2 Easy Habits - 1 Year Later

May 20th, 2021 · 4 min read · Life

Based on over 40 years of experience, I can attest that my future days and weight are dependent on my daily habits. Duh, right‽ The lesson finally sunk in and —with my focus on health— I've been able to stick to 2 easy daily habit changes.

May 20, 2020 — I was in a minor health crisis if I'd bother to pay attention to my weight. The daily walks around the neighborhood weren't enough to offset the cheese and crispy-crunchy late-night and overnight snacking.

To my thinking: 30 minutes everyday is better than 1 hour every-other-day and eat nutritionally dense food and eating less are key to weight loss.

1) Exercise: 30+ minutes/day

I've stuck to various bodyweight and strength-focused circuit training, 6 days a week with a day off. This varies, some days I will workout for over 40 minutes but I try to keep the intensity to a level that makes much more than 30 minutes a challenge, especially in the beginning. Some days I'm sore and the workout is a little less intense.

I use suspension straps (TRX style) for a variety of upper body and core strength-training exercises. For lower body, many varieties of squats, lunges, deadlifts, ice skaters, bridges, etc... are available with no equipment needed, just move!

I like exercising before breaking my fast, I've never felt like hunger detracted from my workout. If anything, the frenetic energy of hunger helps compel me to move, knowing that I'll have food soon after. This maximizes my fat burning potential and it aids in recovery to eat something after a strong workout, helping to be strong for the next workout.

2) Fast: 12+ hours/night

A surprisingly easy way to eat less. That's important but there appears to be a bit more to fasting than simply eating less. It shifts what your body does with itself; it can more readily access fat as an energy source.

I've never intentionally fasted before so this was a bit scary to start with last year, now it's truly habit. It took at least 3 months to get used to fasting with such intention, after 6 months I've often extended up to 16+ hours. My hunger level varies and when I can quietly get up to 16 hours of fast without hunger being a big annoying irritant, I do. Sometimes I break my fast shorter because I'm too distracted by hunger... but never less than 12 hours.

Results

I lost 30 pounds in the first 6 months! This was great and I thought, cool, only another 20 to go!

Except that I've hit a plataeu for the last 6 months and have maintained a higher-than-ideal weight but much healthier than before.

Weight is just one dimension, I've gained a general mood improvement, improved energy and mental/emotional health. I feel like I can actually take on life again, whereas I was feeling a bit dragged by the bus of life before.

Background

Facing many life changes largely brought on by the global coronavirus pandemic, something finally clicked last year and I knew I needed to make some changes for my longterm health and wellbeing.

Pool Closure

My primary form of exercise has been swimming. I love getting out of gravity for a moment, even if it means always smelling the pool chemicals in my hair and beard. But then the pools were closed and I needed to find another option.

Houshold Changes

During the first part of the pandemic lockdown my best friend moved in with his 2 children. This was a delight and they helped straighten up my place and make it a space we could all share, but it was a big adjustment for me personally; I couldn't imagine braving the start of this lockdown without the support and company of these fine people.

After that Cassidy came to live with me. It's been great to have loved ones to share these stressful days.

Sit-Stand Desk

I got an electronic sit-stand desk and like it very much. I split my time between sitting and standing, shifting is as easy as pressing a button and waiting about 30 seconds.

Exercise Inspiration

I have a few workouts on YouTube that I've done repeatedly. Even after a year I still consider myself generally a "beginner" and modify the workouts by skipping jumping and opting for other low-impact modifications.

I get my heart rate up while challenging my myself with the intent to build muscle strength. By executing in a circuit, I get some cardio benefits while using the time wisely.

Along with some YouTube works (favorites from SELF and Fitness Blender), I have designed my own suspension strap upper body plus core workout.

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