Getting in Shape

I had my big toe fused in November. For the next few months I went back to the doctor who performed the surgery, and he would take x-rays to determine if my body was healing properly. This went on for about four months before he determined I could resume most physical activity.

The only activities I can’t do at this time are running, jogging and jumping. Sports like tennis and racquetball are out because I risk jamming my toe into the end of my shoe. But I can walk. I can ride my exercise bike. I can do floor exercises and work out with resistance bands.

I focus on what I can do instead of what I can’t.

At one of my last visits to the foot doctor I asked what I could do to accelerate my recovery. He said, “Drop some weight.” So I bought an Apple Watch for Christmas, but didn’t do much with it until the end of March. I almost returned the watch, but I’m glad I didn’t.

From around the first of April till today I’ve dropped just over 45 lbs. I thought I would share how I’ve done that and what I’ve learned about myself over the past few months. I’ll start with my least favorite part of the process: tracking calories.

I’ve tried to count calories in the past, but after a few days I’d give up. It’s just too hard to remember. But I knew monitoring what I was putting into my body would be as important as any new exercise routine. So I downloaded the Lose It! app on my iPhone and started. I still don’t enjoy it, but I’ve made a habit of tracking each item I eat. This one change has brought about big changes in how much I eat. I decided I wouldn’t deny myself most foods, but that I would monitor the amount of food and calories I was consuming each day. I quickly realized how many sweets I was eating each day, and began replacing them with fruits I enjoy like blueberries, strawberries and cantaloupe.

Selfies help track my progress – Nov 2020 till Aug 2021

The other big change I made was set a daily exercise goal on my Apple Watch. I started with 10 minutes and added another five minutes every other week until I’m now up to 50 minutes a day. I don’t stress about what type of exercise I will do, but I have a couple of favorites which include my exercise bike and walking around my neighborhood. One tip I have is to set small goals you can reach. It’s easy to get discouraged when you don’t see instant progress, so I decided to focus on tracking my calories and exercising a few minutes each day. I didn’t make drastic changes to my daily schedule, diet or daily routine. It was also important that I be able to put on my shorts and tennis shoes and start working out quickly instead of driving to the gym, and then figuring out what to do.

About 14 years ago I dropped 65 lbs on the Atkins Diet. But I found it really hard to keep the weight off because the diet wasn’t sustainable for me. I removed entire food groups, banned sugar and most carbs, and the weight came off fast. I was a miserable person to be around though.

But I’ve learned that losing weight fast isn’t the most sustainable method. I’m learning to cook healthy foods at home. I’m drinking a lot of water instead of fruit juices. I’m one of those dorks who carries around a 40 ounce Hydro Flask! I keep a drawer of healthy snacks like nuts and protein bars and string cheese so I’m not tempted to down a Snickers and bag of gummy bears. If I have a day where I go over my daily calorie allotment, I’ll try to spend extra time on my bike or walking the next day, but I don’t get down on myself. I also found inspiration for losing a lot of weight by watching Chris Terrell on TikTok.

I’m at the half-way point of my weight loss. I have just over 50 lbs to go to get to my weight goal, and I figure I’ll be able to meet that goal sometime in the first few months of 2022. Slow and steady.

2 thoughts on “Getting in Shape

  1. Good work, Brett! That sounds like you’re doing it right. 🙂

    Your post is good inspiration for me. I’ve lost weight just by tracking with Lose It! before, but then got lazy, stopped tracking and gained it back. I’ve never been very consistent with exercise because it needs to be fun for me to keep doing it, and I’ve had a hard time finding exercise that stays fun. In about June 2020 I started playing a VR game called Beat Saber. It comes with a couple dozen EDM songs, which isn’t my favorite genre, but the “maps” as they call them are well made. But it got really fun when I discovered the custom maps you can easily download for it and just about every musical genre is well represented. It’s a good workout for me–I always get good and sweaty after 30 minutes or so, but usually play it more like 90 minutes. Highly recommended if you ever get in an exercise rut and want to try something new. The good thing for you is that it’s an aerobic workout and you arrive at that state mostly by swinging your arms, squatting, moving left and right, etc, but your feet aren’t super-involved. For most songs I could leave mine planted in one place if I wanted to.

    Although I’ve been getting good exercise, that hasn’t translated to weight loss for me yet, but I know why. It’s because I’m a damn glutton and I use the burned calories and an excuse to binge more in midnight snacking. I could solve that by using Lose It! again so I can’t hide the numbers from myself anymore. Your post gave me the motivation to download and set up the app again.

    Thanks Brett. I hope you and your family are well.



    1. Steve,

      It’s always good to hear from you. My son just bought an Oculus and he just got Beat Saber so thank you for the recommendation. I will give that a try. I too get bored with exercise so I try to change it up between biking, walking, and riding my exercise bike at home when it’s too hot. I hope you are doing well too!



Comments are closed.