Twelve months ago today, I changed my life completely.
I finished my last exam in my honours year at university, sometime in October 2010. Many things have changed about my life since that date, but I’m going to discuss on e in particular here. I’m putting this together today to piece together my thoughts and feelings on a year of physical transition.
I’ve decided to celebrate this day as the anniversary of my attempt to get fit and improve my diet with the aim of losing weight. At the top of the spreadsheet that contains my weight records over the past year, the first number was entered on the 22nd of December.
Being a habitual person, I figure I replaced studying with exercise probably a month after my last exam. I told my Dad I wanted to buy an exercise bike. It was a statement of intent. We got one for a hundred bucks on eBay. It was pretty ordinary but it did the job for quite a few months.
At my heaviest, I was 87.5kg, quite heavy for someone my height. I’d always been stocky but I’d been particularly lazy and undisciplined during uni, particularly during my honours year. The beer certainly didn’t help. I exercised on the bike most days, using the heart rate monitor to track how hard I was working. I changed my diet fundamentally. I basically quit drinking. I used to have a beer most nights to wind down, but this became a no-no. I still have the occasional beer socially, but that’s pretty much it. I avoid bread and pasta as much as possible.
My approach was classic Jonathan – nerdy, process-driven, and habitual. I rode the bike, I ate better, I tracked my weight on the spreadsheet. And it worked. During some weeks, I lost more than 2kgs. That’s a dangerous amount, I’d guess, but that was pretty rare. At my lightest, I was 66kg. That’s a loss of 21.5kg, an amount I’d never really dreamed of. I’m now a leaner 71kgs after joining the gym and starting regular weights sessions. My Sunday runs are almost 8kms, and my best time is 37 minutes.
The world is full of advice and hints and secrets to losing weight. Most of them are total bullshit or completely unnecessary as far as I can tell. Overall, it has been a positive thing for me. I look better. Mentally, I feel as though I’m a little bit more even. My asthma has improved a lot.
Some things become difficult though, it’s not all one way. Turning down a drink can be hard. Explaining to people why you aren’t having any cake is awkward. People take it upon themselves to comment when you appearance changes, and not always positively. And people give themselves bullshit excuses about why they could never change their habits. it takes real strength to deal these things.
I’m proud of my efforts thus far, and I know I can continue to get better - leaner, stronger, fitter. I found a way to apply myself to all of this in a way I thought would suit me, and it worked. I had plenty of support, and to those people, I say thank you. I wish everyone who sets off down this path the very best of luck with their efforts.