(Originally posted 11/01/08)
Despite my trepidation about going to classes about dieting (ugh!) and weighing in every week and paying to have somebody tell me I need to lose weight, my wife and I started Weight Watchers on June 25, 2008.
It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it might be and I actually learned a few dieting tips. The program allows you to eat anything you want as long as you count the points and don’t go over your allotted amount of points. It was easy to figure out and I don’t think I ever got hungry — just ate healthier food.
The great part was that when I went for the weigh-in the next week I had lost 3.6 pounds! Of course that hooked me and I lost an average of about 2 pounds a week every week for the first 13 weeks! I gained .4 pounds the 14th week but no biggy — I lost 1.8 the following week. As I write this it’s November 1, 2008, just four months after I started Weight Watchers. I’ve now lost a total of 32.4 pounds and last week became a Lifetime Member, which means I don’t have to pay anymore unless I go 2 pounds over my “goal weight.” My goal weight was 167, which was 25 pounds lighter than my starting weight, and I’m at 159.8 right now so I’ve got some breathing room. I can take it a little easier on the diet now, but I think I’ve learned enough good habits to keep the weight off permanently. I don’t mean for this to be a Weight Watchers commercial, but if you’ve tried to lose weight and weren’t able to, give it a shot.
This is me a week before I began Weight Watchers. My wife Linda and I decided that maybe we should give it a try despite my hesitance because of the meetings and weigh-ins and 40 bucks a month ($80 for two people!). Nicole got tired of me complaining about the money and said, “Dad, if the money’s such a big deal, I’ll pay for it!” Of course I couldn’t let her pay for it, so then I felt like I needed to join WW just so I didn’t look like a cheapskate. I could always drop out if it didn’t work.
We had planned a vacation to fly to Las Vegas and visit my son Chuck and then drive to the Grand Canyon and then down to Tucson to visit my son Joe, so we put off joining Weight Watchers for that week, but I promised Nicole that we’d start as soon as we got back.
(Originally posted November 1, 2008)
It was kind of an inside joke with the family that every time we got together I would talk about going on a diet first thing Monday morning, and usually I’d make a half-hearted attempt at breakfast on Monday but most of the time by the end of the day I was back to eating too much as usual.
I had a little bit of success with the Atkins diet, dropping maybe 5 or 10 pounds before gaining it all back in a carb-starved frenzy.
Then there was the calorie-count.com
website, which is great if you stick with it. If you’re looking for a free program it’s unbeatable, but my head wasn’t really in the right place so I was up and down until I finally just stopped trying altogether.
Every time I mentioned my latest failed diet attempt to Nicole
she’d say, “Dad, I’ve tried almost every diet known to man and the only thing that ever worked for me is Weight Watchers. Not only that, but of all the people I know, the only ones who have kept the weight off did it with Weight Watcher.” I would cringe at the thought of meetings and weigh-ins and 40 bucks a month! Not a chance!
According to the running log I started on March 4, 2008, here’s how the first day of my running program began. My entry read:
“Beginning running program. Run-walk on treadmill. Ran .1 mile and walked .1 mile for 30 minutes.”
That week I ran a total of 6.2 miles, and feeling pretty good about myself the following week I ran 9.3 miles — three different 3.1 (5k) runs with times ranging from 38:30 to 42:30.
The following Tuesday was the final entry: 3.1 miles at a time of 41 minutes.
As I remember it, I had painful shin splints that had me limping the whole way. I talked to Nicole on the phone and gave her the news that the old man was just too old to start a running program and wouldn’t be training for a 5k after all.
From the half-hearted running log I started on my computer, I think it was the week of my 56th birthday in late February 2008 that my daughter Nicole was visiting from New York. I don’t actually remember if Nicole invited me to go run with her or if I invited myself, but we drove a couple miles to the Gastonia Greenway to do our run.
It was a beautiful day for running — sunny and unusually warm for the time of year. We decided that since I hadn’t run in a long time I would dictate the pace, so we would run for a while then when I was tired we’d walk until I was ready to run again.
I had always been a skinny kid, and even as an adult up until about the age of 30 or so I was still pretty skinny, but over the years I picked up a pound here and there, and here I was now at the age of 56 weighing 193 pounds, which is probably about 30 pounds more than ideal weight for my body frame.
As we began to run that day the extra 30 pounds quickly took their toll on me. It wasn’t only the extra weight but also the general lack of any meaningful exercise that had me gasping for breath after just a few steps. I’m not sure if we would go 50 feet or 50 yards before I’d have to stop, but it wasn’t much. We’d walk a couple more minutes so I could get my breath back and do it again. Nicole mentioned that if I got into shape the next time she came down we could possibly run in a 5k race together. I promised her that I’d try to get in shape by running several times a week.
The world certainly doesn’t need another blog — running or otherwise — and I don’t need yet another distraction from getting my work done. Having said that, after having become a “runner” just a couple months ago at the age of 56 I’ve had some great experiences that I don’t want to just forget, and hopefully I can provide a little inspiration for some others who would like to be more active but think they’re too old to get started.