Weight, Hair, & Election Losses

I normally like to wait a day or two after the end of the month to announce my weight loss for the month. I check my weight for several days in a row before and after the last day of the month to verify that I actually did lose weight that month. But here we are a week into May, and I’m still not sure. My weight bounced around like a ping pong ball at a college fraternity beer pong tournament. Up several pounds one day and down a pound the next. A week into May, and about the only statement I am comfortable making is that I didn’t lose any weight. I’m still staring at losing 10 pounds by the end of warm weather in the fall.

My weight loss plan was at a serious disadvantage in April with Easter coming early in the month. My plan to deal with all the chocolate in the house at Easter was to eat it all as quickly as possible. Success!

Easter was quickly followed two days later by the local election that I lost but still won. Yes, third runner-up was enough to be elected. I felt like a kid at a rec league soccer tournament where everyone gets a trophy. But I think it’s official now that this came in the mail …

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I Was Wary of my Winter Weightloss Wish Working

And it didn’t, but I still succeeded … sort of. As I have explained in prior posts, I was pretty sure I would gain weight over the winter. The key for me was to try and limit that weight gain. By late summer of 2020, I had lost 17 pounds through spring and summer. As soon as cooler weather in early fall arrived and I took our pool down, I almost immediately added back 2 pounds. I went into the winter months of December through February hoping to minimize my weight gain. I wanted to show some progress from 2020 to 2021. It didn’t help that I could not bring myself to go to the health club all winter while a pandemic raged out of control in the US.

I was limited to walking outside, our treadmill, and our elliptical machine. I never got around to setting up a bike on a stationary trainer like I wanted. Mild winter weather allowed me to still walk outside in December and most of January, but then winter hit here with a vengance in February. We had about 3 weeks straight of incessant snow and frigid temps. I was relegated to shoveling/snowblowing outdoors when necessary (which seemed to be daily) and walking/ellipsing indoors. Take a look at how my steps in February shrank for the third month in a row …

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My Plan to Lose Weight by Gaining Weight is Working!

When we last left our plucky dieter (me!), my diet plan for January & February was for me to gain 2 pounds each month in order to lose weight. You can read and try and make sense of that logic in the complete post HERE, but the gist is that it is inevitable that I will gain weight in the winter, so I need to control my weight gain, unlike in years past when I have inflated like a balloon at a kid’s birthday party by the end of winter.

That is me after most winters. Oh, but not this one. I planned to limit my weight gain which would allow me to start Spring weighing less than a year ago. After only gaining a pound in December, I planned to add 2 pounds each month in January and February. Then I could start March at 9 pounds less than last year. I lost 17 pounds in 2020 before the cold weather hit, so if I could lose just 15 additional pounds this year, I would be very happy at being down 24 total pounds from my peak in early 2020. Whew, I did not realize there would be math required with this post.

So, what did I do to only gain 2 pounds in January? Well, I exercised less. Take a look …

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Hoping 2021 is Worth the Weight

Happy New Year to you all as I wrap up my Twelve Days of Blogging. When last I checked my weight in an act of public self-shaming, I had gained 2 pounds back from my summer & fall 17 pound weight loss. I hatched a crazy plan to gain less than 5 pounds per month during the 3 winter months, and I would then start Spring 2021 weighing less than last year. Even nuttier is that’s the plan I’ve decided to follow – weight gain. It’s the only plan I have. Winter weight gain is inevitable for me. The best I can do is minimize it.

I knew December would be hard. By the end of the month, my diet had turned almost exclusively to a focus on the 4 holiday food groups of cookies, chocolate, caramel, and eggnog. My workouts had faded as Christmas activities and a bathroom renovation took precedence over self-care. Unfortunately, the numbers don’t lie …

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Weighting Out Winter

The last time I updated you on my efforts to reach my weight loss goal of 20 pounds (for those of you still living in medieval times, that comes out to 1.43 stones), I had fallen short in September. I was stuck at 17 pounds at the end of September after really working out hard that month. With cooler weather coming, I faced the prospect of no more swimming workouts in the convenience of our backyard pool. I am simply not up for a nice winter swim as some are.

