Wednesday, November 17, 2010

From doughboy to fence post

Me, June 2008 (left) vs. April 2010 (right).
In my adult life, I have mostly eaten healthy and been active enough to stay reasonably healthy, but twice I sensed that I started to slide. Both times, I've been able to solve most of my weight problems with a healthier diet, and by eating reasonable serving sizes of the healthiest versions I can find of normal everyday foods I've been able to lose significant weight.

2007-2008 was one of the periods during which I sensed myself sliding, getting out of shape and gaining weight, so in November 2008, I refocused on getting healthy again, and went back to my healthier eating habits. As had happened in 2000, when I improved my diet the first time, I lost weight pretty fast, dropping from around 210 lbs. to about 180-185 lbs.. The difference this time, is that I also had an incentive to do some exercise, because at the time I anticipated that much of my work would be in the outdoors and involve significant hiking and physical exertion. The work never materialized, but I became attached to the exercise, and the combination of the improved diet and a lot of cycling during spring and summer of 2009 helped me drop another 10-15 lbs. by the beginning of fall, and that's when I started running.

I had run a lot for fitness when I was younger, so I could be in shape to play pick-up basketball, which I played a lot of back then, but that was around 20 years earlier. This time around, I just stuck to the running, and began to like running for it's own sake. Being a physiologist (by training/education) I also geeked out over running. Exercise physiology is closely related to the ecological physiology I studied in graduate school, so I am really in my element when placing training in physiological context, and applying physiological principles in athletic training. I love it.

Since I started running, I've lost still more weight, and today my weight is 158 lbs. (yes, 50 lbs. total weight loss), and I've discovered that I'm a pretty decent runner, having participated now in 13 races since November 7, 2009, ranging from 5K to Half Marathon, and earning some age group awards and an overall second place male finish along the way. I've gone from being a desk jockey to being a runner.

Along the way, I've overcome some injuries and overuse syndromes, caught up on some of the latest practical concepts in exercise physiology and training for runners, and have thoroughly enjoyed the process, and interacting the people I've met.

The only real problem I've faced through all of this is that many of my clothes no longer fit, and replacing much of your wardrobe can be pretty costly.

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