Thoughts about this and that
Missus and I went to dinner with our friends on Sunday. Dear friends. We don’t see them nearly often enough but we try to make the most of it when we can. It was a delicious diner at a nice place in a small town near our friends home. The food was excellent. The conversation even better. The company….
MAA, the Missus in the couple, and SA, the Husband, are two of the most caring and genuine people I know. Being with them is always a joy.
I try not to talk so much about the weight loss and the fitness as I used to. I am afraid of seeming to be a one trick pony. I don’t want to bore my friends. It inevitably comes up. How could it not. These are friends that knew me at my largest.
MAA told me that she had been so worried about me. I was getting so big and it didn’t seem to have an end. Every time they saw me it seemed I had gone up another ten pounds.
I wish someone had told me that they were worried about me. No one but my Doctor ever did.
Bicycling Magazine posted a question on Facebook. They asked the readers what was their favorite ride. I thought about it and I realized (and answered in kind) that my favorite ride was the 8 miles I rode on my birthday in March of 2012. Just back on the bike, the 8 miles was a true struggle but it was significant in the milestone it represented. It is my favorite ride for that reason.
I have ridden nearly 2400 miles this year.
A friend has more than 4000 miles in. Others have numbers in that range. My 2400 doesn’t seem like all that much I guess. To me though it means a great deal because every one of those miles took me further from the me I was and closer to the me I will be.
And my favorite mile was the first one I rode last year on my birthday as I started my 8 mile ride.
The road to fitness and health starts with the first healthy meal and the first step taken.
It will be a challenge to get in the hikes and walks this winter if I am working every weekend in the Bike Shop. I am not sure they will need me. Things slow down in bike shops in the northeast in winter… I hope I can get in the hours and that they do need me.. If not, then finding time for hiking will not be so difficult after all….
I went on a hike with PB and MT one weekend day. It was to Harriman State Park in New York. Beautiful place. I had taken a couple of “easy” hikes with MT and PB there. This hike was to me much harder. Steeper climbs and a longer distance.
I was concerned. I didn’t want to be the one who slowed us down or who couldn’t make the climbs…
My friends were encouraging and seemed confident.
The hike was wonderful. We went up steep trails and I did them nearly effortlessly. It was wonderful. The sense of accomplishment….
I have been drifting. I looked at the chart and my calories have been drifting up. So has my weight. I drifted. I drifted from the plan. Maybe I lost sight of the goal a bit. I stopped watching so closely. Though I was recording everything I eat I was not really watching the calories tick up. I also was not watching the weight as carefully. Still weighing myself every morning I was not paying as close attention and I actually forgot to record the weight for nearly a week.
209 pounds showed up awfully fast. I gained 6 pounds FAST.
Not acceptable. I am not willing to be 209 pounds. I am ten pounds heavier than I was one year ago today. Not anywhere close to acceptable.
This morning I rededicated myself to the goal, I recommitted to the plan.
I am not proud of this drifting and I am not willing to accept it as an inevitable occurrence. I do not believe weight gain is inevitable. Weight gain comes from losing sight of the goal and drifting from the plan.
Tonight it was flounder and quinoa with onion, red pepper, mushroom and broccoli. Small, controlled portions. Breakfast was my usual cereal and fruit with half a cup of low-fat milk. Lunch was a pouch of tuna.
This is all more fish then I have been eating recently. Less vegetarian that is for sure.
The calories are what counts and I kept them low.
Tomorrow will be more of the same. And the day after that.
Back to the plan. Refocus on the goal. Adjust as need to keep the momentum moving in the correct direction. Get the bike on the rollers. Get out and walk, hike… Eat Right. Eat Less. Move More. DO NOT ACCEPT FAILURE.
I learned a little about myself
This weekend was interesting for me. On Saturday I rode in to the shop and set new personal records for segments on the ride and completed the 18 miles faster than I have ever done so before. I rode very strongly. I rode very comfortably. I felt so comfortable on my bike… That is how I always WANT to feel on the bike. I don’t always. There are days when it seems every hill is up and every breeze is a stiff headwind.
Sunday I took part in an organized fund-raising ride of 50 miles. A large group from the shop took part and we all lined up at the front of the ride for the start. NP, KE and I rode out strong and I soon took the lead. It is called a “pull” in cycling-speak. With NP and KE right behind me I “pulled” the three of us along. At 23-26 miles per hour we flew along the road in the heavy, damp air and pounded down the first 3-4 miles.
The Friday before the ride I got my first look at the course and it scared the hell out of me. I was so ready to not ride. I saw the four class-4 climbs. I saw the mile upon mile of climbing. I was so upset. I KNEW I couldn’t do the ride. I was certain that I would end up on the SAG wagon. I told Missus that I was thinking of not doing it at all. I could feel the old doubts and old fears building in me. I felt the urge to run and hide from this. Come up with an excuse for not riding. Figure out a graceful exit.
Saturday I rode well in beautiful weather and I felt better about the Sunday ride but the hill still had me frightened. Not worried. FRIGHTENED.
I went. I rode. The rain didn’t scare me off but it would have served as a good excuse. I didn’t take it. I went and I rode. I was so concerned about talking myself out of the ride that I arrived at the ride site and hour and a half before the ride start and I was the first person to sign in. Slowly my coworkers arrived and the friendship, the camaraderie, the little digs, the laughter, all served to ease my fears.
Soon the start of the ride…
I knew I would not be able to stay with NP and KE once we hit the hills. One: I am a bad hill-climber. 2) These guys are REALLY good. KE is 25 or so and fast, Very fast. NP is around 32 and as fast if not faster than KE. They both climb hills like mountain goats. Very fast mountain goats…. I wanted to ride with them for at least that first part. I had told them to not worry about dropping me once the going got fast and hilly and I am glad they didn’t. Once the hills showed up, and along with the heavy mist and foggy conditions, the wet roads and the wet leaves on the wet roads…. Well, let’s just say I went a great deal slower than they did.
