A Fat Man's Journey (Working my way back…)

An Attempt to Journey from Fat to Fit in a Lifetime. Eat right, Eat less, Move more


Keeping it Going

Living in a hotel room five days out of seven is not a wonderful thing. When the hotel lets you down and the fitness equipment is on the fritz, it is less wonderful. That was my lot in life this past week. The treadmill, the elliptical and the stationary bike all had problems with their electronics and using them was not possible. This drove me half batty.

The answer was to get in extra walking at the factory and wait for the gear to be repaired. Last night I finally got in 40 minutes on the machines. Half an hour on the tread mill and only ten minutes on the stationary bike. SO I feel like a lump today. I need to get in the exercise so I will go to physical therapy tomorrow morning and burn up the stationary bike and get in a good work out. The weather looks favorable for Sunday so I will get in a bike ride Sunday afternoon, try to get in 30 miles. No less than 20 miles.

The idea is to keep it going. Don’t stop, don’t find excuses. DO NOT ACCEPT sitting around….

I am home with the family tonight. Sushi for dinner. It was great.

At work on Wednesday we had a lunch meeting and they brought in pizza. I politely declined. I was offered it again, more urgently. I declined again. I was encouraged to have some… I again said thank you, no. Finally I had to explain that I do not eat pizza. I have had all of two slices in the last 11 months. They all looked at me as if I had grown a purple horn in the middle of my forehead.

Yesterday we had a 10:00 meeting that stretched to 3:00. SO lunch was ordered. Cheese Steak sandwiches. Now I had to explain that I don’t eat red meat. The purple horn grew back……

I am sure they all think I am a nut job. A capable, talented, hard-working nut job but nonetheless….

So easy to simply give in right? Don’t stand out, have the pizza, have the cheese steak…. So much easier to go along to get along… Eating my trail mix bar and yoghurt while other eat pizza or cheese steak sandwiches. But I have a goal and I have a plan to reach that goal and pizza and cheese steak simply do not fit in with my plans to keep it going.

I want to run another mile this weekend. I know it seems like such a small target. One Mile. Big Deal. But even the greatest of marathoners had to start with that first mile. Then the second, soon the third. Soon two miles together and then five.

Losing the weight was the thing. First one pound, then two…. Eat less, eat right, move more. And keep doing it. Keep it going.

I don’t like living in the hotel room for another reason: it is harder to count my calories. I don’t know the exact portion sizes, I don’t know all the ingredients. I found a supermarket called Wegman’s. They have a fantastic array of hot dishes in a self-serve set up. Each dish lists the calories and the serving size. By estimating the weight I take of each item I am able to get a fair guess at the total calories. I have been eating at Wegman’s quite a bit…..

All part of keeping it going.

I never forget that I have to keep it going. Never slip, never give in, never give up. Keep it going.

I am looking for a gym to join. My company pays up to $150 a year per employee for gym membership. That will help make the costs manageable. Joining a gym will give me access to the equipment I need to keep building the strength in my knee and help me keep the fitness building. This will help me keep it all going in the right direction.

When I started this Journey my resting heart rate was 85 beats per minute. My Blood Pressure was a medicated 125/85. Now my resting heart rate is 65 beats per minute and my Blood Pressure is 115/65 on half the dose of medication. I am very optimistic that the doctor will agree to take me off the medication.

I can do things today that I didn’t dare dream of a year ago. I dream things today and know that they are within my reach. Dreams like the High Point to Cape May ride. Dreams like the New Hampshire Hut Hike. These are not pipe dream now, a fantasy somewhere out of sight, out of reach… These are things I can do, things within my reach now. A Century Ride, a Long Hike, a 5 K run. I can do these now, or soon. All I have to do is keep it going.



