Every winter for me it is the same. I gain weight. I planned to allow myself 5 pounds of weight gain this winter. However, I never expected I would hit my 5 pound “goal” by the end of December, but there I was, staring at the scale in disbelief at the beginning of 2022. Just a tip for those of you trying to lose weight, sucking in your gut while standing on the scale and staring in disbelief does not reduce your weight.
I delayed writing this until I was sure that the weight gain was a just temporary upward blip. Instead, as I write this, I am certain that my 5 pound weight loss visitor is here for an extended stay. But the good news is that I’m holding steady there and we are over half the way through calendric winter. And instead of thinking that I have gained back 25% of the weight I lost, it helps for me to think that I have gained back 1/16th of the weight I lost 4 times. Seems less to me.
One problem could be my steps took a literal step back in December. Take a look.
I watched that new movie Don’t Look Up. I didn’t think it was the greatest film ever made, but liked parts of it. Well, so much for the movie review portion of this blog post. One part I found totally unbelievable was when they showed people exercising while watching the news of a giant comet coming to destroy the planet.
If I knew a planet-killing comet was on the way, I would immediately cease all forms of exercise and healthy eating. I would eat myself into a chocolate coma (good name for a band) and await the inevitable destruction. Of course, that would be after I took care of my family by telling them to take shelter in the basement and to keep their grubby mitts off my chocolate.
I took a couple weeks after November ended to determine if I had lost a weight loss battle or the entire war. The month of November was certainly my weight loss Waterloo, and I don’t mean the city of Waterloo in Iowa, home of the Sistene Chapel reproduced in spray paint on the walls and ceiling of a warehouse turned into a restaurant that is now closed. Thanks, Covid.
No, I’m talking about Napoleon’s Waterloo where he lost his final battle while also gaining 5 pounds thanks to a cheesecake binge. I lost a major weight loss battle in November. Fat cells are now occupying my liver, and they are threatening to invade my pancreas unless their demands for sugared sodas and cake are met. However, I may not have lost the war. Signs in December are positive about returning to or close to my goal weight I met over the summer.
I can break November into 2 distinct halves. The first half of November was characterized by 4 things:
My exercise, health, and weight loss posts are generally my most viewed posts, so why would I wait until the middle of November to report on how I did in October? I guess it’s basically because I don’t care that much about what happened. There, I said it, and it feels good. I made my goal weight over the summer. When I sit in those special chairs at the pharmacy that take my pulse, measure my blood pressure, weigh me, and check my Body Mass Index, I no longer get the flashing warning to stand up before I break the chair. I’m now in maintenance mode.
Maintenance mode is not very exciting, and I don’t have much to report. I may have been able to lose more weight in early October as the weather was quite good to start the month. I probably could have left my pool up and swam until mid-October, but I didn’t. I walked and biked as usual, but my steps do show a slight seasonal reduction.
And that is because good mental health is key to good physical health. In the middle of October, the weather took a nasty turn for the worse, as did my mental health. I deal with SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder, so I had to adjust my supplements and start doing this a lot.
I’m very late reporting on my weight loss trials and travails for September. I shouldn’t be late with these weight loss posts as they are my most popular posts on this blog. I think it’s because despite differences in politics, religion, etc., we all share the same struggle with weight control, except for those naturally skinny people with self control who never have to exercise. Oh, I hate them so much. Anyway, here we go, better late than never.
When I last posted about weight, I was 3 lbs below my goal weight at the end of August. Success, right? Well, not exactly. September turned cool, my swimming stopped, and my body started to get ready for a winter hibernation by eating everything in sight. I immediately re-reached my goal weight from the opposite direction and shot up above it by several pounds. That’s just how my body works. It doesn’t matter that my steps were strong again in September.
Geez, wouldn’t you think I would make a little extra effort to average 10K steps? Anyway, my body’s metabolism just slows down in cooler weather, maybe to get ready for my winter hibernation? I would be willing to give hibernation a try as I like long naps. Fortunately, the weather warmed again and some of the weight came off. Right at the end of September, my weight had come down to below my goal weight again, but seemed to be heading up. I waited to see what would happen. Well, here’s what happened.
How many pounds of weight lost is too many? For me, I’m not sure that number exists. If you recall from my post about July weight loss, I had made my original weight loss goal. It took me over a year to lose 20 pounds. I still felt puffy, so I figured I would continue on. But continue what? I’m not on a diet. I just eat right. I had even cut back a bit on exercise from last year, although I still posted a respectable average daily step/bike crank total in August.
