Saturday, November 29, 2014

Self Improvement Through Threats From the Doctor

Opening warning:  Non-EVE personal content lurking ahead.  

This is a pre-year-end post.  It is also part of a series.  I'll be talking on this topic on/around Jan 1st, but want some background on the books to refer to.

I've never been big on New Year's Resolutions.  I'm not sure how widespread this kind of thing is internationally, but in the States, this is the phenomenon where people commit to doing something they should already be doing, fail miserably at it, and then make the same commitment the following year.

Or at least that's my snarky observation of how it usually works.  :)  For me, if I know I should do something different, I'd rather start now than wait for an arbitrary mark on the calendar.

But in January of 2013, I did make a pretty good commitment.  I resolved to losing 20 lbs by my birthday in the Fall.  AND, I resolved to track my progress throughout the year.  That means a big ol' spreadsheet with graphs and stuff.

At this point, I should back up:  In June of 2008, I weighed in at 285 lbs.  In July of 2008, Mrs. Durden and I started bicycling.  We ate "better" (meaning not Chinese takeout and pizza delivery 4 nights out of 5).  The weight slowly came off of me.

The first time we biked together, it was a 1 mile lap around the subdivision and we thought we were going to die.  But we kept at it, extended our ranges, improved our equipment (donating our box-store brand bikes to the neighbor kids and upgrading to "real" bikes).  We joined a gym and wore out the wii fit disc.

In 2010, we moved out of town, bought 10 acres, and I added splitting wood and clearing brush to my list of regular "exercise."  At this point, I'd lost ~35 lbs and weighed in at ~250 lbs.  In August of 2010, I did my first Triathlon with my brother. My times sucked but I did it.

In January 2013, I weighed 235 lbs, or a total loss of 50 lbs.  At this point, we biked many hundreds of miles a year, jogged, and swam endless laps and the gym.  We'd also done many charity bike rides around the state and we both had competed in several local Triathlon events.  My weight was very stable - I could eat perfectly and drop to 230/233 or eat mostly what I wanted and be 235/237.

So I made a resolution in 2013 to lose 20 lbs over many months.  At the time, it seemed impossible to break my plateau, but on January 1st two years ago I set out with some increased cardio and myFitnessPal I set out to do it.

On the 3rd week of January 2013, I visited my doc for my annual physical.  I'd lost 5 lbs in 3 weeks and was happy.  I had 15 lbs to go and almost the whole year to do it.  Doc checks my blood work and my cholesterol came back high.  His advice/threat:  "Lose 30lbs and it should stabilize.  Recheck in ~3mo, flunk again and go on meds for life."

Holy crap. I was floored.  I was hoping to lose 20 lbs in almost a year.  He's advocating losing 30 lbs in less than 1/3 the time, and that was 30 from where I was on the day of the visit ... the 5 I'd lost didn't count!  Doc and I have a discussion about the safest way to lose the weight, and I go home to sulk.

At this point, I could have blamed the doctor.  Gone into denial and gotten another opinion. I could have blamed my mom's family genes.  I could have done nothing and just accepted a monthly trip to the pharmacist.  But I was too young for that kind of crap.

So I decided what the hell - let's do it.

The first month, I did myFitnessPal and continued to track everything in excel in true nerd fashion.  I lost an additional 8 lbs, but at the end of the month I was miserable.  Mrs. Durden was miserable.  I was a cranky bastard.

So in March, I started South Beach (my doc's recommended plan).  I intended to just do the intro 2 wks so when I went back I could tell him that it didn't work.  I resisted South Beach because I didn't want to be "on a diet."  I didn't mind making changes but didn't think I could snap my fingers and wake up a new man the next morning and make it stick long term.

But the course I was on wasn't going to get me there, and I if I were going to fail, I wanted to look the doc in the eye when I returned and say "I did everything I could."

I will stop here for Part I.  But, if you're reading this and you're not happy with your weight, here's some advice from someone who's been there:
- Nobody can decide to lose the weight but you.
- It's likely taken you years to get the size you are, it's ok if it takes you years to get smaller.
- Small, incremental changes do add up.
- If you want to talk, convo me ingame.


  1. MyFitnessPal for the win! \o/

    Keep up the good work Abavus. Keep the posts coming.

  2. Good for you! Great progress keep it going. I just joined the gym as well - not to lose weight neccessarily (200 pounds, 6'3") but to get conditioned. feels so much better to be fit.

  3. Thanks guys.

    It's fun for me to go back through things from the beginning. The next post will go through the story almost to present day. I'll have another one with some observations about how people react to me differently. And all of THAT background so I can talk about Resolutions after the 1st of the year.

    Preview: From 2008 to today, I've lost 90 lbs. Doc's goal for me is 195 lbs. I've been at that target weight for 18 months now.


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