Over the years, I have worked for many companies as a developer, requiring me to spend long tedious hours behind a desk. I love programming and it definitely keeps my brain stimulated, but my overall health and fitness has gradually declined. I am usually thrust into a team environment, where my colleagues and I create great code, but have poor social nutritional eating habits, aka quick / fast food. After work, I have a hard time balancing my family life and personal time. This causes me to forget and push things off of my so called priority list, with "I'll do it tomorrow!" syndrome. Once I get home from the usual stressful traffic on the freeway, it feels like I barely have enough time to take off my shoes, figure out what to make for dinner, tell the kids to stop fighting and get everyone ready for bed. There has to be some extra time somewhere. Enough is enough!
The last 6 months, I have made many positive changes in my life and decided to write an article about it. My hope is that it inspires the reader to examine and critique their own life accordingly and make changes where they see fit. Please feel free to share all of your own personal experiences in the comment section below.
Goals and Aspirations
Lets start off with, 'What do you want to achieve, from these life altering changes?'. For me, it was to get my life in order, balance my career with health and fitness and leave enough personal time to de-stress and enjoy life. Your goals may be different than mine, but they do share a common bond of hard work and determination to see a final outcome. So do you have the motivation and dedication to get the job done, like the Nike slogan 'Just do It'?
This is where it gets personal. Talk to that little voice in your head. Yea the one that is talking to you now, telling you, "He's Crazy". Ask it, am I truly happy or just content because I'm stuck in routine. How do you describe yourself when someone asks? Do you start off with your career? Ask your friends and family to help describe you, the good and bad. Don't take offense, no matter what they say. Let it swirl around in your head and see if their perception fits your character. After the detailed examination, build a list of things you are going to change from this point forward and never look back.
Undeterred Plan and Schedule
Take your list of changes and create a structured daily plan. Make sure to include an hour a day of personal time, just for you. Don't let others affect your personal space or time, it's for you only. Above all else stick to the plan, I guarantee you will see results.
My Personal Experience
Keep aware in this next section, I am describing my own personal changes and results. They may or may not work for you. If it works for you great, if it doesn't, try something else, just don't complain. Complaining is just a convenient way to make an excuse not to try.
Health & Diet
My first goal was to take back control of my health. My health was on a roller coaster from hell. I felt flu sick all the time, bad headaches, upset stomach, heartburn like descriptions of GERD, burned out with no energy, laziness, etc. I was eating junk food just because I was bored, not because I was hungry. Drinking soda pop like it was a replacement for water, like the movie Idiocracy with the electrolyte drink coming out of the fountain.
Eating fast food 24/7 because it takes less time, I don't have to cook or prepare it and cleanup was easy. I traded convenience for health and wow did I make a mistake. I was eating a food made by a clown, a McDonald's clown to be exact. Eating the food was killing me and my family. Fast food sure has changed over the years into heavy grease, deep fried, fatty, high calorie, sugar, sodium, processed, chemical monstrosities that have very little to no nutritional value. Just remember, "You are what you eat!". I consumed probably around 1200 calories per meal, 3 times a day plus snacks and sodas and energy drinks at 160+ calories per each.
Keep in mind BMI is a general fitness calculation. You might have muscle that weighs more, throwing your results off.
Normal Total Daily Calories
- Male: 2,000 to 3,000
- Female: 1,600 to 2,400
I was probably around 4,000 to 6,000 calories a day.
Lets calculate my past BMI (Body Mass Index) measurement. Keep in mind under 18.5 BMI is too skinny and over 25.0 is too heavy.
Body Weight: 245 pounds
Height: 6'0 = 72 inches
((245 * 703) / 72) 72 = 33.22 BMI
Body Weight: 178 pounds
Height: 6'0 = 72 inches
((178 * 703) / 72) 72 = 24.13 BMI
A personal fitness instructor said to me, 'Best thing to remember is, don't eat what you cant burn at the gym in 30 minutes'. The statement helped me realize I was over consuming food. Another thing that I taken to heart is "Are you really hungry?". Most of the time you will find out you are just thirsty, so drink a bottle of water.
