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Blog: The Reduction 1.5: Day 390-Something Update

(originally written 1/8/16)

I admit that perfection has proven elusive in regards to reaching my fitness goals and following my fitness rules over the past 14 months. But I've dropped 45 cumbersome pounds since December 2014 and know that if my aging body cooperates, I can drop at least as many in 2016.

And by cooperation from my body, I'm not only referring to my joints and muscles. As I've previously written, 2015 was a year of repeated physical setbacks that kept me from exerting said body for long stretches at a time. 

(Forgive the upcoming repetion if you're already well-versed in my physical challenges of 2015 from reading past posts)

Pneumonia in February stifled my reducing momentum at its early peak—hard to run when even walking from your door to your car 100 feet away leaves you winded. A scratched cornea in May sidelined me for a while—hard to hoop with one eye closed half the time. Then there was the pulled back muscle in September—hard to ride a bike when even laying and sitting still breathing causes severe discomfort. 

I estimate eight aggregate weeks of potential activity lost to those various physical ailments.

Then came the surgery—you might imagine a minor throat operation not impacting one's ability to run up and down a hoop court, or jog...but it does. With each accelerated step, the skin on my stitched-up neck stretches, and that kind of hurts. Considerably. (Plus, it could undo the stitching.) Despite eating zero the entire day of surgery, and daily walking/biking, some of my hard work has almost surely been undone in part by activity limits.

Even with the repeated maladies, I've still burned enough blubber to gain two pairs of jeans without doing anything—when the relatively-new purchases could no longer conquer my expansive waist, I stashed them away, unused and unremembered...for two years. Until last week, when a handsome prince showed up at midnight, pulled up my long-discounted pants—perfect fit! (Then things took an awkward turn; long story short, the prince is no longer welcome in these parts.)

I've opted to retcon 2015 as an "adjustment" year. Somewhere deep down inside I knew reaching my goal of 250 pounds wasn't happening in 12 months. Not with the field I'm in, the discipline I lack, the crew I roll with, and the constantly-on-the-move kid I raise. It's not making excuses, it's just being realistic—no way am I going to sit back and watch the game with my boyz while cracking open a bottle of...Dasani. (At least, not at first.)

Considerable adjusting did take place. Just check out the (partial) list of former dietary staples I either dramatically reduced or eliminated altogether:

⦁    Taco trucks. Pre-Reduction 1.5, I'd have a cheesy, greasy, drippy Super Burrito at least three times a month—probably about 1500 calories per serving. I didn't have a single one all last year. Not. One.
⦁    RockStar energy drinks. On-the-go me knocked back a couple of these sugary boosters per week for most of 2012-14. In 2015, I had four all year.
⦁    Pancakes (and syrup). Used to have them once or twice per month on average. My lone 2015 flapjack came in 2015's final week.
⦁    Swanson Hungry Man dinners. As an oft-hungry man, it didn't take much arm-twisting for me to vacuum these up from the frozen food aisle. One-two per month on average in '13-'14. None in '15.
⦁    Starbucks frappucinos. Two per month pre-2015. One in (early) 2015.
⦁    All fast food consumption dropped dramatically. Used to visit 3-4 times per week and buy a lot. In 2015, initially cut it down to twice per week with small purchases, then cut it down to once per two weeks after August on average—still small purchases. (If I didn't drive so damn much, that could go down even further.)
⦁    many more, but I'm not here to talk about the past.


Now, there's plenty work to be done yet. I replaced my binge Dorito purchases with baked crisp purchases—problem is, I'm still buying and downing entire 900-calorie bags of crisps every couple of weeks under the rationale of "they're way better for me than Doritos"...that will have to change. I'm also scarfing down far too many granola bars, though i did a good job of forcing myself not to buy any today—good start, right? And while my late-night snacking is dramatically improved, bowls of Cheerios at 2am twice a week aren't doing me any favors.

After the pneumonia put me out of action for weeks, stationary bike motivation never returned to pre-wheeze levels, though it did pick up as the year went on. There was always an excuse—it creates too much dirty laundry, it's too noisy, I'm too cold, the Dow is too low—but no more. By the time you read this, I'll have hopped on for the third time in this new year...NO EXCUSES!!

Landing a new lady set the original Reduction in motion back in 2011, but this time screw that—as any self-improvement effort should be, The Reduction 1.5 is all about looking, feeling and moving better for MYSELF. Unexpected motivation has come from the great Kobe Bryant—at 37, he is shooting worse than anybody else in the NBA. As I approach 36, I know that with dedication I, too, can shoot worse than anybody else in the NBA.

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