Wednesday, July 01, 2009

When I Was A Fat Slob...

I used to be really fat. Morbidly obese, I think. You know, like 75 pounds or more than is even remotely good for me based on my height. As of my most recent weight, I am 90 pounds less than I was six years ago. It took about three years to lose the weight and I've kept it off for the most part since then. I have fluctuated, down ten pounds and up ten pounds, but I am usually right about the same number. I think a lot about things I did when I was really heavy and how absurd some of the behavior was. Some things, like drinking lots of Coke, aren't really that crazy. People drink soda and often drink a lot of it. It had never occurred to me that it was loaded with sugar and that a liter of soda was just a lot of empty calories. Switching to seltzer or club soda or diet soda or even just water makes a big difference, of course, but I didn't even think about it when I was heavy. It wasn't that I didn't want to, I didn't recognize that it would have an impact in the first place. But, I did do crazy stuff, addictive type of stuff, that seems nuts and horrible when I look back on it. On a regular basis, I would eat two everything bagels with veggie cream cheese for breakfast. Two fucking bagels. With cream cheese. I would be so hungry that I couldn't wait until I got to my desk, so I'd eat one bagel while I was in the car driving to work. How's that for an addiction? In the same day, I was likely to get a hoagie for lunch and order it with a side of fries. And, in the afternoon, when I got shaky or a hot flash because I needed to eat again, I'd go to 7-11 and get a soda and a package of Donettes. You know, those little sleeves of Hostess donuts that come in one of three flavors: powdered sugar, chocolate covered, or toasted coconut. I love the toasted coconut and I'd eat the whole sleeve, washing it down with more soda. Who knows how many calories that was and I hadn't even had dinner yet. No wonder I blew up and needed to wear size 42 pants.

Every day wasn't that bad. But enough days were that I gained a lot of weight. I sift through the memories of that time, my fat period, to try and understand how it happened. I didn't just wake up one day in the body of a really fat guy. I got fat over time. And, I remember looking at myself in the mirror and not thinking I was that overweight, even when I was really heavy. The only time it really hit me was when I went clothes shopping and found that I no longer fit into the pant size that I thought I did. I remember being depressed when I couldn't fit in size 36 pants, sitting in the mall with Audrey and just feeling like garbage. I vaguely remember feeling bad when I hit size 40s, but that seemed like a place that I could create a firewall. You know, it was bad, but as long as I didn't get any bigger, it would be okay. Then, when I hit size 42, I remember thinking that I was a failure when it came to my weight. I made all sorts of excuses for myself as to why I was overweight, downplaying the problem, giving myself a pass, and not just owning it and recognizing how horrible I felt about the whole thing. It is really easy to let yourself off the hook and to basically ignore the truth. Things have changed, of course, but the reasons for that change are for a whole other blog post.

Health Updates

Health or fitness, which is really the more accurate term for what I've been concerned about lately. Basic update is that things got bad and then they got better. Audrey was out of town and I had a tough time doing anything other than handling the kids. So, no running and too much bad snacking. But, I've had two weeks of good running and some better control with the food and I've gotten back on track. I didn't weigh myself this morning, but I've lost a few pounds recently and feel invested in the accomplishments, so I'm trying real hard not to backslide or undermine my own efforts. For the next few weeks, I just want to keep trimming off the excess weight and running consistent mileage. I haven't signed up for anything for the fall racing season, but I should do that soon.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Being Nice or Being Honest?

For some reason, a coworker of mine has put my name on a list to be surveyed by his MBA program. The survey is about him and I will have to rate him on 40 different questions that are supposed to help define his leadership abilities. The thing is that he is a buffoon. I'm not sure why he even put my name on the list and it makes me wonder what he thinks it is that I think about him. I've never called him a buffoon, of course, but there is no reason for him to think that I am a big fan of his either. So, here I am, feeling stuck with the responsibility to respond to a survey that rates some on their effectiveness as a leader, when I don't have that great an opinion of the person nor a close working relationship with him. Am I obligated to even respond to the survey? He never asked me about it. He just sent out an email to everyone that he put on the list. If I respond, should I be honest about what I think his abilities are or should I softpedal it? The easy thing to do would be to ignore it, so I might just do that. But, if I answer, I feel like I have to tell the truth as I see it. The only problem with that is that I think he'll see that it was me, which means that my answers will potentially have ramifications for him in both his MBA program and for the two of us here in the office. Crappy situation all around, but part of me relishes the chance to be honest about someone who is obviously a clown.