About 5 miles in I started to drop back. I large group of riders over took me and I would not see NP and KE again until the first rest area. I took a very short break and rode out of the rest area with them but they and the pack soon disappeared down the road. I was soon riding alone. I like riding alone and I soon found my rhythm and settled in at a fair pace on the flats and moderate downhill runs.
Then I came to the first truly difficult hill. It was at about the 14 mile mark that the hills started to get me. I rode them. I rode them slowly. But I made it. I could feel frustration and fear building in me. I was riding alone. I was riding on wet roads. I was riding in a heavy mist and I had to take off my glasses to see at all. Not having sharp vision made it even more frightening. I saw the turn for the 30 mile route but I went straight. I kept going.
I was hurting. My right calf was hurting. I first tore the muscle in that leg 13 years ago. I tripped over my father’s dog. I landed awkwardly and something in the leg POPPED. It swelled up. It turned pretty colors that legs are not supposed to turn. It took a year to feel anything close to normal and even now, 13 years later; it will send me messages to let me know that it still is not healthy, not right. Yesterday it began to hurt on one of the hills. There it was: My Excuse, My Out. I could take a short cut back or wait for the SAG and I would be done with the vertical hell.
I kept riding. I kept going up the hills.
The wet roads and the wet leaves on the wet roads kept me from really enjoying the downhill runs. I didn’t even get the payback for the slog up the hills: the high-speed runs down the hills.
But I kept going.
At some point a young woman I have ridden with before and who decided to do this ride at my urging, rode up and called out asking if it was me. I waved her on and we rode the rest of the ride together. We did two of the class-4 climbs together. She rode them better than I did. I finally gave in and walked two short sections of the last climb. I gave in to the fear that I would blow up my calf.
Finally the hills were behind us and I was able to let it go. I could still crank on the flats. I could still hit 20+ miles per hour on the level roads towards the end. The last 7 miles or so flew by as I could finally find a rhythm again.
I rode in to the parking lot at the park and most of the group from the Shop had finished and left. BP, CB, and NP were still there. They cheered me on as I rode in. The insecure part of me at first thought it was a teasing sort of cheer, a little mocking at my slow time. Then I realized it was not. It was a genuine “job well done”. I had done the ride at 15.9 miles per hour average. I had struggled on the hills but I had finished. I didn’t make a big deal about my sore calf. I just admitted the hills had the best of me. I found out that KE had crashed hard but would be ok. He hit a fist sized rock on a descent. His helmet died a hero doing its job and KE will be riding again soon. It put my struggles in to perspective.
BP owns the shop. He is a good rider, my age, and he is a good guy. When I expressed disappointment at how poorly I ride the hills he reminded me in no uncertain terms of how the hills owned me in the early spring. How I couldn’t make it halfway up Two Bridges Road before I had to dismount and walk. He reminded me that the hills I rode that day were nearly as steep and a good deal longer. He reminded me that a 25 mile ride used to exhaust me.
Looking back at the ride I see that NP cooked me on the hills, riding each segment an average of 5 or 6 miles per hour faster than I did, but I was there with him on the flats even at the end. On the last four segments that I recorded (batteries died) I averaged 19.25 miles per hour and NP averaged 20.65 miles per hour. Not bad. I think I could have stayed with him if we were riding together.
I learned a little about myself this weekend.
I learned I am better at riding than I my emotions think I am. I learned I need to trust myself and my skills a little more. I learned that I can overcome my self-imposed limitations if I get my mind in the right place.
I learned that even in the rain. Even on the hills, even when the conditions are horrible and the ride is very hard. I learned that I would rather be on my bike, the person I am now, the person I am becoming, then ever give up, ever surrender to the fear and the insecurities.
I will probably have to relearn this lesson many times but it will be easier each time because I learned a little about myself this weekend.
Back to eating right…
Not that I stopped eating right but my calories climbed a bit recently and a few extra pounds have come to visit. They won’t get to stay…
With the winter months coming I have to make sure my discipline stays sharp. I cannot let the guard down.
Tonight I had a light dinner to go with a light lunch and light breakfast. I will have a nice snack later to tide me over through the night. More of the same tomorrow.
Staying focused on the goal.
Back to something I touch on above.
I often feel like the outsider looking in. Yesterday I allowed that to enter my mind.
The feeling that I am not good enough, not IN enough, not part of the core.
The doubts can be difficult to overcome. I am so far from it.
I have written before about the refuge I found in being fat. Able to stay on the sidelines rather than having to take part. The fat offered the excuse I needed to avoid, to evade, to run away from the things that scared me.
It all comes back to self-doubt. Insecurity.
The self-deprecating humor, the self-deprecation in general, still referring to myself as fat.
All fueled by this nagging sense that I am not equal to, or up to, the skills, intelligence, knowledge of those around me.
The lessons I learned yesterday, the lesson plan of yesterday, taught me to trust my skills, my abilities, my knowledge.
Today I had another lesson. Less involved than yesterdays but a lesson all the same.
I was asked by my manager to put together some data and put it together in a graph to see if the work I have been doing with the teams I have put together is showing the hoped for improvements.
They are. Dramatically so.
The key performance indicators for the two areas I have been working on have all improved by not less than 40%.
I am good at what I do. At work and in my personal life.
Sometimes I need to see it in front of me in print, graphed and charted.
I have many lessons still to learn.
These lessons are a good start.
I am not doing well today.
It was a good weekend but it was a hard weekend. I work seven days a week. I could have used a couple of days of rest but it is not to be right now. It isn’t easy but it has to be done.
