The Bad News
About a year ago I started to gain weight, and went from 165 lb average, to a 175 average, and that creeped up to a 185 lb average. Waist size went from a rather loose 34 to a rather snug 36. The problem started when I tried to maintain my weight at 165, then 170, and failed. In the meantime I injured my left knee, and have just confirmed that it has arthritis. I will know more after May 22ed when I visit an orthopaedic sports doctor.
The Good News
There is still lots of good news. My peak weight, before I started to loose, was up around 245 plus pounds, and a size 46 inch waist size was tight. I would have been satisfied with 185 if I had been convinced it would stop there. I did not. I have given up running for the meantime, but suspect that the doctor’s advice will be to continue to avoid the sport I love. During the process I learned a lot, and am taking up competitive race walking under the theory that it will not be so hard on my knee. The weight is starting to go down, partially because it is warmer now, and I am out of school with more free time. Less stress.
What I Learned
What did I learn? A lot, and I plan to learn more. First of all I think I lost the weight too fast, and that steep weight lose has had an effect on my metabolism. Most BMI calculators say that I should be able to eat 2000 calories net per day. I have found that number to be too high. For me it is 1400 calories. I suspected my metabolism might have had something to do with it, but was pretty much convinced after I went back down to 1400 net calories per day, renewed a stricter diet (avoiding high glycemic foods such as pasta, potatoes, etc.), and then started to see the weight come off again. At around the same time the Biggest Looser story broke which told how research had shown that most of the contestants gained back a lot of weight, and an altered metabolism was suspected as the culprit. Thinking it was starving, the body wisely went into a survival mode as it slowed down metabolism. We use a scale, the body seems to have other metrics. You can read the article online at the New York Times. Was that what had happened to me? Maybe, and then again maybe not. I suspect there are a lot of factors that come into play with weight loss, and the science is just not there yet. In the meantime, I have resigned myself to the 1400 calorie ceiling and found a way to keep it that seems to work for me now.
The Way Forward
One strategy that I found that worked for me was a schedule that included shifting my meals to later in the day, and essentially eating four of them. Around 300 – 350 calories at noon, the same amount at 4 p.m., and then 600 – 800 for supper at around 7:30, and finally a late snack. Noon and lunch do not vary much at all. Supper and the late snack calories vary depending on how active I have been. I know it breaks a LOT of the rules but it works for me.
I also discovered how much it meant to me to have fitness goals, and incorporate competition into my goals. Not that I was that competitive for my age class as a runner, but because I found those competitions to be tremendously motivating. What to do? Race walking. It has always appealed to me since I was a kid when the renowned race walker Larry Young could be seen around town training. Walking VERY fast. By the way, Larry Young competed in the 1968 and 1972 Olympics, and is the only American ever to medal in race walking in that venue. Larry attended Columbia College on the ONLY race walking scholarship ever awarded by a college in the United States. Hometown boy made good.
I know I could just go out and walk. There is also Nordic Walking, and fitness walking, and then just kind of making up your own thing. Strolling. While walking is natural to us, race walking requires a very specialized technique that you have to learn. Starting with Larry Young I have a rather long history of being interested in race walking which I will write more about later. For now, suffice it to say that the first and only time I have race walked was over thirty years ago, with my oldest daughter and we were both disqualified. I plan to do something about that. I will compete again this summer, fully expecting to be disqualified, but have decided that next year my goal is to be competitive in my age group while avoiding being disqualified for the wrong technique. Stay tuned.