Not getting off track…

As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve been off my blog lately.  We had a trip to my in-laws last week, and (no offense) but when I’m on vacation I’d rather spend my time with family then take the time to blog. After all, that’s the whole point of a vacation.  But, as great as vacations are for families, they’re not so great for diets…

I realized today that if I were doing this diet and exercise plan on my own then my summer of becoming healthy would have ended yesterday. In the past I was only able to keep up a diet and exercise plan until there was some change in my routine or schedule, like the end of a semester or a vacation.  Well, right now, in addition to last week’s vacation, I am starting a 2nd job and the summer term ends in 2 weeks.  So, with taking a week off from my diet for a vacation (although I did watch what I ate), coming home from vacation and starting a 2nd job in the evenings, and with my schedule about to change at the end of the summer term…I am so glad I decided to do the training program with the coach this summer.

I have seven more sessions with her, & since we have to miss two weeks between the Summer Term and Fall Semester, I will be meeting with her until about the first week of October, which is when I’ll get to redo all my fitness assessments.  I know I’m improved, but with two more months, the challenge is going to be making sure there is improvement between now and then.

That was mostly what I talked about with my coach today, how to exercise when my time is now more limited. She recommended I refocus on the vigor of my workouts instead of the quantity.  So, instead of running for 40 minutes in the morning or evening, I could just run one mile during my lunch, but make it the fastest mile I can run.

I do think I’ll be able to find the time to exercise, what’s harder for me is the motivation when I’m tired from working 52-55 hours a week.  That’s where having a coach is the biggest factor, knowing that each and every Wednesday from now until October I’m going to have to go account for myself and my behavior.  That reporting element makes such a difference, and I firmly believe is what is going to make me succeed this time.

In the mean time, here are some results:

Weight: 191.2
2 lbs lighter than 2 weeks ago today, so I was able to stay in a downward trend on the trip.

One mile run time: 8:34
I actually did run a lot while I was on vacation. Last Friday when I just couldn’t take the Texas heat, I ran on a treadmill.  I wanted to see if I could run a sub-9 minute mile and did at 8:58!  I then started a 1/4 mile cool-down and was still feeling good, so I tried a second one and did that one in 8:34.  I was very happy about that.  The big question is whether I can turn that into a 27:00 5K time by the end of September.

Lastly: I bought a new running shirt thanks to the abundance of outlet malls in Texas.  I quite enjoyed breaking it in the Texas heat.  It’s a pretty awesome shirt.  I think Nike is right to fear Under Armour’s growing market share.

Out running in the Texas heat

Out running in the Texas heat

The funnest days out running are those that I get to run with my wife. One of the many reasons I’ll miss being at my in-laws. It’s too hard to run together without my mother-in-law there to keep the kids from hurting each other or burning the house down.

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Running Again

I’ve started running more over the last two weeks. I’ve gotten to where I can run 5K without too much difficulty. I just need to work on my speed.

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This was my second personal 5K this week. I beat Monday’s time by 2:13. I think dropping the 4000′ in elevation between Utah and Texas, & having it be the most ridiculously pleasant July ever in North Texas might be contributing factors in the improved time.

When I was on high school cross country my average speed for a 5K was about 20:15 with a PR of 18:56. I think I’d be happy to be able to do less than 28:00 by the end of September.

Here’s Monday’s run by comparison:

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Keeping it up – Healthier Life Check-in

I haven’t had much time for any blog posts the last couple of weeks.  Starting right around the 4th we had a bunch of family come to town, followed by my son’s baptism, followed by spending time with said family, camping, birthday parties, etc, etc, etc…     It’s actually been a lot of fun.

I’ve been able to stick to my cardio goals, but I’m still having problems making my strength training happen regularly.  I just kind of get to it when I get to it, and I’ve missed some workouts because of that.  The thing is though, that I’m starting to see actual results:

  • I’ve lost 12.6 lbs, that’s the equivalent of 1 1/2 gallons of milk.  Think about having to carry a carton and a half of milk everywhere and then suddenly noBiking up the Passt having to anymore.  It makes a difference and I can totally feel it when I work out.
  • Last Saturday, in the morning I biked from Park City High School to the base of Deer Valley
    and then back.  Then in the afternoon, I hiked from Trial Lake to Wall Lake in the Uintas, and half jogged/speedwalked back to camp to make sure we could get dinner started.  Lastly, in the evening, I again biked.  This time 4.6 miles uphill to Bald Mountain Pass; over 1000 feet of elevation gain, with the starting elevation over 9700′!
  • Then Monday, I was out doing my 2-mile jog and I got 1 1/2 miles in and was still feeling good, so I decided to see if I could jog a 5K without having to walk at all.  I made it 4.85 km in 34 minutes, and to make sure I finished in under 35 minutes I actually sprinted the last 150 meters.

