Heavy Duty – Week Two Report

It has been a tough week. Second weeks can be like that. I increased my running my ten minutes a day and I have taken care to run a deficit of calories everyday, some more than others. I stepped on the scale today expecting to see at least 1.5 pounds lost. I didn’t.

I lost .70 of a pound. It’s something. BUT there are other indicators that I am moving in the right direction. The running is getting easier. My legs feel less flabby. I was able to use an extra notch on my belt today and my overall energy is doing better. Also, I am wearing an extra large shirt today and it’s not clinging to me, which is a small victory.

My journey won’t be an overnight story. I know I am in for the long haul. Even though I didn’t break a pound this week…if I have this small rate of loss, I will get where I am going, just not super fast. It took me 13 years to go from 218 to 295. The journey back may take as much time, though I hope not.

Heavy Duty – Pushing Through

I didn’t want to work out yesterday. I was sore. I was tired. I felt defeated by how I looked in the mirror. My brain started to go in circles of doubt. It found new ways to try to convince me to not workout. It was day two of the next level in my running program and I just didn’t feel like it.

BUT… I told myself to try. To get in the gym, get on a treadmill and try. This week has been run/walk intervals of 2 minutes running, 1 minute walking on an incline. I could feel my legs and core remembering what they were once able to do so easily. Just one more interval, I told myself. Just one more. I remembered how I had taken four months to get ready for my first 5K…how I would run up mountains in Vermont…how good it felt to be able to throw down an “easy” 4 mile run on a Saturday…I did it before. I am doing it again. One more interval.

I finished my training and had gone 2.5 miles. My legs felt strong and my heart wasn’t beating out of control. Sure, I was a sweaty mess, but I did it.

Today is my rest day. I am walking my goal of 10K steps, but no heavy cardio. A day to prepare for the next round of intervals, tomorrow.

Heavy Duty – Week One Report

Friends,

It has been a little over a week since I began to challenge myself to get off my butt and start to take control of my weight. In that time I have walked and/or run a total of 32 miles. I have been limiting my portions and increasing my water intake. I try to get up from my desk at work at least once every hour for a few minutes of walking (drinking lots of water helps with this) and I am feeling more energetic at my job. I even took a few rest days from heavy cardio and that helps a lot too.

The biggest news is my 4.5lbs weight loss this week. Granted, it is the first week and usually when you make a change like this one’s body tends to respond with, “Hey, let’s drop some water weight.” Regardless, it is encouraging. Even if I lost .5 pounds I would be happy (and I know those days are coming).

Thanks to everyone who has been encouraging me and sending notes via facebook and twitter. It makes the journey easier.

Let’s keep moving forward together folks! Another update coming next week.

Heavy Duty – Losing is Winning.

Om Nom Nom...

Om Nom Nom…No more.

Last week it finally clicked in my brain, I need to lose the fat on my bones. I know what needs to be done, but I needed a tool to help me accomplish my goals. Let me give a little background information first…

(TL:DR I have been fat for a while. Various things didn’t work; one thing did but I gave up. Now I have a tool and a plan to lose the weight. Will you help me along the way?)

For all of my adult life I have been obese. While I have ridden up and down the scale of obesity from a “borderline healthy, mild obesity” in my late teens to today’s “Oh my Lord, why don’t you have pre-diabetes, morbid obesity.” Some of this is due to college (a nice freshman 25), some due to emotional eating, some due to beer, and some due to my depression medication. Three of these things I can control. I have just chosen to focus on other things than my own health… Part of this stems from my clinical depression telling me “you’re already fat, this burrito won’t make a difference.”

Three years ago I was arguably the healthiest I have ever been since I wrestled in High School in 1998-9. I was running a great deal (doing a 10k run on the weekends) and when I went to a friend’s wedding, noticed that the suit I had been measured for five months prior was several inches too big for me. It felt good. Then…I stopped. Not only stopped running, I stopped caring about the food I ate and portion sizes. I preferred sitting on the couch to running through the woods. I would still run from time to time, even doing a 10K race in 2012…but that proved to be my last running event.

Now I am spitting distance to 300 pounds. All of my blood work tells me that I am a healthy man in a fat suit, but this doesn’t motivate me to lose the weight. What does motivate me are an increasing list of worrying things. I can feel more pain in my knees when I kneel down and get short of breath from tying my shoes. My back hurts from carrying things a short distance and stairs sometimes scare me. I am in my early 30s. Sure, the aches and pains of being an adult will be coming on gradually, but I don’t need to be struggling this early. Plus, I don’t see many happy fat people in their 70s…

In January I made the first step. Kristin, my wife, was pregnant with our son, Oliver. I knew I wanted to lose weight to be a healthy example to him and to live to see his 30s. I took advantage of the Weight Watchers New Years offer to join their monthly online service. The first month I lost like crazy as I felt my energy returning and excitement to get on the scale to see how much had melted, even a half pound…then the app started guilting me because of how much I was losing. Saying it was dangerous, even though my doctors said I was healthy and could sustain an aggressive regimen. The app would remind me daily to eat all of my points, even my banked activity points and the flex points… So I did. And the weight loss stopped. I stopped feeling motivated to get on the stationary bike or to walk if those points weren’t going toward melting the fat. I gave up.

