A geek, a laptop, and some spare time.

Archive for the ‘Weight Loss’ Category

Testicles in the Wind

Warning: Don't look down!

Warning: Don’t look down!

From time to time, I’ve been getting my blog on about my efforts to lose some weight. One of the most important things that I have learned along the way is that most of weight loss comes down to diet, not exercise. That’s not to say that exercise isn’t necessary or useful, but the lion’s share of my weight loss has come down to paying a bit more attention to what goes in my mouth.  (Feel free to make your own jokes here. Go ahead, I’ll wait.)

In the past, I’ve approached weight loss with a very heavy emphasis on exercise. At one point in our past, Angie and I joined a gym in a failed attempt to battle the bulge.  For me, it was mostly an endless nightmare of sweat, elliptical machines, and near limb-loss at the hands of various pieces of overly complicated exercise equipment. But I did learn one very important lesson:

If I never see another old, naked, fat man blow drying his crotch, I’ll be OK.

I don’t know what possesses a man to blow dry his nether region. I’ve toyed with theories as varied as sacred grooming rituals, childhood trauma related to severe jock itch, or a colossal misinterpretation of the written directions that come with hair dryers. Whatever the cause, I have to wonder why they all kept doing it in front of me. And without wanting to sound overly judgemental, why on God’s green Earth were they all so…   portly?

At any given, time there were between 5 and 35 people working out at the same time I was.  Of those, the great majority looked so fit that I would have not have been at all surprised to find out they worked out at a second gym just to look that good at our gym. Statistically speaking, sooner or later I should have walked into the locker room to find a Hercules wafting heated air at his secondary beard. But it never happened. They were always chubby, old, and disturbingly naked.

For awhile I thought it might have something to do with balding. Most offenders were chrome-dome types, and I thought that maybe they just missed the thrill-filled exhilaration that comes with blow drying. I was even concerned that my hair loss might one day lead me down the same path. But then I saw what can only be described as an aging, overweight Sasquatch performing his own rendition of “no wet ball left behind”. Theory, and retinas, blown.

But as odd as the blow drying down under is, I’m willing to overlook it. What I can’t overlook is the plethora of old, fat, naked guys strutting about. Being a man of girth myself, I’ve always tried to do my part to screen the world from my “vast expanses”. It seems only polite. But these fellows never seemed to be aware of the spectacle they were creating.

And believe me, it was a spectacle. Because they weren’t just strutting about, sans clothes or towel. No, that would have been bad enough. Just to up the ante a bit, they often found reasons to bend over. It’s as if once they were naked, they became extremely obsessed with getting a good, close-up look at their toes. Or perhaps they were all tile floor and grout enthusiasts. Regardless, at least once a week, I’d find myself in a locker room full of old, fat, naked men alternatively blow drying their waistlines and bending over to do various questionable tasks.

I can’t be certain, but I imagine that is what a ballet in hell looks like.

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Weight Loss Check In #1

We’ve reached the beginning of a new month, and that seems like a good time to check in on my plan to downsize the geek. I just finished week number 7 on Weight Watchers, so let’s go to the chart:

After 7 weeks I'm down 16.8 lbs!

After 7 weeks I’m down 16.8 lbs!

After 7 weeks, I’m down from a mind-numbing weight of 372.4 pounds to a slightly less panic-inducing 355.6 pounds. Obviously I still have a lot of work to do, but all things being equal, I’m happy with my progress. Even better, I’m happy with the steady continuation of progress week after week.

If you take another gander at the chart, you’ll notice a nasty bit of yo-yoing during weeks 1 and 2 on the plan. Midway through our first week on the Weight Watchers, both Angie and I came down with something that I not-so-cheerfully referred to as the “Black Death.” (Angie says we caught a stomach bug, but I know the plague when it has me in its evil clutches.)

Neither of us could keep food down, which as it turns out, is a hell of a diet strategy. I lost 6 pounds that first week. By the end of the next week I had recovered, and so did my weight. I actually ended up gaining 3 pounds. But since then, my weight has been on a steady decline.

This past week was actually my smallest weight loss to date, down only 1.2 pounds. But in reviewing the week, I had to eat out a total of 5 times. I also had to survive the candy-strewn gauntlet that is Easter. After all of that, I’m more than happy with a loss of 1.2 pounds.