Hike, Dinner, and Plan

The Hike

PGB and MT took me up on my suggestion that we do a day-hike today. A few emails back and forth and the plans were set: a five-mile hike in Harriman State Park in southern New York State, meet at 10 AM and on the trail by 10:20. We would bring in our lunch and take a leisurely pace to the top of the mountain, enjoy the view, enjoy lunch and hike back along another trail.  This would give me a good workout, the pleasure of the company of good friends and the calm that comes with time in the woods…

And everything went almost exactly as planned. We hiked 5.5 miles in just about 3 hours even, enjoyed the climbs, some of which were quite steep, enjoyed our lunch and enjoyed each other’s company. Except for a nervous moment when MT slipped on some leaves and fell down and slid a few feet, it all went off without a hitch. MT was uninjured and handled it all with calm and grace.

Ne near the peak. The picture can’t show the fierce winds

I packed in a lunch of trail mix bars. They are light, easy to carry in a pocket, tasty and nutritious. The other advantage is I know exactly how many calories I am consuming. Three are also all I need to make for a comfortable lunch for me.

We didn’t stop at the peak for lunch as originally planned. The weather was cold, there were a few snow flurries, and the wind at the peak was howling. We decided to continue on to the leeward side of the mountain to enjoy our meal out of the wind. Perfect. We found a quiet spot on the downhill, large rocks conveniently placed by nature to form a seating area where we could get comfortable, enjoy the food and the conversation.

The view near the Peak. A bit of sunshine off in the distance….

As I hiked I kept waiting for “something” to happen. I kept waiting to feel tired. I kept waiting to feel winded. I was waiting for my body to warn me that it was being pushed too far. Didn’t happen. Though there were a few sections that were very steep at no time did I feel winded, tired, overwhelmed… I was just comfortable in my element, hiking with friends. I am starting to truly believe that I can do the New Hampshire hike next year. I am starting to really understand that I have not the body I had a year ago or even 6 months ago.

At the end of the hike I had a piece of truly delicious apple cake that PGB had made and brought along. Three-hundred and thirty calories a slice. Not bad. The cake was FANTASTIC! I had half a piece and brought the remainder home to Missus. She had skipped lunch and so to my surprise, she ate the cake.  She declared it “WOW!”

A stream through the woods. There are many little scenes like this along the trails

All together a wonderful day. Proud of myself for remembering gloves and wool hat and warm socks. Proud of myself for the condition in which I now find myself. Happy that I can go on these hikes with no fear of not being able to finish or holding back the others.

When I fear that I could slip, that I might start to overeat, that I may get lazy, I think about these things. I think about being able to join friends on a hike, being able to plan a long hike in the White Mountains, being able to plan the High Point-Cape May ride. It re-energizes my commitment. It refocuses my attention on the goal. It gets me back on the plan. Knowing that I can do all these things that so short a time ago were not possible gets my mind right. I know I never want to go back there. I would lose too much of what I hold as precious.

The Dinner

I made my favorite squash tonight, Kabocha, with rice and shrimp and string beans and sundried tomatoes as the side. Excellent, tasty, easy, nutritious, and silly low in calories for the quantity of food consumed. Wonderful!

There is something about eating so tasty a meal and being able to really enjoy it that makes it feel as though I have given nothing up. Learning to cook this way was a challenge but I have grown accustomed to it and I enjoy it. I have discovered parsnips. Finding all sorts of uses for them… Did you know you can dine them and stir-fry them with the onions? Gives a nice flavor to everything. They are also tasty roasted.

Discovery. Love it.

More Plans

I want to do at least one thing for certain this winter: Cross Country Ski. MTT, my close friend from my college years, introduced me to Cross Country Skiing 20+ years ago and now I am getting back to it. Last winter conspired against those efforts when we didn’t get enough snow to ski on. Unlike downhill slopes, cross country trails are not blessed with man-made snow..

I hope I can get MTT out on the trails with me this winter.

I am also committed to continuing my fitness efforts. I want to come out of the winter still in the 190’s and ready for the cycling season so I am planning now how to make that all happen.

Staying with the way I eat now is key of course. Stay away from red meats, continue my progress towards a vegetarian or largely vegetarian diet, keep the calories under control, avoid empty calories.

Also key is to continue to work out every day. Time on the elliptical and treadmill as well as the stationary bike, walks to and from the school track, bleacher-sets… All the efforts that got me here continued…

If I forget-stop-ignore, the efforts that got me here I run the risk of going back to where I was. Not happening.

