Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Hop, Skip, Jump.

Walk. Run. Bike. Swim. CrossFit. Garden.

The first rule of the Glutton Free club is to get off the couch. You can't lose weight if you don't burn more calories than you take in, so if you sit in an office chair all day, and then come home and sit on the couch; you probably aren't going to have much luck taking off the extra pounds -- and starving yourself isn't part of the Glutton Free way.

If you can't make time to go to a gym to workout, find some activity in "your own backyard" that will work for you. I can't seem to make time to get to a gym, but I have plenty of black-top and sidewalk right outside my front door. I can walk, run, or bike. If time is the issue, try some high intensity interval training. But do something. If the weather outside is frightful, go to a thrift store and buy some weather-appropriate workout clothes. Or spend the money on some decent Under Armour ColdGear or HeatGear and quit making excuses.

Back in April of 2011, when I first decided that I didn't want to spend my life at 240 lbs., I made an abrupt lifestyle change by starting a "Couch to 5K" program. I downloaded a C25K app for my iPod Touch, and found the training routine to be very effective. The weight really started to come off fast when I limited my calorie intake to 1800 calories per day.

By August of 2011, I had dropped to 197 lbs. and was able to do 5K jaunts three times per week. The only problem was that I had started so abruptly that my previously-complacent 40-year-old body did a little bit of complaining. I was icing and elevating my knees constantly, trying to reduce the tendinitis pain, but eventually it won out. By the end of the 2012 summer, the combination of knee, shin, ankle, and achilles pain had taken their toll, and I gave up on running... and fell back into a bit of a slump.

By April 2013, after a winter of way too much cheeseburger and fries gluttony, I was back up to 230 lbs. My wake-up all came with a spring trip to the doctor to finally get my over-40 labs done -- and everything came back borderline high. I knew I had to do something, so I started walking. I take my son to karate three times per week, and I had been spending the whole time just sitting -- sometimes in a chair at the dojo, sometimes in the local coffee shop... consuming empty calories. So now, I get out and move, and I limit my consumption of empty calories.

You can start out at a casual pace, but should work towards 15 minute miles for as many miles as you have time to walk. If you get the RunKeeper app for your phone or iPod, you can listen to music (I use Pandora radio) and have a voice that updates your pace every 5 minutes. After a year of walking, I was finally able to consistently get under a 14 minute mile average over 5 miles, in a town full of tough hills.

After hitting a bit of a weight-loss plateau at ~208 lbs., I decided to shake up my walking routine by adding some running -- and I'm happy to report that the transition has been both effective and mostly pain-free. Most importantly, there has been no sign of the tendinitis pain in my knees that I encountered three years ago. I still have to do a combination of walking and running, but hope to increase the amount of running I do each week.

No more excuses. Get off the couch and get moving. It's all part of the Glutton Free lifestyle.

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