On Becoming CTO

Blog / February Goals Check-In

At the end of 2019 I posted a couple of goals for 2020. It's been two months and I'm at the checkpoint for my first milestone, so I thought I would check in on how I've been doing.

Goal 1: Body fat reduction

I started eating a Ketogenic diet in November 2019, and as a result had to either torture myself through the holidays by watching everyone else eat delicious treats and not partake, or I had to find a way to get my sweet fix. I found some recipies for things like cookies and frosting using keto-friendly sugar substitutes, and, let's be honest here, I also started to play a little fast and loose with the 20g/day carbohydrate limit. My limit of 20 became 21, and eventually 22, and 23... and before you know it, I can't seem to stay in ketosis at all.

To make matters "worse", we had a family vacation scheduled for the end of January. A cruise, to be specific. If you've never been on a cruise, let me explain how the food works: You can eat as much as you want, at just about any time of day, but almost everything has carbs. Also, there's a formal-ish dinner every night with fancy desserts to choose from; all included for the cost of the cruise. Why should I pay for fancy food and not eat it?!

If you were super disciplined, I suppose you could make it work.

But I'm not, and I couldn't.

And I didn't.

In fact, in the days leading up to the cruise, and knowing that I would be at least temporarily abandoning my keto diet, I chose to quit early.

At the time that I quit eating keto, I had managed to work my way down to 19.8% BF already! I was way ahead of schedule. This was mid-January and I had already passed my goal for March 1st. And then I went back to my junkfood mid-day snacks and carb-loaded meals, and only a week after getting back from the cruise, I was back up to 21.2% BF. Ugh!

That was February 8th, and it was quite the wake-up call. I've been back on Keto since, and trending back down. I'm happy to report that I did just barely manage to hit my 20% BF on March 1st goal.

This goal also had other aspects to help me reach that metric. Not missing many gym days, and hit my macros consistently. Well, I pretty much blew the macros thing up for a while there, but I'm back on the wagon now.

I've also missed more gym days than I was anticipating, but overall I'm really happy with my gym attendance. I got sick once, I chose to do a career day presentation that didn't leave enough time in the day to work out, and, yeah, a couple of times I was too lazy. BUT! Most of the time I don't struggle to find the motivation to get into the gym, and almost always I feel great when I leave the gym. I'm not seeing much muscle mass added yet, but I feel healthier, and that's a big part of why I want to go, too.

I also managed to find time to work out during the cruise! I only missed one workout and in my defense, traveling -- especially with children! -- is exhausting! I missed my cardio day on the day we spent traveling back home.

I've found that I really love doing squats, probably because I can already squat a lot more weight than I thought would be in my reach. In fact, my training program recently had me re-evaluate my 1 rep max on all of my primary lifts, and this happened:

So I guess let's say I get a solid B+ on this one. I can do better, but nothing to be ashamed of here.

I learned just how effective Keto can be for me, and I also learned that just because the rule of thumb recommendation for beginner keto is 20g of carbs per day doesn't mean I need to aim to finish every day at 19.9. If I aim for 10-15, there's wiggle room for those times when I need a couple of spoonfulls of keto ice cream to get me through the day.

Goal 2: Christmas present for my wife

Well. This one is going to have to end up being an excused absence if I don't come up with a new idea. I managed to bring casual conversation just close enough to the topic of the project I wanted to make for her to find out that it's not something she wants at all. Back to the drawing board!

Goal 3: Build my CNC and learn how to use it

Step 1: Build it. Check! ✔️ (Mostly? I ran out of t-track so there's a small area of the wasteboard that's incomplete while I wait for more to come in the mail. But c'mon! Close enough for credit, right?!)

I have definitely started learning. I've already broken one router bit by setting up a carve that was too aggressive. Failures lead to the best learnings!

Goal 4: Wean down to no soda

This one might also require some re-thinking. Ideally I would avoid soda completely. I'm sure most doctors would agree that would be the best thing. But on the keto diet I personally find the complete lack of sweets to be crazy. I don't know how people do it. I've been drinking Diet Mountain Dew (#notsponsored) for a really long time, and since it's 0 calorie (or close enough to round down) and 0 carbs, and it satisfies my sweet tooth, I'm willing to flex on this.

I still believe that reducing soda consumption would be beneficial to my health, but if I can keep soda levels where they are and it enables me to hit weight and body fat goals that would be otherwise (nearly?) unattainable, is that an acceptable trade? I think it might be.

Unofficial goals:

There are also a few things that I didn't include in my official list, but that I was trying to stay on top of as if they were official goals anyway. In particular, gratitude journaling and being diligent with backups of my Hackintosh.

Long story short, I've been terrible at doing either one of them. I keep meaning to get back to both of them, but intention doesn't check the box. Only action can do that.