Two Months (+One Week) in the Books

Help me raise $500 for the homeless through the charity Back on My Feet.
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Having been on a vacation split over two weeks (Wednesday, March 12 through Tuesday, March 19), this is my first full work week in awhile. I continue to look at the above picture as a reminder of where I was not too long ago. Unfortunately, given the climate here in Philadelphia, I probably will not enjoy such waves until late May at the earliest…

A return to a full work week also means a return to simpler meals and nights at the gym. Gone are the long walks on the beach, the heartier meals, the swimming in the Gulf, and the promise of a reprieve from the Northeast cold. Instead, I get to enjoy this lovely struggle of Spring prying longer days and warmer evenings from the grasp of the most aggressive Winter in memory.

At this point, it has been over two months and a week since I started my fitness program on a cold Wednesday in January (the 15th). Looking back, I notice immediately several improvements to my health and daily routine. I also look forward to my intermediate goal for the Broad Street Run as something not too far into the future.

So, how have I done?

Officially, since January 15, 2014, I have lost 22.3 pounds and dropped 3.9 in my Body Mass Index (BMI). Unofficially, I had tipped the scales a few weeks prior to January 15 about five pounds heavier, which would increase my progress accordingly. I will stick to the official dates though, so I do not skew my results.

My step count has risen significantly, although I think it is worth separating weekends and vacation from weekdays. Weekdays are consistently around 12,000 steps, whereas weekends and vacation are somewhere in the low to mid 20,000’s. My resting heart rate is somewhere around 52-56 beats per minute and my caloric deficits are still in line with my goals. In general, during weekends and vacation, I tend to trend closer to 2,000 calories consumed and 3,000+ burned, whereas during the week I trend near around 1,400 to 1,700 consumed and 2,600 to 2,800 burned. I now run at least four to five times a week, for a minimum of 15 – 20 minutes a day, with one day above 30 minutes and another approaching an hour.

The weekday breakdown of my calories is much better than in the beginning, as I have increased my protein as a percentage of calories significantly, resting slightly under 30%, and I have accordingly decreased my fat as a percentage to 22%. Carbohydrates have lessened to around 48%. Weekend and holiday breakdowns are not nearly as positive, but I manage them as opportunities to eat a bit more and yet still maintain a caloric deficit equivalent to what I produce on a weekday.

My running has improved as I can run longer and faster than before. I try not to go all out on runs, as I am still mainly running on treadmills (minus during my vacation, where I refused to use the fitness center and instead would rather run in crazy wind on the beach). Physically, I feel less stress on my ankles, which used to be the very deterrent for me to get into running in the first place.

More aesthetically (but also important), I have noticed many changes to what I wear and how clothes fit. At the end of February, I had to buy a new belt which was four inches smaller than my previous belt, and I am at the moment on the second to last rung of this new belt. I fit into my old swim trunks that I had stored away in some “fingers-crossed” hope that I could someday use them again. I did the same with a bunch of suits I bought back at the start of my job in the late summer of 2010. They were lost causes (and expensive ones at that!) for the past three years. They fit now, although I am holding off on wearing them until the current suits get their worth out of them. I had bought them not too long ago, and while they have plenty of room at the moment, I probably have another couple of weeks max, before they are just too baggy to continue to wear.

Hitting another milestone is like a jolt of extra energy, as I really had struggled a few weeks before my vacation to feel excited for what I was doing. Even though the results were continuing to impress, I had gotten to a point where I wanted to achieve another milestone for the sake of feeling accomplished, and I was getting impatient. It is easier to look after a complete month and notice the weight loss than to incrementally feel good about a few pounds here or there. I got to a point where I was even frustrated with the fact February only has 28 days, and therefore two days less within the month to lose weight.

Of course my mind has consistently looked forward a couple months out, so I purposely use this blog to reset my perspective and appreciate my success to this point. As I had mentioned in  a previous post, my downfall the last time I lost significant weight (sophomore year of college) was that I had paid no attention to the successes I had and rather focused on the room to improve.

As I continue forward over the next month until I hit my next milestone (completing three successive months of this fitness program), I hope to continue the success I have had to date. In the process, I will need to adapt to some new variables at play such as rainy weather, potential travel, and a decreasing Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). At this point, my increased confidence welcomes these challenges.

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