Seemingly stuck at 188 – And I think I know why

The unanimous opinion in the fitness community seems to be that you should not weigh yourself every day when you are in the midst of a diet or weight loss plan. It makes sense that the daily scale reading would be somewhat unreliable for an overall picture because based on a number of factors ranging from the amount of food in your stomach or water in your bladder to your unique hormonal make up, your body mass can fluctuate from day to day. Still, I weigh myself each day, keeping track of the amount of miles I walk or run, how I eat and how I handle negative or challenging thoughts and situations throughout the day. I don’t buy into the whole don’t-weigh-yourself-each-day scenario. I weigh myself to make sure I’m not outside of what I consider an unacceptable weight for more than a day or two. The way I figure, if I can catch myself gaining a pound, I can prevent myself from gaining back the thirty that I’ve taken off in the last two years.

Still, I seem to be stuck at 188. When I say that I seem to be stuck there, let me just admit that I know a big reason why I’m there and have failed to take off 20 lbs. since January (though I have taken off 12). I’m stuck there because I haven’t gone the additional steps I should be going to cut out certain destructive eating habits and because of that I’m somewhat glued to 188. I would like to get down below 180 to 175, but to do that I obviously have to make some lifestyle changes.

All of the changes that I must make to be successful have less to do with the enjoyment of food than with other things going on in my life. For example, eating late at night was a huge cause of my weight gain over a period of several years. When I cut down what I ate past 8 p.m. to apples and other low-calorie foods, the weight seemed to come off. Now, that I’ve reached a more comfortable weight of 188, I am back to eating at night. Sure, I may run a hell of a lot more than I did, but that means nothing if I’m eating when the sky is dark and I am closer to bed than I am to being physically active. The second habit I could do to break again is snacking on sweet stuff. Doing that caused me to gain weight, cutting back caused me to lose weight. Now that I’m doing it again (though less), I’m stuck.

These two factors explain a lot about why I have been stuck at 188 for some time. But knowledge alone will do very little so long as I don’t address the underlying reason for late night eating or grabbing a package of M&Ms when I could make due with an orange: I’m doing these things to feel better because I’m stressed, depressed or anxious.

I know now what causes late night binges on food. It’s a feeling of being sad or unfulfilled. Granted, binging for me nowaday is not what it was in the past, but it is still most certainly binging. When you have a snack you don’t need or two bowls of cereal at 11 p.m., that’s binging. Binging is from avoiding how you feel. Sometimes, it seems in the world that there is no one better at avoiding personal conflict than me.

Address the problems, and the need for food as a painkiller will subside. When I’ve been at my best mentally, the weight has melted off. When not, it’s either gone up or stayed the same. There’s much I can do, but I must get started right away…As in now.

192.6

I may fall and break my hip soon. Tonight I ran 3.05 miles here in Albany right as the streets were beginning to become slippery with freezing droplets of rain glazing the concrete and cement. My sneakers–which I hope to retire soon–are coming apart but they still have some treads left on them and so I was able to get through the nastiness on the ground without taking a header into something real hard. The coldness came on quickly. It’s been warmer here lately and the temperature may have dropped five degrees while I put on my well-worn sneakers.  I noticed that the further I ran, the harder my rain-soaked hair became. It was nice.

When I weighed in I was 192.6, which is about a pound more than the same time yesterday. For Lent, I’ve given up a few things (although it’s only Ash Wednesday). One of those things is weighing myself on a daily basis. I gave myself a 20 pounds in 20 weeks goal and I have until nearly mid-May to achieve it, which I know I can do. It feels much easier than before. I’m thinking more positively before and dealing with the fluctuations much better than I have ever done. Add to that, I’m eating better. Things feel good. Even on a miserable freezing rain night such as this.

211 lbs.

I weighed myself before a good four-mile run. I am 211 pounds. I understand why it is so hard to lose weight now. I eat when I’m bored, anxious or perhaps said. The last two days I’ve been asking myself the question, “what am I feeling” when I begin to feel hungry and I am finding more and more an emotion ease that coincides with and perhaps causes a feeling of hunger in me.

Rather than submitting, there may be other things to do. Who knows. I’ve been pretty steady at 211 for the last three months, occasionally dipping up or down but rarely far below that. I’d like to be at 209 by the end of the week and you’d better believe that I’ll weigh myself this upcoming Sunday.

36 miles left

One thing I haven’t written about which is quite odd considering that this web log is supposed to be about self-improvement (hence the name) is my recent running challenge. About a month ago I believe I wrote about how I lacked the passion I used to have for running. Whether I’ve gained my elan back or not, I’m a running fool lately, having challenged myself to do 100 miles in 40 days. I’m 25 days in and have done 64 miles altogether, which is the equivalent of about 2.5 miles per day. Some days I’ve run only three while others I have done as much as six, so I haven’t run every day. Some days I have a good stride with a quick pace while other times I’m speed waddling, a mess. Regardless of how fast I’ve gone, I have reaped some of the benefits already which include a more relaxed and positive outlook throughout my day, an easier time sleeping at night (although I’m still not doing too well in that department), and smaller troughs and turnaround time in my sour moods and anxiety. That’s not to say running will save my life, but it has made things interesting and challenging to say the least. I weighed in at 208 at the end of last week, which is still much to high. At this time last year I was 224, so there’s some good progress there. It’s early morning here in Albany and I have gone for a run, three miles to be exact. Hopefully, I’ll finish my goal within the next two weeks. When I was 21 I did 100 miles in 30 days! Perhaps that could be my July 11 – August 11 goal….hmmmm….maybe not.

