(Note: My heaviest weight was 370lbs and my lightest so far is 285lbs. This page is part of my Path of the Postmodern Cleric, which you can learn more about at this link.)
I’m Andy Bunch, Adventure Writer. I have adventures, process them with God to gain wisdom and write about them so that others may benefit from them as well. On this page, I’m going to post about my journey to have more abundant energy and vibrant life through being physically healthier. I’ll post a little about where I started, what I’ve tried so far (what works/what doesn’t) and what I’m trying next.
I’m not a Doctor or nutritionist. I’m not even a licenced personal trainer. I’m related to some great fitness professionals that I’ll work with eventually to improve and endorse what I’m doing but right now the goal is to share what I’m doing. This is one man’s journey and that’s the way you need to look at it.
There’s a lot of trial and error in what I’m attempting and I’m not sharing it for the following reasons and only for these reasons:
- I’ve been encouraged in my journeys by people vulnerably sharing their struggles even if they didn’t achieve the ultimate success that they (or I desired).
- I’ve gotten ideas from other people that I wouldn’t have thought to try and I’ve thought to try things that I thought better of after hearing someone else’s experience with it.
- Personally, I’ve got a bad habit of not trying things that I don’t KNOW I will succeed at. A poser does that, and I’m not a poser. So I’m going to launch unprepared and share my journey before I know the outcome.
So bottom line, I’d not to have you follow along (I’ll provide a sign up so you can follow this thread without following the whole list), and if you join me in attempting any of these challenges I’m taking on I’d love to get your feedback (I personally reply to all comments), but MAKE YOUR OWN CHOICES. I can’t see how anything I try will be dangerous but the way the law works these days I’m not technically qualified to give health advice so Do What I Do at Your Own Risk.
Finally, if I try something and there’s an affiliate link available I’m going to post it here. That means I make money if you try it too. I’m not going to endorse anything strictly for the purpose of making money, but if I’m going to try it and share it anyway…I’m simply going to disclose my financial interest in it and let you be the judge.
Change happens to you, whether you want it or not. A transition is a change that we take on intentionally to achieve a result. Most of us aren’t equipped for transition, at least not trained or practised at it. I believe we are all different and even in a perfect world we’d handle transition differently, but in this world where we’ve has so much failed transition we can feel like it’s futile to even try.
Most fitness plans focus on what to do ultimately and then either start with a light version or dial it up (crash diet) at the beginning. I think the mentality is, if you’ve worked up the nerve to start something you need to see results to stay motivated and eventually you’ll hit your stride…or wash out, which is what most of us yo-yo dieters do.
Actually, I think there’s a lot of reason we yo-yo, but I truly believe that building transitioning skills is the best place to start getting healthy and you need to know how you personally transition to find success.
If you rock your transitions you can do almost anything with a little time and you won’t burn out. There are three key elements here–learning, deciding and doing.
- Learning what works and learning what works for you.
- Making decisions about what you want and how to get it.
- Designing a lifestyle the builds healthy habits to achieve results.
Step one takes trial and error, which hinges on Grace. Don’t beat yourself up about where you’re starting from. Don’t be afraid to fail or embarrassed to ask for help.
Step two takes boldness and integrity which hinges on love. Ultimately, the degree to which you tolerate a harmful habit, whether its smoking or doughnuts, is the degree to which you don’t love yourself. What’s the difference between eating something you know will make you fat and cutting yourself with a razor blade? Honestly. (If you’re a Christian it helps to see yourself through God’s eyes.)
Step three takes follow through which hinges on Faith. We need to believe that we can make better choices and even when we have setbacks they aren’t the end of the story. You haven’t failed until you stop trying.
The next three sections will skim the top of three topics. I’ll go deeper into each topic in individual blogs.
Section I. Starting with the stuff that should work no matter who you are…here’s a list of things to incorporate in your transition.
Section II. I’ll cover some ways to make transitions that work for some people and not others. Those are for you to try out for yourself and see if they work.
Section III. I’ll cover what I’m doing right now.
The major goal here is to move the focus of all the typical things, like do this many crunches a day or drink cold water before breakfast. We’ll eventually try tricks like that but first, we have to learn how we transition and make a plan for our transition.
Section I: Transition Toolbox
We have a finite amount of willpower so the key strategy is to develop healthy habits in place of harmful habits so that a healthy choice is second nature. (One caveat, if you’re a Christian then self-control is part of God’s divine nature and a fruit of the Spirit which is available to you.)
What really needs to change to make you healthy? Your attitude about food, your body and movement. You’re going to need to retrain your thinking in specific areas so that you want what’s good for you. You’re also going to have to retrain your body.
