Year of the Loser

February 21, 2011

I started 2010 with a fat realization that I was too heavy! It happened one cold December day at a playground with Marina. She was getting really good on the monkey bars -- and I thought I could show her a couple things. As soon as I grabbed the bar and my feet left the pavement I realized that I was not prepared to haul quite this much weight around. I could barely hold on to the bar!

Part two of the realization came when I saw after getting out of the shower that I was carrying a spare tire around my midsection. I thought I was a thin person, but the weight had crept up on me.

This wasn't all a shock since I'd occasionally step on our bathroom scale in the morning. I had gotten used to my weight hovering around 205-210. One day I looked at one of those height-weight charts and was shocked to see that I was square in the "overweight" category. My mental image of myself had always been that I was skinny -- but people tend to not see themselves accurately. But it was true -- I was overweight. Things had to change!

Here's what I did:

<ul> <li><b>I stopped eating until I could not possibly eat any more.</b> A single portion was actually enough, and I felt better after a meal not having stuffed myself to capacity.</li> <li><b>I stopped drinking fruit juice.</b> We would usually mix fruit juice with carbonated water. It's tasty, but fruit juice is not really that good for you. Better to eat an apple or orange.</li> <li><b>I found a strenuous exercise that I enjoyed.</b> I found in January that I really loved hiking up to the top of things. It's a great cardio workout on the way up and a strength workout on the way down. The beautiful scenery, interesting wildlife, and quiet time alone are all big rewards. I'd get out for a hike every week or two for 3-5 hours at a time.</li> <li><b>I was just more mindful of what I was eating overall.</b> Salad instead of french fries, water instead of soda. Avoiding foods with ingredients I don't recognize as food (a.k.a. not "engineered" but rather "prepared").</li> <li><b>I also got serious about vegetarianism.</b> There are many reasons why I don't eat meat, but in terms of weight loss it makes me think just a little more about what is going in my mouth. I know this extra focus on what I'm consuming has kept me eating just a bit more healthy and real than before.</li> </ul>

My first goal was to get down to 200 lbs. This happened after about 6 weeks. 190 came in another couple of months, then I stabilized at 180 in around June. I've been that weight since then, with a little blip around the Christmas holiday.

Given my height and metabolism, I know it was relatively easy for me to shed the pounds. But I do know that what made the biggest difference was that I changed my habits in subtle but effective ways, rather than going on some crazy crash diet. I feel better than I've felt in 10 years or more, and can chase the girls around and not feel all jiggly and tired.