Jul 11

The Return of Wednesday Weigh In

It should come as no surprise that by not running, riding, or working out in any form I gained back a good portion of the weight that I had previously lost.  So, in resuming my efforts I have decided to re-instate the Wednesday Weigh In.  I’ve also started tracking my weight loss in a nice spreadsheet in order to help visualize my progress and help maintain my momentum toward my goal weight of 185 pounds.

I have said before that I don’t feel that people should focus on weight loss as much as they do general health practices and an overall healthy lifestyle, and I still feel that way.  I have no intention of trying to reach my weight loss goal through fad diets or starvation, but by attempting (again) to control the amount of calories that I eat and what foods make up those calories.  185 pounds is not an unrealistic goal, and is actually still modestly over the goal weight that I was given at my last doctor’s visit of 165 pounds, however as I would like to build a bit of muscle as I lose fat I chose to keep my initial goal at 185 and to re-evaluate as I approach that number.

  • Previous Weight:  264.8 on July 4th
  • Current Weight:  258.8
  • Weight Loss:  6 pounds (2.3%)

In the graph below you can see how I am tracking my actual static weight loss against a goal of losing two pounds each week through April 2013, which is generally considered a safe weight loss goal.  Additionally I’ve included a line for an adjusted weight loss goal that is based on a two pound weight loss over my actual weigh in numbers of for the previous week.  So, for next week you can see that my overall weight loss goal would put me at 261 pounds by next Wednesday, July 18, but as I lost significantly more than two pounds last week (that happens a lot on your first week returning to exercise.) my adjusted goal for next week is 256.8 pounds.

weightlosschart

Jul 07

No Running in the Rain

There is a joke that people in Missouri tell, that goes something like this…”if you don’t like the weather, wait ten minutes.”  I’m sure that joke applies in many places, but today it was particularly true in Springfield.  I woke up this morning and thought that I might enjoy a run today, despite the fact that my ribs are still aching from my previous run.  So I dressed and prepared to hit the road, and then life happened and children needed my attention so I waited.

I figured that I would have plenty of time this afternoon to go for a run, but as things began to settle down inside the house they began to pick up outside.  The temperature outside dropped from over 100 degrees to 74 degrees in only 15 minutes, and the rain hit and hit hard.  Moments later the lights went out.

The storm lasted for less than half an hour, but the combination of rain and strong winds left our power out for four hours, and left the city with air thick enough to cut with a knife leaving my running plans falling flat.  Long story short, I didn’t get to run today, and I didn’t really take great advantage of the opportunity to find ways to work out around the house.  My children and I stood watching the rain, went out for a treat, and came home to family movie night.  In all a poor day for a guy trying to get into shape.

Jul 05

Second Verse…

…same as the first?  I certainly hope not.  Just because the book begins the same way, does not mean that it has to have the same ending.  The definition of insanity may be repeating the same actions expecting to get different results, but I prefer to think of it as being stubborn.  I’m still fat, and thus far have failed to do a great deal about it, but I never really claimed to be a great role-model. 

I want to be up front with you.  I’m not good at this.  I hate doing the things that I need to do to get healthy.  Running, biking, working out, these are things that I despise and I have never been particularly good at them.  Procrastination, eating, sweets, sitting and playing video games; those are the skills that I bring to the table.  As a general rule I hate to sweat.  I hate to hurt. Also…I hate the taste of water.  I am ideally suited to being the spokesperson for being fat and unhealthy.

But I have spent the entirety of my adult life being lazy and look where it has gotten me.  I’m overweight and unhealthy.  I have friends, friends of friends, and even family members who have been lost to or who are in danger of being lost to obesity related health issues, and I don’t want that to be me.

So today, once again, I got out and started running.  I didn’t run especially far, nor especially hard, but I got out and ran.  I sat down and charted out a weight loss plan, and I am planning out healthy meals for myself and my family.  I may sound like a broken record, a fat guy in an on-again-off-again affair with health, and I hope that you will forgive me for that.

In my book you have only been defeated when you stop getting back up.  Though everything in me wants just to stay down and accept what I’ve made of myself, I’m just going to keep struggling back to my feet until I win this fight.

Jul 02

This Happened

There are people, some of whom I count as friends, who do not believe in such things as depression, and I understand why.  People everywhere get depressed, or feel a little down, or just can’t get motivated.  That IS NOT depression.  Depression in others, even those very close to you, can be near impossible to recognize.  Sometimes even those who suffer from depression have a hard time understanding that what they have is a real and dangerous sickness, which just makes that sickness even worse.