I ride because it is my time to do something for me. I know that the blog might make is seem that I am always doing for me but the truth of the matter is that I rarely have time for just me.
Working my regular job 11-12 hours per day, Family in the evening and then I go to sleep and start all over again. Weekends I work at the bike shop. I get in a ride in the morning on Saturday and Sunday but rarely can get anytime during the week and it is months since I rode with the bike club.
When I do take time to do something just for me I feel tremendous guilt because I am not with my family or it is taking away from the hours at the shop and reducing our income.
This coming weekend is a good example. I am not working at the bike shop on either day. I am taking part in two rides in New England. I am looking forward to the rides but I feel badly taking time off from the shop and time away from the family. To top that off, I know I am leaving the shop shorthanded and I feel badly about that.
It is not easy to reconcile all of these conflicting emotions.
I know that for my physical and emotional health I need time for me. I also know that I need to take care of my family. Not an easy tightrope to walk.
But today I am in a mood. I am not sure if I would call it depressed or just grumpy. I am not happy, I can tell you that.
The pressures of life can be rough.
At least I have learned enough and grown enough, and developed enough that I no longer fill this mood with eating.
I was just a bit discombobulated on Sunday. I was dealing with the cold weather and how to get to the shop on time for the morning ride and generally rushing around and I forgot my FITBIT!!!
I went on a 29 mile ride. I walked all over the bike shop. I was ACTIVE all day and NONE OF IT COUNTS because I didn’t have my Fitbit to record it all.
Only a fellow Fitbit addict can truly understand ;-)
The folks at the bike shop know my story. They remember when I was HUGE and would come in a look at bikes, telling them I was working on taking off the weight and would someday be back on the bike and then I would buy a new one. They know my story. My story is part of how I landed the job at the bike shop.
A young man I work with at the shop brought in a box of doughnuts on Sunday. I don’t eat doughnuts.
Now understand that he is a good kid. And I don’t call him a kid just because he is young enough to be my son. Most everyone at the shop is young enough to be my child. No I call him kid because he is under 18 and really is a kid.
The Kid kept offering me doughnuts. He was doing it good-naturedly and I was amused by it. We had fun with it but a part of it really came down to his not understanding why, when I am in such good condition and have lost the weight, I would not allow myself the occasional treat like a doughnut.
The simple fact is I don’t consider a doughnut a treat. I consider it poison.
There is nothing good about a doughnut. It is fat and sugar and it is poison to me. I think it is poison to anyone.
There are a great number of edibles that fall in to this category. The look good. They smell good. They taste GREAT.
They are poison.
These foods are a big part of how I lost weight. I stopped eating them.
I won’t list here the foods I think fit this category. It would be a long and boring read. I think you can probably figure it out.
The simple fact is I think I spent the majority of my life eating poison. Edibles that seemed like a good thing at the time but were doing nothing but addicting me to fat and sugar and mass consumption.
I think the “treat” mentality is a big part of obesity for some. It is for me.
Good day? I deserve a treat. Big accomplishment? I deserve a treat. Rough day? Hard loss? Disappointment? I deserve a treat.
Food as a reward. BAD food as a reward. Poison as a reward.
I don’t reward myself with food. I did. Now I don’t.
On a day when I burned 5000 calories I did allow a homemade chocolate chip cookie. I found myself finding excuses to reward myself… I stopped that right there.
Now I consider staying trim and fit to be the reward.
I never stray from the plan now. I never allow myself to treat poison as a reward. The fact is it is not, it is slow death. I will not “reward myself” with something that may well shorten my time.
Can you tell I am in a mood?
A Quick Look Back
I got on my bike in January of 2012. I had mounted it on the wind-trainer and I was planning to add ten or 15 minutes a morning to my exercise regimen with the idea that I would be in better shape to ride outside once the weather improved here in the Northeast.
I came down the stairs that first morning with my cycling shorts stretched over my girth and I climbed on to the bike. I discovered something. I was too fat to ride. At least I was too fat to ride a road bike. My belly got in the way. I was unable to pedal smoothly. I could barely pedal at all.
To say that this depressed me is to understate the situation by half at least.
I kept walking.
I kept hiking.
I kept eating right and eating less.
I kept losing weight
In March I was back on the bike.
I rode 10 miles on my birthday.
Then I went and walked a few miles at the track.
Cycling became a bigger and bigger part of the exercise.
I rode 50 miles on June 9, 2012.
I kept riding.
I injured my knee and as soon as it was fixed I got back on the bike.
I rewarded myself for losing the weight with a new bike in October of 2012.
Sometime this weekend it will happen. I will pass 2000 miles for the year.
Two-Thousand miles is a bunch of miles but I know many riders who have done many more than that this year.
I am only saying that I have ridden nearly 2000 miles. When I look back at January 2012 and the belly being in the way and I think about how I felt that day, how depressed it made me feel, and I think about where I am now it really becomes clear to me that I have done something. It is not an illusion. It is not over-statement, bragging, or hyperbole. It is real and it is unusual and I should be and I am proud of it.
And I should also enjoy it more.
I write about this because I have BIG plans for cycling this weekend if the weather cooperates. I can so clearly remember when the big plan was to ride ten miles. Now the big plan is to ride 130+ this weekend.
Taking time to reflect on this Journey… Something I need to do more often.
Being Healthy was making me sick
I mentioned earlier in the week that the results of my physical were great. The only concern, and it is minor, is my vitamin D level is low.
The Doctor told me to take 1400 IU of vitamin D3 daily and so I started doing so on Tuesday.
I have felt like hell ever since.
Dry mouth, sore throat, head ache and fatigue.
I figured this out with some internet research and WebMD and a couple of other reputable health sites confirmed that these are the side effects of vitamin D supplements.