I have to say, the Weight Watchers Online program is really working for me. The iPhone apps are killer, and have really been integral to my success. I always have my phone, so I’m never without the tools to work the plan.

Now if I could just find an iPhone app that cleans the house, I’d be all set.

Downsizing the Geek

Geek vs Scale

Geek vs Scale

I’m a big geek, both figuratively and literally. As of last month, I tipped the scales at hefty 372 lbs. Hefty, chunky, rotund…  pick your wince-worthy adjective for fat, and it fits the bill. I’m a big boy, and I have been for almost all of my life.

Being overweight sucks, and I don’t have a convenient excuse. I can’t claim that I’m big-boned. (I’ve seen too many of my own x-rays.) To the best of my knowledge I don’t have a thyroid issue. At no time in my working memory have I been held at gunpoint and forced to over eat. Alas, I have only myself to blame.

Being addicted to food is a real bitch, and I’ll tell you why. If you are an alcoholic, quitting the booze is possible. Ditto if you’re a smoker. You can, at any time, choose to throw Joe Camel aside and carry on sans nicotine. But eating isn’t optional. Not eating is, as the medical professionals would say, a condition that is not compatible with life.

So I don’t have the option to quit. Instead, I have to learn to moderate. To make better nutritional choices. Can you imagine asking the same of an alcoholic?

“Bob, you can only drink three beers a day, and try to make them light, OK?”

I’m guessing the success rate on that would be lower than ideal.

If going cold turkey (excuse the pun) on eating is out, what’s left? You’ve got your quack remedies. To me, these are absurd on their face. As I often tell my wife, if it worked, they wouldn’t have to buy late night infomercial time to sell it. People would be storming their offices to buy it.

On the slightly less shady side of the street, you have a variety of over the counter diet drugs. They supposedly suppress the appetite while giving the dieter plenty of energy. I’ve tried them. I’m not a big pill guy, and I’m even less of one when I can discern no difference in my appetite with or without the pills. And while I can’t speak for any energy gain, they did give me a noticeable caffeine headache.

At the top of the respectable pharmaceutical food chain are the prescription drugs. They come with fancy names, lots of peer-reviewed studies, and the nasty habit of causing various fatal side effects. I sometimes wonder if ambulance chasing attorneys pay to bring these drugs to market just so they have something to sue over.

That leaves us with the classics: Diet and exercise. Allow me to start with the latter. Did you know that a pound of fat contains about 3,500 calories? And using a little of that College Algebra I so despised, I am able to calculate that in order to lose a pound, you need to burn about 3,500 calories.

Another fun fact: Did you know that a runner that weighs 200 lbs will burn about 3,480 calories running a full length marathon? That means that if that person wanted to lose 5 pounds, they’d have to run 5 marathons!

Friends, allow me to assure you, I am not in marathon shape. And given my need to lose about 185 lbs, just finding that many marathons to run in would prove problematic.

So, that brings us all the way back to where we started. Food. Diet. Damn…

I’ve tried doing diets on my own with little success. I do well at first, and then I get to looking at all the wonderful food choices I’m abstaining from, and I give up. Or worse, I stick to it, but the scale refuses to move downwards.

But life is short, and my weight is making it shorter all the time. So this time I’m doubling down on a diet. First, my wife is doing this with me, step by step. I will sacrifice many a snack or treat not to let her down. Second, I’m doing a sound, medically reviewed and recommended diet. That way I have someone to sue later. (Kidding!)

That’s right, friends and neighbors, Angie and I are on Weight Watchers.

We both signed up for the Weight Watchers Online program. No meetings, and cool apps for the iPhone that make sticking with it dead simple. And unlike any diet I’ve ever been on, it has a clear and defined plan for teaching you what and how to eat long-term. It is quite interesting, and I plan on writing more about it in the future, if only so I have someplace to grumble.

We’ve been on it for a little over a month, and thus far, it’s been very good. I’m down 11 pounds, which is nothing to sneeze at. I’ll keep you updated. And with any luck, there will be a little less geek around here. I promise, that would be a good thing.

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