Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Once a Fat Guy, ...

You see, there are two ways to finish the phrase "once a fat guy"

1) now a skinny guy
2) always a fat guy

I'm 38, 5'11" and weigh about 200 lbs. In a nation of fat people, I am in the top third for weight given my age and height. My goal is to reduce my weight to below 170 lbs. If I weighed 170 lbs, I would have a BMI (body mass index) of below 25 which would place my weight in the normal/healthy category for a 38 year old male. Average is about 180 since we are a nation of porkers.

This leaves a few questions.

Why?
1) I'm sick of feeling crappy. Try wearing a 30 lbs napsack backwards all day, and you'll get the idea.

2) I don't want to die. I have a few things I'd like to do yet, and my weight increases my risk of heart attack, diabetes, being harvested for meat by aliens, etc. dramatically.

3) I'd kind of like to feel better about how I look. Though married and bekidded, I'd like to still appear moderately attractive to the opposite sex (or, in fact, to anything besides a hungry carnivore).

4) It's good to work towards things.


How?
1) No diets. I can't argue that they work in the short term. I've seen a lot of people lose a lot of weight with the South Beach Diet. I've also seen most of them gain it back.

2) Exercise. My plan is to exercise for at least one hour every day for 120 days (resting one day every 6). This will be done according to the program recommended by John L. Parker in his book Heart Monitor Training for the Compleat Idiot. Exercise, of course, also has a lot of ancillary health benefits (not to mention making it more likely that you can outrun the aliens).

3) No beer. No caffeine. No refined sugar. Yes, this does contradict 2 above, but it is more a motivational thing. Caffeine and alcohol also throw the system out of whack, and I'd like to get this taken care of before returning to my vices.

When?
1) Not now for God's sake. This sounds really hard!

2) Mid-March 2005. I'm currently involved in another quest for chess improvement. It's important to finish that up, and I won't succeed at both at the same time.

See you soon.

Weight: 200

3 Comments:

Blogger DG said...

Don,

Best of luck on this quest as well. I actually chose the diet, no exercise approach for myself. From February through November 2003 I lost 50 lbs on the Atkins diet (210-->160). So far I have kept it all off (+/- 2-3 lbs)for over a year. From what I understand, many people don't keep it off. Of course, I've changed my eating habits for good. Still restricting myself to about 20-30 carbs per day. When they say "Atkins for Life" they mean it.

8:54 AM  
Blogger Don Q. said...

DG,

You're amazing. Do you have a magic elf who runs google searches for you every 10 seconds?

Congrats on your success with the Atkins. That is quite impressive.

Love your blog by the by. I read it every day.

4:44 AM  
Blogger Lord Lessismore said...

Dearest Don,

As you know, I am also a way-faring venturer down the precarious path of programmatic weight loss. I set out two and a half weeks ago on a new path with ONE major goal -- sustainability. I'm pretty sure I can lose twenty pounds with a concentrated effort -- I've done it at least 2 or 3 times before. But the rubber band has always snapped back for me, ultimately leading to frustration, depression, and a closet cluttered with new pants that can't fit over my fat ass. There is some evidence that this back-and-forth cycle can have negative effects beyond the negative effects of just the extra weight. (http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/sportsnutrition/a/060304.htm)

And I fear, Mr. Don, that you may be setting yourself up for yet another swing down this yo-yo if you don't address the diet issue. I am getting assistance with this part thanks (I am almost loathe to admit) to the perky folks at Weight Watchers. I've been to three meetings and just at this last meeting did the leader say something that resonated deeply with me. "Diet is different than any other health-related 'self-improvement' effort because you HAVE to eat. It's not like giving up smoking or coffee: you cannot give up food cold-turkey."

So the key really becomes setting up a system that is maintainable in the long run. I think you have to ask yourself, can I really live without alcohol and/or caffeine and/or Ben & Jerry's FOREVER? If not (the obvious answer for me), I think you need to think now about how, after you lose 30 pounds, you are going to integrate these "bad" things into your lifestyle while still holding your weight down.

Not to plug WW too hard but it's got a Core Program that doesn't require the strict record keeping of points or anything. It just provides a list of recommended foods and you can eat as many of them and as much of them as you want (though you are of course encouraged to eat with moderation). The foods include all fruits and vegetables and, particularly nice for us carnivores, all the meats you can eat as long as they’re lean. It has virtually no carbs, though, which can be hard at first but I'm starting to get used to it.

There's also an "out" if you want to deviate from the strict list of foods and this is a points-based thing. You're "allowed" 35 "flex" points a week, which I see as basically a way of structuring (and forcing you to think about) what is usually unstructured "bad" eating (or drinking!).

I've seen pretty dramatic results already with this (about 10 pounds in just over 2 weeks) and I haven't had to starve. I've made it to the gym once so exercise hasn't been a big factor (though it will have to be for results to continue, I fear). The biggest factor for me has been surrounding myself with “good” food that I like so I’m not so tempted by the vending machine/Starbucks/Baskin-Robbins/the leftover PBJ sandwich crusts on my son’s plate. It can result in a dramatically different shopping list (e.g., we have spent a small fortune on bananas in the last two weeks).

I expect I can shed 20 pounds in 8 weeks or so on this plan. But for me, I'm going to be measuring success based on how long I can maintain the loss after achieved. So I may look all svelte and shit in a couple of months but talk to me in July. If I’m still looking good in my bathing suit when the fireworks are going off, then I’ll consider this effort a (conditional) success.

Just putting in my twenty-two cents. Can you tell I’m in a training class? I’m thinking of starting on my novel next.

9:36 AM  

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