The Chexican

Physical

Weight Loss Project: Day One

After uploading the posts I drafted yesterday, I went on a good 8 mile jaunt. There was an issue with my primary app not tracking distance, which I only noticed about 2 miles in before switching over to the RunKeeper app. As I told myself I would yesterday, here’s the first of many progress updates. Time to make this finally happen. 

STARTING MEASUREMENTS

Stats
Height 5’ 10”
Goal Weight 165
Day # 1
Date: 09/01/2013
Measurements
Neck  16.75
Chest 42.5
Upper Arm (Left) 12
Upper Arm (Right) 12
Waist 37.5
Abdomen 40.5
Hips 40
Upper Thigh (Left) 23
Upper Thigh (Right) 23
Calf (Left) 16
Calf (Right) 16
 
Total Inches 279.5
Total Inches Lost
Weight 199.9 lbs.
Weight Lost to Date
BMI 28.7
Change in BMI
Goal Distance 34.9 lbs.

First Things FIrst: This Body of Mine

When it comes to getting to work on long-standing personal projects, the thing that immediately comes to mind is my physical state in relation to health and fitness. Getting in shape has been, at this point, a goal that I’ve been meaning to accomplish for years now with very little traction. All of my life, I’ve been on the heavy side. As a child, my diet was controlled by my parents who seemingly had no notion of proper nutrition and portion control. What started as my 9 year old self having to resort to wearing “husky” sized childrens clothing culminated in a record weight of approximately 255lbs when I was ending my time in high school. Up until that point, I had somehow always managed to be comfortable in my own body. Shortly after I turned 18, I started running regularly even though I had a long-established hatred for the act, and dropped my weight into the lower 200’s. Over the past few years, I’ve fluctuated through the 200–230 lb range, the lower end at which I presently find myself.

Throughout this time, I’ve tried many different ways to motivate myself to not simply lose the weight, but to implement a complete lifestyle change. I don’t just want to fit into smaller pants and have my shirts flatter my form, I want to have the option to engage in physically taxing but rewarding experiences like learning how to rock climb. To this end, I’ve invested money in workout equipment, gym memberships, smart scales, and various fitness training/tracking smartphone apps; I’ve written public blog posts with photos to shame myself into maintaining a steady pace; I even buzzed off all of my hair, one of my most personally prized features, and told myself I had to reach a target goal weight before I’d allow myself to grow it out again. Yet, all these mechanisms have resulted in failure because I’ve lacked a key component, an actual interest in myself, my life, and my well-being. I don’t want to deviate and go into detail since this isn’t the post for it (and also one of the reasons I archived all of my existing posts a couple weeks ago), but I’ve admittedly been in a very long depressive state for years. Now that I’ve found my self and my way again, it’s time to start turning desired goals into achieved accomplishments.

One thing that I do want to carry over from my old composition style are the weight loss centric posts I used to put together where I log my activity and progress. I still intend to document that progress photographically, but those will be kept offline (for the time being, at least) and I’ll continue to use numerical data and narrative text to represent the outcome of my efforts. Tomorrow will be my “day one”, and I’ll upload my first check-in then. In the mean time, more writing and productivity, and perhaps a good run/walk later in the evening — this whole California-currently-being-on-fire thing is making the weather quite the de-motivator.

Sweet Sweet Progress

As covered in my previous post, last week was pretty terrible in terms of performance due to the blistering from all the running the week prior. Earlier this week on Monday, I went ahead and drained the blister before heading out on a run. When I returned, I was disappointed to find that the new preventative measures I tried failed, and had a new blister formed in the exact same spot as the previous one, only one skin layer deeper.
New Blister
 
I turn, I took a few days off to let my foot heal up. When Thursday rolled around and I realized I was still only 1/4 of the way through my 20 mile goal for the week, I tried a new tactic:
My Blister Prevention Solution
Using a combination of J&J’s friction block stick and medical tape, I went out on my second run for the week. My fitness app ended up pausing for a good chunk of a mile, so I actually ended up running about 6 miles that day. When I returned home and checked to see how well my new workaround had fared, I was pleasantly surprised. The blister site wasn’t further aggravated, and I now have a reliable way to combat future occurrences.
One of the things I find myself enjoying most about modern technology is how encouraging it can be in relation to personal health. I have a Withings Smart Scale that integrates my RunKeeper activity (which is highly accurate since I use a Wahoo Heart Rate Monitor and a Wahoo Stride Sensor) in its body tracking functions. When I stepped on the scale yesterday, I was surprised by how much progress I’ve made.
Withings iPhone App Dashboard
I’m only 6 pounds away from breaking under 200, on track to meet goal if I run 5 miles today and 5 miles tomorrow, and am really close to meeting my weekly 2lb loss goal. Having all of this data compiled and calculated in such a useful format without having to force myself to build spreadsheets with formulas and manually log the data is great. Not only does it save me time, but it actually makes me eager to get geared up and go exercise. The advanced metrics available in my Withings dashboard on a computer browser are even more motivational.
Screen Shot 2013 04 13 at 2 11 12 PM
Ever since we moved to this new apartment and have started exercising regularly, things have changed more than I realized. Hard to believe that just 3 months ago, I was 12 lbs heavier. If I keep up the pace, I’ll be within objective range by the end of this year, and that excites me a lot.

