Archive for the ‘Weight loss’ Category
Monday, January 10th, 2011
Once again, I have joined the workplace weight-loss challenge, in an effort to win some money by losing the weight I should have kept off since I won the money in the same challenge last year. And the year before. I am pretty happy with my fitness room in the basement – I have a nice little weight bench and a rowing machine, with a tiny TV and DVD player so I can watch my Matlock DVDs while I work out. This year, however, my wife wanted to join me in my annual fitness push. And so we added a treadmill.
The treadmill was delivered by Fitness Depot on Friday. I spent about four hours on it Friday afternoon – not working out, but getting it from the hallway into the basement. The thing must weigh 400 pounds. And most of it comes in one piece. It took me almost an hour just to move the biggest part of the thing from the main floor to the basement. Slowly turning it one way, then pausing, then resting, then inching it down the stairs one at a time, then losing my grip and letting it crash down the final flight pinning me to the wall, then slowly extricating myself, then pulling it out of the big hole…
Another few hours to put the thing together, and finally I was ready to go for a walk or whatever you do on a treadmill. Well, actually, my wife was ready. I was ready for bed, and I may have injured myself so badly just bringing the thing downstairs that I can never do anything athletic ever again.
Now, I turned it on. And nothing happened. It simply wouldn’t go. After an hour of reading the manual, I finally realized what was wrong. See, the machine comes with a little safety key. You have to clip one end to yourself, then insert the little card on the other end into the machine if you want it to work. Then presto! You are safe to walk at 0.5 miles per hour for as long as you like.
This got me thinking. What, exactly, does the safety key do in terms of providing safety? Like, if I’m running really fast and I fall down…then the treadmill will stop. Okay, but what difference does that make to me? I’ve already fallen down. I’ve already flown off the back of the treadmill, over my computer desk and into the wall.
This is kind of like the lawnmower that stops instantly upon chopping off one of your hands. I get that though – it allows you to reach in with your other hand and retrieve your severed limb, in the hopes that it might be re-attached if you make it to a hospital.
So I got to thinking about some scenarios where the stopping of the treadmill would be handy. Like if, upon flying off the back of the thing, you accidentally pulled down a huge box of nails from a shelf. And the box of nails landed on the treadmill. And started shooting nails at a high speed into your prone body as you laid behind the thing. Or maybe you’re very energy conscious. And you wouldn’t have to worry on your way to the hospital – oh my God! I’ve left the treadmill ON! Think of the WASTE!
One more thing. I am always suspicious of people who are really in shape. Like bodybuilders. If you’re a bodybuilder, you really can’t be anything else. After all, if you have to train and work out and eat properly for ten hours a day, you can’t really hold down a real job at the same time, can you? So you have to be a professional bodybuilder. And how do you make money…being hugely muscular? Other than being a background guy in some silly prison-fight movie, or posing for creepy muscle calendars, I can’t think of anything else…except…see? I don’t trust them. Not gonna be that guy.
Thursday, June 10th, 2010
A final word on running…no, I didn’t run the half marathon in the Ottawa Race Weekend. I got there, looked around, and realized there were ten thousand other people there to run it for me. I got there early, and started warming up. I was supposed to run with promo-guy Esther, her twin sister Judy, and two of their friends. All four girls are tiny, and the place had ten thousand runners warming up. The chances I would find any of them was almost zero. Miraculously, however, I DID run into Esther and Judy a little bit before the race. I guess it was a little easier to spot blonde twins than an individual person.
As we stretched and warmed up, I looked around and realized that I was, by far, still the fattest person there. Now, I have lost a lot of weight in the past year. And I was able to run this full 21-km (13 mile) half marathon two weeks earlier. Bushtukah gave me some great shoes, which fixed my knee problems. But having never actually run the full 13 miles (my training really topped out at 6 miles a day, and no further), I wasn’t prepared for the painful pounding my ample frame would cause upon my hips. And with about 3 miles to go, I was in agony. I finished, but I never took another step running between that day and the race itself. In fact, I barely took a step walking either.
