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Getting Back to My Fighting Weight
August 18, 2014 - Eric Benac
Anybody who knows me personally or who has seen me on the sidelines at games know that I'm a big guy. And I don't just mean big in intelligence and kindness: I mean physically. I'm not what you would call morbidly or dangerously obese, but I'm definitely a noticeably heavier set fellow.
It's been a lifelong problem.
I come from heavy set parents, who had heavy set parents, who had heavy set parents etc. As a result, I'm genetically pre-disposed towards obesity and was culturally ingrained to enjoy eating excessively. As a result, I've always struggled with my weight, though nobody is truly to blame but me.
After all, twice in my life, I've dieted and exercised off 50 pounds and hovered around a much healthier weight. However, I've let myself build back up to around my current weight for far too long in my life. In fact, I've never been fatter in my life, which is a great disappointment: I always imagined myself with the body of an Adonis at 30. I figured I'd have finally got used to the whole "exercise" thing by then.
Obviously, I haven't. But, I'm doing something about it. Slowly, but surely. I've decided to find diet and exercise routines that not only help me lose weight, but which I want to do regularly. Because let's face it: 99% of all regained weight is regained because people abandon the annoyingly difficult ways they lost the weight in the first place.
When I graduated college in 2007, I was about 50 pounds lighter than I am now. I achieved that goal by carefully monitoring what I ate and by exercising every day. However, I had a lot more free time back then and I simply can't exercise an hour and a half any more. Especially not the exercises I was doing then: I've tried. My body is much too fat and too out of shape to perform those difficult exercises.
Instead, I'm starting small.
Every day, I wake up and I put on a CD, turn on the television, set my timer and start walking. However, I turn on a video game while I walk to keep my mind active and to avoid the boredom that comes from exercise. That's always the problem I run into with exercise: I'm mentally willing to physically force myself to exercise, but I always get too bored to keep it up.
I walk 30 minutes twice a day. After my first 30 minutes, I take my shower, eat a bowl of cereal or peanut butter toast, a banana, some blueberries and some unsweetened ice tea. Some may find it shocking that I like unsweetened tea: I find it shocking that anybody doesn't. I can't stand the excessively sugary taste of sweetened tea and very nearly spit a whole mouthful when McDonalds messed up my order.
My diet is focusing on things I enjoy eating. I think this is key to its success. Basically, I eat a lot of fruits (the previously mentioned fruits, as well as oranges and apples) and plenty of high-fiber carbs. I know, I know: people are going to take me to task for eating too many carbs. However, I always eat whole grain (whenever possible) and focus on high-fiber carbs which not only promote healthy digestion, but which helps stimulate weight loss.
So, a typical sandwich for me is two slices of 12 grain bread, turkey, hummus (traditional style) and two slices of 40 calorie cheese: colby and provolone. I also add a side of cottage cheese and maybe some boiled vegetables. Supper may be some light chicken with a side of vegetables. On good days, I work in another 30 minutes of exercise. If not, I try to read to keep my mind active, as even reading can burn calories. Just not very much.
I won't break down my entire routine, simply because that's tedious, but will point out a few simple changes that I believe make me healthier: Trisquits for Doritos; homemade mini-pizzas for Little Caesars; unsweetened tea for Diet Pepsi. And everything in small doses, distributed regularly throughout the day, to keep my energy level high and to reward my incessant snacking with healthy food.
I just started this routine a week ago and I've already fallen into it like a habit. Sure, I had a little bit too much "fun" with my food this weekend (including excessive snacking at Saturday's movie night), but these failures have become rare. Hopefully, with a little focus, a gradually increasing exercise load (as video game-walking isn't going to be enough) and motivation I'll shed those pounds and get back to my fighting weight.
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