All of that stuff would have been unthinkable back in May, but each time I accomplish something that I know I couldn’t have done just a few weeks ago, it just makes me want to keep going to see if I can do even better:

  • Yeah, 12.6 pounds is good, but I still need to lose another 19.1 pounds to get down to a healthy body-fat percentage. Another 13.1 pounds past that to get me to ideal!  Still, if I feel this good having gone this far, I know that going further will be even better.
  • Yeah 4.6 miles uphill on my bike was great, but what if I could do a full mountain loop.  One of these days, I’m gonna do the Alpine Loop around Timpanogos or the Nebo loop.  That will feel amazing.
  • Being able to jog a 5K is great, but my personal record from high school was 18:96.  Yes, I’m in my mid 30’s and will never return back to that level of performance, but it doesn’t mean that I couldn’t someday be sub-24, running 8 minute miles again.

I just want to keep my eye on the prize so I don’t get complacent with where I am right now.

On a different note, one thing that I’ve learned in the last weeks, as my cultivated diet gave way to family gatherings, BBQs, and buffet meals is that people don’t seem to think it is good manners to pull your phone out and counting the calories of all the food in front of everybody. Yet, trying to get to it later means you end up forgetting some things.  So for that last 10 days or so, I didn’t do the immediate journaling during my meals.  Instead, what I did was skip all the major treats (birthday cake, ice cream, etc.), and then during meals make sure my plate was about 1/2 to 2/3rds as full as most other people’s plates.  Lucky for me, my family tends to be healthy, so the food was good, and since they all maintain good body weights, I figure if I eat 50-70% of what they’re eating I’ll be right in my goal of 1800 cal/day.  Luckily the strategy paid off because my weight loss is staying right where it has been the last two months.

I did allow myself one major exception to my diet though:

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The best s’more ever!

Hey, I was camping! You can’t go camping and not eat at least one treat. (Don’t worry, I only ate half)

Finding my Place in Higher Ed – #MormonPositive

Continuing my theme on stories from my life where the struggles of being Mormon made my life better.

For those of you unaware, I work professionally as an Academic Advisor.  I currently work for Brigham Young University, but I started in this field 4 years ago (this month!) at the University of North Texas. Prior to that I worked for about 20 months as a Financial Aid Counselor, and before that I bounced around in a few different jobs trying to figure out who I wanted to be professionally. I love being an academic advisor, it is a fun job for a person like me.  And given that my education allows be to become a licensed counselor and working for a university allows me access to free and discounted continuing-education opportunities, I love that I still have a lot of potential for growth professionally (and personally) in the coming decades before I retire.

The interesting thing about all of this is that if I weren’t Mormon, I sincerely doubt that I would have found this career path and I don’t know if I would have ever found so much happiness in my career. In fact, if you were to look at the type of student I was in high school or my undergraduate, you would have never thought that I could become what I currently am.

You see, I was a bad student. It wasn’t that I wasn’t bright, or that I didn’t understand things that were being taught. It was simply that I was terrible about finishing my homework. During middle school and high school, I’d do fine on the tests but I would never read my assignments or do my worksheets.  I’d average out to a “C” when all was said and done, but it was entirely based on my test grades balancing out a bunch of ZEROs on all my homework. One thing that my dad and I would always argue over is that sometimes he’d find an assignment I hadn’t done in the morning and he’d make me complete as much of it as I could during breakfast and he’d make me do it between bites of cereal and tell me to turn it in even though I’d only complete about 25-50% of the assignment. For some reason though, I was more embarrassed to turn in an incomplete assignment to my teachers than to tell them I didn’t do it, so I’d keep it stuffed in the bottom of my backpack. I knew I’d get a lecture from my dad when my teachers would send home progress reports with a bunch of NHIs (Not Handed In) for all my homework assignments, but it didn’t matter. (I think I’m personally responsible for 60% of my dad’s baldness.)

After deciding that the arguments weren’t worth it, my mom finally hired a tutor for my my junior and senior years of high school. She wasn’t there to teach me anything about school subjects, her only job was to track all my assignments and create a schedule for me to get them done. It helped.

Thanks to my extra-curriculars (Academic Decathlon being the #1) and straight A’s in seminary, I was admitted to BYU out of high school.  That was remarkable in the late 90’s, my high school GPA probably put me in the bottom 5% of admits.  Today, theUndergrad Graduationy wouldn’t have bothered with the likes of me, I was too much of a risk.  In fact, I was a risk. Without the skills needed to manage my study schedule without a tutor, and since so much of the work at the university level requires self-directed study, my past habit of being able to at least get passable grades thanks to my test scores didn’t work.  I was failing my tests too. Somehow I pulled off graduation, but I spent all my time as an undergrad in and out of academic probation.