Thanks to the junk-waxing I recently received, courtesy of the twisted minds of Doc and Woody and the soft hands of Brittany the aesthetician, I was sticking in places that might prove detrimental to my race. So I headed back to my car to get the little anti-glide stick I got from Bushtukah. Or maybe it’s a pro-glide stick. Whatever. It keeps my stuff from sticking to my other stuff while I run. I headed across the street with about ten minutes to spare, only to look down the street. I saw thousands of people in the starting gate, waiting to get going. The faster people go first, the slower people (me) go last. I had a little time, but I had to hurry.
So I ran to my car. Which was in the World Exchange Plaza, two blocks away. (By the way, the WEP has free parking all day every weekend – nice, eh?) By the time I got there, I was once again in agony. My hips don’t lie. And they said “you’re not running”. I reasoned that, as the fattest guy there, I was going to take up the most space on the starting line, and space was tight. I would be doing the rest of the runners a huge favour by skipping the race. So I got in my car and went home.
That’s it. I will continue to excercise. I will play sports. This coming weekend I will be in a volleyball tournament and a softball tournament and I will do the rowing machine and lift weights and swim and so forth. But running is OVER. I hate it. I was running six miles a day, and I hated every step, every minute, every breath. That “runners high” thing people talk about? Not so. I suspect that “runners high” is different for each person. I think some are susceptible to it, others are not. Like a peanut allergy, or the very few people who aren’t bothered by pepper spray. So I quit. I would quit eating peanuts if I had an allergy. I would start more riots if I wasn’t fazed by pepper spray. And without the “runners high”, there is no reason for me to run, ever again. So long, hip pain and anger!
Wednesday, May 19th, 2010
I’ll be running the half marathon on May 30th during the Ottawa Race Weekend. It seemed like a neat challenge when I signed up for it, and I’ve been training for a couple of months to be able to run 13 miles (21 km) by the time the thing comes around next Sunday. I was told earlier this month that in order to run a big race like that, a runner should be able to complete that run two weeks before the actual race. Which is what I was doing yesterday. Here’s the video:
A lot of people in the building stopped me to congratulate me after I managed to finish this run. Which was nice, but I really didn’t feel any sense of accomplishment. Instead, I felt stupid. Why? Why would anyone voluntarily choose to do something like this? I should have realized right away when Esther recruited me to do this that it was a dumb idea. Running is dumb. Two and a half hours, 21 clicks, and my cardio held up fairly well. I have been training mostly on cardio for these past few months, which made sense to me. And I thought all it would take was the mental fortitude to keep going. In a sense, that is true. It’s all about the brain and being able to tough through something like this. But it never occured to me that my body would shut down so completely.
The final 3 miles of this run were excruciating. Absolute agony. Bushtukah outfitted me with this outfit, because I was complaining about knee pain while I trained. So they gave me better shoes, and my knee pain is gone. My foot pain is gone. I have no back pain any more either. But I have never run this far in my life, and my hips gave out completely half an hour before I finished. Yesterday I couldn’t walk. Last night I couldn’t sleep. I soaked in a tub for an hour, I stretched for an hour and I laid down all day yesterday. I still can’t walk today.
Big thanks to Bushtukah for the shoes, which worked great, and the clothes. Which make me look like some kind of creepy flamboyant teletubby. Something funny – watch closely in the video, and you can see a tiny little grey strip on the bicep of the bright-ass pink shirt. Know what that grey strip is? Reflective tape. You know, just in case I’m running in the dark, and the cars can’t see me…
I have heard from many people about this thing called a “runner’s high”. Where you run and run and run and eventually hit a point where you no longer feel it and can run forever. I always tell those people that I have never felt this. They always respond that obviously I have never run far enough. Well, now I have. I ran for two and a half hours. And I did not feel this “runner’s high”. Every single step of this run was an effort. And the last few thousand were agony. I hate running. I hate it with a passion. And as of May 31st, when this race weekend ends, I will never run again. Ever. Not one step. If I’m being chased by a bear, I will not run. I will stay and fight the bear. Running isn’t just overrated, it’s ridiculous. It’s for skinny people and masochists, and I am neither!
