Author Topic: Help me regain my health  (Read 9894 times)

mwulff

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Help me regain my health
« on: January 29, 2017, 12:10:17 AM »
Hi fellow mustachians.

For the last few years my wife and I have been working towards FI and we are well underway towards these goals. We are lucky and have well paying jobs, but they are very sedentary.

Over the last few years I have been working in a high-stress, high pressure but also very fun environment. So it is probably a good job but the heat really is on.

Now this winter has been a real eye-opener for me. I have had 4-5 colds so far and 2 of them lasted a whole week. My lower back is not in great shape and I can't walk up 2-3 flights of stairs without having to catch my breath afterwards.

I have also gained a lot of weight (probably 25 kg) and even though I am close to 2 metres that is a lot of weight to carry around.

What would be really helpful is advice on how to get started with more exercise and diet changes that will help. Keep in mind that I am a complete newbie and in horrible shape. So telling me to go on 25 km runs is not helpful. Facepunching me and telling me how get started on something healthy is helpful.

So the goal is: Rebuild my immune defense system, be able to walk up 3 flights of stairs while having a conversation, loose some/all weight, build some muscle tone.

I have tried to think of assets and liabilities with regards to my health.

Assets:

- I commute 24 km's daily on an electric bike. I can't arrive sweaty to work so I use an e-bike and I guess a little pedalling is better than none.
- A good and cheap gym opened up close to my house. This would be an obvious place to go for weightlifting
- I know how to cook and do so daily - this opens up the option of changing what I eat
- Plenty of spare time, I have no children so my evenings are pretty free
- I managed to negotiate part time work, so I now have friday off every week.
- I have decided that this is something that needs to happen no matter the cost in other areas.

Liabilities:

- Addicted to caffeine. Mostly diet pepsi and 0,5 litres of low-sugar energy drink (4g/100 ml) per day.
- A general tendency to eat until I am stuffed, this is a really bad habit
- A work environment with lots of cake and sweet stuff, and I am bad at saying no.
- Programming job with no physical activity
- I probably drink a bit too much rum/wine during an average week
- I am very sedentary when I get home - which is a nice way of saying couch potato extreme.
- Wifes has celiacs disease so any changes I make have to accommodate this with regards to food.
- I don't like the cold and this country is could for 5 out of 12 months.

So tips, tricks, books, links, experiences are all welcome and I will try my best to take all the advice that comes my way.

Thanks in advance

former player

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2017, 02:48:39 AM »
Hi there, and congratulations on deciding to make the change.

In case it helps, here is my story.  I'm not in any way an expert, I don't look athletic, I'm not competing in anything, but I'm within healthy weight guidelines and I'm fit enough for anything I want to do.  Also, there is a lot of advice about getting checked out by a doctor before starting exercise from a sedentary position (although I didn't).

Aged 45, I was an unfit, overweight office worker who did no exercise, so not dissimilar to you.  I bought a pair of running shoes and a sports bra.  3 days a week, as soon as I got home from work, I put on the running shoes and the sports bra and something comfortable over the top, walked out of the front door, and started running, very, very, slowly.  When I was out of breath (a couple of hundred yards at most), I walked as fast as I could until my breath was back and then ran again.  I did this for 10 minutes, turned around and did the same thing back.  After about 3 months I could run, still very slowly, out for 15 minutes and back for 15 minutes.

I should say that I didn't take it any further, but I did keep up the 30 minutes 3 times a week, as I knew by then that that was sustainable for me - I think often people have too high a goal and then give up.  I set my sights low and succeeded in keeping it up for years until my life changed - now I walk the dog across steep terrain for a couple of hours each day, which is a different way of keeping fit that works for me now.

Going out for a run as soon as I got in the door after work was key: I didn't have time to relax and dread going back out, and I didn't eat then either - when I got back from running I didn't feel like eating a heavy meal either, so that helped too.  Another thing that was key was being very, very slow: barely faster than a walk.  I think this helped with not getting injured, and as it was still running it still did the job of getting me fitter, however slow I was.

Also, I started running in late autumn when it was dark in the evenings: that helped because I felt it sheltered from people looking at this fat, unfit idiot trying and failing to run.  By the time the evenings were lighter I was in much better shape and didn't care.

On the food side, I didn't diet, but I did limit portion sizes by plate/bowl - one bowl of something (porridge is good and filling) for breakfast, one large plate of something for lunch, one small plate of something for supper.  Anything extra as a snack was fruit or veg only - I allowed myself unlimited amounts of those but excluding starchy stuff like potatoes, sweetcorn and bananas.

Feel free to take anything from this that might work for you and ignore the rest.  Good luck.

DirtDiva

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2017, 05:21:56 AM »
My life echos former player's story.

At 47, I was sedentary and nearing the "obese" line on the weight chart.  I was tired and hungry all the time.

Setting easily achievable goals worked for me as well.  I simply went out for a walk or a bike ride a few days a week (3-4) and told myself that if I wasn't enjoying it after 10 minutes, I could turn around and go home.  I gradually worked up to 45 minutes to an hour per session, and I discovered a passion for mountain biking.  Taking a walk at lunch time can be an effective use of time and gets you off your duff for a few minutes.

Exercise will improve your energy level and your immune system.  Honestly, though, improving your diet is where you will have the most success with losing unwanted weight.

The more sweet stuff you put in your mouth, the more sweet stuff you WANT to put in your mouth.  Switch to caffeinated unsweetened tea.  Are you sure you aren't addicted to the sweet taste, not the caffeine?  Or is it the fizz?  If so, switch to fizzy water.  Just stop eating the sweets at work.  You CAN stop.  Don't go near the break room or wherever the sweets reside, don't keep sweets at home--that way you don't have to "decide" whether to have some or not.  I found that when I broke the sweet habit (which included diet Pepsi for me as well), my appetite became more normal.

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/23/opinion/sugar-season-its-everywhere-and-addictive.html?_r=0

One other thing that helped me was not to get fixated on a weight number.  I focus instead on making healthy choices.  I resigned myself to the fact that my ultimate goal wasn't going to happen in 3 months.

