I did it. I weighed myself today and I’m down to 199.6 pounds. Under 200! Of course, tonight was a scheduled ‘carb-loading’ evening (once in a while, I’ll eat a relatively high(er) number of carbs than usual, as I’ve found it resets my weight set-point), so I’ll likely temporarily be back to over 200 tomorrow, but regardless, I did it.
Biggest tip I can give people is to ease up on the exercise. As I’ve previously discussed, exercising caused a rapid decline in the rate at which I lost weight. Basically, once I joined a gym this past May, I went from dropping pounds per week to a pound a week at best. Part of that, theoretically, could be muscle gain but it just doesn’t add up to explain it. It’s not like I’m rockin a wife-beater like Ronnie these days…
Before I continue – please forgive the Jersey Shore references. I gotta admit – I love the show, and for those of you who find it as hilarious as I do, there’s more to come in this post…
So back to the weight loss slowdown from exercising thing, and why it’s worked out that way – I just don’t buy the ‘but you’re gaining muscle from the exercise, and muscle weighs more than fat!’ theory in my case. I don’t look any more muscular. It’s kinda like that old pointless saying about how muscle burns calories even when you’re not working out! True, but the obvious question to ask is: just how many calories? No one ever asks it. If they did, they’d find it’s not enough to break a sweat over…
Anyways, about a month ago I stopped doing the chronic cardio and started playing squash twice a week. Instead of tiring myself out on the cardio machine at the gym, I’ve been making sure I’m just moving slowly at night – walking the dog, playing with the kids, doing chores, etc. I saw a slight increase in the rate of loss the first week of this experiment, but I missed working out. I missed the cardio. Until a few weeks ago, when I started playing squash twice a week with an older fellow who is so accurate with the racquet that he just runs me around the court like his name is Geppetto. If you’ve never tried it – squash (not the vegetable, the sport) is a heck of a workout. In fact, according to Forbes magazine, it’s the ‘healthiest sport’ there is. So I was enjoying playing twice a week with him, until he had to quit for a while due to his body being so sore that he couldn’t play twice a week anymore (give the dude a break – I think he’s in his late fifties or early-sixties, and is obese).
As an experiment, I purposely haven’t worked out for the past 2 weeks. And guess what? I’ve quickly dropped about 5 pounds during that time. I hadn’t dropped that much weight that quickly in months (not since I joined a gym and started working out). So working out, while it has great health and emotional benefits, it certainly does not help me lose weight. Quite opposite. Like Taubes says – working out just makes you “work up an appetite.”
Back to the self-aggrandizement. I’ve reached my long-term goal. So, now what? What’s my next goal? The reality is, I still have a flabby gut. It’s what I call a “shirt gut” – a “shirt guy” is when you have a shirt on no one can tell you have a gut. But it concerns me because my “shirt gut” is in the style of the ‘heart attack’ belly you hear about from the medical folks. While I’ve learned to not trust a thing coming from the medical establishment, I can’t help but be a little concerned about it. Enough at least to continue to try to slim down. But I’m at a crossroads, in terms of my next goal:
Option A. Screw the Scale – Hit the Gym Hard
Get back to the gym, hit it hard (crossfit? weights?), and focus on getting a stomach like this guy:
Option B. Screw the Gym – Continue to Slim Down
Continue with what I’ve been doing recently, continue to slim down, not working out (traditionally), but remain active day to day, with the occasional sprinting/HIIT activity (like orienteering this Sunday!) for fun. By the way – I’m not contradicting myself when it comes to exercise – I am a firm believer it is good for me, and I enjoy it. It just works against weight loss.
Option C. Eat Carbs!
Of course, there’s always option C. I could just not give a shit anymore, wave a flag, and go back to eating carbs and “healthy whole grains” and, come next Summer, I can hit the Jersey Shore and rock it like this guy:
For now, I’m just going to be proud of my accomplishment. I haven’t weighed under 200 pounds since I was around 18 or 19 years old. Time to splurge on a gift for myself. Anyone know where I can get one of these t-shirts?
Next post, I promise to be less humorous and more thought-provoking. : ) And I apologize if this post is a bit insensitive to those still struggling with their weight loss, particularly the images used – it wasn’t meant as such.
I know you don’t want to hear this but, after getting off the scale this morning and shocked at the low number, I was at first a bit sad. I truly enjoyed the journey to this point. Once I learned how fat is stored and released in the body back in January, and with a month or so into proving it in practice, I had no doubt I’d continue to lose weight and eventually reach my goal. So much so that I truly enjoyed the journey to this point. The pursuit of the goal.
Time to find a new goal.