After swimming 9 miles in July, I scaled back to 7 miles in August. So how did I lose 3 more pounds in August? I don’t have COVID or any other deadly disease. I’m starting to think it may have to do with one of the two mystery supplements I started taking at the beginning of June. They weren’t a mystery to me, but I have been teasing them a bit in this blog. Well, it’s time for their big reveal.
Anyway, I have been blogging a lot about water since I have been swimming across Lake Michigan this summer in my backyard pool. After swimming more miles than expected in July, it became mathematically apparent that I would likely make my mileage goal by the end of summer. I started to think about finishing with a flourish or grand gesture, and I had one in mind.
I was aware of this event as I had considered competing in it in my younger days.
I certainly couldn’t finish the 5K (3.1 miles) unless I was being towed by a boat. But I had done a mile open water swim in July, so I am pretty sure I can slog slowly through the 2.5K (1.55 miles) course. Oh, you’re asking why it is called the Big Shoulders swim?
Editor’s Note: Nobody asked.
Well, Chicago was called the City of Big Shoulders by poet Carl Sandburg. Of course, he also called Chicago the Hog Butcher for the World. I think the swimming race organizers chose the better name.
July was a real up & down month weightwise for me. Up is not the direction I want to go, but 2 personal trips, 1 business trip, and a family birthday party throw my eating and exercise plans off a bit. I was up a couple pounds, down a couple, up, down, up, down, etc. But the final result for July was down 3 lbs, and I made my goal weight set at the beginning of the COVID lockdown.
It wasn’t because of my steps. They were down, under 10,000 per day, but purposely so.
Out of sheer boredom, I have been trying to schedule some open water swimming. But Saturday, my attempt to actually swim across the actual Lake Michigan was actually rebuffed as Lake Michigan was actually closed! Actually! I took our youngest daughter to stay with our oldest daughter on Saturday for a sister-bonding sleepover, and we stopped at beautiful Montrose Beach in Chicago on the way for a quick swim.
Montrose is a beautiful urban beach, complete with sand dunes. But on Saturday, it was closed because of a brisk wind from the northeast creating some dangerous riptides. I still wanted to give it a try. Where were the “my body, my choice” anti-vaxxers when I needed them to back me up?
Anyway, we walked and relaxed a bit on the beach instead of swimming. I had already gotten some laps in my pool, and after a half mile on Sunday (that’s 175 laps!), I find myself here in Lake Michigan.
As I teased in my last post, I was tempted after my swim last Saturday. Being America’s Friend, I was speaking to a total stranger despite the stranger wearing very tight shorts and sporting a somewhat satanic beard.
I was also wearing very tight swim shorts, and they were quite wet. We were both standing just outside the women’s locker room. And then the stranger tempted me to do something I haven’t done in years. He slipped me his card with his contact info. If I gave in to the temptation, I would meet the stranger again on the 1st of August for a dalliance into what I can only describe for me as … forbidden fruit.
The stranger had tempted me with this irresistible offer.
At my age, with a pandemic still raging all around, when there is something I want to do, I know I best do it quickly or maybe never have the chance. I mentioned in a recent post that I want to take my swim across Lake Michigan out of pools and into open water. I wasted no time and did just that this past Saturday.
I found a great lake to do an open water swim, but not a Great Lake. It wasn’t a good weekend to head to Lake Michigan (one of the 5 Great Lakes) to swim, because we are fostering 2 puppies. Who wants to see puppy pictures and video? Well, maybe if you’re nice and like this post, or better still, beg me, I’ll post some puppy stuff. Anyway, I found a great lake just about 40 minutes up the river from us that was hosting a morning open water swim in beautiful, crystal clear waters. Take a look …
Take a look at your calendar, and you’ll see that summer is half over. Unless you live in Canada. Summer’s already over up there. I wonder if it’s already over in Chicago. We’ve had some cool, rainy weather recently, which makes my pool quite chilly and my motivation low to swim in a frigid pool. Today is just such a day. My toes are turning blue at the thought of a pool swim today. Regardless, here we are, halfway through calendric summer, and I’m halfway across Lake Michigan at just over 11 miles into the swim.
I can’t get too bored and stop swimming. I’m figuratively in the middle of the lake. If I stop, I’ll figuratively drown! So, on I swim. But I have to spice things up. I think I need to take this swimapalooza on the road. Sure, I swam in hotel pools the past two weekends in Nebraska and Minnesota. Pardon me while I yawn. I yearn for open water. I feel the need to get some mileage in Lake Michigan itself. I will let you know if I muster the motivation to head to the greatest of the Great Lakes and actually swim in it.
