbs on the run, I gained a lot of extra weight from empty calories. I was 195 lbs at 5’8′. This is way overweight if you look at any height/weight charts, although I looked at least 15 lbs less than I weighed.
Since the path was leading me in a bad direction, I rated my health very low. On top of that, the exercise says that if you aren’t at an 8, 9, or 10, then you must automatically bring your score down to a 1, because you aren’t where you want to be and you’re just diluting yourself. As any good reader would, I followed the advice, and slammed my score down to a 1. Looking at the 1 was reason enough to make a plan for how I was going to lose some of those extra pounds.
My approach was geared less at dieting than at leading a healthy lifestyle. This included incorporating the 11 principles you see below:
- Drink 1 Gallon of Water Daily.
- One Cup of Water Before Snacking.
- Sunday Fasting
- No Sweets
- 3 hours before bed, meal cut off
- Last meal salad only
- Fruit snacks
- 30 chews per bite
- Daily 30 (Walking)
- Daily Cardio
- Eat only when hungry, except breakfast
For a more detailed look at these principles, you can visit the article I wrote about these habits.
The fundamental principle that I like to base this website on is that the advice I give is practical, thus ‘Practical Personal Development.’ It turns out that starting 11 new habits all at the same time is not exactly practical, and can in fact become a bit overwhelming. When you overwhelm yourself with too many new habits, you become very susceptible to quiting all together
For the past week, I haven’t exercised. During last Sunday’s race, I ran 5 miles, and by Monday night I realized that I had hurt my foot. I limped around all week, and wasn’t quite sure how serious it was. Friday I went to a Podiatrist just to be on the safe side, and he told me it’s a strain. He also mentioned that my foot rolls when I walk, so I should get special soles for my shoes to counteract that.
Besides the foot thing, the changing weather in New Jersey has got me feeling sick. I used this week to get plenty of rest, and take it easy, so that I can get well and have a really productive week next week, because I have a lot lined up.
As far as following all 11 principles, it’s pretty much as hard as it appears. Drinking 1 gallon of water is super hard, even if I’m sitting at home, pretty close to a bathroom. On days when I’m working or interning, it’s even more inconvenient, because I don’t want to be taking bathroom breaks every 20 minutes when I’m with patients.
I found that I had to readjust my fasting to Saturday on two occasions, because I decided to do races Sundays, and racing plus fasting are not compatible. Everything else is not too difficult at all, and is based solely on willpower. Sure there is some inconvenience involved, but if you prioritize and set your mind to it, it becomes quite doable.
Ultimately, I set out to lose 20 lbs and I lost 14 lbs. There’s different ways to look at these numbers. I could say that I’m disappointed that I didn’t meet my goal, and that would be a legitimate viewpoint. Conversely, I take a viewpoint which dictates that I made a positive incremental improvement. This loss of excess weight was done in a healthy manner, and at a pace that was not too extreme for my body. Also, I thoroughly enjoyed the full experience.
I doubt I’ll be concentrated so much on weight loss in the coming months. I’m going to shift my physical goals to training for certain athletic events. I would like to decrease the amount of time it takes me to run 1 mile, by doing various forms of speed exercise. I’m also interested in improving my swimming form, something I’ve never worked on before, so that I can complete a triathlon in the future.
I now rate myself an 8 out of 10 in the health category. I’ll stick to the healthy lifestyle, toy around with different eating habits, and implement new healthy food recipes. Now it’s time to tackle a new challenge, and improve more areas of my life!
Drop by the comment section below:
- Tell us what challenge you’re inspired and motivated to take on.
- Tell us what accomplishment you’re proud of, we’d like to know.