Tuesday, May 20, 2014
What will I weigh when I get home? I'm excited and hopeful.
I've been vacationing for the past 10 days with my wife, touring ancient ruins in NE Arizona and NW New Mexico. Got a new take on N American history, particularly the Native American and Spanish perspectives. Haven't seen much of the computer (a good thing), and have seen no scales at all. That's unusual for me since I generally weight in daily. During the three weeks before the trip began I had stabilized my weight at between 150 and 155 pounds, my desired weight range. And I'd adopted an eating approach that seemed to work fairly well for me. But three restaurant meals a day and a lot of hiking at historic sites and no scale has left me wondering if I will be pleased or disappointed when I do see my home scales again in 3 days. Good news: my pants still fit loosely. We shall see, shortly.
Tuesday, January 07, 2014
Life seems to have moments -- moments when I realize that I have choices with what to do with my time, what might be the best use, considering my goals which, themselves, might deserve some reconsideration, and whether I'm actually doing what I think is best.
Travel stimulates these moments. I've just arrived in San Francisco with a few months between today and another attempt to hike the length of the Appalachian Trail in a single year. This is something I can do. And it's something I want to do, although the reasoning is mostly fuzzy -- it's kind of a pilgrimage, something special to do once in a lifetime. My efforts will be directed to getting physically ready to make this long hike, and to clearing the decks of other things that must be done before I depart: income taxes, remodeling of a house, some additional strength training, It's also a time to reconsider. Are there other things more important? How can I best involve my wife in this effort? How will I feel if I fail?
I'm alone right now. and hope to take advantage of the solitude to open my feelings to what I'm doing, to be more deliberate about living, and to be less automatic, and follow less in the ruts of either employment or habit.
Another cusp - and another year. Best wishes to everyone.
Friday, August 09, 2013
Retiring in good shape.
Seems to make sense, doesn't it? Retiring in good shape. But what does that mean? Being able to bench my body weight? Able to run a 10 K in under an hour? Or simply be able to get through a day of ordinary activity without unreasonable fatigue, pain or injury? For me, being in good shape means being able to do a couple things I've gotten a lot of pleasure out of: bicycle touring and backpacking. I like being out and on my own, and using my own resources to get from one place to another. Hard to practice doing these things in an ordinary day. It takes time to get away from the house and into the woods and down the path. For me, being in good shape means being able to take off on an extended trip. Tomorrow. But it's hard to know if I'm ready to go.
I thought I was ready to go when 1) some kind of pinched nerve symptoms surfaced and I learned my right foot was weak. Physicians have identified potential problems but no partcular problem. I'm working with a great physical therapist to restore the foot strength. I think it's getting better. Then 2) the shoulder I had surgery on about a year ago and which I thought was doing fine developed a lot of pain after simply carrying a fairly heavy bag a short distance with that hand. The pain and difficulty reaching out in front of me has almost completely disappeared over a month's time, but I'm suddenly aware that this kind of thing could happen again with the same minimal sort of work. Again, my physicial therapist is helping me work to stretch and strengthen the shoulder to make it able to handle that kind of load, and more, as I expect it would need to on a long backpacking trip.
My body weight, blood pressure, and lipid profile are all OK. People say I'm trim. I walk 1-2 miles a day just in the course of doing errands in the neighborhood. Supermarket, library, even medical visits. I rarely drive. I prefer mass transit so I don't have to deal with traffic and don't have to park. I've been off my bike because of the pinched nerve problem, though I think, if I set the bike up with a bit more upright position, I'll be able to ride around the neighborhood soon. Haven't done any 10 mile hikes recently. Have had trouble "fitting" it into my activities.
People around me sometimes say I'm asking for too much. Since my day to day life is pain free, and I can do everything I have to, including some plumbing, painting and plaster work around the house, they say that I don't need anything more. Not true. I'm not happy sitting at a desk doing work on a computer and otherwise simple walks around town. I like being outdoors and doing things. My problem seems to be telling someone who's never done it that I'm looking for help in preparing to hike or bike for weeks at a time, camping along the way.
Nevertheless I'm feeling optimistic. The Appalachian Trail is calling me, looking for a meetup next April, giving me another chance to try to walk from Georgia to Maine. I think I can be ready. Now that will entail being in shape.
Sunday, June 30, 2013
Last October, about 8 months ago, I set a goal to lose from 170, a high I'd reached by not paying a lot of attention to what I ate, down to 155, what I recall as my high school weight. About 15 pounds in 8 months. Spark showed me that my weight loss was a saw toothed decline, more or less along the intended line, There was a spike from 159 to 163 while my wife and I were visiting in England and I was eating those wonderful English breakfasts every day! Another spike, from 156 to 163 occurred when I changed my activities after developing some leg pain associated with a diagnosis of a pinched nerve. There has been a sharp drop from that peak over the past three weeks as I've engaged in prescribed physical therapy. The amazing thing, unfolding before my eyes, has been seeing my scale reflecting weights under 155 for the past three days. This is a brand new low. I have not see 155 in many years. I've seen 157 or 156 a few times, but never maintained that weight to the next Sunday before. Now I've been at or under 156 for a week.
Can I maintain this? Maybe. For much of this last 8 months I've noted my weight stubbornly sticking around 160 pounds. My suspicion is that I've adopted a diet that is maintenance for 160 pounds. If I can hold onto what's happening right now, I may be able to enjoy eating and still be on a maintenance diet for 155 pounds.
My scale measures body fat. I think it does this poorly. Mine has stuck at about 27%, plus or minus 1%, throughout this entire weight loss (and gain) period. That suggests to me that I've likely lost muscle and fat in equal proportions. My new challenge is something that fits nicely with my therapy for a pinched nerve in my leg and with therapy over the past year for recovery from shoulder surgery. I'll now add some strength training for upper and lower body as well as core. This fits with what the professionals want, and also with my own goals of having the strength to do a through hike of the Appalachian Trail next spring. My next challenge will be trying to find a way to get a clear exercise plan, fitting my own needs, into my Spark plan. And I'll be working to reduce body fat without increasing weight. Hopefully that will indicate a larger percentage of lean body mass, that is, muscle.
So, today is a monumental Sunday. The first in years where my weight has finally fallen to (and below) 155 pounds. After years of paying some attention to diet, and 8 months of closer attention. I'm really pleased. I'll go out and celebrate with a walk through one of the local parks! And begin work at changing my mix of fat and muscle while keeping my weight right here.
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