Also stay away from social eating. "What is social eating?" When you go out to a restaurant with others, you tend to consume the same amounts as everyone else. You eat until your past full. When you get the feeling you are full, you are actually, too full. Just like when your thirsty, you are actually dehydrated. Your body is telling you to fix the problem.
My Current Eating Habits
I stay away from processed and canned foods, heavy gluten, fast foods, etc. I eat oats, protein powder, chicken, fish, vegetables lightly cooked, romaine / spinach salads. Snack on organic nuts and fruits. I drink tons of clean water. I stay away from GMO (
) foods and chemicals. I use cinnamon as a sugar substitute. I use pepper and herb spices instead of salt. I use lemon juice to slow cook my chicken or fish. I stay away from condiments like butter, margarine, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, etc. I buy groceries that are raw and truly organic rather than ones that may have purchased a label. 100% juice usually equals 100% sugar. Read nutrition facts, just because it doesn't show it, doesn't mean, it doesn't contain it. Nutrition ingredients are listed in the order of quantity from most to least. If it doesn't contain over the minimum to be listed, it is not added to the list.
Genetically modified organism or engineered organism (GEO) is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques
'If humans drink milk, what do cows drink?' I take my daily vitamins and consume LOTS OF WATER! I cant stress this enough... Water! Water! Taste Great!
There is no magic fix for losing weight except medical surgery. Don't let the infomercials fool you. You want the perfect body?, it is going to take lots of exercise, discipline and proper diet. I currently work out every other day, trading between upper body and lower body. I do lots of cardio and functional training and elliptical. I sacrifice an hour of my personal free time to achieve results. If you can not find the time to workout, trade your lunch time for it and bring vegetables or protein bars to snack on. I focus on my problem area the most, which is my stomach. Excessive sitting causes the beer belly look, which is very unattractive, or so I'm told.
A quick fix, try to sit on a workout ball instead of a chair at work. Balancing on it will keep your abs working. Your core stomach area is the most important on your body. Have you ever seen a fat on top, fat on bottom, skinny middle person? Or an eight shape body? Usually doesn't happen. So getting your core in shape, will cause everything else to look good as well. I do 3 sets of 30 sit-ups a day and lots of planks and leg lifts for the lower abs. If you have problem areas, focus only on them, forget about what your good at. You never know the problem area may turn into your best feature, if you work hard enough for it.
Convenience equals lazy, so next time you find a place to park your car, park as far away as possible. If its under a mile, walk. Under 5 miles ride a bike. Go outside and play sports with your kids, get them off of Facebook and their phones texting. When did social, turn into not being social, go outside once an a while, get a sun tan.
Stress, Depression, Sickness
Most of the time stress and depression is caused by being unhealthy, unwanted and unfit. Taking pharmaceuticals to make you feel better is good short term and bad long term. I use to take all kinds of aspirin and ibuprofen, just to get through the day. I was ignoring my body or deflecting the messages, because I didn't have time for it, instead of fixing the problem.
Crazy fact, most of the time you get a cold or flu, it is really just food poisoning or allergies, surprise! Look it up, you will be surprised as well. I haven't been sick for six months since eating healthier, cleaning my foods and staying away from unsanitary fast food places.
Sitting at work for long periods of time is very bad for your health. I have a trick that can help you though. I put my water inside my car and every time my coworkers go out to smoke, I follow and go out and drink a bottle of water. Gets me up and moving and I don't forget, because they don't forget to smoke. If you have vending machines at the office, fill them with protein bars and water. Once people start seeing you get fit, they will want to join in too. Soon your boss wants to pay for your gym memberships, because everyone has more energy and there is a noticeable increase in production. My boss has even started to run in the mornings before work. Change the atmosphere, spread the positive energy it's contagious.
Well in conclusion, I have lost lots of weight. I have tons of energy and feel like I could run a marathon everyday. Women are actually starting to pay attention to me again. It's weird how generally nicer people are to fit / healthy people. Maybe its smell or pheromones, whatever it is you will notice the difference. Don't Give Up! If I could do it, anyone can do it. The magic words are Motivation and Commitment. Don't say your going to do it, just do it!
My Results So Far
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