Running Confidence

Tonight was C25K w2d2: so far so good. The gym was busy and I had to run in the main section, with the fit people, infront of the mirrors ‚Äî gasp! As with every one of these fears, in reality it was no big deal. I also happened to be infront of the TV which was showing a big soccer game, and as the match came to an exciting finish, a crowd formed around me. Ugh! Again, it was no big deal. I’m actually proud of myself. My running style is ugly and my body is a mess, but when I’m on that treadmill there’s no doubt that I mean business.

One of the people watching the game at the end was the trainer who I had my introduction session with; we do the typical male “nod” when we see each other around the gym, but I’ve not spoken with him since that session in December, 60lb ago. He was pretty cold then and I got the vibe that to him I was “just another fat person who will quit within a month”. It’s so satisfying to be proving him wrong.

My weight loss must really be showing now, as the other day a colleague took the opportunity to ask if I was on a diet (when I ordered a Diet Coke) because I “seemed to be losing weight”. Knowing that blokes never mention this sort of thing to each other makes the confidence boost greater. Other recent compliments have been “you look taller” and “you look younger”. I’ll take them all!

I’ll put some new pics up later this week, for now here’s my new avatar image. You can’t see much from the crop, but this is me wearing the “I bought you when you were too small” hoody. It’s my “OMG, this actually almost might fit me” face.


Weigh-in #32: I am a slacker

Peak: 435 lb
Previous: 330.6lb
Current: 331.0lb
Gain this week: 0.4lb
Total Loss: 104.0lb

Funnily enough, when you start getting loose and sloppy with your diet and exercise, you stop losing weight! This week was like the last – far from perfect. I’ve stopped tracking my food and I haven’t lifted weights for two weeks now. C25K week 1 was easy but that’s probably to be expected, the later weeks look much harder; I’m just happy to have started, it wasn’t as scary as I thought.

Maybe I’m slacking because I hit 100lb or because I’ve hit some other non-scale goals? Hitting a goal and feeling good is fine, but I’m feeling a little less urgency in my mission. I need to get over this honeymoon period and refocus on the bigger picture – time to kick my ass and get disciplined again.

In other news, I watched another interesting TED talk yesterday: Exploring The Frontiers Of Happiness. The main take-away point was this quote:-

“We under-estimate the odds of our future pains, and over-estimate the value of our present pleasures”

It certainly makes sense in a weigh-loss scenario.

Weigh-in #31: same old!

Peak: 435 lb
Previous: 332.4lb
Current: 330.6lb
Loss this week: 1.8lb
Total Loss: 104.4lb

It’s a loss! Food and exercise were a bit sloppy this week, I failed to record them again too. It might be nothing, but I’m noticing a bit of a trend with my weigh-ins: I seem to be¬†oscillating between small losses/gains and big losses. That could be nothing but I’m going to keep it in mind (especially on the smaller weeks!).

I must dash, I hear the 320s calling me! Byeeee.

Peak: 435 lb
Previous: 338.0lb
Current: 332.4lb
<strong>Loss this week: 5.6lb</strong>
<span style=”text-decoration: underline;”>Total Loss: 102.6lb</span>

Run Harry! Run!

The last time I remember running was in 2001, 9-years ago. That was whilst playing my last game of rugby.

Running scares me a little. As a big guy, I’m very careful about my movement; a trip or fall could cause serious injury, and running just seems like a stupid idea. My poor knees! My poor shins! No thanks, I’ll stick to walking.

Running on a treadmill also scares me. As a big guy I’m careful about the objects I sit, stand or lean on; I’ve broken chairs and floorboards in the past, no way I want to break a treadmill in front a gym full of people. The poor treadmill! What did it ever do to deserve me pounding away on it? No thanks, I’ll stick to walking (or biking, or rowing).

A strange thing happened today. I went shopping and bought some jogging bottoms so that I can use the treadmill again (I “walk fast at in incline” and call that a workout ;)). When I arrived home I wanted to “try them out”: would the joggers make me sweatier than shorts, would they chafe, would they restrict my movement? As the weeks have gone past, I’ve also been wondering what running would be like. On average I’ve been doing 35 minutes cardio, twice a week, for the last couple of months in addition to weight training; I’m lighter and fitter than I have been in years, perhaps running is doable?

As it turns out, it is: C25k 1.1 – done! I was going to just start running and see what happened, but then decided that maybe, just maybe I could do C25K.

