health

#MondayMotivation - A Healthier Mike: March 2019 Check-In

It’s not enough just to live a life
Simple measures to survive
It’s like living should be easy right?
But there’s always something
Heavy on heart
Heavy on my mind
Falling on me all the time
There’s always something
— Said the Whale "Moonlight"

Quick Stats

Total steps: 340,702

Average daily steps: 10,990

Highest daily steps: 22,180 (March 23)

Lowest daily steps: 3,563 (March 18)

Total miles walked/ran/hiked: 80.83

Total miles hiked: 17.48

Days with over 7 hours of sleep: 9 days over 7, 7 days between 6-7

Average daily sleep: 5 hours 46 minutes


Standing up top the Lost Mine Trail
@ Big Bend National Park

The Good

  • Number of miles of hiking, walking, or running is way up from February

  • Daily step average is up from February

  • My commitment to daily activity is more of a second nature than before

  • Days of activity and days with closed Apple Watch rings are up from February

  • Hiking mileage is up from February as is my desire and willingness to hike

  • My average length of sleep per night is up a few minutes and my days over 7 hours is much higher than before


The Not-So-Good

  • I didn’t track food for most of the month

  • I likely gained weight

  • I ate my feelings and stress daily

  • I haven’t hiked as much as I should have

  • I had to stop couch 2 5k after week one because work had consumed me

  • My eating is out of control and I drank more often than I would have liked


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Mental Health

  • It’s been a long month filled with stress from a project at work. It’s over and so my stress should move back down to normal levels in regards to work.

  • I’ve been insecure about everything.

  • I found a book called “The Book of Awakening” and it’s sort of a daily dose of meditation and mindfulness that I’ve really enjoyed.

  • I’ve left the disappointment behind in regards to calories and food - I’ll get there, and I’ll keep trying so there is no need to get so upset over it.

  • Exercise is helping me clear my mind, find some calm, and take deep breaths.

  • I plan to read more actual books in April. I listened to a few in March, but want to actually read a few in April.

  • I’m journaling daily now, which is a big help also. It really helps to get shit out on a page.


Thoughts, Notes, Conclusions

  • Pizza just needs to be off limits because I have ZERO self control (this hasn’t changed since February)

  • When I’m feeling drained, I don’t want to be good. I shall try harder.

  • I need to give up the convenience of eating out and make it convenient to eat at home.

  • I’m going to exercise even more in April.

  • I plan to eat frugally and more healthy in April.

  • Daily mindfulness is great for really centering my stress. The time I set aside for my book really helps me realize it could be worse and it could be better but it doesn’t matter. I need to be here, let shit go, focus on current shit, and be present in life.


March Wins & Goals for April

Winter time at the cabin, off the grid, with my ass in the snow. Good views, good vibes, good beer, good times ahead. #annualtrip
  • Read/Listen to at least 8 books

  • I’m going to continue to try to drink less alcohol - to make it more of a special occasion instead.

  • Take a weekend off of social media

  • Going to restart Couch 2 5K on April 1

  • I increased my days over 10,000 steps from 57% to 61% of the month and thus want to reach that 75% mark in April.

  • More adventurous hikes - I have a few spots in mind out in west Texas

  • I want to incorporate longer daily walks and lunch walks.

  • I need to take a mindful break daily.

  • Read and write daily

  • Daily walks at least 6 times per week, regardless of Couch 2 5K workouts or hikes

A Healthier Mike - February 2019 Check-In

Don’t stop
When it all drops
Saying maybe something good is coming
Maybe something good is coming my way
— Dear Rouge "Little By Little"

Quick Stats

Total steps: 292,001

Average daily steps: 10,429

Highest daily steps: 19,013 (February 3)

Lowest daily steps: 4,050 (February 9)

Total miles walked/ran/hiked: 56.76

Total miles hiked: 14.82

Days with over 7 hours of sleep: 2, with 6 days at 6-7 hours

Average daily sleep: 5 hours 35 minutes


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The Good

  • Number of days with activity is up from January!

  • Daily step average is up from January.

  • My willingness to get out and do some activity is up from January

  • I closed the rings on my Apple Watch more days than January, with better days and higher goals.

  • More active days than January!

  • My jeans are too big now, which is both nice and really annoying

  • The dog is forcing me to walk on days I don’t want to because he basically expects his miles now


The Not-So-Good

  • My average sleep is down 11 minutes per night and that’s kind of depressing.

