Awesome post! I don’t think you could have said it any more succinctly than this:
“My new philosophy is eat hard, exercise hard, sleep/relax hard, and enjoy life to its fullest.”
That’s exactly how I feel. Admittedly, I still watch my calories, but I’ve increased my daily intake so much (to match my exercise) that I eat pretty big meals now. When I started working out last summer, I couldn’t exercise long enough to burn more than a few hundred calories, but once you can burn a thousand calories or more a day, then you can eat like a beast and still lose weight. Grinding through a pile of food after a huge workout is incredibly rewarding.
And you know, 15 pounds of extra fat on a muscular, well-conditioned body doesn’t look all that bad. That same 15 pounds on a weak body can look pretty flabby.
Keep it up! I love walking, and I think it’s a great start to a long-term exercise program. My conditioning was PATHETIC when I got started. I got worn out really easily and always felt like I was on the brink of an injury. I often overdid it and spent the rest of the day collapsed on the couch. My back and joints always seemed to ache, and I hated every minute of my actual “runs,” slow as they were. Measured by weeks, it seemed like I wasn’t making any progress at all, but measured by months, there was an obvious transformation. My advice would be to constantly praise yourself for every small accomplishment, and even to brag about them to a spouse or friend if they can stand it.