It happened to be late on a saturday when I got to the gym, so it was empty; still, I picked a treadmill in the corner of the room, far away from anyone else. As the iPhone app counted down the 5-minute warmup I started to get nervous. Shit, how fast am I supposed to go? How fast can I go? Arrrrgh! “Start running now!” I pressed the plus-button until I couldn’t walk anymore and I was off! WEEEEEEE! I WAS RUNNING! “Keep it up for another 30-seconds” What?! Only 30 more seconds? WEEEEEEE!

After the first run, I had a quick look around the gym to see if anyone was staring at me. Of course they weren’t. Man, that was easy! After run #3 I started to feel it and my early confidence was waning. My legs felt heavier as the runs went on but I was never in danger of not completing; when I finished I had more left in the tank and that made me feel good.

I’m very pleased with myself. My exercise routine needed a bit of motivation boost and I think C25K is going to give me that. I’d planned to start it in August, but if I can do it now then what the heck, let’s go for it.

Judgemental Asshole

I’ve never been sympathetic towards the obese. We don’t deserve special treatment on aeroplanes, we are a burden on the health service and generally we are unhealthy and disgusting. No one wants the fat guy/girl to whip their shirt off and get their jiggly bits out. Our insecurities about our bodies are a reflection of how we judge people: if you’re¬†embarrassed¬†about your body, it’s because that’s how you think of others like you. If you honestly and truly thought it was cool to be obese, then you wouldn’t be losing weight right? You’d be happy and content to flaunt it.

Inside me I can feel this intolerance brewing away, gaining more confidence with every pound I lose. As a 435lb guy I could hardly criticise somebody else’s size, but privately I would. Now that I’m losing the weight I feel that nasty streak coming through: I have obese friends and must resist the urge to slap them round the face and scream “WHAT ARE YOU DOING YOU FAT-FAT-FATTY! LOSE SOME WEIGHT”.¬†Six months ago that thought would never have crossed my mind.

I’m comfortable with my values and would consider myself a rational, well-grounded person, yet I’m concerned about how I will change as I lose my weight. Hopefully my core values will remain, but will my personality change? Already I can feel my “old” self shining through once again (a good thing); silly little things like suddenly becoming “funnier” because I have more confidence in making the joke, or enjoying and relishing social situations. Once more I’m proactive in developing my business ideas and living my life – great things. But I will drop another 100lb and I’ve never been a 220lb adult. What is the 220lb me like?

Less of a concern, and more of a curiosity, is what I’ll look like physically. Sometimes at the gym I catch myself in the mirrors and surprise myself. What does a 220lb me look like? The before-and-after pics of Kepa, Tony, Tyler, Sean and others are drastic: they go from ugly, to hot, just by losing weight. Some people are just plain ugly/unattractive, even when they have a great body (Butterfaces!); where on the attractiveness scale will future Harry be? A small part of me fears dropping all the weight and still being unattractive; there’s that quip that I’m sure all fat people learn: “I may be fat but I can lose weight: you’re just fugly and there’s nothing you can do about it!”. Please don’t let that be me!

Of course, that’s not something I’m really worried about: my new found arrogance confidence will soon have me believing I’m God’s Gift ;).

Weigh-in #30: MILESTONE – 100lb lost!

Peak: 435 lb
Previous: 338.0lb
Current: 332.4lb
Loss this week: 5.6lb
Total Loss: 102.6lb

Crazy crazy crazy! 100lb gone! I’m struggling to write something¬†poignant, but suffice to say: WOOHOO! All those little changes really do add up, they weren’t lying!

Peak: 435 lb
Previous: 338.0lb
Current: 332.4lb
Loss this week: 5.6lb
Total Loss: 102.6lb
Crazy crazy crazy! 100lb gone! I’m struggling to write something poignant, but suffice to say: WOOHOO! All those little changes really do add up, they weren’t lying!
I think maybe the most important lesson I’ve learned in the last 7-months, is that I have the power to change my life by making a series of small, in themselves immaterial progressions. Keep taking small steps in the right direction and eventually you get there.
Right, what’s next… oooooo, sub 300lb here I come!

I think maybe the most important lesson I’ve learned in the last 7-months, is that I have the power to change my life by making a series of small, in themselves immaterial progressions. Keep taking small steps in the right direction and eventually you get there.

Right, what’s next… oooooo, sub-300lb here I come!

“Healthy” food makes you hungry

People who were asked to taste food described as “healthy” reported being hungrier afterward than people who ate the same food when it was described as “tasty.”

“When people feel they are required to eat healthy food, eating that food makes them hungry,” said senior study author Ayelet Fishbach, a professor of behavioral science and marketing at the University of Chicago. “They are hungrier than if they didn’t eat anything at all or if they’d eaten that food without thinking of its healthiness.”

