The Body, pt. III (my body)

On this 22nd day of September, I'm about a month into the South Beach Diet.  In the first two body posts, I mentioned how great the body is and how I've taken mine more or less for granted.  I hit my lowest point when I was trying on clothes for a dream job interview, and nothing fit.  Buttons wouldn't cross, and my clothes were humorously ill-fitting.  My lovely girlfriend was helping me select clothes, and she witnessed my mood fluctuate from (semi)excited to frustrated, throwing clothes that used to be staples into the 'give away' pile.  Though we finally found something that fit, we vowed to make some changes.  Hence: The South Beach Diet.

The South Beach Diet works.  I've done it before, and if you stick to it, you will lose pounds.  The reason I like it and used it, is that it's forced me to think about what I eat and then seeing how it effects me.  The diet's comprised of three phases - phase I, Phase II, and Phase III.  As the phase increases, the strictness decreases.  

Phase I is strict.  You basically can't have sugar or carbs.  So any breads, fruits, or sweets are out.  It's hard to follow, but you can feel your body using it's natural supply of fat, and you see quick results.  I lost 10-lbs on this phase, and feel way better.  

Phase II is when you begin re-entering carbs into yoru diet.  First week, one carb p/day, second week, 2 carbs, ect.  Most people lose between 1-2lbs p/week in this phase.  And this is where I'm at.  

During the first phase, I decided to weigh myself everyday.  The motivation helped.  It also kept me accountable.  I have a google doc that has my weights on it, and I can see the loss.  Now, on the second phase, I'm weighing myself on Monday and Friday mornings; I wanna see how my weekend habits v. my weekday habits affect my weight.  I'm also making sure to put my gym clothes in car so that when I have extra time, I can make sure to work out.  I've also shifted what I consider a work out.  

It used to be that I'd really only count a run as a workout.  Running is a great thing for me, but if I only count running, I miss out on other forms of exercise and it becomes so obligatory that it stops working.  Plus, my legs, knees, and back started hurting.  I'm now thinking about working out as getting the heart rate up, and working on the core.  It's meant some fast-walking and cycling.  I feel better.  

The other big change I've made, which is where I think I've typically gained weight, is how I've been doing my lunches.  For years, I've brought a sandwich, chips, and an apple for lunch; if i didn't bring it, I'd go out and buy something like this.  The result was a net lose of $12, and weight gain.  (I have a job where I'm sitting a lot, or can be stationary.  I'm also using my mind more than my body, so I'll be mentally drained, forgo exercise, and loaded with food).  So I've been bringing South Beach style lunches: meat and cheese, tuna sans bread, and then having an afternoon snack of nuts.  It works.  I'm hungry for dinner, but not sluggish during the day.  I've been adding a cup of coffee, and finding that it works.  

I began the diet, officially, at 230.8 lbs.  Today, I stood on the scale at 217.0.  13.8 lbs in a month.  I'll take it.  

And I do feel better.  

The Body, pt. II

If I'm honest about it, I'm quite blessed with the body I've been given.  I'm been blessed with strength, health, and looks.  I'm thankful for my body, but seem to abuse it too often.  Rather than thinking about it properly, I often allow it to be the thing that carries me, mistreating it like a vehicle, rather than treating it like the sacred thing I truly believe it is.  

One way I've been blessed is that when I put on weight, it doesn't look that bad.  It goes to my stomach in the way that makes it solid.  I look heftier, certainly, when I gain weight, but I'm lucky in the sense that it doesn't turn to flab.  

This year, I've gained weight.  Anywhere from 20-30lbs, depending when you count 'year' and where I was actually at before.  Of that 20-30, 15 have been recent - since May - and are of the most concern.  I had a tough spring and summer, professionally.  Returning home from Spring Break, I found a letter that said I had to find a new job within the Grand Rapids Public Schools.  I wasn't notified as to why that was, and never received an adequate explanation.  It was shocking because I had (arguably) one of my personal best years in the classroom.  There was a high level of rigor, I incorporated technology in ways that are ahead of the curve, and my students displayed this by raising their test scores by an average of 3.1 pts.  This was amid a school that had no administrative support, no discipline, and the most entitled students I've ever encountered.  

It was my second year in the Grand Rapids Public Schools, 11th year teaching, and on my end I vowed to take this position honestly.  If there were flaws, I'd point them out; if something didn't work, I'd go down the proper channel to get it fixed.  These things I did.  It has worked as far as earning esteem from colleagues, but hasn't seemed to go my direction, thus far, professionally.  So to have these gains, work hard and be consistent, and then be let go with no explanation was a real blow.  My body felt it.  My back started to hurt.  My legs tensed up and ached.  I'd experience shooting pains down my legs and couldn't really sleep.  

Many nights, I'd go to bed feeling drained, only to jolt awake just as sleep was on the horizon.  This would happen over and over until I'd finally get up, watch tv and maybe have a glass of wine, until I could finally get there.  It exhausted me.  It made it harder to function on many levels.  Harder to exercise.  Harder to be enthused in general activities, and made it much, much easier to watch tv and eat comfort foods.   

I watched a lot of good tv.  Ate a lot of comforting food.  This resulted in a 15 lb weight expanse that seemed overnight.  I didn't notice that much, until I put on some of my 'teaching clothes' to go to an interview and I couldn't button the pants.  I tried to put on a suit coat that previously closed with ease, and it made me look Chris Farleyish.  

If I'm honest about it, what really changed was my pattern.  I gave into the laziness, rather than overcoming the fatigue.  I allowed my circumstances to anger me, and gave into that anger, rather than using it as righteous fuel.  None of these things added to my general happiness, and my general mood was lower during this time.  

I vow to change it.

Now, my ideal weight is about 190lbs.  At this weight, I'm in great shape and feel good.  So I'm going to get there.  I stepped on the scale six days ago at 230.8.  So I got 40.8lbs to knock off; the process, however, has started.

This week, my girlfriend and I started the South Beach Diet.  We're currently on day 6, and I weighed myself at 224.6 today.  Not bad for a week.  We're also getting back to the exercise and healthy eating that went with the 190 weight.  

It's taking the power back.  

I'm focused on the goal of getting back there, and of being health.  As the g.f.'s mom says, "How you eat in your 20's and 30's determines how you live in your 40's and 50's."  To that end, comes change.  I will be:

  • Working out 5 days a week
  • Planning and cooking most meals
  • Living a more active life

I'll update every now and again.  


The Body

The body is a wonderful thing.  It's something I take for granted a lot, too.  When it's healthy and intact, it's so easy to take the whole thing for granted.  To just assume that we have this thing that will work forever and feel good and be great.  But then we stub a toe.  Or get sick.  Or put on weight.  Or strain the back.  And then we realize how well it all works.  It's like the coolest toy of all time.  Feels good, feel emotions, carries us.  I'll be posting about the body.  I've kind of let mine go recently, and I'm in a fight to take it back, to help it run well.  

But right now, I'm feeling thankful for it.