Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Random Meme for a Sunday morning

1. What are your plans for today? Final preparations for SiSi’s birthday party and the Community Dinner event that follows. Get caught up on my Facebook communication. Get a run in. Grade papers.

2. Who was the last person you talked on the phone with? Erm… I think it was my wife, but I’m not sure. She’s the one I talk with most. My folks are number two on the list. They’re due to call any moment for the weekly chat.

3. What was the last TV program you watched? I’ve fallen asleep on several over the past week, but I honestly couldn’t tell you what they were. Even when the fall lineup hits next week, I won’t spend a lot of time actually watching television. I get home awfully late this time of year, and I’m totally beat to doggie poop when I do. TV is almost more of a burden than a release.

4. What was the last thing you ate? It’s about to be breakfast. Coffee and half a bagel.

5. What time did you get out of bed today? 6:30am. This is not unusual for Sunday anymore. It used to be my day to sleep in, back when Wifeness and I split the weekend kid coverage. Now, I stay up late on Friday nights playing Axis and Allies with Caleb upstairs, and so I sleep later (until 8:30) on Saturday.

6. Who's your TV crush? Hmmm… I used to be all about Poppy Montgomery, from Without a Trace, but I think I’m between crushes right now.

7. Which book are you planning on reading next? I’ve got a pile of books on Flow to work through for my seminar in November, and I promised my dad I’d read the book he wrote, The Journal of Rocinante, before anything else for pleasure.

8. Do you have a particular day & time that you look forward to? Wednesdays are nice because they are my late and short days at school. I don’t have to be in until noon, I teach two classes, go to meetings for 2 hours, and that’s it. Fridays are nice because they’re exam days and I don’t do much in the classroom except hang with my students. Any weekend when friends come over is wonderful, and I love spontaneous days off!

9. What is your idea of a romantic date? I don’t know about romantic, but my idea of an enjoyable one includes good food in a quiet place with my wife, and no particular reason to get back home. I don’t have to DO anything or GO anywhere. I am thoroughly contented just to be with her and relax. We used to do brunch out on Sundays before we had kids, and often we’d just sit there in the booth and read the paper. Occasionally, we’d touch under the table or grunt lovingly at each other, but it was otherwise a tranquil, wonderfully natural way for us to spend time together. I loved that!

May your Sunday be like a nice brunch date!

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.