Apr 302012

Do you want to know something ridiculous?

A few months ago, I was too fat to mow my lawn.

I told you it was ridiculous.

To be fair, I have a large lawn. It’s not huge for country living, but for city living it’s pretty big, and it’s bar far the biggest lawn on my block. To top it off, I have a huge hill in the back, it’s pretty high, and it has 3 sides to it, so it makes the maneuvering pretty tricky. However, a normal person could easily mow my lawn in less than an hour.

For the past few years I’ve mowed my lawn in three sections on three different days. I would pathetically mow the front yard, and then go inside and collapse into a pile on my bed and let my fan blow on me until I could breathe normally. If I wasn’t too lazy, I’d repeat the process over the next two days on half of the back yard each day.

If I was lazy, I’d skip the back yard for a week or more, because it was just too much extra work.

I was embarrassed about how my lawn looked, but being too fat and lazy to move outweighed the embarrassment. (Haha, outweighed!)

Since I have change my activity levels this year, I can easily mow my entire yard in under an hour. The hills is no problem at all.

All it took was to fix my issue of being less tired (You can read about that here) and to become more active. It’s so simple that a child could understand, but I was so deep in the rut of being tired, and being lazy and being fat, that I couldn’t see it.

Of course the bonus is that I can get nearly five thousand steps by mowing my lawn. The fitbit measures stairs as changes in elevations, so I record a few flights of stairs as well.

After I mow my lawn, I even have enough energy to do the rest of my steps for the day, often right after the lawnmowing. Mowing my full lawn and then going to do MORE walking was completely unthinkable as recently as last fall. It’s amazing how quickly things can change.

If you are in the midst of a weight loss journey, what common things can you now do, that you couldn’t before you started your journey?

 April 30, 2012  Posted by  Tagged with: ,  2 Responses »
Apr 262012
My Fitbit Ultra

This is the fifth and last post of my opening post series about my struggles losing weight, and my journey to where I am now.

To start at the beginning of this series, click here.

On February 18th, 2012, I purchased my Fitbit Ultra. (I got the blue one, mostly because blue is my favorite color.  Oh, and I’m a guy.)

My Fitbit Ultra

My Fitbit Ultra

A week before that, I had never even heard of it.

My boss, who is in the middle of an incredible weight loss journey himself, is a gadget guy. He buys all sorts of gadgets, and new electronic thingamajigs all the time. One day I was in his office, and he showed me his latest purchase, the Fitbit Ultra.

He started explaining how it was basically a pedometer with a ton of other features. I had had some experience with a pedometer a few years before, when our company was using a program in conjunction with our health insurance. The program basically gave you a pedometer to use, to be healthy. It didn’t count steps, I’m not really sure what it counted to be honest. A good day was like an 11. At any rate, I didn’t use it for very long. Looking back on it, it might have been more successful for me if the number had some sort of context that I could match up with my effort.

Back to the main story. My boss showed me the neat things that the Fitbit Ultra could do. It could track steps, mileage, stairs climbed, and calories burned. It could give me little motivational messages, and it could show my current activity level. He had spent over a year losing a very significant amount of weight, and he was as giddy as a child with a new toy when he was explaining this to me.

My interest was already piqued. Then he hit me with the next shot. Not only does it track all of these things on the device itself, but it uploads them to a website where you can set goals, keep track of your history, see your progress, and many other things.

It’s like a pedometer on crack.

Alarm bells went off inside my head. I felt faint. THIS is what I was looking for. THIS is what is going to help me lose weight. THIS is my savior.

I’m not trying to be overly dramatic. That’s really how I felt. There are few things I love more in this world than statistics. My love of statistics is what drives my passion for sports. My love of statistics is what got me into programming. This little device was the perfect motivation for me. I could see my stats in real time, and align them with the goals I set.

I went out and bought my Fitbit Ultra from Best Buy. I had to search a few stores in order to find it, apparently only some of the stores carry it.

I read or heard somewhere that the average person takes about 5000 steps per day. I did a baseline test, and checked how many steps I took in an average work day. It was 2000 to 3500.

I decided to check my weight the next morning, and start on this thing for real.

I almost cried when I saw it.  I weighed 297, with no clothes on.  Are you freaking kidding me? I was beyond ridiculous.

I started out slowly. I decided I’d start with aiming for 4,000 steps per day, and increase it each week by 1000 steps per day.

The first couple of days, I could barely walk. I was so far out of shape that I had to work my behind off just to get back to ‘out of shape’. After about a week, my feet were blistered so bad that I almost quit. It was not easy moving this much weight that far, but I knew I had to do it. When I got to 7,000 steps per day, I couldn’t even comprehend how I could get to 10,000. Set a goal, aim for the goal, reach the goal. It sounded simple in my head, but it was very difficult in practice.

I look at weight loss like a struggle, I’m not sure if I’ll ever beat it. I’m going to give it my best, but I’m going to need to use every ounce of inspiration, motivation and accountability that I can in order to get there.

Today is April 25th, 2012. I’m down 17 pounds, and I am hitting 10,000 steps on my Fitbit Ultra every single day and have been for a few weeks. I picked 10,000 as a number to shoot for as a plateau, because it seemed like a ridiculously lofty goal at the time. When I started, I couldn’t climb a simple set of stairs. I plan to start increasing my steps again soon, but right now with everything going on in my life, it’s definitely a challenge to fit in time for the steps I already need to take.

I’ll be posting about things that help me down the path to a healthier, fitter, not-dead, me. I’ll be posting about the tools I use that help me, stats on how I’m doing,  and more failures if I have any. It’s going to be a very long road, but I’m going to try to be in it until the end.

If I help some people along the way, that would be great. If other people help and inspire me along the way, that will be great too.

I look forward to this journey.

What motivates you to lose weight? What is your accountability?



 April 26, 2012  Posted by  Tagged with: , , ,  7 Responses »