Monday, August 6, 2012

Sport/Fitness Week: My Weight Loss

I know. This is a nerdery blog, but I have been wanting to lose weight for a while now, and have finally had some success. I thought I'd mention what I am doing in case the any of you are interested.

First, back in April I weighed 241 pounds (109kg) at 6'0" (182cm). I smoke about a pack a day, ate a lot of ice cream and pizza, and did not exercise at all. The wife decided she wanted to lose her grad-school weight, so to support her I joined in. Initially, this was by watching what I ate. It is hard for someone you live with to avoid foods they do not want if you have them around the house, so we stopped buying ice cream and cookies and such. I started to keep track of my food with myfitnesspal, which has been helpful. It has a database of foods, and a barcode scanner (if you use one of their mobile apps). You can keep track of exercise as well. It is not perfect, but not bad.

Next, we started doing Jillian Michaels' Ripped in 30 workout, which was not bad, but got a bit boring. Also, I was in such poor shape I found it hard to do a lot of the exercises. I am not the most flexible guy in the world, and there is a lot of squatting and stretching that my body rebelled against. One day I remembered how much I enjoyed running, and decided to give that a try. The wife cannot run with me as she had a bad soccer/futbol injury in college, so her knee is a limiting factor. She decided the workout video was a bit boring as well and started taking Krav Maga, and I decided to run.

I am a weak runner, but persistent. I started with a 2.5km route that was painful for quite a while. I use gmap-pedometer to map courses so I know how far I went and can keep track of runs. I decided that I needed to quit smoking, and to egg myself on I signed up for a 5km race. I tried to quit smoking with some of the standard nicotine replacement stuff out there, but frankly it has not been working. I still smoke about the same amount.

After doing the 5km run here in Fayetteville, I decided to sign up for a 5mi run in NYC. We were planning a trip, and the run fit in. This was my second "race" and had a much bigger crowd. I believe close to six thousand people started the race. I finished in a bit over an hour, which for a guy with a pack of smokes in his running pack was not too bad.

I had quite a few problems along the way. One, my knees were giving me fits after a few weeks, but fortunately a new pair of shoes seemed to fix that. Second, I seemed to have developed kidney stones, likely from dehydration. I lose about a pound a mile from sweating, and shortly before the NYC run was pissing quite a bit of blood. I was afraid I might have to stop running. Fortunately, the stones seemed to clear, and I still drink about two liter of water a day outside of running, and carry about a half liter with me when I am running.

The other big problem I had, which is something I expected, was a plateau in my weight. I got down to 215 pounds (97kg) rather quickly, but stayed there for a long, long time. I am an impatient person, so the initial weight loss made me happy, but the plateau at 215 drove me nuts. I may have developed some unhealthy eating habits trying to reduce the weight even though I understood that my body was saying "hey! Is there any food? Must conserve fat!" I started eating less and running more, but was steady at 215 for about six weeks.

Finally, it started to fall again. As of today I am at 206 pounds (93kg). My weight fluctuates a lot with running, but in the morning I tend to be pretty consistent. My goal weight, set back when I was 241, is 180 pounds (81kg). Being at a semi-advanced age, I don't know if I will get there, but am hopeful. I do not want to evangelize, but I definitely feel better. I have a weird ADD/Depression cycle that I often go through, and the running seems to have controlled that quite well. Sadly, I also have a sleep disorder and a dog that has to go outside at 3am, so I am not always as rested as I'd like to be, but what can I do about that?

So, to close this ramble, if you are also interested in losing weight, do not let the plateaus get you down. It happens. It is your body's way of trying to save itself. It thinks you are starving, so it starts to conserve. Eventually, it realizes it can live on what you are eating, and the weight loss will start again. If you need to start exercising, try to find something you enjoy. I do not have to force myself to run, which is why I do it. I hate weight training and calisthenics, so I don't do them. If I had access to a pool I might swim, but part of what I like about running is not having to drive to get to it. I am still a weak runner, and walk a great deal along the way, but I don't let that bother me. I keep track of time and distance, but do not get nuts if I do not improve. So, if you want to do something, do it for you and do it to feel better.


Wings1295 said...

Funny how things coincide sometimes. I decided to lose weight back when I turned 41, and set a goal to lose 42 pounds before I hit 42. I am now at a loss of 38.2 pounds, with only 3.8 to go for that goal. I hope to keep losing another 15 or so to get to a real healthy weight. Kudos to you on doing so well and sticking with it!

Darius Whiteplume said...

Great job. It is not easy. Fortunately, despite my goal weight being a little high I did not set too strict a time-frame. I still have about 26lb to go. I think I have hit another plateau, sitting around 206lb for a few weeks now. Here's hoping!

Wings1295 said...

Yeah, I hear ya. The 42/42 goal I set was more of an inspiration thing, to keep me moving. Once I hit that, the last 15 or so have no "end date", just want I hope to eventually accomplish. But yeah, not easy. Definitely helps to view it as a lifestyle change and not just a temporary thing. MyFitnessPal and my tumblr blog have helped keep me focused.

Kal said...

Congratulations to both of you for all your hard work paying off.

T. Roger Thomas said...

Good for you!

Darius Whiteplume said...


Darius Whiteplume said...

[slight bow] Gracias! :-)

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