What would you do?

Two Weeks and Little to Show

The good news is that I've been running consistently. But that is the only thing that I've been able to stick with so far. Sleep is up and down, partly because my job has been very stressful and I've had a lot of work to do in the evenings. And, as is always the case, when I'm up late, I eat at night. So, my snacking continues and I haven't lost a single pound. Still 180, despite running 38 miles this past week.

I've got time, but I've wasted time. I could be 2-3 weeks in, 2-3 pounds lighter, and that much closer to my goal. Instead, I'm basically still at the start. Kind of depressing, but each day is a chance to try all over again.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

How to Stay Accountable

So, one of the ways I've found to keep myself on track is to force myself into situations where I need to be accountable. Even if it is a bit artificial because nothing bad really happens if I'm not. For example, if I state some goal to a friend or my wife, then I feel on the hook to accomplish it. Otherwise, despite their love and support, I feel like I've failed and potentially disappointed them in some way. If nothing else, they might just think I'm a bit of a clown. So, it all becomes an avoidance thing - avoiding the need to admit that I failed, avoiding the feeling of inadequacy or disappointment, avoiding any conversation where I have to talk about how I didn't make it.

I'm going to try and use this tactic to spur me to achieve some goals that I have for this year. To take a step back, it is important to state that I've wanted to qualify and run the Boston Marathon for a few years now. It isn't something I can achieve in the near term and I definitely can't do it if I don't build a plan. But, to make it, there are things I can do in the next few months to make it possible, well, more possible than otherwise. The first, and most important, is to lose weight. Each "extra" pound detracts from my ability to run faster. I could probably train and ultimately make Boston at my current weight, but it will take more effort than by training and dropping some weight. I can get stronger and lighter at the same time. So, the first goal is to get to 165lbs. I'm at 180lbs now, so this will take some effort, although I can do this by the end of the summer, I think.

The only other goal I am going to set right now is to pick a few races and build a training plan around them. I didn't sign up for any major distance race for the fall running season. That makes it tough since I don't have a marathon or the Army Ten Miler to shoot for, but I'll come up with something. Maybe a 20K in August or a lesser known half marathon or something like that.

Need A Format & Updates

Well, it has been up and down since the weekend. I got up in the morning before work to run on Monday, something I haven't done in a long time. I also ran at lunch on Tuesday. But, my left knee was a little sore, so I didn't work out yesterday. And, while I thought I might get some exercise in today, it doesn't look likely at this point. I'll need to run for the next three days to hit a goal of running five times a week. I don't know why that is a goal, exactly, it just seems like something I should be doing that is reasonably attainable. I once ran 30 days in a row, so you'd think I could do five days a week.

Eating has been so-so. I've fallen back on my late night snacking a bit, unfortunately. I think this coincides with a quick return to my shitty sleeping habits. The two go hand-in-hand. If I get to bed earlier, I don't snack. If I'm more rested, I don't snack. If I snack, I can't get to sleep as quickly. It is a bit circular, I know, but I should be able to nip both in the bud with just a bit more self control in the evenings. I do well when we don't have much in the way of temptation in the house, but that isn't the case right now. Once we eat through the mini brownies, the chocolate cookies, and the ice cream, I should be just fine. If I was smart, I'd let the kids do all the eating.

I still need to find a better way to format these updates. Suggestions are welcome. Regardless of format, I also need to get this done every day. And, if there are any readers, feel free to hold me accountable. I am quick to slack off on this kind of thing.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

One note on Saturday

I have to come up with a better format for this, but I got 7-7.5 hours last night too. Of sleep, that is. Yee hah! And I even watched "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford", which was fairly long. Good movie, by the way.

Friday & Saturday

So, we're making progress, friends.

Thursday night I had 7.5 hours of sleep and Friday night I had 8. For me, that is a huge improvement. I am still tired, at least when life allows me to be tired, but I am feeling better. I needed the rest to finish getting over a sinus infection, which I am, and it has also helped me to not pass out when reading to the kids at bedtime.

I also continued to eat better, specifically in two ways. First, I'm eating a bit more during the day, which I know is important. And, second, I've been very good about cutting out my late night snacking. I have had dessert once or twice, but that is not what my problem is. It is the post-dessert trip to the kitchen where I eat three bowls of cereal or half a jar of peanut butter. In any case, that is over for now.

