Weight has been a lifelong struggle for me and will continue to be so for the rest of my life. I wasn't blessed with skinny "genes" though I do own a pair of skinny "jeans" as a result of running and eating right.
I have talked before about why I run, so I won't rehash those reasons. Don't get me wrong: I love to run, but it's not the love of running that keeps me going. It's my love of food and my need to keep my weight slightly south of a rhinoceros.
All told, I have lost more than 75 pounds. I was north of 250 and a 40-inch waist and now 31-inch waist jeans are too big for me. It was a journey that started after I ended a long-term relationship and it's a journey that I hope never ends.
The insanity of it
As you may know, I just ran a self-created ultramarathon this past weekend called 48 Miles in 48 Hours. In preparation for that, I cut back alcohol. I had two beers on Wednesday night and then didn't have anything other than water until I was done on Sunday night. And I lost 3 pounds doing that.
Now it's not that I drink much. I don't, really, but I may have one at night and probably a couple more at Happy Hour on Fridays. But I don't have much and I don't need it to get through my day, to sleep, etc. I enjoy it socially. After just 3 days of no drinking, I had lost 3 pounds.
Now I say that in preparation for my next statement. In the two days of running, 8 1/2 hours total, I only lost 2 pounds. And I wasn't eating much... probably less than 1,000 calories a day because my stomach was really upset. Shouldn't I have lost more during physical activity? You'd think so.
So I think there's a bit of general insanity that goes with weight. Marathon runners typically don't lose weight as they're training. In some cases, they gain weight. I know we're hungrier and everything, but come on... we are burning 1000s of calories. I don't think our bodies always get the memos.
Weight isn't everything
Your actual weight isn't everything, though I think we are consumed (no pun intended) by it. We can eat lean meats, boneless/skinless chicken, lots of veggies, etc. and still not lose a lot of weight. Some of it is genetic and there are lots of other factors, too.
If I'm eating healthy, then the weight loss will come. Regardless, I'll lower my risk for heart attacks, diabetes, and other nutrition-related diseases. As many news reports point out, thin people aren't out of the woods. Unhealthy habits may come back to haunt them even if they look thin.
So what do I do?
The first and most important thing that I did was recognized that I had an eating problem. The second thing was to determine where and when I had that problem. That allowed me to change my behavior. So, here's what I know.
- I have will power at the grocery store. If I only buy healthy things at the grocery store, I can only eat healthy things when I'm home.
- I don't have will power with food at my house. If it's there and it's bad for me, I'm going to eat it and eat it quickly. Brownies, cookies, pies, cakes... they're all typically gone within 24 hours if left at my house. My will power simply does not exist if the food is available to me.
- Corollary to rule 2. Tell people to take things home with them. If people bring food over or want me to take food home, I refuse. I simply say that "if it's here, I'm going to eat it." And I don't want to eat it.
- If there's something healthy at a restaurant that looks good, I can order that. I don't mind going to steak restaurants because they typically have good salmon or tuna. I'm quite good at restaurants. I don't need the fries.
Finally, what motivates me? That's really enough for a whole other post. The simple answer? See the before and after pictures below. 'Nuff said.