I just need to make sure the horse isn’t dead….
Did my first run since my last first run and subsequent bronchitis after the L.A. Marathon yesterday. Three miles. Wow. I don’t recall three miles being so tough! I hit the trail around the Upper Back Bay and squeaked out three, what felt like lousy, tough miles. When I got back and looked at my Garmin data – it wasn’t that bad after all. It just seemed a lot tougher I guess.
Today also starts day one of my weight loss journey. Every Friday morning I’ll get up on the scale and record my weight. Then I’ll get back down, grab a cup of coffee, wait a few minutes, and get back on the scale hoping that maybe the gravitational constant will have changed.
Honestly though, I’m dusting off the components that are necessary for successful weight loss:
- Sensible exercise plan: Honestly. Wonder why I don’t have any marathons on my calendar in the future? I can’t tell you how many times I read about people who are training for a marathon and cutting calories. It may work for a 30 something year old person. I can tell you from my experience – it sure doesn’t for a 50 something year old. Marathon training puts a great deal of stress on our internal systems. To think that you can run 40 to 50 miles per week (4000 to 7000 calories a week just for your running) and limit yourself to 1800 calories a day is a recipe for loss of lean mass at the least and injury at the worst. For me – I’ll ramp my miles up slowly here to something in the mid 30’s to mid 40’s. Some speedwork sprinkled in once a week. Long run on Saturdays. Rowing once or twice a week. No PR talk. No marathon talk.
- Sensible diet plan: What I’m really searching for here in the long term is behavior modification. Understanding how much to eat when. Understanding the difference between feeling satiated and stuffed. Knowing when I *really* am hungry, as opposed to just eating something because it tastes good. Believe me – even on this journey I *will* let the latter happen. This is about losing weight and being healthy. It is not about punishment and guilt.
- Input tracking: One thing that is imperative if you want to drop some poundage is intake tracking. Most of us are pretty anal about tracking our exercise output. But, as my pal AZ pointed out in a comment the other day - “A small muffin can undo a nice run/rowing session.” How true. My attitude on the whole thing is it’s okay to have that muffin. But know what it does to the rest of your day from a calorie perspective. Next Friday I’ll review some of the calorie tracking software I’ve used in the past.
- Scale and measuring cups: Part and parcel with input tracking. Why do we not estimate the distance we run, but do estimate the size of a portion? In case you didn’t know, I’m of Japanese heritage. Therefore, cutting good, sticky, new crop short grain rice from my diet ain’t happening. A cup of cooked rice is 266 calories. I’m sure that my “eyeballed” cup of rice is closer to 400 calories (if you get my drift). To keep my input honest, I need to use the measuring cups and scales. Religiously.
- Once a week weigh in: In the past, I weighed myself daily. Sometimes more. I freaked when I saw those 4 and 5 pound weight swings. I cut back more. Then my running suffered as I ran out of fuel on the trails. (True story: I actually fell off a rowing machine once – as in passed out fell off). I used to weigh myself after my long run. Nothing like 5 or 6 pounds of artificial weight loss, eh? I am smarter now. I understand our bodies will store additional water to repair muscle damage after a hard workout. I understand that 1 gram of stored carbohydrate also comes with 3 grams of stored water. So, the weight gains that happen after a good pasta dinner are *not* solely caused by the plate of pasta. There are so many variables involved. So, I will weigh myself Friday mornings on my Tanita scale and let everything average out over time. Some weeks I’ll drop 3 pounds. Other weeks I’ll put on a pound. What I’m looking for here is a line with a negative slope.
Lots of words. Now for today’s ugly truth: 222.8 pounds. That’s four pounds over where I was pre-marathon. Yikes!