My wife and I decided to take a trip to New Orleans at the end of the year. During that trip I made the decision that if I didn't change my ways, I wouldn't have too many years left. At 43 years old I had to make a change and I had to stop filling my years with failure.
On January 5th, 2015 I started a new 360 day journey. The goal was simple... Make my health a priority in 2015 and turn my life around. So how did I do? Did I change my ways or was it another wasted year full of empty promises?
In order to turn things around I set 3 very aggressive goals:
- Quit Smoking
- Quit Drinking Alcohol
- Lose 100 Pounds
January - March
My very first focus was to quit smoking. For the first 3 months of the year almost all my energy went into quitting smoking. It was tough but I quit cold turkey. During those first three months I also managed to not gain any weight. However, to compensate I started drinking more.
During the first 3 months I put a lot of focus on being mindful about my health. I found myself thinking about it everyday. It was this mindfulness that really helped me stay focused on the long road I had ahead. I also started to accept that I couldn't be perfect and that I had to look at the small victories instead of focusing all the time on the failures.
April - June
After my first 90 days I was feeling pretty good. I was still smoke free and now putting focus on drinking less. As I cut back on my drinking I realized that it also became easier to stick to a diet plan and lose some weight. By the end of April I had managed to drop almost 20 pounds. However, the road was still long and hard and it only got worse when I started having knee problems. May was a depressing month with lots of knee pain. I gave back some of my weight loss and by the end of June, after 6 months of being smoke free, I fell off the smoking wagon. I started to get depressed thinking I was heading right back to where I started and thinking it would be another wasted year, but I refused to give up.
July - September
July brought a change in plans. Specifically my new doctor recommend I try a no sugar, low carb diet. It worked better than even I expected and I lost almost 25 pounds in July alone! I was still off the wagon with the smoking but my drinking was much more under control. Instead of drinking all weekend every weekend it became more of a once or twice a month thing. More importantly, my drinking became less about escaping reality and more about just relaxing and having a good time. After a few months of smoking I also decided I needed to act or risk finishing the year as a smoker again. I did some research and ended up buying an e-cig.
By the end of September I was down about 27 pounds, had much better control of my drinking, and had again stopped using tobacco.
October - December
With 90 Days left in the year I made the last big push. At one point early in December I pushed past the 50 pound mark and got below 300 before giving a little of it back during the holidays. I'm still using the e-cig, with the occasional slip up here and there. My drinking is well under control, in fact I only drank once in December (New Year's Eve)
The Final Results
Quitting Smoking - Good
- Completely tobacco and nicotine free for 6 months
- Mostly tobacco free for 4 months
- 2 month slip-up
Quitting Drinking - Fair
- Still drinking, but under much better control and not being used as an escape from reality
Losing Weight - Very Good
Day 1 Starting Weight - 347
Current Weight - 300
Current Weight - 300
Weight Lost in 2015 - 47
Any year that you lose 47 pounds is a good year!
So as the clock ticked over to 2016 I felt a deep sense of satisfaction. Was my 2015 perfect? Not even close! However, I did make my health a priority and I have turned things around. I made significant progress in all three of my areas of focus and I'm stronger mentally. For the first time in a long time I feel like I'm back on the right track.
The journey is not over, I still have a long way to go, but I know I can do it. Best of luck to all you out there trying to make a change. Day 360 is in the books, on to Day 361 and a new year with new goals.