Friday, June 8, 2012

Inadvertently Reached a Milestone

I vaguely remember stepping on the scale in my early twenties and being unhappy about being 220 lbs. It was a solid 60 lbs. more than I was when I graduated from high school just a few years before. For the last 19 years, that has been an oscillating point of sorts. Occasionally I'd try to lose weight and get down to the low 200s and it was like hitting a brick wall. I just couldn't break through. Usually the target was 185 lbs. I always thought that would be a nice round number that would look good for me. Not too frail for my 6'2" frame but not too pudgy, either.

Once I had hit that brick wall, I would just give up. I'd be feeling frustrated with not being able to break through and tired of depriving myself of all of my favorite foods. Sometimes I would try to keep moderating my intake but I'd always end up back at 220 or more. Once I even peaked at 246 and it really scared me into yet another year of feeling hungry all the time and trying to burn off calories on my bicycle.

In March of 2011 I was approaching 220 again and decided to give this Low Carb/Paleo thing a try. By November I was approaching that 200 lb. mark again but unlike previous attempts, it had been remarkably easy. The weight coming off effortlessly and I hadn't done a lick of exercise. I was happily surprised when i dropped straight down to 199 in mid November.

I had regained a little bit by mid December but I wasn't too concerned. It was becoming less and less about the numbers and more about overall health. I was feeling really good. The only problem was that I felt restless. Energy levels had been creeping up over the previous nine months and I felt like my body was yearning for a challenge. It was a completely foreign concept to me. I've never craved exercise in my life but I found myself trying to do dips in my office chair, just to feel the resistance. Sometimes I would jump, trying to see if I could tap the EXIT sign in the hallway at work. I hadn't done anything like that since I was a kid.

So at the end of December, I joined East Valley Crossfit, where my wife had been going for over a year, and signed up for Weight Lifting. I just wanted to burn off some of that energy, gain some strength and put on a little muscle. As a guy who is pushing 40, it seems to be the best strategy for staying fit and healthy as I approach middle age. For the last 6 months, that has been my primary focus. I adjusted my calories to maintain a weight loss rate of no more than 2 lbs per month. I figured that would be slow enough to allow me to make some strength gains and it worked like a champ. Right down to 190 lbs. at the end of April.

I was satisfied with that weight but my strength gains were not progressing as quickly as I wanted so I decided that I should try to maintain at 190 lbs. It's a fine weight for me and it's hard to gain strength when while losing weight so I started increasing my calories every week for over a month.

This is what happened:

I dropped over 4 lbs. in one month (twice my previous rate) and I finally hit that 185 lb. mark. It didn't even dawn on me until halfway through the day that I had been trying to hit that milestone for almost 20 years. I've been actively trying not to lose weight this month! Oh, well. I'm not complaining. This is a very nice surprise and I'll keep upping the calories until I hit 190 again... from the other side. It's quite a nice problem to have for a change and I'm very encouraged that my metabolism appears to be picking up a bit.

But what's cooler than all these silly numbers is how I'm feeling. I'm energized by the workouts and motivated to put a little more muscle on this atrophied frame. I never feel deprived. Heck, the day before I hit 185 lbs. I ate scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast, prime rib with a baked potato smothered in butter and sour cream for lunch and shredded pork over white rice for dinner. That's not deprivation, that's sheer indulgence. Best of all, I don't feel like I've finally slogged my way through to some arbitrary milestone, I feel like I'm just getting started.

No comments:

Post a Comment