So, what does this have to do with being Mormon? Well, as you can imagine there were many times that I was ready to call it quits on this whole school thing.  I wanted to take the easy way out, just get an associates or a professional certificate and just get on with life. I probably would have done that if not for one thing: my Patriarchal Blessing.

I don’t want to offer too lengthy a description of a Patriarchal Blessing in this post (you can learn more here), but in short it is a blessing of guidance given typically during teenage years that offers inspired counsel for how to live your life. Most items said in the blessing are broad guidelines that relate directly to scripture. It is a personal thing though, so often we can find very specific guidance in those broad guidelines.

One of the guidelines in my blessing reads almost more like a commandment. My blessing counsels me to “continue throughout your life in your education and seek to grow in knowledge and wisdom.” It seems like a good bit of counsel for just about anyone to follow, but it felt very personal to me each and every time I’d get another email telling me that I had to go to the Academic Support Office because I was back on probation. So many times I wanted to call it quits and walk away, but thanks to a few words spoken to me during a blessing given by a total stranger, I kept on trying. And eventually, my efforts paid off and I graduated.

The story doesn’t end there though.  After three years out of school and finding myself professionally unfulfilled I began to realize that I needed more education to move forward again. The thought of putting myself through the stress of schooling again, and this time while married and with children, was almost too much to bare. I still had that counsel to lean back on though: “continue throughout your life in your education and seek to grow in knowledge and wisdom.” So, I eased my way back into school. I started with some independent study, then took some leveling-courses to get back into the swing of things, and then got into grad school and finished my Master’s, and I did so with a 4.0 GPA.  Every semester, as I’d get my report card, I would already know that I had satisfied the requirements for A’s, but I was still amazed to see them added to my transcript.Graduate Graduation

The most interesting thing about this story to me is where it actually led me. I didn’t plan on becoming an academic advisor when I started grad school, that was just a tangent that was supposed to help me pay my way through my master’s program.  Now though, I work every day with students who struggle the same way I did and don’t know how to turn it around. My life and experience with school has helped me develop knowledge and wisdom to help these students. I know how to help a struggling student change his or her habits in school, and it’s not a theoretical knowledge, it is genuine knowledge that I learned through effort and trial. Seeing these students who struggled like I did, and then make their lives better is what makes being an academic advisor the funnest job I could ever ask for.  And, it would have never happened if not for a stranger, who when I was 18 told me to “continue throughout [my] life in [my] education and seek to grow in knowledge and wisdom.” Another reason I am one very happy Mormon.

New Week, New Goals!

I’m now over two months into my summer goal to become healthy.  I’m really glad that I’m doing a coached program because in the past this was about as long as I was able to last on my own, but I’m feeling good and confident, so you’ll have several more weeks of these blog posts coming from me.

My goals for the coming week are:

  • Run 2 miles 2 times
  • Do my strength training workouts 2 times
  • Attend spin class once
  • 300 minutes of cardio

So far the biggest challenge I’ve had is getting the 300 minutes of cardio, I’ve been averaging 210-240/week.  With Friday being a holiday I might actually make it this time.

 

Projection vs Actual

Blue line: Projection / Red line: Actual

I’ve been doing good when it comes to tracking my weight these past two months.  Last week I mentioned that I had hit a plateau.  In hindsight I don’t thing that it was a true plateau, but my weight measurement on 6/18 was an outlier. Basically I looked like I lost more weight than I really had.  As you may recall, when I got my 2nd BodPod measurement I tracked out an estimate of what I would lose based on the changes I had done during the 3 weeks between my measurements.  I had lost an average of 1.101 lbs/week in between my BodPod Measurements, so I created a spreadsheet to see how long my goals would take if I maintained that pace.  The blue line on the chart is where my weight would be if I kept up the 1.101 lbs/week trend.  The red line is my actual weight loss.  So even though I look like I gained weight between 6/18 and 6/25, I’m still beating my estimate. A fact that makes me very happy 🙂

Another bit of good news is that based on my projections of losing 1.228 lbs of fat/week and gaining 0.128 lbs of muscle, my body fat percentage should now have passed below 30%.  I won’t know for sure until the last week of my program, but if anyone asks, I’m going to tell them that I am now officially “overweight” and I’m no longer “obese” (Again, using these terms based on actual body-fat percentage, not the stupid BMI. According to my BMI, I’ve never been obese & I would be “healthy” with a 26% body fat!  Stupid BMI…).

So to recap: Still working hard, glad I have a coach, 1 new goal, 3 repeating goals, not a real plateau, & now just overweight.

See you next week!

 

PS: the chart above was based on my weigh-ins at the gym.  I’ve also done my Wii Fit almost every morning in the month of June.  Here’s the chart from that:

 

 

June Wii Fit

 

Do you like my Mii?