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    • I injured my leg awhile ago and so have had to cut back on my walking and hiking for the past couple months. In addition I’ve been stress eating with abandon over the past few weeks because the thought of dying from a virus will do that.

      Fast forward to today. For the past couple of days the weather has been nicer than usual and I’ve been going out for a daily walk. I felt pretty good about myself, as a result, and my leg held up to the additional bipedal motion.

      So why not weigh myself and dash my false hopes?

      I haven’t weighed myself in a while because what’s the point? I knew I was gaining weight and nothing was going to change until my leg was fully mended or the world stopped becoming scarier by the day.

      But if I’m going to start walking more as my mobility range increases, I thought it might be useful to establish a baseline.

      191 pounds, FFS!

      I’ve never been that heavy. At best, after nine months going to the gym four days a week with a personal trainer I was at 165 pounds and in amazing shape. At worse I was at 187, and I’d always claw my weight back down a few pounds to avoid hitting 190.

      I’ve heard (from my willpower) that starting a new diet and exercise plan may not be the best thing to take on during a pandemic. Plus eating favorite junk foods from your childhood is all the rage right now: Cheetos anyone?

      Unfortunately, the leg still isn’t fully heeled for 3-4 miles a day, which is what I need both for physical and mental fitness: I tend to stress eat less when I can hike or walk four or five miles.

      Well, I will reflect on three questions that I challenged @zorxique to try for two weeks.

      What was good about today? My leg being healed enough to go for a longer walk with my spouse this afternoon, and with beautiful sunny weather.

      What could’ve been better? What could’ve been better is the number on the scale this evening.

      What can I do tomorrow to make it even better than today? A small thing I can do after dinner tomorrow is to change my evening snacking from sugary snacks to salty snacks (pretzels, popcorn). Also adding in some fruit as well as some protein (nuts, cheese).

    • I totally empathise. Weight gain is a problem after injury. My game is field hockey (which, I might add, is not just for girls, and can get pretty intense at times). Twice I have been side-lined due to a cruciate knee ligament problem, the second of which I am currently suffering. In fact, I missed the whole of last season because of it. No training, no matches and eventually no bothering with any fitness protocols.

      All I can say about the road back is that you need two things:

      1. Routine. You just have to know that Tuesday is a cardio day, Thursday is a weights day, Sunday is a body weight HIIT day, and so forth. Without routine, it is too easy to avoid the obligation to exercise or to defer it to another day. The routine has to have a physical existence - a note on the fridge (ha ha) or some such. Make sure people who see you every day know you have a routine.

      2. Grip Self. It's a mindset that is not dissimilar from an out of body experience. You almost have to bully or force yourself to do the exercise, to stay the course. Thinking of oneself in the third person almost. Love yourself if you stick to the routine, but hate yourself if you do not.

      I know that (2), in particular sounds like something out of an army manual. However, if you are anything like me, you are going into battle - against yourself. And make no mistake, your enemy is wily and cunning, and highly motivated !

    • About a year ago I came to the same conclusion. My photo was on a huge screen at work and I had a "FFS" moment. It was frightening. I weighed myself soon afterwards (I had to buy a scale first) and that number was not kind!

      So I looked around for what to do. I had stopped exercising years ago -- I have made odd visits to the gym, but they were so odd they did not really count. And while I had a fitbit ... again it records lies - a lot of my steps involved arm swinging.

      Its almost a year later and I reached my "goal". I will admit it was not easy and some days/weeks were way worse than others.

      Now I still keep an eye on food and I do weigh myself twice weekly. But exercise and doing it on the days I don't want to are vital. I went for a walk yesterday (3.5 miles) and I did not feel like it, but my mood was better afterwards.

      I generally have more energy, and some little medical issues have just gone away.

      The next part of my plan to to re-begin running. Something I have not done, dared to do, or even consider for a long time. I also want to understand more about vegan options. I have actually begun to like some of these "healthy" options.

      Biggest thing I have learned was that I needed to make these changes slowly and make them consistent. That way I have a chance!

    • I have gained a couple pounds working from home during the pandemic. In our area we joke about “pandemic pounds” from working so close to the constant temptations of our kitchens and all the gyms being closed.

