ch..ch..changes

What is it about change that makes it something that is loved by few, embraced by some, and viewed with distrust by the majority?

While out of the scope of this article, I think it boils down to fear of (leaping into) the unknown, and bad experience. No matter how many times people say “embrace change”, we’ve all experienced change that has been bad…

In the context of my efforts to lose weight and become healthier, it’s all been about change; a few big changes, a heap of tiny changes and subsequent experience of changes within myself, both physically and mentally.

making change a familiar activity

As mentioned previously, Britt has actively promoted the idea of "add something, remove something and set a goal". In the early days this was relatively easy to accomplish, mainly because there was so much that needed attention.

As the weeks and months have gone by I have found it increasingly difficult to find things to change (I’ve been walking regularly, drinking plenty of water, hitting targets on rowing times, have dropped sugar from the few teas and coffees I still consume, eating healthily etc.) What has happened instead is I’ve noticed goals and changes just sort of creeping in by themselves. The habit and practice of change has established itself, so I no longer have to seek out things to change on a regular basis.

Just to give a recent example – my gym sessions have grown longer and so it is becoming increasingly difficult to get up, go the gym, catch a bus early enough to fit in the riverside walk and still be able to leave the office just before 3pm..

So without really thinking I’ve effectively removed the riverside walk, added an extended lunchtime walk and have now set a goal of including a climb up Jacob’s Ladder as part of that lunchtime routine!

physical changes

I think it’s fair to say that there’s very clear visible progress now. The most recent set of photos show my back starting to form a clear V shape, the belly is shrinking, the “dimples” on my back are fading away and the face is getting thinner.

People are commenting how much healthier I am looking as well, which is fantastic feedback. I do point out though that there’s still 25kg or more to go. I can’t let compliments make me too complacent!

In the very near future, I’m going to have to have to clear out a few things that are getting too big to wear. I wil also need to invest in some new trousers, jeans, shorts and boxer shorts… I won’t go to extremes, firstly because I’m not one for having an extensive wardrobe anyway, but also because I plan for these new clothes to become too big themselves, over the course of the next few months!

improvements in fitness

A quick glance at the Daily Journal should be enough to realise just how much progress has been made on this front!

Back at the end of January I wrote an entry that went something like “Really pleased, managed to get up at 5am and went for a 20 minute walk”.

This was a MAJOR step, and in all honesty the most important one. It also represented the limits of my health and fitness at that time. I could cope with a 20 minute walk, but turn that into a half day of walking (at a show, shopping etc.) or a day working in the garden, then I’d probably spend the next day or so recovering. Quite often, if there was a lot of exertion involved, I would wind up getting a cold or some viral thing or other.

Fast forward to a typical day right now: Up at some point between 3am and 4am, down the gym for just over an hour, bus to work, mid-morning walk that includes going down and up the office stairs, lunchtime walk that now includes a walk up Jacob’s Ladder (and down and up the office stairs) and recovering fully by the following day…

I recently rowed 5km in one go, regularly leg press with a full stack (100kg), have gone from doing 10 knee pushups to doing up to 80 full pushups in an hour session.

If , back in January, you had shown me what I do today, and was told that was what I was aiming for – in all honesty I would have told you that you’re being unreasonable, and would have probably given up then and there.

The gap between then and now is huge, the steps and changes to create that gap have been tiny!

mindset changes

Despite changes in outward appearance being obvious and rewarding, the big win during this process has been the mental changes. I know they always push that line on shows like The Biggest Loser, and it can sometimes sound like a cliche – the thing is it’s true!

Underpinning all the successes and achievments to date has been the development of an appropriate mindset. In all honesty I think this part was made relatviely painless because I was ready for the lifestyle changes and had already committed to those changes internally.

That said, on a number of occasions it would have been easy to give up, walk away and write the experience off yet again. The huge difference this time around has been my level of accountability. Putting my daily journal online (and visible to literally anyone) has played a major role in keeping me on track.

Before the mindset changes had firmly established, I had the entire Internet as my conscience. Now I’m not saying tht in order to succeed, you will need to put yourself out there quite so publicly. Just don’t keep it to yourself, confide in a few friends and family, and let them keep you accountable until your attitudes have genuinely changed.

Even now I get "bad" days, but every time I get over one of these speed bumps, I grow stronger mentally.

So, if you’re sat there thinking “I really ought to do something about…” my advice is:

Do it.
Do it now, and,
Embrace change!

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