I started this process just over four months ago, so I thought it might be a good time to document some of the physical changes I've noticed.
The biggest thing I've noticed has been my weight. Before I started trying to live a healthier lifestyle, my weight would typically stay around the 190ish pounds area. There were days I'd be 185lbs, but there were also days I'd come in at 198lbs. For about a week now (so I think it is accurate), I've been at the 175lbs mark (plus or minus a pound), which was my goal weight when I started. With all of that being said, when I started doing this, I decided that weight would just be a metric I could use to help me get an overall picture of my body. I didn't want weight to be a single goal as I don't think it really captures what I am aiming for. My overall weight is certainly an important part of what I'm trying to change, but it isn't the whole thing.
I'm sure a big contributing factor to my weight has been my diet. Four months ago, it wasn't uncommon for me to have two (or more) full sugar sodas a day. I was eating unhealthy fast food probably every other day, and stuffing myself at every meal. My snacking was just as unhealthy, and the amount of water I was drinking each day was a joke.
Over the last four months I have really changed my diet, but honestly, it hasn't been super crazy (aka difficult) changes, it has been more just common sense type stuff.
I hardly ever drink soda these days. In fact, I was talking with my spouse the other day and mentioned that I can't remember the last time I had a Mountain Dew, which is crazy because I used to drink that stuff like it was going out of style. When I do have a soda, it is either a Zevia or a Coke Zero. Certainly not “healthy”, but way better than what I was doing before. If you were to average it out, I'm probably having a soda every other day now.
Outside of Taco Bell bean burritos (ha), fast food has pretty much been non-existent. I didn't go crazy and replace it with a bunch of healthy, diet oriented meals though. Instead, I just have “normal” meals. Sandwiches, noodles, etc. Stuff that isn't super complicated so it is easy for me to put together, but it is still somewhat healthy compared to what I was eating. For the first time in a looong time we had fast food burgers the other day, and honestly, it was gross. It is crazy to me how the body/mind can reset itself when given the opportunity.
Aside from the kind of food I'm eating, I've also changed how much I eat. I have made it a point to really listen to my body with regards to how much I need to eat. I take my time eating, and when my body tells me it is full, I stop. For me, the key word there is my “body”, not my brain :). I have found that if I take my brain out of the mix, my body does a great job of telling me what it needs (or doesn't need), so I've really just been trying to listen to it.
Closely related is how I've changed my snacking habits. I still snack which isn't a bad thing. As my activity has increased, my metabolism has picked up as well, which means I'm frequently hungry. Going back to the idea of listening to my body, my snacking is now based around when my body tells me it is ready for some fuel. When my body is ready for a snack though, no more Cheetos or cookies for snacks. Instead I turn to things like yogurt, granola and fruits/vegetables. So I'm still eating multiple snacks a day, I've simply changed what it is I snack on.
My fitness level is another area that I've noticed big changes in, which makes sense as most of what I've been working on has been focused around exercise. This area has been a bit tricky to track progress in, but at the same time, there have been big milestones that I've hit that tell me things are moving in the right direction.
I can say with a good amount of confidence that my cardio level is the best it has been in 10 years. I have hit a point where I can jog a 5k without issue, which has been a great personal milestone of mine. Why is it such a milestone for me? Simple: I hate cardio. Even when I was younger and in shape, I avoided any form of cardio. The closest you could get me to doing something cardio related was to push me onto a mountain bike, but that was pretty rare.
With the better cardio conditioning, I have noticed that at the gym my endurance has really improved. When we are doing drills/pad work, very rarely do I feel my energy draining away anymore. This is crazy because when I started, I was the guy who always had his hands on his head, catching my breath in between rounds. These days though, at least for the most part, once the round starts I am constantly moving. I have actually had a few partners comment on much exercise they were getting holding pads for me because of how active I am during our drills.
As you would imagine, my strength has also increased, but I haven't really put any time into measuring this or finding a way to track it. As I continue down this path I'll likely add in some type of weight lifting routine, which will help with data, but it isn't something I'm looking to make a big portion of my program.
This is all fantastic, and I'm really happy with the results, but the physical aspect is only a portion of what I've been working on. I'll try and create another post later covering the mental changes as well, as I think those are the real changes I was after. The mental changes are what facilitate the physical changes, so reflecting on my current mental state will be a great opportunity to showcase how it all relates.