I've lost 35 pounds in about 2 years and am 3 pounds away from being in the normal weight category.  I don't struggle, I don't do anything extreme.  I just keep making daily decisions that are better for my health.

If I were you I would pick one exercise goal and one diet goal, and as I said above I think getting off the sugar wagon will give you the most bang for your buck.  Some days are hard and some are easy.  If and when you slip, don't let that one meal or one day or one week derail you. 


kpd905

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2017, 06:41:36 AM »
Try to cut out the diet soda, it has been shown to be correlated with obesity: http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/diet-sodas-and-weight-gain-not-so-fast#1.  A lot of the studies seem to show that taking in artificial sweeteners causes overeating for some reason, which might explain why you tend to eat until you are stuffed.  Start replacing some of the diet soda with flavored sparkling water, even if it means you need to pop a caffeine pill everyday.

You say you do not want to be sweaty for work, but can you pedal the whole way home everyday?  That would be a good start to getting some exercise.  Maybe ease into it gradually, like tell yourself you won't turn on the motor for the first 10 minutes, then 15, and so on.

mwulff

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2017, 09:00:12 AM »
Thanks for the feedback so far.

I am currently fighting a nasty cold so I expect to spend the next few days on the couch. After that I guess it's time to get to work.

Immediately after I feel better I will go cold turkey on the diet pepsi and the energy drinks. This will probably give me a blinding headache for a week but I am going to stock up on light painkillers.

I like the suggestions I have received so far. I am torn between the "go for a 10 minute run" when I come home or the "turn of the electric motor" on my bike.

At first glance the bike idea seems the most doable. It would require me to bring some workout clothes (at least a sweater) to work. My normal clothes would be drenched in sweat if I just turned the engine off. I don't have enough dress shirts to change them every day.

The walk/run idea has the advantage that I don't need to carry clothes to work. I could of course go even more hardcore and sweat myself through on the bike and then go for a run.

I am thinking 2 days with the bike, and maybe one day of weightlifting. I really need to build some strength in my lower back.


Dee18

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2017, 09:09:38 AM »
No need to choose between leaving the motor off and going for a walk/run.  Do both. 

emilypsf

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2017, 09:14:28 AM »
I would start small.  Get a Fitbit and get 10,000 steps a day.  Then start adding to the exercise routine.  Personally, I'd start with yoga or Pilates over weights - less risk of injury by trying to do too much and you can start with short videos at home.  For eating, add a vegetable to each meal.  Switch your drinks for herbal tea.  Once you have those habits, start working towards more.  Do this because it makes you feel better, not solely to lose weight, and you will be more likely to create lasting habit change.

mwulff

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2017, 09:15:07 AM »
No need to choose between leaving the motor off and going for a walk/run.  Do both.

True, it's a matter of time and energy enough. At my current energy level I fear one of them is all I have the strength for.

Raenia

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2017, 09:25:33 AM »
Given your concern about building strength in your back, I would start with bodyweight exercises over weightlifting (in addition to biking/running/walking of course.)  Planks are great for core/lower back.  Bodyweight squats are great too, but make sure you can do them with correct form.  You can find some great bodyweight workouts online if you search, this is the one I use: http://www.bodybuilding.com/content/ask-the-ripped-dude-whats-an-effective-bodyweight-workout.html.  Bonus of bodyweight is you can do it anywhere, don't need to go to a gym or buy a weight set.  Always focus on form over how many reps/time you can do, and gradually work your way up to where you're comfortable moving to weights.

mwulff

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2017, 09:36:22 AM »
Given your concern about building strength in your back, I would start with bodyweight exercises over weightlifting (in addition to biking/running/walking of course.)  Planks are great for core/lower back.  Bodyweight squats are great too, but make sure you can do them with correct form.  You can find some great bodyweight workouts online if you search, this is the one I use: http://www.bodybuilding.com/content/ask-the-ripped-dude-whats-an-effective-bodyweight-workout.html.  Bonus of bodyweight is you can do it anywhere, don't need to go to a gym or buy a weight set.  Always focus on form over how many reps/time you can do, and gradually work your way up to where you're comfortable moving to weights.

Thanks for the link. Would you recommend circuit 1 to begin with? I am thinking to start and work up to the 30 reps specified. It will probably take me months. Sigh, computer programming is not conducive to one's health.

Miss Piggy

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2017, 10:03:20 AM »
Fighting 4-5 colds in one season makes me wonder if you have a lingering infection, perhaps a sinus infection, that's just plain not going away on its own. I mean, really, 4-5 colds would be very, very uncommon.

I like the ideas shared above for exercise. Regarding diet, cutting back on carbs can make a huge difference. Bread, noodles, cereal, grains, rice, etc.  I've pretty much given up on "man-made" carbs like the ones I just listed. I will eat "God-made" carbs, however, such as fruits and carby vegetables. This change has made a huge difference for me.

Jakejake

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2017, 11:02:02 AM »
My whole body contracted when I read that you want to go cold turkey on caffeine. I've done it before and it was beyond ugly. It was blinding headaches, but also throwing up and uncontrollable shakes and my husband threatened to take me to the ER. I was nonfunctional.

Is there a way you can do this by tapering off instead? Maybe nix the caffeine drink habit but take caffeine pills til you are over the drink/sugar habit, and then use a pill splitter or lower dosage pill, so you aren't associating misery with a healthier life.  I'm thinking you could do this without making it a horrible experience; why suffer?

When I was low carbing, I lost my excess weight without feeling deprived - but a big part of that for me was the cheat day concept. Instead of "my work has donuts / cakes / treats, but I can never ever eat them again" what about deciding Monday is your cheat day, and maybe you won't eat 5 servings of cake, but also, don't feel guilty about having one, and then having dessert at home that day too if you feel like it. For me, it was much easier knowing I could have something decadent in 6 more days than a vague neverending if-I-eat-this-I-failed-at-my-diet. Plus if it's on Mondays, you won't be so sad about having to go back to work on Mondays. Although Thursday's nice too, you could end the work week with a mini-celebration.


