Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I'm Sitting Next to a Big Pile of Candy... and I Couldn't Care Less

Next to my desk, no more than 2 feet away is a big pile of candy that someone gave me as a late Christmas present. There's a box of sweettarts, a box of Mike and Ikes, 2 bags of Skittles, a bag of mini Airheads, and a big bag of Sour Patch Kids. These are my favorite candies in the world. I always liked the sugary candy more than chocolate. I've never really been a person to crave chocolate or ice cream or cupcakes or brownies. However, you give me a bag of Sour Patch Kids or a box of Sweettarts, and I'll polish them off in a matter of minutes.

I used to joke that I survived on sugary candy. However, this pile has been sitting there for several days now, and I've barely touched it. The reason? About 8 weeks ago (the week of Thanksgiving), I made a commitment to get back in shape and start eating healthier. The night before I started this, I finished all the leftover pizza, candy, and chips in my apartment with the thought that I would not be eating them again for a LONG time. The next day, I went out, restocked my kitchen with chicken, fruits, vegetables, seasoning, and whatever else I needed to prepare leaner, healthier foods. At the same time, I started a workout regimen that had me exercising 6 days per week for an hour per day (free weights, cardio, flexibility). My goal was to trim down and get in shape so that I could attempt to play basketball in the summer.

It was tough at first. It was hard to muster up the motivation to come home from a long day of work and cook a meal every day. It was really hard getting up over an hour earlier than usual so that I could exercise before going to work. For the first few weeks, I was perpetually sore and tired. In addition, I was constantly fighting the temptation to go out and pick up some fast food or order a pizza. However, I was determined to see this through, so I kept on going.

It's now 8 weeks later, and I haven't had a single slice of pizza since this began. I ate one cheeseburger in the last 2 months (I went out to a restaurant with some friends), and I indulged in some alcohol around Christmas and New Years (I was at a couple parties). Otherwise, I've stuck to my healthy diet. I've also stuck with the workouts. I missed a few days in December because of a stomach bug (it's not easy doing sit ups when you feel like you're going to throw up at any minute). Because of this, I'm the lightest I've been in five years, and I'm fairly certain I have my lowest body fat percentage since high school. I've played some pick up basketball games recently, and I feel great. I don't get tired. I'm quicker on offense and defense. I can jump again! That might actually be the best part of all this. I've strengthened my legs to the point where I can actually get up for rebounds and knock down pull-up jumpshots again. I have a long way to go, but I'm excited about my progress.

That brings me back to the pile of candy next to me. After eating healthy for 2 months, I don't crave the junk anymore. I really have no desire to eat pizza. The thought of a greasy burger and fries upsets my stomach a little bit. I used to come home and drink a bottle of beer every day after work. Now, I only drink water and milk. I look healthier. I feel healthier. Most importantly, I feel mentally healthier. I haven't really gotten down on myself in quite some time. Despite getting up earlier every day, I feel more rested.

Ever since I got out of college and broke up with my ex, I kept telling myself that I'm going to use this opportunity to get myself back into shape. However, I always put it off. When I got my apartment, I said I was going to start cooking on my own, but I never did. Things just got worse and worse until I finally decided to stop whining and do something about it.

Like I said, I have a long way to go, and it will take a lot of hard work to get there. All I know is that there's absolutely no way I'm going back to my old lifestyle.


Harry said...

Congrats! I feel very happy for you, but just a tiny bit jealous because I wish I could do the same thing. After coming home from the pharmacy at 20:30, I really am not in the mood to do much exercise. Thankfully, my wiifit (step exercises, crunches) feels more like a game than actual exercise, so this and an occasional jog are the only kinds of exercise I do.

Keep up the effort!

b said...

Congrats!!!! I've been reading your blog for a year now and I'm really happy and proud of you. I really wish I could work with a cool pharmacist like you and since you're not eating that candy... haha ;)

pharmacy chick said...

Way to go Mike, it takes a lot of determination to follow thru with it. We are trying to eat better ourselsves. "leaner and Greener" what we are going for. But oh, those breads and pasta are too easy to eat. While I like Chocolate, and an occasional Coke, I wouldn't consider myself 'candy' person. chewy gooey stuff do not interest me much anymore. I do need to exercise more...who doesn't? I just find the treadmil/elliptical as the most boring way to spend time.