Finally had to do something

I hope people have enjoyed my posts about baking stuff. Unfortunately those will be the last ones of that sort for a while.

I'm not sure how many people know, but a few years back I won a free year membership to Pure Austin Gym because I lost a lot of weight and became passable as an amateur bike racer. I was on my bike 10+ hours a week, and while I did change my diet some, I mainly just ate real food and exercised a ton. 

At my lightest I was at 170. At my most fit, I was probably around 175, but could put out 8.5 minute miles running without much of a thought and 4-hour bike rides were a standard activity on Saturday mornings. I ran a 1:52 half-marathon on a whim. I could wear tight, ironic t-shirts and it wasn't weird. Okay, maybe it was weird for some people, but whatever, I felt like I owned it. I felt healthy, and any physical challenge I was up for. 

Then I started work. It was a lot harder to fit in all those cycling hours with a 9-6 schedule. Oh, and we bought a house. So the Saturdays and Sundays started having a lot other things that needed to get done. I quickly realized that bike racing (at least road racing) was not going to really happen anymore... and also I just lost my nerve for it. I was at a cross roads. Buy a cyclocross bike and go all into cyclocross and not do anymore road racing, or stop riding as my primary form of exercise and join CrossFit. (I know, false dichotomy, but for some reason that was what was in my head.) I did the latter, and after a several month experiment with CrossFit (and some weird medical false flags), I quickly found myself on the wrong side of a weight-gain, fitness-losing trend.

I trained for a triathlon the summer after I quit CrossFit and it was just shocking. Things I used to be able to do (and my coach figured I could still do, I mean, it's only been 9 months, how badly could I have possibly sunk) seemed super hard. I couldn't swim anymore without getting super winded. I could do core exercises without failing early. I had no fitness when trying to run. And the weight kept creeping up.

My pants got tight. Then I bought slightly bigger pants. It'll stop here, I just need to shed a few pounds. Then I had to buy bigger pants. My cholesterol went up. Oh, now I'll get skinny again. But instead more weight, less fitness.

I've done things here and there to stem the tide and lose a little weight and get a little more fit. Running. Riding my bike again. Working out here and there. But nothing that replicated the consistency that I had from bike racing. Spoiler alert, I'm not getting back into bike racing. 

Okay, so at the end of the day, calories in vs calories out is the basis of weight loss (yes, I know there are lots more things involved, but this is a pretty consistent factor). Since I knew that I was not going to be able to just brute force this process through tons of calorie-burning cycling, I finally came to the realization that I had to change my diet.

Here, really, is where I always go wrong. I love food. A lot. I love to cook food. I love to eat food. I love to pay probably way too much money on our 10-year anniversary for food that other people cooked and made look like the forrest floor in a fantasy movie (true story, a blog post for another time). But that's the catch... all this food comes with a calorie price. Did I mention that wine has calories? Damn.

So I looked around and found an inspiration. That would be my friend Jerry. He and Dot have lost an incredible amount of weight in the last year. He always talked about his, "smug jerry diet." So I figured, why the heck not. Maybe a drastic change is what I needed to shake things up. And let's be honest, it's not a diet per se. It's basically being smart about the amount of calories you consume every day and not eating bread, pasta, rice, etc.

I've always been loathe of low-carb affairs. I generally think the paleo movement is more religion than good science, and as a person who used to ride their bike a lot, it just seemed like a really bad idea. But the proof was in the pudding, scratch that, I can't have pudding. But it worked for Jerry and Dot... so heck why not?

So what caused the sudden decision? It was trying on the vest I ordered for Jerry and Dot's wedding. It physically went on my body... if I could manage to not inhale air for the entire night. Something had to be done. I guess that was the final straw. 

So it's been 2 weeks now, and I've lost 8 lbs. My midsection looks thinner, and my pants fit better. Here are the rules that Carrie and I are playing by:

  1. no pasta, rice, bread, grains (this is killer, by the way... I mean, "bread is delicious" is my personal motto)
  2. no fried food
  3. no drinking (I let myself have one day a week where I can have alcohol)
  4. no refined sugar (I am eating fruit, I'm sorry, but I refuse to cut out fruit, or "sweet" vegetables such as carrots for that matter)
  5. 1700 calories a day at max (I generally try to shoot for between 1500-1700)

The first week was rough. Carrie and I were both tired basically the entire week. The second week was much better for me. The tiredness has gone away. Though I will be honest, I could totally take down a bowl of pasta, some croissants, or a big pile of rice and gravy right now.

My plan is to go hard until the wedding. Then after that probably introduce a few things like oats in in moderation. But I've gotten over the initial hard phase, so now I kind of want to see how far I can keep pushing. And this is without any real exercise (busy schedule, plus my back going out last week has kept exercise at a minimum). Once I add some consistent, even if moderate exercise in I think I can really get things moving.

So what is my goal? 180. I think that's doable and sustainable on a decent calorie budget. I have some fitness challenges in mind for next year, but for right now I need to just keep up the healthy eating and shed the weight. If I can actually make it through the holidays this year without ballooning, I'll already be ahead of where I was the last few years. Is there a good chance this all blows up in a few weeks? Probably. But it feels different this time. Something just had to be done.