Hold On To Your Butts…
[This post was originally a post at the Nerd Fitness forums.]
“Hold on to your butts…”
Man, I love that line from Jurassic Park. What can’t Samuel L. Jackson make cool? Oh yeah, the prequels. Damn.
Why am I here?
I’m here because I’m a stressed out grad student and father of 3, and I’m just a couple months shy of 35, overweight, frustrated, somewhat desperate, and in need of a cheering section.
Let me explain. No, there is to much. Let me sum up.
I’m 5’8″ and I’ve been actively trying to lose weight (to varying levels of commitment and degrees of success) since I peaked at 205lbs in early 2003. I was as low as 170 in 2008, but no matter how hard I’ve tried, my weight keeps coming back to the 185-190 range. I’m sick and tired of it. I want to be 150 lbs by the time I finish my PhD in August 2013.
How did I get this way? Well, it’s a long story…
Let’s start at the begging of my adult life. I’d spent the first 18 years of my life as a stick and I started college in 1995 with just 140 lbs on my 5’8″ frame. I was probably underweight, since I had negligible muscles mass to speak of. By the start of my sophomore year I was 166. I lost track of my weight after that, but I know I hit my worst at 205 at the age of 25. It was horrible. I felt like a skinny guy stuck in a 50lb fat suit. I still kinda do.
At that point I started getting serious about losing weight. I drastically cut down my consumption of fast food and started jogging. I can’t call it running, because it wasn’t very fast and I was winded after less than a mile. All went well for a while. Heck, I lost 10lbs in December 2003 alone!
Then I stalled. I oscillated between 178 and 185 until October 2004. That’s when I got married. I don’t know what went wrong, but I was 190 by February 2005. That year I decided to take my running to the next level and joined a group. They were very helpful, and I ran my first 5K and 10K races that fall. By late 2006 I was down to 169. Just typing that blows my mind. It seems so unreal. I want that back so badly!
It hit a roadblock that winter. I had a long chest cold that turned out to be related to asthma. I’ve been taking various medications for asthma ever since. I should mention here that I’d been having symptoms of exercise-induced asthma, which were limiting my ability to level up my running performance. At the start of 2007 I weighed a disappointing 178. I fought back, though, and I was hovering around 170 by March. I gradually put on weight again, getting up to 175, but I was back at 169 by June.
Then I don’t know what the hell happened. My weight yo-yoed as I put on 14lbs over the course of a year. In June 2008 I was a depressing 183. Again I fought back, though. I ran like hell and got down to 169 in September. Life was good. I was fit again, and I was at what turned out to be my peak running performance.
Can you guess what happened next? Yup, another stumbling block. This time was like when I got married, though, and was another blessed event. I became a father for the first time. Blessing though that was, the added stress and lack of sleep took a toll on my health and fitness. I was starting to gain weight again, and it bothered me. That’s when I decided to train for my first marathon. I’d already run several half marathons by then.
Epic fail. Marathon training didn’t help me lose weight, and I shouldn’t have expected it to. In May 2009 I carried my 182lbs over 26.2 miles in a little over 5hrs. I was actually pretty happy with that, but I hoped to do better the following year. I put on another 5 lbs and celebrated my 5th wedding anniversary and the birth of my first child in October 2009 at 187lbs. That’s 18lbs heavier than I was when #1 was born. Ugh.
I repeat: UGH!!!
My weight held fairly steady from then until the running of my second marathon in May 2010. I was very disappointed with my time that year. I’d trained much more carefully and thoroughly than the first year, and yet I finished in an awful ~5:50 – and it was a brutally painful experience to boot. I guess I decided to redouble my training efforts, because I was down to 182 by the end of June. That didn’t last, though.
The last couple of years have been characterized by lots of yo-yo-ing. 188 in September 2010. 181 in February 2011. About 183 when my third child was born at the end of February 2011. 189 at the start of June 2011; 181 at the middle; 184 at the end. 186 in November 2011.
Things got really bad by the end of November 2011. It would take too long to go into the details, but suffice to say that I’ve been in grad school too damn long, and I had a crisis at that time that nearly ended my academic career. At the start of 2012 I was a miserable 192 lbs.
So, I started tweaking my diet and attempted to run more. I’ve been able to run less and less and time has progressed, thanks to grad school, fatherhood, and my asthma. My breathing difficulties have gotten worse over the 5 or so years since I was diagnosed. It got to the point that I could only rarely motivate myself to run. Knowing that I’d have at least one, and probably several, asthma attacks made it next to impossible to justify the added complication of running in my life. Instead, I downloaded a pushups app for my phone and started working on my strength. Since that
I started to see a slight downward trend in February, so I set a long-term goal for myself. I want to be 150 lbs when I graduate with my PhD in August 2013. Based on my weight at the time, that’s 41 lbs in 82 weeks. I think a half a pound a week is quite modest and reasonable, don’t you?
Well, that’s where you fine folks fit in. I need support, and lots of it. I’ve started exploring paleo/primal eating, and my wife and I are making very gradual, hesitant, and somewhat fearful changes to what and how we eat. I gotta admit. I’m pretty terrified of giving up my carbs. I don’t know if I have the willpower. I’m also going to find time for strength training. I have neither the time nor the money for a gym, CrossFit or otherwise. So, I’ve decided to do yoga and 5BX in addition to my pushups and running. I need encouragement for that, too. I can make excuses like nobody’s business.
Anyone game for being my drill sergeant?