That’s an interesting bit of research. It goes on to suggest that “eat healthy, feel hungry” effect only happens when you feel obligated to eat healthy; when you choose healthy options through “free will” you don’t feel the fake-hunger. Someone who is on a diet probably feels obligated to eat certain foods: their plan is telling them “do this, do that”. This might be a reason why diets are usually short-lived affairs, at a subconscious level they do not satisfy us, regardless of their nutritional content. This one study is not conclusive but it makes sense to me. Whenever I’ve tried to diet I’ve felt very restricted by the food available, I’ve seen it as my enemy, something I am at conflict with.

A “lifestyle-change approach” doesn’t have that. I am not fighting with anyone, not a diet plan or myself, I’m just living (albeit slightly differently). With a diet it’s like you’re hanging off a cliff, desperately trying not to let go; with a lifestyle-change you’re sitting at the top, kicking your heels and enjoying the view. When you diet there’s a chance you might fall off the wagon and revert to your normal (bad) state; with a lifestyle-change there’s no wagon to fall off – you’re already in your normal (good) state.

(P.s. get ready to party on Monday, I’m going to blast through my milestone ;)).

Weigh-in #29: Hmn. One bad day?

Peak: 435 lb
Previous: 338.8lb
Current: 338.0lb
Loss this week: 0.8lb
Total Loss: 97lb

Food: 5/7. Exercise: 5/7.

On paper this was a good week, I’m not really sure why it’s a small loss. I had one really bad food day, so perhaps that was the reason (but I’m doubtful it could have had such a big effect).

Exercise was good again: 3x weights and 2x cardio. I upped the intensity of both cardio sessions which makes the small loss even more frustrating.

Moaning over, bring on the new week.

A Haircut Experience

I had a haircut today!¬†It’s worth mentioning because this periodic ritual is a good example of how my life is changing.

Before, it was something that I dreaded; I’d often go months between having it cut. Going to the hairdressers’ would involve a small walk, which would be enough to get my heart rate up and me feeling warm. Even if getting there didn’t bring me out in a sweat, my anxiety about sweating probably would. I’d be hot and stuffy, smothered by their¬†claustrophobic¬†cape.¬†Some of my most cringe-worthy and embarrassing “obese moments” have been sitting in hairdressers’ chair, with a sweat on, whilst they worked around my glistening brow. If that wasn’t painful enough, there are mirrors everywhere – trapped and nowhere to hide. Ugh :(.

Things are different now: I sit comfortably in the chair without being hot and bothered and freaking out. I also enjoy seeing myself in the mirror! No longer is it a “fuck me, I really outta lose some weight!” moment, it’s more “Hey! Check you out!”.

Today was best haircut experience I’ve ever had. Normally I’d never go to a “beauty salon” type of place (the scenario above would be doubly worse if was a hot babe cutting my hair). But today I had no choice, the barbers was shut and I was desperate to have my hair cut before seeing my family. So I walked into this new place and luckily they had an appointment free (it’s the sort of place you need to book). I’m ushered into a waiting room area and the stylist, Charlie (smoking-hot and cute) meets and greets me and then starts interviewing me about what I was after (at least it felt like an interview). Uh oh! I was totally out of my depth with her questions. I bluffed my way as well as I could – I know there are only two options when they ask “tapered or straight” so I just confidently picked one. I told her to take the lead and make me look beautiful, which broke the ice and we were off.

We started by washing my hair, something that I don’t normally have, but that wasn’t even an option here. Ah man, I love having my hair washed by someone else, so relaxing. She then put the cape on me and started chopping away. I hate small-talk generally, but we clicked and started talking about life and stuff ‚Äî this might be normal, but I’ve never felt that “gossip with your hairdresser and tell them your secrets” vibe before. She finishes the cut, which felt more like a head massage, and then directs me back into the hair-wash room! Huh? You already washed my hair at the start? I keep my cape on and walk to the room, she washes my hair again, post-cut, to get rid of the loose hair. Bliss. Next she dried it and applied some “product” (technical term! lol) and we were done. Now, here’s the most awesome bit, when I took the cape off I was in exactly the same state as I came into the salon, but with a nice new hair cut! No loose hair on my clothes or head, I could have gone to work or continues with my day. Again, this might sound normal to you, but for me after having a cut I’m usually a mess: I have to head straight home to shower and change my top – not today though! All together this was just a great experience and I’ve booked my appointment for next month.

Yea, I’m definitely getting a little too excited about a haircut, but to me it’s way more than just that: it’s about enjoying being pampered, caring about my appearance and sitting in front of the mirror and liking the person you’re looking at. Something that I used to hate has been transformed into something that I really enjoyed, that’s priceless.