Return to the Battle of the Bulge
I started exercising, eating better, cutting alcohol out of my diet and other things, and dropped 15-20 pounds over the next many months. Eventually, old habits returned as did a portion of the weight.
My second swing at the bulge utilized the Ideal Protein program, a process that I wrote about extensively on this blog which saw me lose 30 pounds in a period of about two months in the fall of 2011. At 176 pounds in November of that year, I was the lightest that I had been in more than 20 years and feeling great, albeit a little cold in my extremities, my hands and fingertips particularly.
Over time, and as I weaned myself off of the Ideal Protein products, I fell into a very healthy pattern which included a healthy breakfast, salad-based lunch, and healthy evening snack. Some weight returned, but only enough to regulate the temperature in my hands and feet. I felt great for quite a long time.
My frustration and discomfort started with a trip to Vancouver, when we ate way too much and had one too many beers. I returned to Fort McMurray 10 pounds heavier, and had to refocus my efforts. It worked; but it didn't work. While I maintained my eating regimen, little cheats began creeping in and good habits were replaced with bad. Don't get me wrong, for the most part, how we eat remains radically different than before, but with enough little alterations, combined with a lack of exercise, it was enough to make a difference.
Over the past few weeks, I've begun to feel increasingly uncomfortable in my skin, and against my better judgement stepped on the scale the other night. My discomfort was well founded as I clocked in at 193 pounds. At dinner with the family that evening, I voiced my displeasure with the return of the bulge and voiced the fact that I was going to do something about it. Putting it out in the world changes the level of accountability immediately. This blog post adds an additional, and very public, layer of accountability.
Rather than dashing back to Ideal Protein - an alluring proposition I promise you - I am going to try a number of different things to see if it takes me back to my healthy range of 180 - 185 pounds.
1. Cut down on the scotch
Over Christmas holidays, I acquired a taste for scotch (thanks Tim!). Closing out the day with two fingers of this newfound nectar became the rule rather than the exception. I don't know if there is a direct connection to my incremental weight gain, but I'm committing from going to one scotch a day to one a week. I'm happy to report that my previous affinity for beer has completely disappeared, replaced by water as my primary beverage, apart from coffee, which is a vice I loathe to give up.
2. Stay away from the syrup
As a Thomas, I come by my fondness for sweets honestly. Even into his 99th and last year, my grandfather liked nothing more than having a sugary treat, preferably milk chocolate. While my sweet tooth is slightly different - I gravitate to carmel and syrups - it's become too regular an indulgence. I hereby pledge to avoid the sweets until I return to my ideal weight. Whew! That was a hard sentence to type.
3. Fries, Pies and Pasta
While I don't indulge in catastrophic carbs often, they creep into my diet often enough that I'm convinced they have been the primary cause of my corpulence. Whether it is the odd order of yam fries (which I adore) or those amazing pies we get for dessert at council meetings, the indulgences stop now.
4. Water, water and more water
I drink a lot of water. However, I don't drink enough water. When I was at my fittest, I was consuming vast amounts of H2O, which kept me well-hydrated and flushed out. My body water percentage was always at or above 50 percent. Did I mention I need to drink more water?
5. Walks with wife
Heather has graciously agreed to join me for nightly 30-minute brisk walks, an added component to my lifestyle that had become embarrassingly sedentary. We went for our first stroll last night, enjoying a light rain, great conversation, and a stunning sunset complete with a double rainbow. What's not to like?
We'll see how these strategies work over the next few weeks. If I don't see enough forward progress, I may need to return to Back on Track With Barb and the Ideal Protein fix.