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6Months and 12 Changes for March

I started off the 6Months Project with a bang by getting sick and feeling like crap. Yay!

It hasn't been all bad, because it has given me some time to reflect on myself and to relax a bit, even if I did feel like crap while doing it. I'm hoping to get back to CrossFit next week, though I may scale back my initial 3x/week plan to 2x/week.

Relaxing at home reminded me just how much I enjoy doing exactly that.

I don't so much mean sitting and doing nothing, but hanging out with friends on WoW, having long Skype conversations with special people, or keeping up with Twitter and other things. I may be able to incorporate some gym time, and I'd like to, but those things are important to me, and I want to make sure I'm not sacrificing them.

Around the same time I came across a neat tool, from reddit, for the site Wolfram Alpha. If you go there and search for "weight loss" you get this handy tool, which shows you graphs, time estimates, and all sorts of fun facts on weight loss. For fun, I put in my info, and, just out of curiosity, what I thought was maybe around a doable average caloric intake per day for me. And surprisingly enough, it showed me at my ideal weight in just over a year.

This got me thinking about how I could reach my weight loss goals without dedicating 3 nights a week to the gym. In this same reddit thread, there was someone talking about his own weight loss, and he confirmed one of my worst fears. See, I have always had trouble counting calories, or saying no to delicious foods, without feeling like I'm doing some chore, or depriving myself. I should probably try and frame it a bit better, and I've worked at that, but it's still there. This reddit user said, in his struggle, he'd found you can never not be a fat guy. You can never be one of those people who just doesn't watch what they eat and is okay. Your body isn't built like that, and neither is your mind. It is a constant struggle, he said.

And while I hope he's wrong, it reminded me that I will need more than the gym, and that I will have to find a way to eat sustainably to maintain a healthy weight. So this means watching and changing my diet.

So my 12change for March is to keep up my meditation, keep trying to eat more whole foods, and also document my foods, every day, with LoseIt, starting on Sunday. I'll try to ideally keep my calories per day at around 2000-2200. This may sound high, but realize that a) I'm a guy and b) I'm a big guy. The idea is finding a calorie level I can eat comfortably, without feeling like I'm depriving myself. Maybe reddit guy is right, and I always will feel like I'm depriving myself, but I'd like to try and prove him wrong.

So what do you think, reader? Do people ever get to the point where they can just relax about food, or if you've had to lose a lot of weight, will you always have to watch it?


6 Months

"So the minimum commitment is 6 months starting in March. You still want the space?"

I paused for a moment as the man said that. I was rushing to get things done, it was around 4:45 on a Friday, and I didn't want to make this decision now.

The man had called me from GO Transit because, a few months ago, I had applied for a reserved parking space at the station I go to every morning, and one had become available. As it stands now, I get driven every morning, as finding a parking space is increasingly difficult there.

However, 6 months is a long time. In my head, I was moving away next month. Getting an exciting new job. Maybe even giving up my car and living in the hip downtown. I hadn't decided yet. All these were possibilities of the next 6 months. Committing to this meant either throwing away good money, or staying with my parents, at the same job, for 6 months.

But here's the thing. I like deadlines. I like having an end. I like dates that force me to think about things, to limit me, to say "this is when this has to be done." So this is a little arbitrary. But it's a good start.

So in the next 6 months I hope to work on a few things. I hope to have a new job lined up. I hope to be well on my way to moving out of my parent's house (perhaps with a closing date exactly 6 months from March 1). I'm going to have a new blog, and a new blog identity set up. And I hope to be more physically fit and, ideally, have lost 60 pounds. I know, that sounds like a lot, but if I'm going to be at my medically ideal weight, it's gonna be around that kind of loss.*

I've already made good strides. I've started applying for jobs. Somewhat haphazardly, but at this point I'm just trying to get my name out there. I've been keeping up with my Whole Foods challenge, though not perfectly, but it's been on my mind and I've made some small changes (more fruit and salads, so far). I've been looking into starting CrossFit, and I'm actually really excited about that, as it seems like it might be the answer to weight loss I've been looking for. It will be physically challenging, but that in and of itself I have no problem with, particularly if it will bring me results.

So I'm excited. I feel like this little thing is a way of giving myself a goal, an endpoint. I have 6 months to work with what I have now, to get the most out of it, and get myself ready for the next stage of my life. I'm starting it a little later than I'd like, yeah. But I'm starting it.


12 Changes, A New Blog and The Suburbs

Long time no see, blog readers.

Bad blogger! I know, I know. I'm bad at this, at keeping up with things. I'm fickle, I change my mind, and lately I haven't had the space or time to write. But I'm endeavouring to change that. Now, as such, there are a few things I wanted to share with you, dear reader.

12 Changes

I, likely like many of you reading this, decided to join the 12 Changes project started by Katherine and Stephany. In short, we're looking at trying to make 12 small life changes over the course of 2012. See how that matches up? I thought you'd like that. The idea is that we're all in this together, all working together to achieve our goals and to support each other. Community support on these things is key. Community accountability is also key.

Now, I'd love to set out my 12 Changes in advance. But, honestly, that makes me less likely to follow them. I have some rough ideas. I'd like to exercise more, to stay in touch and involved better, to save better, get more sleep, and eat better. I'd like to feel better about myself, and in my own self confidence. How I tackle those, though, is what I'm still working on.

