This is it. It may be hard to believe I reached week twenty-one. But truthfully this is the culmination of my twenty-one-week original goal to fitness. Have I gotten to where I wanted to be? What things worked and what things didn’t? And where do I want to go from here? These are all things that run across my mind at this very moment. It feels so strange when I started writing this twenty-one weeks ago that I would be sitting here at this very moment and finishing up this little fitness journey. I know why I did it, to begin with. I wanted to keep myself accountable for what I was doing. Sometimes we allow ourselves to get off track and ignore fitness week goals. I didn’t want to do that. And if nothing else, I have accomplished that.
But being the nerdy teacher I am (as well as a dad) I figured I needed to discuss the things that I learned along this quick little journey. Because if you take a journey, it’s always important to stop and smell the flowers. No. Wait. That’s Ferdinand. If you take a journey the most important things are often unplanned, and what you learned along the way. It may not be stopping and smelling flowers, but it will encourage growth in your future.
So what did I learn throughout this enterprise? What did I learn about fitness? What things did I learn from all of you out there? And where will I go from here? Oh so much did I learn. But then we would be here for several hours worth of reading. And as funny as I may be sometimes, I am not sure anyone of us is ready for that. We would lose our minds if I tried. Then I would have to change my name to the Mad Blogger and change all of my pictures on here and I am far too lazy for that. So here are five things I learned in this process and I am sharing them all with you for free! What a deal right?
Five Lessons Learned From Twenty-One Week Fitness Goals
5) Forgiveness Begins With You-
I don’t know how many times I have had people tell me that I needed to be less harsh on myself. And don’t get me wrong, I think it’s still important to set goals and try to aspire to them. And our failures can be our biggest motivators. So if I fail, I will be real. But when I focus so hard on all of the things I have been unable to accomplish, then the weight of my failure can bury me. So I need to be able to forgive myself for whatever I was unable to accomplish and move along. Because you have to keep thinking forward in order to be successful in any venture. Navel gazing does not work, and it’s not a team sport either.
4) There Is No Real Finish Line Except Six Feet Under –
This does not mean I am depressed and hoping for death. But from here on out fitness gets more important, and not less. Our bodies are naturally tending towards that six feet under repose. So if I want to enjoy the life that I am living now, I need to be able to put in the time on a regular basis. This means that I am going to continue on in the fitness journey. It does not mean that I will be writing about this every day in my blog. But I will be coming here and writing about fitness issues I feel like are important (or important to me) from time to time. And then maybe I will start another fitness series again sometime next year. The fitness journey never ends. So enjoy it! I know I will.
3) Sometimes You Need To Do Something That Sounds Crazy –
Sounds odd, right? Go completely nuts to accomplish your fitness goals. Maybe I should be locked up. But the truth is, our bodies are all unique. We experience things differently. We grow differently. And yes, we achieve fitness differently. This does not mean that there are no basics to everything. Diet and exercise work. And anyone who tells you differently, send them to my previous fitness blog. Then, run away from them. Far, far, away from them. However, this doesn’t mean that you don’t have to push yourself and step outside yourself in ways that you have never done before. Whether this means early bedtimes to wake up at 5 a.m. and use the gym or late nights and sleeping in. Or, this could mean finding some crazy method of working out at home. Find what works for you, because staying the same unless you are already a gym rat probably does not.
2) Time Is Not An Enemy –
OK, maybe this is only a half-truth. Time does work against you in some ways. As you grow older, muscles age, atrophy and wither. So you are fighting what you are doing to stop that from happening. But, if you think you need to then accomplish everything all at once, you are going to be sorely mistaken. It takes time. Yup. That thing you feel like you have none of. You need to pretend you have lots of at the very least. Becuase if you don’t, you will quit. And if you try to lose all the weight all at once with some fad or other, it will backfire. Or you will lose so quickly and stop causing a massive rebound in weight gain. Weight loss and health improvements should be made over time. So don’t focus on the scale. Focus on what you are improving and you will keep doing so.
1) Surround Yourself With People Who Encourage You To Be The Best You –
When I started this journey I wasn’t sure what it was going to become. I knew what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to increase the amount of exercise that I was doing. But that doesn’t mean I knew where I was going, or what I would be doing. What I did know were two things. I wanted to reduce what I ate. And I wanted to exercise more. I did that. But not without the help and encouragement of many of you who have encouraged me to walk along this journey with them. I want to thank all of you who have made me feel like I made a good decision about making this journey. You all should know how you kept me going even when I felt like giving up and quitting. Thank you so much for the encouragement. It will not be forgotten. It couldn’t have been done without you.
