Thursday, December 15, 2011

As I near 100

I don't know exactly when I'll hit the 100 pounds lost, or if, for that matter, I already have.  It's truly irrelevant because my original goal was never to lose weight.  But as I near the point where I weighed myself at my heaviest, which was after about two months of diet and exercise where I'd lost a very measurable amount of weight, I thought I'd share some things that I've noticed, learned and experienced.

Originally I started blogging to chronicle those very experiences.  But, now, in hindsight, some things are quite different. 

There is nothing special about me, save one thing:  I can pick a great wife.  That's the only thing I have that is truly superior.  I'll spare the details, but the point is, she's helped me a lot just by being supportive and patient with me.  I also mention it because there is no secret to losing weight.  This isn't something that just works for people in group A and if you've tried to lose weight and failed you're in group B.

In this post I'd like to share what I believed help make this attempt successful.  I'm not going to suggest or advise people on things in particular, I'm not an expert at all, but rather just share what worked for me in a general sense.  Also, I'd like to remind you that this is in hindsight.  I didn't know these three things would be important before I started.  But after talking with people and thinking about how things played out, I think these three things were key.

I think I was successful because of three major things.

1.  My goal was simple, appropriate and approachable.

My original goal was simple:  I wanted to be healthier and more active.  I wanted to run, always loved it. I wanted to feel better.

I had tried other motivations like looking better, getting recognition in contests and so on.  But the truth is, while I'm as conceited as the next guy, I'm not really motivated by those things.  The push wasn't strong enough to last more than a few months at the most.
2.  I had an easily executed plan.

My plan was to exercise every day I worked.  So, no exercising on the weekends or holidays.  But if I worked, I'd get up early and do something.  At first this consisted of just walking a few miles, though they're very hilly and even now are exercise for me.

After a few weeks I began to sprinkle in a little running here and there.  Not only was I way out of shape, but I was so heavy (started running at about 290 pounds), that it was murder on my body.  I'd run in the morning and could barely walk the rest of the day, knees looking like balloons.

It was only at this point that weight loss began to become part of my thinking.  And this time, opposed to previously, the weight loss was in support of my original goal, to be healthier and more active.

3.  I kept it to myself, kept it low key.

There is a small scene in John Steinbeck's The Pearl, where the natives are talking and the conversation grows boisterous.  The men are bragging, become full of themselves and their language grows to match how they're feeling.

Kino, if I remember right, thinks to himself that if he speaks his intentions, he'll certainly betray them.  I have found this to be very powerful and true of me.  I certainly can be full of myself, but am usually well-intentioned.  However, I find that if I speak my intentions, I am somehow relieved of the obligation to follow through.

It's similar to someone that says, "I'll be honest with you," or, "I'll do my homework today, I promise."  Most of the time, the people are true in their sentiments, but later their actions drift away from their intentions.   It's just human nature.

The point of it all is, I didn't mention anything to anybody about being healthier for the first month and a half.  I'd say that I went for a walk, or maybe that I was exercising.  I'd share with a friend that I wasn't going to eat a double quarter pounder with cheese today because I wanted to be smarter.  But those came up in natural course of conversation.  I never looked to share news with someone for a while.  I had to own it before I could share it.

There are other factors, of course.  My cousin had started losing weight before I started and I was able to use him as a resource.  I have friends that are athletes and I pick their brains time and again.  My grandfather exercised every work day.  He'd get up at 4 am and lift weights and go on a run.  Unfortunately I never really got to know him as an adult, but I remember how he'd go about his business.  But I had him as a role model.  These made things easier for me.  I didn't have as many things to figure out, no doubts that it could be done.

While I'm doing a lot more now than exercising every work day, and at the moment I'm aggressively cutting weight (for the first time), my goal is still to be healthier and more active.  Right now I'm chasing a weight because it will help me ride and run faster...and I want to race!

A picture is worth one thousand

I hope you find this informative and encouraging.  The key to losing weight for me is this:  The goal is to be healthier, the weight will follow.


  1. Pretty damn impressive losing 100lbs man! I've lost about 70lbs so far through running but I am finding it very difficult to lose the last 10!

    You have inspired me to try a little harder and lay off the Oreos (for a while)!

    1. Glad to hear! The last of the weight is always the toughest. But if you've dropped 70, what's another 10? The big work is done, good job!