  • I broke even on weight, which isn’t bad or good, just a bummer. I know I did not try as hard as I could have to eat better, but I certainly walked more. Here’s to pushing it a bit further in March.

  • I have been so depressed this month and thus have been eating to comfort myself and that’s not always the most productive way to handle it. Exercise has helped and I plan to increase the frequency and difficulty.

  • I didn’t really take any “super” long hikes, and I’d like to do something a little more intense. Plans for March.

  • I lost a snowshoe in February, not really health related, but it needed to be said.


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Mental Health

  • It’s been kind of a shitty month.

  • I’ve been insecure about work because I’m learning how to do things, despite having wonderful coworkers who really do take the time to help and guide.

  • I’ve been grumpy because of the rain keeping me indoors.

  • I’ve been upset that I can’t stay on track with a moderate amount of calories.

  • Exercise is helping me clear my mind, find some calm, and take deep breaths.

  • I plan to read more in March, that should help too.

  • I’m journaling daily now, which is a big help also. It really helps to get shit out on a page.


Thoughts, Notes, Conclusions

  • Pizza just needs to be off limits because I have ZERO self control

  • When I’m feeling drained, I don’t want to grocery shop or make dinner or clean up the kitchen afterwards. I need to work out a system for these days so I don’t fall so far off the wagon of trying to be healthy.

  • I honestly don’t recall the last time I went out of my way to order a pop.

  • Kombucha is still my favorite drink.

  • My body isn’t REALLY craving anything bad - I never desire candy or cookies. I want cheese and bread. All is good in moderation, but…ya know.

  • I think I’m truly lactose intolerant. I’m on a mission to avoid all dairy with the exception of hard/aged cheeses, Greek yogurt, butter, sour cream, and the occasional splash of heavy whipping cream. The real bummer is giving up ice cream, but it is for the best. (I know non-dairy ice cream exists, but what’s the point?)


February Wins & Goals for March

Winter time at the cabin, off the grid, with my ass in the snow. Good views, good vibes, good beer, good times ahead. #annualtrip
  • Read/Listen to at least 8 books

  • I’m going to continue to try to drink less alcohol - to make it more of a special occasion instead.

  • Take a weekend off of social media

  • Going to restart Couch 2 5K on March 3

  • I increased my days over 10,000 steps from 41% to 57% of the month and thus want to reach that 75% mark in March.

  • More adventurous hikes - I have a few spots in mind out in west Texas

  • Found new routes in February and want to incorporate them more often in March.

  • Work on getting the household and friends on board with my life goals, so it’s easier to interact and live day to day together

  • Read and write daily

  • Daily walks at least 6 times per week, regardless of Couch 2 5K workouts or hikes

A Healthier Mike - January 2019 Check-In


Quick Stats

Total steps: 299,801

Average daily steps: 9,671

Highest daily steps: 23,594 (January 19)

Lowest daily steps: 4,187 (January 2)

Total miles walked/ran/hiked: 57.67

Total miles hiked: 25.53

Days with over 7 hours of sleep: 5, with 8 days above 6 hours

Average daily sleep: 5 hours 44 minutes


The Good

  • I lost 11.6 lbs this month - it’s not about the numbers, but it sure is encouraging since I’m doing this more as a lifestyle change than a diet or quick change

  • I tracked my food every day since setting out to do so, and it’s now second nature. Tracking my food keeps me in check when it comes to portions and balance.

  • I no longer grab candy or M&Ms at work. I’ve replaced my morning snack of Peanut M&Ms with an apple or a yogurt. I’m not eliminating candy completely, but I sure didn’t earn them by sitting around the office all day.

  • Overall, I’m not nearly as hungry as I thought I’d be by reigning in portion sizes.

  • I’ve been cooking more at home and almost always avoiding dining out. This is good for our budgets and even better for my health.

  • As a lifestyle change/adjustment it’s much easier to take this all in and adapt. Knowing I can have a beer or knowing I can eat poorly and not throw off a whole system makes it easier to stay on track and get back on track.

  • Increased daily exercise and hiked consistently throughout the month. There were some days I didn’t want to go for my evening walk or wake up and hike, but I did. I have to remember the benefits are worth the time.

  • My daily breakfast is oatmeal with a sliced banana and some sliced almonds for crunch. This breakfast is supreme and works to keep me full all morning.

  • When possible, I’m taking lunch or afternoon walks around my office building with plans to expand after the busy season to the nearby park.

  • I had 13 days over 10,000 steps and 19 days with closed rings on my Apple Watch


The Not-So-Good

  • I’ve had a few days that I’ll call binge-sessions. I went way over my daily caloric intake goals. These days were mostly caused by eating out, celebrations, or alcohol.