Canadians, eh? And I cannot handle this exercise below freezing …

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Take a Walk

It was an odd Thanksgiving Day yesterday with 3 of our 5 kids staying remote due to COVID concerns. We did a Zoom meeting with the remote kids, which seemed more normal than I expected. But before that, I took a walk with Lola the dog to the neighborhood creek.

She loved it. I liked it. I would have loved it had she not pooped 3 times on the walk. How is that even possible? It’s not like she was eating along the way. Well, we had a mostly enjoyable walk, minus the ubiquitous pooping, and I was bemused seeing these trees along the way to the creek …

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Motivation Recalibration

I had slipped into a summer exercise routine that felt as comfortable as my fat pants with the stretch waistband after about 20 wearings without a washing. I would get up early and take a long solo walk or bike ride. Most days I would stop at one of the many wild berry patches I had scouted and pick fresh mulberries, raspberries, or blackberries for my consumption that day. After work, I would walk the dog and swim some laps in our little pool. Then the weather started to change. We had a stretch of rain and cold. No cycling for a week. I took down the pool before it turned into an above ground ice skating rink. So much for my swimming workouts. I immediately started to gain back the weight I had lost. My quest for a 20 lb. weight loss seemed unattainable.

But then, one man inspired and motivated me to try and make that weight loss happen. Who, you ask? I’m pretty sure I heard someone ask. Come on, raise your hand if it was you asking. Nobody, huh? Regardless, that man is …

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My Winter Weather Weight War

One week ago, I was on the brink of having lost 19 pounds toward my goal of 20. And then, the weather turned ugly along with my disposition. Unseasonably cooler temperatures moved in along with rain every single day of the week. Literally overnight, I gained 2 pounds. My body reacts to the cold by packing on winter weight, possibly so I can live off my blubber in case I am ever lost in the Arctic or Chicago in January. I’m not sure which is colder. I fought back by getting depressed and eating everything in sight. Turns out, that didn’t help. I gained another pound.

I could no longer get in a daily swim since the pool was overflowing with cold water. I could no longer get in a daily bike ride due to all the rain. I changed my tack and established an indoor routine of daily walking on the treadmill, elliptical work, and some interval training including crunches (not Nestle’s, although that would be my preference), push-ups, and light weight work.

Success! I’ve banished 1 of the 3 pounds I added. I was even able to get back in the pool yesterday as warmer temps have returned for a few days. We’ll see how sunny and warm these next couple days get as we are now experiencing a smoky haze from the west coast of the USA that is burning out of control. I always thought California would fall into the Pacific due to an earthquake. I never expected it would burn into oblivion.

The bottom line for me is that we are halfway through the month, and I still have 3 pounds to lose to reach 20. I am not confident, but I will try like hell to get there by the end of September. I know October will bring colder weather and that means a fatter, but not jollier, Jim.

Go For 20!

Back when I started my career, I worked for a company that ran a “Go For 10!” promotion. They were a smaller company in their industry, and they wanted to push sales to get into the top 10. So, Go For 10! They failed. In fact, they may have fallen further down the ranks, and I was a part of it. Great story, right?

I’m running my own personal “Go For 20” promotion, but not to get into the top 20 of human beings. I don’t have a chance of getting there, especially when I publish a series of blog posts titled “Am I a Bad Guy?”

But I do have a chance to lose 20 pounds! I’m going for 20 pounds lost! By the end of August, I had officially lost 17 pounds of winter tubbiness and am currently trending toward 18 lost pounds of lard. How? COVID lead to underemployment which lead to less money which lead to me to walking and biking while contemplating my dilemma which lead me to notice things growing which lead me to eating those growing things. Here’s my harvest of European plums today …

They kind of look like sweet, juicy red seedless grapes. They’re not. NOT AT ALL. They taste nothing like grapes. They are edible but tart. I will eat them, but it’s not like there’s a chance I’m going to overeat. The real key to the weight loss has been in taking steps to better health, literally. Take a look at this pic.

