Monday, January 19, 2009


Today I stepped on the scales and balked.

I am 33.5 pounds heavier than I ought to be and it kind of freaked me out. +33.5 puts me at increased risk for a slew of extremely disagreeable health conditions like heart attacks, diabetes, etc. For years now, I've felt I've been slowly losing the war on keeping my weight down. It seems like every time I try something new, I get eventually discouraged. Consciously or subconsciously, I must have decided to yield to circumstance. I gave up.

And then, this week, my wife bitchslapped me. With boxing gloves, but still. And it hurt.

Which got me thinking hard... what is the obstacle getting in my way? It can't be a physical obstacle—I have far too many things in my life in place. I live with a doctor who reads nutrition labels like a religious cleric, so there's no reason I shouldn't be aware of what I'm putting in my body. I have a great gym with child care. What up? What has been holding me back?

The formula to lose weight isn't rocket science: eat less, and work out. Yet the devil is in the details and the execution of such a simple directive has been frustratingly elusive for me.

One major deterrent for me has been working out. I've always hated it. Even now, I work out and get bored. Thankfully, my gym has a TV on each treadmill so I'm less bored. And I have my iPhone now to listen to podcasts and music—I'm usually preoccupied now. As I've worked out more, it's starting to be—dare I say it?—a little fun.

And after looking more carefully at my eating habits, it's clear that my late nights are my biggest window of self-destruction. If dinner is at 6PM, then 6 hours later I'm starving. If I can only endure that late night craving, I thought, then I might actually turn the tide. My next thought was that, living in a country of abundance and instant pleasure gratification, hunger is a very uncomfortable feeling for me. If I can only deal with that feeling of hunger—stave it off somehow, or even have some small fruit and glass of water instead of a 12" cheese-laden quesadilla with refried beans and sour cream—then my odds of success should improve substantially. Even better, if I redefine hunger as a low-level feeling which I ought to feel, like a marker of my eating success, then the "eating less" part of my life should become easier, too. That seems to be working for now... we'll see.

Today, I measured out the number of calories in a single serving (1/2 cup) serving of my usual morning's cereal: 200 calories. Turns out I usually serve myself nearly 2 cups of that cereal, which is about 700 calories. With milk, the grand total is closer to 900 calories. If my daily intake should be around 2200 calories, then I'm having nearly half my daily calories just at breakfast. Yikes!

So, here it is. My goal is simple:

Eat less. Work Out.

After doing some research, it seems a realistic goal is to lose 1 pound a week and get to +0 by my birthday in August of this year. At this point, I don't care so much about muscle tone, I simply want to shed the excess weight first. When I get to +0, maybe then I'll think about looking like Peter Parker.

Goal: +0 by 8/21/09

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