Saturday, November 27, 2010

Reflecting on running

Reflections like the corners of mind, haha kind of cheesy start but oh well. This week has been a lot about reflecting on how far I have come over the last few years. It all started Wednesday while watching the Biggest Loser where are they now special as I scoffed at someone finishing a 5k in an hour and eighteen minutes. My wives response was don't judge you once were there too. And oh how true that is, I remember those agonizing mile and half walks that ended with me having such agonizing shin splints I didn't want to move for an hour afterwords. The reflections continued that same very night when I ran my first 5k with a 10 minute or better pace the entire distance. I have completed a 5 mile run with no walk breaks but that was at a much slower pace of a 10:43 mile. A year ago I would have been hard set to run a 50/50 ratio of 5 miles walk/running. Then came Thursday which I designated as an offday but decided to walk home from the mother and laws house to burn off a few calories from all the turkey consumed and it was so cold that I ended up breaking into a run more than a half mile from my house just to get home and get warm.

I remember when I first started to try and run the last block of my walk and how it left me so out of breath by the time I reached my door but so proud at the same time. Running that half mile was nothing oh so very easy and didn't even get me breathing heavy by the time I reached my door. It was a sheer testament to how far I came without even trying to do so proving to myself how much progress I have made. I ended my week by running a 27:40 5k Friday night, when I first ran my very first 5k I came in at time of around 39 minutes and walked well more than half of it way back in March. Here I found myself running the entire 3.1 miles and never dipping below a 9:31 pace ending with an 8:55 pace and my fastest 5k ever. I blew the socks of all my previous 5k's and I walked away from the treadmill knowing if the gym wasn't closing at that very minute I could have easily done a mile or two more at that intense pace.

It seems so amazing how far I have come in the last two years and yet I still can't get past thinking how my 20 year old self at 190 pounds who would run a mile then walk the second half mostly home was in better shape. Part of my mind knows that 20 year old wasn't in better shape than I am now and that there is now way he could have run a 27:40 5k or a 5miler non stop in 54 minutes or completed a half marathon. But another part always thinks he was in better shape because he could run that 2 miles and he was 40 pounds lighter than I am now and didn't have all this terrible excess skin that I hate so much. I remember those 2 miles runs back when I was 20 and stopping afterwords in front of the mirror with a good sheen of sweat on my face so proud of what I had just done and not realizing it really wasn't that much.

So sometimes its good to reflect on things like how easy that half mile run was just so I could get home and get warm and remember how hard those single block runs were or how hard it was to run from home to first base in my kickball league. It makes everything I have done worth it and makes me want to accomplish more so I can look back at this time and say remember when you ran your first sub 28 5k well now your running 20 minute 5k's :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The road to hell is paved with good intentions

I watch the biggest loser every week and I am a fan of the show as it really is great to see others go through the journey I went through. But sometimes despite all the good they do and the people they inspire I think sometimes the show can be just as harmful as helpful. They don't let on that %50 of the contestants gain the weight back the moment they get home and they seem to gloss over the fact that they have created the perfect bubble of conditions for the contestants to lose weight in. They remove all distractions work, family, friends, social lives and put them in the perfect situation with a gym on site and 8 hours of workouts every day, a perfectly stocked kitchen and all the trainers and medical staff one could hope for. Honestly if you couldn't lose weight in this bubble they create then you will never lose weight but by not showing this they give false hope sometimes to people who don't realize all the hard work that needs to be done to achieve that kind of success.

Once home the contestants find the conditions less than ideal and once more fall into bad habits and I think some of that is instilled by the Biggest Loser and their trainers. They try and pound in to the contestants that you have to be perfect %100 of the time, that you can't eat out without special ordering or that you have to pre-pack and pre-prepare every meal you are going to eat and that is a bad way of thinking. That is a very slippery slope to be on because once you slip and your no longer perfect its easy to abandon everything you learned because gone is that perfection they tried to instill in you. When there is nothing but success or failure and only perfection then once you lose that perfection you have failed and those contestants will abandon everything they learned because the Biggest Loser has made it so black and white and not allowed for any shades of gray.

