There's too much GunRights4US

I’ve been putting this off for months, but my recent trip to Jamaica highlighted in stark detail the need for me to lose weight and get in shape.

My entire life has been a struggle against weight gain, and right now I’m as big as I’ve ever been. But I have had some great success in the past at getting in shape, and it’s my intention to repeat that success.

In 1999 my mother died and, in a classic case of delayed reaction, it took a couple of months but I was plunged into the deepest darkest depression you could possibly imagine. I peeked down the barrel of a gun on several occasions during that time, and only the thought of the pain it would bring to my family kept me from checking out permanently.

Refocusing my thoughts away from my depression and onto diet and exercise is a big part of what helped me get thru that terrible period in my life. Initially, while under the influence of depression I stopped eating almost completely. For about 40 days I ate no solid foods, and my only intake was orange juice, vitamins, and coffee. If memory serves me correctly I dropped approximately 25 to 30 pounds during that first phase.

Note: I am NOT advocating this, merely relating what I did. This causes a horrific strain on the body and I would never repeat this under any circumstances!

But one thing it DID accomplish was to completely break the “hunger pangs”, the persistent craving for food. By removing the food-wish entirely from my psyche I was free to concentrate on exercise. At this point I began exercising with a very mild program of calisthenics and walking that I stuck to every day. With my food intake remaining very low, my workout program was initially pretty mild; almost ridiculously so in fact.

My early workouts looked something like this:

5 pushups
10 situps
5 leglifts
1 set with 10 lb dumbbells
¼ mile walk

Pretty tame stuff right? But the key I found out was to be consistent to the point of obsession. Never miss a workout. A little bit done very regularly is far more beneficial than a lot done once in a while.

The other principal I applied was to continually increase everything. If today’s count was 5, then tomorrow’s would be 6. If today I walked as far as mailbox X, then tomorrow I walked to mailbox Y. Naturally this required strict record keeping, and so I did. I kept a spreadsheet that listed by date everything I did in great detail.

I kept my portion sizes for all foods very small; kids meal size for everything. At the same time my exercise program continued with an almost religious fervency. Within a few months my daily (and I DO mean daily!) routine looked something like this:

500 situps
400 leglifts
500 crunches
350 side crunches
2 hours of weightlifting
3 – 5 mile runs

These are not exaggerations in any way.

Within about eight months I lost 73 pounds. But more importantly I felt GREAT! I had my wind back, my blood pressure was optimized, and I felt good about myself. Needless to say, somewhere along the way I forgot to be depressed. Hell… I had a washboard stomach at the age of 40, something I never had even in the Marines!

That lasted about a year and a half. My mistake was trying to continue that frenetic pace on and on without ceasing. While I certainly enjoyed it, my routine consumed two to two and a half hours every day. At some point I just stopped and started enjoying life again; beer and chicken wings took the place of crunches and dumbbells.

But I learned that the human body can achieve impressive things given enough time and consistent training. I also learned that consistency and continual improvement is the way to go.

I’m starting over again, and this time there will be no fasting like before. I probably won’t run anymore either; too hard on older knees and joints. But long vigorous walks are just as good!

I’ll keep you posted on my progress, but right now…I gotta go workout!

1 comment:

The Other Mike S. said...

I have been most successful with many, small meals throughout the day - 6 or 7 of them.

Think of your body as a campfire. You give it a lot of small logs throughout the day, and it burns hot and efficiently. Throw one large log (a big meal) and it goes largely unburned (fat).

Each of the meals is 200-300 calories.

I dropped a ton of weight, and have kept (most) of it off for over a year.