At the end of 2019, after having lived in airports, airplanes, and hotels for the vast majority of the year – accumulating around 190,000 miles in business travel – I was not in a good place in terms of my eating habits, weight, and overall lifestyle. It was quite obvious I needed to make some type of positive, and potentially drastic, lifestyle changes towards a healthier way of life. As the world rang in 2020, and the festivities evaporated, I dove head first into some major changes to ascertain their effectiveness on my state of readiness.
Throughout the calendar year 2019 I never really paid much attention to my admittedly poor eating habits. If I wanted a coffee with sugar, I drank a coffee with sugar. If I wanted ice cream after dinner, regardless of the hour, I ate ice cream. If I wanted to eat bread laced with heavy doses of butter ever morning, I gladly indulged in this nonsensical diet.
Not to make excuses, but this horrible lifestyle was exacerbated by all my business travel. I would hit the airport lounge late at night before a red-eye flight, and drink some wine and enjoy whatever food I thought worth eating prior to boarding. After takeoff I would eat whatever was being served before drifting off to sleep for the rest of the flight. During business days I would eat at odd hours, have inconsistent meals, and eat way more junk than healthy food. Topping all of this off, I almost never would hit the gym to at least try to get as close to a caloric neutral day as possible. It is not like I was sedentary; I was as close to it as possible without actually falling in that category.
One day in December of the same year, out of left field, I came to this realization that something needs to change. There was no catalyst, no event, for this decision. It is not like I had a doctors visit and was told I needed to shape up or I was going to face dire consequences within the next six month. Nothing like that at all. I just up and decided it is time to make a lifestyle change.
There is no way to continue living like this while staying healthy. Although not impossible, the odds are absolutely stacked against an old codger like me eating crap food, doing almost zero exercise, and not being considerate of what I am putting in my body. In 2013 I had lost about 12kg after putting in a lot of hard work. While I did not gain it all back, if I were to continue down this path I would likely be right back to a completely undesirable state.
Thus it happened. Just one day I decided I am going to change my lifestyle for the better, and was going to do it cold turkey. I did not consult any nutritionist, which admittedly I should have done. I did spend quite a bit time online educating myself on various strategies for achieving the goals I had set for myself.
This is key: achievable goals. It was imperative I set realistic and achievable goals otherwise I would quickly lose motivation. It was important to ensure whatever I decided to do I would be able to do it for at least 60 days straight so it would turn into a habit. I wanted this positive change to be part of my life moving forward, rather than just some passing fad.
This is how a healthy lifestyle begins. It starts with commitment through realistic, achievable goals. So with that, I devised a scheme I thought worthwhile and sought to jump start it right after the new years holidays. On January 6, 2020, the same day I had a highly invasive yearly health check-up, I deployed this new strategy, and have been living this lifestyle ever since. It has all worked as a result of these simple-to-achieve goals, and not because I went balls-to-the-wall right out the gate.
In a subsequent post I will discuss my strategy in more detail, why I opted for those specific changes, and how it has worked out for me for the past 18 months.