A good run, a 'clear(er)' mind; a shot at Scientology

Today’s run was peaceful. It was my new regular one up to the Amtrak bridge that crosses the Hudson. The air was mild and the smell of the river was pleasing. Life is blooming all around us now. It’s green again! The deep greens of June will soon be upon us and the heat will come and diminish them a bit, but it’s still nice while it happens. The run helped to calm me and to bring some stillness to my mind and my soul. I am still feeling it some nine hours later. I guess there’s something chemical about it all. And there’s something chemical about all of life from digestion, to sex to smiling and laughing. It’s how one controls–with is mind and soul–those chemicals that can make the difference.

I’ve been reading about the cult Scientology recently As a curiosity I’ve been learning more about it, for it holds NO practical or spiritual value. It is worthless, an utter fictitious creation of a mad man bent on manipulating people for money and more so for power. L. Ron Hubbard has been dead since before Mookie Wilson hit a slow roller between Bill Buckner’s leg and is thus irrelevant as a sentient person. Nevertheless, these days the public sees the very public face of his creation, a paranoid smirking jackass named Tom Cruise.

Cruise himself would not be such a problem if it weren’t for his voiceferous pronouncements against the well-meaning though admittedly imperfect science of psychiatry. To Cruise and fellow adherents of his religion, man is more than chemicals (which I am bound to agree) so therefore a science that seeks to solve his problems by dealing with his chemicals undermines him. Instead of addressing the very real needs of the soul, this brainwashing cult instead pushes the gobblygook (sp.) of past lives and birth memories and a crackpot theory of “engrams” in someone’s head. It is reasonable to expect and want more from life than the bare reductionism of science, but to embrace nonsense with no historical, scientific or rationally based inspection is dangerous. It is what has lead to the proliferation of fringe groups and cults since probably the beginning of time. Cults engender group thinking, extreme isolation and paranoia. Continue reading

211 lbs and counting down

It’s not my ideal weight. I would like to lose 25-30 lbs. more. Actually, I’m quite overweight, although I may not look it.

In June 2006 I weighed in at 224 lbs.

In November I was down to 219. I’m now lower than that. I was at my lowest weight in February when I got down to 207 after some diligent healthy eating and mindfulness practicing.

Right now I really don’t know what to say. I feel like I can do it and should do it. I don’t like being overweight. It’s kinda gross and I feel a lack of energy in comparison with how I felt in my early twenties. Let me tell you that it took a lot of focus and effort to relearn how to play hockey this fall and winter at more than 25 pounds above the weight that I had last played it at in high school. Nevertheless, ice hockey did help me to lose some weight.

So, for tomorrow I’ll be running again across the Dunn Memorial Bridge, which connects Albany and Rensselaer, New York. The run takes me north about a mile toward the Amtrak bridge which carries passengers East-West. It’s a good run, slightly less than four miles or maybe exactly four. I’ll try to measure it out.

Tomorrow’s menu includes a tuna fish sandwich and a salad with smoked salmon in it. I think that diet is pretty lean with dark rye bread and green tea, which I find to be very relaxing. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I’ll never forget this photo, as much as I try. It was taken at a particularly low period of my life, after I’d just been laid off from a job as a reporter. In the four months that I’d worked the job I’d gained about 15 pounds. Most of my days were fueled off of egg and cheese sandwiches from the Nice and Easy and coffee  from the Miner’s Diner in Herkimer, New York, not far from my bureau office. I’d then have pizza for lunch and cap off the tense day with a Fast Break, which is a candy bar made by Reese’s that makes the eater feel utterly worthless open biting into it. I did almost no exercising and after a 12-hour day some days I’d walk the dog and go to sleep in my lonely apartment. I went from a 34 to a 38. I’m somewhere in between right now. Okay, enough of the depressing stuff. I’m reading a fabulous book right now called The Mood Book by David Burns. Unlike a lot of books written about positive thinking,Burns’ book is more about recognizing negative thoughts, reclassifying them and reevaluating them for worth. Looking at this photo and looking at a photo of myslef from 2001 when I was in much better shape, I have a tendency to want to be mad at myself. Truly, I’ve not taken good care of me, physical and spiritual.

On the other hand, to what benefit is it for me to see that photo and castigate myself saying, “Paul, you’ve screwed up. You’ve let yourself go. You jackass”?

It helps me in no way. Human beings have souls and the soul works best when nurtured.

Rather, today, at 210, I can perhaps motivate myself in other ways that are more beneficial to my spiritual and physical well-being. Lately, I believe I’ve been taking the right steps. I’ll let you know more about it. After all, this was the point of this web log, right!