6 Month Weigh-in and Pictures

Six months ago I decided to make some big changes in my life. I was 34 years old and decided I needed to make some adjustments in both my eating habits as well as my exercise plan (or lack thereof) in order to be more healthy. I kicked off this year by completing the 12 week Body-for-LIFE program. I’ve maintained since then for about another 12 weeks and am now 6 months out from the start. Let’s take a look at where I started at:

After completing the 12 week Body-for-LIFE program, I definitely saw results.

I’ve continued to eat healthy and exercise since then. It’s been 3 months post BFL and 6 months since I did the Body-for-LIFE challenge. Here is what I look like today:

A few flexing shots:

In this next one, you can really see my side back and tricep muscles that I’ve built:

Before and after photos, side-by-side:

How have I done it? During the 12-week Body-for-LIFE challenge I would eat smaller portions 6 times a day. Each meal would contain a protein and a carb. Good carbs, though, none of the processed, enriched white flour. Stuff like whole grains, vegetables, beans. One day a week was my “cheat” day where I could eat whatever I wanted, and I literally ate whatever I wanted.

For exercise I went to the gym 6 times a week – 3 times cardio, 3 times weight. Total amount of gym time was between 3 and 4 hours a week. I was extremely consistent with the food and exercise during the 12-week challenge. Since then I’ve relaxed a little bit. I still try to eat healthy and eat 6 times a day. Instead of one day a week off, though, I’ve settled into 3 or 4 meals a week off. The rest of the week I eat smaller portions and still try to eat 6 times a day. It has become a habit, and one that I really, really enjoy. Gorging myself on large meals always makes me feel “blah” afterwards. Here are a few of the foods I regularly stock and eat:

Also, I avoid any sugar sodas. I do drink some diet sodas, but plan on dropping them at some point since they’re not the greatest for you…but I’m not quite there yet. In addition, I drink lots of water. It is crucial to keep your body hydrated. Sometimes when you think you’re hungry, you really just need some water. Also, keeping your body hydrated helps with muscle growth.

Since I finished Body-for-LIFE, I’ve continued to run 2-3 times a week and do weights 2-3 times per week. On average I’m exercising 4-6 times per week still. I always feel so good after either a good run or workout.

Now, for my 6-month weigh-in. I weighed in this morning at 154.

I’m down 16 pounds down from where I started this year at 170. It’s hard to tell really how much I’ve lost/gained since a lot of the loss has been fat which has been replaced by muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat. Well, actually they weigh the same, but for the same size of mass, the fat will weigh more than the muscle – see my post here for more about that. I’m continuing to increase weights at the gym, which for me is a good indicator that I’m continuing to gain muscle. Going forward I will be doing checkins every 3 months with pictures and a weigh-in. The next one will be at 9 months in October, followed by my one year checking the beginning of January 2013. In the meantime I will continue to blog about my story, healthy tips, and how I am able to keep a healthy lifestyle up while behind the desk on a computer every day.

Falling off and getting back on

Everyone has those days or weeks where your routine just gets thrown out of wack. Dealing with this is part of life and sometimes can’t be avoided. What is important is how you respond to it when these situations arise. Last week was not my best workout week. I missed the gym entirely for weights. That’s the first week this year that I haven’t done any weights at all. Things got busy, stuff came up, blah blah…and I didn’t get to the gym to do any weights. I still ran twice and got some cardio in, though.

Monday this week was Memorial Day. Instead of beating myself up over missing gym time last week, I just decided to get right back on the bandwagon this week. I called up the gym and found out they were open on Memorial Day from 8-8, so I headed over there and did a great upper body workout. Then yesterday I ran 2.6 miles in the 95 degree heat – ouch! Um, yeah, I think it will be either early morning or treadmill for the next few months until things cool back down in…oh…October or November. Yeah, I live in Texas and we have 2 seasons: summer and not-summer.