If you have to deal with cool, rainy weather, what better way is there than to curl up with a good book? If you don’t have one, I suggest you settle for my well-reviewed, crappy book.
No, I didn’t misspell “fasting.” That’s FATSing, my trademarked and patent-pending weight loss schemescam system. It’s not a diet. It’s a weight loss system. You see, after giving up a month ago on any significant weight loss this summer, I lost 3 pounds in June using my FATSing system. That puts me within 3 pounds of my original goal of losing 20 pounds set over a year ago.
FATSing stands for Fitness Awareness Testing System. And then I stuck an “ing” on the end for no apparent reason. The way the system works is this …
I’m on schedule considering I missed a couple days at the beginning of June as I tried every gasket and washer in my cache of plumbing supplies to eventually successfully stop a leak in one of the pool connections. 22 miles is still possible if I average a quarter mile each day for July and August.
I know what you’re asking. Am I scared being in the middle of Lake Michigan? Sure, I’m terrified, but that’s normal for me every day after I wake up. And if you look at the map, you can see there’s land close by as I’m near that big peninsula jutting into the lake. That peninsula has a piece of Jim Flanigan history linked to it which I will explain.
Although I was on a short business trip this week, I continued my swim across Lake Michigan by using the hotel pools, despite their confusing rules. For example, there was disinfectant spray all over the place in the workout areas. I get it. I support it. Until everyone gets vaccinated (get vaccinated!), we need to continue to take precautions. But what was I going to do with this spray in the pool area?
There really wasn’t anything for me to wipe down by the pool, but after some thought, I knew just what to do. I dumped the bottle into the pool. It seemed like the only logical thing to do.
The second pool had me confused as soon as I walked in and went to take a towel.
While on my recent business trip, I decided to take a walk on a treadmill in the fitness room of my hotel. Here’s the problem … I couldn’t figure out how to get there. It appeared that the elevator would take me to the 7th, 5th, 3rd, or 7th floors.
I took the stairs. Nobody takes the stairs in hotels with elevators. I don’t blame them. Elevators are fun. I like jumping in the elevator while it is moving. Yes, I got one stuck once. Oops.
Anyway, the stairs led me straight to the laundry room on the first floor. Oops, again. I saw a door and headed toward it, hoping it would take me to the hotel lobby. Nope. It was an exit. There I was, standing outside in St. Louis … the murder capital of the USA. Oops, thrice.
So, I made the bold decision to take this sage advice printed on my hotel room key packet.
Well, not literally, but also not figuratively or metaphorically since I will actually be swimming. Maybe cumulatively is a better term. I should explain first about Lake Michigan for non-Midwestern United Staters.
Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes.
What makes them so great? Well, they contain 21% of the world’s fresh water, duh! You can swim, surf, boat, fish, and not worry about jellyfish or shark attacks.
Except land sharks. They’re all over. Big nuisance.
I have personally enjoyed 4 of the 5 Great Lakes, so here’s my Great Lakes Ranking with reasons.
#2 Lake Huron – Gorgeous and slightly less chilly than Lake Superior.
#1 Lake Michigan – The only Great Lake that the US doesn’t have to share with Canada. Also, some gorgeous beaches, especially on the Michigan side. And the way that Lake Michigan is situated north-south makes for great sunrises seen from the western shore and great sunsets seen from the eastern shore. It’s also the warmest Great Lake, especially around Chicago.
And so, I have decided to swim across Lake Michigan this summer. Here’s how I’m going to do it.
It’s important to vary your workouts to keep them interesting. I have some wonderful walking routes that take me down paths to creeks, through the woods, and over hill & dale. However, Dale always complains when I walk over her.
But this morning, the thought of trodding the same paths bored me. I decided to take a couple normal paths through prairie and woods, but then come home via the local business park. Wow, doesn’t that sound exciting? Well, it didn’t disappoint as the first interesting thing I saw was the miracle of life taking place. I took this picture …
There are those who experience some weight loss, can’t seem to lose any more, and accept that they may have to be comfortable at that weight. But who has 2 thumbs and won’t accept that?
That’s right. For the second month in a row, I have maintained weight but not lost any.
I know, and I agree. My dreams of losing 10 more pounds by the end of summer are gone. That is just unrealistic now. Maybe if I can try for a pound a month June through September, I can get to a slightly lower weight than at the end of last summer. Would that be cause to celebrate?