2015

I feel like I might be looking back at 2015 with a bit more eagerness and enthusiasm than most, but its easy to say that 2015 was life changing. I’ve written about fitness things before- even danced with the idea of starting a website around the topic but ultimately decided to maintain focus on my web design venture, 5 espressos, rather than continuing to split my focus.

There were things that were awesome. There were things that were not.

There were times where things the BEST and times of extreme disappointment.

I rocked these things:

Establishing new Fitness Habits.

With the help of a friend last February, I developed the routine that lead to so much of my changes over the last year. Because I set aside the time after work during the workweek as my time to go to the gym, very little got in the way me getting there. Events didn’t get scheduled during that time, so if i didn’t go, there were no excuses. Here’s what my progress looked like.

1 Dan Hefferan January 2

2 Dan Hefferan February 74 Dan Hefferan February 216 Dan Hefferan March 267 Dan Hefferan April 511 Dan Hefferan May 1812 Dan Hefferan June 2313 Dan Hefferan July 2014 Dan Hefferan August 117 Dan Hefferan September 1718 Dan Hefferan September 2619 Dan Hefferan October 1820 Dan Hefferan November 1221 Dan Hefferan December 422 Dan Hefferan December 13

 

Changing the diet to something that works (for me).

I switched to a lower carb lifestyle that closely resembles the diet from Tim Ferriss’ 4 Hour Body. When I implemented the diet, I saw the results form the gym compound quickly. I will likely experiment with other variations to the low carb lifestyle in the coming months, and I’ll be sure to outline anything here.

Sharing victories online.

I used my community online on facebook twitter and instagram as a way to remain accountable to what I was working towards. If I were to regain all my weight, a small army of people would notice.

Taking Responsibility.

I bought a house. I changed my life. I took measures to eliminate my biggest distractions. Started investing. … and it felt great. … and maybe a little anxiety-ridden.

And this is where I didn’t rock:

*Growth* as a web developer.

I had a year where I was able to help a good number of clients, but my skills as a web developer didn’t grow as much as I could have. I’ll be scheduling in time to practice and learn in the coming year.

Dating.

I don’t speak girl that well… I’m getting better 🙂

I lacked focus.

I alluded to this early on. I spent a lot of mental energy planning and working on the Dauntless Project, only to realize that it wasn’t where I needed to be spending my time.

Delayed cutting negative habits.

I tend not to learn lessons the easy way. I allowed myself to get sucked into games and endless online videos. And I would find myself complaining about being busy and always working. I called my bluff and sold off my gaming pc.

These specific moments rocked.

True Pursuit

I had the opportunity to serve at the true pursuit weekend in April, it was a spiritual awakening to accompany other transformations that were happening in my life.

True Pursuit Weekend

The Color Run

on the first of august I ran my first 5k, at the time it felt like a massive accomplishment, but every milestone has 🙂

Color Run

A hike on the dunes on my birthday

I spent a day around my 28th birthday up on a dune along Lake Michigan praying writing and dreaming.

PJ Hofmaster State Park Dunes

Visiting Escanaba

A yooper adventure in Ecsanaba with my cousin.

Screenshot 2015-12-31 16.28.23

The Ugly Sweater Run

Had you told me at the beginning of the year that I would be out in public wearing a ridiculously skin tight red suit, I would have told you to go see a doctor.

The Ugly Sweater Run

 

Goals for 2016

Continue to drop body fat.

My goal is to get below 15% body fat. We will see.

Grow 5 espressos.

I met with Brian earlier today and discussed the goals I have for the business with him. We set specific goals for revenue, website traffic, marketing  and blog posts.

Thanks for reading my 2015 review.

It was a good year, but I fully expect that the best is yet to come!

What are the goals for your 2016?

DEFEATING THE DREADED PLATEAU. CAN I LOSE 100 POUNDS BY CHRISTMAS?

About a month ago, I had posted on my personal Facebook page that I was on track to be down 100 pounds far before christmas.

It was an empowering accomplishment to consider, and the question was met with a unanimous positive response. Personally, I didn’t know how possible it would be because, even though my rate of weight loss had been incredible up until that point, I knew that I would have to slow down at some point.

