Sunday, October 4, 2009

Craving the Hunger!

Don't read my blog if you're a carnivore.

Note - I realized after typing this out that it almost sounds like it's being written by someone with an eating disorder or serious self-image issues. But really, I just want to feel healthier and fit into all of the clothes that I own.

This is my Namaste It! orientation. If you haven't been clicking on the links, allow me to explain it to you.

Lancey Kisses is on a churchly culinary crusade. During Ramadan, he observed the dietary restrictions. He did this not because he wants to be closer to Allah. If anything, he secretly wants to be closer to Heimdall.

If you've seen the show 30 Days, I think that would explain the why much easier. If you haven't the idea is that somebody spends 30 days walking through the proverbial shoes of another. The show was hit (Immigration) and miss (Binge Drinking Mom), but usually interesting. So unless I'm mistaken, Lance is doing something similar with his religious diets. While he invited everyone to join him to Ramadan It!, I passed.

For Namaste It!, the intention was to follow a Hindu diet. It has been simplified to vegetarian. For me, I'm not too interested in the religious walk part of the experiment. In this case, since so many non-Hindus are vegetarian, I think that part is in the name only.

For me, it's coming along at just the right time (everything happens for a reason!). Here's the deal.

I was always a fairly skinny guy while growing up. That was true until I left for San Diego State. I remember the winter before that I caught a nasty flu, and I dropped down to 120 pounds. My drivers license, until they made me change it a few years ago, said 135. I started filling is a bit in my time at San Diego State. If anything, I probably looked much healthier than I did before.

My next real memory of my weight was from my first couple weeks of full time teaching. I started in the middle of the school year, and getting the job happened very quickly. Basically, since I had no preparation, I spent lunchtime running all over the place figuring out what I was doing. I remember that I weighed myself after the first couple weeks and noticing that I had lost a little over five pounds, putting me just under 160. I was 24 years old at that point.

Shoot ahead to age 31. Late fall, I went in for a physical. I was almost 190 pounds. So over 7 years, I had slowly crept up about 30 pounds. Looking around the rest of the United States, that's probably about average, if not under. My doctor told me that I should lose a little weight, but I wasn't doing bad. My cholesterol was also higher than it should be. Not really bad, but improvement was certainly in order.

So I was more responsible with food for the next several months. Mostly, I reduced portion size and prepared more of my own meals instead of eating out. It was a really easy change, but one that just needed to be conscious. Six months later I was feeling a lot better and had lost almost 10 pounds. That was with diet only. I then joined the gym.

For the next year, I did a really good job of eating better and getting to the gym everyday. I dropped another 10, but had built some muscle as well. I certainly lost more than 20 pounds of fat. That's about when stuff happened. I had a minor medical procedure that didn't heal as quickly as it should have, which just kept me away from the gym. I lost that momentum. My depression was pretty much at 100% during that time, and I started on the meds. I actually lost a little more weight over the next few months. That was mostly because the meds were an appetite suppressant and I was losing muscle mass.

About six months later, I started back at the gyms. A couple weeks later, I was doing some squats. Looking back, I had added the weight back to where I left off too quickly. So I tweaked my back a little. It wasn't bad, but I have a bit of a history of lower back pain, so I didn't want to mess it up. It's so hard to start going back to the gym, and I never even had a chance to build up momentum again. It would be almost 2 years before I was back in a gym.

I slowly started gaining weight again. Jump ahead six months, and I got off the meds. And my appetite returned big time. A few months later, I started seriously looking into buying a house. I was hoping that I would have another room to put in some exercise equipment. I still hope to do that. My goal was to get started getting back into shape as soon as I had my house.

Unfortunately for my gut, I'm still not in my house (though I moved much closer this past week. I'll blog that whole story once I'm in, which should be soon). So while I had good intentions, thinking I would be in a house soon enough, it didn't work out that way.

This past summer, I spent a few days in Vegas. While I was there, I just felt more out of shape than I ever have. I also had lots of time driving to Vegas, then to San Diego, then home, to just think about stuff. I decided that I couldn't wait for a house to get back in shape. Perhaps even worse for me, I hit 200 pounds. That's the upper limit for me, for a guy with my height and build. I won't let myself go above it.

The first goal I have set it pretty simple. I'm going to be 180 by 2010. I think I originally called it 180 by Xmas, but I like the number thing better, so I now have another week. Yes, I know that weight isn't the only measure. But it's my first benchmark. I know that when I hit it, it's an easy measure of success.

The next day, I was in Costco. Costco now sells memberships to 24 Hour Fitness. If you have never shopped for gym memberships, $299 for two years is incredibly amazing. Sometimes the initial membership fee is half of that before you get to the monthly payment. So I bought it and started the next day.

There's a psychological element about this two year membership that I've discovered. Before, I was paying month to month. Yeah, I paid it six months or a year at a time. But once it was done, I could renew it without doing anything. There was always time to get it done. Now, I have two years. That's it. When my two years are up, it doesn't renew. I'm done. So I'm now thinking that I have two years with gym equipment then I'm done. So I've been going fairly regularly for the past month.

Since I have a pretty good knowledge base of weight loss and what works and what doesn't, I didn't incorporate any diet changes when I started going to the gym. That's the downfall of so many people - they try to make both changes at once. When you start a new workout routine, you get HUNGRY. I ate really well for that first week. And I gained a couple more pounds. Not a big deal, since I know the long term story. Once my body started to adjust, my hunger was back to normal.

Now that a month has passed, it's time to make some diet changes. After this month, my changed diet will simply be what it was a few years ago. I'm going to slightly reduce portion sizes and eat in more often. Since the new house is going to leave me with less money, that's going to be a requirement anyway.

Namaste It! is coming at just the right time to get me going in the right direction. I'm actually not a huge meat eater, at least in comparison with the average American, that is. I usually don't eat any for breakfast or lunch. My downfall with fast food isn't an extra meat patty, but I like the sauces and cheese. I eat a lot of chicken instead of red meat most of the time, too.

So it's the end of day 4, and I don't miss meat really at all yet. The only time I crave it is when I think that I can't eat any. When I actually start thinking about what I'm going to eat, it isn't a consideration yet. A big part of that is because it's only day 4. I have four weeks until I'll eat meat again. I have a feeling that when I get closer, I'll start thinking about how I'll be able to in a week... or a day... For now, it's too far away.

My one addendum is that I'm going to allow myself some fish. This is because from a dietary standpoint, it makes sense. Also, I have some fish, tuna and salmon, and I'm hoping to move at the end of the month. I don't want to throw it away.

I do want to point out that I have NO intention of becoming a vegetarian after this month. I do want to find more healthy, vegetarian recipes that I like and I will eat. But I have every intention of hosting a BBQ at my new house and serve some burgers. And I want turkey on Thanksgiving. And tacos are good. But for this month? How about I try something different?


Anonymous said...

Huh, interesting. I never knew how similar our stories continued to be post-high school (at least regarding the contents of this post). It sounds like our weights have been completely in sync with me consistently five pounds heavier...although I started my weight loss program almost a year ago now (when I was 205). I have a lot I could say on the subject of what works well for me, but it sounds like you already have a good idea of what works for yourself. Your depression / medication is also news to me; we should chat some time when not self-filtering through such a public medium.

- The Jakes

Kaboom32 said...

We'll chat about things.