Friday, February 3, 2012

Day of Reckoning

I stepped on the bathroom scale last night. The scale groaned in agony and I recoiled in surprise at the reading on the display.

I believe that I'm now heavier than I've been at any point in my life and certainly at any point since the summer of 2001. In terms of fitness, I've a long way to fall to get to that point, since by that summer I'd also taken a long hiatus from lifting (or at least lifting more than once a week), was not doing any cardio at all, and spent my free time away from my sedentary job playing lots of video games and drinking beer almost every weeknight with the friend from college that I shared an apartment with. I haven't run in almost a month, but I can still handle some good cardio right now. In the summer of 2001, I was gasping for breath if I walked up a flight of stairs.

I think I gained most of this weight on vacation. That's ok. You don't go to an all-inclusive resort to practice restraint. But three days after getting home, when I went to the doctor for my follow-up visit for my leg problems, a pair of shorts (I know it was January, but I figured it would be easier for him to look at my legs) that had fit when I tried them on prior to vacation proved way too small and the scale at the doctor's office displayed a shockingly high number, I should have been a little more concerned.

  • "It's just vacation weight. I gained it quickly and it'll come off quickly."

  • "Of course I'm weighing in as heavier than usual. I'm wearing jeans, shoes, and a sweatshirt."
That number was no lower when I went last week for bronchitis.

  • "Of course. I haven't been working out enough since I have bronchitis."

  • "I've been lifting again. Muscle weighs more than fat."

As you can see, the excuses came easy.

I've felt better this week, and have gone back to the gym, had good workouts on the stationary bike and elliptical (both made much more bearable by the Kindle Fire) and I've done an excellent job through December and January getting back in the habit of lifting.

But the Nike pro combat shirt I was wearing seemed a little tighter than it should, and so I wearing a sleeveless shirt, shorts, and no shoes, stepped on the bathroom scale last night. While the number wasn't as high as the scale at the doctor's read last week, it was considerably higher than I expected.

My diet isn't great -- it never has really even been good. I still eat like I have the thermonuclear metabolism I had from the time I was born until I got to college, when it was very hard for me to put on any weight at all while I was growing up. Sounds great, right? It certainly had its good points. Eating pretty much whatever I wanted to was awesome. Being a male high-school junior who weighed 90lbs...not as awesome.

That metabolism is long gone. Instead, I've paid for my many indulgences on the roads of Manchester and York Haven, and on the Rail Trail. But..I'm probably not going to be running any
13-milers any time soon. I made changes after the summer of 2001, and I'm going to make some changes now.
To be honest, I don't want my diet to be great. I don't like to talk about my job on this blog, but the last year has been the most stressful year of work of my life. One of my favorite moments of the week is that first sip of beer on Friday night, especially if it's accompanied by delicious, delicious pizza. Right now, I'm not willing to give up that cheesesteak or burger on Saturday night. I love bar food too much.

And while not ideal, I don't think that's the real problem, either. The problem is my worse-than-usual eating during the day on weekdays. A breakfast of cereal, a banana and coffee...that's followed by two Pop-Tarts (they're packaged in twos, they're supposed to eaten like that); "I'm running errands at lunch...I'll just stop at Sheetz" (It's impossible for me to go to Sheetz and resist Combos -- huge bags that I eat in two days -- and practically illegal to go there and not get chocolate chip cookies.).

(Read this in voice of Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise.)

"The line must be drawn here."

(Ok, back to your normal voice now. Or whatever you imagine my voice sounding like...which is probably an improvement over what it really sounds like.)

Goodbye Pop-Tarts. Goodbye Combos. Goodbye Sheetz chocolate-chip cookies. I'll miss you most of all.

Hello carrots & celery as my Sheetz side-order and salads for lunch with no salty snacks or desserts. Hello, West Shore YMCA. And in about a week, hello running.

I've got a number in my head. When that number shows up on the scale, we'll see if can I learn moderation.

But I won't put off Judgement Day any longer.


  1. A lot of people can relate to this post!

  2. If I were you, I'd give up everything except the Friday night beer and pizza. I think I could do without Pop Tarts and those disgusting pizza pretzel things (I had a bad experience with pizza-flavored snacks once, and the sight of them still makes me feel nauseous), but my week just wouldn't be complete without Friday night beer and bar food. Good luck with the diet. I'm really dreading the day that my high metabolism gives out on me.

  3. Thanks! That's what I'm trying. So I'm sure I'll weigh a little more each Monday than I weighed the previous Friday, but as long as there's an overall downward trend!