It is fortunate that many people will never have to experience the soul wracking torture that is depression.  A constant emptiness and despair that goes far beyond simple lack of motivation or a bad case of the blues.  Depression numbs the soul and leaves its victims desperate for release.  Sufferers of depression can continue to spiral downward as they wonder what is wrong with them, why they just can’t “get happy” like everybody else, and as others judge them as being lazy or simply needing to get over themselves.

I struggle with seasonal affective disorder, a type of depression that generally occurs during the winter.  Every year I know it is coming and I try to convince myself that I don’t have to be depressed, that if I just fight it harder I can overcome it this year and be “normal.” And then, as Thanksgiving approaches it hits me and I don’t understand it, but like wave it crashes over me and attempts to drown me in blackness.  I have taken medication in the past, though I struggle to do so because of cost, and because as much as I profess not to care what others think I have no desire to be viewed as one of “those people.”

In general, sometime before the end of March I begin to break through back into conscious thought and manage to put myself back in order.  I often tell people that Groundhog Day is my favorite holiday, and that has less to do with the fact that groundhogs are particularly cute creatures than the fact that I can almost mark that day as the day I begin working my way out of depression, and down the long road to a summer of being “normal.”  Only this year, that didn’t do that.

This year I continue right along in a cloud.  Ignoring the world as it passed me by, trying as hard as I can to convince myself that because the winter season had passed, so too had my depression, meanwhile the logical part of my brain was screaming at me to figure out why I simply had no emotions; why I just didn’t care about ANYTHING. The, appropriately acronymed, SAD that I normally suffered was threatening to slip into full blown depression. I stopped running.  I stopped writing.  I stopped communicating with friends unless it was behind a mask of false good humor.  I had to escape.  I have survived, marginally, depression in the past and I have no desire fall into that again.

My wife feared that boredom and lack of purpose where becoming the root of my issues, and encouraged me to get out of the house.  I’d become quite reclusive in the couple of years that followed being laid-off from the job I had used to define myself for the last few years, a position I had been proud to hold despite some of the trouble that I’d had adjusting to the demands of the job.  I declared myself a stay at home dad, and slowly allowed that to title to become literal, leaving the house only when I ran or when I absolutely had to.  Outside keeping the house, which I am not particular good at, and caring for the children, which I wish I were better at, I had given up on purpose.

At last my wife convinced me that I had to get out of the house.  Had to find something to DO to give me a reason to get up in the morning, and to that end we struggled (she did all the real work) to generate the finances to allow me to return to school.  For the last month I have been a student at Missouri State University, seeking a Bachelor of Arts degree in Creative Writing.  I am taking a course in English Literature for the summer and reading some of the works of the greatest English authors of the Romantic and Victoria ages.

I can’t say that I don’t still feel the edge of depression, like a shadow stretching its hand toward me; and I sometimes find myself simply sitting and staring into space struggling to find a way to get through the next hours, but I am doing far better than mere weeks ago.  I feel like I am am moving closer to being myself again.

*Aside*

I hope you will forgive the sudden posting of such an intimately personal account.  I felt the need to write and to get out some of what I have been feeling over the past months while I have been away.  I hope that anyone who might stumble across this while feeling their own depression will take the following to heart.

People will tell you to get over it.  People will tell you that it is all in your head and that it isn’t real.  Those people will never understand that they may be wrong.  If you think you may be suffering from depression see a doctor and get diagnosed.  If your doctor feels that you need it seek therapy, and if your doctor believes that you need medication, take the prescription that he gives you to help while you work through the underlying issues of your depression. 

Get answers, and get help.

May 02

#WednesdayWeighIn 18

Once again, here are my current #WednesdayWeighIn numbers.  Unfortunately I still haven’t been able to break the 250 pound mark, which isn’t particularly surprising to me.  I’ll be hoping for some better numbers over the next week.

  • Last Week:   250.8
  • Current Weight:   250.6
  • Percent Change: Not even worth figuring.
Also, just for fun I thought I would post this doodle that my brother made for me a while back.  It makes me laugh pretty good when I see it.  If you want to see some other doodles, or even read some of his writing you can check out his personal blog over at www.mabrotherton.com.

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