All this was brought to a forefront tonight when Bob Harper via his facebook page challenged everyone to have a sugar free Thanksgiving. I can't but be flabbergasted by what he was thinking in issuing such a challenge. I know he means well but I think honestly what he is asking is a good intention that just leads to hell. If you can't have a piece of pie on Thanksgiving when can you have a piece of pie and by denying yourself something you might want how long is it tell you will crave that thing even more. Losing weight and maintaining weight isn't about perfection it is about balance and if you can never ever have a piece of pie again that isn't balance that is a disaster in waiting.

I barely dieted yet despite that I still lost 177 pounds in less than two years, and not because I was perfect but because I found balance. I balance my workouts with the calories I consume and took the time and effort to find that balance. Are there days that I don't want to run or go to the gym, you bet your ass, and are there days when I skip the gym or a workout, hell yes. But by not always having to be perfect I am able to find balance in my life and it has let me lose the weight and keep it off and has made it so I have no fear of ever gaining it back. I won't be going to the gym on Thursday and I will be eating pie but am I worried about gaining all that weight back, no because Rome wasn't built in a day nor was my weight loss achieved in a day. I will be back on the road running Friday or back in the gym but come Thursday I don't need to worry about all that and that is why what I have done worked and will continue to work.

Shame on your Bob Harper, despite all that you have done and all those that you have inspired you need to realize sometimes asking for such perfection can be just as harmful and counter productive as all the good you have done.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mental Road Blocks and the fat man mentality

Today I learned something, that after two years and 175 pounds lost that somewhere deep down buried and burrowed in deep there is still that fat man mentality that I have not completely eradicated yet. When I run I sprinkle in walks, I average about a ten minute mile with about 9 minutes of it running and 1 minute walking. And I felt I needed these walk breaks as I wasn't physically able to run non stop for any great distance or time. So despite being able to run a 28:59 5k I still walk about .20 of the 3.1 miles.

But lately I have been visiting the forums on runners world and most of the veteran runners have told me to turn down my speed and just try and maintain that speed for an hour non stop no walk breaks just running. The fat man cried in my no I can run that far or that long without walking. But I was listening and willing to experiment, so I turned the treadmill down to a 5.5 or a 10:54 mile and was like lets do this.

Mentally that first mile was just overcoming how slow it felt, I didn't break a sweat at all the first mile it was just more mental agony as I forced myself to go slower. By mile 2 I was like ok I am ready for a walk break even though physically I didn't need one my mind kept telling me you need a walk break you need a walk break. So I was like ok we will just run a 3.1 then you can have a walk break that is a nice 34 minutes without walking (which would be a personal record for me without taking a walk break). And I got to the 3.1 and I was like no no no lets do something a little further lets say 40 minutes maybe a 3.5 miles that would be a great place to stop and take a walk break. I hit the 40 minutes and was like you know what I am only 4 minutes out of doing a full 4 miles running lets just go there. At mile 4 I broke through something I realized I didn't need that walk break, I still felt great physically and I was only another 11 minutes out from finishing a full 5 mile run no walks, no stops (I sipped water but never allowed myself to turn the treadmill down as I kept it at the 5.5 the entire time) so I just kept going.

I ran non stop for 5 miles in 54:33 (I'd have run further and finished out the hour but I needed to get home and cook dinner and I left for the gym a little late) and realized something valuable. Something somewhere my mind is still telling me I need to walk when I don't, I am fine physically to keep going but there is this major mental roadblock that I hadn't even began to scale until today. I am physically able to do those runs, I dare say I could run a full hour non stop at a 10 minute mile pace, I had just not overcome that fatman's mentality that I needed to walk and without turning down the speed I might never have discovered that.

People probably thought I was crazy, I was so pumped between mile 4 and 5 that I became kinda animated, there is that Miley Cyrus song Party in the USA that is a great fast tempo running song I like and everytime the put your hands in the air part came on I actually put my hands in the air haha the song really gave me a lift and was just so much fun that last mile that I listened to it twice.

So today I found lurking in my deep dark corners of my subconscious that fat man and I took the first steps to beating the crap out of him and kicking him out of my head forever and it felt so great.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Self Training Versus Formal Training

At work me and another guy split the duties of IT and network technologist for a small non profit. He is entirely self taught while I am formally trained having gone to college and obtaining a Bachelors degree in Computer Information Technology. Now he is good at what he does and I am good at what I do despite our different training methods. I am a lot better at code and software issues and he is a lot better at hands on and hardware issues. So that brings up the question of which is better self trained or formally trained.

