Becoming a Healthier Me

A year ago, when the pandemic set in within the US, I found myself working 100% remote from my home. To be honest, it was a huge blessing. I was saving time and money by not having to drive my long commute to downtown Dallas; that saved me gas money, vehicle maintenance cost, and the cost of toll roads. Also, I was able to spend more time with my family; I was able to join the family for dinner each evening, help with the cooking and cleaning, and spend time just enjoying each others company. It was truly a the perfect setting.

I did feel bad for having it so good as I know that was not the case for everyone. It honestly feels wrong to have had such a positive experience during the pandemic when so many were hurting around me. I am grateful for an employer that allowed it’s staff to quickly go 100% remote but also thankful to work in an industry that was not negatively impacted by the economic conditions of the pandemic.

As I was enjoying the all the extra time and the ease of working from home, I found myself gaining weight. It was much easier to run into the kitchen between meetings and grab a snack or cook a big meal for both lunch and dinner. My body was turning into a “dad bod” at a rapid pace. Honestly, it didn’t bother me; its not like we were going out in public nor did I need to put my slim fitting suit on. It was comfortable to have the extra weight.

For the record, this is not a picture of me 😉

As I continued to gain wait, I notice I started snoring. Okay, let’s be honest, my wife noticed I started snoring. I had no idea that weight gain could have an impact on how I sleep. Additionally, my clothes began to get a little uncomfortable; my favorite t-shirt was a bit more snug than it had been (I just thought it was shrinking from the wash), I had to loosen my belt to the next notch, and my underwear were uncomfortable at the waist. I know, that may be too much information, but that was the trigger and breaking point for me. I had gained weight and was suddenly really uncomfortable. How did this happen? How did this sneak up on me so quickly?

That was it! I was going to do something about it.

I got on the scale for the first time in months. That was eye-opening; for the first time I realized I was the heaviest I had ever been in my life. I was 30 pounds over what my drivers license said I weighed. 30 pounds! We all know the weight on our drivers license is likely a little off but it was a benchmark for me.

I took action.

The first full week following Christmas, I did two things: I did some form of daily exercise and I stopped eating just to eat. Let’s break each of those down:

Eating just to eat: I’m a snacker. I eat when I’m not actively doing something else. If I’m not busy with work or a hobby, I will look to food to fill my time. Not because I’m hungry, but because I’m bored. So, I made the conscious effort to be aware of this. This was difficult for me. I stopped grazing in the kitchen and only ate at meal time. I also began to drink more coffee; I’ve alway been a coffee drinker but rarely did I have more than one cup a day. Because coffee is so few in calories (with a tablespoon of creamer), I could use it to fight my grazing habit. It worked!

My quick advice would be the following:

  • Drink at least 64 oz of water daily (preferably by noon)
  • Only eat at meal time; stop the random and occasional snacks
  • Don’t drink sodas; only water and coffee
  • Stay away from sugar; this doesn’t mean no sugar, just don’t eat snacks that are high in sugar (cookies, brownies, donuts, etc)
  • Track your food; not that counting calories will fix everything but it makes you aware! I used the free version of the app called Lose It.

Daily exercise: In high school, I ran cross country; I literally could run for miles. I had a high stamina and longevity. In the past couple of months, I had lost all of that; I would get winded after a simple game of table tennis with my son (given, we take table tennis seriously but still, I should be able to play a game without getting tired).

My wife works out daily and has for years; not only has she slimmed down over the last few years but she has gotten incredibly strong. I began to utilize her as my coach. She uses Beach Body on Demand for her workouts; she helped me find a program that was best for me and my current situation. I started with a 5-week program (25 minutes a day, 7-days a week) that focused on cardio (burning fat) and building endurance. After that, I moved on to a 3-week program (35 minutes a day, 7-days a week) that incorporate both cardio and weight lifting to start building muscle. After that, I shifted into a 8-week program that focused on building muscle while maintaining cardio and core elements (37 minute workouts, 4-days a week, plus stretch days on off days). I’m currently half way through the 8-week program.

You don’t have to have a home gym or fancy equipment to get started! Use what you already have. An iPad in your living room, home office, laundry room, anywhere that works.

Results: It has been 12-weeks. Barely 3-months. And in that time, I have lost 30 pounds, lost 3 inches off my waist, lost an inch off my chest, and have grown muscle mass. I’m even starting to see the beginnings of a six pack (just in time for summer)! I feel healthier and stronger than I ever have! It has been an incredible journey!

I share all of this to encourage you. If you’re reading this, you’re likely in a similar situation and are frustrated. You’ve likely contemplated ways in which you can lose wait but nothing ever comes from it. I did this too! I challenge to you simply take action. Do something about it. Invest a few minutes into your health and see what happens? Your body is incredible; it will respond and react in ways that will shock you. If I can help you, reach out; I’m happy to share my journey and invest in making a healthier you.