Monday, January 20, 2014

Weigh in, January 20, 2014

I had to move my weekly weigh in forward two days as I might be traveling this week and won't be able to use my home scale or be able to update A Taste For The Woods. So, two days early, I now weight 314, two pounds down from last week and eight down from my 'restart' high. I credit tracking calories with the change. Weight loss is like chess; the game is won and lost at the table.

I think I should explain why I chose Wednesday as the date for my weigh in. There are several reasons. One is that a Monday weigh in is such a weight loss cliche, I thought it best to avoid it for that reason alone. But there's also the fact that weekends are often home to celebrations involving food, or extreme exercise. Both a bike ride and a trip to the bar can throw off your weight on the Monday after. Waiting until Wednesday allows your body to release the excess water its holding from salt intake and muscle swelling.

And Mondays carry such baggage already - the start of the school or work week, for instance - that adding in the stress of a weigh in seems a bad idea. If I'm going to have a bad result, better I not spoil the entire week with it.

Incidentally, the idea of a later in the week weigh in isn't original to me. I first found the idea in The You Can Do It! Kid's Diet, a tome first published in 1985, and now out of print. I don't remember any other advice in the book, but the mid-week weigh in stuck with me all these years.


Book Review: Lummox

I wrote this review back in 2007, while in the final phases of my 160 pound weight loss. Its interesting looking at it years later, not only because the partial regain I wrote about in the final paragraph happened to me, as well as to Heft on Wheels author Magnuson, but because I already had the theme of this blog in mind. I didn't include cycling in my list of childhood activities as I didn't learn to ride as a child.

I still agree with my thought that a "lifestyle change" is a change in emphasis instead of character, and aside from a couple of tweaks the review appears as I wrote it seven years ago. Lummox remains an enjoyable memoir, although its sad to recall that the author lost weight and then decided to cheat on the woman he writes so lovingly about in its pages.

I've finished Mike Magnuson's memoir Lummox. It's an entertaining recounting of some episodes of the author's fat, drunken, lecherous, under-achieving, smoke-filled youth. A portrait of the artist as a young lummox, in other words. Reading both Magnuson's memoirs, this one and Heft on Wheels, in reverse order helped me clarify the meaning of the overused phrase "lifestyle change." After reading Lummox, I've reached the conclusion that, for most people who lose weight, there isn't a lifestyle change at all. Nor is the phrase "a 180", used in the subtitle of Heft on Wheels, an accurate description of Magnuson's life when he began to take bicycling seriously.

The way the phrase "lifestyle change" is commonly used is to imply that there is a 100 percent alteration in the person. I myself have used it that way. And I was wrong to do so. It strikes me now that what I, and other people, were describing was a change of emphasis in the lifestyle, not the lifestyle itself. Magnuson is a good example; he always was a bicyclist, and in Lummox he writes of riding for 30 miles. He didn't change who he was by the time he wrote Heft on Wheels. He merely developed the bicyclist aspects of himself to a fuller potential. And part of developing that potential was dropping booze, smoking, and 80 pounds. In the course of doing that, he discovered he loved cycling more than his usual 'lummox' behavior.

My own life also serves as an example of the change in emphasis. I've always loved to walk and hike. I enjoyed the outdoors. I was the fat kid hiking in the woods. By the time I reached 400 pounds, and long before then, I couldn't engage in those activities anymore. But they were always part of me. Losing weight has made them available to me once more, that's all. I walk and hike now because I enjoy walking and hiking more than I enjoyed being fat.

What's more, all the bad habits that aided the process of constructing a 385 pound man are still in me. I am fully capable of turning into a human suction pump at the dinner table. Magnuson could turn up in the local bar any night, munching on pretzels between drags on his Camel. Both Magnuson and myself have shunted these bad habits from a place of prominence in our lives to the back of the closet. But they're still with us. And always will be.


A Taste For The Woods: 2014-01-19

This page has moved to a new address.

A Taste For The Woods