This summer I have lost 15 lbs. That is just the start.
I’m only 42 and yet some days I feel like an old man. My body is creaky and stiff and I hobble a bit when I get up in the morning. This is a result of a combination of working from home and not leaving the house all day and working in my workshop where I generally stand in one or two places for long periods of time.
Setting a Goal
I don’t want to feel like an old man. I want to be healthy and I want to be around for my partner and kids until I really am an old man.
At the beginning of the year I set a goal for myself to lose 25 lbs. by the end of the year. I started out the year tracking my food intake with MyFitnessPal, an app I have used in the past to help me lose weight.
It is the only tool I have found that helps me to feel like I am in control of my body and my health. By tracking my food intake I have learned how many calories are in different foods and to pay attention to serving sizes and the like. I know that when I am tracking calories and being honest about what I am eating I can maintain or reduce my weight.
I did a pretty good job tracking my intake at the beginning of the year, then after a month or so I gradually stopped. I don’t know how I did in terms of weight loss because we didn’t own a scale. I bought one in the spring so I could see my results. By that point I had stopped tracking and discovered my results were that I had gained another ten lbs.
Going For A Walk
In July I restarted tracking my food and I started walking. Every day I write down on my tracking calendar how many steps I walked and how much I was over or under my daily calorie target.
Most mornings I go for an hour long walk, which is about seven kms. On the days I go to work in the office I am walking to work, which takes about an hour. On a good week I can easily top 50,000 steps.
Don’t Change Much
I am also listening to a lot of podcasts while I’m walking. By coincidence, the week after I started walking I was listening to an interview with the president of the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation. They have a campaign called ‘Don’t Change Much‘.
The thrust of the campaign as I understand it is that change that is incremental is change that is more likely to have an impact. We can all make “small changes to have an impact on [our] health.” This is basically what I have been doing this summer. I’m not taking up running or signing up for an activity that some with a rigid schedule. I am just going for a walk and keeping track of what I eat. I don’t need any special equipment or training. These two changes I have made don’t cost me any money.
There are days when I don’t have the time to go for a walk or when it is pouring rain and I don’t feel like going for a walk. That is ok. I am fine with skipping a day or two. The great thing about going for regular walks is that I notice the difference in how I feel when I don’t go for a walk for a day or two. I start to feel stiff and uncomfortable and I start to crave going for a walk.
In addition to my weight loss, I feel more relaxed physically and mentally. I feel stronger because my body doesn’t feel creaky and I am standing straighter because walking engages my core muscles and the result seems to be a better posture.
Becoming a ‘Fairly Healthy Man’
The Don’t Change Much campaign provides an opportunity to sign up for a weekly email on small changes you can make to improve your life and become a “fairly healthy man”. I signed up.
I don’t know what the first email will be, but I have already taken my next step. I’ve booked a physical check up with my doctor. I haven’t been to the doctor for a tune up in maybe eight or nine years. I go for acute needs and more often to take a kid who is sick, needs a check up or an immunization shot. I don’t go for myself very often. I decided it was time.
What Are Your Small Changes?
What small changes have you made or can you make in your life to improve your health?