Sunday, June 03, 2012

Going down

The other obsession over the last few months, which my friends on Facebook are undoubtedly tired of hearing me post about, is trying to get back in shape. Since mid-February I've managed to lose 35 pounds. Which, don't get me wrong, I'm quite pleased about. However, there are certain things that prevent me from getting too smug about this.

1. Having lost that much weight makes me realize in retrospect what a fat bastard I'd let myself become. I mean, it's genuinely appalling that managed to happen, or all the creative excuses you manage to come up with to overlook that fact. "Oh, I'm not fat in that picture, the wind was just blowing a certain way to make the shirt look puffy." (or you could just be fat). "Oh, I haven't put on any extra weight, I'm still wearing the same size pants" (Yes, conveniently ignoring that my dress pants had elastic built into the waist, covering a multitude of sins).
2. Having lost that much weight and looking better can make you feel cocky. Until I realize that I'm right around the weight I was when Cathy and I got married. And when I see those photos I realize I was still quite over weight even then. So there's obviously still a lot of work to do.

The weird thing is that once you start having some success people start looking to you as if you possess some magic and hidden knowledge. I really don't. I've tried many, many times before to lose weight and it always failed. This time, it clicked. Well, clicked so far. The possibility of relapse is still there.

The only thing I can offer is that I had a genuinely awful few weeks back in February and March. My friend's death hit me a lot harder than I thought and I'm pretty sure I was depressed. I've been down before, but I'm not sure the last time I felt something like that. And one day, I just got so frustrated feeling that way, that I went back to the gym, hoping some endorphins or something might work.

It did.

I felt better for most of the rest of the day. The next day, when I started feeling bad, I went back. And I've kept doing that. Five days a week, for at least one hour each time. Thirty minutes on an elliptical, 30 minutes on different weight machines. And then I started to change my diet. I only eat three meals a day. No snacks. I've reduced my portion size. I've tried to cut out a lot of processed foods and eat more fruits and vegetables.

But I think the most important thing is I've got myself in a routine and I've sufficiently scared the crap out of myself over the consequences of breaking that routine. I didn't go to the gym for two weeks in April between being in Florida (even though I walked at least 10 km a day on the beach) and a head cold (in which I nearly drove Cathy nuts over my anxiety about not being able to get to the gym). Any time I get hungry, I have a glass of water.

So even though I'm a bit hungry even as I write this, I've just started my second glass of water.

Because I am apparently a creature of routines. I've been told that I do not handle change well. Normally I think is a disadvantage, but I think in this one case, now that I've settled into this routine I'm glad I'm reluctant to change it.

I'm sure there are any number of dieticians or fitness experts that would say what I'm doing is wrong, but as long as it keeps working for me, I'm not going to mess with it. Thirty-five pounds in 15 weeks is nothing to sneeze at. The ultimate goal is 80 pounds, but I still have until February 2014 to get there, so I have time. And I'm not going completely nuts. I'm going to be on a cruise ship this summer. There will be food. I will eat the food. Plus I'm going to be in Denmark. If you think I'm not going to eat Danish there, you're nuts.

I imagine there will be some tweaks later in the summer. A friend has sworn that these are supposed to be really good for tracking activity, so I think I might invest in one. And if things keep going well, clearly new clothes are going to be needed. I have a depressing amount of money tied up in jeans that no longer fit. And a co-worker described one of my dress shirts this week as looking like a peasant blouse, which I'm assuming is bad.

I'm also setting up two rewards if I hit my I mentioned the other day...the big trip to Peru and the Galapagos . The other is a nice, hand tailored suit. Cathy doesn't get that as I don't wear suits and lord knows my job doesn't require it. But I think if I had a really nice suit, one that fit well (which I don't think I've ever owned), I'd wear it. Plus it would help me keep the weight sense spending that much on a suit and then not being able to wear it.

So yes, the Secret to my Success is apparently temporarily losing my mind and acquiring a mild case of OCD. As I said, not sure I can recommend it. But hey, whatever works for you...

Last Five
1. Chocolate Jesus (live) - Tom Waits*
2. The Wanderer - U2
3. Sugar mountain - Neil Young
4. Mongrel heart - Broken Bells
5. Object of your rejection - Chely Wright


jen said...

Good for you! If your looking for something else like the fitbit, check out the new ipod nano, it's got a new Nike fitness app on it that is awesome. Count all your steps and calories and listen to music!!

You won't be eating a Danish in Denmark, they are a product of North American. I know, I know, how could they not have them?!! But I do think they actually have a pastry called the Canadian or something along those lines. Among many other kinds of delicious pastries.

John, Perth AU said...

Like everything in nature, fitness is about equilibrium. Think of fitness as a three-legged stool, with legs of diet, exercise, and recovery. You get a new equilibrium if you adjust one leg, but it's best to adjust all three. As you've found, new habits result in new fitness.

Anonymous said...

Kudos man.

Don't get too smug...but, enjoy the quality and quantity of life that a healthy body brings.