Laughing Right Out Loud

Monday, April 12, 2010

Ramblings from an Ex-Couch Potato

Ninety-nine days ago, my wife took a shirtless picture of me. When I looked at the image, I was immediately taken aback at how mush weight I had gained over the last several years. Ninety-eight days ago, I decided to do something about it.

On January 3rd, I weighed 293 pounds. I immediately made drastic changes to my diet by cutting out (most) red meat and all fried foods. I cut out sweets and sodas. I replaced all these things with extra fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean servings of white meat and fish. One week later, I had dropped 15.2 pounds. Fired up with the large one-week loss, I convinced myself that I could successfully meet my goal of losing 63 pounds in no time. I figured, "If I lost 15 pounds in one week, this may take 5 or 6 weeks tops". I was sorely wrong as the next week presented an only 2 pound loss followed by a week with a 0.2 pound loss.

This was the point I would normally give up on a "new years resolution" and go have a chesseburger, but I decided I would keep pushing.

Dead of winter. Twenty-five degree weather in Middle Tennessee, I would walk home from work. I only live two-miles away, but I decided I would take a longer route to get more exercise. Then I mixed some running in with it. I'm sure I looked pretty strange to most people that saw me, but I didn't care. I was doing this for me and not for what anyone else thinks of me. I began seeing about a steady 3-pound weekly loss.

I shared my results with my brother and our conversations turned to cycling. Scott has been cycling for a few years now and seems to go almost everywhere on two wheels. I even remember a post on his blog a year or so ago about a vine growing up the antenna on his car because it had set so long without moving. Scott graciously offered me his well-maintained Trek 7300 hybrid to introduce me to the sport of cycling. A few weeks later, he visited Tennessee and brought the bike to me. That week, we took a couple of short rides and I became immediately hooked. I have since acquired an additional bike, a 2002 Fuji Finest that was very gently used by its previous owner.

Cycling has quickly become my favorite form of exercise. Although, I have worked strength training and a little running into my regimen, there is nothing like getting out on a winding country road with the sun beating down and pushing yourself to go even faster and longer than your previous ride. In the middle of March, I made the transition to clipless pedals and now seek out rides with hills to climb just so I can see how much extra power the clipless pedals allow me to put forth.

Cycling has become a bit of a bandwagon in my house. My wife, who has experienced her own 20+ pound loss during this time has recently acquired a brand new Trek 7.1FX and our son, just last week, got his first "real" bike - a Trek MT200. Our daughter got a new discount store bike in December, so she will be the next to upgrade. The entire family is able now to get out at the state parks and ride together on the weekends. Tims Ford State Park has 5 miles of hilly paved trails. Last weekend, we got out and rode it all 3 times and I am sure that will become a regular thing for us during the spring and summer months.

Back to my loss, the old Jason regularly had blood pressure of 195/140 (dangerous, I know). Last night, my BP was 125/79. The old Jason had a body mass index of 38.7. Now it is 30.3. The old Jason had a diet of approximately 4,000 calories a day. Now it is around 1,500 consumed and usually a good bit more burned. At 6'1", 232 pounds looks ok on me. But I figure, why stop now? In 5 more pounds, I will be out of the "obese" category that the BMI charts have had me at for most of my adult life. I would have to lose down to 189 to get to what is considered "normal weight" on the BMI chart. I don't think I could get there, but I do think I could get down to 210, or maybe a little less. That would be an 83-pound loss for me and has become my new goal. I never would have thought I could lose 63, but looking back, its been a lot of fun doing so. I have learned a lot about the human body, a lot about exercise, and made a few new friends. I never succumbed to seeing a weight-loss doctor, taking any sort of pills or shots, and never once considered any fad diets. I just put all I had into creating a transformation the good old-fashioned way and never once told myself that I was incapable of succeeding. I look forward to getting the next 22 pounds off and all the miles I will encounter in the process. Who knows, maybe I will even share the "before" and "after" pics after all is said and done.