I will not be taking the supplements going forward from today. Turns out Salmon has huge amounts of vitamin D. Another excuse to eat lox!
I am hopeful that I will feel better come morning and be up to the rides I have planned for the weekend.
AS good night’s sleep has eluded me all week. Oh, insomnia is one of the side effects as well…..
This will teach me. No more physicals for me! Kidding, just kidding…..
Things I don’t need to do but still do…..
When I was FAT I developed compensations for my size and lack of mobility and flexibility. For instance I would grab my pants leg at the bottom cuff to pull my leg us so I could put on my socks. It was hard to cross my legs otherwise and my belly got in the way of putting the socks on any other way. This is no longer an issue for me. I can cross my legs easily now and I have no belly in the way of any other position for putting on socks, and yet this morning I caught myself pulling my leg up by the pants leg cuff just as I did when I was FAT. Old habits are hard to break.
I also find that once in a while, particularly when still half asleep, I will still swing my leg hard to propel myself in to a sitting position. Now without the weight I find that I swing PAST the sitting position and I am sure that it is something comical to see…
I have many other little compensations like these. I catch myself falling into them even though they no longer fit a need.
I suck in my gut when squeezing through a narrow area even though the amount of room is much more than I need. I wonder if everyone does that no matter how skinny…..
It just all points to the little things we learn to do to cope with life.
I don’t know if there are little things lean people do….
I still find myself overcompensating. I sometimes use more force than needed to get up from a chair and find myself stumbling forward from the effort. Silly. I would guess that this will balance out in time…
Constantly Weighing Myself
This is certainly past the point of a healthy obsession.
I weigh myself every single morning. That is SOMEWHAT normal. I also record that weight every single morning. Ok, that borders on the obsessive. I also weigh myself throughout the day on the shipping scale at work and that is nuts.
This morning on the scale at home I was 202 pounds. Fully clothed at work, after breakfast and coffee I am 207. Those five pounds are normal. How do I know it is normal? Because I am always five pounds more on the scale at work fully clothed after breakfast and coffee and I know this because I weigh myself on the scale at work probably 6 or 7 times a day.
This cannot be considered a healthy thing.
The positive of this is that I stay focused on how much I eat.
The negative is the preoccupation with my weight to such a degree that I weigh myself as many as ten times a day. I weigh myself at home, at work and then as soon as I get home again and then before bed.
Do I think I will suddenly gain 100 pounds back on the drive to work?
If I only weighed myself once a week do I really think I would gain back ten pounds in that week simply because I didn’t know what I weighed ever hour?
This weighing myself is beyond the range of habit at this point and has crossed in to unhealthy obsession. It isn’t negatively affecting me yet but like the person who starts “Jonesing” at a meeting for their cigarette, I can see a day where I will start to get antsy because I ate lunch ten minutes ago and I haven’t stepped on the scale yet to make sure I didn’t put 50 pounds on from that veggie wrap.
Of course part of it is I just like seeing the low numbers J
“Scale Addicts Anonymous” here I come….
This is another thing I do. I plan constantly. I rarely do anything spontaneously. I plan my meals. I plan my sleep. I plan my rides, my work, my rest…
If we go for a family car trip I am planning exactly where and when we will stop for lunch so I know if there is anything I can eat at the places available… Nothing spontaneous.
All rooted in a deep fear of gaining any weight back. I am not willing to see my weight above 205. I am pathological about maintaining it below that weight. I had pizza last week so I starved myself that day and the day after to make sure the demon pizza did not suddenly become so much as one pound extra on the scale. Now, when I say starved I am indulging in a little hyperbole, but not much. I had 1600 calories the day before the pizza. I had 1500 the day after. The day I had the pizza I had 2200 calories.
I weighed less a day after the pizza than I did the day before.
Compulsive preoccupation with a fixed idea or an unwanted feeling or emotion, often accompanied by symptoms of anxiety.
A compulsive, often unreasonable idea or emotion.
Example: Planning for weeks to eat two slices of pizza because of a fear of gaining weight.
So I have an obsession with planning everything.
At least I am still lean…
I need to relax a little. Not much. Just a little….
Speaking of Planning…
I plan. That doesn’t mean the plans always work out. Or even often work out…
This weekend, I PLAN to get in some serious miles on my bike.
If I can get out of bed early enough I will go on a 30 mile ride before working at the bike shop. I need to be on the road by 6:45 to make sure I can get the miles in, get home, shower up and get to work. Sunday I will ride the 18 miles to the shop and then ride 30 as part of the shop ride.
I need to get the miles in if I am to do the NYC Century on September 8. Here is another place where plans have gone awry. The plan was for NI and I to ride together. We enjoy riding together, ride at about the same level and are good at encouraging one another. That was the plan. Plans get changed. NI is now not able to come down due to work requirements. This means I am trying to find a cycling partner for the ride. If I don’t find one it means I will be riding my first Century essentially solo in a group of hundreds or thousands.
Such is life.
The accomplishment will be the same but it is always good to have someone there with whom to share the experience.
I am at 1827 miles on the bike this year. I still hope to get to 3000 but I can see the time running thin. Plans…
Trying to Find Time
There are simply too few hours in the day. Really there is just too much to do in a day. The day is long enough…
I worked a good long day Monday and then came home and had a nice dinner of Butternut squash, lentils in a curry sauce, beans in tomato and curry sauce, some lentil dumplings and sliced tomato and a bit of rice. Then I mowed the lawn while The Younger One and Missus cleaned up the trash the bear had scattered across the lower part of our lawn. When that was done it was too late to go for a ride and I spent some time with Missus and The Younger. The Older One was asleep by this time and it was a quiet evening. SO much to do in life.
Last night I had a business dinner with my boss, the IT Director and some others. By the time I arrived home it was too late to do much of anything. The Older One was asleep, The Younger getting ready for sleep…
Come the weekend I will work my second job. I at least find the time to ride by riding to work.
