Don’t forget *your* system health!

We all obsess with making our databases and our clients’ databases healthy and fabulous, but often we forget about looking after ourselves.

Over the last few years I’ve steadily ballooned 50lbs over the weight I was when I married Kimberly, let myself get stressed, black bags under my eyes, and an unhealthy liking for Tater-Tots, pizza, Tim’s Cascade chips (they are so good!), and coffee. I used to go hiking, now I’m too busy. I used to do tons of hobby stuff, now I’m too busy. I used to cook lots, now I’m too busy.

Of course, I blame my team for all of this… just kidding! I blame myself.

Working in I.T. means sitting at a computer for large amounts of time – a sedentary practice for which our bodies did not evolve. Not only does it mess up body posture, but it’s really easy to pile on the pounds when you get sucked in to working, working, working.

Well, not for me any more. I’ve decided to take the bull by the horns this year and do some performance tuning on myself. Some of my SQLskills colleagues are disgustingly fit, and I want to be too.

I’m currently on the last day of a 5-day fast-and-cleanse to flush all the toxins out of my body and give me a kick-start into being healthy. I’ve also lost 15lbs in the last six days. It hasn’t been as bad as people make out – no crazy cravings, no horrible cramps and nausea. My black bags have gone and I’m sleeping much better. If you’re interested, the cleanse I did is this one.

I also plan to change my eating habits – reducing portions and cutting out junk food. And starting to exercise again – not in a manic way, but walking, jogging, and hiking. And I’m not going to be online all the time. I think the 50lbs will come off this year.

As far as stress goes, I’m taking reading breaks during work days, and I’ve started learning meditation. Nothing secular, mystical, or any of that – just to allow my mind to clear. Check out 8 Minute Meditation.

My benchmark sucks and I want to go back to the baseline I had 5 years ago.

Why am I blogging about this? Two reasons:

  1. I don’t want to be able go back to my evil ways – now it’s public, I *have to do it :-)
  2. To encourage you to think about your health. A lot of us are overweight, no matter how much we kid ourselves, which is bad news in the long run.

I’m really looking forward to hiking again in the Cascades, and having more efficient breathing when diving later this year.

I hope some of you get inspired to take similar control of your health – no-one else is going to do it for you.

[Edit 1/25/13: final results are 16.6lbs lost, total 20.6lbs down from the start of the year.]

19 thoughts on “Don’t forget *your* system health!

  1. Well done Paul. I started just over a year ago, weighing about 120 kg. When my trainer pushed me to run it felt like I was going to die any minute. In April i completed my first Half Marathon, and this April it seems that I may improve my km pace by nearly two minutes from last year. In September I will run my first full marathon. My weight is now 90 kg. As you write, eat healthy food, don’t over eat, and have a few exercises each week. It has quite miraculous effect on your body.

  2. Great post Paul! You are right on with how IT works sucks us into unhealthy habits. I admire how you are taking action and I think that will be an inspiration to many others. I too am trying to lose some weight and improve my condition and its good to know I’m not alone. Good luck and looking forward to reading of your successes to come!

  3. Glad to hear you are taking charge of you health and wellness! I might be a little self-centered, but I would like to keep you and all your knowledge around as long as humanly possible!
    I went through the same process about a year ago, and also found that the best way to lose the weight and be healthy is to cleanse. I now utilize a cellular cleanse regularly as part of the Isagenix system ( I am utilizing. It has been amazing all the benefits a body gets from such a good food source! It is like the continual tuning of the indexes and maintaining the log files properly on the database to keep it running smoothly.
    Keep up the great work! Can’t wait to see the pictures from some of your hikes in the Cascades.
    Thanks for all you do!!

  4. Good luck Paul! I’ve let myself get obsessed with working and studying for the SQL 2012 MCSE lately; I have not been taking care of myself very well lately. Thanks for the reminder. Maybe see you on the WA State trails this spring/summer :)


  5. Okay Paul challenge accepted! I’ve also seen 50 lbs creep on over the past half decade or so. Joined a gym last month and have started trying to get my system in shape as well. Perhaps this 5 day fast and cleanse would be a good jump start for a dietary change…product ordered. Time for CTRL-F5…

      1. So far so good. The 5 day fast has not been nearly as difficult to do as I thought, even though now on day 5 and we’ve got breakfast Friday at work with waffles, bagels and breakfast sandwiches. I’m down 10 lbs as of last night and feeling great. I can’t wait to see what the scale says tonight at the gym. However I am looking forward to eating tomorrow morning :-) Since I just happened to do this fast on the week starting Lent I’ve decided to do a massive carb removal from my diet for the duration of Lent…no sugar, flour, caffeine or alcohol. I did something similar about 12 years ago and dropped 45 lbs. Hoping to have similar results this time. I’m considering making this an annual thing as an extra boost coming out of holiday feasting season. Thanks for the post, it got me going.

  6. Good luck on your goal Paul, I’m sure you’ll make it!

    I started training and changed my eating habits in small steps last summer after getting diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Just small changes, not overeating, trying to eat a bit healthier and such. And started walking which then turned into jogging. Now I go jogging 3-5km 2-3 times a week, and really enjoy it! (I even managed to get 3x3km done while at DevConnections in Vegas :) )

    The really good thing about these changes are when you can feel it in the daily situations that you’ve gotten healthier, you manage more and just feel more fit :)


  7. Hi,

    It’s great that you want to get healthier, good luck with it Paul.

    Please don’t perpetuate the flushing toxins myth (“…to flush all the toxins out of my body…”, your liver and kidneys do this anyway. There really is nothing but nonsense when referring to any other ‘detoxing’. Typically, the people promoting this are people selling you something. I work in IT, but have a degree in biology too…

    Again, good luck!


  8. Paul,

    Great to hear and a great idea. I’ve lost about 12 lbs since Thanksgiving, partly due to the fact that we got a dog on Black Friday so I take regular breaks from the computer to take the dog for short walks. The breaks have really improved my productivity, allow me to clear my mind, and help with overall health.

  9. We’ve been having a group diet challenge at work since New Year. 20 of us taking part, £20 each, whoever loses greatest % bodyweight is the winner of the prize fund. I’m down 29lbs so far (11.5%)

  10. Good job Paul. Our entire IT department has been in this rut, 2 of us went the route of a vegan diet…since starting it in Jan 2013 (just finishing a 7 day raw food challenge, and 3 days juicing) I’ve dropped 25lbs. A big part of getting our system health back online was to create some boundaries with the office and I’m constantly reminding my team to GET SLEEP (nothing worse than falling asleep while typing in the console of management studio connected to production databases).

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