Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Seven Months

Today marks the end of the seventh month of my fitness journey, and I'm going to start with a high and a low:

The Low

I only lost three pounds this month.

The High

I got in some guy's pants!

More specifically, this guy:

St. Joel

That's me. It was taken at a restaurant that is no longer open (I forgot the name, actually) out in West Knoxville, on the weekend that I moved to Tennessee in 2006. I've now unpacked and started wearing jeans that I last wore in 2006 and 2005. I only lost three pounds this month, but since July my total weight loss is now 70 pounds even. I've also lost ten inches of waist so far. For the sake of reference, here are some things that weigh 70 pounds:

An average sized Irish Setter

4.7 cubic feet of snow

$4536 in Canadian loonies (those are the Canadian $1 coins, for people who aren't familiar)

8.5 gallons of water

3 adult male bobcats

A ten year old boy

I laughed today when someone said, "You've lost, like, a whole person!" but seriously, I've lost the weight equivalent of a ten year old boy. On one level, that's hard to bend my head around. I've lost a kid who's old enough to stay home alone without a baby sitter. You can buy outfits for the amount of weight that I've lost. 70 pounds sounds great when I say it, but when I actually translate it into an object or person, like saying I've lost a little more than three of my car tires, then it becomes a hard concept for me to understand. Those three tires could be sitting around my living room right now, getting in my way while I try to watch TV. That, to me, is slightly confusing on a few levels: on one hand, I can't believe that it's gone, but on the other hand, I can't believe that in nine years I let myself gain three car tires.

The other hand is the thing that I continue to struggle with. Sometimes I am very, very excited to have lost weight. Going to the Gap, or Old Navy, or outlet shopping, and being confident that there will actually be clothing in stock that will fit me is very exciting. Most stores, especially outlet stores, don't seem to carry over a 2 XL (and only a limited selection of those), and until recently I hadn't even been able to fit into a 2XL for a couple of years. I've gone clothing shopping in the mirrorless, dimly lit shame caves that are the "Big and Tall" sections out of necessity, but I haven't enjoyed, really enjoyed and looked forward to, going to buy clothing for several years. Being able to do that brings me immense joy now, but it's also sent me into some rather dark moods. I have no one else to blame for the size that I became, and sometimes I've struggled to be nice to myself because of that. I didn't have a medical condition or an injury that prevented me from exercising or anything like that. I allowed myself to become an overweight, morbidly obese person, and sometimes now I have trouble not berating myself for it.

Guilt is a powerful, terrible thing.

Losing 70 pounds is also a powerful thing.

I've done that, and will continue to maintain that, but I think the dazzling days of "Holy shit, I lost twenty two pounds this month!" are definitely behind me. From here on out, it's only going to be little increments of three pounds, or two pounds, or, some months, there might even be a weight loss of no pounds, and that's ok. The goal here is a lifestyle change and a level of fitness, and even though I'm not at my goal weight yet I am feeling better. I can take stairs without getting out of breath. I walk faster, and I enjoy walking as much as I can. I actually get a little annoyed now if we decide to drive to something, and today when I told some coworkers I would meet them at a meeting on the other side of campus because I wanted to walk it, I got there in less time than it took them to drive over and park the car. (This is not intended as a criticism of them, but is instead intended as a reflection of my sudden speed.) When I first started talking short breaks to walk my building, a full circuit took me 12 minutes and left me a little sweaty. Now I walk it in 9 minutes and don't break a sweat or get short of breath. My boss suggested a parking spot even farther away than the one I've been using, and I excitedly started using it.

I am excited to exercise.

That's the better part of only losing three pounds this month: I am a better, healthier person.

And I fit into my really sharp looking winter coat again.


I'm not at my goal weight yet, but I think it's time I filled out a passport application, and got my photos taken.

Venice waits for me.


leonor said...

I am so so happy for you, and proud of you!!!!

nan said...

What a tremendous accomplishment! I love the photo of you in the sharp winter coat!

Jeannie said...

Great job, Joel! You should be so proud of your lifestyle change!!

Marcheline said...

Woohoo! Way to go Joel! Are you going to Venice on a guided tour, or are you going to fly by the seat of your (much smaller) pants?