Assessment

Since this isn’t the first time I’ve set out to make a big lifestyle change, I think I can call this force of habit by now. Still, I always reason to myself that it’s good to write up a post like this to have a point of reference, the idea being that I want to one day be able to look back at this and find it hard to believe that my life used to be like it is now.

0 to 26, in 5 Minutes

When I was a kid, I was your normal kid. As things started getting unstable at home throughout the years, a lot of my dietary choices were left in the hands of my dad, who always defaulted to fast food. So I got “husky”. As I grew older, those bad diet habits got worse, as did my weight – I topped out at around 265 lbs in my sophomore year of high school. Up until that point in my life I’d always been comfortable in my own body. Physically, I still was. Mentally, I was over it. I started waking up before the sun on a daily basis and going on long morning runs. Once I started working and managed to afford my own gym membership, I found that I actually do like spending prolonged periods of time working out. By the time I hit 21, I was down near 200 lbs – not all the way there, but not too bad either. Compared to my old photos from high school, I looked like a completely different person.
Then at 23, things started taking a turn for the worse. Things in the personal life and with work all started crashing around me. Now, I’ve gotten accustomed to things being pretty bad in life – I’ve been struggling with a personal depression dating back since 2005. But that was the beginning of an entirely new downward spiral in life. At 25, I finally found myself bouncing back from everything. I started trying to get myself to care again. As motivation, I forced myself to part with my hair that I’m so very fond of, and told myself that I’d only grow it out once I hit goal weight. Instead of getting motivated, it opened the door for me to turn into someone else. As the problems piled on, I lost sight of myself. I let myself go, and really packed on the on the pounds.

Now

Presently, I find myself halfway through 26. One hand, it feels pretty lame that earlier in life I’d planned to have taken care of this by 21 permanently. Still, rather than dwell in the past, it’s time to look to the future. Now, the weight problem extends beyond image and self-esteem. For me, it’s a contradiction of the perceptions I have of my actualized self. In other words, I’m not me. I’m not living a life that’s in line with who I really see myself as. I’m not as young and stout as I used to be. Age is going to start rearing its ugly head at me if I’m not ready for it. In a sense, I kind of feel like it already has. So now, it’s important for me to finally get this over with. Because I need to do damage control on what I’ve put my body through up until now and take care of myself for the long run, and because I need to really start living my life like its supposed to be. What it’s like now is pretty much the complete opposite of that.
Right now, I’m up near 230 lbs. I’m not entirely sure, since I haven’t been to the gym in about 3 weeks – I’ll be sure to take care of that soon.
I alternate between three sets of pants, since they’re the only things that fir me in my closet and I don’t want to waste money on clothes that aren’t going to fit me in the near future. I’m running low on shirts that fit appropriately as well. My dress style is boring and limited because of this.
I feel uncomfortable in my body at all times. I have a hard time with prolonged sitting in chairs, probably due to a combination of “office ass” and my body screaming at me to get up and move around. This isn’t the fattest I’ve ever been, but it’s been the most I’ve ever been so constantly aware of it. I’m highly attuned to all the problems that are resulting from it, like terrible posture. I’ve got a lot of goals in life, and they’re not going to happen feeling like this.
I’m a heavy user of marijuana and cigarettes. Though my usage over the past year has spiked alarmingly since I’ve been using them as emotional crutches throughout my hardships and in combination with my therapy sessions, I’m really starting to feel the adverse affects. Furthermore, I feel like I’ve reached a point where they’re just no longer useful to me. They’ve been as “helpful” as they can possibly be, and it’s time for them to go. At this point, they’re nothing but a barrier between me and my actualized self.
Now that I’m not so young anymore, I’m also highly aware of the dangers of failing to do anything about this. There’s a history of diabetes in my family. Much as it scares me to admit it, I wouldn’t be surprised to find I’m pre or near diabetic. Since I don’t have the luxury of health insurance, my only viable course of action at this point in time is to take charge of the things I can control, which is admittedly quite a lot.

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