Adding things up

Had a great bike ride on the weekend. Headed out past the airport. Stopped at the last bit of land before the Pacific, and enjoyed the cool ocean breeze. Snapped a few pictures with my phone. Courtney took a few pictures of me. We went home. I looked through the pictures yesterday, and they were all terrible cel phone pics. Nothing worth while.

But I looked back at one picture of me, and I realized something. I can no longer legitimately call myself “fat.” What a weird feeling. Overweight, yeah, but not fat. The scale tells me nothing has changed. Almost nothing. Three pounds in six weeks, but that can probably be added back on with one salty meal. But something has changed.

I feel different. Ditching the idea of weight loss, ditching the entire concept of diet, has been great.  As I wrote before, I can enjoy a cupcake guilt free. That’s not the entire story, though. I’m not eating what I think I want, but trying to listen to my body and eat what it really wants. The day I ate the cupcake, I wound up eating two cups of fruit and a few handfuls of nuts for dinner. It was what I wanted. I had two slices of cheap pizza today, but dinner was a fresh garden salad with goat cheese, thin slices of half a leftover steak, a little olive oil and some seeds. Lunch was a single cob of corn drenched in bacon-parmesan flavoured butter. Breakfast was a gigantic bowl of blueberries with cream, milk and whole grain cereal. A pot of coffee, water, and about 8 fish oil capsules rounds out my food intake for the day.

Exercise is still just over an hour of biking. Thirty to forty minutes to get to work, forty-five to get home. The pace is a total grind for me. I never let up. It’s hard…but I like to zoom. I like going fast. I obsess over hitting my time marks just a little quicker each day. I try to add other exercise to my day. Short gymnastics sessions, a gentle bike ride or walk with Courtney, fencing sessions, a little of this and that. Once or twice a week I do a serious stretching session in the morning with Courtney. It tends to leave me hurting for a day or two. The first few weeks on this schedule were killer.

But now? The adaption is kicking in. I’ve noticed sitting down for any length of time makes me feel restless. Physically bored. My body starts to whine at me for sitting still. My attention wanders, wondering if I couldn’t be out walking, or at least standing outside and listening to the world. Why I am sitting down and typing when I could be doing something?

I’ve also realized I’m eating like a skinny person now. Instead of feeling deprived or looking forward to my next planned meal, I tend to forget to eat. And when I do remember, I realize I’m actually not hungry. I skip meals without worry when I’m just sitting around. I just don’t feel like eating. It’s a contrast from how I used to feel. An eight-hour work shift seemed unbearable without a big carby meal and a follow-up meal, and snacks in between. I dreaded being hungry at work. Now? I set an alarm to remind myself to eat a power snack twenty minutes before I bike home.

On the flip side, sometimes starting to eat is amusing. We went out for burgers the other night. I usually feel full, but force myself to eat all my fries lest a child somewhere starve. This time? I ate my burger. Then my fries. Then I started to poach Courtney’s fries. I was eyeballing how slowly she was eating her burger, wondering if she was full. I avoided her baleful, threatening gaze by ordering a large milkshake.

This wasn’t gorging, either. I know some of you have experienced that gaping void in the belly, that terrible feeling of not being able to put food in your mouth fast enough, even when you are full? Not that. It was more of a realization that every mouth full was potential fuel for more exercise. My brain was going “Oooh! Eat that! It’ll get me through the hilly bit of the commute. Now eat that! Maybe we can jog home! Yay fuel! More fuel! Let’s ride bikes!!!” I dare say I felt …perky… after all that eating. And again, didn’t really eat that night. A banana and salad at work. I was pleasantly sated and energetic all night.

It’s a nice feeling. I like being able to make rational choices in my fuellings, no guilt in the back of my head. No nagging about needing to get to work being a perfect physical specimen. I’m really enjoying myself, and my life. And the pictures seem to be telling me I’m doing something right.

2 Comments

    • David R. Packer

      Thanks! All the tiny little changes eventually add up. It’s worth sticking through the parts when it feels like nothings happening. Always good to look over at your partner and think “Yup, I’m a success!”

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