I calculated out about how much weight I needed to lose per week to be on track to hit the 100 pounds by Christmas, and within a couple weeks, I was 3 weeks ahead of pace.

3 weeks ago I was ahead of pace, but I seem to have hit a plateau. The scale has remained within the same 4-7 pounds during that time.

This is frustrating because:

  • I’m currently weighing in at around 307 pounds. 68 total pounds down. 7 pounds from seeing that 3** number disappear forever.
  • I’ve lost the cushion I had created on the plan to reach 100 by Christmas. I’m competitive. Especially with myself.

Plateau

I have been talking with some fitness minded friends and doing some reading on fitness plateaus. In general, the advice starts with a few questions:

  1. If you’re on a diet, how well are you complying? Are you cheating more than is allowed? A friend recommended the myfitnesspal application for me to track my food intake for the next couple days. (I hate the idea of tracking calories, so I’m definitely resisting)
  2. How are your workouts going? Are you really still going after the workouts like you had been when things were new, exciting and shiny?
  3. Are you getting enough sleep?

If you can say that you’re eating right, that you’re still killing it at the gym, and you’re sleeping enough, then it’s time to adjust your diet or exercise and incorporate something new to your routine.

If you had been weight training with the same sets of reps and goals (even seeing gains!), drop the weight and do a higher rep set. Maybe incorporate some sprint training. Do something that your body will be like, “oh, I haven’t done that in a while, I like that.”

I don’t know enough about making radical changes in your diet to break plateaus, so I won’t go into any specifics, but I will certainly keep researching things.

As I look at the above 3 questions, I can’t answer all three of them completely confidently.

  • I’ve still been sticking to my eating plan, but there have certainly been more cheat days beyond my allotted one day per week.
  • I’ve still been going to the gym multiple times per week, but there have been times where I haven’t pushed myself as hard as I know I can.
  • I don’t sleep enough. I can answer that one emphatically.

I set some rules for myself so that I can get back into things.

  1. 10 is bedtime, no excuses. This gives me the 7 hours of sleep that I need. The past three weeks have probably averaged less than 6 hours of sleep per night.
  2. Make sure all of my groceries are ones that will comply with my diet plan. If cheat foods aren’t around, you can’t cheat.
  3. Cheat food/drinks are reserved to 1 day per week. This is where I think I lost a lot of my momentum. There are a lot of excuses to have alcohol and sweets beyond my normal Saturday cheat day. This rule is going to require a TON of self control.
  4. Change the workouts around. Mix in interval training and high rep sets at the gym.

How does that look? How do you break through your plateaus?
I’m not an expert at this, and I’m just reporting what has/has not been working for me, but I love this journey and where it’s taking me.

How I dropped 50 pounds in 4 months

Things had gotten a little out of hand, but I kept holding onto hope that things were going to get better.

A combo ACL/Meniscus tear in my right knee that took place my sophomore year had taken away my favorite past time, physical activity, and likely my strongest social circle.

The sport? Don’t laugh! Ultimate Frisbee.

My descent into an unhealthy life style started there, but I’ll save that story for another time.

I want to talk about February.

February is when things changed, when I decided that enough was enough and that it was time to do something different.

February was also when a friend of mine had finally convinced me to sign up for a gym membership so that she would have someone to workout with.

I refer back to February often, like an old friend that you want to honor their history but never want to revisit.

Having spent a considerable amount of time bumbling through the waters of online entrepreneurship, I knew that every goal needed to be measurable, and I wanted to know what kind of mountain I was facing. The scale read 376 pounds. I feel like you really need to annunciate every syllable in that to really get the gravity of that number.

Three Hundred Seventy Six.

february-e1439259817673That’s like 3 people. Yet I was able to bury the self shame because I knew that this was all changing.

I remember the first day we went to the gym. It was a monday, and the gym was relatively packed with treadmillers and people doing their circuits of weight machines. I was pretty hesitant to dive right in, I didn’t want people to realize that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing!

