Embrace the Suck
So things have been progressing pretty well with my GOAL 298 plan. I haven’t lost as much weight as I had hoped, but it wasn’t from a lack of trying, but more from an excess of good times. So after the big Baseball Road trip (which was a good/bad food festival) and a week in Cincinnati, hitting all of the home highlights (including LaRosa’s, Graeter’s, Skyline, Price Hill Chili, and a few more) the weight loss gains of May hit a plateau in June at about -25 total lost. July brought my parents to visit Duluth, which meant hitting all of the Duluth food highlights (Anchor Bar, Thirsty Pagan, Duluth Grill, Russ Kendall’s Smokehouse). The good news was that I didn’t gain any weight during that week either (but no losses either). While the lack of weight loss was annoying, the idea behind GOAL 298 was about living a healthier/better life. My parent’s visit and the Baseball trip made my life inexorably better, so much so I wouldn’t have traded a hundred pound weight loss for either of them. I had a good time, I got to show Sara where I grew up, I got to see 6 baseball games at 5 different parks (including the Duluth Huskies and Twins stadiums), I got to go to an amazing aquarium, and I got to show my parent where I live and what I do. All in all, a great month.
But no weight loss. Which turns out can really frustrate a dude. And this frustrated dude had diet collapse weekend. I ended up at McDonald’s (three times), Arby’s, eating two steaks in one sitting, a couple of bags of candy, and assorted other items I could stuff down my gullet, over the course of three days (Friday-Sunday). About the only saving grace is that I actually like walking and over the weekend I ended up walking almost 10 miles. So the end tally was a +4# weekend. Ain’t that a mutha f#&#a? At that point you can either go full blown out of control or turn into the skid and get that shit under control (which is what I chose to do). After some encouraging words and advise from a great friend (whose own weight loss accomplishments initially inspired lots of GOAL 298) and more encouragement (and love and support) from Sara Lee, I went back to the plan this week.
So here is what I did. I started walking at lunch. I biked to work 3 days (probably a 4th with tomorrow), and I walk with Rio after work. This has built up the monthly walking total to over 45 for July (I’m hoping that I can hit 50 miles by the end of the month). I got a new seat for my bike to make the ride easier (one less excuse not to do it). I ate some salads, I tried to eat better things, and I haven’t been to any fast food joints all week. The other thing I did was reevaluate my relationship with the scale. For a little bit, it was running/ruining my life. I want badly to lose weight and that tangible feeling of a lower number every morning is very alluring. The problem is if the number goes up or doesn’t change it can be frustrating. All the hard work in changing the diet and exercising doesn’t necessarily translate to a next day weight loss. So decided to weigh myself less often, and not let myself become beholden to the numbers. Lower numbers do make me feel better about what I’m doing, so I’m not going to stop completely, just worry less about it.
So two other things have happened in the mean time. Two pretty awesome things. First was yesterday I realized that I can now walk up a set of stairs (based on my stairs at work) without getting out of breath. This is a huge deal, as when I was at my unhealthiest I used to dread having to go upstairs because after I climbed the stairs if I had to talk to anyone they would realize how short of breath I was, how out of shape I’d let myself become. Not anymore. I own you stairs (well not really, technically you belong the federal government, like my desk and my computer etc., but you get the picture). The other thing that happened is that I realized none of my jeans really fit anymore. Since I was biking to work I am wearing shorts and I just slide a pair of jeans on over the top of the shorts (along with a non-sweaty t-shirt) so I can look like a bit more of the professional scientist I am at work (I haven’t gone as far as the hounds tooth jacket with the elbow patches). So with that today I was walking around in jeans that used to be tight around the waist (so much so that they never required a belt) and I found them falling down, despite my extra layer of undergarments. It is a good (if embarrassing) feeling when your pants are too big. After years of having the opposite problems (buttons popping off with enough velocity to put out an eye), strapping on a belt this afternoon was almost like being awarded a trophy.
This all brings me back to the title of this blog post: Embracing the Suck. Losing weight is hard work. There are no shortcuts (unless you want to regularly shit your pants while taking or diet drug, which I have decided is a no for me). It requires doing things that suck. Walking when you are tired sucks, biking to work when you are hung over sucks, not eating anything you want at anytime you want sucks. But so does death, and so does being fat (although death is worse, death is definitely a consequence of being fat – although death is also a consequence of being alive, so it may be important to note that what really sucks is an untimely death due to circumstance which I could have changed – aka being fat). So I’m going to chose to embrace the suck of the things that will prevent things that suck worse. So legs get ready to be sore, lungs get ready to gasp some more air, stomach be prepared for less grease and more vegetable matter, brain stop making me frustrated and get with the program.