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Where I think about my weight

by John on January 14th, 2013

It seems that, every few months, I need to write one of these posts — but here I go again, because, well, I haven’t posted in awhile and I just need to organize the crazy in my head. But I have a ton of thoughts running through my head, so here I am to try to organize them.

Last year saw me choosing to make bad decisions for my health. I was drinking, a lot. I was eating, mostly, “healthy” food – but I was seldom concentrating on how much of that food I was putting into my body. I was getting to the gym 2-3 times a week, but I wasn’t all that active when I wasn’t there. I wasn’t running regularly. I wasn’t cycling regularly. I have a hard time saying that I was “in a rut,” but that’s precisely where I was. Things were not good.

Now, I’m not a big believer in new years resolutions — I think, if you want to change something in your life, that day you recognize that is the day you should start. But, I was screwing around on Twitter one night when I noticed that two of my friends were talking about starting a weight-loss competition amongst themselves . . . and I wanted in. This was just prior to Christmas, and I knew I was going to cheat, and cheat badly, if I imposed any kind of restrictions on myself until the holiday was over… so January 2 saw me turn over a new leaf.

I know how miserable I can be with any diet — when hungry, I am a monster, so I didn’t want to make things impossible for me. I started with two basic rules:

  1. Log every bite of food that I eat
  2. Log every minute of exercise I perform1

From there, I also decided that I would limit to alcohol intake for the month of January — only drinking (and drinking in moderation) for special events. A family party might allow me a glass or two of wine, but no more. Band practice means two beers, and only two beers. A band gig would limit me to whatever my cheering fanbase chooses to buy me2.

I would try to work out before work every day which I could (I have a 6am videoconference on Mondays which means that I need to wake up at an ungodly hour, so Mondays make morning workouts damn-near-impossible), and I’d continue making it to the gym, over lunch, on any workday that allowed.

As these all played out, I realized that I needed a few more goals — first, just how far was I going to run (see, I do better when I have a “big picture” goal ahead of me)? While I did have pipe dreams of running a marathon a month, that’s just not feasible at this moment — I can’t guarantee a five hour block every month (I’d need four for the running, and then an hour to get myself to a point where I’m no longer useless) . . . and, even if I rearrange things to ensure that I have a big block of time set aside one weekend a month, there’s no telling what the weather might be. It’s one thing to run through a downpour if you paid an admission & someone is going to give you a motherfucking medal at the end . . . it’s quite another to make loops around the neighborhood as everyone questions what you might be doing.

Through simple arithmetic, if I run for 45 minutes, 3 times a week, plus a 2 hour run every-other-weekend . . . and run 10 minute miles, at the end of the year, I will have run 1,040 miles. Allowing for inclement weather and illness and injury, 1000 seems a nice, round number (especially if I budget myself 60 or 75 minutes for many of my pre-work runs).

Next, I wanted to determine how much I could cycle. If I can cycle for 45 minutes, 2 times a week, plus a 3 hour ride every-other-weekend, and I cycle at 15 miles per hour, that puts me at 2,340 miles . . . and since I like round numbers, I think I can make that to 2500 for the year.

Of course, this has me working out every day before work, and every day during the weekend. . . but I’ve done that before in my life (mind you, I wasn’t a father at the time, but this is my pipe dream I’m living), so I’m going to insist that I can keep to it.

The last little bit that I gets me through this all is that I’m no longer treating the scale as my enemy. I was, and am, a firm believer that the scale, merely, reports a number — and that number is indicative of, only, the influence of the Earth’s gravity upon your personage — but, in all honesty, I didn’t like the number that was reported.

I started this adventure at 256.6 pounds, which is the heaviest I’ve been in a long time . . . but I don’t exactly think of myself as un-attractive, either. I just put a lot of stock that muscle weighs more than fat, and that my recent gym visits have seen me doing a lot more weight-lifting than cardio.

Early on, I got smacked by the flu, and that sidelined some of the workouts . . . but I made allowances for illness, so I’m not truly off-track. But my weight has dropped over 12 pounds at the time of this writing, and, honestly, I’m feeling really good. Though I do miss wine.

But, well, I need some help with motivation . . . two goals of 1,000 and 2,500 miles is a lot to wrap your mind around – so tell me, what events are you training for (I’m always looking to race with people)? Are you on My Fitness Pal or Runkeeper, where I can use all of the support I can get?