The reason I wonder about this is money is really tight and hard right now and I think I have an entirely different skill set I wish I could sell and use. That skill set is in losing weight and working out. And just like my coworker I am entirely self taught in this field. I learned everything by doing it on my own or going to a boot camp or talking with trainers and I feel I have a lot I could teach someone trying to lose weight and or get in shape. And much like my coworker my lack of formal training doesn't hinder me it can actually help me sometimes as I know how to do it and I know how to work hands on so to speak with weight loss.

I wish I could pay for and go take classes and get certified as a fitness instructor or a personal trainer but with money so tight that just isn't going to happen. I have so much I could teach and pass on but my lack of formal training holds me back, no one hires a personal trainer without that certification and or training but that doesn't mean I don't have a lot I could teach. Heck I am fairly confident I could train and workout someone to help them lose weight from all the knowledge I garnered from doing it on my own and from attending boot camps and talking and researching ways to lose weight.

Heck I would love to use my writing abilities to write about my story and get paid too, I just don't know how to go about it and its frustrating.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Oh you dreaded down time

Tonight will be the first night I run since running my half marathon on Saturday. The last two days I have been recuperating and just going on easy two mile walks to rest and loosen up my muscles but that is not what has me so antsy. What has me at a loss is for the first time in months I have no race to train for, nothing to shoot for. Sure the Saint George Marathon is on my list as I plan on running it next year but that isn't until October of 2011 almost 11 months away. Every single training plan I have seen for a marathon is 4-5 months long. That means until May of next year I have nothing to train for, no 5k's (the first thing I trained for in August), no 12k's, and no Half Marathons to run.

So what is a runner to do, what does one do with the down time, the lull in between races. Do I still continue to run my long runs every weekend like I have the last two months as I prepared for my halfer. Running three miles a day is a given as I love to run but where do I go from there.

I think I might work on my speed work and maintaining my runs without having to walk. My goal is still to run the Swiss Days 5k and I want a time under 25 minutes, heck I might even shoot for 22 minutes. But will the speed work throw me off my ultimate goal of running a marathon. I find myself at a loss but forget all that nonsense its time to run :)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Running without a net

When I was twenty years old I first tried my hand at running, I ran because I felt overweight when I was probably the lowest weight of my adult life. At the time my running consisted of a two mile run that was mostly downhill for the first half and then uphill home. Regardless to say I ran the first half and walked most of the second half home. Two miles seemed like a good distance and I was still overcoming those horrible Junior High PE moments where they had you run a mile and you came in with the embarrassing 12 minute mile. So to run that first mile in 8-9 minutes was a major accomplishment and I strove for nothing more than that. After awhile my running routine fell off and it became that always trying where you would run for a week or two then four months would pass and you would try again. Soon I became so heavy that the running turned to walking and then the walking turned to nothing.

Fast forward a decade and I found myself seriously obese maybe morbidly so and out of shape so much so I could barely run the ninety feet from home plate to first base in a kickball league I signed up for but despite this I began in earnest once more. I didn't start with running instead just like a toddler I had to master walking again. Walking a mile and half left me with such bad shin splints that I was incapacitated for a half hour afterwords. But I kept on plugging and moving forward determined to lose the weight once and for all and be able to run once more. My running began with me just sprinting the last block home of my then daily 1.6 mile walk. Then it progressed to not just running to my door but running an extra block to check the mail. Eventually after watching an episode of the Biggest Loser and seeing Michael a contestant managing to run a 5k well over 100 pounds more than I weighed I managed to master the mile once more. Running that whole first mile and then managing my first 5k ever on the treadmill. The pride in finishing a 5k was enormous and left me with a taste for wanting to do more, not longer distances but just to have better and faster times at that 3.1 mile distance run. I even dared several 10k's and soon found myself addicted to running, I had never run more than two miles when I had been at my peak physical condition and weight of my adult life and here I was still a little heavy and I was running 3 miles and 6 miles and learning the metric system to boot.

