Friday, January 28, 2005

Dear Cubefarmer

This response started off as a comment in response to another comment by my good friend, Cubefarmer. He brings up the point that it's not so hard to lose weight as it is to keep it off and that I will have to look to making diet changes. He's right, and writing the response brought out something hidden from me in my effort. This is about changing myself more than about changing my diet. The extreme exercise regimen is as much a crucible for growth as a way to burn calories.


Dear Cubefarmer,

Yes, it's true. Dietary changes will have to be made, but I don't really want to go "on a diet". I think I can probably lose 20 lbs on exercise alone, but my body will start ot resist around 180, I think. (As it should -- how's it suposed to know I'm not just running out of food?) I would prefer to focus on not eating stupid junk -- McDonalds, cookies, potato chips -- and eating more fruits & veggies. I'll see how far I can get with just this.

The giving up the caffeine, refined sugar, and beloved beer is more about dealing with what is bothering me. Calorie consumption, for me, is rarely about hunger. It is usually about doing something pleasurable when I'm bored, angry and/or would rather be elsewhere. This is particularly true in the work environment. I drink a hell of a lot of coffee at work because it's something that feels good when I'm some place I'd rather not be.

I guess my plan is to turn off all my good old-fashioned consumption addictions and burn the resulting angst with exercise for a few months until I can figure out how to deal. It's not that I'm fat because I don't eat right. It's that I don't eat right because I have learned to consume as a substitute for living.

Weight: 197.5

Monday, January 17, 2005

Yiddish Fairy Tale

There is a Yiddish fairy tale about a man who complains that his house is crowded and loud with all his children and in-laws. His rabbi tells him to bring his cow into the house and come back next week. Next week, the man comes back to the rabbi and complains it is worse than before. The rabbi tells him to bring his goats indoors. So it continues week after week until his house is full of animals. The man comes to the rabbi in tears talking about how there is no peace in his house with all these animals, and the rabbi tells him to put all the animals back outside. When the man returns the following week, he has nothing but glowing praise for the peace and quiet in his house.

Talking with my lovely wife this weekend about my plan for an hour a days exercise. Sounded quite reasonable to her especially since I am now spending in excess of two hours a day at the chessboard. She also wants to go aon a health kick with me though more of the the diet variety than exercise.

I actually lost a few pounds last week. I wasn't exercising or even watching diet that much. I wasn't drinking any beer though so that must have helped. I think my body was perhaps still in Christmas mode -- ready to burn off the tons of sugar and fat from the holiday diet.

Weight: 197

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.

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.

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.

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