I’m Not Fit to Be Expert

I’m not noticeably fat but no one would mistake me for thin. I have been what I consider to be dangerously fat and I still carry a spare tire. While I would like to be thin, I want to be healthy and fit enough to avoid the doctor’s office and hospital.

I was 218 through most of the summer but this morning weighed 208.8. My average weight for seven days has fallen to 211. I see the difference in the bathroom mirror though not when clothed. It seems wise to write what is working, if for no other reason than to remind myself.

I Started By Running

In July I got back to running. I went slow, keeping my heart rate between 122 and 132. In August I had found a great five-mile run through the cemetery and did it most every day. That nudged the scale.

All summer I dabbled with eating better and exercising, but the weight stayed on. Putting up 25 and 30 miles a week, the weight began coming off. Running like that and seeing the weight fall, I lost some of my appetite.

I Stopped Eating As Usual

I eat too much, eat on a schedule, dream of snacks to eat, and eat because others are eating. None of those things help me much. A month ago, I stopped eating. I prefer to write and maybe run before I eat.

I stopped snacking. This was tough. When I’m bored, I snack. Changing that took two things: awareness and continued progress. Each day I stayed clear of snacks other than a few cashews or some good cheese, I dropped weight and felt healthier. And I kept busy writing and teaching. That helped and so did the bribery.

I Began Paying Myself

For years I have invested a dollar for every mile I run. It’s fun and gets me running and saving. Since the worst food I consume happens after 7:30, I pay myself $1 for every night I stop eating before then. Maybe once a week I miss out on paying myself that buck. The success of it got me thinking of other bounties.

I Pretty Much Stopped Drinking

Drinking makes me fat and costs me a lot of money. Wanting to cut back, I pay myself $1 for every day I don’t drink. I still go out with friends and have beer or whiskey, but not often, and I rarely drink at home.

Not drinking much, I’m clearer in my head and more active. I’m in a better frame of mind and body each morning to write and stay fit.

I Set Small Goals

I’m suspicious of big, specific goals. “I’m going to weigh 185 pounds by New Years!” Sure. But then I fail a little and give up. By New Years I weigh 219. Screw that. Instead of the big goal, I make decisions in the moment. “I don’t want that cookie.” “I’ll have a salad.” “I’m going for a run.”

I set small goals to mark progress and so that I can pay myself. Last month it was to get below 215 and every day below that I earned a dollar. This month it’s 210 and I’ve earned $3 so far. I may set a goal of 205 next month and so on.

I Have Changed

I’m a little lighter, my body is a little tighter (in good ways), and I don’t eat so much, just two meals and a small snack. I don’t drink alcohol but once a week (if that). I run and play sports. And I’ve invested more money than when I was heavier.

My thinking that has changed. Impossibilities are now just things I do. Old habits can change. Getting fit feels possible.

None of this is permanent. I’ll continue to change. I may fall into old habits and I will surely create new habits. That’s living and really that’s what this is all about.