It could be that the visit from The Black Dog is related to this sense of over-occupation. Little rest.
In a couple of weeks I will at least have Labor Day off as both jobs are closed for the day. Labor Day will be a tale of two days in one. One will be an early morning ride of maybe 65-70 miles. The second will be the afternoon spent with Da Boys and Missus. Maybe I will get some friends over for a little cookout…
I either need less to do or more hours to do it…
I think there few topics more filled with myths, legend and unsupported claims and beliefs than nutrition. Of course the information constantly changing from “official sources” doesn’t help.
I am about as close to being a vegetarian as I am likely to get. I eat fish on occasion; once in a while I have some poultry. I never eat red meat. My menu is mostly fruits and vegetables. I get my protein from quinoa and beans and some other plant-based sources.
It is a concern to me that I get the nutrition I need of course. It is just hard finding out what that is.
When I was eating everything in sight and in large quantities I get the critical nutrients almost by default. Eat enough foods and you will by accident get everything you need. I have always eaten vegetable and fruits. Combine that with the large quantities of meat I consumed and I was getting all my nutrients.
With my much more studied approach to eating, I was a bit concerned about whether or not I am getting all of the nutrients that a growing (shrinking?) boy needs. Logging all my foods on Loseit.com as diligently as I do has helped me stay on top of this.
What is interesting to me in this age of low/no carbohydrate diets is that my main source of calories is carbohydrates.
So it looks like I am indeed getting the proper nutrition even if it flies in the face of current trends and fads.
The only topic I know that surpasses nutrition for myths, legend and unsupported claims and beliefs is weight loss.
I remember when I had lost around 18 or 20 pounds a well-meaning but misinformed friend told me the weight loss “doesn’t count because it is all water weight”.
Let’s get this straight. Water weighs eight pounds per gallon. Saying that twenty pounds of weight loss is water is saying that I lost two and a half GALLONS of water. Not fat, ALL WATER.
Understand that some percentage of weight loss is ALWAYS water. A healthy adult male is about 60% water, give or take 1-2%. That is all. The body is very efficient at maintaining this ratio because it is necessary to survive. If you are otherwise healthy with no underlying health issues that would cause you to retain fluids, and you are male, you are 60% water no matter how much you weigh. Extremely skinny men are 60% water. Very fit men are 60% water. Somewhat overweight men are 60% water. Morbidly obese men tend to have a slightly lower water percentage but it balances out as the weight loss progresses.
If you’re a man and lose 100 pounds, just about 60 of those pounds were water. Women have a lower percentage of water than men.
To say that weight loss doesn’t count because it is water weight or that the first ten pounds are all water is simply wrong.
Weight loss is a loss of fat and water and “other” and can include muscle mass. As a man in his 50′s, I have certainly lost muscle mass as I have not worked on upper body at all and I doubt that my legs, built up with cycling, have compensated.
When I say that 60 pounds out of 100 is water, I am not talking about “free” water stored in our bodies in secret hidden places. Blood, fat, muscle, etc., all have huge amounts of water as part of the cells and so forth. As we lose fat we lose the water component of that fat as well. As we lose muscle mass we lose the water component as well.
As there is less body being fed by the blood stream we have less blood in our bodies. As we reduce the amount of blood in our bodies we lose the water content of that blood as well. Again, blood mass in the body remains remarkably constant at about 7% of our weight or put another way, 7 pounds for every 100 pounds of body weight. If we weigh 300 pounds then we have about 21 pounds of blood. At 200 pounds I have about 14 pounds of blood. So it can be said with a fair amount of truth that of my 100+ pounds of weight loss, 7+ pounds of it is the reduction in blood my body requires.
So weight loss is always more than mere water loss or fat loss or any-single-thing loss. It is always a combination of factors, including the body adjusting to the new reality.
Anyway, just some thoughts on that subject. Feel free to disagree.
Dinner last Night with the Bosses and lunch with the group
Why, I don’t know. On Monday my direct manager asked me to have dinner with him, the IT Director and the President of the company on Tuesday night.
They all wanted to go to the local Asian Buffet. It is a little more upscale than that sounds. It is $30.00 bucks a person for dinner and the sushi and sashimi is prepared right in front of you and special hand rolls are prepared to order. There is a wide range of cooked dishes as well and many cold salads.
Really very good.
In any case, I was surprised to be asked and I was glad to say yes.
It was an interesting meal. We alternated jokes and ribbing with serious discussions about business.
I contributed to both sides of the evening.
It was all appreciated.
What I am most proud of is that I kept the eating in check. I didn’t pig out. I ate reasonable amounts and I had prepared for it by eating lightly all day.
It pleased me this morning I to see that my weight was right where it was the day before.
Today the management team ordered in a bunch of pizza. They offered to bring in a salad for me but I declined. I had instead a microwave Indian dish, Rajma Masala. all natural, low-fat, low sodium, vegan. Delicious. I sat with them as they wolfed down the pizza and withstood the entreaties’ to have “just one slice”.
I amuse the group. They all know my story. They all see how dedicated I am to the way I eat and the way I live. They can’t help but have some fun with it.
I am glad that I am confident and dedicated enough to enjoy the teasing and resist the foods.
A Fun Moment on Sunday
There were quite a few fun moments Sunday. I was volunteering at the rest area of the Ramapo Rally, a very large organized bike ride here in North Jersey. The bike club to which I belong organizes the ride and has for 30+ years.
I worked a rest area that served only the riders on the 100 and 125 mile rides.
We got them twice. At 34 miles and 68 miles for the 100 mile riders and at 34 and 90 for the 125 mile riders.
A fun group out having a great time.
