A year is just the right length. Long enough for meaningful change. Long enough for progress. Long enough to accomplish something meaningful.
A year, therefore was the initial length of time I gave myself to change my lifestyle and improve my health. I made this decision on august 5th 2012, one year ago today.
When I started out last summer, I hadn’t done any sports for 20 years. I’d spent some time outdoors, including some time hiking, but nothing that would get my pulse up or challenge my strength. I also had been eating whatever I felt like for those 20 years. My diet wasn’t horrible, but it was too high in calories for someone with an office-job and little physical activity. I weighed about 102kg (225 lbs) which at my height means I was obese.
One day, for reasons I’ll probably never understand, I said to myself “that’s it”, I’m making a change. I wish I could tell you what changed, how I found the motivation and how I kept it, but I can’t. I don’t know. I have absolutely no idea what made that day so different from all the days before it. I just know that the switch flipped.
I went out and bought brand new running-shoes. And tights. And a kayak. And a Fitocracy Hero-subscription. I bought a wifi-connected automatically-tracking scale. I downloaded all the fitness apps, or atleast close enough. I put on my shoes, and went down to the lake to do day one, week one of the Coach to 5k program. Silvia gave me a week, 2 at the max.
My goals where:
- Reach normal weight.
- Learn to run 5km without pause.
The running has worked beyone my wildest dreams. If you’d told me last year that I’d do the things I’ve done, I’d have laughed in your face.
- Completed 5K in october, in 36 minutes.
- New goal: run around lake Stokka (8.15km) in less than an hour.
- Completed in november, in 58 minutes.
- New goal: run a 10K.
- Completed in january, in 70 minutes.
- New goal: 5K in less than 30 minutes
- Completed in march 28:45
- New goal: run lake Stokka in less than 55 minutes.
- Completed in april, in 52 minutes.
- New goal: circle the lake in 50 minutes.
- Completed in june in 49:37
Having a lot of small goals has worked really well for me. That way there’s always some record to break or some goal to achieve.
Weight loss has been a partial success. To reach normal weight, I’d have needed to drop 22 kgs (48 lbs) and reach 80kg (175 lbs). I’ve not quite managed that. My weight has dropped by 13kg (28lbs) to 89kg (195lbs). This means I’m 60% there, it also means I’m no longer obese, but instead merely overweight.
But it does mean I’ve lost more than a kg a month for this past year. That’s good. So I’m happy with the results even though they fall short of the ideal.
What I’m most happy about though is that I’ve stuck with it. It’s been a year. Over that year I’ve run more than twice a week, totalling over 700km. I know, for some people that is “a decent month”, but for me that marks a radical change, I’ve run more this year than I did the preceeding 20 years combined.
I’d not have made it this far without my friends. Especially all the kind souls on Fitocracy who are always ready to encourage, and give advice and who supports me even on those days when I suck. Physically, I’ve done all of this alone. Mentally, I’ve never been alone. I’ve been cheered encouraged and propped every centimeter of the way. It’s a powerful thing to have people believe in you.
I can’t wait to see what next year will bring — but that’s a topic for another post.