Oh, and nice job by Robin Harper on the video. This is almost exactly how the run looked.
Tuesday, April 6th, 2010
On further reflection, 10 weeks of working out with a Wii Fit was not as good as 10 weeks of working out at the Greco Lean & Fit centre. Last year, with Greco, I lost about 40 pounds in the workplace weight loss challenge. This year, with the Wii Fit, I lost about 25 pounds. I still managed to finish second. I thought the battle was between me and Kalum from sales. He got off to a terrific start, and I thought I could sneak up from behind and pass him in the final week. And I did. But it was little Nancy from the office who took first place, sneaking in under the radar. Nancy started out very small and fit. And ended the contest even smaller and fitter, and her percentage beat my percentage.
I am happy with second place. That means (as Doc says) that I am the money leader, overall, in the workplace weight loss challenge. What upsets me more is that my little Wii character hasn’t changed. When I started, I was in the “obese” category. At 241 pounds, I probably qualified. Now, I’m 216 pounds. So my little graph that charts my progress is very satisfactory and plummets over the course of 10 weeks. However, my little Mii character is still gigantic. Now, to be fair, the Wii Fit still tells me I’m obese. And I guess that the little Mii guy has only four settings – obese, overweight, normal and underweight. But couldn’t he have gotten a little skinnier? I mean, I did!
Thursday, April 1st, 2010
Here’s me trying to run a couple of years ago.
Here’s me trying to run recently.
Now here’s what real runners who are in training for the Ottawa Race Weekend look like:
Monday, March 29th, 2010
There are a few people I’d like to thank, first off. Everyone who came out to Bushtukah on Saturday was great, and we had an amazing time in an amazing store. In previous years, I haven’t really paid much attention to the place. After all, it was a store full of fit people, and I was fat people. Not that I’m “fit” now, exactly. But I am running this half-marathon soon, so I’m paying attention to fitness-related things a lot more at this point. And Bushtukah was great. They analyzed my walking and running style, and then asked me if the shoes I was currently wearing hurt my knees when I ran. I said they did. This is apparently because of “pronation” or something to that effect.
Anyway, they helped me find a pair of shoes that allow me to run comfortably and no longer make my knees scream with every step. Then they helped me find a no-chafe stick that will prevent me from making my thighs-rubbing-together rash worse. And they helped me find some really, really pink clothes that breathe nicely and feel good and will help me be more comfortable, if not any faster. (In fact, it was Esther our promo guy who picked out the pink clothes – I’m running with Esther, her twin sister, and two other tiny girls in this half-marathon at the end of May, and we were planning to have matching outfits, all five of us.) Anyway, terrific store, great advice, wonderful products.
I would also like to thank the fine gentleman who thought it would help me in my weight-loss challenge if he brought me some delicious donuts all the way from Kemptville. I need to really buckle down and be perfect this week if I hope to win this weight-loss contest. The way I see it, I need to lose about eight pounds this week if I hope to win. The donuts were delicious. Also big thanks to Janet and Kenny for the Marathon Training book. I have begun to fill out the daily training logs, and I have even read some of it. No thanks for the article on Rush that was included with the book. (Janet was very jealous of my pink outfit, and I think she went around to pick out many of the same clothes. They’re probably meant for women.)
Also thanks to John and the rest of the CHEZ nation members who explained the Toys For Boys contest to newbies and casual passers-by. Having changed the system for this particular Toys For Boys event, and using ballots and bonus codes instead of bonus codes alone, there was much explaining to do. And I was so busy that not only could I not explain this to everyone, I also could not find time to eat my very healthy wraps. And donuts. So thanks, everyone, for the assistance!
Now, what’s the opposite of thanks? “Boo”, maybe? OK. BOO to Esther our promo guy. Major boo. GIANT BOO! Esther came around with me and we tried on all kinds of pink sports bras and pink women’s tops together. Most of them made me look like an effeminate Slovenian weightlifter. But at least we matched, and she looks good in a pink sports bra. Which should take at least a little of the attention off me. Ridiculous though I may look. In the end, we decided on a shirt for me that was a bit of a compromise. It was still crazy-pink, bright as hell, but it wasn’t a sports bra and at least had sleeves. I could live with it, as long as we were all a matching team.