In the early hours I had to go to the ride start location, Campgaw Mountain in Mahwah, New Jersey, to pick up supplies and the all important Volunteers T-Shirt. This year it was BRIGHT Orange.
When I went up to the counter the nice woman asked what size I needed. I said large and her eyes opened wide and she asked if I was sure I needed a large.
In my mind I think she is going to ask if I wouldn’t rather have an XL. Old demons popping up.
No, instead she asked if I didn’t think a MEDIUM would fit me better!!
I assured her, with a huge smile on my face, that a large would be just fine.
I smiled the rest of the day on that energy alone.
If you are going to do it…
Do it right.
In Parsippany, right up close to Boonton, there is an Italian Restaurant: Bevacqua’s Reservoir Tavern. It has been around forever and is well-known in the area for the pizza. I first went there some 48 years ago or so. This, of course, only proves that I am old…
I love the pizza. Chewy thin crust, cooked in a very hot oven giving the crust a nice char. Delicious sauces, good cheese, fresh toppings… You get the picture?
I don’t often eat pizza. At one time it was a nearly daily part of my menu but no longer. Because I love it so much I have little control when eating it so I avoid it almost entirely.
Last night was an exception. PGB and I met at The Reservoir to mark the first anniversary of being below my goal weight of 210 pounds. We met there one year ago when I reached the goal. As we did last year, we ordered a large pie with peppers and onions.
Oh my… It was so good.
I had two slices. PGB had two or three and took the remainder home.
I sat there running rationalizations through my head trying to convince myself that having a third slice would be perfectly OK.
I didn’t give in to the rationalizations. I was good. I had my two slices. I loved them. It points to the risks I still face and why I limit having foods like pizza. I simply would not be able to continue to control how much of it I ate if I allowed pizza to be a part of my menu more frequently. Once a year is about the right amount for me. I enjoy the pizza as a special treat. I treasure the two slices. I don’t end up on the slippery slope that might lead me to weight gain…
I would be perfectly happy for this to be a once a year tradition for PGB and me. Meet at the ‘Tavern in mid-August each year and have a couple of slices of Pepper and Onion Pizza. It will mean that I am still below that goal weight.
I still get very concerned when I step on the scale and I am suddenly two or three pounds up. I know that it is a false weight gain in most cases: water or whatever still in the system. I will scale back on the calories a little, watch everything carefully and make sure that the weight moved back down over the next few days.
This week has been like that. My weight jumped over 205 for a couple of days and has now come back down. This morning was 201 even. This is what weight does. I am sure I am no different from anyone else in this regard I just obsess over it more than most people.
At 201 the morning after two slices of pizza I am very happy. It means to me that I regulated my calories very well yesterday. I was careful with breakfast, careful with lunch and I was careful with my evening snack to make up for the 800 or so calories in the two slices of pizza.
This weekend I will be very busy. I will ride to the bike shop for work and then probably ride home. I may leave the house extra early so I can get in a 30 mile ride before work. Then I am working a rest area for the Ramapo Rally bike tour on Sunday. That will be a full day of activity and I will burn nearly as many calories as I would if I was in the ride.
By Monday I expect to be less than 200 pounds.
By Labor Day I plan to be around 195.
Then my new target will be to stay between 195 and 200. I have proven to myself that I can stay between 200 and 205. 195-200 is the right place for me to be with my weight and that is the target now.
With all the weight loss and all I must still have a comfy lap:
Big Bike Plans
Labor Day weekend is approaching. It had been my plan to ride High Point to Cape May over the course of three days but those plans ran aground. Now the plan is to work on Saturday and Sunday of that weekend, getting in rides in the morning, and then do either 75 or 100 miles on Monday. The next weekend is the NYC Century and I am signed up for that. So I may end up doing my first two Century rides on consecutive weekends, six days apart.
I am trying to get to 3000 miles for the year. I am at 1806 miles for the year right now. It will be a challenge to get another 1200 miles on the bike before the cold weather changes me from cyclist to hiker.
I have to pick up the pace. I have actually slacked off a little with less evening rides and fewer miles on the weekends. Last weekend I put only 58 miles or so. This is not going to get me to my goals. If all goes well I will get in 20 miles tonight.
I have been taking more hilly routes recently because I am trying to build up my hill climbing ability. It is pretty poor. The more you do it the more you can do it so hills are where it is at for me. The route I plan for tonight will take me on a two-mile climb. It used to kick me hard. Now I am able to do it smoothly but slowly. If I keep working at it I will get to where I am doing it less slowly… Who knows, maybe someday I will be good at it…
As I dressed for work at 4:00 AM this morning and I selected my jeans and T-shirt (very casual Friday) I grabbed my medium blue GET FIT MIT T-shirt. It is a shirt I got for taking part in a fitness “challenge” with a team my friend NI helped put together. The idea here was to report your fitness activities on their website over the course of several weeks. I was diligent about it and I am proud of the work I did as part of the challenge. It was fun and motivating.
The shirt is a large and it is a trim cut. That is to say it isn’t a baggy T in the very least. I used to run from shirts like this. I was like many fat people. I wanted baggy clothes. I liked baggy for two reasons: comfort and I was under the delusion that the baggy clothes hid the fact that underneath the clothes there was a fat man.
I caught reflection in the mirror and I had to admit that there was a very different body in that reflection.
I can’t say how I look to others but I like the changes in me.
I am not a handsome fellow but I have never been ugly. Now with the weight off, my nose looks huge. I am balding. Well, I am nearly bald. I have the wrinkles of a 52-year-old man. I am amazed that with the weight loss I am not jowly at all.
Still, I like who I see in the mirror. I see a trim man. I see a fit man. I also see a man who has changed in ways the mirror can only hint at in the reflection.
