You often hear people say that your health is the most important thing in life.

And guess what? They are right!

Without health, a big pile of money will not do you a lot of good. And with both my mother and the girlfriend working at an institution for people with disabilities I really, REALLY know that being born with full physical and mental capabilities is a great gift.

Knowing this you would think I would have taken better care of my health but as those who have met me in real life can attest, I didn’t.

Squandering a great gift

Actually, I have really squandered this gift. First off: the last time I was somewhat serious about exercising was in my university years. Since I spend my working hours behind a desk that was not a good move. Second, I got fat. This too started after my university years. A sedentairy life style + eating large quantities of food (because moderation doesn’t really fit my personality) resulted in weight gain. Adding a few kilo’s every year which seems OKish. But fast forward 20 years and I ended up at 115 kg. With a height of 1m78 I had firmly nestled myself in the obese category. Health wise not good.

I also take some other measurements so here is a full overview of my starting point:

Date: weight neck chest belly arm
24-03-2018 115 kg 43 cm 124 cm 124 cm 39 cm

Financial freedom wise this was also not good. There are only two ways to increase the number of freedom years you have. Either you retire earlier or you add more healthy years after you retire. And if there is a sure way to reduce your healthy years in life it is being overweight (well that and being homeless or develop a bad drug habit, neither of which is going to happen).

So one of my big goals apart from achieving financial freedom is getting my weight down to a healthy level and start exercising. It was actually goal number two in my mission statement way back in December 2016.

The lazy side is strong in this one! After formulating the goal it actually took me until march 2018 to really start. I do have a few excuses, most of them crap. So let’s just skip them and get to the positive!

Learning from the past

I did learn from my past mistake of losing weight but never starting to exercise (because I am lazy that way) and also putting up strict goals which I then didn’t achieve. This failure then lead to losing motivation which in turn lead to me abandoning the effort all together. And then gaining back the weight… it was a very bad feedback loop of my own creation.

So this time I would exercise and I would make my goals less specific.

I went for a three fase approach.

Fase 1: swimming 2 km 3 times a week

During my last bout of unemployment I had actually achieved this but my back aching up plus starting a new job had me falter again. So I started it back up again in February. Old habits die hard so I did have the occasional thought crop up in my head that I should reach that goal by the first of April. Luckily it was only an occasional thought and I immediately squashed it by reaffirming to myself that every week I went swimming was a good week. That was a good mindset since it actually took me till the second half of April to get there.

Fase 2: a very strict diet

Originally I wanted to have completed fase 1 before starting this but that was taking a bit longer than anticipated (and I was fine with that, honestly I was!). I also was being pretty fed up with being overweight. Being fine with a not so strict time table is one thing but the weather is improving and I have a few cool t-shirts I’d like to be able to wear this summer! So I started the strict diet on the first of April. How strict? Remember the bit about me not really being a fan of moderation? Well, I hover around a 1.000 kcal a day for the moment. Probably a not too healthy  approach, definitely not very sane. But it is working for me.

On the 15th April I stood at:

Date: weight neck chest belly arm
24-10-2017 114 kg 43 cm 124 cm 124 cm 39 cm
15-5-2018 104 kg 42 cm 115 cm 114,5 cm 38 cm

(No update from today since part of my new approach is not weighing myself too often.)

Fase 3 will be the addition of fitness/weight training 3 times a week. I will probably start with this on the 1st of July for no other reason that the Gym has a 6 months subscription for a 100 euro’s.

I will then exercise 6 times a week for 1 hour. This should get me in a reasonable shape and hopefully prevent me from gaining back my weight once I stop with the strict diet. Well, I’ll probably need to start eating healthier also. Not looking forward to that, let me tell you …

I should end up around 90 kg, depending on how much muscle the weigh training adds. Somewhere around 95 kg I am planning on spending some money to get a full body scan to determine my fat percentage and muscle ratio so I can fine tune the work-out regime. If I would have to guess I think that at present I still need to lose between 13 to 15 kg of fat and add somewhere between 3 to 5 kg of muscle to be in a decent shape. The body scan will give the hard data I need.

I’ll try to make this a monthly series but no promises (after all I am a lazy sloth and I have discovered that I am not a big fan of self-imposed deadlines).