The Academic Redneck Fitness Challenge: Update 1

Previous Weight Loss (November 28-July 5): 25.2 pounds
Weight Loss July 5-August 7, 2017:
4.8 pounds
Total Weight Loss (November 28-August 7, 2017): 
30 pounds
End-of-Year Weight Loss Goal: 50 pounds
Remaining to 2017 Goal:
20 pounds

As promised, here is my monthly fitness check-in. In July, I had my best month of weight loss in 2017, 4.8 pounds. I’m averaging  3.25 pounds per month this year, so my weight loss was above average in July. In addition, I had a substantial weight loss of 7.2 pounds the first month (November 28-December 31, 2016), when I began this process, but that degree of motivation and momentum is almost impossible to maintain.

Here are my monthly weight loss stats. All the professional indoctrination I’ve received in higher education about a “culture of assessment” may have made me more “data driven” than I’d care to admit.

November 28-December 31, 2016: 7.2 pounds
January 2017:
2.2 pounds
February 2017:
3.2 pounds
March 2017:
2.6 pounds
April 2017:
4 pounds
May 2017:
2.6 pounds
June 2017:
3.4 pounds
July 2017:
4.8 pounds

On the positive side, I’m eating like a normal human being and still losing weight, though I know some people would not be satisfied with such “small” weight losses every month. In fact, they would expect at least three to five pounds per week or get discouraged. However, I actually think the more modest weight losses each month have been my saving grace and motivated me to develop some consistent habits. Not feeling deprived keeps me on track.

As I said last month, I am not interested in rapid weight loss. Rather, I am seeking permanent weight loss that allows me to coexist peacefully with food. There is no worse feeling than going to a party or other social event and being the sad-sack eating carrot sticks while everyone else is enjoying great party food. I’m training myself to plan ahead for special occasions and eat lighter either a few days before or a few days after a big “eating event.”

I’m not craving as many sweets as I once did. For instance, Mike’s birthday was July 31, so I made him a peach cobbler. I had some with ice cream that evening to celebrate, but I didn’t eat any more afterwards and didn’t feel as though I was missing out on anything. He finished it off after several days. In the past, I would have polished it off myself the next day, and he would have said, “Where is my cobbler?” Then I would have felt guilty, gluttonous, and goaded into to making him another one. Predictably, I’d eat at least half of it, too.  Similarly, at the US Represented staff party on July 26, I ate what I wanted, including samples of various desserts, but I was careful on those days between the get-together with my colleagues and Mike’s big day. In a sense, it’s been liberating to accept that nothing is off limits on any given day, but if I splurge sometimes, I have to cut back for a while. Mindful eating is pretty cool.

That said, if I’m going to make the fifty-pound goal by the end of the year, I have to step up my game just a little. With a little less than five months remaining in 2017, I need to be losing about four pounds each month until the end of the year, which will be challenging. I have five more reports to come on this goal (September 4, October 2, November 6, December 4, January 1). Note that the only two months in 2017 that I’ve managed to crack the four pound mark were April and July. I can tell that my metabolism has slowed now that I’m middle aged and slouching toward menopause. Plus, there’s the triumvirate of holidays in the fall–Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas–that I must skillfully navigate.

I’m exercising all I can, so I’m going to have to watch my food intake a little more carefully. I’m still consuming a bit too much red wine. This week I’m going to try and go the full seven days without consuming any. Next month, I’ll let you know if I was successful or if I’ve fallen into a vat of grapes and can’t get out.

I’m kicking some serious exercise booty: 127 days straight of physical activity. Out of the 219 days already gone in 2017, I’ve exercised for 217 of them. I’m getting 30-45 minutes of exercise daily during the week and 45-60 minutes a day on the weekends. I am at the point that exercise is a permanent fixture in my life; I can’t stand not to exercise now.

I’m also noticing smaller, but not insignificant, improvements in flexibility and muscle tone. In my biceps, I can feel a tiny, tiny bit of a muscle forming, though my triceps are still soft and jiggly. It will definitely take some time to tone. I used to skip stretching at the ends of my workouts, but I now my muscles and joints are much less stiff and painful if I take the time to stretch.

Next Update: Monday, September 4.