Monday, September 19, 2011

running start

I don't know why I let myself get so fat, first off.

I've been on the verge of being grossly obese for a long while. My weight in college was usually around 230-240lbs. I'm sort of built like a cinderblock, so I always figured it was no big deal. And so, as more weight was added and my waistline expanded, I wasn't particularly worried about it. Working as a bouncer during the winters while I was fishing for a living, it was to my advantage. With a good running start, no one stays on their feet with that kind of momentum during a dive-tackle. Plus, in my capacity as a lobsterman, the extra weight wasn't a great impediment.
Working on a ship or tug and barge doesn't require one to be athletic. The job involves short bursts of great effort, not cardiovascular endurance. And, truth be told, I've never been overly embarassed about being overweight. It's just me, after all. I have a trophy wife, which is still crazy to me, but true. I must be doing something right.
Going to Brazil in July was a game changer for me. There aren't any fat guys in Brazil. There's some fat old men, and mentally challenged folks, I guess, but you won't find Jose Lunchpail wandering around with the equivalent of a 7-year old slung around his middle. In my whole life, while I have occasionally been embarrassed about how I look without a shirt on, I've never been ashamed of myself, and in Brazil, I was. Having my wife's family discuss my fatness in front of me, not realizing that I understand Portuguese pretty well, but don't speak it much made me embarrassed an angry. When an aunt said that I must be very rich for her beautiful neice to have married a balea (whale), I simply said "Sabe, Eu falo Portugues un pequino, mas Eu entiendo tudo, vaca" ('You know, I speak Portuguese a little, but I understand everything, you cow.)'.
On my flight back home, I realized that it is time to make changes. Being embarrassed for myself is bad, but being embarrassed for my wife was a living hell. To have family question whether or not my wife is a golddigger was a low moment in my life, and it's left me angry.

Unfortunately, anger and anxiety push me to raid the fridge when left on my own.

I did something that Jay G suggested when I first started reading his blog. I kept a diary of what I was eating, and meticulously calculated the portions and calories, and was deeply disturbed and surprised at the results. After 2 weeks of doing that, I spoke with my doctor and a dietician, and via email (being at sea, I was stuck, but damn my doctor is awesome), I started on a healthy, low cal, low cholesterol and low sodium diet, and started exercising daily; mostly walking around my deck in circles, and doing calisthenics at first.
Turns out, within a few days, I discovered that exercise is a great substitute for tamping down anger and anxiety, rather than simply filling my stomach and falling into a food coma.

I'm eating well. I'm eating foods I like- granted, there's no fried chicken or thrice-weekly steaks in my life, but I'm eating healthy, and I feel good. And I'm down 35lbs. The exercise has been a real boon to me- there's stuff going on that is making me heavily stressed out, and I find that the time for myself, the daily hour of walking and 30-45 minutes of weights and calisthenics every other day are really helping me cope with stress and anxiety from things that weigh on me.

And I look better, as represented by my waistline:

That's my belt. I'm drilling holes in it about once a week. My clothes are looking decidedly gangsta, hanging off. My goal now is to get down to 190lbs, which for me would be flat-stomach skinny. I've made a hell of a start.


Anonymous said...

It's a tough battle. Keep going.

doubletrouble said...

Good on ya lad- keep at it.
I've a considerable number of years on you, but I realized, after carrying a grain bag for the horse some distance then setting it down, that if I lost that amount of weight, things would go easier on the old frame.
I'm only down 18# so far, but my knees have stopped giving me aggravation.
Git 'er done.

Borepatch said...

Wow. Great start.

Weer'd Beard said...

Good on you!

I dunno if it was turning 30 or switching from a strenuous job at sea to a cushy job in the lab, but I added a good paunch to my middle, and I'm trying my damnedest (with some success) to tamp it down!

Fair winds and following seas!

Irish said...

Good for you PAul!

If you want to read a good book get Mark Sisson's "The Primal Blueprint"

Keep up the good work, alot of it is mental.

I got back out to my walks and sprints, too many cookouts this summer :(

eastriver said...

Keep at it, Paul -- we're all cheering for you.