Since I ended Body For Life, I’ve been doing really well with eating healthy. Even though I missed my weights last week, I still ate healthy. My next weigh-in and pictures was supposed to be at 20 weeks. For some reason I had in my mind that 20 weeks was this Friday (6/1), but I just checked and it was actually supposed to be last Friday. I think I’ll just do it at 21 weeks instead. Stay tuned for an update this Friday!

Improved Running Speed

The kids started swim team last week and have been going to the pool every evening. It’s a great activity for them. Improves their heart, endurance, and muscles. Once school is out they’ll be going every morning for the summer. It will be really good for the kids. They’ve both really taken to it and are enjoying it so far.

This afternoon I decided to run from our house to the pool where their swim practice is. I tried to time it so I arrived there just as they were getting out so I could ride home with Allison and the kids. The distance from our house to the pool was almost 2.6 miles (2.59 to be exact). I started off and paced myself as to not get tired. My first minute was an 8:11 mile and I got faster as I went on. Runkeeper announces to you every 5 minutes your distance, time, and average pace. When I heard I was just over an eight minute mile for the first mile I decided to kick it up with the goal of finishing with an average of under eight minutes per mile. I finished all 2.59 miles in a total of 20:06 — an average of 7:45 per mile. That’s the best time I’ve ever recorded for this distance. I really pushed it the last half mile or so, with mile 3 (.59 miles) averaging the best time. You can check out my stats here. Here are my averages for each mile:

And the overall stats:

Gradually showing improvement

This morning marks the end of two weeks of running with my son before school in the morning. We’ve done it Mon, Wed & Fri and have been running 2 miles each day. He’s showing awesome improvement in just 2 weeks. He started out averaging around an 11 minute mile. I was extremely proud of him today. I pushed him a little harder this morning to see what he could do. We did 2 miles in 19 minutes and 20 seconds, averaging a 9:40 minute mile.

With our plan to do a 5K now, we need to start increasing the distance that we run in preparation for the 3.2 mile race.

So What’s Up Next?

This is the question I’ve been thinking about since the official 12 weeks ended. In order to continue staying healthy, I think it is important to always have some sort of goal in mind. Maybe it’s an event (5K, 10K, Triathlon, or maybe a program like Body for LIFE or P90X), or maybe it’s a life even that you want to look good for (i.e. a family reunion). Maybe it’s a certain weight that you are trying to work your weight up to (i.e. be able to bench a certain amount). Something – just anything. Otherwise it is easy to rationalize skipping a day here or there or not eat as healthy as you should. I’ve been thinking for the last 2 weeks what my next goal is going to be.

So I’m not officially on Body For Life right now, but I’m still following the same schedule since the initial 12 weeks ended. I’m continuing to eat 6 times a day and exercise 6 days a week – 3 days weights 3 days cardio. This is the 2nd week now that I’ve been running with my son in the mornings. He has really taken a liking to it. We’ve been doing 2 miles in the morning before school 3 times per week. After getting up at 6:15 (or more like 6:24) – why the 9 minute snooze on an iPhone and why isn’t it configurable? I digress….we jump in the car around 6:35 or so, hit the trail around 6:40, and run until 7:00. I cook him some eggs while he showers. In addition to running and getting in shape, he’s eating healthier in the mornings now. It’s much healthier for him to have some eggs than eggo waffles. Yes, he’s been known to eat 6 eggo waffles in one sitting before school. We had to crack down on that one and install a daily limit. The eggo waffles really not that healthy. It’s good that my son loves eggs and will take them any day over the the eggo waffles.

After several weeks of pondering what my next goal should be, I’ve decided to do a 5K with my son. He already ran an unofficial one once this year over Easter and could totally do an official one. We’re going to start looking around to see what there is in the greater Austin Area. Once we choose one and register, I’ll be posting it here. I’m really excited. I’ve never done any sort of official race before – it will be a first for both of us together!