Saturday, December 29, 2012

Starting Weight....Ouch

I purchased my scale, set it up, and got on it.

And promptly wanted to run 10 miles.

205.9 pounds. I paid $50 for the scale, so chances are it was a pretty accurate reading.Now my resolution is losing around 30 pounds, instead of the 20 or 25 I thought it would be. On the plus side (no pun intended), I usually don't have any problem getting down to 190.

This morning, I weighed myself again, and I'm down to 205.7. And as dumb as it sounds, I was kind of glad to see that it went down, even just a bit. I'm giving myself a year to do this, it hasn't even technically started yet, but the key thing that I learned from quitting smoking is that every little victory counts. Every trigger I beat, even now, means I'm becoming stronger.

I'm trying to think of something to kick off the first week of weight loss, some kind of lifestyle change that would be a habit I would be keen to stick to. After giving it a few minutes of thought, I've decided to avoid eating any food I haven't prepared myself. I know this isn't sustainable over the long term, but I do think it will force me to get up a little earlier and cook my breakfast and prepare a lunch. And eat a goddamn salad with my dinners. There's basically no reason for me not to be taking care of my first two meals of the day, and I'm a good enough cook that dinner shouldn't be an issue either.

They key thing is that I want to lose a pound a week. More would be great, and there plenty of excess weight that I wouldn't be overly concerned about if I dropped more in the first few weeks (I kind of expect to be under 195 by February). So as long as I got that going, I'll try to continue these weekly tweaks. 

Digitize, Declutter, AND DESTROY! RAWRRR

I have a metric fuckton of books and CDs. I've always been an avid reader, and filled about two six foot tall bookshelves over the course of my life. And I've pretty much never re-read any of the books I own. But when I moved about six months ago, lugging giant boxes of books got me thinking that perhaps it's time to go through those and sell or donate the 90% of them that I have no intentions of ever looking at again, or even lending out.

As for CDs, I'm going to have a hard time letting them go. I have between 170-200 CDs, and even though I've mostly converted them to MP3s (lately, before I've even listened to the CD), I still can't seem to just let them go. I think in this instance, I might group some of them up as collages to hang on the wall, but otherwise sell them, which isn't likely to net me much money as the price of music is cheap as hell.

DVDs and BluRays? Yeah I have a really good amount of those too, but nowhere near the amount of CDs, and the availability of streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime have me thinking that its time to be selective about what I want to keep around,.

When it comes to this goal, I think the main thing I need to keep in mind is to avoid buying new books, CDs, and movies in physical forms, and stick to subscription services like Netflix and Amazon Prime (and spotify!), and when I want to buy something, use my Kindle and Google Play. And in the meantime, go through the slow process of figuring out what to do with my "relics".

I've decided that I'll keep one of those six foot bookshelves, my 100 CD tower, and my four foot tall movie shelf. Anything outside that limit is going to be sold or donated. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Losin Myself...or at least 25 pounds of it

I have a confession to make. I've been getting a little chubby. It started around the time of my eye surgery, when my runs became less frequent, and with the onset of football season, the holidays, the NaNoWriMo challenge, and an overabundance of excuses, I've gained about 10 or 15 pounds. Also the quitting smoking probably didn't help, but its lame to blame such a thing on that. And I'm no fan of the lame blame game.

So, figuring that I'm at around 200 pounds, my goal is to get down to 175 pounds. I'm about six feet tall, so that goal is right around where I should be, as far as the BMI goes (184 is the upper end of normal weight, 175 is a little closer to the middle end of that range)

What's the plan? Good question. The first step would seem to have a decent way to plot my progress. To that end, I will soon be purchasing (by the end of THIS year) a scale that connects to smart phone, which will allow me to play with the data more easily. Establishing that baseline will make it far easier for me to configure everything else, leading me to my next step.

Using a calorie counter. I think the app is actually called Calorie Counter or Fitness Counter or CaliFitness Funtime Awesomeo. Basically it's going to give me a rough estimate of how many calories I'm taking in and how many I'm burning each day. The idea here is not to get obsessive about least not for the long term, but to get myself where I need to be, and know what kind of diet and routine work best to maintain it without depriving myself needlessly.

With a goal of about 25 pounds lost by the end of the year, I only need to lose half a pound a week, meaning I got time to see what works at what level. So what I'd like to do is start by cutting out and/or modifying as needed to keep the losses coming. And each week I'll give something new a try, especially once I get closer to my goal and losing the extra bits starts to get difficult.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Final Review Before the End of the World

Well, I know I have a month left, but I think I've done about as much as I can this year with Christmas just around the corner.

So, one last time for old time's sake....

#1 - Quit Smoking = BAM. Quitted. Pwned. Bitchslapped into insignificance. I am now 111 days smoke free, and adding in 50 days from earlier this year, the grand stretch total is about 161, meaning that on New Year's Eve I'll be going into 2013 having half a year of not smoking under my belt (and more importantly, in my lungs). I feel great, and going forward I just don't see it being an issue. One of my largest triggers is of course going to be going home for the holidays, a stressful time of the year but nothing new. And I've lately gotten through Thanksgiving without smoking, and one of my friends came down for the weekend and despite her smoking, I never caved in and bummed one. And now that I'm home (woo!) for Christmas, I'm slowly but surely checking off a whole shit ton of triggers that I don't deal with on a regular basis, something that I've learned is more dangerous than the usual ones I deal with all the time, such as: drinking with my best friend, driving around doing nothing for hours, sleeping on a twin size bed, being in a ski area with no slopes that are open, and just the usual holiday madness such as finishing shopping that used to call for a long, long drag of a cigarette. (Also, since the beginning of this post, I've reached 126 days.