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Slow Down

I needed a break this morning. I have been cycling hard every morning to get in shape so I can deliver to my precinct via bike the Democratic voting guides once they get printed. Democratic leadership wanted to wait to print the guides until after Biden picked a VP. They really could have printed them months earlier. The ticket could have been Biden & ‘A Bit of Moss on the Side of a Tree in the Depths of a Forest’ and Democrats would still have voted for him. I do like the addition of Senator Kamala Harris as VP. Speaking of addition, I think Biden + Harris = 93. See what I did there?

Back to cycling, I felt I needed a day off. I decided to take a shorter, slower cycle to check on a blackberry patch that should have been just about spent. It was, although by slowing down I was able to spot a few stragglers that I picked for the freezer. It’s been a good berry-picking season.

I cycled a bit further and came upon a field of these beauties …

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The Big Chill

I was happy to return home last night after a quick business trip involving driving 600+ miles and staying overnight in a place where someone hung themselves. More on that tomorrow. I was eager to jump into our little pool and cool off a bit. The spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak. Instead, I jumped onto our couch for some TV watching.

But this morning, oh, that was going to be a different story. I was up early and ready to swim. I love those cool late summer mornings when steam rises from warmer lakes, ponds, and pools.

pool steam

The air was a crisp 62F (16.7C) this morning, so I found it odd that I didn’t see that steam rising from our little pool. I wasn’t sure why … until I got in.

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My Pool, Me, & OCD

I am of the belief that we all have some mental illness of some sort. Think about it. What mental illness affects you? Depression? Mood swings? An unhealthy obsession with the lady next door that looks like a young Audrey Hepburn?

For me, it’s OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I’ve never blogged about it. I am only starting to discuss it with family and friends, because it turns out they find it charming, quirky, and fascinating. Okay, so they also find it somewhat disturbing. But I can live with that as long as it makes me appear more interesting. Hmm, I may need to add narcissism to my list.

My OCD really came into focus when I messed up my pool liner order, and had to reduce my pool from 16 feet across to 15.

Pool 15 foot

I guess the picture doesn’t really help you understand my OCD. I’ll try to explain.

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Slowing My Roll to a Stroll

Shortly after I was crowing in a post about losing weight through diet & exercise (who knew that would work?), I encountered a setback this weekend. While taking a stupid walk, my stupid dog lunged at at a stupid chunk of asphalt in the stupid road that she mistook for a stupid animal, unexpectedly jerking the stupid leash that I stupidly held, and my stupid knee was reinjured. Back to the knee brace for me …

Knee brace on

I’m not happy about it, and my knee brace also looked displeased …

Knee brace frown

I haven’t stopped exercising, but my walks have become strolls, and my bike rides have become leisurely sightseeing excursions. That does have some advantages. Just this morning, I encountered this photogenic family while biking …

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My COVID Diet

I’ve delayed writing this post for a month now. I know what you’re thinking … I should have made it 2 months. But I finally feel comfortable writing it now for reasons I will soon disclose.

But first, even though most of my blog posts are considered uproariously hilarious by the general public, and members of General Public, I want to make it perfectly clear that I take the COVID-19 coronavirus seriously. I got tested after participating in BLM marches. I social distance. I WEAR A FREAKIN’ MASK. You should, too. COVID-19 goes hand-in-hand with Donald Trump as the scourge of my lifetime.

But thanks to COVID-19, I have lost weight. I’ll explain …

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Ranking the Friendliness of My Fellow Exercisers

Ever since I hung up my running shoes earlier this year and settled on walking and biking (once I fixed my bike) as my exercises for the future, I have noticed my fellow exercisers more. I no longer have to try and avoid people as I run so they don’t see my jiggling fat. I walk. I wave. I engage them in conversation … well, some of them. Here’s how I rank them from unfriendly to the friendliest.

#10 – Serious Cyclists

They are the absolute worst, wearing their fancy cycling clothes and teardrop-shaped aerodynamic bike helmets. There’s me with my teardrop-shaped body trying to give them a wave or nod, but they are always too busy going 100 miles per hour to acknowledge me back. Oh, was that a tree branch I accidentally left on the path?

