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


A Friday in August

A Quick Look Back

I got on my bike in January of 2012. I had mounted it on the wind-trainer and I was planning to add ten or 15 minutes a morning to my exercise regimen with the idea that I would be in better shape to ride outside once the weather improved here in the Northeast.

I came down the stairs that first morning with my cycling shorts stretched over my girth and I climbed on to the bike. I discovered something. I was too fat to ride. At least I was too fat to ride a road bike. My belly got in the way. I was unable to pedal smoothly. I could barely pedal at all.

To say that this depressed me is to understate the situation by half at least.

I kept walking.

I kept hiking.

I kept eating right and eating less.

I kept losing weight

In March I was back on the bike.

I rode 10 miles on my birthday.

Then I went and walked a few miles at the track.

Cycling became a bigger and bigger part of the exercise.

I rode 50 miles on June 9, 2012.

I kept riding.

I injured my knee and as soon as it was fixed I got back on the bike.

I rewarded myself for losing the weight with a new bike in October of 2012.

Sometime this weekend it will happen. I will pass 2000 miles for the year.

Two-Thousand miles is a bunch of miles but I know many riders who have done many more than that this year.

I am only saying that I have ridden nearly 2000 miles. When I look back at January 2012 and the belly being in the way and I think about how I felt that day, how depressed it made me feel, and I think about where I am now it really becomes clear to me that I have done something. It is not an illusion. It is not over-statement, bragging, or hyperbole. It is real and it is unusual and I should be and I am proud of it.

And I should also enjoy it more.

I write about this because I have BIG plans for cycling this weekend if the weather cooperates. I can so clearly remember when the big plan was to ride ten miles. Now the big plan is to ride 130+ this weekend.

Taking time to reflect on this Journey… Something I need to do more often.

Being Healthy was making me sick

I mentioned earlier in the week that the results of my physical were great. The only concern, and it is minor, is my vitamin D level is low.

The Doctor told me to take 1400 IU of vitamin D3 daily and so I started doing so on Tuesday.

I have felt like hell ever since.

Dry mouth, sore throat, head ache and fatigue.

It appears that vitamin D3 and I do not get along very well.Prevention_VitaminD

I figured this out with some internet research and WebMD and a couple of other reputable health sites confirmed that these are the side effects of vitamin D supplements.

Lucky me.

I will not be taking the supplements going forward from today. Turns out Salmon has huge amounts of vitamin D. Another excuse to eat lox!

I am hopeful that I will feel better come morning and be up to the rides I have planned for the weekend.

AS good night’s sleep has eluded me all week. Oh, insomnia is one of the side effects as well…..

This will teach me. No more physicals for me! Kidding, just kidding…..


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The Truth is…

It is rarely easy for me to express in writing happiness as well as I express angst, depression and fear. This is true in my blog and in my verse. When I am truly depressed, going through a dark stretch with the Black Dog, I am a prolific writer of blank verse. Not always good mind you, but I write a great deal when depressed.

When I started this blog I very often had tough days, depressing days, stretches of uncertainty. I wrote every day at that time and I wrote a great many poems.

As I settled in to the Journey and passed milestones and landmarks, the tone of my writing started to shift and I started to not write every day. I also wrote less blank verse.

If you read this blog with any regularity you know that my moods swing like the doors to an old west saloon. But the truth is they don’t really. It is just that I tend to write from the darker side of my moods.

With all things measured out (and I am all about measuring) I am happier in my skin than I have ever been. I am moody. I always have been. This I cannot deny but the fact is I am not any more moody now than I ever was. I am, I believe, a happier and more content man then I have been in many years if ever. I am less at war with my internal self. More at peace with my world.

In cycling and fitness I have found the focus for my runaway energies. IN taking off the weight I am able now to focus more on the inner me. If I am obsessive about the weight and fitness it is because I ignored it so completely for so long. If I am taking a long time to adapt to the new reality of me it is because I spent so much time being the old me. I am still getting to know who I am.

