Crashing Through a Major Barrier

I finally did something that I haven’t done since probably 1992 and it is a great feeling – I weighed in at 159!

The 160 pound barrier was a huge psychological barrier for me and I have finally broken through it.

This also means I am officially not overweight anymore (well at least until I gain that damn pound back – I usually fluctuate 1-3 pounds over the course of a week), but for the first time in a long time

I was in the normal weight range.

and I plan to be under that weight more and more over the coming weeks.

My battle with this number.

Over the past 20 years, I have weighed between 165 and 200 pounds – once in a great while slightly above or below those numbers, but not very often.  How much I weighed was pretty much dependent upon my outlook during those years. When I was in a good space, I was at the lower end, when things were tough I was at the upper end.

It always seemed that I would just get on a good roll and really started to get the weight off, that is when something would happen to derail my efforts. I would get injured, suffer an illness, work got too stressful or family stuff would crop up that took precedence over everything else.

You know the routine – life got in the way of my loosing weight. Then I would be back on that weight-gain/loss roller coaster again.

Time to get off the roller coaster

My being so fat was very unhealthy and was also a deciding factor when we decided it was time for me to retire last June.

On the day that I retired, I weighed 196 pounds and I have a feeling that I was well above that before my knee surgery in May 2011, because I did start to lose weight after the surgery, but I didn’t stand on the scales until my retirement date, because I was too embarrassed about how much I weighed and how fat I had gotten.

To be honest many of my eating habits were increasingly centered around eating to help relieve job related stress. As a teacher my life revolved around school, the stresses of attempting to teach Junior High School Special Education students, doing all the paperwork that goes along with Special Education a special education caseload and trying to improve myself as a teacher.

Eating poorly was a way to comfort myself when things were not going the way that I wanted them to or when something was going on at work that was pretty stressful. Not something you like to admit, but it is being honest.

The decision to retire meant that work was no longer my focus and that my job became improving my health and to make changes to my lifestyle to accomplish it.  I couldn’t have accomplished either with the support of my wife and everything she did to help me through some of the tougher parts of my getting healthier odyssey.

In other words – I got off the roller coaster.

Lifestyle changes

Over the course of the of the past 9 months, I have really focused on eating better (not great, just better), eating less (stopping at 1 serving, instead of seconds  or thirds at meals), having deserts less often, limiting junk foods and moving a lot more.  Using this combination eating better, moving more and developing some mental toughness (that is an important factor), I have lost almost 40 pounds.

I also give some of the credit to this blog, because it keeps me honest about what I am really doing and has become an important piece of my daily self-accountability, that was lacking over the years. I have made my weight and workout log public for the world to see.”

This blog also gives me a place to vent my feelings. There were many, many published, still unpublished or deleted blog entries over this time, that helped me get things off my chest and allowed me to react to situations differently than I did in the past. Which meant that I did a lot of writing instead of resorting eating my comfort foods to de-stress (i.e. a bag of Wavy Lays chips and a large Dr. Pepper, with a side order of Cinnamon Pop Tarts).

My Secret Weight Loss Plan

Over the past month or so I have been asked several times “what is your secret to loosing weight?”

That is just it – there isn’t any secret formula to losing weight.

In theory losing weight is very simple eat less and move more. However, loosing weight (especially as you get older) is pretty damn hard to do and you have to develop some mental toughness to get through some of the more difficult times you will have.

You actually have to change your lifestyle to really lose weight and keep it off, you can not just keep doing what you have done and expect things to be different – that is just another definition of insanity and you will re-gain the weight you lose.

The changes don’t have to be as extreme as what I did – retiring to take control of your physical and mental health.  However, you do have to look objectively at your life and commit to making changes in what or how you eat, getting off your ass to move more and how you deal with stress.

Those are my “secrets” to losing weight.  Not very big secrets are they.

The reality is that

My goal weight of 155 pounds that I set at the start of the year, is well within reach and now that I am almost there I would really like to get under 150 and stay under 150 pounds for the rest of my life.

Doing that will be hard work, but it will be worth it in the long run, especially if I can add quality years to my life, not just live longer.

You notice that I didn’t talk about running at all in this post until now. There are many ways of getting off your ass and moving, but my preferred method is to run. I know that it is not for everyone, but it is something that I love to do. Running is something that I plan to do until I can’t anymore and even then will probably keep trying despite what the doctors will say.

Finally

I like how I feel since I have lost the weight, yes I actually have ribs and have gotten rid of the beach ball that used to be in front of me. I thing that I look pretty good, well as good as this 50’s something geeky guy is going to look better – gotta be able to laugh at yourself :).  If you want to see what I look like here is my post on how surprised I was at a recent photo.

Loosing weight and keeping it off is a tough job and something that I will have to work at every day that I am still wandering around this big blue ball, but I refuse to be the person that I was on June 17, 2011 again. I will not to go back to being that person – fat and feeling pretty damn miserable.

No this is not one of those pat myself on the back posts, I wrote it to show others that if you work hard, what you can accomplish – a lot more than you think you can.

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14 comments on “Crashing Through a Major Barrier

  1. As the mom of a special ed kid (he’s now a high school freshman), I first want to say Thank You. It takes a lot of love, patience, creativity and tenacity to teach special needs kids. I couldn’t do it. I’m sad that your work was so stressful, but not at all surprised, given the wide range of needs that kids on IEPs have. Anyway, I think you’re pretty cool, and being in your 50s isn’t old. Well, if it is, then I’m in trouble.

    • Thank you for kind comment. I am the dad of a special ed kid who made it through the system, pretty much why I became a special ed teacher. With all the pressures that teachers deal with today, it was time for me to move on because looking back it was affecting my health. No being in your 50’s is not old, but if you 40+ pounds over weight, not exercising or eating right – you feel old. I feel the best I have in years and am loving life immensely right now. If I had to put an age to how I feel now – it would be late 30s, so 50’s are not old if you don’t feel old :-).

    • Thanks and I am happy 🙂 The roller coaster is tough to get off at time, but if you stop it and look at what you are actually doing versus what you think you are doing, we all can get off the r/c :-).

  2. I think you should pat yourself on the back. And often. It is one of the ways we make sure to look after our own needs, to remind us that we are important enough to do it for ourselves.

    I know you will meet that goal of 155 soon. And make sure to let us know so we can celebrate with you. 🙂

    • Elle – thanks and I will let you know, its the old you are not supposed to toot your own horn mentality without sounding like you are bragging. Not bragging, but feeling good about my progress and I “know” I can get under 155, now to do it. thanks 🙂

  3. Congratulations for your weight loss ! This is really inspiring ! I feel like the strongest message today is to keep doing it until we all reach the healthy weight range we are after !
    Thanks for sharing !

  4. I can totally relate to the stresses you talk about, as I am also a teacher of elementary students. Teaching is a demanding job. To cope with the stress of teaching as well as many other challenges, I too have turned to food for comfort. Over the past year I have slowly begun to wake up, come out of the fog and started the journey to a vibrant life. Blogging is a great way to get things off your chest and as you say, it does really keep you honest! Good luck in your adventure 🙂

  5. Pingback: AVR – Running Week in Review 3-25-12 « A Veteran Runnah

  6. Pingback: Motivation Monday: Ready to Get Off the Roller Coaster – Will You Join Me? | Fitness Cheerleader

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