I signed up for my first 5k, the Washington County Fair 5k and ran it with a time of 32:16 what a great feeling it was like walking on clouds, gone was that fat man who struggled walking a mile and half and now here I was an official 5k runner. After finishing they handed out fliers to the Peach Days 12k in just 3 weeks. What are you thinking there is no way you are ready for something as long as a 12k in just three weeks, that is 7.44 miles, these thoughts bombarded my brain. But I had been running a 5k 4-5 times a week now and while it was exciting to run my first official race it really hadn't challenged me. I ran a few more 10ks in the upcoming weeks to my first real running challenge but because I had not ran that distance yet I found myself super nervous the morning of. I managed to eat half an apple and that was it and around mile 7 I came down with some mild muscle spasms but I wrote them off as charlie horses or something else not really knowing what they were and I was so close to the finish line I finished with ease in an 1:25:03. This was my first foray into running without a net, training on my own, and with so little knowledge that I had no idea why my muscles felt like that.

Still addicted to running I found myself signing up for another 5k the Swiss Days one in 3 weeks. While 5k's had became fairly easy someone I had run the 12k and 5k with suggested it and I couldn't help myself at shooting for the goal of under 30 minutes. I ran that 5k with a 31:15 and while my time was a whole minute better than my previous official 5k I was so mad at myself for not getting under 30 minutes I wanted to rerun the race the moment it was over (I have since ran my first 5k ever under 30 with a time of 29:49 and running 2.85 miles of it and only having to walk a .25 mile) but since the 5k's had become so easy I wanted a challenge again and I wasn't about to sign up for another 5k just so I could finish it in under 30 minutes, I decided the next 5k I would do would be the following years Swiss Days 5k again when I would shoot for an under 25 minute time or even better yet a 22 minute time.

Now I wanted something longer a half marathon, something so challenging it was daunting. I looked at several and decided to give my self a full six weeks and sign up for the Snow Canyon Half Marathon on November 6h a mostly downhill race like the Saint George Marathon I want to run in 2011. My training began with 5 mile and 8 mile runs and extended to a 10 mile run until abruptly after an 8 mile run I found myself limping and an even shorter run of 3 miles two days later left me almost incapacitated for nearly four days. I had never thought about running shoes, I was running in a very nice pair of Nike shoes and they had done so well for me. Who knew that improper shoes even if they were nice shoes could leave you limping for days, I found myself once more running without a net, not trained and not nearly knowledgeable enough. So we went out and bought me a nice pair of Nike running shoes and the difference was night and day, it was so fantastic that I ran the day I got them even though I had the flu and found myself throwing up on a business two miles into my run. But the shoes were great and made such a difference.

Because of injuries and then the flu I was only able to fully run only once in nearly ten days so after a long lay off I went for my first good run in a long time. I had planned on 3 miles but I had so much energy after 3 miles I could not stop and did 5 miles instead. Even after 5 miles I had so much energy that I found myself dancing in my living room and a wife telling me I should go run some more to burn off that energy. This taught me about tapering, wait what is tapering, it is time to recover before a long race something most runners do and something I had not given myself in months and because of my injury I had stumbled upon it like a blind man. Where is my net once more as I fall again and again.

Now with a little knowledge and preparation my half marathon quickly approached and I felt I was ready for the first time, heck I had the shoes, I knew about tapering and took three days off leading up to the race. Race day is here and I am so excited and nervous I sleep in fits and finally give up at 6:20am and get up despite the race being at 8:30 and me not having to be there tell 7:30. Very nervous and excited I find myself again without an appetite but I had read a good breakfast is important so I force down half a bowl of cereal and a banana. The race begins and I am feeling really good, I fly through the first 5k of the race and in just under 30 minutes and even after 6 miles I am still around a 10 minute mile pace. At way station at mile 7 I grab a GU, something I had researched online the day before when I saw they were offering them not knowing what it was, where oh where is my net, but having read that many people find them disgusting I pocket the GU instead thinking I will try it after the race and not throw myself off during the race. Pain sets in around mile 11 but I am still good, heck I am two miles out and feeling ok still I can fight through this. But at around mile 12 those muscle spams I got during my 12k return and not mildly like before but with a vengeance. At this point I had likely burned through every calorie in my body and my body was screaming FEED ME SEYMOUR FEED ME. So close to the finish line I am not about to give up, I run in spurts until the muscle spasms force me to walk as other runners encourage me on as I am visibly struggling. I manage to finish with a time of 2:30:35 which is great as I had been shooting for two and half hours all a long.