It is really easy to ignore an app. Easy to trick myself into thinking that “I’ll log that later” and “I’m sure I’m within my point limit.” Easy, when I stopped getting on the scale for fear of what it would tell me.

At the very end of May, Oliver was born. He ushered in a season of busy life. One with little sleep and little sense of trying to eat healthy. Around that time, I did join Planet Fitness and started to work out a little each week (PF gets a lot of hate from people who want to use the gym to bulk up and call it the McDonalds of gyms…BUT for a guy who needs to get his heart rate up and lose some weight, 10 bucks a month is super affordable). I wasn’t taking control of my weight. I wasn’t owning it.

Last week was the last straw for me. The Weight Watchers app was dusty. I didn’t feel like I could be aggressively in control of my transformation. Therefore, I found a new tool. Another, not-so-perfect, tool to help me reach my goal. I purchased a fitbit flex and thus far it has been what I needed all along.

The fitbit costs less than 8 months of Weight Watchers online and will last me until I reach my goal. The strap is always on my wrist, reminding me of my commitment. The app tracks ALL movement through the day and helps me realize how much sleep I get and how restful it is. I feel more than motivated to reach DAILY exercise goals and to take that walk instead of playing a video game.

Why am I telling the world about this? Because I need your help. I will be posting updates on my journey here as I reach goals, run races, and change my food habits. I need the help of friends to encourage me to not drink that second beer and to not encourage me to take more of any dessert. I will be posting some before photos soon and progress pictures as I go.

My weight loss goals: my first goal is to be at 250 by 2015, that’s about 35 pounds away. My next goal is 225 by this time next year. My ultimate goal is to reach 190 by my 35th birthday in 2018.

My fitness goals: To run a 5K this fall (zombie run preferred). To run three 10Ks and five 5Ks in 2015. To run a half marathon in 2016. To run a full marathon in 2017.

My plan: Cut back on beer when I have it (usually I will have at LEAST two beers in a sitting). Limit sweets and fried things to once a week, eventually try to make it once a month. Drink a lot of water. Eat more fruits and veggies. Have a caloric deficit each day of at least 100 calories. Walk a few miles a day. Workout 6 days a week (starting with run/walking, moving to jogging, then to long runs), rest from cardio on wednesday. Work in some strength training from TRX twice a week.

So far, so good. I will keep it up if you will help along the way. My future updates probably won’t be this long and comics will be included.

Today is the Greatest Day I’ve Ever Known

I am in a fog this week. My beloved aunt, Nancy, passed away from this world on Sunday. My motivation to work has suffered the last few days. Whenever I sit down to draw, my mind is wrapped in static…the defense mechanisms of grief enshroud me.

So, to help process my thoughts around loss, I will draw and write about it. Working through it the best way I know.

Nancy always supported my dream to be a cartoonist. She enjoyed the silly “comics” I drew as a boy and encouraged me to keep improving. She was there the day I graduated from the Center for Cartoon Studies and she championed some of the first books I illustrated.

I was taught, through her example, to love every moment I am given. Life is too short to worry about tomorrow. I should express love every chance I get to those around me, not overburden them with my regrets or fears. Nancy lived like this until the end. The day before she passed, when the medicine and pain restricted her ability to speak, she struggled to say what she knew I needed to hear, “I love you.”

If I can learn to live my life by some of her examples, I hope to be a blessing to my friends and loved ones as much as she was. I want to live each day concentrating on the blessings in my life and blessing those around me.

A friend of mine in High School introduced me to the wonderful Smashing Pumpkins album, Siamese Dream. I had never listened to it before she gave me a burned version of the album; I, like many others, had only listened to their double-album, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. I didn’t listen to much radio back then and had never heard the song, “Today.” It is clearly one of the most masterful songs on Siamese Dream. While the song’s lyrics can be heard as overwhelmingly dark, I take away a feeling of hope cutting through the darkness.

Today, I feel sadness, depression, joy, and hope. Today is all I have and a gift I have been given. All I have is this short period of time to do what I can to leave something of worth in this world. I have to believe and live like today, and everyday, is the greatest I have ever known.

A comic about my emotional experiences this week will be coming shortly.