Sunday, June 22, 2008

Summer's Here!

A peaceful, if breezy morning here at Rocky Acres. Yesterday we spent most of the day in the yard, this time of year there is always something to do and if you wait a day or so, not only will there be more things to do, you can re-do those things you did just the other day. You know I’m talking about the lawn. If plant geneticists are looking for a hit they’ll design peas and carrots that grow like dandelions, and grass that grows an inch all summer and stays "green as grass" without watering. Listen to me, whining about mowing the lawn, probably not the stuff of the next Bob Dylan album.

Say, speaking of peas and carrots, remember a couple weeks ago I announced to the world that I’d had enough of being fat and on that day I was going to turn over a skinny new leaf? Well, when you put yourself out there like that it makes some people a little uncomfortable. Once said the words can’t be taken back, can’t be ‘unsaid’: Sort of like that white plastic grocery bag stuck on the barbed wire fence that flaps incessantly in the breeze. Does it seem like I’m stalling here, like I’m dancing around the subsequent ‘announcement’?

As it happens this is the third week of the ‘Triple Ten Weight Loss Challenge” (sounds like a TV reality show eh?). This is like a TV reality show, … only real, and not televised. I’m doing this with a bunch of people at work and we are finding ways to make this fun and funny. (The Guide to Fun and Funny Weight Loss With Friends From Work ... 16 weeks on the NYT best seller list? I have not done this before but am learning quickly about how these things (diets, commitment to ‘life style changes’, reality shows, etc) go.

The first week is heady. Everyone starts with the same goal (in this case loose 10% of body wt and THEN keep it off for 30 days.) We all have an equal chance at winning, and like the Cubs and the Mariners we start out with a perfect record, AND an equal chance at winning the world series. Things start off well enough, you quickly and easily drop a couple pounds. You muster the won’t power needed to stay away from the office vending machine for a WHOLE week and sure enough at the weigh in one week later you’ve dropped a whole two pounds! This seems good or good enough and it is relatively painless. Then comes the week one weigh-in and you learn that right off the start line you are at the back of the pack. A couple people have lost in the neighborhood of 5 pounds and someone has lost just shy of 10 pounds! In ONE week! You take consolation in the fact that we have a long way to go and that a pound a week or so is a sustainable pace that will get you to the finish. Maybe not in first place, but it’ll get you there (Cyclists, does this sound familiar?)

In week two you maintain your resolve, you’re starting to feel the effects of your increased physical activity, (I’ve started riding my bike home from work) and you look for tricks to help deal with the sensation of hunger. The weigh in comes and things appear to be evening out a little. You again lose your pound plus, others seem to be establishing their routines, though there is still a flyer on the scatter chart: A guy who spent the weekend with his Navy Seal buddies who worked him out (worked him over!) for two and a half days and he’s lost weight in double digits. (Still stalling?)

I suspect week three or thereabouts is where the little rowboat of weight loss hopes is often dashed on the shoals of French fries and chocolate cake (insert your own personal weakness here) for many who attempt to cross of over to the shores of lean land.

Now all the ‘easy pounds’ are gone, you feel hungry much of the time, carrot sticks and raw sugar snap peas are not quite so wonderful as they were a couple weeks ago. Life style change; meet ugly reality. This is no TV reality show, this is you staring into the blue haze of the refrigerator at 10:30 at night and coming up with … lowfat yogurt? You realize this is going to be more like a mountainous, rainy 1200K brevet and less like a sunny summer century. Here is where you either pull over at the first phone booth on the road to weight loss and make the call (‘come get me, I give up, I’m at the McBurger shack’) OR, you put your head down and make another run at that brick wall.

OK, no more stalling. Here we go with the confessions. This business started on June 3rd. Today, 19 days later I’m down 8 and ½ pounds. (And that’s not counting the pound I gained two days AFTER I started this business!) Sure, it would be great if I could say that I’ve lost 25 pounds in that time like those TV weight loss shake hawkers. But I’ll take the 8 and a half. I feel pretty good about this but I also know the finish is a long way off. My personal ‘make it believable’ number is 10 pounds. My weight can fluctuate under 10 pounds pretty easily so when I drop 11 pounds, that’s when I’ll feel more confident. Sorry to bore you with such a mundane and trivial personal challenge but some have asked and though I get a kick out of suspense, I also know that putting this scoop up here is reinforcing for me.

I’ve taken to driving to work with my bike and then riding it home. Mrs. C and I trade off; we each get to ride home on alternate days. Up till now I’ve maintained that I am a little too weak to ride both ways. I came home strong on Thursday, even though I was pretty tired and there was that monster head wind towards the end. ‘Not strong enough’ is now just an excuse. I can go both ways I just have to overcome that other obstacle: It’s 26 miles one way to and from the office. On a ‘fast’ day it takes me a little less than two hours. On a slow day it takes me a little more than two hours. On a bike the difference between fast and slow doesn’t account for much unless you ride for about a year. The real obstacle is not the distance, not the wind or the work, it’s getting out of bed two hours early. I used to be an early riser, shoot I used to be a party till the sun comes up kind of guy. I suspect the difference is that for some reason those things were easier for me back in the last century. Now I just have to remind myself that ‘We do the hard things’ at 4:30 am. Anyway, to work and back three times and I’ll have a 150 mile week in the bag before the weekend even comes along. I will be good for the triple ten and it will help me get stronger for getting back into rando riding.

Don’t forget, we’ll be having a little get together in your honor here at Rocky Acres next Saturday. I’m planning on great weather and a BBQ. We’ll have dogs and burgers and for my Triple Ten pals I’ve come up with a simply divine recipe for BBQ’d celery and lowfat yogurt topping. Oh boy!

(Actually for my triple ten competitors I'm planning brats, beer, and bananna cream pie, ... with extra whipped cream! come on down.)

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