Tris Prior

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2017, 11:15:36 AM »
Here's a random weird idea that I've found helpful in avoiding the office sweets:

I generally have a really good immune system; I get a mild cold maybe every 1-2 years. At my last job, my co-workers were all CONSTANTLY fighting some sort of crud. I've never worked with so many sneezing, coughing people in my life. I'd only catch it once in a while. After coming down with the office crud the day after an office birthday party with cake, I realized the pattern: I only caught whatever was going around if I ate food that a sick person handled.

Now I absolutely will not touch anything that people bring in and set out in the break room. I just picture how many people already have snotted or coughed all over it, or touched it with their germy hands. That kills my craving right there.

I realize that this is probably total coincidence - though last summer I shoved a mini-cupcake in my mouth without thinking one day and BAM, next day had a cold - and I'm not normally a germophobe. But hey, it keeps me from eating crap that isn't good for me.

Maybe that mindset would work for you, since you're also trying to be sick less often?

swick

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2017, 11:37:09 AM »
Not to sound like a broken record, but it sounds like doing a "Whole 30" reset would be really good for you, and totally suitable for your wife if she has celiac! Also you don't have many of the hurdles (kids at home, no spare time to cook, etc) that many people do.

It sounds like you have some habits and lifestyle choices, trouble with saying no, etc that might benefit from being examined. There is a huge monster thread on Whole 30 here:http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/whole-30-starting-sept-8th-want-to-join-us/

Don't be intimidated by the size of the thread, you don't have to read it all if you don't want to if you are interested, jump in on the last page and introduce yourself. It is one of the most supportive threads on the forums - everyone is super helpful and has been or is on the same journey.

Candace

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2017, 12:05:50 PM »
I would say pick and choose the changes you make. Changes will stick better if you make them one or two at a time. I agree with those who said that reducing sugar is the biggest dietary step in the right direction. Do you have sweets at home? Getting rid of the biggest problems there would help. And for exercise, turning the motor off for at least part of the way home seems like a change you could do without too much perturbation to your current routine.

About the office sweets, I feel you. My office (when I was going) had a big bag of M&Ms open all the time. Talk about tempting. Here's what helped me. I couldn't have just a little or have a cheat day. You know whether you're the type who can do that stuff in moderation. For me, I made a bet with a co-worker who was also wanting to quit the candy. The bet was that the first one who are any would owe the other one a nice lunch out. We were both watching our pocketbooks as well, plus it was a friendly, supportive competition, so it worked for both of us. If you have a work buddy you can make a bet with, perhaps that would work for you too.

bigalsmith101

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2017, 12:32:03 PM »
Can we get a bit of background on your physical size?

You say you "have gained a lot of weight (probably 25 kg) and even though I am close to 2 metres that is a lot of weight to carry around."

How heavy are you? This information will help some of us give you more appropriate advice regarding exercises.

Are you about 130kg? 140kg? Many times what we think is an appropriate weight, or "not that bad" is often times worse then we believe.

I asked my wife, who is a certified personal trainer to suggest some activities for you, on the premise that you're 135kg at 1.96m tall. Her first inclination was a slow walk, like others have mentioned. You lack any real form of muscle, so you need to take it easy.

She does not recommend going 100% cold turkey on caffeine, as it will likely have adverse effects on your health. She recommends tapering it off slowly over 7-10 days.

Consider setting your goals on the basis of time spent at the activity, rather than reps or numbers. You will see success simply in the act of getting out and doing work.

Your diet is going to make IMMENSE difference in your ability to lose weight. It will be easier to change your diet than it will be to exercise off the food you consume. It takes an hour of running to burn off 3-400 calories of cake or sweets. You CAN'T eat the shitty food :)

You're going to succeed, and we're all here to help you!

Mitch76

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2017, 05:05:58 PM »
You've gotta lose that weight or you're constantly feel like crap. Choose a diet that you think you can stick to - and just follow it. Don't go thinking that you can lose weight by exercise alone, you're too out of shape to burn that many calories when exercising.

I like using the myfitnesspals app to track calories, its a pain in the ass in the first week to enter foods, but after that its a breeze to use, and is certainly an eye opener telling you how many calories are in what foods.

Good luck my friend, why not keep a log here of lifestyle changes you're making, and maybe update us with your progress - let us keep you accountable.

And lastly - do join that gym, please learn how to lift weights, but don't forget to stop stuffing your face.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2017, 05:15:31 PM »
Hey OP. I don't have any new advice to offer beyond what's been posted already, but I'm rooting for you. No point getting to FIRE with a broken body. Also don't underestimate the damage a stressful workplace does to you.

Prioritize your health over making money if push comes to shove. You can always make more money, but if you screw up your health that can stay with you the rest of your life.

horsepoor

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #18 on: January 29, 2017, 06:13:06 PM »
Hi mwulf - I have been there!  About 5 years ago I lost over 50 pounds, and have kept most of it off, have improved my health, run seven half marathons and deadlifted 200# (female).  It is a journey, and your approach will change over time.  That's OK, and will make things more sustainable. 

The fact that you can cook on a regular basis is a huge asset!

I found that it was best to introduce one or two new habits at a time and focus on getting them to "take" rather than trying to change all my habits at once and then failing and falling back into old patterns.  Here are some things that worked for me:

1.  First, stop gaining weight.  I heard this from a friend (in reference to herself) and it really resonated with me.  For a while, I was weighing myself first thing every morning.  I got used to the minor fluctuations, but it ensured that my weight was starting to go in the right direction.

2.  Do something each day.  I kicked off my journey while at a conference in Billings, MT in winter.  I went out and hiked through the snow for 20 minutes every day to prove to myself that I could.  I would do longer workouts as well, but on days I didn't want to go to the gym, I'd make a deal with myself to just go walk on the treadmill for 20 minutes, and then if I wanted to quit after that, I could.  Usually, getting to the gym was the hardest part, and I'd stay and workout more after the 20 minutes.

3.  Ditch the sugar (and fake sweeteners).  I switched from soda to unsweetened iced tea.  Looked for other places I could shave off added sugar.

