On 4/20/15, I walked into DC Fitness for the first time in my workout gear. Ready to have my newly acquired trainer put me through my first workout. One of the exercises that day was push-ups. I was able to do 4 standard pushups, a weak 5th one, then dropped to my knees to finish the set of ten. I was able to do even fewer “real” pushups on the next 2 sets. (More on this later.) I was fat, out of shape and looking to improve those conditions.
Today is the 3-month anniversary of that fateful day. I checked in on Facebook, one month into my journey, and have not updated since. I had such a huge outpouring of support and kind comments of encouragement that I thought I should check in. Besides all the kind words, I had several people that told me they were inspired by me. THAT, is truly humbling. If I can encourage only one person to make a healthy change, I will have successfully paid it forward.
While it’s not Biggest Loser material. Here’s me 30lbs lighter:
I put together some of my thoughts 90-days into this journey.
Forget the scale, it’s just a number.
We seem to measure every successful diet by the pounds lost. I’m not here to throw stones at anyone who does this. Hell, I do it. However, I have found that I’m finding much more joy in the “little things”. Like:
- cinching up your belt until you are out of holes (maybe you should buy a new belt or add more holes)
- wearing shirts that used to look like a sausage casing on you, now hang loose (see above photo)
- not getting winded walking up a flight of stairs
- walking the same route, but cutting 5 minutes off your time (because you were able to run some of it)
- buying jeans in April, because none of yours fit, but now you can’t wear them because they are too big
- getting compliments from random people about your weight loss
- being assigned 3 sets of 15 pushups and being able to do all 45 with perfect form 3 months later when you could barely do 4 on that first day
- THAT’S the fun stuff. You get enough of these “small things”, you end up realizing the big number on the scale.
Log it, log it, log it.
I had a compliance person once tell me, “If you didn’t document it, it didn’t happen.” I carried that into my exercise life. I log everything that I consume. I log every exercise I do. I use the MyFitnessPal (MFP) app on my iPhone. I use a heart rate monitor that syncs back to MFP so I don’t have to enter all my exercises. (If you are interested in the details of what tech I stuff I use, see the bottom of this.)
My advice to anyone looking to get healthy; get started. You don’t have to set a grand master plan, tell everyone to stay away from you while you diet, just make some changes to start. Eat more fruit, drink more water, take the stairs, park at the end of the parking lot so you walk further, get a FitBit, log your food (paper & pencil is cool if you don’t want to be a geek like me).
The best advice my trainer has given me: “Don’t ever be hungry, don’t ever be full.” If you eat out of boredom, like I always did, stop before you go into the kitchen to graze. Get a glass of water instead and after drinking it, wait 15 minutes and see if you feel the same cravings.
Folks, I’m not where I want to be, but you know what I am? Happier and more energetic. I look for ways to be more active because I know it will pay off more than the Lay’s potato chips will. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. I’m not an expert, just a dude on a healthier lifestyle journey.
Tech Stuff I use (You can skip this if you are not interested in geeky stuff.)
MyFitnessPal (click for link to the site, it’s free)
Since MFP is one of the most popular sites for food tracking, almost every food is already there for you to add to your list. They also have a bar code scanner that you can scan something you just ate, enter the quantity and its added. Very cool, if you are so technically inclined.
Scosche Armband heart rate monitor. I have never been a fan of chest strap monitors. This fits nice and from my tests gives an accurate reading.
My newest addition is my Apple Watch. I have become absolutely obsessed with getting all three of the daily activity rings. Move – calories burned, exercise & stand. (I was shocked to find how many times in a day I have not stood up for over an hour. The Apple Watch reminds you to stand at the 50 minute mark of the hour if you have not stood for over a minute.) Here’s what my streak since getting my watch look like:
Last last summer after John Jansky completed my “Playoff Beard Art“, I asked him about doing something with my Souza Financial Group logo. John delivered the finished product to my office today. It is awesome!
Besides the great colors, John was able to incorporate my passions.
First and foremost in the center of it all is my family. Next up is the Blackhawks behind the “SFG”. Next is the Cleveland Indians. The maroon represents my schools; DHS & SIU. The outermost ring is of course my business.
Saturday, April 27th, the Blackhawks played their last regular season game. That was the beginning of my playoff beard. The playoff beard is a tool that fans use to cheer their team on in the playoffs. The basic premise is that you stop shaving when the playoffs start, and you don’t shave again until your team is eliminated, or you win the Stanley Cup. Because the Hawks won the Stanley Cup, that meant I went 60 days without shaving. I have never had facial hair in my adult life (early playoff exits in the last two seasons meant the beard never really took hold).
I carried the beard on vacation to Disney & the Bahamas, dripping sweat down my neck the summer through. The longer the hair got, the prouder I was as that meant the Hawks were still winning. I hatched the idea of doing something with the beard if we won the Cup. That’s where my friend John Jansky came in.
John Jansky is friend of mine from Danville High School. He does some amazing speed paintings, but also does work with household kitchen items like; salt, sugar, chocolate sauce, ketchup, etc. I didn’t contact John until after the Hawks had won. (I didn’t want to jinx us winning.) I then called and the conversation went like this;
Keith, “John, have you ever worked with hair.”
John, “No, but I want to.”
Keith, “Well, here’s my idea. You know if I have this playoff beard and now that the Hawks have won, I..
John, (interrupting)”…you want me to do something with your beard?, Yes, yes I will.”
John is an amazing, talented artist. I’m proud to call him my friend and thankful for the ability to let the 2013 playoff beard live on. Thanks, John & Go Hawks!
Don’t let someone who is living their nightmare tell you that you can’t live your dream!
Quick name a website that has been around longer than Twitter, Facebook or The Chive? I know it’s easy, but hey 10 years is nothing to sneeze at. What started as a site for my constituents to contact me turned into my personal blog. Anything amazing on here? Not really, but hey, half of life is just showing up and that’s what KeithSouza.com had done for 10 years, show up.
Here’s what the old version looked like back then.