I am not a person accustomed to reinvention. I have a friend, a very dear friend, who has reinvented herself a dozen times over. She has blossomed to greater beauty with each reinvention. I admire this (and many other aspects) about her.

I have never been good at reinvention. I have been a person who retreated back to the comfort of the familiar even if it was ultimately a negative. I tended to allow myself to be swept along with the current. Even my career was one I came to by default rather than design.

Now I have reinvented me and it has not been without fear, stress, and drama. I am fit. I am lean. I have taken my eating habits and turned them upside down. Where once I was an unapologetic carnivore I am now nearly a vegetarian. A former couch slug, I am now dedicated to cycling, hiking, walking…

As I learn to be me I have focused to a nearly compulsive degree on recording my foods, my weight, my activity. I use not one, not two, but THREE apps to track my cycling. ALL AT ONCE. And of course there is the cycling computer on the bike itself. I record my weight every day. I record everything I eat.

I do this to remain focused. When I lost focus in the past I gained the weight back. I won’t let that happen again.

Reinvention. Like all things new, I need some adjusting and fine tuning but that doesn’t mean I am broken. The truth is… Things have never been so right.


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Received a good phone call today from my Doctor. Yes, my doctor actually calls you personally when he is delivering test results, good or bad.

The results of the blood test from my physical were in…

Excellent all across the board.

Without the use of cholesterol lowering drugs, my numbers are excellent

Total cholesterol: 159

LDL: 89

HDL: 56

Triglycerides: 85

My sugar is excellent.

Everything is excellent

This was not the case 20 months ago.

This tells me that I have been on the right path. I am healthier than I have been since I was in my twenties.

So I have to take a Vitamin D3 supplement to make u for the lack of vitamin D in my diet and then I am in good shape..

I am ecstatic about this.

Whistling while I ride

Interesting thing from my rides yesterday. Let me explain. I rode 18+ miles to the bike shop and then one of the owners and I rode together for 28+ miles. So two rides…

I rode the second ride with one of the owners of the shop (as I already said), CB. Great woman, close to my age, and a good rider. When I started riding with the shop back in March, CB led many of the rides and I struggled to keep up.

Yesterday I was riding with her and riding easily even after an 18+ mile warm-up ride. I found myself whistling while I rode along at more than 20 miles per hour.

Couldn’t have done that in March.

CB remarked on it. “Are you really whistling at 20 miles an hour?”

I guess I am in good shape after all.

Another neat thing is I use a couple of apps to record my rides. One of them is particularly good at minute details. According to that app I peaked at 31 miles per hour on a flat and straight segment of my ride. The segment is 1.2 miles long and I averaged 25 miles per hour over the segment. This is much faster than I thought I could ride or would have ridden just a few months ago.

Working at it, staying at it, riding the bike…

It is paying off.



Things I Do….

Things I don’t need to do but still do…..

When I was FAT I developed compensations for my size and lack of mobility and flexibility. For instance I would grab my pants leg at the bottom cuff to pull my leg us so I could put on my socks. It was hard to cross my legs otherwise and my belly got in the way of putting the socks on any other way. This is no longer an issue for me. I can cross my legs easily now and I have no belly in the way of any other position for putting on socks, and yet this morning I caught myself pulling my leg up by the pants leg cuff just as I did when I was FAT. Old habits are hard to break.

I also find that once in a while, particularly when still half asleep, I will still swing my leg hard to propel myself in to a sitting position. Now without the weight I find that I swing PAST the sitting position and I am sure that it is something comical to see…

I have many other little compensations like these. I catch myself falling into them even though they no longer fit a need.

I suck in my gut when squeezing through a narrow area even though the amount of room is much more than I need. I wonder if everyone does that no matter how skinny…..

It just all points to the little things we learn to do to cope with life.

I don’t know if there are little things lean people do….

