Well its 4 a.m., 4:16am actually. Why am I up? A holiday shopping mission? Nope. Drank to much water before going to bed last night? Nope. Is it because I never went to bed in the first place? Possible, all good reasons, but not correct.
Today’s early rising has more to do with my schedule than anything. Today’s early rising was required so that I could start my day with a morning workout. A long overdue morning walk. I have missed 3 days in a row because of my busy schedule. No excuses, just life. I have been on the road for the past week, my normal routine all messed up. Sometimes life gets busy and schedules get all messed up. So, sit tight while I go on a walk. Or better yet, you go on a walk and finish reading this later. See you in an hour or so.
Okay, I am back! Thank you for being so patient. Wow! I always feel so good after a morning walk. Did you go on a walk? Feels good, right?! That never gets old. Sometimes, yes sometimes, my crazy schedule gets the best of me and working out or walking takes a “backseat” to my busy life. Eating healthy on the road proves difficult at times and healthy choices are limited at times. I wish that were not the case, but it happens. I always get plenty of steps in on busy days, but I am just not getting my heart rate up. Believe me, sleeping in feels good! And proper rest is critical. But, and here is the big but, if you let a change in your schedule become the norm without including workout time, that change will become an excuse for you not to work out. You will start to resent your schedule, your life, your choices. This is what happens to me when things get really crazy. Make “time” in your crazy schedule for working out is critical. You will feel so good. Even if that means getting up early one day (4 a.m., hehe) to fit it into your busy schedule. Every time I finish a walk or workout, every time, I feel so much better! Over the past nine months I have experienced a few setbacks, great successes and had many achievements. People continue to ask lots of questions and in general are always curious about “how are things going.” Below are a few more questions and answers I did not answer in the my latest video blog.
Overall, how do you feel? I feel great! No more shortness of breath when doing stairs. I can walk 10 miles no problem.
Do you have any healthy goals? I would like to get below 200 lbs. That number would seem like a “goal”. My main goal is to continue walking or doing some physical activity every day.
Are you still doing your morning walks? Five times a week, not always in the mornings, but I do make it part of my day.
Any other new exercises added to your routine? I “jog” 2-3 miles as part of my walking routine. Gets my heart rate up more.
Are you still eating healthy? I give my self a B as grade. I still do lots of spinach and veggies. I could always do better. If I have something unhealthy (pizza), just a few slices, not the whole pizza!
Any new healthy meals mixed into your life? YES, my wife reminded me after the video blog was done, FRESH SPRING ROLLS. It took me a while to master rolling them, but i now am pretty good at it! Make sure you watch the sauces, not to much, lots of extra calories in the sauces.
Do you still get support from family and friends? I continue to seek help and support from my family and friends. This is one of the “tools” I continue to use. Never stop asking if you need help.
Do you still feel support helps? Support can come in many forms, reading a blog, a phone call to a friend, reaching out in an email to a friend. Make support part of your healthy lifestyle change.
Holidays coming up. How do you plan on handling all of the holiday food? Any healthy options? I made one big change for this Thanksgiving, I gave away 98% of the left-overs. I kept enough for 1 extra meal. By the way, my wife helped me with that decision. See, support helps.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking about becoming healthier? People ask me all the time, how do you do it? What can I do? And while the answer is simple, actually taking that first step is not. For me and for many millions of others out there. Taking that first step, literally, taking that first walk around the block, just seems like “nothing”. If you are like me, it took 10-20 years to pack the extra weight on. And over the years I have gone up and down in weight from “dieting”. But the one thing that truly changed my life was exercise. I never made exercise part of any weight loss program. When I started walking, and yes walking is exercise, I could not believe how quickly results started to show. Within 4-5 days I started to see results. If you need any proof, go back and watch my video blogs of the 30 days in the “glass apartment”. Start with the day 1 video and by day 5 you can already see real change… It worked for me. It can work for you. Take that first step, reach out and ask a friend, a family member or your partner. Tell them you need help and that you want to make a change. No one can make you do it, There is no pill or quick fix, but if you just reach out and take that first step, that first small step. I promise you, you will feel better and you will be so glad you did.
