Late Night Work Outs

gym selfie

Look at me, two weeks in a row (pats self on the back-winces in pain because yesterday was “arms day” and they still hurt to move). I don’t really have much to tell you.  Not a lot has changed in the last week.  I’m still fat.  I still don’t want to exercise. I am still exercising anyway. I want to eat every bad thing I see and I resist the urge almost solely based on the fact that I don’t want to write another confessional post.

Two days a week, I go to the gym following my swing shift at work.  This shift runs from 5pm to 3 am.  The absolute hardest part of working out at this time is getting out of my car. Especially recently as the weather has turned colder (I use that term loosely as “cold” here is when the temperature hits the 40’s at night). I get in my car to drive over to the gym and turn on the heater to defrost my windshield.  By the time I can see and drive over to the gym, I’m cozy warm and I am loath to get out. It seems that each night gets harder and harder but eventually I work up the (let’s be honest) guilt (over having to write about not going in this post) and go inside.

This is one of my favorite times to go to the gym.  Surprisingly enough there is barely anyone there.  Although it’s been said that “misery loves company,” I prefer to be alone during my work out sessions.  I don’t want to make friends and be forced to carry on conversations between desperate gasps for air. It is usually just a handful of people.  Last night there was one other person (the employee) in the gym when I finally dragged myself from the car.

There is a long row of roughly 20 exercise bikes. I usually go the last one on the end-that way I can guarantee at least one side of solitude.  Last night my favorite bike was waiting for me like a silent, non-judgmental old friend.  I began working out.  About 3 minutes into my workout (or about 3 minutes after I wanted to stop), an older guy came in and walked straight to the bike on my right.  Not to “a” bike on my right, but to “the” bike on my right. Mind you this facility is enormous.  Even if he had only wanted to bike he could have chosen any of the other 19 or so.  Instead he chose to sit roughly 2 feet from me.

I did my best to ignore him and focus on my exercise or more accurately zone-in on my distraction of choice-Doctor Who. I believe he may have tried to say something to me but I had my ear buds in and didn’t respond. If he did attempt to chat me up he quickly abandoned his efforts and focused on his workout.  I continued pedaling with the added motivation of pretending I was racing away from the awkward situation.

Then the noises started. At first it seemed like a casual grunt one would expect from physical exertion. But I quickly realized this was not a normal situation.  He was breathing loudly on the inhale as well as the exhale.  Each exhale began with pursed lips drawn tightly so that the air had to build up pressure before it could escape.  Once a sufficient amount of pressure had amassed it began slipping out in short bursts that made a staccato sound not dissimilar to flatulence.  When he finished his exhale he began a crescendo of sucking the air back in through his teeth so that it made a wet hissing noise just barely below a whistle. Even now as I reenact it to more aptly describe it to you, I find myself out of breath-leading me to believe that it is not only annoying but incredibly anti-conducive to exercise.

Fortunately, he only lasted ten minutes (I was sure he would have hyperventilated after five minutes) before moving on, mercifully, to the other side of the gym.  I could still hear his odd breathing noises as he grunted with each rep on the weight machines.  I finished up my own regimen (infinitely more silently) and exited the gym.

As I said before, I prefer to exercise in misery alone. But if I am forced to exercise with other people present then may they all be such productive blog fodder.

Two Truths and a Lie

two truthsand a lie

I know.  It’s been a three weeks since my last post.  Not only have a failed at making this a habit (not giving up on that), but I also want to offer up many excuses (some legitimate) as to why I haven’t posted the last few weeks.  The cold hard truth is that I haven’t wanted to sit down at the computer and write out the post.  Honestly, how lazy am I that I don’t want to do a task that requires me to sit and only move my fingers?  It’s not like I don’t have good things to update.  It’s not like I have bad things to tell you. I just didn’t want to type.  For that I apologize.  When I started out I made the commitment to lose weight and communicate that journey.  I can’t be faithful to one and neglect the other.  So please forgive my laziness.  I will endeavor to be more consistent with my responsibilities moving forward.

As I have just read that last paragraph to myself, I realized that knowing I had to write that was a big hurdle in writing the next post.  I am relieved that is out of the way and we can move forward now and get to the real purpose of this post.

Truth #1:

When I started out one of the first confessions I made was that I weighed in excess of 400 lbs. I didn’t tell you how much exactly because it was hard enough to generalize without going in to particulars.  I have good news on that score.  I no longer weigh in excess of 400 lbs. I just returned from the gym and my official weight lost is now at 38 lbs.  Which puts me 2 pounds under 400. I’ll let all of you with a basic knowledge of math figure out my starting weight. I am very happy to be under that number but if you’ve done your math right you can see I have a long way to go. Celebrating it feels like that football player who dances and beats his chest in the end zone after scoring while his team is still down by 30 points. Still for now I am grateful to have reached the first milestone.