      We know people who eat according to Keto, Mediterranean and whole plant diets. Whole plants has worked great for us for 15 years. What they all have in common is eating real food, not foods from a factory. It took us a few months to find whole plant foods we love and for our taste buds to adapt so we no longer craved bacon and potato chips.

      Good luck and keep us informed whatever you do!

    • protein (nuts, cheese)

      I’ve never understood why nuts are thought of as high protein. Even the Harvard School of Public Health lists them in the protein section of their food plate, along with beans and fish.

      I like them, they are a whole plant food, I think they’re healthy, and we have containers on our kitchen counter of raw walnuts, pecans and almonds. But I think of them as high fat and calorically dense because, well, that’s what the food assays say. I have to restrain myself in how many I eat or the scale tell me to knock it off.

    • 1. Routine. You just have to know that Tuesday is a cardio day,

      I used to read a fitness column called “The Hard Gainer.” It was geared towards body builders (hence the focus on gaining weight), but it mainly talked about the challenges in achieving your fitness goals when you don’t have optimum genetics, an ideal work schedule, or you’re dealing with an injury.

      Sometimes the best thing is to skip a workout because your body needs sleep more. Or you’re dealing with an injury and yesterday’s “light workout” put you two steps back. I think a “fluid consistency” is what I try to do since I’ve caused re-injury in the past when I’ve become “too motivated”: either by increasing the intensity of my workouts too much or “working through the pain” to stick to a scheduled workout—like seriously making things worse.

      I would like to get into a workable routine, but I don’t see that realistically happening for at least the next few weeks. Short-term, I want to walk for however long I can manage in the evenings; and, hopefully, start incorporating reverse lunges in the next couple weeks.

    • I tried to do a workout with my 19 year old daughter yesterday. A mix of yoga and bodyweight stuff. Oh my. The humiliation. There were some routines I could not even get into position for! Others had weird names that seemingly had nothing to do with the exercises. What IS a contango chipmunk?

      That session of high intensity hubris "put me back in my box", so to speak.

      Routine is important, but what you choose to include obviously has to be right for you personally. "Tru dat", as my daughter and, apparently, @Chris would say.....

    • At the peak of my fitness I was doing an IronMan once a year and 6 half IronMen a year. Twice a week I’d do 1-hour gym workouts. If the gym workout involved anything but yoga, I was fine. Yoga would wreck me. For one thing, no matter what I did, I couldn’t get flexibility.

      I’ve been doing a variety of the 20-minute body weight routines on YouTube while quarantined, and I’m pretty sweaty and tired at the end. But running for an hour or biking hard for two? No problem.

    • But running for an hour or biking hard for two

      That is where I am trying to get to before September, when the field hockey season starts again...

    • @zorxique I think it would get tiresome if I shared this every night, but I wanted to model asking the questions one more time.

      What was good about today? As part of my weekday breakfast, I usually grab a granola bar—which is basically a candy bar covered in oats. This morning I instead grabbed a couple slices of organic sprouted grain and seed bread. Even better, tonight I picked up another loaf and will make this a permanent change to my weekday breakfast.

      What could’ve been better? Had a less than great interaction this morning before I left for work, which added unwanted stress to my day.

      What can I do to make tomorrow even better than today? I’m going to use “tomorrow” to mean the future because I decided to take Friday off as a mental health day. (Nice to work in a job where I don’t need to give three week’s notice to take a day off.)

    • But running for an hour or biking hard for two? No problem.

      I kept thinking about your comments.. and wonder, how does the type of exercise play and blend with each of our individual bodies specifically from the longevity aspect. What my body tells me is that I may be able to regain some of my youth strength but the ability to perform endurance high efforts seems very strenuous to me. I do notice improvement when I hike very steep hills, first is hard and heart rate is off the wall, shortness of breath, second pass ten minutes later seems easier, and so on... But is it healthy to push yourself over a certain threshold that your body "speaks to you" and how much..?

    • Got on the scale tonight. I’ve replaced the breakfast candy bar (granola bars) with sprouted grain and seed bread. I cut down on the number and quantity of snacks throughout the day, and I also reduced my sugar intake—pretzels and nuts are my go to replacements. Walking is still limited but I do as much as I can.

      Weight on the scale tonight was 187.8 pounds. It’s only three pounds that I’ve lost after four days, but it sounds a little better than 191.