4.  Focus on vegetable intake.  If you're eating a big salad, there won't be as much room to gorge on higher-calorie foods.  Just beware of loading up your salad with croutons and half a jar of salad dressing.  Eye everything that comes in a package with suspicion and think about replacing it with less processed alternative.

5. Try being hungry for a while a few times a week.  Come to terms with hunger not being an emergency.  It will be easier as your sugar intake decreases.

6.  Try to do physical things when you're not at the office.  I actually lost my last 10# when doing some heavy landscaping projects, moving bricks, digging, spreading gravel and so on.  When you are in the office, try to go for a walk at lunch, or even do some air squats when no one's looking.  Keep your body awake.

7.  Remember that exercise will get easier and more enjoyable the more you do it; at some point in the future, you'll feel out of sorts when you miss your workout.

Del Griffith

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #19 on: January 29, 2017, 09:10:20 PM »
In addition to all the other great suggestions, give food journaling a try. Someone here mentioned a my fitness pal app -- something along those lines. When I wanted to shed a few pounds, I personally just started journaling on a regular journal app (not a calorie counting one) and simply documenting what I was eating throughout the day. It was a big eye opener to see my usually three meals with lots of additional little snacks or treats throughout the day that added up. It held me accountable -- I knew if I had to write "handful of chips, five Hershey kisses, two glasses of soda" I'd be less inclined to eat all that. It really helped me to realized how much more I was eating than I needed to. Best of luck!

mwulff

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #20 on: January 30, 2017, 12:17:29 AM »
Hi everyone,

Thanks for all the feedback. I am starting to see the outline of a plan from all the good answers here. I'm sort of replying to everybody in one post, so forgive me if I forget an important point.

1. Considering the caffeine addiction. This actually feels like the most important starting goal. It's relatively quick and has the added bonus of removing the artificial sweeteners. The loose plan is to get over my flu/cold. Some people have suggested caffeine pills to ease the transition. Caffeine pills are not easily available in my country (think prescription) so they are not really an option. I have asked a doctor and she suggested going the cold turkey route but have some light painkillers with me. In her experience very few people suffer worse symptoms than a light headache.

I guess I'll find out the hard way ;)

2. @Horsepoor you actually guessed my height and weight. I'm at 1.95 meters and around 130-135'ish kg's. I currently have very little desire to stand on a scale so I don't know exactly.

The rest of the posts can be divided into two main areas: exercise and food. I think much of the advice here is awesome, but I especially agree with the notion that you have to make it stick.

Let's start in the exercise category. I know my weekends are crazy busy so I will try to meet my exercise goals during the weekdays. The two most appealing ideas are the "turn of the e-bike and ride home" and the "fast-walk/slow run 10 minutes there and back again" ideas.

They have the added advantage that they take little time, are easy to implement and can be implemented right away. So I will try to do one of them each day on monday through thursday and I have decided to forgive myself if I miss one of the days due to some unforeseen event.

Since I have the friday off I have decided to turn that into my "serious" training day. I will give myself two options on fridays: 1. Go to the gym and lift weight, or 2: Go to the local pool and swim laps.

I will try to find someone to teach me all the proper lifting techniques so I don't injure myself. Luckily I know how to swim :)

Saturday and sunday are off days, unless I turn into some sort fitness-monster and decide to do something anyway.

So that's it for the fitness plan. Sitting here with a high fever and the flu it still seems doable. It's probably not as effective as a personal trainer and some hardcore 8 week bootcamp. But it feels manageable and it will increase my activity level a lot.

Now, the food issue.  I'm pretty sure that the sweeteners are making me over-eat, and I hope that by dropping them some of the problem will be solved.

But my first step will be to tell my coworkers (we are a small team) to help me stay away from the cake and the sweets. Maybe beat me up with a foambat if I start looking to hungrily at the cake. :)

For breakfast I need a new plan basically. I'm not hungry when I wake up, so I normally prepare 3 slices of rye-bread (a danish thing) and bring them to work. While that is not a disaster in itself it would be better to bring something plant-based. Unfortunately I am a bit pressed for time in the morning so I need to get into a routine of some sorts. I'm a huge fan of Huevos Rancheros sans the tortillias, but it would take too long. Suggestions that are not oatmeal are very very welcome.

Lunch at work is the easy part actually. We have a lunch buffet at work and there is always salad and other plant based foods that are delicious. So I just have to make a conscious choice to choose more green stuff and less of the other stuff. I'll let you know how that goes.

Dinner at home: My plan here is to make sure that the main component of every meal is some vegetable (not potatoes or other carb laden stuff). Since my wife has celiacs, we are already pretty bread/pasta free but there is room for improvement. Changing our dinners will take some time and I need to plan it out more.

Based on some reading I did I will start a dietary supplement of a regular vitamin-pill and some fish-oil. I am probably short of some essential vitamins as well. My doctor agreed that this would be a very good idea(tm).

So that's where I am right now. Still sick but on the mend.

I hope everyone sticks around this thread the give me a much needed facepunch from time to time. I will keep posting about my progress, or lack thereof as I go along.

Thank you all for your time, answers and advice. Keep the post coming if you think of anything, I feel like they are helping with me with my motivation.

when I work up some courage I will post a picture in profile so you can see what we are dealing with here.

okits

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #21 on: January 30, 2017, 01:53:45 AM »
mwulff, congrats on taking the first step to improving your health!

Not mentioned yet: drink 1/2 a litre of water before sitting down for a meal.  If you eat until you're full the water will help you feel full faster (and take the place of some of the excess food you were eating).

Also, how diligent is your hand washing?  Be honest with yourself.  No soap, or only ten seconds of splashing, or just rubbing your palms together isn't good hand washing.  Thoroughly wash your hands before touching your face, eating, or handling food.  I stayed very cold-free for years just with this (didn't sleep enough, nutrition sub-optimal, stressed, but very good hand hygiene). 

You're a big person so I would try exercise that's easy on your joints, first (you can underwater run in the pool, I've learned!)

For caffeine: drink coffee.  Black or with milk.  Taste is irrelevant if you need low-sugar caffeine.  I would also wean gradually to give your body time to adjust (not just headaches but alertness).

mwulff

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #22 on: January 30, 2017, 03:16:54 AM »
mwulff, congrats on taking the first step to improving your health!

