Saturday, August 06, 2005

Weekend Blog 8 - Off To The Gym

The Weekend Blog is off-topic from business development, networking, PR, sales and marketing. It is my chance to write about other things in my world.

Battle of the Bulge

In November 2004 I noticed that I had gotten fat. Up until that point I had always been able to justify the few extra pounds that had begun to appear around my middle as part of getting older. I had always been tall and thin since high school (I was a bit of a fat kid in elementary and jr. high school), and could eat and drink anything I wanted with no consequences.

Somewhere around my thirtieth birthday my metabolism moved out and didn't leave a forwarding address. The creep of the expanding waistline was slow, and at 6'3" it was easy to put on 30 pounds before anyone started to notice (okay, my wife noticed, but she loves me anyway).

Once the 38" pants (ideally I would be a 34) started to get snug, I decided I would do something about it. I set the goal of losing 25 pounds by April 30, 2005. That would mean about a pound a week, which sounded reasonable. I began reading and researching about all the different methods of how to lose weight, and I must admit, there are is a lot of advice on this topic (low fat, low carb, grapefruit, cabbage soup, etc....).

In the end I took the counsel of my 90-year-old father. He has lived almost a century, through two World Wars, the great depression and all the other stuff I only read about in history class. At his age he is very fit; he lives alone, drives, bowls, golfs, goes dancing, and had four I figure he must know some stuff.

My dad said that, in his opinion, people forget the two basic truths about fitness: "MOVE MORE, EAT LESS". My downfall is that I like to eat...A LOT. And have a wicked sweet-tooth on top of that. Bad combination. Couple that with my enjoyment of a cold beer (or three, four...five...)....AND my lack of exercise, and it is surprising I only had gained 30 pounds.

With that in mind, I began my new diet and fitness program the week before Thanksgiving (yes, I know, I was nuts to start at the holidays). I examined the things in my diet that were full of useless calories. The biggest culprit was Starbucks. I would have mocha or vanilla latte everyday, and often add on a scone. What I discovered what this was over 800 calories per day, just from Starbucks. (I gave up the pastry and switched to black coffee, which only has 10 calories). I quickly discovered if I made some wiser choices in my other meals (as I loved to eat the burger with fries....not the salad, etc...and I followed most meals with dessert) I could cut out over 1300 calories every day, while still eating enough food to not starve myself.

The other trick was to say good bye to beer. I found that if I drank red wine I could enjoy one or two glasses. With beer I could easily have three or four (I can't put the wine away like that!!!!). This helped in my consuming less calories and less alcohol, which slows my already tardy metabolism even more.

The final piece of my health triffecta was exercise. I already belonged to Gold's Gym, but only went on rare occasions. Plus, when I did get to the gym I just lifted a few weights, I did not do much on the cardio machines. My new routine had me at the gym four days a week. I had trouble at first, but worked up to running two miles on the treadmill and then doing another 25 minutes on the elliptical machine at each visit.

I hated the whole thing at first, but I did see progress. Once I began to see the weight come off, I began to get more dedicated. By April 5th, twenty-five days ahead of schedule, I reached my goal of 198 lbs. (now at 195 lbs.).

The bad news is that keeping the weight off takes as much effort as losing the pounds in the first place. I have come to the conclusion that this diet and exercise are going to a permanent part of my life, every day.....FOREVER. Kind of a bummer.

Oh well, it is Saturday, and I am off to the gym.

Have A Great Weekend.

Thom Singer

PS- (added August 9th).....After writing this post I reconnected with a business friend who has a sight about fitness for busy professionals. It is a good read if you want to undertake a fitness plan in your lifestyle.

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