A journey worth taking
21 May 2018
What's in this post?
The post is going to go over the last 10 years (7 in more detail) and how I applied a little self control (eventually) and have sort of changed how I motivate myself to try better and why I came to do that . You can almost think of the journey as being a good movie where the dude in high school has everything, somehow loses it (well finding other great things) and then finds his way again (sort of) .
The post will have a sort of timeline view on it from 2010 (a brief bit from before that) to the current day.
It ended up being a longer than anticipated post that took be about 7 hours to write so if you are continuing on enjoy and if you want to contact me privately to chat you can email me at my name (Gordon) @my surname (Beeming) .co.za otherwise just tweet me or put your comments in the discussion area below .
I finished high school in 2007 where I played most sports that our school offered making sure every afternoon (and most mornings) had some sort of training or event on. Naturally this made me super fit and life couldn't get better, outside of school I played Rugby for various clubs and also managed to make our provincial under 18 team. Weighing at that point about 105kg (231.5lb) I went to a tournament that our provincial team was playing in, overall it was a great experience but in the 2nd to last game we played on a cold winters day when I tackled a player from the other team we landed funny on the ground and I ended up breaking my collar bone. At this point you might be asking "cool but what does that have to do with anything?" well I'll tell you , I was told after that injury that I needed to have a lot of weeks rest with absolutely no exercise and then slowly get back into the game in order to stand the best chance of the injury not impacting me going forward.
Unfortunately for me I continued eating the way I had been for the last couple years while being extremely active and picked up a roughly 20kgs (45lb). Leading up to 2010 I had a couple games of Rugby but never really got back into it properly, always getting slightly injured and never really putting in the same amount of effort anymore as I was now working and loving what I was doing being new in tech you can only imagine how little sleep I got already, taking a couple hours out for training never really felt like a good idea. Dumb kid I was .
I have no photos really from before June 8th 2010 that could be added to this post but basically in 2010 after being friends with my now wife for many years we got a little more serious and although I'm not 100% or even vaguely sure how much I weighed then you can see (sorry it's not a clear one) by the photo below that I was a bit heavier that the 125kg that I was after breaking my collar bone.
|8 June 2010||28 August 2010|
Although admittedly I did lose a little weight sometime in 2010 it wasn't really that much if I remember it correctly, well at least enough to brag about .
2011 was one of the happiest of my life and was when I became a dad for the first time
|6 March 2011||Bradley Ethan Beeming||28 October 2011 (I'm on the right )|
Not much had changed weight wise but slowly it was climbing, never enough for me to just notice it at least. I also didn't really give weight much focus back then so it's sort of what can be expected when you do the things I did like stay up all night working, eat lots of junk food and loads of energy and soft drinks.
2012 & 2013
To not bore you too much with details 2012 and 2013 was more of the same as the weight slowly went up and the thought of that didn't really feel like it was much of a thing, having a kid that was young kept us busy and at this stage he wasn't super mobile so keeping up with him was easy (I also have an amazing wife which helped a lot in me thinking I was managing I guess). Also being young I didn't see the simple signs like hey these clothes don't fit, the answer seemed "get bigger clothes", clearly the wrong answer
|5 February 2012||6 June 2012||6 March 2012||11 August 2012|
|9 March 2013||17 August 2013||20 October 2013||22 November 2013|
2012 & 2013 wasn't all that bad though, on the 19th October 2012 my wife and I got engaged, July 2013 I joined the Visual Studio ALM Rangers and in 2013 my wife starting baking novelty cakes (I have a post on how the kids made a cake with her on my blog ), this also didn't help much with weight control as in the first little while eating cake was great, luckily after a while you get tired of eating cakes so it becomes easier . Late in 2013, 4th December to be precise my daughter (Kezren Stephanie Beeming) was born
A great end to 2013, family was now complete, son was getting older and more agile, wife is still awesome, life couldn't be better.
2014 was the year we got married, I distinctly remember most of this year, I entered the year now weighing what was the most I had ever weighed 175kg (386lb). A couple of things had happened in the about a month since my daughters birth and the about time I started remembering 2014 from. We had decided on a date to get married which was June 7th and that was now just 6 months away, something at this point clicked in my head for various reasons, 1 being that my wife said at night when I was breathing while asleep it sounded like I was dying but also with my son being a little more mobile and me battling to keep up with him I'd try lose some weight. It was actually quite a successful 6 months leading up to the wedding and I lost 20kg from completely changing what I was eating and I started swimming, starting off with 300m (984ft) where I felt like I was going to die to eventually after about a month or so started swimming 2km (1.2 miles) 5-6 times a week. This was going great until winter came, the pool now opened an hour later making it impossible to go swim in the morning and then go to work and get there at the time I liked to. I started swimming ever now and then in the afternoon but eventually just stopped, I was still eating right up to the wedding so the weight didn't come back .