In the past 6 months I have had both great success as well as a few setbacks. And while successes and achievements are fun and easy for me to talk about. I must admit, I find it harder to discuss my setbacks. So here goes… As mentioned in my last blog 3 months ago I had to take some time off and recover from hernia surgery. In retrospect I also chose to take some time off from my “healthy” eating. I was eating well, but not as well as I should have. 2 weeks after my surgery that I started walking again. I felt pretty good. I was moving slow, but not happy with how my body was performing. I was not able to walk as far or as fast as I wanted. I know that I was recovering, but it still did not change the way it was feeling. Between not walking or moving as much and eating poorly, I found it hard to stay motivated. Some days I did not want to exercise or walk at all… No excuses. I just did not feel like it and as the result of my inactivity I gained back 12 lbs.
Plenty of excuses… Got work to do, work that has to get done! No time to prep food! I will eat better tomorrow! Tomorrow, I will get back on track tomorrow! I am tired today, truly tired…
The list goes on and on, bottom line, these were the same excuses & reasons I had given myself for the past 15-20 years. I was amazed at how quickly I found old habits creeping back in. Shoot! I felt like crap. I was unmotivated and finding it easy to make excuses for my choices! How the heck did this happen? I love the way I feel after I workout! I have so many great resources available to me and here I am slipping back into my old ways. Nooo! Now it would be easy for me to blame the surgery and for following Dr’s orders to “take time off and lay low”. I can truly say, I made a choice to not talk about the way I was feeling because I did not want to let anyone down.
Well, practice what I preach! It worked. I reached out to family and friends. I was transparent and honest with them. I asked for help. If I have truly learned anything, it is that being honest about one’s “setbacks” can be just as fulfilling and rewarding as seeking the praise of one’s successes. Over the last 3-4 weeks, with the help of friends, family and my lovely wife. I have lost the weight and am back down to 221. I feel so much better. As summer comes to a close, I too am curious to see what challenges I will face as colder weather draws near. Will I make excuses to not work out? Maybe. Will I eat healthier during the Holidays? Probably. Will I continue to improve my health? I will try. We all have setbacks and successes. It is what we do with both of those that will make a true difference in our lives. It sure has in mine…
I often get asked “Has any of it stuck? Is eating healthy still part of your life?” Well, last weekend Julie (my wife) and I were driving home from the farmer’s market, I was snacking on sugar snap peas and we were discussing how a Focaccia bread, with freshly sliced tomatoes and some Greek yogurt dip would make for a great lunch before we get our afternoon walk in. Yes! I can happily say, “It stuck!”
Wow, does time fly! It has now been a little over 3 months since I finished my stay in the glass box at Mall of America. And I am happy to report that, for the most part, all is well! I continue to exercise 5-6 days a week. Eating healthier and spinach salads are still part of my regular diet. And I feel great!
Now having said that, I want to be clear that not every day is perfect. Some days I am just plain tired. There are days I do not feel like exercising or doing anything physical at all. Days I feel like cooking, food prep and eating healthy are just too much work. But, and here’s the honest truth, I have different “tools” in place. I know that if I take a few extra steps while walking or go a few extra blocks when riding my bike, I feel amazing and I am right back on track. If I have healthy food in my fridge, if I take a little time to prep some food, that is what I will eat. I make it easy for me to get back on track.
Julie and I took a much needed and well deserved vacation last month. We walked, jogged and biked every day while on vacation. And we loved it. I am not joking. This was our best vacation yet. We even managed to walk over 31,000 steps one of the days. This was the first vacation where we did not need a few days to recover when we got home.
Speaking of getting back on track, I am currently moving a little slow. I have not done much in the way of walking or exercise over the past few weeks. Why, you ask? I had hernia surgery a couple of weeks ago. The hernia happened during a show at the History Theater. Ouch! The surgery went well and I started walking again three days ago. I should be back up to 15k per day in no time. I miss exercise. He-he. Now there is a sentence I have never used.
