I have two things to confess, right from the start:
#1 – no, this picture isn’t of me
#2 – this is quite an unusual blog post for me.
Okay, so now that this is settled, let’s move on.
I, like many men, have been struggling with my weight for a long time. When I was in the army, it was quite simple: we exercised regularly, and I was quite fit. Prior to that, I was also fit, as I was active and athletic. BUT, after the army, things didn’t continue the same way as they had before. And so, weight kept getting piled on.
Several years ago I went through Weight Watchers, and met with a lot of success. But keeping the weight off seemed to be more difficult than getting it off, although getting it off isn’t easy.
Last year I read Younger Next Year, by Crowley & Lodge. For older men, it’s a great motivational book. I figure we have a choice: we can age in a crappy manner, adding pounds, getting unhealthy, shortening our lifespan, making the quality of our lives less enjoyable, or take control. This book was a great motivator for me. BUT, it didn’t quite do everything I needed. Yes, I continued to do my daily exercise (as I’ve pretty much been doing for quite a long time), but my weight didn’t drop as it should have.
Earlier this year I read The 4-Hour Body, by Ferriss. This was a great supplement to Younger Next Year. It’s a lot longer, but there’s a lot of great stuff in it, including a diet plan that really works (the “no white diet”). Over the past few months I’ve lost more than 25 lbs, with roughly seven to go to reach my “goal weight.” Once there, I plan to maintain the necessary discipline to keep the weight off.
If you’re one of the few readers who are over 40, I suggest you get Younger Next Year. If you’re younger, then perhaps think about getting it for your parents (there’s a women’s version, too).
Briefly, my exercise program:
- Younger Next Year recommends at least six days a week of exercise; that’s pretty much what I do. I had been doing this for a long time, but often had injuries that interrupted my program, especially with my calves. I now where supports on both calves, and haven’t had a problem since.
- Note: I’ve actually been keeping an exercise journal since August 1998, almost 20 years now; in it, I record WHAT I do every day, and periodically my weight
- One thing I’ve realized: in the past, I thought weighing myself weekly was ideal, but I’ve learned that I need to weigh myself daily, so I can capture changes immediately, and take the necessary action to adjust.
- I usually get up around 5 AM and do the elliptical for 45 minutes (I used to be a runner, but my orthopedist told me to stop, given the condition of my knees (bone spurs, torn meniscus, arthritis: he said I have a new knee in my future (although, with my weight loss my knees no longer give me the problems they used to)). Once a week I extend this time to 60 minutes, but plan to extend it further. When I used to run, I’d run 10 or more miles each Saturday, and so, to once a week have an extra long session on the elliptical seems reasonable and a bit like those long runs.
- Twice a week I use weights. The 4-Hour Body book offered a few exercises, including one with kettle bells, which I’ve adopted, too.
As for diet, I do the “no white” diet; no:
It works! One day a week we’re supposed to go off the diet (today was that day, so I did “pig out” a bit). This day off helps keep me sane.
The need for “daily rituals”
I recently listened to (actually watched) a Tony Robbins video (on YouTube) about daily rituals. I didn’t think about my daily routine as a ritual, but it is; I also realized that there’s more I can do with my early morning time, and so will enhance it. But, getting the right ritual is key to success.
I recently learned of Kayla Itsines: she’s a 20-something exercise phenomenon from Adelaide (Australia), who has videos and other exercise stuff. Granted, she targets women, but there’s no reason why a man can’t do this stuff, too. There’s a fair amount of free stuff on YouTube from her, plus she has a blog with additional ideas. I plan to supplement my elliptical time with some of her exercises.
I’ve become a huge fan of Younger Next Year. I talk it up whenever I can. And here I’m doing it again. I think it’s really intended for “older” guys, so if you’re in your 30s, chances are it doesn’t yet apply (although you still might enjoy reading it). My weight problems began when I left the service, when I was in my late 20s. And so, had I been given such a book then, perhaps I would have been wiser.
I may be sounding a “bit preachy,” which isn’t my intent. But, I figured that this is a weekend, and perhaps it’s a good thing to just shift from performance and risk to talk about something personal. I’d post before/after photos, but I’m not quite ready to do that. Let’s just pretend that the photo above actually is of me … I’m not THAT far off.