|25 December 2013 (non from start 2014)||8 February 2014||22 March 2014||7 June 2014||7 June 2014|
For some reason after the wedding things slowly went back to how they were and I struggled to focus on eating healthy. In July I was awarded as a Microsoft MVP for ALM. At the end of October I went to America for the first time for MVP Summit where I visited the Microsoft Archives (Larry Osterman 30 years at Microsoft tour of it Part 1 | Part 2), one of my favorite things to do on campus. I also recorded an episode of This Week on Channel 9 with Greg Duncan.
|6 November 2014||23 November 2014||6 December 2014||26 December 2014|
A good end to the year considering all the new things, note new generally means forgetting other things like my weight .
2015 & 2016
2015 & 2016 was more of the same, living life, enjoying time with family and largely trying to keep up with my son . I went to Turkey for a MVP event and also reached a point where I knew I needed to make change happen, more after some images of this time .
|6 March 2015||14 March 2015||9 May 2015||24 December 2015|
|1 Jan 2016||10 July 2016||30 July 2016|
So as just mentioned something interesting happened in 2016, I was now back up 10kg, now weighing 165kg (364lb) again. I was finding it really hard to keep up with my son running around in the garden and my breathing and night wasn't great either. I was also flying a lot at the time and sitting in a plane at my weight was really difficult and uncomfortable. September 2016 was when things started getting interesting, I joined a diet that was very strict, no space for cheating and cost a lot (pro tip, if your diet costs a lot there is less chance of you cheating on it ). I was talking at all 3 SQL Saturdays in South Africa and even traveling to Cape Town and Johannesburg where the speakers dinners had amazing food I kept to the diets meal plan having flown to both locations with packed meals to make sure I didn't have any reason to cheat on the diet, it was really tough at this point drinking coffee and water at the dinners while amazing things were on the table but totally worth not eating it . The huge 1kg T-Bone steak in the last image above was the last I'd ever eat, tastes amazing but I began to transform the next day, the diet starts of with 2 days of crazy eating so thought I'd do the steak that I loved.
A couple times in the past I tried running but found it hard and always had back and knee pains when trying to run. September and October saw me lose 20kg. I left for America near the end of October again, this time to first visit my family in Georgia and then across to MVP Summit. Travelling for 3 weeks packing meals would obviously not be an option so the dietitian gave me specific instructions and tips for what I should and shouldn't eat and combinations of food to mix and what not to mix.
Overall only picked up 4kg over the 4 weeks before getting back on the diet again, this was largely due to my new found addiction while I was visiting my family, RUNNING! October 29th 2016 was the day of my first recorded run on Strava which I have now actually removed because all data I had when just using my phone was very inaccurate so removed all before getting a watch , point is I remember 29 October as the first day I started enjoying getting up a ridiculous times to put my body through experiences that most people haven't experienced like some of the most amazing sunrises and running some distances that most joke saying we should only do in a car .
2017 is remembered by me as the year I discovered a lot of new information about the human body like water is not how you rehydrate after a marathon and also there is a point where your body will want to throw in the towel but generally you can push on or even harder at times. I went from planning on running 3 half marathons (21.1km, 13.1 miles) the whole year and then the plan was to do a full marathon in November (ended up only going back March 2018, more on that later) when going back to America but instead found that before the end of Feb I had achieved the half marathon goal for the year already including doing something that a lot of average runners haven't done which luckily for me the conditions were amazing for and that was break the 2 hour mark (ja, the elite athletes destroy this but I'm talking average to less average runners ).
The 1st week of March was also the first week off the diet, I found it hard to eat along the strict requirements of the diet and also have the energy to run the now longer distances. At this point I had lost roughly 43kg (95lb) in total from the previous September. I really wanted to continue on with the diet to achieve more weight loss by the road kept calling and in the end won the decision .
29 October 2016 (The 1st Running Day)
7 November 2016... I finally after 2 years of saying
I was going to join the Champs on the run actually did
8 February 2017
Ja I tried the whole being Hulk for Halloween when I went to visit family but weighing then 20kg less I made a terrible Hulk . Through 2017 I ended up running many more half marathons and also did a couple marathons, pictures below from the first on 7th May 2017
Although everything felt great at this point, I had already gained about 5kgs, this felt fine because I was running harder and longer distances, my weight now goes up and down a lot based on the weeks specific running (linked to water loss and gain on and between runs). I mentioned it earlier but I learnt a lot last year about nutrition, recovery and overall keeping healthy while running, this is 1 of the first big lessons for me, I was at 1 point the day after this race completely man down but managed to run the coming Tuesday (not a great idea after your first marathon) and from the Wednesday was sick for 2 weeks with flu. I then got flu a couple times through out the year where similar to when I broke my collar bone I never adjusted my eating correctly when I had the flu so picked up a couple kgs each time, dropping some each between being sick but overall gaining towards the end of the year.