I still track everything I eat. I record every bit of food, to the best of my ability to capture it, on the Loseit.com website or in the Loseit App on my phone. I do this so it is harder to lie to myself. I am forced to stay in reality if I record everything. If I don’t record it I fall in to the trap of “forgetting” foods I have eaten and this becomes added calories and that becomes FAT.
I am thinking about this because of a conversation with a woman in my office. She is a really nice woman and we work well together. In our conversation over lunch or a cup of coffee my weight loss and fitness have come up and she put forth the opinion that I am “lucky” to be “able” to lose weight.
She tells me she doesn’t eat all day and still can’t lose weight.
She eats all day long.
This morning she ate a coffee cake. She is having a bagel with cream cheese right now.
She will likely have lunch. She will tell you she only ever has a salad for lunch. This week we had Chinese for lunch. Yesterday she had KFC.
She will tell you she hardly eats a thing.
I don’t track her food, mind you. This is just what I have casually observed.
She simply does not realize how much she eats.
This is not at all unusual.
Weight loss experts will tell you to keep a food diary. The reason is exactly as I described above. 1) We don’t realize how much we consume. 2) We lie to ourselves.
For me it is about staying grounded in reality.
I am a terrible food liar. In the old days I would count ten cookies at two. I wasn’t doing it on purpose. I was deluding myself. I would eat half a pizza and later tell you I had two slices. I had myself convinced that I only had two. Presented with the evidence I would realize that I did have ten cookies, I did have four slices… I can remember Missus buying a tub of chocolate chip cookies and the second day I would go looking for them only to be told that had eaten nearly all of them and the last four the boys had eaten.
So I continue to log it all in to Loseit.com and I continue to use my Fitbit so I can’t lie to myself about my activity level. That is the other area where self-deception will come in to play if I am not careful. I cannot tell myself that I have walked 6 miles and burned 2500 calories with the Fitbit recording every step and tell me otherwise…
It is about staying attached to reality.
So this is the New Normal…
When I started this everything was exciting, scary, interesting, confusing, new…
Now… Not so much.
Eating right has become habit. Recording every bite, every drink is a habit, a ritual.
Getting out and walking, riding the bike, hiking: all habits, all desires…
I am no longer so surprised when I see me in the mirror. I am almost accustomed to looking at the regular sizes when I am clothes shopping.
I am happy in my skin and I am growing accustomed to being in this skin.
I have held my weight below 210 pounds since last August 8th and below 205 for much of that time.
This is the new normal. I like it.
It was normal to be fat. Not normal to some I understand. Normal for me. I had been some degree of fat for so long. Now I am growing accustomed to this new normal.
One year is coming up and it is a strange feeling. One year out of the fifty plus.
The break down is something like this:
Ages 1-10: Husky, not fat, just bigger build…
Ages 11-14 normal weight for my height and age
15-18: thin to lean.
19-22: gaining weight but it still fit my frame
34-50: overweight-very overweight-obese.
Now I am lean and fit.
This is what I am growing accustomed to. Looking at me and seeing a fit and lean person. Not obese. Not Fat. Trim. Fit.
This is what I will fight to keep as the new normal.
If I could do it all over again.
I was so in love with cycling from my early 20′s to my early 30′s. Then I drifted away from it and nothing replaced it as an activity in my life. We moved back to New Jersey from western Pennsylvania when I was 33. The weight gain started when we got back to New Jersey. I was not as lean in my early 30′s as I am now but I was an avid cyclist and though I was in the 230 to 240 pound range I was fit. No high blood pressure. Good at rest heart rate…
Within two years of returning to New Jersey I had pushed past 250 pounds and I was in the hospital with an irregular heartbeat.
If I could turn back the clock….
I would have stayed on the bike. I would have eaten better, eaten less, taken care of myself.
I would never have allowed what I became.
I cannot turn the clock back of course. No one can. We can only think about the changes and the time lost, and deal with the regrets.
We can do something about the future.
Some time ago (and I have written this before) I developed a motto. I haven’t found it anywhere else so I assume it is mine. It goes like this:
Where you are is where you are meant to be. Everything you have done has brought you to this point at this time.
It is where you are going that you can change.
For too long I did nothing to change the course of my life. I was heading towards an early exit and I was doing nothing about it. Getting healthy has been but the first step in what I hope will be a long life’s exploration of possibilities.
If I could do it all over again I would have done it from the beginning. I would not have waited to get moving forward. I would not have accepted as inevitable the course of my life. I would have made sure I was aggressive in directing the path of my life …
It is about Me.
I have turned down several requests to “guest” on my blog. I get one request every couple of weeks or so. Mostly from commercial weight loss sites that are looking to leverage my efforts with their product. A couple have offered money. No specific amount is ever mentioned just promises that selling my blog space to them (they don’t call it hat but I do) will net me some green.
I ignore them. I simply do not respond and I delete the emails/comments.
A couple of the requests came from what appear to be legitimate bloggers, people like me, who simply want to share their perspective on their journey. I have been invited to write on a couple of other blogs…
But I don’t share my blog in that way. I invite people to comment and as long as the comments are neutral to positive, I approve them.
The reason I don’t share this blog with other writers is really fairly simple. This blog is about my Journey. It is about me. I don’t apologize for this.
This blog is one of the tools I have used to stay motivated and focused.
This has not been easy. Not one single day has been easy. Some have been harder than others to be sure but not one has been really easy. Not one day did I not have to count my calories. Not one day has gone by where I didn’t record everything I ate, record my weight, record my calories burned. Not one day.
I have been called narcissistic because of this blog and my focus on getting fit and healthy and writing about it so much.
Other than showing the ignorance and stupidity of the person who called me that, the comment shows a real failure to understand what is really at the root of my weight gain to begin with: a very poor sense of self, a poor self-image. At the root of the overeating was a very insecure person.