Not mentioned yet: drink 1/2 a litre of water before sitting down for a meal.  If you eat until you're full the water will help you feel full faster (and take the place of some of the excess food you were eating).

Also, how diligent is your hand washing?  Be honest with yourself.  No soap, or only ten seconds of splashing, or just rubbing your palms together isn't good hand washing.  Thoroughly wash your hands before touching your face, eating, or handling food.  I stayed very cold-free for years just with this (didn't sleep enough, nutrition sub-optimal, stressed, but very good hand hygiene). 

You're a big person so I would try exercise that's easy on your joints, first (you can underwater run in the pool, I've learned!)

For caffeine: drink coffee.  Black or with milk.  Taste is irrelevant if you need low-sugar caffeine.  I would also wean gradually to give your body time to adjust (not just headaches but alertness).

Thanks for the tips, I'll skip the coffee as I genuinely don't like the taste. I'll just have to learn to live without the caffeine and that's probably better for me in the long run.

As for handwashing, I live with a doctor in my household, so handwashing is neither optional nor a 10 second rinse. I actually surprised everybody at a company "washing course" by doing it correctly the first time. :)

I should probably start cleaning my keyboard once a week though.

former player

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #23 on: January 30, 2017, 03:30:27 AM »
That sounds like a pretty good plan.  I would say though, that going from no exercise to five consecutive days of exercise and keeping it up long term could be a big ask.  I'd suggest starting with 3 days a week with days off in between (so Monday, Wednesday, Friday), and doing it for a month to see how you go.  I found that having a rest day between exercise days was key to making it long-term sustainable.

And forgive yourself if you fall off the exercise/healthy eating wagon: you just climb back on it the next day.  You are going for a lifetime change in lifestyle here.

Best of luck, and I'll be watching out for your progress.

horsepoor

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #24 on: January 30, 2017, 04:27:01 AM »
Breakfast:  hard boiled eggs can be made Sunday night.  Hint:  steam them, don't boil, and then put in cold water and the shells will come right off.  Also, plain full fat yogurt with a few nuts and or berries (don't go too crazy on fruit).  I like to make a batch of green soup ( Google Splendid Table green soup) and drink a mug of it for breakfast.  Double win if you can use a good homemade broth as the base.

And if you're not hungry in the morning, don't eat.  Intermittent fasting can reduce overall caloric intake.

If you want some good reading, check out The Obesity Code for more on fasting and insulin response.

Mitch76

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #25 on: January 30, 2017, 04:38:41 AM »
Hey I didn't realise you could swim - bloody excellent exercise. I'm training for a sprint triathlon in April, I've only recently learned how to swim properly (still got lots of improvement to do), but I find it an excellent exercise.

Well Respected Man

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #26 on: January 30, 2017, 05:54:07 AM »
Another possible solution to the breakfast problem: skip breakfast every day. It's a myth made up by cereal companies that breakfast is the most important meal of the day: https://priceonomics.com/how-breakfast-became-a-thing/ . Skipping breakfast instantly drops several hundred calories from your daily intake, and allows you to maybe feel some hunger.

Another thing is to eliminate or reduce any liquid calories, such as booze, soft drinks, shakes, and the like. Liquids are more easily digested, and don't give satiety. Replacing them with protein or (non-liquefied) veggies helps to make you feel full longer.

One other tip that I use is to eat my meals on a small plate, rather than a full-sized dinner plate. I can't fit as much food on the small plate, and so my portion size is automatically limited. If you do this and restrict yourself from having second portions, it may help.

Mezzie

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #27 on: January 30, 2017, 06:13:35 AM »
I know you said you'd face the caffeine withdrawal after you get over the flu, but since flus are so miserable anyway, you might not notice the worst of it if you cut it down/out right now.

I got off caffeine while I was hospitalized. I didn't even notice any pain associated with it; there was plenty else to pay attention to.

Fishindude

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #28 on: January 30, 2017, 07:21:33 AM »
I am thoroughly convinced that spending time outdoors in the fresh air during the winter dramatically improves your ability to resist normal coughs, cold and flu that so many deal with.  Go for a walk every day or get a hobby that is done outdoors.  That stale inside the house air is where all the germs and bugs live.

About the sedentary lifestyle.  I've always considered myself pretty active, do lots of work around the farm and have outdoor hobbies, etc. but my job for last 20 years has been an office / desk job for 8-10 hours every day with minimal physical activity, 5 days per week.  Semi retired to part time a few months ago and have already seen significant improvements regarding weight loss and BMI in just a few months.  On my current part time schedule, I go home just about every afternoon and now do some type of work or go have some fun.   That extra half day of moving around and doing something is the difference.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #29 on: January 30, 2017, 07:34:52 AM »
Do you make your own lunch? I found that I lost 2 kgs when I started eating my own lunch instead of buying in the company cafeteria.

For the caffeine, I would advise you to replace the pepsi with filter coffee. Filtered coffee does not contain calories. Just don't add any sweeteners. And gradually you can reduce the amount of coffee.

Reduce the wine to 1 bottle per week.

Learn to eat one plate with food per meal. Don't fill up when it is empty.

GreenSheep

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #30 on: January 30, 2017, 07:56:13 AM »
I just read through this thread and would like to toss out a few ideas that may or may not be helpful to you. I hope they are! I know that tone is sometimes hard to discern in writing, so please know that if this sounds harsh, I don't mean it to be! I've made a ton of changes to my nutrition and exercise habits over the past few years, and I've done some of it intelligently and some of it just by dumb luck, but I've learned a lot along the way!

Be very careful about deciding that a particular day is "too busy" for exercise, making healthy food, or otherwise focusing on your health. Saying "I don't have time for that" is just another way to say "That's not a priority for me." If something is important to you, you will find time for it.