  • Some days, I can be lazy (depressed) and I’ve noticed those are also the days I eat too much. Those days are directly related to not sleeping enough, insecurities in my life, and general anxiety about everything.

  • I give in to peer pressure too easily and that leads to exceeding my goals. I didn’t need that Taco Bell after the four beers; I could have had 2 beers and no food and been FINE.

  • When I don’t plan ahead, I eat too much or am stuck making poor choices. Planning ahead is my best advantage in this whole shift.

  • I still have trouble saying no things I want, even when I don’t have room or deserve them that day. I don’t mean humanly deserve them, I mean in the realm of a balanced nutrition kind of way. If I’m already overeating, say goodbye to any chance at keeping it in check. I need to work on saying no and reserving the things I love for more of a reward scenario.


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Mental Health

  • Most days were good, but I’ve had several “cloudy days” that are usually the same days where I overeat thus directly relating my mental and physical health. Also, those days where I eat too much are also the days when I avoid any exercise.

  • I’m working very hard to avoid my 2018 scenario of falling victim to my “cloudy days” where I stayed in bed/indoors instead of getting out and getting exercise.

  • When I exercise, it’s almost an instant relief for my brain. I “talk” things out with myself, contemplate alternatives, or just completely turn off my completely.

  • I was on one of my evening walks and just kind of thinking to myself on how this walk really turned my day around and for that I am grateful. Evening walks are saving the day one mile at a time.

  • I listened to “Reasons to Stay Alive” on my flights back from Alaska early in January and it was beautiful and quick and just the inspiration I wanted. I’m reading through the book now, just to reabsorb it and would highly recommend it to anyone struggling with their thoughts.


Thoughts, Notes, Conclusions

  • Beets really make your life colorful - poop, pee, hands, kitchen… but they’re so good.

  • A bottle of prosecco can fit into daily caloric goals, though is completely unnecessary.

  • Loving a vinegar dressing on a salad - shredded carrots, chopped greens, feta, ham, tomato

  • Kombucha may be my new favorite thing. It’s a great fizzy, fermented alternative to pop (soda, coke, whatever). It’s a low calorie game changer.

  • Sometimes, I can close my Apple Watch rings without doing too much out of the ordinary and that’s misleading and not great so I have to be conscious of what I need to make time for during the day/evening.

  • My coworker recommended reducing my caffeine intake and I think he’s onto something. I’m going to reduce my coffee intake to one large cup per day instead of a half of a pot.

  • This is a slow and steady thing. Little by little. Life is good, this is easy and it allows for growth along the way.

  • When you first begin something like this, with yet another fresh start, you don’t know exactly how much progress you’ve made but it always feels good to see activity increase throughout the month.

  • I don’t want to cut anything out of my life. I did the low carb thing for a while, it didn’t work that well once I hit a point where I was bored or thought I could “maintain” my weight. I want to eat whatever I want, but in moderation. This is my first real attempt at doing this, in my entire life, with the exception of doing Weight Watchers for a few months and giving up on it. I’m finding it easier and easier to balance the food I want and the food that is good for me, but I’m still struggling with saying no when my mind takes over.


Goals for February

Winter time at the cabin, off the grid, with my ass in the snow. Good views, good vibes, good beer, good times ahead. #annualtrip

Winter time at the cabin, off the grid, with my ass in the snow. Good views, good vibes, good beer, good times ahead. #annualtrip

  • Sleep more - work on getting to bed before 10 pm which can be a challenge but is totally worth it when I wake up refreshed and ready for the next day

  • Drink less alcohol, though I didn’t drink too much. I found myself making the worst food decisions when I was drinking, so reducing or eliminating that situation is better for everything. Also, my sleep quality is poor post alcohol consumption so this plays into the first goal.

  • I will be at the cabin for a few days off the grid, so I’ll do my best but I will not be worried about it overall. We may drink a little more, but we don’t overeat plus there will be snowshoeing and the whole trekking a mile across the lake things to get to and from the cabin. I’m looking forward to the exercise but also the mental break from society.

  • More exercise - including restarting couch 2 5K from the beginning because I felt really good while doing that or maybe just using NIke Run Club on my phone/watch. Either way, more activity or longer dog walks at the very minimum.

  • I’d like to increase my days over 10,000 steps from about 41% to over 50%

  • More adventurous hikes - I have a few spots in mind out in west Texas

  • Longer neighborhood walks - will achieve this by incorporating another loop or park loop adjacent to the area I already walk.

