I don’t really like writing about exercise or health, because it is monotonous and boring for the most part. I do write about it from time to time, because it is part of my life. Well, at least it is part of my life recently, like the last two years. Last time I wrote about losing weight was back in September when I crossed the 40-pound mark. At the time I wrote that I didn’t even realize that I was forty pounds over weight, let alone thought that I could loose forty pounds. So, this week when I crossed the fifty-pound mark I was even more amazed if that could be possible. How could I possibly continue to loose weight?
Basically I have lost about one pound per week over the last 10 weeks. That doesn’t seem to be very much weight over that time period, but it is much faster than the average amount of weight that I have lost over the last two years. It took me about 15 months to loose the first forty pounds, as I lost weight slowly and built my endurance.
How did I do it?
I wrote about how I put the weight on over about twenty years. It was gradual and I really didn’t think that I was getting heavy or feeling unhealthy. I didn’t really eat very much, but I didn’t really exercise much either. Exercise had always been part of my life as I was growing up. I swam on the YMCA swim team from the age of 10 to about 18. After high school I joined the College Swim Team, and I played Water Polo as well. However, school began to take more time and swim team was no longer part of my life. When swim team ended so did my exercise routine. But, the weight didn’t really pile on when I quit the team, I just stayed the same. But, when I went to graduate school I spent more time inside and less time outside because I was now in Texas and its hot there. I believe I put on about ten pounds that first year, but that was about it.
A couple of years later I found myself in the Woodlands, Texas and I began to exercise again. I joined the sports center and I road my bike to work. Even with the hot Texas weather I could go to the pool and swim a few laps and cool off. But, it wasn’t swim team and swimming a mile was a long workout at the time. For those who don’t swim 1 mile is 1720 yards, and a length of the pool is 25 yards. So, 1 mile would be 68 4/5 lengths. Since I am the only one counting lengths I usually use 1750 yards = 70 lengths = 1 mile, just to keep track. Swim team workouts are usually much longer than 1 mile. For example, when I was in college a swim team workout was about 5 or 6 thousand yards for a two hour practice when we were working on distance.
When I moved to Germany I lived in Pinneberg which is a small town about ten miles north of Hamburg. I didn’t have a car, so I decided that I would ride my bike to and from work. For the five months that I lived in Pinneberg I got in very good shape and I never weighed myself, so I don’t know if I lost a lot of weight or not. When we moved closer to Hamburg I also rode my bike, but the ride was less than two miles so I hardly broke a sweat. I know that I put on weight at this time, because I was weighed when I finally got my German Driver’s license.
When I moved back to the United States the company that I worked for gave everyone a free club membership at the gym down the street. So, for three years I went to the pool every other day and swam about one mile. Then I started to play racquetball instead, but I was still staying relatively healthy. When our company moved 10 miles to the south it was no longer practical to workout at lunch and I began to put on weight again. When I started to go out to lunch everyday I managed to get my weight up to 198 pounds.
At this point we took a family trip to Lassen National Park to climb a volcano. For me this was a very difficult trip physically. I hadn’t realized that I had been in such bad shape. I was fine just getting around from the car to the house or even walking around the block, but hiking took a bit more effort. After this trip my wife and I decided that we would try to get in better shape. The key word here was “try.” We started out trying to walk up to the middle school in the morning and walk around the track. We thought that maybe we could gradually increase the speed and distance, but I wasn’t running yet. I thought that maybe I could run a lap or two if I kept at it. Of course when it rained or it was cold we found it difficult to get out there, but at least it was some exercise. But, I wasn’t really loosing any weight.
One day in March of 2003 I was hit from behind when I was stopped at a stop sign. The guy jumps out of the car shaking his fist at me shouting, “Why did you stop there?” Fortunately no one was hurt and the car only had minor damage that was easily repaired at a body shop. And, when I took the car to the body shop I discovered a new pool in town. The health club across the street had put in a new pool, but it wasn’t even open yet. I was first in line to sign up for a membership. Well, the pool had troubles and it didn’t actually open until May and when I finally got the details for our “family” membership worked out it was June.
However, once I got the membership I began to use it every weekday and most weekends. I decided that if I woke up at 5:00am I could get to the pool at 5:30am and work out until 6:45am. Then I could sit in the Jacuzzi for ten minutes to loosen my sore muscles and get home by 7:15am. As time went on I worked my way up to swimming about 4000 yards a day. And, I have followed this schedule ever since.
Once I began to get in better shape my wife who loves to run and hates to swim decided to use the treadmill, ski machine and elliptical machine. My wife suggested that we should enter some of the local races just for fun. In fact, my wife and daughter had run a couple of races in San Francisco before I even started swimming. Since I was beginning to feel healthier I thought that I was game for a short 5K. I could run with the kids, while my wife did the serious running. I discovered that even though I was getting in better shape I was still out of shape as far as running goes. I was sore for days after that short 5K run.
As time went on I ran in more 5Ks, at events where my wife ran 10Ks and even a 10 miles race. But, to my surprise I found myself sore after every race. I swam every day, and I was getting in very good shape, but I was sore after every single race. I began to think that I just couldn’t run these races because of the hobbling that I would go through for four days after the race. Then I decided to use the Internet. After doing some research I discovered that my legs were sore because the muscles were being ripped apart and they were sore over those four days as my body repaired the damage. But, the solution was that if I used those muscles at least once a week I wouldn’t damage the muscles and they wouldn’t go through the four day period of repair and pain. So, I added running to my schedule in order to avoid the pain for the once every couple of months when we enter a race as a family. And, guess what, it works. I have begun to run along the beach once a week instead of swimming. And last week I actually ran ten miles without “much” pain the next day.
So, that brings us to today when I have crossed the 50-pounds lost mark. According to various resources on the web I have discovered my idea weight is 153 pounds. There are actually many different standards used to determine what an ideal weight should be. One web page
has a number of different standards so they can be compared. The People Choice Ideal Weight is effected by your actual weight, which is confusing. This is the average weight that other people of your Age, Height, Weight and Gender would describe as their ideal weight. So, heavier people predict heavier ideal weights and lighter people predict lighter ideal weights.
But, this doesn’t tell the whole story. It turns out that muscles have weight and fat has weight. If you have more muscle and less fat, but the same weight we should have a way to determine who is healthier. I found another web page
that uses the ratio of waist-to-height to determine your percentage of fat. This assumes that if you have a lot of muscle it isn’t all concentrated in your abdominal muscles because you are a nut when comes to sit-ups.
But this is really cool, because if you go to the explanation of Waist-to-Height Ratio you will find the ratio for a Barbie doll, a Ken doll and a college swimmer. I love it, because now that my waist is 29 inches I qualify as a college swimmer, at least as far as my Waist-to-Height Ratio goes. But, the scary part is that my waist needs to be 25 inches to be a Ken doll. Running