Change your taste buds to not like as much salt and sugar. These things aren’t evil they’re just in excess. You’re not the one loading your environment with these things, but you’re the one with the power to buck the system and make better choices.
Shrink your stomach. We’re meant to have feasts and famines in life. In modern society, we have hard times but we aren’t as curtailed by them. A pioneer who faced a bad day hunting went hungry. We don’t appreciate things as much. We take sweets for granted and wolf down meals without thinking about them. So when we go on a diet we enjoy treats more and feel more guilty about screwing up. There’s a lot of research into what point we’re satiated but the point here is just that we’re going to need to stop overeating on a regular basis.
Be more active. Sitting is killing us. Long periods without activity is not atoned for by an hour running on a treadmill. We need mild activity throughout the day. We also need high-intensity movement to stress our muscles. Build more muscle burn more calories. If you only do aerobics your body will get more efficient and burn fewer calories to do the same work.
Section II Things to Try/Silly Rules
If I’m right and it takes an entirely different set of skills (transition skills) to be successful in getting healthy, then we need to be prepared for two things…
- We going to idiot proof this by starting off so small you’d feel stupid for not doing it.
- It’s going to take longer to get where you’re going, but it’ll actually work this time.
What I call silly rules are tiny things that you wouldn’t think make a big difference, but sometimes the problem isn’t where we see something going wrong. Often a subtle change in one place can release pressure on another place. So here’s a brief list of silly rules that you can institute and see if they have a big impact.
We’re ultimately going to combine silly rules from this diet/exercise category with other silly rules so that we have subroutines I like to call rebounds. I named it that because it’s like jumping on a trampoline, if you pay attention to do it right you are propelled toward your goal but if you lose focus you can bounce off course and crash.
Smaller plates – it honestly works
Chew your food longer – like 20 to 40 times
Eat slower – really enjoy your food and get full after fewer bites
Do 20 counter pushups every time you pee
Set an alarm and walk a lap around the parking lot 4 to 5 times a day
Stretch before bed
5 sit-ups or burpees every commercial break
Section III: My Current Plan
I’m in the process of developing my own martial art based on archery which I’m excited about, but not ready to release into the world. For now this has been what I used in the past to lose the weight pictured at the top of the page, and it’s what I’m doing while I research.
Food (What to avoid)
No Artificial Sweeteners (esp. High Fructose Corn Syrup), very limited sugar, limited carbs (mainly natural slow carbs), no milk/ yoghurt/cream etc. (limited cheese, natural butter), no MSG (Limited Salt),
How I do it–My wife is the key to my diet frankly. Mainly home cooked meals. Read the labels while shopping and buy nothing with more than 5 ingredients. Preparation is the key to success.
There’s a whole host of things we don’t get enough of in our typical modern diet. We need Vitamin K2 which is found in fermented foods, but mainly pop a pill for now. I also make cinnamon and turmeric capsules because they cost too much in the store and mine are more effective.
Almost everything else I need to suppliment can be found in one product, Thrive by Level. They have a simple system that I’ve started stopped and restarted a couple times. It’s not cheap, but if you want to have less pain, more energy and boosted metabalism its good stuff. For details about my journey with thrive please follow this link.
Home 5 x 20 (which started as a 4×10 or grow into a 5×50 someday)
1 rep of 20 each, sit-ups, counter push-ups, toe touches, deep knee bends, back kicks
How I do it–I do the situps before I get out of bed, then hit the bathroom for the rest before my shower.
This is my no excuses bodyweight workout that I started when I couldn’t afford the gym and I do it now on days the two days a week I won’t have time to go to the gym. I actually prefer it to the lifting I do there.
Gym 3 machines & swim ()
1 rep of 10 to 12, 1/2 weight done on a machine for range of motion, done fast
1 rep of 8 to 10, 3/4 weight same machine for endurance, done well
1 rep of 4 to 5, max weight, same machine for strength, deep inhale/exhale
How I do it–Mon, Wed, Fri, I wait to shower for the gym. I try to get there at 7:30 AM but I’m really struggling to get there on time. I go directly to one of the arm machines based on the idea that I want to do things at the gym I can’t do at home. I choose 3 different machines each time I go, working different muscle groups. Then I hit the dry sauna, shower, swim a few laps and finish in the hot tub as a reward.
The Goal is to stress the muscles so they’ll grow and to raise my heart rate to 30% to 50% over the rested rate. That way I don’t end up super sore but I do enter a fat burning zone.
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Links to Details About the Things I’m Trying
This page is very under construction. I’m completely revamping it for readability, adding links and expanding it daily. Sign up sheet to stay informed as I add to this topic will be up soon.