Many of you probably know that I am overweight… but like my wife likes to say, I am a slim man trapped in a fat man’s body. I am pretty active – I worked hard to earn my Black Belt in Taekwondo two years ago, and am currently in training hoping to test for my Second Dan Black Belt in June of this year.
If you ran into me for more than a few minutes in the two months leading up to the first test you would have known that I was ‘In Training,’ which meant that I was in the gym every day, I was on a radical diet plan that was healthy but extreme and unsustainable, and that despite still being a hundred pounds overweight, I was in damned good shape… for a fat man.
Unfortunately after my test, three things happened that contributed to my falling off the diet wagon:
- I broke my hand during the test, and had to take a couple of months off of training
- The night of the test several friends took me out to Monaghan’s Pub for ribs, wings, and beer. The following night there was another celebration, and so on… I quickly remembered how much I enjoy bad foods and forgot how bad I feel being fat.
- Work got extremely busy, and I started traveling… A LOT. Every restaurant was another missed opportunity to eat healthy.
Last year I decided that my ultimate weight loss goal would be to be able to wear my old army uniform again. I finished Basic Training at about 215lbs, and was in really good shape back then. I don’t know how much I weighed when I moved to Canada, but whatever I weighed it was far less than I weighed by May of last year, when I made the decision to start losing weight again.
I tried one diet plan for six months, and was completely disappointed in it. In truth it likely would have been better had I not been on the road as much as I am – it is impossible to follow a plan where they provide the food when you are traveling from city to city, country to country.
In September I was in Harrisburg, PA when a friend told me about an electronic and computerized pedometer and system called Fitbit. She was raving about it, so I went down to Best Buy and picked one up. It has, since then, been tracking my steps… but that is not only walking, that is also Taekwondo, golfing, and everything else I do. If I am not in a swimming pool I am wearing it. The on-line system (it is a USB gadget – how cool!) tracks my progress and lets me see where I am at on any given day, or week. The new version – the Fitbit Ultra – also tracks stairs climbed, but I don’t think I’m going to invest in another $99 version for that.
The Fitbit allows me to set goals for myself and see how well I do in reaching them. It awards you achievement badges for both daily achievements (and lets you know how often (and when you last earned one) for your number of steps, and also Lifetime Distance awards, which allows you to track… really nothing of value, but it is another milestone.
(For those of you who are wondering, my daily record was on December 4th, my first day in Mexico City. I took 32,019 steps, walked 15.52 miles, and burned 5,287 calories. It is the only day that I earned the 30,000 steps badge. My activity report logged 1h28m VERY ACTIVE, 5hrs15m FAIRLY ACTIVE, and 1h7m LIGHTLY ACTIVE. I have earned the 25,000 steps badge twice… that day, and three days later on December 7th, also in Mexico City. The highest badge that I have earned five times is the 15,000 steps badge (most recently on Tuesday)
A few days ago I received an e-mail from them congratulating me on earning my 500 mile badge. That is a lot of walking, even over the course of six months. Still and all, it is a reasonably useless statistic to track – it is not like a car, where I would need an oil change every 10,000 kilometres. It is still nice to know that I did it though… but as the badge (and the song) says, this is just the beginning… I will walk 500 more – possibly by the time I test for my belt in June!
For those of you who keep asking me about my current weight loss plan, YES I am on one, and no, I will not tell you what it is. It is a diet that I do not and would not endorse for anyone because it is an unhealthy way to eat, and I am told that without the strictest discipline when I end the program I will immediately gain back so much of the weight. Needless to say I have tried several diets, and the best plan for weight loss is this: Know what you are eating and be disciplined both in substance and in portion size. Eating smaller meals (or snacks) more frequently keeps your metabolism high (I remember the army served us six ‘meals’ per day in Boot Camp). Exercise wisely and frequently. There is a simple equation: Burn more calories than you consume and you will lose weight. If you exercise, eat wisely. On days that you don’t, eat less. You can rely on your spouse or friends or whoever to support you, but there is nobody responsible for your weight gain or weight loss other than the person you see in the mirror every morning.
More Taekwondo articles to come… but no, until I have lost it ALL I will NOT tell you how much I weigh, only occasionally how much I have lost.
…Now I will walk 500 miles and I will walk 500 more just to be the man who walked a thousand miles to fall down at your door… But for now, have a great week-end! -M