Also – one more plus – when I go for a run at 2:00 in the morning, I will not likely be hit by any cars with something that bright on. That’s good too.
So with MY shopping done, it was now Esther’s turn. She needed new shoes as well. She found a pair that were totally comfortable and really really cute, so she was pleased. I was pleased for her – after all, I like people to be comfortable. An hour later, she came to find me. She said “don’t be mad at me”. But I was mad at her. Her shoes, you see, were now white with red trim. And white with red trim would clash with pink! So she decided that she (and the rest of the girls) would be wearing black instead. I already had all my pink stuff! The tags had come off! There was no turning back! And now I’m the one wearing pink, and they will be wearing black, and why? Because of a really really cute pair of red-trimmed shoes.
So now, when we hit the streets on May 30th for this half marathon, I will be outfitted in my comfortable yet gaudy clothes from Bushtukah. And the four small women running with me will be all in black. We’re going to look like four tiny ninjas escorting a teletubby. Or four of those “gnap” smurfs running from Festive Gargamel. In other words, ridiculous.
Monday, March 15th, 2010
For some reason, I agreed to run a half marathon May 30th on Ottawa Race Day. I once ran 10 km every morning, when I was on the high school rowing team. I thought, I can get back into that kind of shape in three months. Then I realized that the half-marathon is 13 miles. Which is not 10 km. It’s more like 21 km. If I ran from the station in the southeast end of Ottawa, I would finish in Bells Corners. It would be almost like running to work from my house in Kanata. Our promo co-ordinator Esther convinced me to participate in this event. Her twin sister Judy convinced Esther to participate. And there will be two other tiny little ladies running with us. This is now my motivation. I have to be able to at least complete the 13 mile run on May 30th, if only so I don’t embarrass myself in front of (and alongside) four tiny fitness women. This video is my training with Esther…day one.
Thursday, March 11th, 2010
When I came back from Vancouver this weekend, I was exhausted and starving. So I ate and slept and then woke up and re-acquainted myself with the Wii Fit, which has clearly missed me. When I stepped on the machine, it was very excited to see me again, although it was a little concerned because it hadn’t seen Muffin in a while. Muffin is, of course, my dog. And she has a character on the Wii Fit too, because the kids created one for her. Muffin being the only dog in the house they can carry onto the board – O.D. is too fat. I tried to ask the machine what it wanted with Muffin, and what benefit a dog can really get out of the Wii Fit, but it didn’t answer. It was more concerned with probing me for information.
You see, over the five days I didn’t use the machine, I gained a full kilogram from weigh-in to weigh-in. The machine said “let’s talk about your weight gain”, and gave me a multiple choice list. The words “airplane food” and “sitting on my ass” weren’t valid choices. So I randomly chose “late night snacking”, because if I didn’t pick something I couldn’t move on. The machine told me that if I eat after 9:00, I’m at risk of…something…I stopped paying attention. After all, I’m not up after 9:00! Stupid machine, it should know that, always chastising me about the hours I keep.
I have started to move away from the Wii Fit. I know she will soon get jealous and ask me where I was. I expect that eventually she will start driving past my house at three in the morning, and go through my garbage when I am at work. Joke’s on her though – if she comes by at 3:00, I won’t be home! I’ll be with my new weight-loss companion, running. I still hate running. With a passion. But it doesn’t question and nag me like the Wii Fit. It doesn’t make me jump through hoops because of a passive-aggressive approach to weight loss. No, it just accepts me for what I am. A fat man pounding out three miles every morning in the dark. I hate to lead “running” along. I hate to make “running” think that this could be a long-term thing when in fact it’s just a fling, and it has an expiry date.