I've heard that there are two different types of people when it comes to making major life changes. One type does well with gradual changes -- small steps over a longer period of time. The other type does better with big, sudden changes. That seemed counterintuitive to me at first; of course it seems like it would be easier to stick with baby steps. However, some people get a huge boost from seeing huge amounts of improvement quickly, and fast, impressive results give them the motivation to keep it up. If you think you might be that type, it's worth trying it out to see if it works for you. (Obviously, don't go run a marathon tomorrow and hurt yourself. There are limits, of course!)

Similarly, moderate effort gives moderate results. (Why do we tell people to make exercise and nutrition changes "in moderation," but we never tell an alcoholic that it's okay to have two beers or a heroin addict that it's okay to shoot up only on weekends?) If you want awesome results, you have to put in awesome effort. That sounds hard, but I've actually found that it makes things easier for me. Sort of like automating your savings. :-) For example, I exercise every single day, so I spend no time debating with myself or rationalizing why I should take today off. (Of course, if I'm sick or some other extreme and unexpected thing happens, I don't beat myself up over it. But I don't start a day or a week thinking that optimizing my health is optional.) At work, I don't consider the junk food brought by others to be food for me, any more than the stack of papers next to it is food. I simply do not consider that eating it is even a possibility, even if I'm hungry. If you allow yourself cheat days, you'll never change your taste buds, and you'll spend all of your time looking forward to your cheat day. (And really, your taste buds do change! It's amazing! People think that's crazy, but those are the same people who probably took a while to get used to the taste of coffee or beer.)

It's true that mandatory breakfast is a cereal company myth. However, I would add that the reason a lot of people aren't hungry in the morning is that they eat too late at night. Try to give yourself a solid 12 hours of not eating between dinner and breakfast, and you might find that you wake up hungry. If not, no problem -- just eat when you do get hungry.

Of course, be kind to yourself. You will slip up sometimes -- everyone does. Just don't let a slip turn into an avalanche ("Oh well, I ate that donut, so I guess I've ruined the whole week and can eat whatever I want!"), and don't beat yourself up over it. Just make your next decision a healthy one. And please come back and let us know how you're doing! There's nothing better than a good "before and after" story!

swick

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #31 on: January 30, 2017, 08:37:17 AM »
To echo Greensheep's advice, this is a thought-provoking post on the idea of 100% thinking: http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/health-and-wellbeing/the-100-per-cent-rule-the-simple-advice-that-changed-my-life-20160825-gr16da.html

Samuel

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #32 on: January 30, 2017, 10:16:02 AM »
A lot of good advice here.

I would add a couple thoughts:
1) Caffeine isn't all that bad by itself. In moderation it actually can help your exercise goals. The immediate enemy is habitual use of the sugary (or fake sugary) drinks. Rather than go cold turkey I'd suggest just switching to green tea. Break the addiction to sweetness and it'll be much easier to taper down the caffeine.
2) Do you sleep well (and enough)? Being sick this often points to more than just being overly sedentary.
3) I love beer and wine but after a certain age you won't be able to out exercise having a couple drinks most nights.
4) There's nothing wrong with easing into the physical activity. Many people start out overly enthusiastic and end up hurting themselves, which either puts you back on the couch or leaves you struggling along with a lingering injury. Sure, do a big workout once or twice a week but also sneak in as much movement as you can during the rest of your days. Walk a lot more, preferably up hills. Take stairs rather elevators. Bring a shirt and pedal the bike home every day, even if it's leisurely at first. Try to do just 10 pushups every morning, then gently raise the target. Little amounts of activity done often are just as important as the official gym workouts.


HAPPYINAZ

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #33 on: January 30, 2017, 10:28:42 AM »
Eating more plants really helped our immune systems.  We had a year where we got 3 colds and I figured that was a serious wake up call!  So we changed our diet and the following year I got ZERO colds.  I was on track to not get one this year too, but I ended up getting a bad cold when we were travelling.  Anyway, I feel like my immune system is stronger than ever and we try to focus on what we eat to help boost our immune system.

There is a website called NutritionFacts.org and you can find all kinds of research on what to eat for any desired effect (ie, boost immune system, reduce blood pressure, fight cancer, etc).  the site owner reviews all current research on nutrition and posts short videos summarizing it for a particular topic (ie, preventing colds).  He has several videos specific to fighting colds.  I have learned a ton there! 

use the search box to search for topics you are interested in.  And if you don't want to watch a video, you can click on view transcript.  And he links to the original sources of data too so you can review those if you like.

http://nutritionfacts.org/

here is the link to the videos related to colds
http://nutritionfacts.org/?fwp_search=cold&fwp_content_type=video

frugaliknowit

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #34 on: January 30, 2017, 01:35:01 PM »
Here's what's helped me raise my fitness level:

1.  No added sugar, white flour, non-whole grain foods.  Cakes, cookies, candies, crap, fagetaboudit!!

2.  As much as possible, do NOT eat out (except socially).  Bring your own lunch to work (I batch cook and generally bring leftovers).

3.  Biking to work.  Turn that freagin motor OFF!!!  Mix in some weight training.

GreenSheep

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #35 on: January 30, 2017, 02:04:21 PM »
I almost overlooked the fact that you asked for breakfast ideas! This might not work for you, but I typically have a big smoothie full of all sorts of healthy things (spinach, berries, banana, flax seed, and cacao powder). Of course you can make whatever smoothie tastes good to you and has all the healthy things you want in it. It's a fast and easy way for me to get a lot of good things in right away, so I feel like I'm starting off the day right. If I were to start the day with a donut, I might not be as motivated to make healthy decisions for the rest of the day. Sort of like wanting to keep your teeth clean after you've just been to the dentist. :-)

You didn't mention why you're anti-oatmeal, but if it's a time thing and not a taste/texture thing, you might consider making overnight oats. There are tons of recipes online, but basically mix everything together the night before, put it in the fridge, and take it out in the morning. You can either eat it cold or warm it up.

Homemade granola bars can be healthy, can be made in a big batch when you have time, and are an easy on-the-go breakfast to eat with a piece of fruit or two.