I am a little disappointed though as had it not been for those spasms I might have got a time under that two and half hour mark instead of just barely over it. Tired and grumpy and hurting a little I try that GU and yes it was like licking a slimy toad but the effect is almost instantaneous and I feel better like a light switch being switched on. Here I was struggling and the whole time the solution was in my pocket, where oh where have you gone net.

I am not done though not done by far, I am learning as I go and running without a net but I am loving every minute of it. I still plan to run the full marathon next October and am looking forward to my next race. I am a runner now, maybe a runner without a net but a runner still. Gone is that 415 pound man that could barely walk a mile and a half along with the 170 pounds I shed in becoming a runner. I AM A RUNNER, now help me find my net I seemed to have misplaced it somewhere.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Road Runner returneth

I may have had my roughest week ever in my weight loss journey this pass week and not because I gained any weight but simply because I was unable to workout or train for most of that week. I have accepted I might not lose much more weight and even though I would like to lose another twenty pounds it just might not be possible with the excess skin I have from going from 415 pounds to 244 pounds not without surgery to remove that skin. So for me the last three months its all about maintaining and to have a week where you can't workout is very frustrating.

It all started a week ago last Sunday when after and eight mile run (I am training for my first ever half marathon on November 6th and trust me anything with the word marathon in it is so very super sexy even if its just a half) I came home limping a little in my right foot. Not too worried about it I still took Monday off as we went out to dinner even though the foot felt fine the next day. But then after a three mile run on Tuesday I was severely limping for the next three days. I was not able to run and all sorts of horror stories start running through your head, do I have bone spurs they are hereditary and my Dad and Grandma had them what to do what to do.

Well after a little research I came to the conclusion it just might be my shoes, really your shoes the ones you have ran 500 miles on cmon you can't be serious right. Well the shoes while nice Nike's were not running shoes so we decided to go get me a pair of Nike running shoes. And I never knew the difference real running shoes could make. It is a night and day difference and so amazingly fantastic the difference. But at the same time I got the flu around Thursday and despite being pretty sick on Saturday I so wanted to try out my new shoes and go for a run that I did.

Bad mistake. Around mile two I found myself puking all over some poor businesses wall and had to walk the rest of the way home. This put me out of commission for another two days and all of a sudden I had ran twice in nine days and one I came up limping and the other I came up puking.

Well today for the first time in a long time I felt good and decided to go for another run. Finally healthy again I decided to do three miles my normal easy every day run. Well I got to three miles and it seemed way to easy and I was feeling so fantastic I did another two miles and had it not been ten o clock at night I might have done another five miles.

After not running for a week I had so much adrenaline pumping through me after five miles I was literally dancing in my living room afterwords. I could have never imagined a year and half ago running five miles and being so full of energy I felt like I could run another five and find myself dancing in my living room in such a good mood.

God how I love running now, you might be amazed where your journey might take you if you go on it. You might find yourself having just run five miles and with so much energy that you are dancing in your very living room. Oh and I love my running shoes oh how I love them.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Small Victories and plateauing

Its been a rough couple of last weeks, I haven't really lost any weight since mid June despite the fact that I have gotten in at least 30 minutes of cardio 13 days in a row and 21 of the last 23. So i am struggling with the heat but still getting in my workouts and even in that time I have ran to 10k and numerous 5ks. I did join the pool so thats a nice change of pace when its so hot out but its frustrating to not lose weight for over 2 weeks. I have been bouncing between 250 and 254 the last couple of weeks. I feel like its way to early to be plateauing as I still have forty more pounds to go before I want to be done. I would be happy with maintaining if I was at my goal weight I don't want to maintain in the 250's though.

So I am going to celebrate the small victories right now. When your overweight there is so many things you can't do that you can when your thinner. First off is booths at restaurants you just don't fit. You can squeeze in and have your stomach hanging over the table but it's so uncomfortable and kind of humiliating. You always have to ask for the table and sometimes the waitress just takes you right straight to a booth without even asking and you have to have her redirect you to a table. It is so nice to not have to worry about something that small and silly anymore.