I have walked close to 1.8 million steps since this journey started four months ago and I can see the 2-million mark just around the corner. I know I have said this before, but good shoes are so important! Get yourself a good pair of shoes. Your feet will feel better, you’ll feel better, promise.
I have a few helpful tips to share :
1. LEARN ABOUT VEGGIES: We started receiving our weekly delivery of fresh produce four weeks ago. Talk about a learning curve. I had no idea what half of the “greens” were. I recommend the book “From Asparagus to Zucchini” to help you when it comes to learning and cooking with veggies. Thank you Greta M. for that helpful suggestion. Another great veggie cook book is “The Accidental Vegetarian” for those who want to be a bit more creative. And of course, my favorite, “Choose This” Chris Freytag’s cook book is loaded with great-tasting recipes (Apple Cranberry Spinach Salad. Yum!)
2. DRESS THE PART: I find that if I wear my workout cloths as I run errands, I am less likely to eat un-healthy! I am not joking! It’s a little hard to scarf down a super-sized meal or go through a drive-through when you have your running shorts and your “Just Do It” t-shirt on. Ha! It works.
A big thank you to everyone who stops me when I am out and about. I love it! Your stories and kind words are inspiring and remind me everyday that exercise, eating better and just taking that first step toward living a healthy lifestyle is really for the health of all.
I cannot believe 4 weeks have passed since I handed my keys back to Dr Marc. I am finding it hard to start this blog. What do I talk about first. I have such a wide range of emotions. You can imagine the questions I get asked and you would be right. Did you really live there for a month? Has any one ever told you, you look like that BCBS guy who lived in the in the glass box at Mall of America? When did you get out? Did you really sleep there? Did your wife sleep there, the list goes on and on…
Most common question, Do you miss the BOX? No. The box was just a place to learn. What I miss most about the box is the people and the connections I made while living there. I miss meeting all the different trainers & the Octane Fitness Elliptical machine. I learned so much, I am so grateful for the experience. When you have 4500 Facebook friends, sharing laughs and stories with you everyday, you feel a little disconnected when you get back to your real life. Fortunately, I have a great support network with Julie, family and friends. Second question I get asked the most, Do you still eat and exercise on a regular basis? Yes! Now to be honest i did take it easy the first few days when I got out of the Glass Box. I slept in till 8am. By the 3rd day of being home Julie and I began walking the lakes near our home. Bailey (my dog) begins her morning ritual of staring at her leash and the excited panting that goes along with knowing a “walk” is near. I love my morning walk. And if the weather is bad, I try to “do” something. I recommend tracking your progress when it comes to food and fitness. Tracking my progress helps me stay motivated.
Grocery shopping has taken on a whole new meaning. Julie and I shop for our fruits and veggies together as we now plan our meals out for the week. We really do shop around the outer ring of the grocery store. Using Flatout Wraps as burritos are still my favorite, brown rice and peppers are now a staple in the fridge and we are buying spinach in bulk! I have been sticking with old fashioned oats in the morning, along with my raisins, along with egg beaters every 4-5 day just to change it up. We now have a large bowl of fruit on our kitchen counter, no joke, we fill it every week. mainly Granny Smith apples and seedless oranges. Bananas make the mix as well, but not as often. I now have wonderful conversations with my friends and family about the healthy choices I have made when it comes to food and exercise. And what they themselves often ask me what they can do to make changes in their lives.
The most common thing people ask me is “How do I start?” Let me tell you, small changes can really make a big difference. One of the things that I encourage anyone to do, anyone who struggled with healthy eating or weight loss, is to think of “changes” as “choices”. Pick one thing to “Do”, just one. And with that one choice, that one small change, you have now taken the first step toward making a real change. Stay tuned for more updates and keep sharing your “Do’s”.
Oh, one more important thing I almost forgot to mention: Come back to this site later this week to check out The Human Doing documentary. It’s pretty cool. 30 days summed up in 5 minutes. You won’t want to miss it.
Keep Do.ing, Moving and Grooving,
Scott, The Human Doing