Back On The Road To Lighten The Load

I am currently trying to drop 25 pounds, to get from a high weight of 210 pounds, down to around 185. That is a comfortable and reasonable weight for me, and will shift my Body Mass Index from overweight to normal. But at 48-years old I’ve noticed that my metabolism has slowed down considerably, which makes it harder to keep weight off.

I also write a lot about food, alcohol and attend events where both are served, particularly dive foods rich in calories. I used to be able to fight weight gain from fried chicken and crawfish gumbo, but that is not the case any longer. Much less fast food, which is the worst. That stuff seems to be genetically engineered to be heavy, trigger food cravings and add pounds.

I got up off my couch in April and started carving out time for some casual exercise, which would have impacted my weight at a younger age, but did little at this point. This required getting considerably more involved in devising a workout regimen that would impact my weight loss goals and not leave me crippled or permanently injured.

With a busy work schedule and three kids, I have small windows to squeeze in exercise so it needs to count. For me, running offers the best bang for my buck. There is a reason that it’s hard, because it is hard. With running, if you don’t take steps forward you don’t move. There is no coasting on the down hills. You still have to get your feet moving. It’s a calorie burner, even if you are going slowly.

Yes I have had some dings and pulls along the way. At my age there is no question that stretching is a requirement. Aches and pains I would have neglected in years past get treated with ice and heat preemptively in order to get me right to make my next run.

I don’t do treadmills. They bore the piss out of me, and anything that has a television attached to it is a distraction. I’m also hitting the gym twice a week for modest strength training. One morning is machine weights and one is for free weights. The best part of all this is getting to step into the sauna and steam room, for 10 minutes each, once my workouts are completed. That is a moment when I can savor my accomplishment, enjoy a peaceful moment and contemplate my day going forward.

A friend of mine that I went to high school with, and ran track and cross-country with, is also going through this. He was able to get most of his weight off last year, but is prone to injury, so he gets sidelined periodically to heal up. We are suffering through this together, and that helps. Our goal is to get ourselves into shape first, and then train to race the KY History Half-Marathon on Oct. 3 in Frankfort, and the Urban Bourbon Half-Marathon on Oct. 24 in Louisville.

I’m now working out five days a week ideally. It started with just running a mile, then two. Now I run three days a week and lift weights on two. Soon I will need to add a fourth running day, which will overlap with one of my weight workouts.

To get an idea of my fitness level, I ran the ProActive 5K in Frankfort on April 17, finishing just under my goal of 30 minutes. Slowly I increased mileage to four miles, then had a vacation to Jamaica, which was wonderful but I did little healthy there but swim. This got me home June 8 and I had the Capital City Stampede 10K on June 13, for which I had not run that distance yet. I did a 3-mile run on the Wednesday before, then a 5.5 mile run Thursday, and considered myself good to go. I ran the 10K in 57:51, a 9:20 minute per mile pace, which was slightly under my one-hour goal.

I’ve dropped between five and 10 pounds so far, but I’m yo-yoing. Consistency is what needs to come next. There is a correlating situation I have to address. In order to run faster and decrease the stress on my older body, I need to drop weight, but it’s hard to drop the weight without running farther and faster.

Addressing my diet is also a priority. I’ve had a sick baby and sick relatives lately, which throws a wrench into routines for planning healthy lunches and dinners for my week. Being healthy takes time and is a commitment, but it does pay off. And as I’ve noticed from having to assist older relatives that have health issues, you don’t want to reach old age and be out of shape. That brings on a variety of nasty health issues, not to mention makes it harder for you to take care for yourself independently.

It’s slowly coming together, but much slower than in previous years. I’m keeping the faith, I’m humble, and just keep going out there for more. My advice to those starting new workout routines is to stay positive and don’t look for magic improvements. It takes work. Be patient and you will get the results you need. That does not mean washboard abs necessarily, but that can happen with the right diet and exercise, but that is some serious discipline later in life. Just set your goals, be realistic and try to embrace the time when you exercise as special, and make it “Your Time.” Don’t take a phone along. This should be sacred time for you and your body to commune. Make time for that and you will improve your overall health. Good luck!

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One Response to Back On The Road To Lighten The Load

  1. scavok says:

    Pete,

    Keep it up. As you know, since we were kids I have battled weight issues. I have been 165 (too thin for my frame) and 225. And have gone up and down several times. I am headed down now. 30 pounds since last October. I think where we get tripped up is on our focus on the scale. It would be like on a run checking every hundred yards if you were faster or slower than you expected. Pull your chin up. Look to the horizon. Forget pounds and enjoy how your body feels being active and being treated well. Health will follow. To misquote Dorothy Parker, “I hate a health regimen, but I love being healthy.” One foot forward and keep to your rhythm.

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