Also, since you mentioned that your rye bread is a Danish thing, I am guessing that you are Danish. This blogger is not (she's Canadian), but she moved to Denmark and (I think) married a Dane. So some of her food is Danish-inspired and/or would work for your climate and ingredients that are available in your grocery stores. I've made a ton of her recipes and have really liked most of them.

https://www.mynewroots.org/site/recipes/#breakfast

Raenia

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #36 on: January 30, 2017, 04:32:57 PM »
Thanks for the link. Would you recommend circuit 1 to begin with? I am thinking to start and work up to the 30 reps specified. It will probably take me months. Sigh, computer programming is not conducive to one's health.

I do one circuit per day MWF, with cardio the other days, plus I add a plank every day it's not specified.  Start at whatever number of reps you're able to do, and work your way up.  The trick is to do enough that you're sore the next day, but don't push so hard you injure yourself.

emilypsf

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #37 on: January 31, 2017, 07:47:25 AM »
Great plan!  Swimming really helps with back strength.  I have found that I am able to get up earlier and make myself eggs when I consciously think about how much happier I will be with that breakfast when my alarm goes off.  Another thing I like for breakfast is leftover roast veggies.  You don't have to eat breakfast foods just because it's breakfast time.

prognastat

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #38 on: January 31, 2017, 08:49:03 AM »
Diet:
- Minimize Carbs
- Remove as much sugar as possible
- Eat high protein/fat foods
- Track your food, it can be very surprising what is in certain foods

Exercise:
- At least 30 minutes a day, just do as much as you can in the beginning and slowly increase
- Walk/Bike and take stairs whenever you can instead of using other forms of transport and elevators
- Focus on resistance training(weights) more than cardio(This is slower to show on basic metrics such as weight/BMI, however in the long run is better for sustainable improvement)

General:
- Since you have a sedentary job try either standing for a few minutes each hour at work or get a standing desk if a possibility
« Last Edit: January 31, 2017, 08:53:23 AM by prognastat »

mwulff

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #39 on: February 01, 2017, 01:03:19 PM »
Just a small update. The flu is slowly letting go. Hopefully I will be back on my feet around Saturday. Just in time to make some changes starting Monday.

HandleBarStache

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #40 on: February 02, 2017, 12:56:47 PM »
You will likely fail if you change too much too quick.  Things might workout for a week or so, then I see too many people fall into this.

I work in an office, with a bunch or developers, designers and network engineers.  It is super non-condusive to optimal health... Make a small change every 1-2 weeks and evaluate it, and determine if its maintainable.  I see too many people use the whole 30 concept as a way to recharge their body, lose some weight, then fall right back in line with old habits and lifestyle.

I'll take your sugary caffine example and make up something.  Lets say you have a redbull in the am, lunch and after work to stay awake ... Why not try and cut to two for a week and go from there?  You want to make changes in small doses if you're in it for the long haul.  As other users mentioned.  Bring your own lunch 1-2 times a week if you're accustomed to jetting out for the lunch hour to pick up something?

In the scheme of biking... Set a distance from your work place, where you cut off the electric assistance and pedal in for a couple blocks... building that eventually.. over time.  Same goes with adding other forms of activity and workouts

Again, the key is small changes over time that you get used to. 

+1 for adequate sleep also.  So much new info out there on little hacks to optimize your sleep and get quality sleep for your health


SilveradoBojangles

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #41 on: February 02, 2017, 01:27:17 PM »
I have some ideas that are more micro changes than a whole new work out plan/lifestyle.

Back - so much low back pain is related to weak glute muscles. Other muscles take over and your glutes are lazy and stop firing entirely. Sitting a lot exacerbates the problem. For a couple of weeks just try activating your glutes. Stand with you feet hips width apart an focus on clenching your glutes for 30 seconds (or as long as you can at first - it might just be a few seconds!). Work up to three 1 minute clenches (really make it burn!) a day. My back pain is gone. If I get lazy and forget it starts creeping back in, but i start doing my glute clenches and it keeps it at bay. This is something you can do while brushing your teeth, waiting for the tea kettle to boil, etc.

Stairs - make a rule that you have to take them all the time. When you can't take the stairs anymore due to mobility issues/ infirmity, you'll miss it. And you will lose it if you don't every take them. So use that perspective to make taking the stairs a pleasure rather than a chore.

Track your steps - chances are your phone does this for you. Check it. I have found that just being aware of how little steps I've taken today is good motivation to go walk around. I put on a podcast/audiobook/call some one and go for a walk. Sometimes if I have no time I set my timer for 10 (or even 5) minutes, and just leave my house and start walking. I see how far I can get before the timer goes off, and then I turn around and walk back. Easy peasy, and I feel like I did something.

Good luck!

madgeylou

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #42 on: February 02, 2017, 02:51:56 PM »
You will likely fail if you change too much too quick.  Things might workout for a week or so, then I see too many people fall into this.

This seems to depend on the person. Some do better with small incremental changes, others do better with the lightning bolt approach (I'm the latter).

OP I would encourage you to focus on developing healthy habits. Don't get too caught up in the number on the scale. Good health outcomes are associated with healthy habits moreso than weight (meaning even if you are still fat, you will still accrue benefits from eating plants, getting some exercise, focusing on sleep, etc.)

The nice thing is that focusing on healthy habits provides pretty quick results. When you are eating more veggies and less sugar, and getting some exercise most days, there might be a few rough days at the beginning but, very quickly, you'll start to feel better.

Goldielocks

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #43 on: February 02, 2017, 04:09:45 PM »
If you are over 40, check out this resource.  I have done the eating plan (on my 4th time now) since 2010, and always come back to it.   It is not the best or anything, just seems to work and falls in line with other naturopathic recommendations.   

I was having more issues with food as I aged over 40.  This really works to reset things, including caffeine addiction, too many alcohol drinks per week, food cravings, low energy after work, etc... 

Lots of veggies.   Drink lots of water.  Cut out sugar (and carbs and irritating to you foods to start).   Create a new digestive biome with your microbes to break whatever cravings or bad habits (or bad moods) you may have now.  (look up studies about how your gut is your second brain, etc)

Easy to say.  Hard to do.  This plan helps me a lot to get on track.

http://lyngenet.com/



GreenSheep

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #44 on: February 02, 2017, 06:59:51 PM »
I think a distinction needs to be made (here and in our society as a whole) between "carbs" and "refined carbs." Entire continents full of people have survived and even thrived on little more than carbs for centuries, but we're not talking about Twinkies here. They've thrived on potatoes, brown rice, barley, etc. Unrefined carbs.

