Saturday, 28 January 2012

Start of the countdown

I haven't always been heavy.  I am told that at birth, I weighed two and a half pounds, which is about the size of a small roast.  Clearly, I got over it.

Actually, for most of my high school career I was a relatively normal size - probably between a size 12 and a 14, although my mother always pushed me to be lighter.  It was only as I entered undergrad that the freshman 20 turned into the sophmore 40 and the senior 60.  By the time I entered MBA school, I was well and truly overweight.

After MBA school, my weight continued to creep up until I weighed a distressing 300 pounds, and I decided it was time to do something about it. I bought a home gym, and an exercise bike, and a ski machine, and over a period of about a year and a half, lost almost half my body weight.  Through agonizingly hard work. I ended up weighing around 167 pounds, with beautifully toned arms, adequately toned legs, and a figure that allowed me to shop in straight size stores (rather than plus size boutiques).  I was back to a fit and toned size 12-14, and I felt great.

But working out was never something I can say I ever truly enjoyed.  Sure, I got the same endorphin rush that everyone gets with exercise (or chocolate, or good sex), but I never got hooked.  Working out was always just that - work - and I was never able to get into a routine that wasn't a form of self-imposed torture.

The other challenge, and I am sure that anyone who has ever lost weight the right way will tell you, is that over time as I became increasingly fit, it took more and more work to burn off the fat.  Eventually it was taking me almost an hour (or more) every morning just to stay at my current weight, and I was bitterly resenting every second.  So you can imagine that it did not take long for me to fall off the wagon and to abandon the daily workout regimen.  A succession of moves to apartments where I could not use my weight machine made it tougher to keep fit. Getting a job at a major potato chip manufacturer that had free salty snacks in the break room did not help.

Before long, the weight began creeping up, and up, and up...  From my lowest of 167 pounds in the autumn of 2001, I was already up to 242 pounds in the spring of 2003, and the weight just kept coming.  Going to law school didn't stop the pounds from pouring on, and by the time I graduated in 2006 I had almost put on all the pounds I had to painstakingly lost all those years ago.

Now, after four and a half years of practice, working long hours and sleeping far too little, things have escalated to the point where I am severely compromised by my weight, which has never been heavier.  When I finally shook the scales from my eyes (no pun intended) I weighed 333.9 pounds, or about the size of a Cincinnati Bengals offensive lineman.  One of the fat ones.  Which would be fine, if I were, in fact, an offensive lineman, rather than a lawyer.  And a girl.

At this weight, my knees are very bad, which makes everyday tasks like climbing or descending stairs a chancy thing.  A couple of summers ago I severely pulled my groin during a move between apartments, because I couldn't bend my knees the way normal people do (yes, the irony of having what is essentially a "sports injury" is not lost on me). Because the groin injury is exacerbated by my weight, it still plagues me to this day.  Which causes me to favour one leg when I walk. Which screws up my back, making even walking short distances a painful ordeal.

Enough is enough.  I began the first, pitiful baby steps towards health before the holidays, by being aware of what I was eating, swapping out Diet Pepsi for water at the office, and trying to walk to the office more.

Now, a couple of months later, I have lost 10.5 pounds, and have officially begun working out.  Given my physical condition (i.e. morbidly obese), I can't do what I used to.  But I can do something.

Current plan:
  • 5 min per weekday on the recumbent bike
  • 3 sets of 10 reps x 3 arm exercises (bicep curls, tricep press and shoulder raises) using free weights on the arms, 3 times per week (alternating weekdays)
I suspect I will want to step up the cardio to 7-10 minutes within a week or so, but for now, my bigger concern is doing too much, too quickly, and injuring myself.

Let the games begin!

Image: Grant Cochrane /
Image: phanlop88 /

1 comment:

  1. Reading a few of your posts (found thru My Fitness Pal) are REALLY helping to motivate me! I was a happy enough athletic size 12-14 but with time put on weight, graduated from law school in 2008, practiced in NYC and worked all the time thus eating crap I grabbed and found comfort in all the time, moved to Cali, had a baby and was a stay at home mom bored out of my mind so I ate. I started a job and just signed up with a trainer (referred by an acq with great results) to regain the person I used to be - a healthy one. :) Thanks for sharing!