Fitness geek. That’s me.



Thanksgiving Day

A Mile

I ran a mile today. Haven’t done that since High School. I ran a mile today. Didn’t stop. Started and finished. I ran a mile. Nine minutes and thirty-three seconds. The Olympic Team is out of the question. I ran a mile. I went to the school track and had at it. Ran carefully, paid attention to the knee. I ran a mile.

It is a start. It is far from where I was. I started this Journey with a couple of walking laps around the same track. Half a mile. Walking. I was beat. I remember my joy at making it a mile and a quarter. And now, eleven months in to my Journey, 6 weeks after knee surgery, I ran a mile.

There is nothing particularly noteworthy about this. I understand this. Millions of people in this country run 5K, 10K, and Marathons. Many regularly run 2 to 5 miles. I get that, I understand that. But I ran a mile today.

I am not built to be a runner. I was always the slowest kid on the block. Short legs relative to my height and slow twitch muscles… But I can cycle. In cycling, mechanical devices and the ability to turn higher gears due to silly strong legs gives me a mechanical advantage.

But today… 330 days in to the journey. I ran a mile and I am feeling really good about it.

Twenty Miles

I rode my bike this afternoon. The temperature hit the low 50’s and I suited up and went for a ride. I rode very strong. I rode 20 miles at a 16.4 miles per hour average and I climbed a hill that has had the better of me in the past. I ran a mile and I rode 20. I burned some serious calories today.

I was most happy that I did almost no coasting today. I pedaled nearly the entire way. I think the time on the treadmill, the elliptical and the stationary bike is paying off. I really felt good about my stamina. I wanted to do thirty miles today but cut it short at the day started to turn chillier and I was concerned about being on the road at dusk. Still, 20 miles is nothing to be upset about. This was only my third ride since the knee surgery and to ride that strongly and with no pain in the knee whatsoever was a great feeling. The unexpected benefit of having to rest the leg because of the knee injury was my calf muscles were able to heal from the torn muscle finally and so for the first time since 2010 I had no problems with either my calf or my knee.



My one day to get silly with food

Today is Thanksgiving in the States. A day of unfettered gluttony for many. It has been such for me in the past.

Unfortunately our guests for the holiday all had to call off. My Mother-in-law and sister-in-law because they are just now getting back to normal after the storm and our dear friends CRF and MOF because the hubby injured his back and simply cannot ride in a car for three hours due to the pain.

That left me, Missus, The Older and The Younger. The Older goes to sleep before dinner is served and The Younger wouldn’t eat turkey on a dare. To make a full Thanksgiving meal for just two of us to enjoy seemed a tad on the silly side. The Older went to bed, The younger held down the fort and had pizza and Missus and I went to the Asian Buffet down the highway.

They had a very reasonable sushi selection, lots of peel and eat shrimp, some hot fish dishes and pumpkin pie. Missus and I allowed ourselves to eat a little more than we would otherwise and I think it could reasonably be said we over did it a touch. Still, I think we stayed within shouting distance of the plan, avoided the sauce-laden dishes, stayed with fish and the like. We did indulge and have the pumpkin pie. They were quite small slices, most people were taking two. WE had one and some pineapple on the side.

I allowed myself this rare day of indulgence. I have much to be thankful for this year and knowing when to say yes and when to say no is a new discipline for which I am profoundly grateful. Tomorrow morning I plan to run my second mile and I plan to ride another 20 miles before our friend MR comes over. I am smoking a turkey tomorrow. I will send him home with leftovers, freeze much of the rest. I am making red cabbage with cinnamon apples (my own creation) and stuffing. No pumpkin pie, MR Doesn’t care for it, but I will make a chocolate cake and send most of that home with him as well.

Saturday I am hiking with MT and PGB. Packing in a lunch. Leftover turkey sandwich. Trail mix bars. Water.

So today I could be a little silly with food. Still, I stayed close to the plan. Burned the extra, made a conscious decision to go a little overboard. Knew when to say enough.

Pretty proud of myself on this one.

199 pounds even on the scale this morning. 330 days in to the Journey. I ran a mile. I cycled 20.