In my last post I talked about my foundation for health growing up, how it impacted me years later and the downward sprial that made me unhealthy. That was the bad news. This post is all about the good news.
A Wake Up Call
Looking back at the pictures I'm not sure why it took me so long to realize how bad it had gotten. For some reason I decided to buy a scale for my apartment. When I used it for the first time the number staring back completely shocked me. That is when my eyes were opened to how big of an issue it was.
So I started to make some changes. I bought a fitbit to monitor my steps and motivate me to move more. I went for runs outside, which ended up just hurting my shins too much. I got a gym membership but spent most of my time on the elliptical. I drank less beer, but probably still too much. My diet during this time wasn't much better; I still ate lots of frozen meals. After a while I had lost a little bit of weight but stayed there for awhile. I had made some progress but still had a ways to go.
Knowledge Made the Difference
Then something wonderful happened. I met this girl and after a while we started dating. Then we got married, but jumping back to the dating part. Grace's family pays a lot of attention to living a healthy lifestyle. I was around them enough that I would listen in on their conversations about things like eating whole foods, carb cycling, and crossfit workouts. I didn't contribute much because I didn't have anything to add, but I soaked up that information like a sponge.
With their help I started to make significant changes in my diet. I started eating simple whole foods and cut out pre-packaged processed meals with ingredients that I can't pronounce. Even after that there was one more thing that changed my life forever.
Not long after we were engaged Grace brought over a dvd series about ripped people going crazy. She said that we should do Insanity together before the wedding and reluctantly I agreed to give it a try. It was AWFUL. I hated it. However, after the first week of hell that is an out of shape guy doing Insanity I actually started to like it. I couldn't wait to get home to do it again. At the end of those 60 days I saw great results. This was the spark that made me convinced that I needed to make healthy living a priority in my life. Thankfully, when my wedding came, I was in the best shape I had been in for a long time.
Around this time I got an insatiable thirst for knowledge about this world that was so new to me. I spent a lot of time traversing the internets for information about the most effective workouts, what other people think is important to eat, etc. The rabbit whole goes pretty deep so I'm still learning and experimenting.
This is a lifestyle not a temporary fix, so I've got the rest of my life to learn and evolve. I just finished the first week of P90X3. It was fantastic. I'm still sore from "The Challenge" workout four days ago. I'm excited for the next eleven weeks and seeing how hard I can push myself.
Well that's the story of my journey back to health. It was more of an overview so I look forward to writing more detailed posts about specific areas of healthy living.
This is a time of year when lots of people are setting goals and focusing on ways to improve themselves, mostly in the area of health and fitness. I wanted to write about my journey back to health so that maybe someone would learn from my experiences, avoiding my mistakes or following some of the positive changes. I'm not saying I have it all figured out, but at least I'm making progress.
How we grow up sets the stage for our habits and perceptions later in life. My parents did the best they knew how but I did not grow up in the most healthy of households. For as long as I can remember my dad was obese and as my role model of healthy activity and living he was less then stellar. Most of the food I ate came from a box or a bag of frozen something. I had sugary cereals for breakfast and hot pockets or cup-O-noodles for lunch. I was allowed to drink as much soda as I wanted, and boy did I drink a lot.
My parents did their best to keep me active. They got me a bike, took me to the park, enrolled me in the local soccer club. My bible study would play football, or giant games of capture the flag. I made it through high school still skinny enough, it wasn't until later in college that things started going downhill.
The Downhill Spiral
A few things happened during my final year of college and the following year that caused me to become very unhealthy. In December of 2009 I turned 21. I had a great night out with friends and a not so great next day with the family. The important thing here is that I could now buy myself alcohol; I drank beer mostly.
Throughout college I worked as a waiter at Macaroni Grill. I was on my feet A LOT. I was stupid enough to try and take 21 credits to finish up my last semester. So in February of 2010 I quit being a waiter so that I could focus on that last semester, which was undoubtedly a good thing; about a month before I graduated my dad passed away. This lead me to drink a lot of that beer. I thank God that I still graduated somehow.
After I graduated I started working for a fairly large company where I still work today. After my first day spent in the hazing cube - a tiny space between the wall and a cube wall, sitting just under the printer - I took my seat at my first cubical. And there I sat, for forty hours a week, 50ish weeks a year. That's a LONG time sitting.
Moving around less + drinking lots of beer + sitting on my butt all day = I got fat.
In my next post I'll talk about what turned everything around so be sure to subscribe to be notified when the next is posted.
A few days ago I reached for my iPad. Glancing down at the mail icon, I was surprised to find that I had about 30 unread messages. I'm usually really good a checking my email as it comes in; I'm admittedly not as good at actually following up with that email. I've got my email account set up on my phone and my computer too and it usually only takes me a couple minutes to check an email so I was a bit bewildered why I had so many that were unread. After a few minutes I realized that all of them were from my gmail account.
A few years ago I purchased my first domain (cthayes.com) and started creating my first website. I wanted to setup an email account to use my new domain - I didn't know it then but this was the start of me caring about my online identity. I still liked gmail so I hosted the email at my domain registrar but forwarded everything to my gmail account (this was prior to Google Apps) and everything was great ... for a while.
Everything changed when I bought my first iPhone and entered the pearly gates of the Apple ecosystem; it was not long after that I bought my first Mac. After that I started using native apps instead of their web counterparts - Apple mail instead of gmail's web interface - and because of that I no longer had a reason to forward my own email to gmail.
In the years since then I started using my new email to sign up for things, updated most of my contact info and told all my friends to use the new one. Naturally, my usage of gmail has dwindled to next to nothing. Those 30 unread messages were mostly from linked in and spamy newsletters I don't care about. So I deleted my gmail account.
However, I did not stop there. I don't use Google+, docs or calendar. There is a Mac app for maps now and last year I even stopped using Google Analytics in favour of Open Web Analytics. It wasn't a far leap to just ditch my entire Google account altogether.
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