About Fogdog's Weight Loss

Don't Focus on the Goal...

If you've followed this blog you know that I've struggled for many years with improving my health. I've finally reached a point where I've managed to maintain a small amount of success. Now it's time to take the next step, but I believe it requires a new way of thinking.

Instead of trying to get healthy, why not shift focus toward learning how to build healthy habits instead. Follow me as I try to teach myself how to Engineer healthy habits that will allow me to take my health to the next level. Let's see where this experiment goes!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

First 7 Days - Habit #1

I am happy to report that my first 7 days have been successful.  Every day after work I changed into workout clothes.  I know this might seem silly to you that my goal is to just simply change into my workout clothes, but the idea is that I'm focused on building a habit, not on actually working out.  I'm teaching my brain to think about exercise automatically everyday after work.  Even though I didn't have to I also decided to extend my routine into the weekend and on both days I was successful.

Of course just because my daily goal doesn't include exercise, that doesn't mean I'm not allowed to get some.  In fact this week was probably the most active week I've had since we moved here:

On the first day I was already in my workout clothes, so I decided to get on the elliptical and run out a mile.  Then on Tuesday and Wednesday the family decided to go play tennis after dinner.  1 hour each day running around in the sweltering heat (we've been in the high 90's all week).  Thursday my daughter had soccer practice so no time to work out, but as soon as I got home I changed into workout clothes, then I proceeded to change right out of them and get ready for bed.  Friday brought more tennis as well as a bonus round on Saturday.  Today was 3 hours of yard work during the day.  No tennis tonight, but as I'm writing I'm in my workout clothes :)

It's important to note that not only do I make sure to change into my workout clothes each day, but I've also stopped to think about how I feel meeting that goal each day.  It might be a simple goal to meet, but the reward is that I completed it every day.  That feels great.  Not only that but on the days that I got out and exercised I also made note of how satisfied I felt afterward.  Again I'm teaching myself that my habit brings positive feelings.

My goal is to put on my exercise clothes every day after work.  In the first week I met my target, did it for an additional 2 days on the weekend, and also got close to 6 hours of activity in that I normally would not do.  Not too shabby!

I'm sure some who read this just won't get what I'm doing, but it makes sense to me.  14 days to go!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A New Beginning, A New Way of Thinking – Building Healthy Habits

Greetings fellow bloggers! I can’t believe my last post was 18 months ago. A lot has happened in my life since I did the 180 in 360challenge.  I can honestly say that when I look back at 2015 it will likely be one of the most pivotal points in my life.

So where have I been for the last 18 months?  Glad you asked.  For starters I can say my health has still been a primary focus in my life.  I am happy to say that I have completely kicked the alcohol dependency!  In fact in the last year I can count how many times I’ve had a drink on one hand.
I have also managed to stay away from tobacco.  I still use an e-cig, but the nicotine level is so low now that I’m starting to question why I even use it; I think it’s just out of habit now.

And what about the weight?  Well I’m happy to say that I have NOT put the weight back on that I lost in 2015.  At the end of 2015 I was at 300 pounds.  I don’t weigh myself very often these days, but at last check I was somewhere around 305.

Now you might be wondering why I’m back and I’m calling this a new beginning.  Well, for starters I just finished moving my family to NC and have taken on an exciting new challenge in my career.  I’m excited; My wife and I lived in NC about 12 years ago and now we finally made it back here.  We have moved around quite a bit in my career, but now that the kids are older the plan is to make this area permanent for the foreseeable future.  The last 6 months have probably been the most stressful that I can remember, yet I have not succumbed to the usual bad unhealthy habits that usually overtake me and force me off the wagon.

We’ve been here now for about 3 months.  Now that the dust has settled I’m ready to take my healthy living to the next level and maybe drop some more weight while I’m at it.  However, I know what happens when I go on a diet; I’ve yo-yoed myself too many times to think that anything would be any different this time.  It’s time to change my way of thinking…

I’ve decided that instead of focusing on losing weight or focusing on exercising more, I’m going to turn my focus towards building habits.  The way I see it, if I can teach myself how to create habits then I can choose to develop habits that will help me to be healthier.  I’m also hoping that as I learn to create habits, I might stumble across certain Keystone habits that will even accelerate my healthy living.

The Plan

I’ve already read quite a lot about creating habits; Most people agree that you need to start small and that it takes at least 21 days to make a habit.  Ok, so I’m going to pick 1 habit and I’m going to start small.  Since this is all about my health the first habit I want to establish is an exercise habit.

Now remember, I’m focused on building a habit, I’m not focused on exercising or losing weight.  The first thing I want to do is establish a routine.  I know from experience that I am not a morning workout person.  In fact I want to save my mornings for focusing on my mental health (after I establish this first habit).  I’m going to start with building an exercise habit after work.  My objective is real simple:

For the next 21 days I will change into workout clothes after work 

That’s it!  No more requirements other than to change into workout clothes.  If I choose to exercise that’s fine, but it’s not required.  By changing into those clothes I’m going to begin programming my mind to prepare myself for exercise.  I’m going to begin building the exercise habit.
Notice I’m not talking about how much weight I’m going to lose or how much exercise I’m going to get.  I want to exercise and I want lose weight and be healthy, but to get there I need to teach myself to create habits that give me those results.

I welcome you to follow me as I see how this experiment plays out.  After 21 days I will add another habit and/or increase the requirements on one of my existing habit declarations.  Over time I am hoping these habits will stick and become a normal part of my life.  Wish me luck!

[Photo: Flickr / dierk schaefer]