A lighter, healthier me

 “It’s easy to quit smoking. I’ve done it hundreds of times.”  

~~ Mark Twain

I quit smoking on February 27th, 2007. It was probably the toughest thing I have ever done. It was also a turning point in my life. Not only did I got rid of a nasty and expensive habit, I actually accomplished something really tough by shifting my mindset and by being perseverant. That experience might very well be the genesis of this 45 things project.

While my lungs were definitely better, other parts of me were not so great in 2011. At the beginning of the year, I hurt my back and the pain never seemed to want to go away. Then I caught an eye virus that was making the rounds in my city. It made my vision blurry for about 3 months. Imagine staring at an out of focus computer screen all day for 3 months. That was nothing my eye doctor could really do, since it was a virus, and we just had to let it slowly get better. He was comforting though – at least my eyes weren’t bleeding, like some of his more serious patients!

Blasted kidney stones. And a stent and a tube inside me. Not a pleasant experience!

As my eyes slowly got better, my back pain was getting worse. It turns out that it wasn’t a muscle strain or anything like that, but kidney stones! Yikes. We blasted the stones. Twice. The whole process was, let’s say, a character building exercise.

That December (2011), after all the holiday feasts, I had the courage to step on a scale for some reasons.

243lbs!

While there’re many good things about being a non-smoker, the one drawback was the inevitable weight gain.  In the 5 years since I quit smoking, I had gained at least 40 lbs! That number was both depressing, and ultimately uplifting (more on this later). It was depressing because it was the heaviest that I had ever weighed. For my height (6 feet), my healthy weight range should be between 140lbs and 184lbs. Since I have a large body frame, my healthy weight should be closer to the upper range (which was my college weight).  Even so, I was at least 59 lbs overweight! No wonder my blood pressure and cholesterol level were high.

I had tried exercising. In fact I was doing P90X earlier in the year when I thought I hurt my back (but it was the kidney stones causing the pain). But I had never enjoyed working out – all the jumping around makes me mad. So it’s not a surprise that I could never stick to any exercise routine consistently. But that simply had to change. I was going turn 40 in 2012, and if I didn’t do something about my body, it would only get worse. So, the objective is to get into the best shape I’ve ever been (since I have never been in really good shape, it’s not as tough as it sounds).

Goal #1: Get my weight down to the 180-190lbs range. Since I was at the weight range in college, it wouldn’t really constitute “the best shape ever”,

So Goal #2: Be able to do the splits, which I have never ever done in my life, therefore if I could do it in my 40’s, I would be in my best shape (at least in terms of flexibility) ever.

And Goal #3: run a 5K. I am bad at running. Very bad at it. I blame in on my flat feet, underpronation, and well, laziness.  I don’t think I have ever run 3 miles continuously without needing to stop. So, if I could do that now, then I could claim the “best shape ever” description.

Hitting 243lbs was certainly depressing at first, but this number actually became the engine to drive all these goals for me to become a healthier person. So, it actually an uplifting number. 🙂

I want to be able to do that. “This woman is 93 years old and lives in Changzhi, a city in Shanxi, China.  According to her, she stays healthy by exercising regularly every morning”.

Do you have any health or fitness goals? How do you stay in shape?

Update: I was 243lbs on 27th Dec., 2011. I started doing yoga in mid-January, 2012. As of 9/6/2012, I weigh 214lb – which means I have lost 29lbs in 9 months! Going to that very first yoga class was probably one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. (Big thank you to my friend, Lis Pankl, for encouraging/insisting/pestering me to do it!). More about yoga in later posts. 🙂

My Hanumanasana (split pose) so far. (on 9/5/2012,very early in the morning.)

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