Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Oreos, Late Night Runs, and The Importance of Being Driven

Tonight, in a moment of weakness. I ate an Oreo.  Then another.  In total, I ate 6 Oreos.  Now it may not seem like many, but calorie wise, that is a 420 calorie hit at a time when I should be asleep.  Now, to many people, that may not be a big deal, but let me provide a short backstory.

Nightmare Fuel
Back in January of 2011, while I was student teaching, I suddenly realized, while eating a gigantic bag of Reese's Pieces, that I really needed to stop. I took that moment to weigh myself, and was horrified to see I weighed 242.  Only a few years prior to this, I was in the 180s and 190s and totally happy. So, I made a point to restrict my eating.  I didn't add a whole lot of exercise, but as I was student teaching, I was up and moving most of the day anyways.

By the following Spring, I had managed to get down to 195. I was excited, happy, and ultimately, in a place that I was okay with. However, if you will notice above, there wasn't really any exercise routine in place, and honestly, getting down to that weight was a "victory" and, after accomplishing that, quit focusing on the things that made the diet successful.

Fast forward a few years to late December, 2014.  After eating a big breakfast buffet, my wife and I decided to have Mexican for lunch.  Afterwards, I can remember feeling the same explosive feeling in my stomach like I couldn't possibly hold anymore, and that sensation that I had lost all control over my weight.

So I made a commitment to start anew. However, this time it was different. Later that week, I had dinner with my parents, aunt and uncle, sister, brother and sister in law.  That night, we hatched a plan to do a family "Biggest Loser" competition.  My wife joined in, and soon, we were off to the races.  After a week of no pop, cutbacks to eating, I weighed in for the first time at 223.  

The competitive side to things always kept me focused, and, in the ultimate geeky move, I actually kept a spreadsheet to track where I could end up if I kept on the same calorie in/calorie out schedule.  But, the real turning point came in the form of the weekly challenges we had in our competition.  No pop week (I went two months without any).  Drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day week.  Exercise at least 30 minutes 3 days a week. No fast food.  These were key things, because, while I didn't meet every challenge, they forced me to make LIFESTYLE changes, not just eating changes. 

Somewhere along the way, I started using a pedometer to track my workouts.  As I tinkered with the math on my spreadsheets, I settled on a number of calories burned that would allow me to eat a certain amount but still burn at least a couple pounds a week.  This was really the turning point, because now, the obsessive compulsive person in me could not only track what I was eating through looking at plenty of nutrition labels, but now I could track what I was burning.

And thus, for a bulk of the competition, I was looking to get my pedometer to read "1000 calories burned" every day.  Thankfully, my job allowed me to keep moving and I did a lot of standing, walking, and walking in place around the house, as well as the Wii Fit.  Recently, I even added running to my repertoire and have competed in a couple of races.

So that brings us to now.  This morning, after a pretty up and down summer with A LOT of eating, I weighed in at 184. Tonight, I went outside and ran for about 15 minutes. I couldn't come to grips with the fact that I would just eat those Oreos and go to sleep. I empowered myself to take action.  It might be too obsessive, but that works for me. Deep inside, my biggest fear is waking up one day, and seeing myself back at those heavy weights again.  It drives me to keep thinking about the calories and keep focusing on exercising.

This can be applied to so many things in life. Having a chip on my shoulder about events that have happened in the past is part of what makes me the person and educator I am.  Whether it is helping to educate the next generation, helping teachers, being a good husband, or being healthy, it is crucial to always be thinking about what is driving me. What is the point?  Because if there isn't a point, then we're all working pretty hard for nothing.

As for me, I know what I am working for, and it is that drive that keeps me going.