Jeremy's almost but not quite entirely moribund blog

Friday, March 10, 2017

On losing weight

I'm a guy of average stature, just a fraction of an inch under 6 feet. Ten years ago, I weighed less than 160. I was one of those lucky people who could eat whatever, seldom exercise, and not gain weight. It didn't last, of course. In my mid-20's, I found myself having to buy larger pants. My weight hit 190 and settled there for several years.

In December 2006, I started a new job at Mozy, which at the time was a tiny startup with not many more than a dozen people. I was pulled into the break time activity they had set up there, Dance Dance Revolution. I was terrible at it, but it was fun, and it was exercise--we'd all go back to our desks a bit sweaty.

Not long after that, I bought a PS2 and DDR Supernova and started playing at home. It became part of my morning routine. I got pretty good at it, racking up full combos and AAs, and working my way up to Expert. I focus on beating harder songs and breaking records, so I don't even notice I'm exercising. I find things like running on treadmills to be dreadfully boring, leaving me with nothing to think about except how unpleasant it feels and how nice it will be to be done, whereas with DDR I can go until I'm drenched in sweat and still have to pry myself away when it's time to go to work.

Daily DDR + no significant change in eating habits brought my weight down from 190 to 180, where it stayed for quite awhile. Drum lessons and biking to work brought it down to 175 or so, but once I stopped these activities due to a new baby and the winter, respectively, it went right back to 180. This brings me to January 2010. I saw my weight had gone up a bit and decided it was time for a change.

With the new year, I made the following lifestyle changes:
  • Additional exercise. I still did DDR, but I added the strength training exercises you can do on a floor, such as push-ups, lunges, squats, planks, etc. Sometimes I do these with help from Wii Fit; other times I just do them on the floor, but I try to do them daily, alternating between lower-body and upper-body exercises each day. When the weather improves, I'll start biking to work again.
  • Smaller portions at meals. I try to eat more slowly and savor the taste, figuring quantity shouldn't improve the experience. Sometimes I end meals hungry, but feel full later, or if I'm persistently hungry afterward, I'll eat some fruit or vegetables.
  • Less junk food. At work, they keep the break room well-stocked with all sorts of candy, soda, chips, cookies, you name it. I used to snack freely; now I limit myself to one item such as a fun-size candy bar per day.
My goal was to be under 170 by my birthday, and I got there. 168 this morning. My wife says I look noticeably slimmer. I plan to keep going to 160 by this summer (BMI 22), and maintain that.

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I wrote that^ seven years ago. Somehow I never completed my post.

The story continues: that summer, I bought a road bike and rode thousands of miles. My weight cratered to 145. By this point, I could not maintain my new eating habits. I was not eating enough to sustain this level of physical activity. I was always hungry.

Unfortunately, I didn't scale up my intake just enough to maintain my weight. I fell off the cart entirely, and started gaining weight despite continuing to exercise. I've biked about 25,000 miles since the first half of this post, and I've eaten pretty much whatever I like, and I've had to buy larger pants a couple times. I hadn't stepped on a scale in years, until this morning--when I learned I am right back where I started. 183.

This will not do.

Because I've gotten slow on the bike. Because I hate what I see in the mirror.

I'm going to do the same things that worked in 2010. Of course, I've tried and failed countless times over the past six years, but this time I'm writing a blog post that absolutely no one other than me will ever read, so you know I'm serious. Also, I put checkpoint weigh-ins and targets on my calendar.

I might actually reduce miles cycled somewhat.  Most of my weight loss in 2010 happened before I became a cycling junkie.  I need to take some time to bring strength training exercises back. But mostly, I need to eat reasonable portions and stop snacking on junk food all the time.

I can get to my target weight of 160 by September if I start now. As I recall from last time, the first couple weeks sucked and I was miserable and hangry all the time, but I got used to it and the pounds started to melt away. Let's see if I can pull that off again.


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