#2 - Positive networth = SOUND EFFECT. I paid the shit out of student loanage this year, and with the stock market finally starting to expand and stabilize, I'm pretty stoked to say that I now have zero credit card debt, a small emergency fund, and my assets are worth more than my liabilities. I also bought a house at a time when loans and home prices were rock bottom, so the odds of that investment losing any value are slim to none, and the mortgage payment is so low its barely even worth mentioning. I'm on track to have my student loans and car loan paid off by my target date of September 2014, and that is a very good thing.

#3 - Travel more = I traveled! This was always going to be a hard one to quantify, but I've gone to a few different local cities, hiked more than I have any other year, and have just generally been more apt to say "fuck it, I'm going on a road trip" than years past. Charleston, Savannah, Atlanta, the Whitewater Center near Charlotte, different restaurants in between, train rides, I have definitely been out and about a lot more than I ever have, and I believe this is going to go on as long  as its fiscally feasible.

#4 - Write More = RIGHT! I came, I typed, I conquered. So what do I have? Mostly just a few papers, this blog, and oh yeah, half a fucking novel I wrote in a month. Which admittedly sounds a lot less impressive than an entire novel, but seeing as how I went in with absolutely no plan or outline, hammering out 23,000 words in a month (okay, I was lazy for chunks of that month, but regardless) was actually not as difficult a feat as I thought it would be, mostly since I haven't written any sort of fiction for at least a decade. One thing I found really awesome was that it encouraged me to turn to other creative outlets I had been neglecting for a while, such as playing the guitar.

#5 - Run a marathon - SHIT! I can come up with a dozen excuses for not getting this done, but seeing as how I started off the year by running a half marathon in February, I have absolutely no GOOD excuses for not having accomplished this. A lot of people I've talked to have kind of scoffed at the idea of me seeing not completing a marathon as a bad thing, but this is something I had figured on doing in the beginning of the year, and instead of building off the half marathon, I slacked, and I slacked, until a month before my corrective eye surgery, and then got even more off track after two weeks of taking pain killers and drinking scotch. And watching Breaking Bad in its (near) entirety, but I digress. I think this puppy is gonna get recycled for next year, like most of the Eagles' coaching staff.

So, what have I learned?

Mostly, that the difference between wanting to do something and getting it done means actually doing something, not a foreign idea to me at all but one that the constant drive to complete these things (or in the case of the novel, make a pretty good dent in). And I do think that writing down goals and working to achieve them caused me to focus on them WAY more than I would have otherwise.

All that being said, these are now things that are a part of my life. Not using my credit card sounds like an easy thing to do, but when I went to get off that train entirely, it means that I need to have my own savings, and more importantly, NOT use that savings to get those sweet Sonos speakers I've always wanted. It means not charging any Christmas or presents, or car repairs, or even home improvements/updates. In fact, the only time I used my credit card in the past four months has been when I accidentally used it to buy aspirin and to avoid having a $100 held off my debit card at a hotel in Savannah. And what that means is that I don't owe people more money, and that the money I take in can go to old debts, not trying to keep myself from being dug in deeper. And I wouldn't have been at that hotel in Savannah if I had a shit ton of debt and hadn't saved for it. And I probably wouldn't have had that extra money if I hadn't quit smoking for 3 months prior to that. And I'm pretty sure that if I had managed to run that marathon, I would have been crediting quitting smoking for that. Really, the only thing on this list that I can't chalk up as some of intertwined bit is the write/create more one, but hell, maybe this actually did help.

Anyway, to everyone that actually read this, thank you. I'm still thinking of one more resolution to add for next year, but before the clock strikes midnight, I'll detail how I plan to achieve each of the ones I have already written for next year.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Three more resolutions

Just had some random ones I figured I should get down while they're fresh.

#2 - Take the GRE, apply to grad school.

I'm looking to start grad school in fall 2014 or spring of 2015, so 2013 seems like a good time to start the process. Just checked the price...$150! So I guess I should write "Study, Take the GRE, Apply".

#3 - Limit TV Viewing to less than 5 hours a week.

Yes, even during football season. And Netflix. It took me binging on Sons of Anarchy to realize that this is not the healthiest way to spend my time, and less TV is not a bad thing. Especially since NBC seems hell bent on destroying my Thursday night sitcoms. I actually don't think this will be too hard of a thing to accomplish, and it will need to be tracked weekly, especially at first.

#4 - Declutter my life

One of the greatest continuous joys I have in life is buying CDs. I love music. But lately I've been buying CDs and ripping them to my computer before I even listen to the thing! And then the CD goes straight into a CD rack that I never even use. Books? Read once and insist on keeping them around for "future research". It's not gonna happen. I mean it always COULD happen, but those days are long gone and likely aren't coming back. Basically, from here on out, I'm going digital and/or using the library. I have a Kindle for books and numerous devices to stream music (legally).

Still trying to think of one more good one...

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

#QuitNow! Achievement unlocked: Hundred - No smoking for 100 days