It took me all of 3 minutes to realize that nobody was at the gym to pay attention to me, but they were all there to better themselves for whatever reasons motivated them. I latched onto this quickly.

We left the gym that day sweaty and eager to see what this adventure would hold for us, we discussed our fitness goals and what we wanted to get out of our time together. I was vague about really what I wanted. Part of me wanted to get healthy, part of me wanted to get strong, and the most of me probably just wanted to look better to the ladies.

We continued to go to the gym nearly every day for the length of February. I grew fond soreness, knowing that every struggling muscle was a sign that I had done something wrong, and that I would be stronger next time.

I spent the length of February just concentrating on strength training, and primary with the weight machines. I hadn’t changed up my diet at all except for following up every workout with a whey protein shake.

When you start an exercise regimen, you receive advice from just about everybody. and one of the pieces of advice I followed early was to only weigh myself once a week so that you didn’t get frustrated by a couple days of lackluster results.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any logs of any of the first few weigh ins, but I remember texting a couple of my friends the first time the number on the scale was 5 pounds less.

It was exciting, I hadn’t seen that number go down in a long time, though this time was clearly the most serious attempt yet.

A month later the scale read 362.8 a difference of 13.2 pounds. I worked hard for it, and it was definitely enough success that it wasn’t hard to continually motivate my for my trips to the gym.

In march I added in a diet change.

This exercise stuff had changed me, all of a sudden I was researching so many different things and buying a silly amount of fitness magazines. My time spent playing with websites and internet business had turned me onto a guy named Tim Ferriss, and I knew that his book, The 4 Hour Body, might be an interesting thing for me to look into. At this point, anything that could get me success without spending hours daily at the gym was something I was interested in. Tim’s book suggested that a majority of your results really stems from a good diet.

I had heard this before. But my relationship with food was abusive. I was always worried about eating enough to make it to the next meal. I adored anything sweet and sugary, and I probably had enough enthusiasm for Chinese buffets to fund the complete renovation of the Great Wall. A change in diet sounded scary, could I do it? And could I make it through my workday?

I decided that the diet outlined in the 4 Hour Body would be as good of a place to start as any. It’s called the Slow Carb Diet and is outlined as follows:

  1. Avoid white starchy carbohydrates : This was a big change for me, as probably every meal had significant carbohydrates. (Oatmeal, PB & J, Pasta, Rice)
  2. Eat the same few meals over and over (you already do this, you’re just looking to reprogram new default meals.). I certainly had my defaults: Oatmeal every morning. Peanut Butter Sandwich, every day.
  3. Don’t drink calories. I had given up sugary pop the previous month, but I still drank a daily protein shake. So while I probably broke this rule more often than not, I’ve listed it here just for sake of completeness.
  4. Don’t eat fruit. Sorry bananas. The sugars in fruit make for setbacks in the way the diet works.
  5. Take one day off per week and go nuts.

Lets talk about rule number 5.

The diet changed everything about how I had been eating except for my daily protein shake after workouts. However, on Saturdays I could have whatever I wanted, and you bet I made it count. You’ll still find the occasional taco bell/ Chinese food/ ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Half Baked / box of donuts purchase on my bank statements, but you’ll only see those on Saturday.

The fact that you can cheat once a week makes it so it’s much easier to behave throughout the week. Passing a Culver’s and wanting a hot fudge shake on a Wednesday was tough. There were a couple times where I had pulled into a fast food joint late at night, just wanting to satisfy my desire for a quick meal, only to decide not to- and let the meal wait for Saturday. Tim had said that there’s a physical reason to cheat once a week too, but I’ll discuss that later.

With the diet in place, and a gym routine in place, the weight continued to fall off. In June, 4 months after starting this whole shtick, I was officially down 50 pounds, but we don’t stop there!

I weighed myself minutes before starting to write this, and the number read 312. … That number doesn’t need the same emphasis as the number from February. It’s just a passing moment. I’m down 64 pounds, and I set the goal last month of reaching 100 pounds lost by christmas. Even though I’ve averaged a weight loss of over 10 pounds a month, there’s some part of me that isn’t sure I can make it by Christmas, but I’m going to give it my all.

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