So, It’s come to this . . . I’m blogging about losing weight

Yes, I’m going to become one of those guys who openly blogs about his health, diet, and exercise so that I finally make some progress on this and get myself out of my sedentary lifestyle rut.

To summarize, I spent 3 years and 8 months in graduate school and working full time.  What more, I had a semi-stressful job and a very stressful graduate program.  So, between the lack of time, 2-3 hours a day in a car, the stress, and the desk job I graduated in August 2012 weighing 205 pounds having entered weighing about 175-180.  I am 6 feet tall, so that is overweight by BMI standards and I ought to have shed about 15 pounds to get into the “healthy” BMI range (I’m not a big BMI fan, more on that later).  Now over a year and a half later, I hadn’t lost any weight even though we’d moved to a more active state so I decided it was time to actively doing something and stop hoping I would just magically lose weight.

Four weeks ago I started counting calories and really exercising.  My original goal was to get down to 185 (20 pounds) by the end of summer and then maybe 10 more pounds by Thanksgiving.  I wanted to make sure that the calorie intake on my phone’s weight loss app was estimating correctly though, so a week and half after I started I took advantage of the fact that I work for a university with a world-class Exercise Science program and got my RMR accessed.  Fortunately my university has a BodPod so it was a fairly simply process.  It gave me a lot more than just my RMR though, and the results that printed out scared me.

First off, it turned out that my phone’s app had overestimated my RMR by 180 calories, so I needed to be even more careful about my daily intake.  The much bigger issue that truly scared me was my body fat percentage.  It was a whopping 32.6%.  Of the 203 pounds I weighed on the day I was measured, my body consisted of over 66 pounds of fat.  Let me be clear up front, I don’t look fat.  Rarely does anyone, whether friend, family, doctor, tell me that my weight is a concern.  I generally look like a lean person with a bit of annoying pudge on my belly.  Yet there it was in black and white on this paper: I was technically obese.

I know the BMI gets a lot of bad press, and it’s probably deserved because there is too much variability in body shape to just measure height and weight and come up with some magical number for everyone from there. Mostly though, it’s people complaining that they think they’re healthy when the BMI says they are overweight or obese.  For me, I am experiencing the opposite.  My BMI says I’m just somewhat overweight, but the reality is that I was carrying a very unhealthy amount of fat.  What more, if when I lose enough fat to be in the healthy range my BMI will be well below 25, which is considered the top range of healthy.

Given these unexpected results, I decided to take advantage of a more in-depth intervention that my university’s Exercise Science program offers.  Starting this week I began the Y Be Fit program.  On Wednesday of this week I met my training coach and generally reviewed my goals (and signed away all sorts of liability…).  Next Wednesday we’re doing a battery of assessments (including a new BodPod measurement and a sub-maximal treadmill test), and then for the next 14 weeks I’ll be meeting with my coach weekly to monitor my progress.

I think I need this because I’ve occasionally tried to lose weight, but either my busy-ness or social pressure got in the way.  I’ve felt ever since I broke 200 pounds that my weight wasn’t healthy, but because I don’t “look” like the type of person who needs to lose weight I would have coworkers, acquaintances, peers, and others question me for trying to watch what I was eating, or passing on the cookies or cake brought to the office.  The statement was that someone as skinny as me shouldn’t have to watch his weight.  Well, now it turns out that my gut feeling (no pun intended) was right, and I’ve got to shed some fat.  So, to help in to process I’ll be adding a blog post weekly after my appointments, and tracking my goal to get my body fat percentage under control and to live a more healthy life.  Research has shown that this type of recording helps the person who wants to lose the weight, but I’m also aware of numerous pieces of anecdotal evidence that people not dieting and exercising hate reading this kind of stuff.  So, my apologies in advance.

For the rest of you who are interested, here is my baseline (as of 5/14/14):

RMR:  1722

Weight:  202.863 lbs

Fat Free Mass:  136.796

Fat Mass: 66.068

Body Fat Percentage:  32.6%

 

In the event I don’t gain much in muscle mass (but I sure hope to!), I will have an acceptable (<20%) body fat percentage if I weigh 171.25, which means losing 31.75 pounds.  If I want to have an ideal body fat percentage (~12%) I will need to drop to 155, which means losing 47.318 pounds.  That’s not a healthy goal for a 15 week long program, but I’m excited to see how close I can get!

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I’m not married to the same woman I knew on our wedding day, and that’s a good thing.

0048Once upon a time I married this amazing young lady.  She’s a different person now 12 ½ years into our marriage but I wouldn’t trade the woman I’m married to now for the lady I knew on my wedding day for all the riches of the world!

Now don’t get me wrong, she was great back then! Fantastic, wonderful, caring, & loving!  Back then she liked doing things like getting caught in the rain (and kissing me while she was at it).  She had time to improve on all her amazing talents like singing and piano playing.  She was an amazing student and blew me away with her knowledge and wisdom.  On top of all that, this lady was totally into me!  She found ways for us to spend as much time together as possible, she doted on me and would make treats and surprises for me (of course I reciprocated).  And, without a doubt, she was one of the most beautiful women that had ever given me the time of day!  When I got married I felt bad for just about every other person with a Y-chromosome on the planet; I’d found her, the best woman in the world, I’d married her…I’d won!

So, what could have possibly changed to turn this already amazing woman into something even better?  In four short words:  She became a mom.

What is it about motherhood that can take the most talented women on planet, the women who put all us men to shame already, and suddenly make them even better?  Is it the nine months of selflessly sharing your body, and sense of individuality with another living being?  Is it the months of using their breasts to give life-sustaining sustenance to this child they had carried?  Is it the years that follow of patiently tutoring this child she had carried and fed into becoming a productive member of society?IMG_1480

Well, by my observations it must me some combination of all of the above.  The young woman I married has been slowly changing in these past years.  Changes that I can’t see day-to-day, that are difficult to even see year-to-year, but who I know has become a different person nonetheless.  The sleepless nights have worn off some of rough edges, the caregiving has nurtured her nurturing, and seeing the accomplishments of her children has born witness to her own talents and her future potential.

I’m still sure I won!  She’s still fantastic, wonderful, caring, loving, & beautiful, but each of those qualities have grown beyond what I even thought possible before my wife became a mother.

 

 

 

(Since I’m sharing this publicly, I do want to add an addendum to this.  This post is essentially a love-letter to my wife, not a factual evaluation of motherhood or womanhood.  I do recognize that many women achieve great things without becoming mothers.  Whether through circumstance or choice, women who do not become mothers have the same chances for individual greatness that women who are mothers do.)