What I gained from 12 weeks of workouts

I’ve been planning this post for a long time (virtually every one of those 12 weeks!) but it still hasn’t completely settled in my mid as there is so much to draw together.

From what I remember, the goals at the beginning were quite simple: 

* workout 6 mornings a week, with a specific commitment to getting up with the sun or thereabouts to run outside on Saturdays and Mondays
* stick to a starchy-carb-free diet as far as possible
* (as a consequence) kick my weightloss into a higher gear

These have all gone successfully, and it’s so gratifying at the end of a quarter to look back and see the solid progress made. I did not miss a single workout, there may have been a week or two where in strict calendar terms I did a five and a seven but I did my 72 workouts, and I did pushups every day except one where I overslept in the morning and forgot in the evening. My running did get faster overall and just last week I had the swim of my life which was the ultimate proof of my fitness and stamina. I swam my furthest distance ever at 3.2km (I think I may have managed 2.5k once before so this was just beyond everything), I was able to swim the entire first km front crawl in the big pool (those laps are looooong!) and as a result got a PB of 26:25, an improvement of 1:15 over the time I set in the same pool at the end of Q2. But what has changed most of all is the sheer JOY I’m able to find in exercise – almost all my days I’m very happy to do it once I’m up and into it and that swim was the ultimate – I had nowhere else to be and every stroke of every lap just felt so good, I resolved to stay there until I was worn out and that’s how I ended up going so far.

As importantly as all of that, I think what I’ve learned from being consistent over twelve weeks is to appreciate the things I do on a daily basis that work together to keep me healthy. The exercise for starters, getting up and dressed at a reasonable time on my days off, getting decent amounts of sleep, avoiding getting tanked up on coffee every single day (I think it’s the raised cortisol levels that build up over time – can do without that!), avoiding alcohol (hmmm a substance that mimic depressive symptoms? Yeah can do without that too and the loss of the morning after!) and the things I do to try and set my thoughts on a more positive track, and also just making time and finding ways to do the things I love.

As far as diet goes, I did start off pretty strictly anti-carbon and I found as a result that the worst of my cravings went away and as a result more of my disordered eating behaviours have become controllable. I have been able to reintroduce some starches in moderate portions while maintaining a structure that allows me to eat clean at most meals if I want to. It’s amazing to feel like I can eat most things again because I can trust myself to only need a bit and not get obsessed – more on that in a separate post I think.

In terms of weight, my zones started our at 243/236/228 with a new top-line in some parts of the floor that I would estimate started around 248 and in terms of what I can now get on the scale the top line is 233 and the others 230/178/162. While I know rationally the top line is what I actually weigh, the other lines have really encouraged me to keep going and even the top line has come down at least a pound a week on average, even with being stuck for about 8 weeks. I am always optimistic it can get faster but even at that rate I can hit goal overall by my 34th birthday – and will probably be able to see goal in some capacity (even if it’s balancing on one leg on the very edge of the scales ;)) by the end of the year.

The main thing is I can see myself sustaining the lifestyle I’ve built. The exercise I started as a mood-adjuster has become my quickest route to a happy high that I relish each morning. I am planning meals and enjoying consuming only the food I need and enjoy without bringing. I am at least one dress size smaller and can wear the majority of the clothes from the archive of small clothes – and I can always find something to wear that makes me feel pretty. I am in the shape of my life and for once I can really see how the path continues from here out of obesity and beyond.

Lots of things have been life-changing this year but those 12 weeks and the decisions I made every day have made an enormous difference. I am not going to be finishing this year the person I was when I started and that feels amazing!

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