My name is Neale Bacon. I have lost (so far) 200 pounds with no pills, potions, shakes, short cuts or surgery. Join me for tips and tricks I learned on this journey. There may even be a laugh or two along the way.

same oldFirst of all, let me apologize for being late with my latest blog post. I always try to post on Mondays, but this was a long weekend in Canada then I got busy Tuesday but here I am!

I hear a lot of people talk about being stuck on a plateau and trying to break through. I now find myself in that area. As I get closer to my goal, losing the weight gets a little tougher. I always tell people you have to shake it up a little when you hit a plateau. You have to change something about your food – get back to measuring your portions to make sure your “eyeballs haven’t gotten bigger”. Focus on pure healthy eating with no processed or packaged foods. (Always a good idea).

You also have to shake up what you have been doing for exercise or activity. That sort of brings me to today’s post. In order to get moving again, I am challenging myself. In 2000 I participated in a thing called the Body for Life challenge. I completed it, and still proudly have the certificate.

It is a 12 week exercise and diet challenge. It not only focuses on exercise and diet but also on the mental aspects of this. It does lean heavily towards using their products like protein powders etc but that’s not why I did it. If you want to learn more about it, go to http://www.bodyforlife.com . I am not endorsing I am just informing.

That year was when I really got serious about losing the weight. Well, on the weekend, I was at a garage sale and I found the Body for Life book and the journal that goes with it. They were brand new. I don’t think they had ever been opened let alone used.

That was enough to make me say, yes, it is time to do it again, but this time really do it. After all, last time I was 188 or so pounds heavier than I am now. For easier tracking and prepping, I have set Monday June 1st as my launch date. Between now and then, I am reading the book again (not sure what ever happened to my copy) and starting to fine tune my diet.

A couple of challenges I will face in this may seem silly. It is not the diet or exercise that concern me. I know that I can do those parts, though it will be without a lot of the products they recommend. I will be using real food and the occasional smoothie using real fruits and vegetables with some protein powder on occasion.

The first tough part for me is that you have to take “before” pictures when you start. You are supposed to take them wearing just gym shorts (and for the ladies I assume a sports bra). That is still uncomfortable for me as I am not yet at a place wear I am comfortable being that (pardon the expression) exposed. I am just focusing on how much progress my after pictures will show. The focus is progress, not perfection.

The other thing that I find a challenge, partly because I can be pretty lazy, is actually journaling the whole process. The journal itself even gives me guidance on what I track (much more than food and exercise) but I have to get the discipline to do it every day of the 12 weeks.

punching bagSomething else I managed to pick up at a garage sale on the weekend was a heavy canvas bag (as in punching bag). I got the chains and hardware to hang it in my carport. It has steel beam construction so seemed like the best place for it. This will be one way of shaking up my aerobic portion of my exercise plan.

Another way I challenged myself recently was on the treadmill at the gym. You see, when I was much heavier, I COULDN’T run. Not only was I out of breath in about 10 feet, I had put so much strain on my hips and legs, they would give out on me.

One day I tried to run for a bus and part way to the bus it was like someone kicked my legs out from under me, and it created a real fear of running. Well mainly a fear of falling and looking like an idiot.

The last time I was at the gym, I started as I always do with some cardio. One thing I often do a brisk walk on the treadmill. Well this time I actually ran. OK, I ran in short bursts almost like I was testing out my legs but I ran! I plan to do more.

So let me ask again, when was the last time you challenged yourself? If you are feeling stuck, have you looked at your food or exercise plans to see what you can tweak. You see, as you burn off the fat, your body will adjust. Our bodies are very adaptable. Yours will adapt to the new level of exercise and types of food, and the metabolism can “down shift” somewhat and make losing more weight a bit tougher.

The weather is getting better. You can get out more. What kind of outdoor exercise can you do. Maybe this is a good time to try something new, or to go back to something you may not have done for a while. Try badminton or tennis, of if you have some limitations, try just walking more.

Have you really taken a look at your eating plan? It is easy to get a little cocky or lazy and let the diet slip. Every once in a while if I feel that is happening, I go back to my measuring cups and diet scale. I start measuring my food again to remind myself what a half a cup of rice looks like, or what a 3 ounce serving of meat looks like.

Remember no matter what challenge you choose, your challenge is just that – YOURS.

Until next time, have a healthy and happy day!

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