Alan’s Bi-Weekly Life of… Fitness!

Fitness is hard. A bit ago I learned I needed to actively manage it, so let’s see how I’ve been doing.

For some time I was indestructible. I could eat whatever, exercise whenever (next to never), and I was skinny as a rail. Turns out this time was actually just called puberty. I held onto my baby fat for quite a while, I was a chubby fella through most of elementary school and junior high. The pants size I would wear was called “husky” for crying out loud. High school gave me a growth spurt and I shed the pounds like crazy, and I got fairly thin. This continued into the first year of college. There are many references to the “freshman 15” referring to the 15 pounds a new college student gains when living away from home for the first time in a world of excess. Turns out I probably lost more than 15 pounds that year.

I didn’t really pay attention to my health until I got a rather disturbing set of cholesterol numbers from a blood panel a few years back. Nothing like a little wake-up call to change up one’s lifestyle. I freaked out completely as I was confronted with the directive from my doctor to lower my numbers or go on meds to regulate it. I overreacted by taking in zero cholesterol for 3 months. I went totally vegan: no meat, no cheese, no fish… did I mention no cheese? Oh man. That was rough. Unsurprisingly, I got my cholesterol back to a good space, but I knew it was not going to last without making some changes. Because of my little 3 month experiment I knew I could modify my intake to regulate my cholesterol, and that meant diet.

Diets suck.

Luckily, I decided to get on the same plan Julie got on: Weight Watchers. I really liked Weight Watchers, but I never ever wanted to go to a meeting. I got on the new online plan which let me deal with my plan by myself which worked really well. It’s really not a diet in the traditional sense; it does emphasize a lower caloric intake, but the nice points are that they did not program my eating meal by meal (I’m looking at you Jenny Craig), and they secondarily highlight eating healthily: there are daily checks for exercise, vegetables, dairy, water, and oil. I went from somewhere around 185 to just under 150 lbs in about 18 months, and I had to buy all new pants.

New clothes aside, I was feeling thinner but not necessarily healthier. I was concerned that I was actually going to be too spindly. My “target weight” according to various things about body mass and healthy weight, etc, I supposedly had to lose at least another 20 pounds. I’d reached a diet plateau (floor?) and I knew I couldn’t lower my weight without more exercise. I had slowly been increasing my exercise quota, and I was looking for new ways to get it done.

I decided to work out and document my process on the website, so you can see it all here. I found my favorite workout method, sledging. Documenting my workouts has made me more responsible about them. My Garmin GPS/HRM helps because I can make little maps and pretty graphs about how I’m performing.

I need to get more consistent about exercise and weave it in better to my normal routine. I should also mix it up a little more. Even though I love sledging, I have been feeling lately like the exertion is having a lower impact. I’ve lapsed off of weight watchers because for the past few months I’ve been able to maintain my weight between 160 and 170, and I think that’s a good balance between healthy and able to withstand a long winter without becoming obsessive.

I’m going to keep up the documentation and hopefully the fitness will follow. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next bi-week.

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