…in a weakened mental state, or perhaps the caffeine level in my blood had slipped dangerously low, but for some reason I decided that it’d be a really brilliant idea to step onto the bathroom scale.  I had not done this in perhaps 10 months and I was operating under the assumption that my weight was at worst in the mid 160’s.  Which frankly is not a great weight for me….  at my height, I really ought to weigh somewhere around 155-158.  I stepped on.

Staring disbelievingly at the readout I thought, “When Uncle Bob had his stroke it happened early in the morning – maybe that’s what’s happening to me.” I closed my eyes and tried to touch the end of my nose with my right index finger. No problem. I spoke a few words out loud (something like “You’ve gotta be @*%ing kidding me,”) just to see if my speech was OK.  It was. Crap! No stroke.

I am not responsible for the flowery pattern; nice golf tan in December!

I squinted and stared at the dial, still thinking my eyes or a random TIA was playing tricks on me. As I stared, a realization  S-L-O-W-L-Y came to me:  the indicator was just to the left of a number that I was completely unaccustomed to thinking about with regard to my weight, let alone looking at when on the scale.  The number appeared to contain the digits “80.”  As in “180.”

I took my glasses off, rubbed my eyes a couple of times and put my glasses back on. FER CHRISSAKES I WEIGH 176 lbs!  Then, I did the only rational thing I could do: I stepped off the scale, stepped back on, looked down expecting a completely different result, didn’t get it, and did it again. Twice.  Then I picked up the scale and vacantly stared at it, slowly turning it over in my hands like one of those gorillas you see on the Discovery Channel. I did everything but scratch the top of my head with a very furry, black digit. I put it down and tried again.

It still said 176.

HOLY CRAP!  I’M FAT.

Over the last few days I’ve begun to be able to think about this a bit more rationally.  I’m frankly not too surprised I gained weight this year.  Actually, it’s a miracle I didn’t gain more weight, what with all I’ve had to contend with this year:  Jenn and John Mayer, John Mayer and Jessica Simpson, Jessica Simpson and Tony Romo, the economy, that whole thing with Lindsay and Sam, my 401k, heavy duty serious anti-prostitution crusader Elliott Spitzer, Larry Craig’s wide stance, “Living Lohan,” OJ’s latest trial, my 401k, Bill O’Reilly alone was probably worth a pound, blowhard Joe Lieberman, “The View,” Rosie, “palling around with terrorists,” oil’s $140 a barrel, no, wait, oil’s $44 a barrel, Clay Aiken a father!, “You can see Russia,” anything to do with Tyra Banks, Heidi Montag and that fuzzy faced weasel Spencer from “The Hills,” my 401k, “snow machines,” John Edwards, Mitt Romney, Dick Morris, Carl Rove, Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, “The Love Guru,” that Gene Simmons (shudder) show on MTV, Brangelina, McCain wandering aimlessly around the stage during the “town hall” debate with Obama, Mumbai, McCain grinning & mugging crazily during ALL the debates, my computer blew up, California wildfires, Jeff Conaway on “Celebrity Acidheads” or whatever that show is called, Jon Voigt campaigning for Palin, “The Girls Next Door,” Madonna + Kabbalah water = well hydrated jerk, TomKat, Suri Cruise, Bronx Magli, “America’s Got Talent,” a shirtless, drunk David Hasselhoff munching a cheeseburger on the floor (OK nitpickers, this was from 2007 but the image continues to terrify me,) Donald Trump, Cloris Leachman on Dancing with the stars (3lbs.), I mean face it, this has been one hell of a year – I HAD to eat a lot just to cope!

All seriousness aside, I have somehow gained about 10 lbs. in the last year.  From a general health and energy standpoint, it’s gotta go.  One part of my plan to drop the pounds is to share my goals here. I have no intention of turning PracticalHacks into one of those weight loss blogs – I’m just sharing this issue and my goals with you to further commit to those goals and to have a bit more accountability.

So – goals:

  • Drop 5 lbs. by Christmas
  • Drop 20 lbs. by April 15th of next year
  • Get my BMI down to ~23.5
  • Keep the weight off!

The first goal is a bit aggressive (I have less than 3 weeks) but as I’m just beginning this program I think it’s attainable if I’m careful around the holiday treats.  The April 15th goal is based on a formula I found at this site and I think it’s quite reasonable.  As far as how I plan to get to my goals, I’ll rely upon the basics:

  • Reduce my caloric intake
  • Cut out junk food (not that this is normally a big issue for me, but around the holidays…)
  • Exercise on a consistent basis – at least 3 times per week

To this last point I’ve been experimenting the last several days with Tabata intervals – a version of high intensity interval training developed by Dr. Izumi Tabata and a team of researchers from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo.  I’ll post about the Tabata workout this week. And please, if you’re starting an exercise program, check with your physician first like, ahem, I did.

In brief, these are my goals and how I plan to attain them.  I’ll provide periodic updates here – in the form of occasional weekend posts.

All this said, I’m now going to go munch on a carrot and see if there are any bathroom scales on sale at Target.com  Mine is obviously screwed up.

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10 Comments on aarrrgghhh! I made a horrible mistake last Thursday morning…

  1. Petro says:

    It’s going to be *very* difficult to lose any weight by Christmas. You’ve got four things running against you:
    1) The days are getting shorter/less daylight. Your body interprets this as a need to gather resources to get through the coming scarce months. Yeah, it’s not like that now, but our genes haven’t caught up yet.
    2) It’s getting colder. See above.
    3) Holidays, parties, friends, family.
    4) Preexisting habits.