  • Weekly meal prepping so I can have things prepped and ready to cut down on overall time consumed.

  • Read or listen to at least two books and finish the re-read through of “Reasons to Stay Alive”

#MondayMotivation - What's the big idea?

I was in the middle of a hike on Saturday when I started to feel the burn. This hike wasn’t particularly strenuous or anything, but there were some minor hills and it was a total of 10 miles. I was on mile 7 or 8 and I was thinking I need to get more hikes this long and intense in my life. I also thought I needed to include more strenuous hikes weekly and cardio into daily life. I thought I needed more healthy choices in my life and I thought I needed more random drives to random locations. In the peak of my hike, with light dancing off canyon walls around me, I had all the great ideas.

Today, while I made smart food choices and bought plenty of produce for the week, I didn’t do much in terms of cardio or exercise in any way. All of the big ideas I had during my hike usually don’t translate to reality, but I am going to do a few things inspired by them. I’m going to restart the Couch 2 5K program and continue on my quest to reduce my calories and increase my nutritious items. I’m going to visit more locations that require leaving in the middle of the night and I’m going to see more sunrises.

Motivation comes in many forms, sometimes it lasts and sometimes it fades. I’m hoping to run with the momentum (pun intended) from my hike on Saturday and at least half-ass try to be better at things. I want my hiking pants to fit better and I want that hoodie to be a little loose. I want to to have boundless energy and I want my body to hurt less after 10 measly miles. I want to run that trail from Saturday and hike even further every weekend. Big ideas that translate to a bunch of small steps that hopefully lead to big results.

Do you ever have big ideas during a hike or adventure that you have to find ways to translate into real life ideas? Feel free to leave a comment!

A Healthier Mike - January 2019

Another month is upon us and my health goals from December are carrying forward into January. I didn’t quite make the mark last month with fitness and health, so we’ll keep pushing through striving for greatness this month. I don’t do resolutions at the new year, but I do have ongoing goals through the year that I edit as necessary. These goals range from financial goals to hiking goals, with everything in between. I plan to write every month, probably at the beginning, about the previous month and where I am with my goals. These posts will be specifically related to a healthier mind and body. Last year, I attempted to write about these things weekly and I didn’t see it necessary. Most people don’t care, and I don’t want to take the time as I’m already writing and recording about my goals in a journal and spreadsheet.

Ongoing General Goals

  • Eat less food (overall)

  • Move my body more (overall)

  • Eat more fresh and whole foods

  • Sleep more

  • Read more

  • Hike more often

Specific Goals

  • Lose 35 pounds by my 35th birthday

  • Run a 5K by summer

  • Hike 52 times in 2019

  • Run a trail (or several, but at least one)

The Plan

  • Meal plan for each week (rough or detailed, just a plan)

  • Cut out processed sugars

  • Walk, run, workout, or hike 30 minutes at least 5 times per week

  • Limit eating out to 2 lunches per month, dinners TBD

  • Eat more vegetables with every meal

  • Track food intake in My Fitness Pal app

  • Get to bed before 10pm

  • Track fitness with Apple Watch

Things I’m not doing

  • Weighing myself daily

  • Beating myself up for missteps

  • Comparing myself to anyone else and their journey (though, I do look up to people and their abilities when it comes to certain things like hiking and running)

Generally, I have issues with eating the correct portions of food. I overeat, regularly. It’s something I struggle with and work on every day of every year. Being conscious of what I eat and tracking every item is the only way for me to grasp just how much is going into my body. When I track my food, I feel better and often maintain a better heads space about food and fitness.

I’m not doing this with weight loss as a main goal; I want weight loss to be a side effect. I am working on my health and fitness to ensure I’m around to enjoy life. I want to hike, kayak, and backpack without having to slow down all the time. I want to feel confident in group settings and get out with people a little more advanced than myself. I want to feel less smashed on an airplane and I want to be even more comfortable with myself just about everywhere. I want to run some trails and actually run an entire 5K. I want to do so much and I am going to keep trying.

The vanity of it all is that I want to look down and not see a giant belly. I want to look nice in my puffy coat and vest. I want to feel comfortable with fitted clothing on my body. So, all of the health things aside, I want to look good too. I don’t want to be some ripped guy and I know I’ll never have a skinny body, but I just want to be a little less fluffy.

Follow along, or don’t, I’ll be here the first week of every month recapping and rerouting the plan as necessary. I wish you a healthy month ahead.