This Weeks Goals:
Aside from what I have learned, I am going to give a final report of things that I did for the last week on my journey. This is a recap. Or it’s the recap of all recaps. Or maybe it’s the recap of all recap of all recaps. Whatever it is, I am planning on following through on this as I have on everything else. So what did I do this week? How did I do with my goals? Well . . .
1) Exercise at the gym or elsewhere four times a week –
Well, I always like to finish up strong. So for this week, I did exercise four times over the past week. This meant adding in something from another app. I tried a new app this week and it got me to do some different natural exercises that I wouldn’t be doing at a gym. I just want to thank the person that put me onto this app and for finding different ways to workout, even when things are a bit crazy around here.
2) Drinking Eight Glasses Of Water Per Day –
Eight glasses of water per day I would have to say is quite a bit easier to do than when I first started doing it a long time ago. It took me some time to build up to that. Of course, there are ways for increasing your water intake that would not be with just plain water. For one, you can put some flavoring into your water. This can be with regular vitamin C. Or you can add some energy drink flavoring. And then there are a bunch of just generic flavors to add to water. If you are struggling with plain water, this is the way to go.
3) Counting Calories –
I have to say this one is the most difficult to do on a regular basis. It really does mean being conscious of what you are doing with your food though. This is ridiculously important for weight loss, and for health. I know we hate it. And we pretend that we don’t do it when we do home-cooked meals. And there is a certain truth to that. But, when we do lose weight, it still comes down to burning more calories than you take in. And that hamburger you eat at home is probably not all that much more healthy than the one you do at McDonald’s. So I am guessing if you lost weight, it was probably because you aren’t eating that hamburger at all. It’s all about the choices we make where we eat our food. Eat healthily. Eat less. Lose weight.
4) Eight Hours Of Sleep Per Night –
My problem of late hasn’t been on the front end. My problem of late has been on the back end of my sleeping. So it doesn’t do good to go to sleep at 10:30 when you are up by 4:00 A.M. Somehow whatever good you gain from going to sleep early does vanish. So I added a fifth thing this last week to help with this fourth thing. Well . . . let’s just say I didn’t purchase the blackout curtains yet. I did make strides into inquiring where to purchase them, how much, and what ones worked better for people. But in the meantime, I didn’t get to stay asleep for more than six and a half hours at a time. This is something I will need to rectify in the future.
5) Purchase Blackout Curtains –
Obviously, I failed at this one as you know from the previous paragraph. Not really much more to say here. I need to do it in the next couple weeks. End of story.
Taking The Long View
The truth is, when I started this journey, I began it because I wanted to be held accountable for the things that I was doing. I didn’t want to get to the end of a week and then act like I could hide my shortcomings. Whether this meant not doing something because I got sick, or skipping a couple of times at the gym because I got busy with something, I wanted to be honest with myself about those things. This, I believe, makes this experiment an unqualified success. I wanted to hold myself accountable. I wanted to lose some weight. (10 pounds isn’t bad but it’s only a start.) And I wanted to make sure that I didn’t lose focus on overall health. And this did that for me.
This does not mean that I would then start a blog to write down your weight loss goals for you. Likewise, this does not mean that you should add a fitness post if that is not something that doesn’t inspire you. What I do think is that you should find yourself a way to hold yourself accountable. And second, you should keep at it. As I already said, this journey is only a transition into something new. I will probably stop by once a month to go over fitness goals or focus on some fitness thing like an app that I find especially useful. And I will be here to encourage you on your fitness journey.
I hope that this has inspired you a bit. And once again I want to thank you for the inspiration you have been towards me along my path. I wouldn’t have moved forward without you. But the fitness journey is not over. Keep going. Keep moving forward. We will get there.
Twenty-One Week Grade: A-minus
Continuing The Conversation
So, what was your favorite fitness post over these twenty-one weeks, if you have kept up this long? Or even what was your favorite of the ones you have actually read? What were the biggest lessons you have learned from my journey? And what things will you carry with you? And if you had your own list of goals, which would be the most important, and which would you ditch? I hope to hear from all of you about these things. I would love to know.
If you liked this post or any of the other fitness posts, please follow me here at the Guide. As a subscriber via email, you will get access to the Dad Rules. These are ten rules every dad should know and live by. Or some clown called “It” will be after you. And that clown freaks me out. It should freak you out too. ;-). Thank you for following me through this journey. Please continue to follow me through my fitness and parenting journeys.
Until next time, this is me signing off.
David Elliott, The Single Dad’s Guide to Life
Other Fitness Week Posts:
Week 0: Not Another Fitness Blog
Third Week: Forced Reboot
Sixth Week: The Great DST Conspiracy
Eleventh Week: Tooth Wars
Twelfth Week: Happily Ever After
Fifteenth Week: As The Fitness World Turns
Sixteenth Week: In Memoriam
Eighteenth Week: A Tribute To My Father
Twentieth Week: Against All Fads