Day 1 – Setting The Goals

February 22, 2013 “Head Shot”

I turn 49 years old today.  It’s a good time for reflection and looking back over the years, I’ve made many good decisions:  My marriage, my children, my friendships, my writing.  These things make my life rich and joyful on a daily basis.

But I’ve also made several bad decisions:  My diet, my activity level, and my sedentary life-style (I like TV, okay?).  These things have reduced my enjoyment of life and, more importantly, resulted in an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and Alzheimer’s in my later years.

And so, as I get one year closer to my 50th birthday (and those later years of life), I’ve decided it is time for a change in those things I regret.  It’s time to plan for my future, rather than just live for the present.

Starting today, I will do some things a little different:

1.  I will reduce my weight from a current 210 lbs to 185 lbs before my 50th birthday.  Of course, this will require two actions on my part.  First, I will reduce the number of calories and increase the quality of calories that I take into my body.  To accomplish this, I will track my food using a web-based and phone friendly app called “My Fitness Pal”.  I will also switch to a Whole Foods diet that is meat and cheese free.  I will reduce my serving sizes and eliminate alcohol and caffeine from my diet.  This last part will take a little time but the entire experience is a journey so that is no problem.  The second aspect of this weight change will be an increase in exercise.   I’ll start by moving 45 minutes, 5 times a week.  That might be a stationary bike or a brisk walk with my dog.  Some form of movement will take place…whether I feel like it or not.

2.  I will increase my fitness level from ZERO activity now to completing a marathon by the Spring of 2014.  I currently have a fasting Cholesterol level of over 350 and rising blood pressure.  I jiggle when I move (which is why I don’t care to move too much).  But this will change, starting today.  As mentioned above, I will begin with moving 45 minutes, 5 times a week.  As warmer weather rolls around, I’m going to take my activity to the streets and start running.  I’ve completed one 5K race a few years ago and there was a certain “high” in preparing for the race.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t as prepared as I needed to be and received an injury when I tried to keep up with the Yuppies pushing strollers.  This time, it will be different.  This year I will work slowly, train smart, and compete responsibly.  I will complete several 5K races and a half-marathon or two.  My training will be designed to get me to that final goal of a Marathon in 2014.

3.  I will hike the KT trail in 2014.  The Knobstone Trail is Indiana’s easy version of the Appalachian Trail.  The KT travels more than 58 miles through beautiful Indiana forests and offers a hiker a challenge without the deadly altitudes of the Rocky Mountains.  I’ll spend weekends of 2013 getting familiar with the sections and prepare for a 6-day trip in the spring of 2014.  Of course, the ultimate goal is to get back to the Appalachian Trail and go further than the 4-5 miles we accomplished our first time out.

In short, this will be a challenging year.  I’ll document my successes and failures of these three goals here on this site but I’ll also continue to write for my other blogs.  I will continue to read as many books as possible and spend as much time as I can with the family and friends that I love so much.

I will take a daily picture of myself and post them here but will only weigh myself on Fridays.  Blood pressure and pulse measurements will be regular.  Cholesterol and other lab word will be conducted every 3-6 months.  You’ll see my progress and I encourage you to cheer me along my path.

My 49th year will be one of my best yet.  There’s no doubt about it!