Through this blog I have been able to explore the reasons I overate. I was able to think about the roots of my constant hunger.
Some of it I understood early on. I understood that I ate because I deep within I thought it was a way to win the love of my mother and my Grandmothers. With both of my brothers being somewhat on the finicky side, I learned I could win praise and affection by eating whatever foods my mother and Grandmothers put in front of me and always “cleaning my plate”.
There are many other reasons. A search for a persona… I found mine in being the loud fat guy. I never have seen myself well. I never understood who I was, what I was like. I never was able to see the extremes in my personality. I never understood who I was at center.
I found comfort in food. Cooking for friends and family and consuming large portions of what I cooked… It was a way for me to buy the affection of family. It was a way for me to buy friends. Did I need to buy friendship? Probably not. When you are beset by self-doubt and a horrible self-image then you might very well believe that the only reason you have affection from family and friends is because you cook. Eating is the natural extension of this. Eating large becomes a part of the reach for affection. Reality has very little room here. It is emotions, not reality.
Exploring this on the blog has helped me deal with 50+ years of injuries and scars, mostly self-inflicted. I have been able to heal wounds decades old.
Missus will tell you I am still a difficult person but less so now than two years ago. I think she would tell you I am more at peace, less edgy, more comfortable to be around.
Without this blog and my willingness to expose the raw nerve endings I would not have come as far as I have. This has been better than a year on a therapists couch.
The blog is about me. Plain and simple.
I don’t make excuses for this.
Going over it all
I am closing in on one year since I went under my goal weight. I have been on this Journey for 563 days.
I don’t look like me. I look at my face in the mirror and I see a thin and angular face. That isn’t my face. My face is round and has several chins. I look at the arms. They are not my arms, not the arms I remember. These arms are lean and sinew. The skin is tight on the forearms. The veins are clearly defined. My arms are thick and pudgy.
All of the person I see is not the person I remember. This is much harder to grow accustomed to than I ever thought it would be.
When I started this Journey of mine I knew I would have many bridges to cross. I would face many problems. I would learn things about myself that I might not want to know. One of the things I have learned is that as much as I hated being fat I was comfortable in my discomfort. Now I am uncomfortable in my comfort.
I continue to have that fear. The fear of regaining the weight.
It is a rational fear. By many well researched estimates, better than 90% of all dieters will regain all of the weight they have lost within a couple of years. Why would I have the belief that I will not be one of the 90%?
SO I go over it all. Time and time again. I think about it all the time. I worry about it all the time. I read the labels of everything I eat. I count the calories and record my weight and I balance what I eat with what I burn and I make sure that I am never out of touch with my weight and my eating and I never eat anything without thinking about it long and deeply first.
And yet this week I stepped on the scale and say 209 lbs. I was careless. I went out for lunch with a co-worker twice this week and I had dinner out with friends one night. I ate a little too much for dinner and I had too large a snack a couple of times and suddenly I was 4 pounds above the weight I have set as the maximum allowable.
And it scared the hell out of me.
So I cut way back. I ate very lightly. I walked a little more. I paid close attention to everything.
And I stepped on the scale tonight and it said 201.8 lbs.
I suspect the 209 was a combination of water retention and a bad reading on the scale….
But I was too panicked to think that way.
I still have that fear. Maybe I will always have that fear. The fear of being one of the 90+ percent who gain back all the weight.
I am under 205 lbs. More than 100 pounds lost and I am afraid of gaining back even one of them.
In 28 days, exactly four weeks, I will have been under 210 pounds for a full year. I am going to eat two slices of pizza with PGB at our favorite place. Then I will cycle or hike or walk until I know I burned off those calories.
And for two days before I will cut back on my calories.
I am already planning for food I won’t eat for four weeks.
209 pounds scared the hell out of me.
Dealing with the stress
Food was comfort for me. A refuge from the world. While I ate I thought of the food, the taste, the texture. I didn’t think about the world, what the food was doing to me, whether I was actually hungry or not. I just wanted the food. I wanted the place to hide and the food was it.
Now I deal with stress by writing this blog, riding my bike, talking about the weight loss, hiking… What I do not allow is for me to feed the stress. Mostly I ride.
Life has gotten so busy. I am working two jobs. The primary job is a 10-11 hour a day thing. Well, really 24 hours a day because I get calls at all hours. The second job is at the bike shop and I truly love it. I am not working this weekend and I feel like I am really missing something…
I am managing to get in my miles. I am staying on the plan. Staying the course. Continuing on the long strange Journey of mine. Tomorrow I hope to get in 25-35 miles in between working around the house.
Dealing with the stress.
Getting through it
I sometimes wonder if this will ever get easy. I worry about what I eat all the time. I obsess about what I eat. I have become a zealot for fitness and weight loss. I talk about it all the time. I think about it all the time. I have taken to posting a single word on Facebook posts for fast food places: Poison. I know I shouldn’t do that…
I ate that way. I ate bacon by the pound. I burgers and hot dogs, chips and dips and artificial sweetener…. I ate all wrong. It was going to kill me.
Now I speak up against all those foods. I never eat red meats. I won’t go near artificial sweeteners nor do I add sugar to my beverages. I avoid any added sweeteners at all.
I can see what those foods and my abuse of them was doing to me. They were killing me. Slowly. Surely..
Now I am spending my energy living a healthier life. I eat huge amounts of vegetables and fruits. I eat very little of anything else. Some fish. Occasionally some poultry. This weekend I am smoking some turkey so I will have some. Not much. Mostly vegetables. I am making gazpacho. I will eat a good deal of that.
I am getting through it. I am living a life I should have lived for years before.
This has not at any time been an easy Journey.
It has been overwhelmingly rewarding.
But it has never been easy
I am getting through it…