Lastly, I’m setting a goal weight for myself . . . it’s 220. There was a time in my life where I was south of 200 pounds, and I can, honestly, say it was amongst the least-healthy times in my life. I would weigh myself, daily, and, if I didn’t like the number that I read one day, I’d practically starve myself until the scale started looking better. I don’t ever want to get to that level of obsession. But, at the same time, I know there’s a fair bit around my middle that’s not doing me any good, and I’m certain that I’m listing a weight that I’ll be able to maintain without going crazy.

And sanity — well, sanity, for me, is a prized treat. Like wine.

While I’m abiding by this, I decided to not measure the time walking the dogs, as that just seemed to be overkill
I’d anticipate most gigs leaving me high & dry
  1. Inspiring.

    I need to set a goal weight for myself. Though that would require stepping on a scale- one of my most-hated activities.

    • I still hate stepping on the scale, even if the number is moving in the right direction. I don’t think I’ll ever enjoy it.

  2. i use myfitnesspal….

  3. Debbie permalink

    Ready to shed some weight I’ve been carting around for way too long myself. Great goals and obtainable. Good luck!

  4. MargitaLily permalink

    Good for you.
    Hope no I know you will succeed xxxx

  5. You are so disciplined – I’m incredibly impressed. My goals usually look like this? Run. Eat more veggies. Eat a piece of fruit a day. STOP eating of my children’s plate. The end. 🙂 As always you inspire me!

    • See – those are my traditional goals, as well . . . but, I do much better when I have something a bit more defined. I can’t think “I need to run more,” but I can think “I need to get myself to be able to run this many miles by this date.”

      I’ve started out hot, besting my week-by-week estimates . . . I may have to re-evaluate my plans to keep myself properly motivated.

  6. I see you on myfitnesspal with your killer workouts, and if nothing else it makes me want to at least hit my calorie number for the day.

    I’ve lost 5 pounds myself in the last two weeks, and I’m fairly certain I’m the only one who’d notice yet, but it feels good to take the food by the horns (to mix metaphors), since my feelings all taste like different food groups.

    Fight the good fight, stay far from the crazy, and rock those run/cycle numbers, friend.

    • I will admit that my size allows for some monster calorie numbers when I work out, and that’s pretty awesome. And I’m still not sure, 15+ pounds later, that anyone else can really see any difference, but I know I can feel it, and that helps to keep me going.

  7. Glad I read this today of all days. This morning I woke up, weighed myself, measured some body parts and wrote it all down. I then did my first workout of a 60-day workout plan. I have my first 10K in March which will be my farthest run yet. My goal weight is 100 pounds less than your goal weight and 17 pounds from where I am now. I may change my mind on my goal weight and stop after 10 pounds. I’ll wait and see.

    • How’s the 60 day workout plan going so far? Every time I read one of your posts, I start thinking “I need to get back into a regular yoga routine,” and then….I don’t. I think, once the weather starts warming up, I might be able to run, then yoga, then shower, in the mornings.

  8. Ah, sanity. So elusive. Love the commitment to exercise (and wine). 🙂

    • I’m trying to figure out just when my sanity left me — I think it was with the advent of children, but I really think it may have been gone well before then.

      And damn, do I want a bottle or seven of wine.

  9. Laura permalink

    I really like my little fitbit that I keep on all the time. It tracks your steps and stairs. It has a wrist strap for nighttime so you can also track sleep. It has a fairly decent website for logging food and other activities, I use the myfitnesspal site as an aid to figure out nutrition on a lot of the food I eat: their website is awesome. I have been pretty bad on the intake side for the last couple weeks (the weekend in Philly didn’t help!) but I keep track so I can at least watch what I’m doing wrong. Paying a personal trainer months in advance keeps me exercising. Too much money to ignore. It has changed my life.

    • I think a FitBit is going to end up on my next Christmas/birthday list . . . it’s a long ways away, but I’m very curious to see what my sleep habits are, because something isn’t working.

      That Philly weekend — yeah, I was deathly afraid of stepping on the scale. Somehow, I managed to break even in my calorie count, on Saturday (I had gone for a decent run that morning), but I had convinced myself that I had underestimated my portion sizes. The scale seemed to say that I was pretty accurate, though.

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