At midnight Jan. 1, 2017, the ball dropped, the confetti streamed over Times’ Square and I was pretty darned tired. You know, because old people. That night, I went to sleep without having made any resolutions for the new year. I rarely do. If you don’t set yourself up for failure, you won’t fail. Right?
But even though it looked like another routine year for me, a seed had been planted for dramatic change.
Santa had given me an Apple Watch.
Before you ask what an overpriced piece of plastic, glass and aluminum can do besides set you back a couple hundred dollars, ask yourself how your cell phone has affected you. I’m sure you could come up with at least five ways you behave differently now that you own a mobile phone.
The difference is that unlike a cell phone’s ability to make you a slave to social media and food selfies, the watch suddenly made me care a lot more about my health and it served as a catalyst for a complete mind and body transformation. I began using it to track my workouts. I downloaded MyFitnessPal. After three years of being cigarette free, I took the next step in January and ditched vaping too – making me completely nicotine free. In an effort to avoid gaining those dreaded extra pounds people put on after kicking the habit, I kicked my fitness regimen into high gear. Three 30-minute workouts a week have increased to as many as nine.
I began a strict 1,500-calorie-a-day diet that lasted from March through August. After that, I went into maintenance mode by upping my food intake to 1,800 daily calories, with the goal of increasing my protein to hold onto muscle mass (I still can’t quite meet my macronutrient goals set out by MyFitnessPal, but it’s better than it was).
GOALS I SET FOR MYSELF:
1. Lose weight
February – Chest: 36 Waist: 33 Hips: 40
December – Chest: 34 😦 Waist: 28 Hips: 37
February – 158 pounds
December – 138 pounds
2. Quit nicotine
3. Run my first 5K
I did a Day of the Dead-themed race in November called “Run With Los Muertos” in the city of Coachella, Calif. My finish time was almost four minutes less than my goal. Very fun! I can already see that this is going to become an expensive habit, but it’s worth every penny!
4. Do real push ups with good form
I can probably do about five military-style with my nose just a couple inches from the ground. Still a work in progress.
5. Do one unassisted pull up
Hasn’t happened yet, but I’m working on it!
6. Take on the 70-mile Santa Ana cycling trail
I’ve already done this a couple times already, but just wanted to test how much easier it would be with better conditioning. It was a LOT easier!
GOALS I DIDN’T SET FOR MYSELF (but happened anyway):
1. Lower my cholesterol
In 2014, the last time I got my blood tested, my cholesterol was at or above normal levels. On a whim, I got a new test done in December, and my cholesterol went down considerably (more than 30 points in some areas) across the board. I accomplished this without taking any drugs whatsoever.
2. Become emotionally healthy
Hardcore dieting and quitting nicotine really messed up my mental health. I don’t recommend doing both of these things at the same time, because it turned me into a royal bitch. I had to take up a daily practice of transcendental meditation to survive (and not kill anyone). I’m planning to get an online certification in mindfulness in the next few weeks. Things are a lot better now, probably even better than when I was still smoking. Again, no pharmaceuticals were involved.
3. Become addicted to running
Cycling used to be my No. 1 passion. I still love it, but running puts me in a state of zen that doesn’t compare to anything else – to me anyway. I’ve even hired a coach to get killer technique and minimize injuries. I never did that with cycling, although to be fair, it’s lot harder to get injured from cycling (unless you get hit by a car or something). I hope to be running for many, many years.
GOALS I’M SETTING FOR 2018:
1. Complete a 10K
I’m doing this at the end of January, so I’ll need more goals after that. People tell me a half-marathon is totally realistic with the right amount of preparation, but because I work full time and commute two hours a day, the amount of time I can dedicate to training is severely limited. I know there’s a half in my future though!
2. Increase muscle mass
This is kind of an open-ended goal. I’ve boosted my weight training to around 3x/week. I can’t see dedicating more time than that. But hopefully I can start bumping up the weight and continue seeing results. This probably means I’m going to have to start eating more.
3. Increase my long run to at least 12 miles
I’m currently at eight. As long as I stay on track and avoid injuries, this is completely realistic. And who knows? If I can reach a comfortable 12 miles by next fall, I might be ready for that half after all!
4. Figure out how to get my boobs back
Anyway, I hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday season! If you’ve got a “year in review” post to share, please put the link down below.