Secondly we went to Fiesta Fun for my wives nieces birthday a couple weeks ago. They have go carts and bumper boats and minigolf. I actually took my wife on out first date there almost six years ago and we road the gocarts. Two years ago I went there on a company party and I was too big to ride the gocarts anymore and I tried the bumper boats instead but I was so big that it barely moved and I had to get off humilated before the ride was even over. Well that is no longer a problem as we rode the gocarts and I fit perfectly in face I fit better than I did six years ago and we had a blast.

Thirdly the pool. three years ago I tried to use the pool to lose weight and since I didn't weigh myself back then I have no idea if I was successful at all. But when I use to swim in the deep end to do laps I could not pull myself out of the pool I would have to swim to the little ladder to get out of the pool. Now when I go swimming I can pull myself out no problem it is so liberating. Plus you get a lot less looks at 250 pounds then at 415 when you go to the pool as I refused to be one of those fat people that swam with a shirt on because they were embarrassed I knew I was fat and wasn't going to make swimming uncomfortable by hiding it with a shirt. Now I don't get those looks anymore it is so very nice.

So those are my three small victories for the last couple of weeks, booths, fitting in the gocarts and pulling myself out of the pool that will have to tide me over tell I lose more weight.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Wheeling and Dealing

At my local gym I go to they have posters up as kind of a promotional affair with peoples before and after stories. Last week I offered to do one of their posters and be a poster child if they hooked my wife up with a free membership along with mine and the owner went for it.

So I wrote my before and after story this morning:

Every journey starts with a single step, in January of 2009 I got tired of being overweight and I took that first step. With a new baby on the way it was about time I started as I had not always been overweight, I had put on 10-20 pounds every year over a decade. So I could remember a time when I was relatively fit and healthy and I wanted to get back to that. I applied for the biggest loser and figured I could work out while I waited to see if I made the television show (I even attended a boot camp held by former biggest loser contestants). I began slow mostly walking and some minor cardio with squat thrusts and using the wii at home. As time went by and I got stronger and more healthy I used Rezults to add in weight training and to better my overall fitness. At one time I used to get such bad shin splints from walking 1.6 miles that it would incapacitate me for a half hour after words, now I run a 5k (3.1 miles) almost everyday followed by a half hour of weight training. I have lost 165 pounds in eighteen months and still have around 40-50 more to go and with the help of Rezults I will get there.

and I haven't decided on my before and after pictures yet, I thought of using my pictures with Sionne from the two times I met him (but I was down almost 40 pounds when the before picture was taken).

I also thought of taking a new photo for my after as I have lost a little weight since that photo was taken in May, I guess I will just have to decide later. But wheeling and dealing pays dividends.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Summer Heat and Limits

I have been contemplating what it would be like to be on the biggest loser at this very moment. Currently they are shooting season 10 somewhere in California that will air sometime this September and as I struggled this week I wondered how if they are struggling there too. This week has been one of the single hardest weeks working out for me during the last eighteen months. Its been hot and our Air Conditioner was on the fritz for four days this week meaning I have been hot and miserable all week and lacking in energy. I have had to force myself to work out every single this day and everyday when I got the gym it was so hard to press that start button. So I wondered how those Biggest Loser contestants fought the heat, fought through their own personal walls and what Bob and Jillian do to combat the heat and those days when your energy level is oh so very low. I like to swim but I have a gym membership right now and haven't renewed my pool membership meaning it costs me $4 every time I got to the pool that's in addition to the money I already pay for a gym membership. I have hit the pool the last two Saturday's and lost 2 pounds both days, I think my body reacts well to a change in routine and using different muscle groups (I am thinking of going to the pool again tomorrow).

Which brings me to limits its very interesting to see Jillian yell and scream someone past their limits and I wonder where I am on that front. I know I am not taking it easy my workouts are very intense and they have got more and more difficult as time has gone by. I think that is what part of my problem is this summer is the fact that my workouts are so much more intense now then they were a year ago I just don't know how far past my limits I am pushing myself. I have never had a personal trainer or anyone yelling at me to push it harder or just a little further it has all been on my soldiers. I think I am doing a good job as it would be easy for me to just set the treadmill at a 4.0 and walk my 5k everyday but instead I force myself to run as far as I can go everyday and always to try and improve my best time. There was a time when walking 1.5 miles used to give me such bad shin splints that I was incapacitated for a half hour afterwords now I can run an 8 minute mile and run 3.1 miles in just a little over what it took me to do 2.0 miles just 8 months ago. So I know I am pushing myself but I wonder what it would be like to have Jillian yelling behind me could I push it just a little further just a little faster.

