I have always fought my weight. I would say that for the most part I have been winning or at least staying in the battle, but it is a constant effort. I see a lot of older sailors that really struggle getting themselves in, out, and around their boats. I also see a lot of sailors retire from sailing before their time because they are too fat to be mobile enough to sail. It is sad and I am hoping I get all that I can out of my sailing career and have to stop when my bones are too fragile and not because I had too many donuts. I LOVE donuts, but if I am ever too fat to sail, that will really bring me down. So I want to offer some help and tools that I have used over the years. I have no affiliation with any of the sites mentioned.
I am 6′ 1″ tall and I weigh about 215lbs. I have a large bone structure, so the BMI indexes don’t really suit me. In high school I was in excellent physical condition, playing hockey 5-6 days per week and eating well. I fluctuated between 190 and 195lbs. According to the BMI, I was supposed to be around 180. I would have been famished and skinny with zero muscle mass at 180. Now that I am 40, I would like to be around 200lbs or just under. In the summer time, I typically get down under 210, but I have not broken the 200 mark in many years. I work out vigorously in the gym 4-5 times/week. My problem is eating and more specifically eating at night. I have 3 kids at home and there is always something delicious to shove in my mouth right before bed time. I know that it is the worst time to eat and if I could fix that habit, I would be on my way.
In 2001, I had back surgery. I was laid up physically for a couple of weeks and laid up psychologically for another couple of months. I hit my all time high at about 240lbs. I was fat. The cycle of being fat and eating because you’re sad that you’re fat is brutal. You justify every shitty food you put in your body and then get angry with yourself for doing it. Eventually, I got into a big argument with my girlfriend at the time (now my lovely wife), and she blurted out, “I am not even attracted to you anymore.” She was sorry as soon as she said it and tried to explain that it was because of my lack of drive or care for myself, but I knew exactly what she meant. We were once the thin, fit, attractive couple and we were now the thin, fit, attractive girl dating the fat dude. It was a big eye opener for me.
I searched for the best way to lose weight in a hurry. I did the Military Diet and lost 15 quick pounds. I gained back 20 in the following months. I did the Atkins diet and lost the 20 plus another 10lbs. I gained back 20 and could not maintain the diet. These fad diets were a complete and utter failure and everyone that I know that has done any of them failed as well. One friend of mine did the Atkins diet religiously for a year and lost a ton of weight. He looked fantastic and felt really good about himself. He is now morbidly obese and probably weighs close to 300lbs. The biggest problem with these diets is that they are not something you can reasonably maintain and they teach you NOTHING about eating right. Believe me, I am not preaching a healthy lifestyle. I think a healthy lifestyle is great, but it ain’t for me. I mostly workout so often just so I can eat junk here and there. I have a donut for breakfast 2 days/week. I friggin’ love donuts.
Enter http://weightwatchers.com and http://loseit.com. Someone mentioned Weight Watchers to me so I decided to look into it. I signed up and it completely changed my life. It is so simple to use. You are given a target number of points per day, you enter in your food and it adds a point value, and you enter in your exercise and it subtracts from your points. The biggest eye opener came when I ate a donut. I put it in to Weight Watchers and it added on 7 points. I then jogged for 30 minutes. I added my exercise and it subtracted 6 points. What?! So I had to suffer and sweat through 30 minutes on a treadmill and I didn’t even burn off that ONE DONUT!? Suddenly, that donut became an enemy. Weight Watchers taught me the value of foods and the value of workouts. I used to have this internal dialog that I could eat basically whatever I wanted because I was working out that night. I stayed a WW member for about a year until I felt that I was comfortable enough with the system that I could do it on my own.
I am now a member on http://loseit.com and am a big fan. The premise is the same as WW, but instead of plugging all of the food details into WW’s proprietary algorithms to get some point value, Lose It simply does everything by calories. I find it easier to use and more practical when food shopping or going out to eat. In addition, Lose It is also much less expensive and was created by some folks from Boston. You know how I love supporting my New England folks.
In summary, stay away from the fad diets. Use something that teaches you the value of foods in a practical, maintainable manner. If you are new to the online dieting world, spend the money on Weight Watchers and use it every day. Once you do that for a couple months and feel comfortable with it, switch over to Lose It and save yourself some money. Do something physical at least 3-4 times per week. If you want to lose weight, casually walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes or going through the motions on the elliptical machine while you read the latest gossip in People Magazine, will not help you. Put some solid tunes on the iPod, crank them up, and sweat a little for 40-50 minutes. If you are too tired or busy to work out that day, lay on the floor at night and do situps while you watch TV. Something is always better than nothing. Every activity burns calories and the harder you do it the more you burn. Track it all on one of the two sites mentioned above and you will see exactly how food and exercise effect each other. Above all…..lay off the donuts!! Did I mention that I love donuts?
Thank you for reading!