My brief fling with “running” will end May 30th. Running doesn’t know this yet. People who run don’t seem to know this yet. People who run love running. And they are always asking me if I have the “bug” now. Like running is some kind of addictive fun time, like frozen lemonade, cheerios or heroin. I think these people are crazy, and I tell them so. There is no running “bug” to catch. There is simply pain to endure, boredom to overcome, and a half-marathon to suffer through two months from now. The “runners” don’t seem to believe me. They say “you’ll see – by the end of this, you will love it”. Running, take it from me, right now. I will never love you. Don’t cling to me in the hope that at the end of this, we will have a lifelong relationship. It won’t happen. I am simply using you as a means to an end. Don’t make more of this than there is.
And Wii Fit, don’t take it too hard. I realize I am leaving you for a fling with something I don’t even like. It’s just that running is different, and meets my needs right now. I’ll still keep you in the loop, Wii Fit. I’ll check in every day for a quickie – maybe a little post-run yoga, or pre-rowing-machine body test. With time, you will be able to accept it. All I want to say is that you can’t change my mind with the trinkets you have been throwing at me. Upgrading my calorie-counting box from bronze to silver to gold was nice. But where do I go from gold? I’m just not that impressed by colours and bling. And frankly, it just seems desperate now.
Sunday, February 21st, 2010
Weigh-in was on Friday. I lost one more pound, which was nice. But I’m not making close to the progress I made last year when I won this challenge thing. So I decided to push the Wii Fit to the limit this weekend, and break it if necessary. Instead, it broke me. There’s this one game where you’re “riding a bike”. I already beat the easy one and unlocked the advanced one. Then I beat that one and unlocked the “long” one. I beat that one yesterday – you have to ride around this island, collect flags then return to the start. The “long” one took me 15 minutes. I thought that was the last one. But it wasn’t – I unlocked the “expert” course.
The idea on the expert course is that you bike around (and it’s pretty tough, it’s a lot like running on the spot, only really hard running) and collect the flags. But on the expert course, they’re mostly hidden. And I couldn’t find two of them. At all. And I tried. I tried so hard to find those last two flags. I biked and biked and sweated my bag off. The kids started out laughing at me, then tried to give me a bunch of advice based on their years of video-game playing. Like, look for a mushroom that unlocks a secret passage that might lead into a pool of water where you might find a key that will release a dragon that maybe you can ride to the flag. Or something. Whatever, it didn’t work.
The game kept telling me I could quit and save my credits at any time. Like it anticipated that I would give up. After all, this was a long, hard bike ride. Every time it gave me the quit message, my resolve strengthened. I would find all the flags, and I would defeat this game. But it was not to be. Eventually, when I was drenched in sweat and felt like I was going to throw up, the kids pointed out that they had been waiting for lunch for an hour, and that it was time for their pills, and that the dogs needed to be let outside and fed. I was in a rotten mood at this point, so I told them they could likely do all those things their damn selves. But it occured to me that at some point I would have to make dinner, so I quit. An hour and fifty-two minutes after I started. Never did find those stupid flags.
Monday, February 15th, 2010
My little Mii character on the Wii Fit broke the machine. Not because I’m fat and ruined the board, but because the game actually has an end point. I discovered today, as I tried to work off a mild hangover, that the Wii Fit will let me work out for only three hours in a day. That’s it. Then it stops. I can keep going if I want, but the machine won’t record it.
At this point, I felt like some kind of meth addict, yelling at the TV “I’ll tell you when I’ve had enough!” But I quit for the day anyway, because if no one’s recording my efforts, what’s the point in jogging around that island anyway? I also discovered that nothing, in the world, has more calories than 5.5 ounces of cashews. The Wii Fit also stops at 5.5 ounces of cashews. I burned about 1,000 calories today, but 5.5 ounces of cashews is like 850 or something. And the machine stops there. Triple cheeseburger, and then cashews.
So I got on the rowing machine, because IT still pays attention to me. And then I went out to buy cashews. But the grocery stores were closed. So I went to Wendy’s for a triple cheeseburger. Thank goodness for family day! If the grocery stores had been open, I might have eaten cashews instead!