I wonder if those who have personal trainers do push themselves a little further, I wonder what campus life is like on the Biggest Loser but I still keep plugging even when it takes every ounce of my will power to force myself to go to the gym.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Clothes Shopping

For anyone who has been bigger they will testify that clothes shopping is not very fun. I live on a town that is only 75,000 people big which means there are no big and tall stores and the only store to offer Big and tall sizes is JC Penny and trust me there selection is so minimalistic (like one rack maybe two) that if you actually find something that fits and looks nice at the same time you should just dance a jig right there in the store. That means if you want clothes you have to drive to get them or order them from a catalog. The drive is four hours each way (Las Vegas is closer but we almost always went to Salt Lake instead because we have family up there) so getting clothes is a once a year event and very pricey. Pricey for several reasons the first being that they charge twice to three times if not more as much for bigger clothes coupled with the fact that you have to fill your car up three times and leave town for an entire 2-3 days to get them.

So clothes shopping when your 415 pounds is an absolute nightmare and something that happens ohhh so very rarely. If you find something you like and that fits you wear that sucker tell it has as many holes as swiss cheese, screw one hole, holes can be ignored until the shirt is falling apart at the seams. There is so little that fits and looks good too, I had a couple shirts I really like but that barely fit so much I popped the bottom button many times on them as they strained against my stomach but you have so little that fits that you can't just give up on them.

This weekend had to be my best clothing weekend ever though. On Friday I boxed up all my fat people clothes hopefully forever. Oh what a feeling that was to try on clothes that used to barely fit and that I had popped off buttons before straining to stay in them and now to have them as big as circus tents on me. To take that shirt that barely fit and now is three sizes too big and throw it in a box and say begone with you was so very wonderful. I have heard some people say I should throw them away or give them to good will but I just can't do it. All the pain and effort that it took to get those clothes and all the money spent I just can't part with them. Plus there is always that part of your mind that screams what if you gain the weight back you may need these again someday. I doubt I will ever put the weight back on (I gained it 10-20 pounds over ten years so at least it would take awhile right) as I now know what I have to do to keep it off and lose it but still there is that part of me that won't part with them. Just like that part that still buys clothes too big (yes I bought a tshirt in February that is too big because I bought it one size bigger than I should have) because you want clothes that are comfortable and it was so hard to find clothing like that. So for now the box rests at the bottom of closet lurking for a day that I hope never comes again.

Then on Sunday my wife took me out clothes shopping as part of my fathers day gift as I needed a new dress shirt and wanted a new pair of shorts or pants that fit (I bought two pairs of pants in February that are also too big now). And for the first time in I don't even know how long (8 years maybe) we shopped in the normal stores and bought normal sized clothes. That didn't stop me from heading to the big and tall section when we went to JC Penny though until it donned on me that I could actually shop in the rest of the men's section and not in that tiny little portion reserved for the fat. Oh the wonders of shopping in the normal people sections, more options and ohhh so much cheaper too. I managed to get three new shirts and a pair of shorts for $40 which is what a nice shirt would have cost me by itself in the days of 6x shirts.

What a great weekend, clothes shopping is no longer the nightmare it used it be.

The Magic Pill

If tomorrow they came out with a magic pill that would instantly let you lose weight with zero effort the lines would be around the block at the pharmacy. But the problem is there is no magic pill. There is no secret. There is no magic diet. There is only shortcuts and the right way. The problem with diets, and the shortcuts is that they don't work forever because you are not finding the right way to not only lose the weight but keep the weight off forever. Sure you can go get on that HCG diet and eat only 500 calories a day while injecting yourself with steroids since you just became anorexic and the weight will just fly off just like the money will fly out of your wallet too. But the moment you come off that diet the weight will come home again as all you did was send it on an expensive vacation. You can go spend thousands of dollars and get numerous crazy surgeries lap band, gastric bypass and even liposuction but you are no healthier after than you were before. You won't be able to run that mile or even do a sit-up better than you could before.

