Wednesday, September 10, 2008

4 years and 50 pounds ago…

I stepped on the scale yesterday and, although it must be disclosed that a bit of water weight was lost during my 3½ hours of soccer, I came in at 178. That is the lowest my weight has been in, well, a very long time.

I started working to shed poundage in 2005, when, after trying a short run, I realized that I was never going to be able to be active the way I wanted if I had all this extra fat. Like most people, my first attempts at weight loss were not very successful. I had to relearn a lot of habits. Principles like portion sizes at meals, good food choices, appropriate types and levels of exercise were all things I had allowed myself to forget over the years (if I ever really even knew them to begin with). I struggled to put all of them into practice at once, overlooking the essential truth that says that change, to be lasting, must be gradual.

I looked back at the last four years of notes, and here is some of what has changed since early 2005.

Then: I weighed 228 lbs.
Now: The scale read 178 on Thursday (but that number will be higher today because we went to the local county fair over the weekend)

Then: My 36/30 Levis were tight in the waist and required a belt to keep up enough.
Now: My 34/30 Levis are too loose, and require a belt to keep from falling down.

Then: My shirts, all of them, had XL tags.
Now: They still have XL tags, but it’s obvious that they’re too big. I’ll end up buying new ones before next spring.

Then: My first recorded attempt at exercise was a run/walk of 35 minutes.
Now: My latest recorded attempt at exercise was a hilly 5.5-mile run which took about 53 minutes (that time was miserable, too, because it was HOT that day!).

Then: I started out limiting my food intake with a 31-point food allowance using the Weight Watchers formula (that’s about 1500 calories per day). I felt so hungry for the first 3 weeks, I wondered seriously how I was going to make it.
Now: I try to stay in the neighborhood of 25 points a day (1300 calories) if I’m not training, and am quite comfortable. During periods when I train more, I eat more. I rarely overeat now, because it makes training uncomfortable. I like how the two are working together: I can’t eat too much because it makes running hard, and running completely kills my appetite, so I don’t feel like I need to eat too much (though I have to eat a little after a long workout to promote muscle recovery)

Then: My pulse registered as 78 at the doctor’s office; my blood pressure was 124/82.
Now: At the grocery store the other day (they have those machines next to the pharmacy where you can get your stats) my pulse was 52, and my BP was 116/76. I actually got my resting pulse down to about 45bpm the other day, just to see how low I could go! I’m such a geek.

Then: I was determined not to have to buy size 38 jeans.
Now: I am determined not to buy a triathlon wetsuit until I can stay below 180 through the winter.

Then: I couldn’t climb across the monkey bars.
Now: I still can’t, damnit! I tried the other day and tweaked my elbow.

Then: I said I wanted to do triathlons again. That was the driving goal behind my decision to lose the weight and get fit.
Now: I did two this year. The first was a sprint distance event (.5mi. swim; 15mi. bike; 3.2mi. run), and I did about as well as I should have (2/3 down the pack, overall) The second, an Olympic distance race (.62mi. swim; 31mi. bike; 7.2mi. run), which I was excited simply to complete without finishing anywhere near last.

Then: I wondered, almost as fantasy, if I’d ever be able to actually do a triathlon. After 4 years of setting the goal and not meeting it, I was honestly afraid that I’d never get there.
Now: I know, for a fact, that I CAN do it! That realization is awesome, by the way. I’m really driven now to do more, to push farther. I want to see how much I improve in next year’s races!

I'm not done losing weight, by the way. I still have a nice bit of donut that needs to come off. I don't know what I'll end up with by the time it's gone (if it ever is), but I'll be happy at whatever the number is. I really didn't start this to get to a number. I started it to get to a place. I'm not there yet, but I'm loving that I'm finally, after 4 years, really on the way.


Kizz said...

Good on ya, as they say. That's a lot of good work.

Walking With Scissors said...

Good for you! What a wondeful accomplishment. :)

Your blood pressure story reminds me of something my hubby did a few years ago. His dad, for some odd reason, had a portable blood pressure machine at home, so hubby started roaring and yelling and "pumping up", running up and down the stairs like a madman, trying to see how HIGH he could get his blood pressure. And that, right there, is why I married him. lol.

Mrs. Chili said...

Congratulations. I know what kind of commitment this is, and I'm proud of you for sticking to it.

Eric said...

i guess i should finally admit that you're more in shape than i am... :\

The Grammar Snob said...

Wow, what a wonderful journey! You should hold your head HIGH. No one can ever take this success away from you.

I'm gearing up for my own weightloss. I need to make the time. I know I need to.

Mr. Snob's marathon is October 19. He's up to 18 miles for his long run. It's amazing and terrifying.