218.6: Choice and Opportunity



That’s what my scale greeted me with this morning. 218.6-pounds. Not broken. Batteries not dead. No disputing it now… the fat is back.

My reaction? Anger. Frustration. Disappointment.

I was immediately pissed off and yelled expletives at myself in my head. Angry that in such a short time (roughly 5-months) I had managed to undo 3 years worth of work. Way to go dummy! All that hard work down the drain! Fat ass! You might as well have been eating Big Macs and potato chips again! Moron.

You get the picture. The frustration was fleeting and rolled right into disappointment. That’s where I sit now. Disappointed. How could I let this happen? Food? Exercise? Both? Yup.

No doubt my decline started with my injury this summer; the plantars fasciitis that has plagued my every step since July. I’ve not logged many miles since then. Nothing from July into August. A few runs in September. A few more in October. One or two runs in early-November. Stop. According to my physiotherapist, I’m not to run again until at least mid-January while we wait to see if the last round of treatments cure my injury.

I also stopped going to the pool. At the same time I began dealing with my running injury, I made the decision to fix my swim technique. I’m terribly inefficient in the water and have been studying the “total immersion” technique. Muscle memory proved to be a barrier to learning. My old pool habits would take over as I fatigued and I would flat out struggle in the water, thrashing like someone about to drown. So I stopped. I stopped swimming for a few months hoping the time away from the pool would help me “forget” my inefficient ways. Guess what? I still haven’t gone back to the pool.

I don’t really eat a lot of junk food. A few years ago I was a fast-food eating, potato chip-snacking junky. I haven’t been that guy for years; and that really hasn’t contributed to my current state. I still don’t eat at fast food joints and I don’t eat greasy burgers and fries; ever. I make simple substitutions to be healthier: salad instead of fries; dressing on the side; replace hashbrowns with sliced tomato at breakfast. I avoid processed foods as much as possible. I eat a lot of raw veggies and salads. As for snack foods, I splurge once per month at our board meetings and bring in potato chips and some sort of gummy candy or Twizzlers. Beyond that, not really.

I am a carb junky. Pasta. Check! Rice. Check! Breads. Check! While I did better at portion control while I was running 3-4 times per week and swimming 4-5 times per week, I certainly didn’t avoid carbs. Ever. I still don’t avoid them.

So what’s the problem?

It’s a confluence of choices. 25-pounds of choices. Bad choices. A combination of infrequent or absent physical activity in conjunction with less-than-perfect meal choices. Decreased activity levels plus poor portion control and food selections equals (for me) 218.6.

Prior to my injury I was — and had been for some time — maintaining 193 pounds. Despite my efforts on the street and in the pool, I simply couldn’t shed the final 5-pounds. I couldn’t get to my optimum 185-188-pounds. Was it a “plateau” we all hear so much about? Maybe. Or maybe it was an early sign of the poor choices I was making at the time; the same poor choices that led me to today. Choices that didn’t manifest their full, miserable, splendor before now because of the calories I was burning on the trails and in the pool…?

The number staring back at me this morning represents 25-pounds of poor choices.

The number staring back at me this morning represents 30-pounds of opportunity!

Game on!


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