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Last week, I received an inspirational story in my inbox from one of our DailyBurn community members. Jason Herald was celebrating his one year fit anniversary. On October 15, 2010, Jason decided to make a few small changes that had a huge impact on his life. Jason’s story will be familiar to most of you. He was a stress eater who changed his habits thanks to the influence of his friends and family. Now, Jason is a runner who has learned that a runners high is better for dealing with stress than just about anything else. Jason Herald is a dad and a software developer based in Christiansburg, VA. Connect with him on Facebook or Google+. Jason also blogs at http://jasonbherald.com. This post is republished from his blog with permission. – Kate
Today I celebrate 1 year of working to become healthy. I started last October 15, 2010 to work toward a state of overall physical fitness. It had been a really long time since I had focused on something so intently but with blood pressure bordering on hypertension I felt like I was at a crossroads: resolve to get healthy or relegate to inevitable health problems. I chose to get healthy.
My eating habits are not conducive to losing weight, working out or anything other than relieving stress. This was the source of my problem: I ate out of stress. It helped me get through situations and it made me feel great. No matter how bad the day scarfing down an entire little caesars pizza would make it all better. This was my area of opportunity and I knew this was going to be the hardest part. I also knew that if I just dropped everything and went full on diet that I would fail.
I chose to be analytical about it.
I found one simple fact: you eat less than you burn you loose weight: 3500 calories = 1 lb of body weight. With that knowledge I signed up for dailyburn.com. I used it religiously to track my calories, my work outs and my weight and that seemed to work for me. I didn’t deny myself everything I wanted. I still ate pizza, pasta and bacon; I just ate them in moderation and smaller portions. I focused on spreading out the calories in my diet through the day at first and then as time went on eating better calories; lower fat, etc. I found that over time it became much easier to make better food choices but at the same time still enjoying the foods I love (I had Sal’s pizza just the other day
As far as workouts go, I chose one activity to really focus on: running.
I ran every day, starting at 1/4 a mile (as far as I could go) and focused on that. After about 2 months that single activity started to replace the food that I craved massive amounts of when I was stressed out so I chose a target for a 5k race (something I hadn’t ever done). I used the Couch to 5k app on my phone to pace my runs (I hadn’t ever interval trained before) and that helped a lot. In Feb of 2010 I ran my first 5k and got a time of 38 minutes which to this day I am still incredibly proud of.
Since then I have made a ton more progress and my journey is far from over but I am healthier and happier. My body weight started at 278 and was this morning 204.4. My last official 5k time was 25 minutes and unofficially 21 minutes running the huckleberry. My goals now are centered around demonstrating a lifestyle of fitness and determination to my children and to others.
But in the end there were several factors which made me successful this time where I had failed in the past.
- My kids – I felt like I had to get healthy if I didn’t want them to watch their dad deteriorate.
- My friends – Specifically Brandon Moye, Gary Manes, Paul Metzger and Jen Linkous. They motivated me on days I didn’t feel like running, suffered with me on days I pushed myself to get that extra quarter mile and encouraged me at times when I really wanted to give up. Thank you.
- My wife – She encouraged me to push harder and harder even when I didn’t think I could and let me invest the countless hours in time away from home trying to make my body better.
- Food Choices – Eating moderate portions of the foods I love and using technology (dailyburn.com) to track them so I could make the decision about what moderation meant. I found that I was checking before I got something to eat to see what it would do to my “day” on the site which intern helped me make better decisions.
Overall, my journey has been great. I have discovered and are still discovering what a fit lifestyle is like and that makes me realize how much more opportunity there is to discover how to make my body operate more efficiently. My wife and kids are on board and love to participate and the peeps at work are jumping in and participating which in turn motivates me to keep working at it.
The things I have done probably won’t work for everyone and when I started I didn’t know if they would work for me.
But that being said I tried something and if I can do this anybody can. I encourage you reading this to do your best and find out what works for you. It is hard work, there are days you feel like quitting but you get through that, you learn a lot about yourself, and you get to relearn determination. In the end you have a tangible result that you can be proud of and you just might gain a few more minutes of time on this blue ball of a planet.
Thanks to Jason for sharing this story on the one year anniversary of the start of his fitness journey. Leave a comment to congratulate Jason and help him move forward into the second year.
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