      I am noticing that not snacking in the evening is a real challenge for me. It’s like I feel hungry an hour or two after dinner; or maybe it’s just an automatic reaction to grab something. I think part of it may still be stress eating, which probably means I need to find a replacement habit. If anyone has suggestions, feel free to share. I feel like if I can eliminate snacking after dinner I could easily lose one to two pounds a week.

    • Maybe a cup of chamomile tea an hour after dinner? For some reason this seems to work for me. Also aids getting to sleep quickly. For me, at least...

    • I just want to remind you the body weight could fluctuate several pounds from day to day, due to water retention, and salt consumed. And that, in my experience, I learned that it is more important to hydrate properly than to obsess over daily weighting. My personal "health" indicator is how my body tells me I am feeling.

    • Maybe a cup of chamomile tea an hour after dinner? For some reason this seems to work for me.

      I tried this on Sunday evening and it cut my snacking down to a solitary fig newton: by contrast, a week ago my evening snack was a fairly large chocolate cookie and a bowl of ice cream.

      I also tried your suggestion an hour after today’s lunch. It took a second cup but I survived the afternoon with zero snacking.


      Now I just need to remember to bring in some non-caffeinated tea bags to work tomorrow—still up past my bed time due to this afternoon’s double dose of caffeine.

      I haven’t been able to get in much walking the past couple days (my leg isn’t cooperating much), but I still lost an additional pound over the past couple days. So kudos again for the helpful suggestion.

      Starting weight: 191 pounds

      Current weight: 186.8

      Goal weight: 165

    • A rare piece of good news in a troubled world! Glad you found it useful.

      By the way, chamomile tea has no caffeine*, so you nocturnal wakefulness must be down to natural exuberance!

      *It has no tea in it either. Like most herbal infusions, it sounds more familiar with "tea" in the name. Chamomile is the common name for several daisy-like plants of the family Asteraceae. Health benefits are associated with it, including its propensity to help sleep.

    • No worries! My trips to the grocer are now infrequent, so I substituted herbal decafenated tea on Sunday evening and had no ill effects.

      Yesterday at work, they only had black tea—hence my bouncing off the walls at midnight. Today I brought into work some of the herbal decaf tea and enjoyed some this afternoon. And again, it stilled my cravings for sweets or snacks in general.

      Brilliant suggestion. Any stock tips?


    • Starting weight: 191 pounds

      Current weight: 184.4

      Goal weight: 165

      I’ve lost a total of six and a half pounds in the past 12 days. Almost all of it has been from changing my diet: I walked less than half a mile yesterday due to my leg injury.

      Getting adequate sleep is incredibly important in cutting my daily caloric intake. On Friday I had trouble staying awake at work, and so of course I raided the break room for a blast of sugar (jelly donut) and coffee.

      One of the things that athletes have zero clue on is just how psychologically difficult it is to lose weight. If you’re a competitive runner and you’ve been out for four months from injury, the 20 pounds that you’ve put on is in no fucking way the same as the 20 pounds I still need to lose.

      As an athlete, you know that losing that weight will get you back to being an athlete. So eating salads and cutting calories for two months is mentally easy. Plus you have the routine of regularly exercising at a high energy level to meet your target weight goal quicker.

      I, by contrast, have to deal with a gradual decline in fitness and a gradual increase in middle aged spread over the past decade. And even after losing that twenty pounds I won’t be an athlete: I just won’t be fat anymore.

      As a result, I need transition foods to help me get to my goals. Are nuts a shitty source of protein and high in fat? Yes. But does a handful of peanuts fill me up enough so that I don’t start and devour a family-sized bag of crisps absentmindedly while watching television? A big yes, which is why I consume a handful or two while making supper. And why I’m satisfied with one serving of everything at supper, rather than going back for seconds.

      My leg is starting to recover so I may start walking a couple miles a day in a week or so. But I can’t rely on that for losing weight. Upon reflection of previous attempts to lose weight, I think I’ve been guilty of eating more than I should under the guise of “I’ll burn it off with a long hike tomorrow.” Unfortunately, that’s never worked for me. Anyone else guilty of that self-delusion?

    • Very familiar with the "eat now, exercise later" argument!

      Of course, it is easy to say that it would be more logical to have eats as a treat after a workout, but as I may have said before, the enemy is very cunning...