So then what is the right way, how do I find that weight loss without having to take a shortcut or cheat. The answer is so simple that your probably already knew it, burn more calories than you are eating. And the great part about that is that it is so simple that you can do it your own way and customize it to work for you. Say your like me and you love food and the thought of a diet seems likes death well no problem I will just workout harder at the gym, I will run that extra mile on the treadmill and burn that extra 200 calories. Or maybe you just don't have as much time for the gym as you would like well no problem maybe you will only eat half a portion of that yummy meal and skip that extra mile on the treadmill. The trick is too put the effort you want into it to gain the results you so desperately want. If you eat whatever you want and never work out or put some effort into losing or maintaining the weight you will always be looking for that magic pill or that awesome diet that is so going to work this time around.

I have lost 164 pounds in eighteen months and I am constantly asked how did it I do it, well simple I burned more calories than I was eating. I made small but manageable changes to my diet and work my butt off in the gym. But I will give a few tips here, a few things that might work for you on your journey.

#1 If you can give up empty calories, soda pop, coffee, tea basically anything you drink that has no nutritional value to you. Water is better for you, so much better for you and you are not wasting 100-200 calories on something you drink you can save those calories for the food you eat. And after awhile you won't even miss it. I was addicted to Dr Pepper it was my drug of choice and yet I haven't had one in eighteen months and I don't even miss it. Take your body weight divide it by two and that is how many ounces of water everyday you should be drinking so if you weigh 300 pounds you should be drinking 150 ounces of water every single day. Does that mean you have to give up soda forever, no, if you can great if not reduce it as much as you can. When you got to dinner order a soda and a water that way your less tempted to get a refill on the soda as you can drink the water too.

#2 Snacking, oh how we all love to snack 4pm, 10pm, midnight, whenever. Snacking is where we gain a lot of our weight and something that is easy to change. You don't want to not snack what you want to do is snack better that way you still get your snack and aren't as hungry at dinner time. Carrots, grapes, apples, oranges, nuts, yogurt all make great snacks as they are easy and quick and so much better for you. Snacking is a great way to get in your fruits and vegetables for the day and then you don't have to sacrifice your dinner on calories wasted snacking.

#3 Find alternatives. Love potato chips (I sure do) why not try the baked chips, love ranch dressing buy the light kind. Small things like that add up your not giving up what you like just finding alternatives. Like tostinos pizzas flip the box over and look at the fat content. Say the pizza has 300 calories but 150 calories from fat that's not a good thing but there is another flavor you like and it has 320 calories but only 100 calories are from fat go with that kind even though it has the higher calories its got a lot less calories by fat. The lower the fat content percentage the better off you are and its such a simple thing to look for.

#4 Workout, notice I didn't say go to the gym because you don't need a gym membership to lose weight all you need is some hard work and effort. I lost my first 105 pounds without ever stepping foot in a gym and doing it all at home, I only joined a gym because I needed the weights to do toning for the excess skin and once I am done toning the gym will likely go away again. If you have to drive a half hour to the gym then work out then drive the half hour back home that is an hour you wasted that could have been spent more productively. If the gym is more than a 5 minute drive you are better off spending that time at home working out rather than driving. Go for a walk, or a run, do sit-ups, I love the Wii and the EA Active and the Cardio boxing I did that for six months, do jumping jacks or my favorite squat thrusts. Buy your self a pair of 5 pound weights squat to the floor with them, then bring them back up to a bicep curl then thrust them over your head, rinse and repeat over and over. Its a great workout that can be done from your living room while watching TV and works multiple muscle groups and all it will cost you is less than $20 for the two weights.

#5 Push yourself and make goals. You don't need a Jillian Michael's yelling at you to accomplish something all you need is to find away to push yourself and goals are a great way to do that. My goal was at first to run a mile under 11 minutes, then under 10, then under 9 and now I want to run one under 8. Notice how I didn't start with saying I want to run a mile under 8 minutes now I started realistically saying I want one under 11 snd then worked myself to the point where I could run an 8 minute mile. Make your goals something that is hard but not too hard that you give up on them and then just keep making new goals. My new goal is I want to run a 5k in under 30 minutes, I can run an 8 minute mile but I can't keep it up for 3.1 miles so my goal is to turn that 8 minutes into maintaining it for an entire 5k.

Know where you want to go and find a way to get there. And just keep sweating it off.