    In order to lose weight you have to make lifestyle changes. Rapid “radical” changes tend to cause rebounds. If you try to change too much at once you can achieve short term goals, but most people burn out before they hit their long term goals (Almost everyone quits their diet by the 8th month. *Almost*).

    Change one thing at a time, and give it a couple weeks to “set in”, then change another.

    Interval training is *great* for weight loss, especially the kind we need to lose most. You will probably want to seriously consider some sort of weight training in conjunction with that to build muscle (which helps keep the fat off long term).

    Then after the holidays start dieting.

    Oh, and eat lots of Salmon and Tuna–good protein sources with lots of omega 3 fats.

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  2. Kevin says:

    Petro:

    Thanks – all very good points. Perhaps I’m a bit misguided, but I still believe I can drop a few pounds by Xmas… we’ll see. More motivation!

    Kevin

    [Reply]

  3. Greg says:

    I’ll second that point about building muscle… I’ve been doing this since August, and while I can’t say I’m fat, this is my plan to continue to make that claim. ;)
    (It’s also a great way to stay in shape and still be able to eat Christmas cookies… :) )

    [Reply]

  4. Kevin says:

    Greg,

    Good to hear from you again… I am enjoying ( ! ) the Tabata workouts, but by the 6th repetition my lungs (and legs) are screaming. Feels good, though…

    Kevin

    [Reply]

  5. Garry says:

    Kevin

    As a busy traveling executive, I found myself in the same situation. Google Russian Kettlebell – buy a 35 pounder and swing your way to weight loss. And for real accountability, join Weight Watchers. I’m 56 and I’ve lost 20.5 pounds in 8 weeks. Good luck you can do it.

    Garry

    [Reply]

  6. Kevin says:

    Garry –

    Thanks for the comment and the encouragement. I’ve seen Kettlebells used in videos of Tabata workouts, and it looks intense; I’ll give it a try. I found a 35lb. Kettlebell @ muscledriverusa.com for $45 – is that a decent price? http://tinyurl.com/68b6qu Thanks again!

    Kevin

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  7. Garry says:

    Kevin

    That’s a good price if shipping is reasonable. Target sometimes carries the 35# from GoFit. I follow Pavel’s program at http://www.dragondoor.com.

    I also enjoyed your review of the Air Boss. I’ve traveled the globe with it and swear by mine.

    Garry

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  8. Michael W. says:

    Problem is, we can’t rely on our waist size – the old “how many notches on my belt” trick – weight gain tends to distribute itself throughout our body and sneak up on us that way.

    I know. I’ve managed to put on 7 pounds. And I, too, blame it on the dismal economy, because I weigh myself every day and its ALL been since Lehmann tanked

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  9. Michael W. says:

    Pavel makes the best kettlebells, but they are expensive and so are his shipping charges. The link to Dragon Door is in an earlier comment by another poster. Pavel’s are the “Cadillac” of kettlebells.

    The ones from Target are VERY workable, I couldn’t find one in a heavy enough weight there. Their stock is inconsistent, but check there just in case.

    I tried some other sources, but the ONLY non-Pavel internet ones that come close are the Kaizens from http://www.budovideos.com – they have thick handles on the smaller bells, instead of skinny handles that cut into your hands, and also they are “inverted vee” handles instead of “u” handles, which becomes important for some moves. They seem to have been mostly replaced by GoFit on that website, and while the GoFit design and prices look good as well, I haven’t personally tried them.

    I don’t think 35 pounds is a good place to start. Admittedly I’m kind of weak, but a 26 pounder may be a better starting point for people new to kettlebells, and I even use a “girly” 18 pounder for light workouts. BTW, 26 pounders are usually sold in kg which translates to 12kg, when you go to order (or 16kg if you go with the larger size).

    The 26 pounder will give you a fine “kettle bell swing” routine, and also work out your shoulder and arms if you alternate arms (single arm swings) instead of doing double grip swings. And if you do press ups, the 26 pounder is a LOT easier to start out with. The 35 pounder is, however, considered the “normal” size for a guy ONCE you are in shape.

    If you get hooked, you are probably want to get a PAIR of the 35 pounders (or the next size up if you are stronger) to do some good suitcase squats.

    Hey, you’ve got a LOT of fun ahead of you, I love kettlebells, Steve Maxwell has some great videos (look on the budovideos site I linked to), Pavel is “perfection” but he only shows a few moves on each DVD, which gets expensive. I’ve seen others demonstrate kettlebell moves, but imho Maxwell and Pavel are the best.

    Enjoy!

    [Reply]

  10. Kevin says:

    Garry, Michael –

    Thanks for your great comments and encouragement. I’ll check out the local Target tomorrow and see what they have. To date I have just been running intervals with the treadmill set at a 5* incline and set at ~7mph… which sounds awfully slow. About a dozen years ago I ran a half marathon at around an 8:30 pace – but that was at a much lighter weight and I was obviously in much better shape. And of course I warm up on the treadmill before doing the Tabata intervals. I need to diversify a bit though, and the kettlebells look interesting. Thanks for your comments!

    Kevin

    [Reply]

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