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Day 15 – #75HARD So Far

Today I am at the twenty-percent point of #75HARD. Normally I would reflect at one-quarter of the way, but seventy-five is divisible by five, not four. So, what are my reflections at one-fifth of the way through?

Diet

The diet has been easier than I expected, but more complicated. I selected the basic form of the Slow Carb Diet by Tim Ferriss. I am doing all the rules, with one exception, as laid out in the first chapter on the diet in The Four Hour Body. I am not worrying about the refinements in the second chapter. While I’m aware of the various finer points, I do not consider missing one a failure.

The one rule I am not following is Rule 5: “Take one day off a week and go nuts.” That would be a cheat day which is not allowed by #75HARD. The one very hard day, when my sweet teeth were grinding, was day 5, a Friday, when normally I’d be taking the day off on Saturday.

What the diet has really been for me is a diet of inconvenience. I can’t just think “I’m hungry” and heat up ramen or a plate of simple nachos (shredded cheese on some chips in the microwave). I can’t just run over to Mcdonald’s. If you want to say rule 1, “Avoid ‘white’ starchy carbohydrates or those that can be white,” amounts to “No fast food or junk food” in my case, I won’t argue with you.

Workouts

How out of shape am I? I can go for a 45-minute walk that completes about two miles and over 40 minutes of that time my heart is in the aerobic or threshold zone.

As a result, most of my workouts have been brisk walks. Starting this past week I’ve been swimming again, working on the ZERO to 1650 in Six Weeks Program. A decade ago I could swim for an hour straight and cover 2000 yards. Accepting I am at the beginning of this program has been hard, but I finished week 1 Sunday. I can do the week 1 workout in under 45 minutes, so I’ve been following up with 25 yard lengths on a minute-thirty total swim and rest. The result was two 900 yard days bracketing one 800 yard day.

Tomorrow the swims add a 200 yard first interval. I may only need another 2×25 on 1:30 to reach 45 minutes.

Reading

Reading was the easiest for me. I consistently read a short story, a poem, and an essay daily for over a year. I’ve restarted the habit in the past few days.

So, reading ten pages of non-fiction is not an effort for me. Reading self-help is getting me out of my comfort zone. My first book was Relentless by Tim S. Grover. Andy F. discussed it in one of the #75HARD podcasts I listened to before starting the program. I finished it this morning.

I would never have heard of this book, much less read it, without #75HARD. I have thirty-nine highlights and notes to copy from it into my commonplace book. If nothing else, that is something I will take away from #75HARD.

Water and Pictures

These two items have been straightforward. I was already drinking close to if not more than a gallon of water most days. The biggest change has been a huge cutback in diet soda.

I’ve almost missed the picture twice, but putting it in my daily journal has kept me on the program. I’ve even posted a few to Instagram.

Overall

I think I’m still in the honeymoon phase. Diet monotony is setting in. I’m working on expanding my workouts with some calisthenics, such as working on 100 pushups or something similar.

I came to see Z today. She was surprised at how happy and physically engaged I am. After the heart attack, she’s worried I’m having a stroke. This is not unusual.

I’ve actually caught myself smiling for no reason at all.

Another thing I’ve noticed is my posture. I have some hard-core Jordan Peterson stand-up straight going on. I started noticing it leaving the gym after a swim. In my head, I felt like a “tight tee-shirt guy” even if the body isn’t there. Yet.

I’m not sure it is purely mental. Last night I was feeling my stomach. It’s still as big as it was but doesn’t feel as slack. I had just watched Bioneer’s video on the benefits of running or even walking and one was improved core stability.

Has nearly 70 miles of deliberate walking plus about 3000 yards of swimming tightened my core enough to naturally improve my posture? Am I enjoying a mental benefit that isn’t just knowing that I am actually doing something being boosted by the physical results of that doing?

I am one-fifth of the way there. I set out on this journey to remember how to do hard things. So far I am remembering how to do them.

But more importantly, I’m remembering just how damn good it feels to do them.


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