There are people who grew up on Okinawa eating nothing but sweet potatoes for 50 years straight, to the point where their standard greeting translated to, "Have you had your potatoes today?" Potatoes were a staple of the Irish diet for a long time. Rice (brown, until fairly recently) has been a very large part of the diet in many parts of Asia. There's even an Australian calling himself Spud Fit who ate nothing but potatoes for all of 2016. He lost a lot of weight (was overweight to start) and still has very healthy lab results according to his doctor.

Why do we tell people to eat protein to gain (muscle) weight AND tell other people to eat protein to lose weight? Nothing against protein, and of course we need some, but we also need fat and carbs.

Anyway, my point is that I don't think people need to avoid all carbs. They're not as evil as American media wants us, for some reason, to believe. I also don't think everyone needs to become the next Spud Fit, but feeling guilty about eating a delicious bowl of roasted vegetables with quinoa or barley or brown rice because of the carbs seems counter-productive.

madgeylou

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #45 on: February 02, 2017, 07:08:14 PM »
Anyway, my point is that I don't think people need to avoid all carbs. They're not as evil as American media wants us, for some reason, to believe. I also don't think everyone needs to become the next Spud Fit, but feeling guilty about eating a delicious bowl of roasted vegetables with quinoa or barley or brown rice because of the carbs seems counter-productive.

I think that mileage varies greatly on this, too (as with most nutrition advice). My people run fat, and insulin resistance/diabetes runs in my family, too. If I'd only eaten wholesome carbs like rice and barley and sweet potatoes my whole life, instead of potato chips and ice cream (as I did all the time as a rather neglected child) then my metabolic pathways might be different. But, at this point, in this body, I run a lot better on very small amounts of any kind of carbs.

MrsPB

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #46 on: February 03, 2017, 05:20:05 AM »
I highly recommend figuring out your 'tendency' this concept is from Gretchen Rubin (she wrote The Happiness Project) and she's written a book on habits in relation to your particular tendencies regarding inner and outer expectations. Her website has a quiz on The 4 Tendencies and her podcast (Happier) discusses this in detail. It's all very relatable to the average person. Once you know your tendency, you can determine your goals and how you will achieve them.
Loads of great advice above, sorry if I repeat but here are my thoughts:
-Create small changes/goals and build on them
-Track your progress using an app or a chart
-Accountability is awesome, joining a group online for example
-I find rules work well, e.g. I will not eat any office treats this week,then you don't have to agonize over the decision when things appear! This may be easier depending on your tendency.
-allow/plan for your treats so you have control. Could be a small daily treat or one cheat day a week. Whatever works for you.
-Can you ride your bike home, that way it's not an issue if you get sweaty?
-My DH and I cut out alcohol last June (a number or reasons why) and it's made a huge difference with weight loss, energy, sleep etc. Wasn't easy to start but now is the norm. Not saying I'll never have another drink but I don't buy it for home and it's not there to tempt us! I did an online challenge called One Year No Beer which was awesome as it focused on the social side of things as well as fitness and wellness. They have 30,90 or 365 day challenges. I had tried dry month challenges before but this was the first one that really appealed made it seem more achievable and it stuck!I am not saying you should give up but maybe having some rules around it if you do, like, a certain amount per week or only having a drink on weekends?
« Last Edit: February 03, 2017, 09:59:39 AM by MrsPB »

MightyAl

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #47 on: February 03, 2017, 06:45:25 AM »
Losing weight is controlled by diet

Increasing fitness is controlled by exercise

Don't confuse the two.  You can out eat any exercise if you are trying to use exercise to lose weight.  Carb restriction has not been proven to accelerate weight loss.  It is still and always will be calories in/calories out.  Carb restriction is merely another way to restrict calories.  I can site several studies to support this if need be.

Be careful with the scale if you are doing resistance exercises.  Get a pair of fat calipers and measure your body fat.  Also take and track your body measurements.  There have been several weeks the scale has let me down but my measurements have told a completely different story.

Cutting soda and booze is a good first step to accelerate weight loss.  It is an easy way to cut calories and calories you can drink are the most dangerous to weight gain.  Also alcohol is burned as energy before anything else. 

I walk the walk with these things and lost 100lbs in 2 years and have kept it off for the past 6 years.  Start slow and make gradual changes don't over do the exercise or you will not want to do it.  If you get an overuse injury back off. 

You have made the first step of deciding that you need to change which is the hardest part.  Stick with it and come back here when you need support.  The journey is tough but the destination is well worth it.  Weight loss for me was very un-mustachian as I had to by a whole new wardrobe 3 times and my shoe size even shrank by half a size.  You know that you were fat when you lose wright and your shoes get loose.

historienne

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #48 on: February 03, 2017, 09:17:11 AM »
If you want to break into running, I highly recommend the Couch to 5k program.  I haven't done it myself (I've been a runner since high school), but both my best friend and my husband have used it and loved it.  My best friend in particular was in a very similar place to you, and now she's signing up for half marathons!  You don't need to take it that far if you don't want to, but it's a very good program for slowly building up the strength and stamina to run. 

I also want to second the focus on healthy habits over losing weight.  The weight will either come off, or it won't.  Either way, if you can move towards eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise, you will almost certainly be healthier and feel much better.

Gilly

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Re: Help me regain my health
« Reply #49 on: February 03, 2017, 10:26:54 AM »
For caffeine try green or black tea. There are so many varieties that you should find something you like.
If you like huevos rancheros here is a quick version that I do. Not exact but pretty good. I make a large batch of refried beans (dried beans in a crock pot with a jalapeņo, onion, garlic, and seasoning) ahead of time, refrigerate them in serving size containers, and then microwave a portion for breakfast. While it is heating up in the microwave I make a sunny side up egg. Sometimes I add cheese to the beans. Top with salsa and its adequate. Can have on a tortilla. Time is about 5 minutes to make.