Category Archives: Weight Watchers

Watching my weight, Sparkin’ up (no, it’s not what you think) and heading to the beach

It’s been more than two months since my last Just A (Running) Fool post (and Motivation Monday post too). Today, hopefully I can begin a new streak of not only posting once a week for Just A (Running) Fool and Motivation Monday, but also exercising several times a week and continuing to motivate myself (and maybe, in turn, you).

How? A three-pronged approach:

It was the latter two, whom I met through Facebook, that helped re-motivate me to get back on track with a 90-day Fitness Challenge, starting today. I’ve committed to at least 30 minutes a day of exercise 6 days a week. That may change to 60 at some point, but I’m starting small so I won’t get too discouraged quickly.

However, in the past, I have had much success with both WeightWatchers and SparkPeople. First, WeightWatchers spurred me to my initial weight loss a few years ago (started by losing 50 pounds, and then with exercise, lost another 50, going from 280 to 180) and then SparkPeople kept me going when I didn’t want to go on with a great support system with teams there.

I’ve been paying for WeightWatchers Online since August (I believe, it’s been so long and I haven’t done that well yet with it), but am recommitting myself today to the program, because it’s the one thing that has helped me lose weight with diet. SparkPeople has helped me in the past with motivation, and I’m still friends on Facebook with many of the people I’ve met there even though I haven’t been active on the teams there for at least six months. As for Team Beachbody, we’ll see…but anything that can help get me going is a plus.

Now where’s the beach? I have a feeling I’m not going to find one too nearby in northcentral Pennsylvania.

This one’s for my wife, who really loves this group (okay, not so much):

This post also can be found on my main blog, an unfinished person (in an unfinished universe). If you are interested in getting a more complete picture of this incomplete person, you can subscribe to that blog.


Motivation Monday: Assessing where I am

Should your resting pulse be in the 55-60 range, you are an out-of-shape athlete with great endurance potential. You are missing out on some particularly satisfying sports experience. A sedentary individual with a resting pulse in the 50s may well have remarkable talent for endurance events.

…this baseline pulse can tell nonathletes just how bad things are– and how good things can be. Individuals with a pulse in the 90s are cheating themselves of an active life. Those in the 70s are settling for less than they can get. If you are in the low 60s you could be living those dreams of glory.
— George Sheehan in “On Assessing” in his book How To Feel Great 24 Hours A Day

Tomorrow morning I am going to take my resting pulse and measure the circumference of my calves, thighs, hips, waist and chest using a tape measure as suggested by Sheehan in the chapter and book above (I would do it tonight, but I can’t find the tape measure and need to ask my wife when she returns home where it is). This morning, I already weighed myself as part of the WeightWatchers program I recently started. I weighed in at 213, the same weight where I began with WeightWatchers a few weeks ago. I had dropped three pounds, but then over the last few weeks, have regained that same amount.

One other part of the assessment involves testing how far I can go in 12 minutes. Sheehan suggests using a quarter-mile track, usually available at the local high school. I suppose even with sports practices beginning this week, if I get there earlier enough in the morning, I will have no problem doing that. Sheehan also has included aerobic tables from Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper to tell you how you rate on the fitness ladder using maximal oxygen consumption as a baseline.

I already took my resting pulse about half an hour ago and it was at about 60. So I feel encouraged by what Sheehan wrote, but know that I have a long way to go. Plus I know that from being able to complete the 25.9 mile Bald Eagle Mountain Megatransect in 2007 that I have endurance already. It’s just a matter of regaining it.

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This post is also being crossposted at my main blog, an unfinished person (in an unfinished universe).

“Moment of truth”

This is what my wife told me after I weighed in at the gym last night. So in that spirit of honesty, today’s blog is centered around truth.

