Monday, January 20, 2014

Your Fat Man Dieting Guru

So what is this all about? This blog serves as part diary and part advice column. So many people struggle with dieting that what's another gasbag or two offering their sage wisdom. Well, what better guides to weight loss could you find than fat(or maybe just slightly overweight) men who have spent much of their adult lives losing weight?

I am now on my fourth major effort to lose weight (I won't call it a diet - more on that later) in 20 years. When I was 16 I dropped 60 pounds largely on the strength of exercising just about all day. Well, when you're 16, you have the time and energy to do that much working out. The again after college I dropped some 40 pounds of fat and toned up for the first time in my life. Then six years ago I put Weight Watchers and a whole lot of running to good use and lost approximately 55 pounds.

Well, the fact that I am now attempting to lose weight again (20 pounds so far since November 2) should tell you that while I have been very good at losing weight, it's keeping it off that has been the problem. When I lost all that weight six years ago I had no kids and was able to run 20-30 miles per week. Well, now I have three beautiful daughters, so time is not what it once was. My place of employment no longer has a shower facility, so there went my mid-day running ability. I had joined the Y, but I often found excuses to avoid going.

I didn't quite gain back all of the weight I lost, but all those relatively skinny clothes I bought long ago ceased fitting.

As was the case with all previous diets, I pretty much decided one day that enough was enough, and got back into a routine. With the help of a great app called MyFitnessPal I began keeping track of my calories, both consumed and burned through exercise. I also re-dedicated myself to working out, finding some cardio routines to do in my basement for when the weather was bad or that I could do in the mornings or evening while the sun was down.

I'll go into details on all this later on, but this serves to let you know where I'm coming from. Through all these experiences, one thing remained constant, and that was all of my "diets" allowed me to eat a wide variety of food, and I didn't have to give up all the good stuff like bacon, steak, and even pizza. What I did when I lost the weight was keep more careful track of what I was eating. Unfortunately every time I lost the weight I'd soon be back at the Indian buffet, or returning to the pasta pot for thirds and fourths.

You see, the point of all this is that you don't have to starve yourself in order to lose weight. In fact, that's the worst thing you can do. One of the recurring themes I see on Facebook and other social media outlets are people expressing their reticence to lose weight because it means they'll be eating nothing but kale and broccoli for months. While there's nothing wrong with either of these foods - well, maybe there is with broccoli - I think this mentality prevents people from getting in shape. And it's totally misguided.

I am not advocating eating bacon and steak at every meal. That being said, you can have your bacon and shed the pounds too. It's all about eating within your caloric means every day.

I love to barbecue. I love to brew beer and drink it. I basically just love to eat. That explains why I have struggled with my weight for my entire life. Yet I also love to run, and I actually do have the ability to demonstrate will power when I am committed to it. There is no reason that getting in shape means the end of enjoying life. What it does mean is realizing what your limits are an exercising good judgment at the dinner table - and just plain old exercising.

This is a blog for all of us who like to eat but who also want to get into or stay in shape. So there will be blog posts about running 7 miles followed up by posts about great smoked bacon recipes. It's a bit eclectic, but hopefully it will benefit all of us.