Welcome to WHEE.
As your guest host tonight, I'll be relating my own current and ongoing lackadaisical 'program' to lose weight and gain tone and muscle mass.
WHEE (Weight, Health, Eating and Exercise) is a community support diary for Kossacks who are currently or planning to start losing, gaining or maintaining their weight through diet and exercise or fitness. Any supportive comments, suggestions or positive distractions are appreciated. If you are working on your weight or fitness, please -- join us! You can also click the WHEE tag to view all diary posts.
First, a bit of history. I started eating poorly and being semi-sedentary back in the mists of time, and chunked up around my mid teens, albeit not horribly so, just enough that I was pudgy. I got more active and put on some muscle and toned up some during my undergrad years, but then totally destroyed all of that as a grad student, staying up late pouring over data til late at night, frequently eating entire deep dish pizzas while I worked.
By the end of my PhD I had gained upwards of 40#, and was tipping the scales at 220 lbs, and not in muscles. A decade of sitting at a computer 10-12 hrs a day did not help out, and by the end of this May, I was tipping the scales at 300#, despite see-sawing a bit over the years on various diets.
(Last chunk of preliminary exposition, I promise!)
Finally, I had my work hours severely cut a year and a half ago, and then dramatically cut again a few months back, dropping me first from full time to 40% of full time pay, then to about 10%. (woot, I'm below the poverty line!) This gave me the incentive to finally take and pass my NCLEX licensing exam and become an RN. However, despite all the supposed nursing shortages in my state, I've racked up dozens of ding letters for the positions for which I might be qualified, and not a single interview even.
So. I came up with a back-up plan. The one group I KNOW for sure is hiring. The US Army.
Which (finally, you knew we'd get around to fitness somewhere, right?) has several requirements that must be met, and I've got 7 months in which to meet them. You see, I'm 41, and the Army age limit requirement is that you be in basic training before your 42nd birthday.
The army also has a set of physical requirements that must be met, which can be found in Army Field Manual 21-20. For a 41 year old, I have to be able to run 2 miles in 18 minutes, 18 seconds, do 34 pushups and 38 situps (correctly) in 2 minutes, I believe it is. Finally, I also have to be below 26% bodyfat, which is roughly 178# for my height. I actually was briefly in ROTC in college, before all the remedial physical training caused my grades to dive, and back then I would have had to do the run in 16 minutes or so, so I'm thankful they actually drop the requirements a bit as you age...
Which brings us back around to the title.
I'd decided to lose weight many times over the years, and generally had limited short term success, although at one point I dropped 65# and kept it off for 2 years. What I didn't have, all those years, however, was what I think is going to make this time different - an important goal. Always before I was merely 'unhappy' that I weighed too much, but very little seemed to ride on whether or not I succeeded.
So now I've finally got a set goal, set in time and pounds and tone, with fairly important real-world consequences if I fail to meet my goal. Thanks to an incredibly supportive family, I've been able to meet my bills to date, but I can't continue to make $100 every two weeks indefinitely without draining my parents dry. And the job market is nasty, and going to stay so for the forseeable future. So I've got to be ready to enlist before my 42nd birthday at the latest.
So it's 100 more pounds off in 7 months, and added tone and muscle.
I started very slowly, to get my body used to the shock of actually doing something again, on June 1rst. I started with bench presses, since I figured I'd need the pecs, lats, delts and trapezius in tone for the pushups. During the month of June, all I really did was rotate my exercises up, starting with a bare bar (45#) and doing 35 reps at a time, then adding 5 reps a day until I hit 50 reps, then adding 5 pounds of weight and restarting at 35 reps. Occasionally I threw in some bicep curls with either a curl bar or dumbbells as well. I also started walking to the grocery store every couple of days about mid-June. Not sure on the distance, but it takes about 15 minutes to walk there and another 15 to get back.
Near the end of June I started throwing in occasional weighted leg extensions and flexions. At that point, I'd dropped 10 pounds from my start weight, but had plateaued for a couple of weeks, so it was time to step it up a notch.
So in the beginning of July, I started working on a stationary bike as well. My benchpresses were using 80#s now, and I put them on a bit of a holding pattern, just rotating in various shorter and longer sets while I got used to biking. Despite working my way up from 2 mile rides a day to 12 miles a day over the first week and a half, I still wasn't really losing weight again, so I finally took the missing step (and you all knew it already, of course) and started tracking exactly what I ate, and keeping my calories in line. The pounds started to drop off again.
So I'm currently at 283.2#. I've got almost exactly 7 months to ditch about 100# more (assuming I replace a fair amount with muscle, as I work my way into shape for the run, sit-ups, and push-ups.
17# down, 103# to go. My June pace wasn't good enough, but I'm picking it up in July, and intend to keep closer on track.
Will I make it? Only time will tell, but at least my goal is set, and has a lot of real implications for my future this time. Steady loss is my plan, with as few plateaus as possible. The biking is building up my endurance, and once I hit an hour straight on the bike, I plan to start working on the running itself.
Suggestions? Thoughts? Laughter at this poor soul who can no longer enjoy cheeses at every meal?