The last week of the year I made the decision to completely not care about weight for just 1 week of the year and eat how much and what ever I wanted without thinking about weight just to rest from thinking about weight for once, hoping to not go over the 140kg mark, I know terrible how I could get back up there.
So the start of the current year about I was not over 140kg , I was 139.8 though which was very close. I now started training for 2 things, 1 was what ever runner in Durban (where I stay in South Africa) commonly wants to do one day and that was Comrades, I didn't end up making a qualifying time for a couple reasons but it happens and have gained a lot of extra knowledge from the training that I did put towards it . The other thing I started training for an probably more than what I put towards Comrades because it was new and I was going back to America to do it was my first 70.3 Triathlon. The first 2 months of the year I trained hard to specifically lose weight and overall get endurance to be able to do the 2 disciplines I was not used to (swimming and cycling). The month of March was final prep as I did the 70.3 in the 3rd week of March (17th March 2018 to be precise) the weekend before flying back home to South Africa. Overall it was a great experience, I finished and think I have found another addiction that I will definitely be training for more in the future.
I dropped about 15kg leading up to the 70.3 and as I seem to do have gain 4 or 5 since as I have being taking it easier on the focus on weight loss recently, I have managed to still do some pretty good runs including recently breaking 2 hours again on a half marathon, this time not having a full tapper into the half but instead having done a 48km Ultra Marathon on the Tuesday, good 8km Time Trail on Thursday and then 22km Saturday, the day before and then with again great conditions managed to slide a 2 hour in at 1h59 and 32 seconds.
So some good running regardless of the extra weight but I think it's time to step it up again and go for the home stretch.
What's the overall goal?
If you've made it this far I hope enjoyed the read, I'm going to finish off by just writing it here so I can't cheat myself going forward , I do that sometimes. There is a couple goals that before the end of 2019 (I know a long time away, it removes the stress by doing gradually over a long time). The first of the goals is obviously weight linked and that is to try get as close to 105kg again, breaking 100 would be interesting definitely a stretch goal . The next would be to be able to easily break 2 hour half marathons, my immediate focus is to work on my speed and get my 21.1km down as much as possible. Another sort of stretch goal but one that I definitely think I can achieve is completing a full iron man before the end of 2019 or worst case early 2020.
Although positioned as goals my uncle (Mark Arlow) chatted to me when I visited him the first time about a book he read on happiness and how you achieve it. I won't go into too much detail but the 1 liner is when you set a goal in the future everything you do leading up to that goal/event is just work that is getting you to that point and you won't enjoy the journey most likely, if you instead focus on the journey enjoying each smaller junk the goal/event is then just a bonus/reward that you have on the journey and you will naturally be happier. In 1 line some of that might be a bit twisted but do some Googling if you want more info or contact me . Point here is that although mentioned as goals it's just things with no specific dates at this point, my next 'goal' is to start eating properly again tomorrow morning as this weekend has been a great in take of all the things I don't want to be eating for a long time .
I feel like I have to just mention that it wasn't all rainbows and butterflies although I have to say your see a lot of that with the early morning runs, unfortunately the tougher moments weren't always captured on camera but if you head over to my Strava profile you might see some of them .
I've learnt a lot on this long journey both with exercise but then also just eating and nutrition, I'm by no means an expert but have enough info to sustain myself and keep on a good path.
I've chatted to a lot of people who are trying to lose weight or achieve their own exercise type goals and it's been awesome sharing my story with them and now with everyone else on my blog . Unfortunately for everyone that is trying to lose weight from all the people I've spoken I've generally found that most people need something that they really want to lose weight for in order to follow a diet 100%, for me that 1 thing was that I wanted to be around for my kids when they get older, I also wanted to help my kids train for sports like my dad did with me for cricket and rugby. It's generally easy to get started and say you want to but when you find that something that remains your reminder why you want to do it everything becomes easy.
I've also been asked why running, the truth is being in the software industry I love mind games, if you have ever pushed your body while running you know that the hardest mind game is convincing yourself not to stop/quit, everyone has their own way to keep going, I generally remember the words of 'wisdom' (ping me if you interested ) I used to convince my son with when we took part in the Chiltern Scratch Club last year where he ran 8km without stopping (at a slow pace but was amazing to be part of) now being youngest member to take part at then only 6 years old, I know not great to be running that long at his age but was something he really wanted to do and we now try stick to our weekly 3 training sessions doing a 5km as one of them each week. The second thing was one of those motivational posters that you see that really stuck with me and is something I seem to not be able to forget.
That's the end, hopefully you enjoyed the read and in some way feel inspired if you are at the start of your similar journey .