Truth #2:

The last 8 lbs. have been harder to lose than the first 30. I realize this isn’t a shocking revelation. No one would argue that losing weight gets easier the longer you go. I haven’t been eating terribly.  I may have made a few choices I wouldn’t have made when I started out but overall I’ve behaved. I have really been enjoying my time at the gym. It hasn’t necessarily gotten easier.  I still have to drag myself into the gym at the end of the night, but I’m doing it. I’m okay with the slow down in weight loss as long as I continue to lose.  I know this is a long road and I need to be patient and see it through. One of my problems has been my inability (or unwillingness rather) to see the long term affects of my actions both good and bad.  I’m all about the here and now and sometimes at the cost of the future. I am a little too quick to sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate.  So for now slow and steady wins the race.

The Lie:

When it comes to my weight there are many lies I have told myself.  Some of them have been confessed on this blog.  One of them I didn’t even realize until a couple of weeks ago.  I have admitted to the fact that I am a bored eater.  If you would have asked me if I was an emotional eater I would have told you no.  That is a lie.  I am a VERY emotional eater.  I realized this after a particularly trying morning at work.  When it came time to eat lunch I ordered a plate of the extremely tasty (but decidedly not good for you) Nachos. As I sat down to eat I looked at the plate and the Fat Skinny Guy asked me what in the world I thought I was doing. The Fat Fat Guy told him to shut up and mind his own business.  The Fat Skinny Guy insisted it was his business and a piece of the big picture became clear to me.

Do you remember those magic eye picture that were all the rage back in the 90’s.  You had to look at them dead center, let your eyes glaze over and cross them a bit to reveal a 3D picture hidden in the jumble of geometric shapes and colors. When you finally locked on to a bit of the picture  your eyes would adjust and you could see the whole thing.  That is exactly what happened to me that afternoon. I finally caught a glimpse of the picture and it changed the perspective I had on my emotional food decisions.

I eat my emotions. What better way to celebrate than with a bowl of ice cream and chocolate chip cookies? What better way to cope with a stressful day than to dive into a big plate of nachos? What better way to revel in the comfort of a rainy day than with a bread bowl filled with Corn Chowder? I often will begin to eat because I’m hungry but the problem is I eat every time like I’m trying to abolish my own personal hunger for all time. I won’t be able to sever the connection between emotions and eating. It is an integral part of our society. What I can do, now that I’m aware of it, is make sure that I’m not making bad decisions because I feel like I’ve emotionally earned the right.

There you have it.  A milestone reached and a flaw acknowledged.  Whew, what an emotionally trying post. This is normally where I would bury my emotions in a bag of chips or a box of cookies. I need to find another avenue to process my emotions.  I’ll work on that and let you know how it comes out. For now I’m going to put padlocks on fridge and pantry and tie myself to a chair until this flood of emotions pass.  Thanks for reading.

Crossing the Starting Line

imageWeek one is in the books.  I have to say it was a good week.  The fat skinny guy inside me is happy–a little tired but happy nonetheless. I took my “before” picture (above) and after one week of faithfully exercising, a bout with stomach flu and eating properly I have lost 13 lbs.

This is when I would normally celebrate with a large bowl of Bear Claw Ice Cream and chocolate chip cookies (Great, now I really want that).  Thankfully, the fat skinny guy inside is in control and wants to keep the momentum rolling.

I joined a gym.  It is in the same parking lot as the restaurant I manage.  I have gone 5 times in the past week.  I have worked mostly on the exercise bike.  I like the elliptic glider as it allows me to run without putting too much pressure on my knees.  I fear, however that I may be a little too heavy for them yet. They have a tendency to cry out in protest with every revolution of the wheel announcing loudly to all around, “A fat guy is exercising”.  So for now I am content to bike and use the treadmill for my cool down time.

I haven’t gotten into the weights yet.  That seems a little daunting as that portion of the gym is largely populated by overly muscular men and women grunting with each rep.  I may venture over there someday but it’ll have to be later on when I don’t feel like a kid trying to join an adult conversation.

As far as food goes I have made good choices this week (yeah me).  One of my cooks is very excited for me and has vowed to only make me healthy food while at work (even if I order something unhealthy).  I downloaded an app to my phone which allows me to track what I’m eating.  I think that having to type it in my phone (and post here) has helped me.  I don’t want to have to post something bad so I’m not eating it.

I did struggle a little at times. Wednesday night after work I did not want to exercise at all.   I was tired and I wanted to go home and sleep. I sat in the car for and extra five minutes but I finally found the will power (knowing that I would have to record my failure here helped a lot). On the way home I was starving as it had been about 7 hours since I’d eaten and I worked hard and then exercised.  I pulled into the only place open at 4:00 am.  Jeff in the Cube (names have been changed to avoid any legal trouble)!

I pulled out my phone and looked at the calorie count.  I quickly realized that not only was there nothing on the menu under 600 calories but I didn’t want to eat that many.  Did you read that?  “I DIDN’T want to”. This is a first for me. I always WANT to. But thankfully all that dieting and exercise seems to have started to change my “want to”.

So I’m off to a good start.  Thanks to all those at work and home who have pushed me and encouraged me this week. I appreciate you.