Bike Flip

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Hard Water

I retired our pool liner last year. It had gotten brittle over several seasons of use (I can relate) and had started springing leaks (I can also relate) that I was patching. I figured there would be no problem purchasing a replacement liner for a 4 year old pool. Boy, was I wrong (I relate too often).

Apparently, my old pool liner was a death trap because of only 1 filter intake line. That design was deemed unsafe for some reason, discontinued, and replaced with a dual filter intake line. So, I couldn’t get the replacement liner I needed. The simple solution seemed to be to just buy a complete new pool. Nope, that was also not an option.

Due to the COVID-19 coronavirus, pools are in short supply. And when I found one like my old $350 pool, they were priced over $1000. A discount grocery store near us advertised a reasonably-priced pool, and people were lined-up at 6AM waiting for the store to open at 9AM to get a pool. Back to the replacement liner option for me.

By studying replacement part lists for the various styles of pools from the manufacturer, I decided that by enlarging holes using the precision of a brain surgeon (I cannot relate) and slapping a patch on another hole, I could make a current model pool liner fit the hardware from our old pool and make the filter system a death trap again. Except … pool liners are in short supply. I calculated that by adding cable ties and duct tape, I may be able to make a random liner from another model of pool fit the hardware from our old pool. That was a sketchy plan at best, especially when I accidentally ordered a 15 foot liner rather than the 16 footer that I needed.

I could sense something was wrong as I was assembling the pool. It didn’t seem quite right (I can relate). I got to almost the end, there were leftover parts, and the pool hardware wouldn’t fit. I cut down and drilled one of the metal parts, and voilà …

Pool 15 foot

Not only do I have a 15 foot pool, but it seems sturdier than the original 16 footer. As a bonus, I did not have to use duct tape and now have a couple spare metal parts.

It looked great. I was ready to enjoy it and get some exercise. Only 352 laps to a mile! But then, the weather got chilly. Oh, and I got cancer. I’ll explain … about the cancer part. You should be able to figure out the chilly weather part yourself.

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Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back 10Ks

I was busy this past Memorial Day weekend. I finished four 10Ks over four consecutive weekend days. No, not 10K (6.2 mile) running races. My running days are over. Steps! 10,000 steps minimum a day for four consecutive days. I noticed on Friday that I just barely broke 10K steps after cutting the front lawn after work. Could I do it for 3 more days? I only had one more lawn. I surprised myself, even topping 16K steps on Saturday.

Walk steps

To my utter amazement, I may have also made a shocking scientific discovery. I lost weight. I’m starting to think there may be some weird connection between exercise and weight loss.

I was unwilling/unable to continue the exercise/weight loss experiment after the weekend. On Tuesday, I decided to take a step back and rest. I’m going to need to be well-rested if you expect me to make the scientific health discovery of a lifetime and win a Nobel Prize.

 

Life in the Slow Lane

For the first time in 9+ weeks since I injured my right knee, I awoke this morning and felt my knee was finally looking normal again. It had a nice dimple on the inside of my knee where it used to be swollen with fluid. I still get a little pain from time to time, but I think that is a good warning to never run again.

To celebrate the return of my knee dimple, I took an early morning walk without the dog. I could walk at whatever pace I wanted for a change. Little did I know I would be race-walking.

As I headed north on one street, I found myself less than 1/10th of a mile behind a middle-aged woman who was also walking. The race was on. Does it count as a race if the other person doesn’t know they are racing? Little did I know that I was not only racing to finish first, but also to preserve my pride and retain what little dignity I could find.

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I Broke Walking

Decades ago, I used to run pain-free and measure myself by my mile splits run over long distances. In recent years, I have measured myself by the total distance I ran, biked, walked, and swam. These days, I find myself retired from running, the weather too cold to swim, and my bike badly needing new brakes. And so, I walk.

I hear that you are supposed to walk 10,000 steps a day. I can’t seem to do that. I’m very satisfied when I get in half that amount daily. I have enjoyed seeing how many steps I can take in a day, setting new personal bests from time to time. And then on Saturday, this happened to ruin that forever …

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