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:

  • I stopped eating until I could not possibly eat any more. A single portion was actually enough, and I felt better after a meal not having stuffed myself to capacity.
  • I stopped drinking fruit juice. 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.
  • I found a strenuous exercise that I enjoyed. 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.
  • I was just more mindful of what I was eating overall. 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").
  • I also got serious about vegetarianism. 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.

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.