A few years ago I had a somewhat eye opening experience. You see, I’ve struggled with my weight most of my life, but I always did enough for it not to be a real issue. Then I graduate from college and eventually get a desk job and all of a sudden finding time to do anything physical between an 8 hour workday and a 1.5-2 hour commute is almost impossible. In high school I weighed 220, in college I was anywhere between 240 and 280, but usually around 250. After college when I was swinging a hammer for a living I was right around 260. But within a year of moving off the construction site and into a desk chair I was 290. Even at 290 it didn’t keep me from doing physical activities. I played kickball and rode my bike. But at some point 290 became 315. I stayed around 315 for the next few years and continued to stay there, or so I thought. You see one day about 4 or 5 years ago I went to the doctor because I was sick, they put me on the scale and it read 342. In my head I said, wait that can’t be right, I weighed myself just a few days ago and I only weighed 318. Well even I realized the problem, my scale was broken.
After realizing I was over 340 I decided I needed to start doing more to lose weight. I would work out off and on for the next few years losing 5-10 pounds each time. It was always easy to lose that first few pounds. Although I was never able to get below 325. Then I would get sick or something else would happen and I would stop working out and put it right back on. About 2 years ago I found out I had diabetes, again I said I need to do more, but again I didn’t really take it serious enough or would get frustrated that I wasn’t losing weight like I thought I should and lose interest.
Then something happened. In April 2016 during our company’s spring walking competition I started to lose weight and I was losing it fairly fast. I have always pushed myself usually past what my body would allow to compete in this thing with my team. I never wanted to be the weak link. In past competitions I would lose some weight but my knees would usually slow me down by the end and I’d have to rest my legs after the competition in order not to anything worse to my body. Plus I wanted a break, the competition is serious there is no rest for the month we compete. But last year I lost 5 lbs. the first week. Then I didn’t want to lose my progress so I decided that even though I would get my steps during my golf trip that I would walk each morning for 30 minutes to pad my daily totals. I didn’t lose any weight that week, but it was mostly due to the drinking during and after the rounds. I came back and continued the final two weeks of the tournament and lost another 7 lbs. Over the summer I slowly started to do less but lost a few more pounds before the fall walking competition. The good news is I didn’t put any of the weight back on.
During the fall competition my goal changed from getting the most steps to using the motivation of getting steps to launch my workout program and getting the most out of each step I took. So I would still walk each day but I also started doing the Couch to 5k program. The running beat up my body more than just walking would, but I continued through the competition. I didn’t make it far in the couch to 5k process though and then got sick right after the competition so I stopped. Add in the cold of winter and I just didn’t make time. But one thing did happen during the competition, I dropped below 325, which had been that barrier I couldn’t get past for the past few years. So one day this past January or February I started challenging my wife and sister to the Work Week Hustle in the Fitbit app and had mini walking competitions. I figured it would motivate me to get up and move and get me ready for this spring’s walking competition. Then out of nowhere my wife decided to start running again and kicked our butts that week. So the next week I decided I was going to start the couch to 5k again. I decided I wasn’t going to let work be my excuse for not working out or the fact that I am not able to access the showers in the basement unless I pay for a gym membership that is overpriced keep me from working out. So far my coworkers have not complained about any post workout body odor.
About a month ago a coworker and I started running during our lunch break on the National Mall. I get up and go into the men’s room and change into my running gear. I get looks from all the people in suits who can’t figure out why I’m dressing in shorts, sneakers and a t-shirt in the office. I run, come back, and change into my work clothes in the men’s room. I imagine it feels a lot like when Superman changes in a phone booth, only slower. I “shower” with baby wipes and re-apply deodorant. If only I could get access to that shower. Anyways we are on week 4 last week, Mother Nature mucked things up by deciding to take away our spring like temps and give us winter finally, and it put a halt to the runs. However this week I have started back with week 4, the runs are longer and more challenging but this week I felt better during the runs and had more energy. However I did need to let my body recover some yesterday, but will be back out today. 300+ pounds is a lot for your joints to take but every week that number gets smaller.
The reason I decided to write about this today is last week I got on the scale and it read 314.9. I finally made it back down to the weight I thought I weighed when I stepped on that doctor’s scale 4 or 5 years ago. My goal is to break 300 by the end of this spring’s walking competition. I plan to attack the walking competition with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind. Using the mantra that Jim Harbaugh uses with his football team, “Today will be better than yesterday and tomorrow will be better than today.” My overall goal for now is to get down to 250, but getting to 315 was a big deal because I have now lost 30 pounds in the last year, hopefully I can say 45 in the next month. As of yesterday I am down to 313.
I should also mention that working out was not the only reason the weight has dropped. About 6 months ago I started to cut back drastically on the amount of beer I drank during the week. That was the main reason I dropped weight prior to beginning my workouts. It also helped that while I was sick back in December I cut my portions down because I didn’t feel like eating. Since then I have been able to keep my portion sizes down so I eat less.
On top of the weight loss I just have a lot more energy. I want to be active and I want to go outside and do stuff. Plus if there is ever a Zombie outbreak like in The Walking Dead, I'll be able to run a little farther and a little harder to get away.
I also hope someone reads this and says hey that is what I’m struggling with, I hope that person realizes that it’s not too late to start and finds their motivation to lose the weight. Once I get the next 15-25 pounds off I have a couple boxes full of clothes that will fit again, it will be like going on a shopping spree for clothes without spending a dime. I also will be dressing in clothes my 24 year old self thought was cool so maybe I will buy new stuff. If you are working to lose weight I wish you the best of luck.