How I lost 50 pounds in the last 7 months

When we moved back to California in the summer of 2013 I was coming off of 10+ years of a heavy travel schedule working for Vineyard Worship and I was tired. I was also the heaviest I’d ever been in my life weighing in at 245 pounds. I had made significant changes in my life moving back to California and going back into local church ministry at the Anaheim Vineyard. I knew that I needed to make even more changes especially when it came to my personal health and fitness.

 

50 pounds down

 

FINDING THE MOTIVATION

In January I went in for an initial visit with my new doctor. My blood work came back showing that my cholesterol numbers were too high. My doctor immediately wanted to put me on cholesterol medication. Not wanting to add another medication to my life, I found the motivation I needed to finally get up and get active again.

 

GETTING OUT MY FRONT DOOR 

My approach was simple and uncomplicated. I walked out my front door for 15 minutes and then another 15 minutes walking back. I tried to do this everyday except Sunday skipping the odd day for weather, sickness, or schedule complication. I also started diligently logging my food intake.

My walk took up the hill from my house and then down to the Hiltscher Park Trail – one many paths in the trail system in Fullerton, the town where we live. It took about 10 minutes to get to the trail head which left me only 5 minutes of trail walking before it was time to head back. I was walking about 2 miles a day during this stretch.

 

UPPING MY GAME

One morning In early July I decided to see where trail lead. This took me on a 5 mile journey looping back to my house – more than double my normal distance. Something happened when I took this longer route. I hit some sort tipping point where my desire to get out and walk was greater than the resistance to avoid it. At the same time, I also discovered the “Couch to 5k” running program. This stoked the growing fire within me to keep pressing forward.

I had started to add longer stretches of jogging into my routine and was unknowingly working “intervals” between my walking and jogging. I had no strategy whatsoever in how I was doing this interval training. I basically ran until I had to stop and walk. This generally left me with a feeling of failure as I could only manage to run about 2-3 minutes at a time. The “Couch to 5K” program gave me a real path forward and I was hooked. Now, I’m using this interval training approach to build up my stamina with the goal of actually running a 5K sometime in early 2015. This has opened a whole new world to me.

 

DISCOVERING THE “QUANTIFIED SELF”

Another discovery I made was in the area of what’s been called the “quantified self”. On top of apps that logged my food intake I also found apps that track my water intake, nutrients, exercise, and total daily steps (my current goal is 10,000 steps per day). One revelation from all of this activity tracking is that Sundays are my most physically active day of the week. Each Sunday I stand playing guitar and leading worship for a total of 4-5 hours due to the multiple services and rehearsal time involved. This reality helps me to feel better about making Sunday a bit of a “cheat day” in my new eating plan. With this, another piece of my new life rhythm is locks into place. I think this good news for musicians and worship leaders. 🙂

7 months in and I’ve lost 50 pounds so far. A quick check of my body mass index tells me that at the 208 pound mark I went from “obese” to “overweight”. Yikes!! I still have a ways to go. That said, my energy level is higher than it’s been in long time and I’m feeling great. Recently, I crossed under the 200 pound mark for the first time since I was in my 20s. As of this writing my current weight is 194 pounds.

 

MY NEW GOALS

1 – Add more strength training to my regimen.

My wife says she doesn’t want me looking scrawny. 🙂

2 – Run a 5K in early 2015.

I want to be able to run the entire 5K without walking.

So that’s my story. It’s still ongoing. I’ll post more along the way. It all started from a very simple place. I just decided to do what could with the time I had and with little to no money out of pocket. I wanted to make it as easy as possible for me to succeed.

 

MY APP LIST

Here are a few things that helped me along my way making things easier for me.

itunes_logo Spotify

1 – iTunes and Spotify
It’s not news that my iPhone allows me to carry my entire audio library with me. One of the ways I’ve been using this time in the morning is to discover lots of new music.

 

podcast_app

2 – Apple’s podcast app – free
I’ve always been a podcast junkie. My new morning routine has allowed me to catch up on some old favorites as well as discover a whole new batch of new offerings in the podcast space. More on this in future posts. More great free content all the time!

 

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3 – MyPlate calorie tracker app – $.99
I’ve been using this app for a number of years. There are other apps out there but since this app was already on my iPhone I went with it. It does a solid job of tracking calories by meal, exercise, weight, and water consumption. Simple and easy to use.

 

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4 – Argus – free
I use Argus as both my pedometer and to map my walk/run each day. Its quirky interface sets it apart from other apps and it’s easy to use. I’m considering moving to a device such as the Fitbit Flex or the Nike FuelBand as these motion tracking apps on the iPhone are a battery life killer. The new iPhone 6 and Apple Watch also look pretty interesting when it comes to health and fitness tracking. I may just wait for the Apple Watch to be released. Any suggestions?

For now, Argus fits the bill.

 

secondsapp

5 – Seconds – free
For the interval training I am using an app called seconds. It has a number of timer options and is easy to use. It does the job but I’m open to other suggestions. I use the free version as my needs are pretty straight forward. 

 

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6 – The Fullerton trail system – free
Less than a mile out my front door is the beginning of the Hiltscher Trail. The Fullerton trail system has been in place since the mid-20th century. It’s a country path in the middle of the suburban landscape. I love it. 

 

MY ROUTE

Here’s my regular route:

morning run

Question: What does your exercise routine look like? What are your best practices here?

Question: If you don’t have a regular routine, what simple things can you do to get up and get active on a regular basis? Make it easy for yourself to say yes.