Monday, August 10, 2015

From 235 to 160: The Big Plan

Last week, I shared what felt to me like a huge, dark secret. Over the last year, I put on weight and had gotten all the way up to 235 pounds. It was not a feel-good moment for me by any definition, but it was a relief to finally be honest and talk openly about what was going on in my life and with my fitness journey.

Right now, I'm working on a short-term plan to run a strong full marathon on November 7th. But that is only a piece of the puzzle. I am also working on a long-term plan to drop the extra weight, do it in a healthy manner, and keep it off for good.

First, a HUGE disclaimer: I am going to share some numbers but they are general guidelines only. The standard BMI calculator is not the end all/be all of health and fitness. As I move along my fitness journey, I will be utilizing accurate body fat measurements and relying on measurements from my doctor as I adjust my overall weight goals.

That said, right now, I don't need any tool or spreadsheet to convince me that I weigh too much. My starting weight for this year (July 19th, 2015 - July 18th, 2016) is 235 pounds. And more than any number on a scale, other things show me that I am overweight:
  • My clothes fit tightly.
  • I am winded doing things that used to be easy for me, like walking stairs.
  • The two areas of my body that first show weight gain (my face and my stomach) are REALLY showing weight gain.
  • I am not sleeping well.
  • My body is sore all the time.
  • And mostly, I am not feeling comfortable in my own skin.

While it's not the final arbiter of what is healthy for me, I am using the BMI scale to compare my starting point with my weekly progress.

This is where I started at 235 pounds:

And this is where I am after three weeks:

And this is where I would be if I drop seventy-five pounds and have a healthy BMI:

Somewhere between where I am now (223) and where the calculator says I should be (160) is the ideal weight for me. As I continue to eat healthier, stay active, and repeat consistently, my weight will continue to drop. As I get more and more fit, I will work with my doctor to determine what is my healthiest goal weight.

For now, though, this early in the game, I am going to set a goal of losing roughly 1.4 pounds each week on average. With exercise and improved nutrition, that is a realistic and healthy goal. I realize that it is an approximate weekly goal and that there will be small weight gains along the way. The body does not lose weight in an exact manner.

For example, this chart shows the number of pounds I have lost over the last three weeks:

As expected, I didn't really lose any weight the week I took off from running. But looking at the first and third weeks, you can see that it isn't a smooth line of loss. I drop a little, drop a little more, gain a little, then drop a little, etc. 

And that's perfectly normal. If I am going to lose this weight and keep it off, I need to remember that my body will naturally weigh a little more or a little less on any given day. It happens and it's no reason to freak out.

And why I am sharing all of this? To let others know a few things:
  1. You can make a change and improve your health.
  2. Big goals are good provided you have short-term strategies to achieve them.
  3. Measurements keep you honest.
  4. Obsessively worrying about the number from a single day is pointless.
  5. Do the right things consistently and you will see results.
It's going to be a good year, friends. I know that because I'm going to put in the work to make it so.

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