And, lastly, I ran on Friday and Saturday. I hit the gym on Friday for a decent 6.2 miles and ran another 6.5 on the trails in the afternoon sun yesterday. I am sore, but I feel great.

The best part in all of this? I think that I've gotten my weight under control and going back in the right direction. I have some goals I'd like to accomplish, but I'll wait to mention them. There is a weight loss goal, but it is tied to something outside of simply a number or how my clothes fit.

A few days is not a trend, let along a true change in lifestyle. But, three days is three more than I've had in a long time and I'd like to keep it going.

Friday, May 08, 2009

First Day's Results

So, I wish I could say that I accomplished all of my goals, but progress was made. On the eating front, I did pretty well. Ate light during the workday, as I usually do, and had a decent dinner. Brown rice, indian packets from Trader Joe's, some naan, and followed up with watermelon (not quite in season, so it wasn't as sweet as it could be). What I didn't do is any after-dinner snacking at all. So, congrats to me.

The eating only worked out because after getting the kids to bed, I passed out. I hit the sack at 9PM, leaving myself with no chance to snack. I woke up at 2:30AM, though, realizing that I hadn't done any work and that the kitchen probably still needed to be cleaned up from dinner. So, I went downstairs to straighten everything up, avoided any snacks, and came back upstairs to check email and surf a bit. Went back to bed a bit after 4AM. I got about 7.5 hours sleep, which is a big improvement for me. I average about 5-6 a night and am chronically tired at the end of every day. Ever present exhaustion keeps me from being productive, makes me cranky, and undermines my ability to control eating and to commit to exercise. When you are tired, the last thing you want to do is run. And, when you are tired and cranky, the quickest way to feel better is to eat junk food. Bad bad bad.

The last thing I wanted to accomplish was some exercise and I failed on that front. I had hoped to run before work, but didn't because the weather was awful and I thought I had time at lunch yesterday. A lunchtime meeting had been canceled, or so I thought, and I planned on hitting the gym. At the last minute, I found out I needed to do the meeting, which started 20 minutes late, and that ate up my free time. Audrey tried to give me some time to run at the end of the day, but she had to take Noah to the doctor and I didn't see how I could fit a run in and get to Naomi to pick her up in time. So, three shots for a run and none of them worked out. I could have run at night, but that whole passing out at 9PM thing got in the way of that. In any case, I've carved out time on my calender today and I will make it to the gym no matter what.

So, 2 out of 3 for the first day. Not too shabby.

Thursday, May 07, 2009


I think one of the reasons I stopped blogging was that it always seems like there is so much to say. I'm not running some small publishing empire or trying to create some advertising juggernaut so I can quit my day job. I don't know if it matters to me to have anyone even see this. Frankly, I just find this easier than writing in a journal. And, because I generally view blogging as a sort of diary-type function, it seems silly to just slap stuff up here that is inconsequential. I might note my running, or my weight loss, stuff that I would write in a journal anyway. But I'm not going to write stuff that might come to mind, but has little substance. There just isn't much point to that. The problem is that if I am not going to post simple, easy written stuff, then I find myself stuck in a place where I have lots to say and no time to say it properly. It is expressive dysfunction - I want to do it, but I can't get it out. I just need to find some intellectual or emotional Viagra.


It has been a long, long, long time. Blogging sometimes seems like a chore, but I need to do something to handle the stuff in my head and the endless piles of notes I seem to make for myself.

Let's start with a proclamation or a mid-year resolution. Eh, a set of resolutions. I have fallen off the wagon a bit. My running is junk, my sleep is bad, and my diet is horrendous. In other words, I'm not doing the basic things I need to do to stay healthy and to feel good. Sure, I want to and I know what to do, but I've been stressed out and weak and let a lot of things get in my way.

In any case, here's the deal. A public announcement of what I intend to do, although I get off easy since nobody reads this. I will stop eating crap at night. I will consistently run every week and begin training for a race. And, I will get to bed earlier. Simple.

How do I measure this and make sure I'm sticking to it? Every day, I'll post about my exercise, sleep, and eating. Once I can get into a regular pattern, maybe I won't feel like I need to do it. But, I have to log this stuff so that I feel accountable in some way. Here's the first post on this topic then:

No run
No food
No sleep

What I'll do is post at the end of the day or early the following day to note what happened. So, I'll be posting again later or tomorrow morning as to the activity and control for today, 5/7. Until then...