For January, I chose to focus on daily meditation. I haven't fully kept up with it, but I continue to try and do a 10 minute meditation every day. Barring that, I try to just find a quiet minute or two to clear my mind, watch my breath. And it's helped. I generally feel more calm and centred, and I find when I'm sitting there, waiting for something to load, I'm less fidgety. I find myself just stopping for a second, closing my eyes and breathing deeply in, holding it for a moment, and then deeply out.

Fun fact? I feel like I have a greater lung capacity than a lot of people. In a lot of these guided meditations they'll be like "breath in…and breath out…" and on their "and" I'm still breathing in. Remnants from my days as a runner, perhaps?

Now, for February, I have a bit of a bigger challenge. I had heard a bit about people calling for Fast Food Free February. While I think this is noble, I can't honestly commit to that. My life is too up and down, and there are too many times where I am randomly stuck with nothing else to eat. Plus, honestly, I don't ever WANT to fully cut out fast food. I love it, occasionally.

My 12 Change for February is to eat more whole foods.

What do I mean by this? Foods that have a limited amount of processing done to them. I will be doing my best to follow some of Michael Pollan's Food Rules on this (a great, quick, easy read, by the way). This doesn't mean raw or vegan, but ideally, more fruits, more vegetables, more salads. Trying to eat things with less than 5 ingredients, and all ingredients I can pronounce. I don't intend to stick to this hard and fast, but the idea is to avoid desserts after dinner, have more fruit as a snack and not looking at a Power Bar as a meal replacement.

The biggest exception I'll make here has to do with grains. I'm not comfortable with the whole Atkins/Primal thing, and since I live in a shared household and am largely cooked for, this isn't really an option anyway. So I will still have bread, but I'll be trying to have less of that, and more whole grain bread. Truthfully, living with my parents will pose a problem in this. They support this, but have no interest in it themselves, so there will continue to be cookies, ice cream, pies and the like around. But I feel stronger these days on that. The sweets don't hold quite the same allure they once did. I'm busier, and spend less time lying, bored in front of the TV, and more time with my friends downing bosses and pwning n00bs. Well, actually, we don't PvP, and tend more to try to help new players and not call them n00bs. But they cook whatever they feel like, and often that means processed, easy food. And since they take offence when I don't want to eat dinner with them, and I can't get home in time and cook for myself in order to eat with them, I basically have to eat what they eat for dinner, or try and have some alternatives ready. Let's just say I will likely be eating a lot of quick salads.

But I think this is doable, and I'm excited to start at it. Feel free and encouraged to check in and see how I'm doing.

This blog is moving

You read that right! I've decided to shift this blog to Why? Well, week11 was initially started after my attempt to lose 20 pounds in 10 weeks, as a kind of idea that the 11th week was the rest of my life. But lately I've been feeling more like I want to consolidate it all under the tomfromhr banner. I tend to be fickle with internet pseudonyms, and that's the one I've stuck with for the longest. Is it perfect? No, but neither am I, so I think it will work.

I'm still figuring out exactly how to do this. If anyone has experience with FTP, WordPress, Thesis and the like please let me know!

And so am I

Well, not right away. But I have been increasingly thinking that I would like to move out sooner rather than later. As much as I try to live a minimalist life, there's only so much life I can fit into a small room, and only so many choices I can make when I live as someone else's tenant, essentially. I love my parents, and they have been great, and I really don't have anything other than First World Problems to complain about. But I want to make my own way, make my own decisions, and have a bit more space to live.
What had held me back a bit from this before was money. I had been looking at moving into the city, but this is not only expensive, but it allows me, in ways, far less freedom. I have to search for a place, push my budget, and try and find something that doesn't end up leaving me further from work than I am now and with no money to enjoy life.
So on a whim one day, I decided to look at places further out from the city. Actually, further away than I am now, even. And suddenly my searches started returning results. Nice results. Place for 50k less than I would ever see in the city, that weren't just tiny 1 bedrooms, but huge, 2 or 3 bedroom places. What the hell would I do with a third bedroom?!
What had held me back from this before was people. I already spend more than a few weekends holed up at home, alone, relaxing, sleeping in and just chatting with folks online, reading, gaming, and occasionally venture into the city to meet up with friends, riding the comfortable commuter train home, a little bit early.
Wait, what? Why is that bad?
This is what occurred to me. I don't really hate that life that much. Sure, it would be nice to randomly meet up with friends for brunch on a Sunday morning. But I have friends out in the suburbs too. I realized that, honestly, I'm an introvert. I don't need, or want, to be meeting up with people 24/7. I like my time alone, I need that time to decompress, to recoup, to recover. I don't really WANT to be out drinking til 2am. My body can't take that anymore, nor can my stomach. And even if I do want to drink til 1 or 2, with the money I'd save living out in the suburbs I could rent a hotel room, or still take the later commuter trains back home, and cab from the station to my condo.
So this is where I'm at for now, looking at suburban condos to move to. Not only will these be far easier on my wallet, they will allow me to have a huge, comfortable space to myself. Hell, the ones I'm focusing on are even on the commuter train line I already take, meaning I'd just ride my train for about 10 more minutes each way and I'd be home.
Part of me does still want to live in, or nearer to, the city. But part of me is also tired of the rush. I've been working here for 3 years, and there's such an energy, such a fast, GO GO GO pace that I find a little exhausting and a little sad. Where are we all rushing to, exactly?
I don't know exactly when this will happen. I still have to save a bit, and get a few things in order, but I'd likely be looking at the Spring or Summer, for now. But I am excited, folks. To have my own space, to be able to set things up, spread out as I want. This is something that motivates, and excites me.
So, that's me. How've you been?