I still find myself overcompensating. I sometimes use more force than needed to get up from a chair and find myself stumbling forward from the effort. Silly. I would guess that this will balance out in time…

Constantly Weighing Myself

This is certainly past the point of a healthy obsession.

I weigh myself every single morning. That is SOMEWHAT normal. I also record that weight every single morning. Ok, that borders on the obsessive. I also weigh myself throughout the day on the shipping scale at work and that is nuts.

This morning on the scale at home I was 202 pounds. Fully clothed at work, after breakfast and coffee I am 207. Those five pounds are normal. How do I know it is normal? Because I am always five pounds more on the scale at work fully clothed after breakfast and coffee and I know this because I weigh myself on the scale at work probably 6 or 7 times a day.

This cannot be considered a healthy thing.

The positive of this is that I stay focused on how much I eat.

The negative is the preoccupation with my weight to such a degree that I weigh myself as many as ten times a day. I weigh myself at home, at work and then as soon as I get home again and then before bed.

Do I think I will suddenly gain 100 pounds back on the drive to work?

If I only weighed myself once a week do I really think I would gain back ten pounds in that week simply because I didn’t know what I weighed ever hour?

This weighing myself is beyond the range of habit at this point and has crossed in to unhealthy obsession. It isn’t negatively affecting me yet but like the person who starts “Jonesing” at a meeting for their cigarette, I can see a day where I will start to get antsy because I ate lunch ten minutes ago and I haven’t stepped on the scale yet to make sure I didn’t put 50 pounds on from that veggie wrap.

Of course part of it is I just like seeing the low numbers J

“Scale Addicts Anonymous” here I come….

Constantly Planning

This is another thing I do. I plan constantly. I rarely do anything spontaneously. I plan my meals. I plan my sleep. I plan my rides, my work, my rest…

If we go for a family car trip I am planning exactly where and when we will stop for lunch so I know if there is anything I can eat at the places available… Nothing spontaneous.

All rooted in a deep fear of gaining any weight back. I am not willing to see my weight above 205. I am pathological about maintaining it below that weight. I had pizza last week so I starved myself that day and the day after to make sure the demon pizza did not suddenly become so much as one pound extra on the scale. Now, when I say starved I am indulging in a little hyperbole, but not much. I had 1600 calories the day before the pizza. I had 1500 the day after. The day I had the pizza I had 2200 calories.

I weighed less a day after the pizza than I did the day before.

Obsession…. Def:
(əb-sĕshən, ŏb-)

  1. Compulsive preoccupation with a fixed idea or an unwanted feeling or emotion, often accompanied by symptoms of anxiety.
  2. A compulsive, often unreasonable idea or emotion.

Example: Planning for weeks to eat two slices of pizza because of a fear of gaining weight.

So I have an obsession with planning everything.

At least I am still lean…

I need to relax a little. Not much. Just a little….

Speaking of Planning…

I plan. That doesn’t mean the plans always work out. Or even often work out…

This weekend, I PLAN to get in some serious miles on my bike.

If I can get out of bed early enough I will go on a 30 mile ride before working at the bike shop. I need to be on the road by 6:45 to make sure I can get the miles in, get home, shower up and get to work. Sunday I will ride the 18 miles to the shop and then ride 30 as part of the shop ride.

I need to get the miles in if I am to do the NYC Century on September 8. Here is another place where plans have gone awry. The plan was for NI and I to ride together. We enjoy riding together, ride at about the same level and are good at encouraging one another. That was the plan. Plans get changed. NI is now not able to come down due to work requirements. This means I am trying to find a cycling partner for the ride. If I don’t find one it means I will be riding my first Century essentially solo in a group of hundreds or thousands.

Such is life.

The miles build

The miles build

The accomplishment will be the same but it is always good to have someone there with whom to share the experience.

I am at 1827 miles on the bike this year. I still hope to get to 3000 but I can see the time running thin. Plans…