I am not skinny and don’t want to be, but was getting too fat, year-by-year the weight just ratcheted up. So I bought a scale back in may to measure the problem. I wanted to get below 200lbs. At my height and build I think that is okay. The last time I was down to that level was back in 1995, before I “filled out.” I doubt I put on more muscle in the last 18 years, so it was not a good thing. I gained in winter and lost almost as much during the summer running season. It ratcheted up. You can make “adjustments” to the mirror; the scale is more precise. My new scale told me I weighed 217lb. There is some daily variation, but I was tipping in at an average of 215.
You cannot reverse years in days or even weeks; real success comes from thinking systemically. In a complex system, like our own behaviors, little changes, over time, make big changes. You have to address the pressure points and it can take time to show results. I identified habits and triggers. I was thoughtlessly eating candy, cookies & chips. The trigger was minor anxiety, usually around ten in the morning and two in the afternoon. I couldn’t really fight the habit, so I altered the trigger. When I felt the anxiety, I still got up, but instead of buying cookies etc. I just walked around or bought a bottle of Coke Zero. That is almost all it took.
They say that it doesn’t make much sense to weigh yourself every day, but it does. It is true that there are variations in water retention etc. that make the false the precision of the statistic. But knowing that you will weight yourself the next morning affects late night snacking the day before. When I reach for the cheese and crackers at 10pm … well I don’t do that anymore either.
So, today I reached my goal. This morning I weighed in at 199.8. Fifteen pounds in almost five months won’t be written up in the diet magazines, but I think the lifestyle changes are sustainable. I still eat junk food, just not as much. I go to McDonald’s still about once a week (I get the Big Mac menu with large fries) and have not given up Dunkin Donuts, although I cannot get them here so it is a mute question. I still like the beer and pizza too. I see no reason to push those things out. Nothing too much. I am not sure how much more weight I will lose. There is no reason the weight will simply stop at 200 because I set that as an arbitrary goal. My guess is that it will level out at around 195, although I admit I have no hard reason to pick that number either.
There is some irony here. When I was nineteen years old, I thought it would be good to weigh 200lbs. I tried to reach that level w/o success. I pushed up to around 190 and never could achieve more. Today getting to that weight from the other direction is a challenge. Of course, as you see in the picture nearby, at 19 & 190 I was fat free as I will never be again. Some things pass never to return. I had hair back then too. (actually, I think I am 20 or 21 in the picture) I suppose you could say that I had my gains and losses.
My challenge is to avoid the accretion of bad habits. I picked them up a little at a time and could do it again. But I am okay for now. Losing weight proves that old idea that what is simple is often not easy. Time and persistence seems to have worked.
My picture has nothing to do with the text. These are trees I saw growing in Brasilia. I think they are what we call ficus plants when we have them indoors. They get much bigger here.