Facing My Biggest Challenge For 2009
During the Holidays or upon the beginning of a New Year, many of us have the habit of establishing our goals for the upcoming year. Personally, I like making my “to do list” at that time of the year as well. Writing down my goals is usually the very first step to achieving them. Writing includes a sense of commitment. This commitment becomes even bigger when you blog about your goals as many readers know about them. Most of the time, my goals are based on my financial situation: I want to improve my savings, pay off my mortgage, increase my income, etc. However, my biggest challenge and what became my main goal in 2009 was totally unexpected back in January.
Even if I dropped my books, I didn’t lose their weight!
Back in April 2009, I was about to finish my MBA. I was working full time and doing my MBA weekends in the hopes of creating a better future for my family. Dealing with young children, pressure at work and deadlines for school all at the same time was definitely not part of the best moments of my life! However, sacrifices are necessary if you want to achieve financial freedom. But, there was a bigger challenge I hadn’t expected that appeared in the meantime. It was insidious, like a snake and nobody even noticed it. It was gradually taking over my body like Venom over Spider-Man; I was getting fatter everyday! During the previous 6 months, I had gained 25 pounds!
While at school, I stopped working out and started eating more. It can be considered normal as I was studying from 10pm to midnight”¦ with my only companions, a glass of milk and a few cookies. It was to give me additional energy ;-) Well I gained additional pounds as well!
Losing 30 pounds in 4 months
Nope, I am not going to sell you some Acai berry miracle product or the latest diet I found on the net. I will actually tell you how I lost 30 pounds in just 4 months in a healthy way without spending much money.
Most people think “I am built this way” and that losing weight “is not possible” or that they would “gain it back as soon as they stop their diet”. Well here is the trick: there is no temporary method, diets included, to permanently lose weight. You simply have to change your way of living.
I actually love eating good food and think there was nothing preventing me from accessing food. Eating is probably the most accessible day-to-day pleasure in life; I didn’t want to become a slave to a diet. So, I decided to go the other way: exercise.
Find a spot in your schedule
We all make the very mistake of “forcing” a training hour into our schedules. We fit it in between two other obligations. It will probably work for a while, but sooner or later you will either feel tired or feel bored. This is because you are forcing workout time into your schedule.
I took a moment to analyse my schedule and establish the best time to workout. I found that I had more energy in the morning so I decided to wake up earlier and go to the gym every morning. After all, cutting down on my sleep wasn’t the end of the world if it could help me reduce the size of my gut!
I registered at a gym right beside work so I don’t lose time going there. And since I have to go to work everyday, I stop by the gym on the way. It is now part of my routine, instead of forcing myself at an inappropriate time. I don’t say it is easy. It can be quite a pain to wake up earlier each morning. Every time I hear my alarm ring, I wonder what am I doing; waking up so early! Then I head to the bathroom and look at myself in the mirror; this is why I have to wake-up so early!
The gym wasn’t the most frugal way to workout. However, I personally needed to spend money to commit. Since I have paid for a 1 year membership, I would lose a great deal of money if I don’t go to the gym regularly! Since I hate to waste money, it motivated me to go to the gym every day. The fact of having a personal trainer to review my program every 2 months has really helped me as well. I gave myself only 2 months to get some results, even as modest as they could be, before I met with a trainer. Since she is a professional, she was able to build a program so I lose weight faster than by doing random exercises. She also gave me additional tricks for my workout in order to optimize my time at the gym. After all, I only have 30-40 minutes in my daily schedule allotted for the gym.
The great thing about getting in shape is that the more physical activity you do the less food you feel like eating. I had been cutting out the unnecessary (and fattening!) food and the desire for junk food slowly disappeared by itself. It just doesn’t seem as appealing to me anymore!
Back in April 2009, I weighed 210 pounds. It has now been 3 months and I weigh 180 pounds. I have reduced my intake a little bit (especially sweets and deserts) but most of my weight loss has come from 30 to 40 minutes per day at the gym. However, it is an eternal challenge as gaining weight is like accumulating debt; it grows slowly and it really hurts when you look at yourself in the mirror.
The key in both cases is to apply the basics in a disciplined manner. I would be curious to know what your biggest challenge was in 2009 and how you handled it?
Image source: Nimages DR