  • Truth 1: I weighed in at 200 pounds, about 15 pounds heavier than I thought. However, I shouldn’t be surprised. The combination of getting used to eating after not eating for so long, thanks/no thanks to achalasia, and eating junk food and drinking alcohol at my neighbor Bob’s, is taking its toll.
  • Truth 2: I have to get back to keeping track of what I eat, whether it be with Weight Watchers or just keeping a log of what I eat every day. When I was using Weight Watchers, it really made a difference.
  • Truth 3: Alcohol, duh, adds up to calories. Two of my mentors, Dick and Barb Morgan, don’t drink and don’t eat red meat. I don’t know if I can go that far, although that’s probably just an excuse, and peer pressure of being at Bob’s, but I can at least cut back, way back, especially while I’m in training for the half…also it’s not like I can’t drink water when I’m at Bob’s.
  • Truth 4: While I ran the 5 miles today that was scheduled according to my 16-week training plan, I didn’t run the middle three miles as fast as I should have. It was supposed to be a 1 mile warm up, 3 miles at 11:03/mile, and then a 1 mile cool down. It was close, but no cigaro, at 1 mile warm up, 3 miles at 12:00/mile, and then 1 mile cool down. The warm up was at about 13 minutes, and the cool down was a lot of walking at 19 minutes per mile. Ouch!
  • Truth 5: I can’t beat myself up for not making the goal today. While yes, I’m disappointed, at least I can take some solace that I actually got off my lazy butt and went out there and did it, even though I didn’t feel much like it. I just have to keep plugging away. As one of my friends put in a recent “cheery” e-mail to me, we go on like “boats beating against the current,” borrowing a phrase from the end of The Great Gatsby. (F. Scott was such a happy soul, wasn’t he? But that’s another topic for a different blog sometime, I guess.) So I will go on…

Sometimes you have to keep going…

It has to start somewhere
It has to start sometime
What better place than here,
what better time than now?’
— “Guerrilla Radio,” Rage Against The Machine

Last Friday I “missed” my weight training workout at the fitness center, and I also “missed” it on Monday. On Friday, I had a singing performance with the local Men’s Chorus at a local hotel and just didn’t feel like going to the gym. On Monday, another gym day, I didn’t go because I was at my in-laws, and I was sick because of a bad meal the night before at Longhorn Steakhouse. On Tuesday, I didn’t run. However, I did run a couple of laps around a nearby lake on Sunday, and today I returned to the gym. I didn’t do a full workout, skipped the stability ball exercises, because my stomach wasn’t feeling up to par. But I still did it, and tomorrow I’ll return to my regular running routine. The lesson is that sometimes you have to keep going even when you don’t feel like it.

Celebrating the two-year anniversary of when my journey actually began

This upcoming month unofficially marks the two-year anniversary of the start of a journey that now sees me aiming to run in a marathon by the time I am 40.

On Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2004, at the age of 34, I made my first entry in a computer running log called RunLog, which I continue to use to this day. It was after walking 1 mile with a walking tape from – another plug coming – Leslie Sansone’s Walk Away The Pounds series.

I began with a combination of running and walking, and I think I used a Runner’s World log. At the time, I weighed close to 280, perhaps 290 pounds, which for a person who is only 5-foot, 6-inches is not good. I still don’t know how I got there – blame it on genetics, too much fast food, not enough exercise, a combination of all of the above, which is most likely – but I was there and after realizing I was there, I knew I didn’t like it.

At the urging of my wife, Kim, I had already begun on Weight Watchers.. After she had been “on the program” already for six months to a year, she suggested I do it also. Like many when they are obese, fat, overweight, size disadvantaged, whatever politically term or euphemism we use, I was stuck in the mud. I didn’t feel like going anywhere. I didn’t exactly enjoy my place on the couch, but I didn’t feel like getting up off of it either.

However, finally, perhaps after seeing my driver’s license, which I still have and will keep to remind me of where I was, in which I resembled Mr. Potato Head,


and having problems breathing, just walking up the stairs to our second floor apartment, I knew it was time to change. So I had begun on Weight Watchers.

But after doing the program for maybe a month or two, it only got me so far. I knew a change in diet would only get me so far. I thought the next step had to be exercise; I’ve since learned that it is more than a change of diet or adding exercise to your schedule, it is a lifestyle change (more on that later in other blogs).

I began my exercise regimen, which as you will see wasn’t much of a regimen, but it was a start, by walking inside to tapes and then mixing it up with some walks outside, around the development where I lived at the time. When I first began, I didn’t even make it out of the development. In fact, according to my RunLog, I didn’t make it out of the development until after my first month, on March 9. I then walked “the block,” which in this case, was a 3 mile loop out of the development to a main road and then back.

Either way I went, going clockwise or counterclockwise around the block, since we lived on a hill, I began by starting downhill and then finishing uphill. More times than not, I would walk the last hill. It would be a long time before I could run the last hill. I can count on the fingers of one hand the times I actually ran up the last hill.

However, I learned that it didn’t matter whether I ran that last hill or walked that last hill, just that I was doing it at all was an accomplishment. That probably was my first epiphany about running/walking/exercising: it didn’t matter how fast I was going. What mattered is that I had taken the first steps in the journey.

Next time: My first 5K and my first 5-mile race, all in the same month.