Friday, October 5, 2012

I'm Skinny Now

I remember as a kid that when my Mom and I went school clothes shopping we always needed to find clothes in the "husky" section of the department store. Being big has always been an issue of mine. While I have a gigantic frame "from the factory" and that is a blessing in itself, I like so many other people have always had an excessive amount of weight on that frame. Maybe due to my body size or my age it has never really bothered me.....I thought. As a chef exercise outside of the restaurant is hard to do. Late nights, early mornings, and long shifts made it almost impossible to cram in any sort of regular exercise routine. Not to mention the consumption of food is totally different for me then it is for most. I never ate on any sort of schedule, sometimes putting a huge dinner away at 10pm on my way out the door. Tasting as I work, build flavors, and season different things can easily be a consumption of 1000 calories a day depending on what I am working on. As I get older the days got harder, and while I wasn't scaling myself in the bathroom every morning, I knew I was slowly growing. Regardless of my career choice, I am still a father to two amazing young boys, and a husband to what I am convinced is the most perfect woman in the world, and suddenly I started feeling much more responsible for my own health, not only for me but for them. Cooking professionally had been an excuse for my weight (which is the ONLY reason I feel confident about my ability to talk about it here) for too long and I needed to fix it.

On January 6th Melissa and I, along with a few others joined in the local parks and rec "Biggest Loser" as a team. The competition was fairly new, and required a few dollars payment, then a weekly weigh in at your choice of five to seven different locations around the area. The winners would be the person, or in our case, team that lost the highest percentage of body weight over the course of 8 weeks. Weekly prizes would also be awarded, as well as updates of the leaders and their loss. From January to the end of March I hit it hard. We easily won the team side of the competition and while in hindsight my eating plan may not have been doctor approved, I was doing well. Stationary bike workouts, walks, etc, were done 5-6 days a week for at least a half an hour. I even dabbled in lap swims at our local pool. Melissa found us a ever so slightly used high end elliptical for about a third of what we would've paid for it, and I hit that hard too. While I had lost a pretty good amount of weight and people had began to notice I stayed on it fairly hard and continued to lose through the spring and into the summer. And while the pounds quit flying off, I felt better, looked better, and was seeing some overall positive results. Another biggest loser event for the parks and rec, coupled with one for our company that I was asked to help put together got many of my coworkers involved as well. While I knew with what I had lost my chances at winning were slim to none when I went up against some very driven guys that were just beginning a weight loss routine, it was nice to have the help from other people. Making each other lunch and trash talking became the norm, and it helped take some of the pressure off of a grueling summer push. I did pull down an individual win for single week weight loss, but stayed right about where I thought I would've in the standings. In the meantime I hit the mountain bike hard, doing rides almost daily of up to 20 miles or so through the beginning of the summer. Still on the elliptical as well, I tried some hikes, walk with the boys on their bikes and just about anything else you can think of that would get me moving. While the stationary bicycle and the elliptical are great workouts, they are exactly that. When I could do it I was very happy on the bicycle, less of a workout- more fun.

I am down a total of 90 pounds since the beginning of the year. Now still trying to keep it coming down, but really working towards keeping it off. I have as regular an exercise routine as my job allows, and even bought a new road bike and have been riding to work at least a few times a week. I am doing a KM century ride in Ellinsberg WA next week for a grueling 61.6 miles, and while the training for that has left me consuming more calories then I normally would have been, I still am losing belt notches and feel like I am building muscle mass faster then I have since I began. After the club ride next week I guess I will return focus to loss, as I ideally want to lose another 30 pounds. While that puts me far from skinny, I think it is a good goal for now. I am back to cooking at home, which is what I missed more then anything. Even on days off rather then waking and cooking, I woke and worked out, and that changed the way I approached food for the entire day. Meals became quick go to salads, and turkey sandwiches, rather then the long drawn out processes I loved of before. Now in an attempt to balance the amounts I eat and what I eat with still making fun foods for the family to sit down together and enjoy, I am pushing to be more healthy, which is new to me and is going to take some getting used to. The bicycle riding gives me a bit of an excuse to indulge once in a while as I can easily burn 1k calories an hour and I am doing 2-3 hr rides on a fairly regular basis and having a blast while I do it.

Part of the reason that I haven't published here for so long is that I have been working so hard on this, that I haven't really been cooking at home so much. I needed to focus on the weight loss, and when you are trying your damnedest to not think about food, I had a really hard time coming home and writing about it, or even talking about it. In the down time where I used to read food books, I work out now, and given that I cant change how many hours are in a day, that is the way it has to be for now. In an effort to be more healthy, I had to give up on one of the things I love the most, and am really still adjusting to the changes that are necessary to make both work. Since you hear people talk about their weight struggle and their desire to eat good food constantly, for me it was twice that hard. Cooking, learning, and talking about food is in the foundation of who I am as a person. My whole life revolves around it, my ability to do it is my best personal trait. That balance and the decisions to put them on the back burner were way harder then passing on dessert. I knew if any one could understand that  it would be my loyal followers. Thanks for your patience and for reading.