30 By Fifty

January 03, 2011

In January 2006 while visiting Ted in Massachusetts I stepped on a scale for the first time in years. I was more than a little disturbed to discovered I weighed 250 pounds. At 5’ 9” in height, 250 pounds is a lot of weight. My knees hurt most days, and I snored loudly.

In June that year I bought a scale, started tracking what I ate, and joined a kendo club near where I lived. By eliminating snacks and unnecessary calories from my diet, and vasting increasing my activity level I managed to lose 57 pounds over the next twelve months.

Since that time my weight has fluctuated, but steadily crept up. Today I weigh 208 pounds. I would like to weigh 180 pounds. The body mass index (flawed though it may be) says a male of my height should weight in the mid-160 range, but I think that may be a bit too thin for me.

The trick to losing weight that last time was simple: eat less, do more. For the most part my diet is pretty consistent. I do snack some now, and there is no doubt that I have some “extra” calories in my weekly intake I could eliminate. What I am missing is the activity. Kendo five years ago was done outside in rather extreme heat. I was losing an average of two pounds a week during June, July, and August while working out. Obviously my body responds to activity in a healthy way - the trick is finding a new activity that I’ll stick to and enjoy.

This year my goal is to lose the the pounds necessary to reach 180 as an average daily weight by my 50th birthday. That gives me just 124 days to lose 28.6 pounds (as of yesterday morning). That’s an average of one pound every four days. My knees, and fallen arch, won’t take to strenuous exercise without objecting painfully, so I am looking toward lower impact activities - specifically bicycling.

For most of the 1980s and early 1990s I was way into bicycling, averaging a couple thousands miles a year, and riding nearly every day of the year. Last spring Sibylle and I bought new bicycles and enjoyed evening or weekend rides around our neighborhood and I even rode to work several days. This year I want to ride seriously again, using the time between when I get home from work, around 4:45 pm, and when Sibylle is finished teaching for the day, around 7:30 pm, to ride.

Until the weather warms up I intend to use a stationary trainer in the garage to exercise. Once it is comfortable riding outdoors again, I’ll change to actual riding. I’ve never used a stationary trainer before, so I don’t know how boring or difficult it will be to stick to my plan; hopefully having a monitor with a DVD player hooked up and a stack of movies will help me to pass the time while peddling to nowhere.

And, hopefully, come this May 7th, I’ll weigh 180 pounds.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.