24 August 2010

Thin Different

"You lost some weight, are you OK?"  "I did not recognize you at first."  Those two phrases were addressed to me in recent weeks by people I have not seen in months, maybe even a year or two.  I don't usually care enough about my look, but these observations made me happy.  All that running has paid off.  Even though my weight still hovers between 185 pounds and 210 pounds (83 kg and 95 kg), supposedly there is visible change in my appearance.  I unreasonably hope that my 95 kg really contains some muscle mass.  I do see the love handles getting smaller, so maybe I really lost some fat.

It all started almost a year ago, September 2009, that for some reason I decided to lose some weight.  My family went on vacation with a big group and perhaps there were other men in the group who were overweight.  Perhaps the men made a bet on who would shed some pounds.  Strange that I don't remember the details from last year's event.  I remember back in 2007 I was upset that my ring finger was so fat I almost couldn't remove the wedding band.  I was also on vacation and went through some exercise routine after coming back from the vacation.  It also involved jogging but I gave up after a while.  Maybe the cold weather set in and I got discouraged.  This time around my Facebook friends definitely helped with the good words of encouragement.  I started out running 6 times around the nearby park, totaling just 3K or a pitiful 1.8 miles.  Slowly I worked up to 9K or 5.5 miles.  Then my right foot started to hurt so I switched to cycling, around New Year's Day.  I am sure cycling has its benefits, but I was still operating a machine, so the energy I use in an hour on the bike is less than an hour running.  About four months of cycling and I switched back to jogging.  This time around I introduced longer distance on the weekends, 15K (10 miles) or more.  Warm or hot weather, I was out there putting in 8K to 15K each run.  The work culminates in the 2 half-marathons I ran recently.  Before running the half-marathons, I was not sure if I could even run them in less than 3 hours.  I eked by with the Queens Half, at 2:54, but with the Bronx Half, I completed the course in 2:35.  Now I am so gung-ho about the whole thing that I'm considering running the full marathons in the New York metro area, perhaps a bit further out as far as Philadelphia.

It takes time to exercise regularly.  In my case, I have to give up being a night owl so I can get up early in the morning, like 5:30 or 6.  Just do the run in the morning and carry on with normal activities during the day.  I get home late in the evening so this is the only solution for me.  It really helps that I don't have to cook or wash the stinky clothes, for I have mother and wife to thank for.  Still, I have to drag myself out of bed in the morning.  I no longer stay up past midnight playing Wordscraper Blitz or some other games I have installed locally.  No more random surfing of the web looking for a particular piece of software.  Or just checking out free Mac software just because they are free.  I already watch very little TV and DVD, now I do so even less.  I just have to make do with podcasts and paper books, something I can consume while commuting.

If you have the need to lose some weight, or take better care of your health, I hope my story inspires you to put wish into actions.  It may be hard to get started, but if so start small.  I started at 3K and worked up to 15K, over almost a period of one year.  Yes, you will have to sacrifice some time, but the outcome is worthwhile.  On days that I go jogging, I feel energetic and alert the whole day.  Food tastes better and sleep comes easily at night.  Let me know if you are inspired enough to do something about your health!

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