Posts Tagged diet

A Reader Writes:

On Aug 28, 2009, at 3:42 PM, Michael Bluejay wrote:

Hi Ira. I always think of you when I use the crunch machine at the gym. I still don’t have visible abs but I think I’m close. My first problem was that I had a lot of weight to lose, but I lost nearly 20 pounds in the last 2.5 months, so I’m close.

On Sep 11, 2009, at 4:12 PM, Ira wrote:

Hi Michael–Congratulations on your progress and thanks for the kind words. Is it OK if I post them on the site?

You should write a story of your own about your fitness efforts. You know it doesn’t have to be a before and after tale…it can be a work in progress just like mine.

On Sep 11, 2009, at 9:23 PM, Michael Bluejay wrote:

Sure, feel free to post my comments. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tresa Stephens Feels Texas Pressure To Eat Too Much Bad Food, All The Time

In response to the jealousy and resentment my eating discipline is generating (see post on August 17th), Tresa Stephens described the pressure she experiences to overeat junk food back home:

I think that the pressure others put on us to jump on the band wagon and eat absolute dietary garbage is unfair. Especially considering I just read an article in Time Magazine (http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1914857,00.html/) this month about how exercise isn’t as important as diet when attempting weight loss. So many Americans are obese and apparently just hitting the treadmill doesn’t cut it when it comes to cutting fat.

I know I’ve also encountered opposition while dieting myself. In the south, you’re expected to eat ALL THE TIME. The inability to digest greasy, enormous, fattening portions is basically considered a sign of weakness or illness. Admittedly, when I was younger I hardly noticed the pressure that people put on me to finish the very last bit of whatever tasty, deep-fried/re-fried/stir-fried/chicken-fried face-sized piece of whatever I had on my plate, but since moving off to college in New York (land of expensive portions no bigger than your fist) I’ve opened my eyes and assimilated to the New York diet. I eat less (probably because I can afford less) and therefore make wiser decisions when it comes to what nutrients I’m spending my hard-earned dollars on. Since moving to the city I’ve noticed I eat fewer fatty foods and generally just feel healthier.

The only problem arrises when I return home to visit my family. They expect my old eating habits Read the rest of this entry »

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Jealousy Of My Diet Discipline Hits Me In The Abs

Oh boy oh boy oh boy. So I am making all this progress towards fitness and better health, and some people around me are really upset and pissed.

The reports are coming in gradually in roundabout ways, but here is the basic story. My ability to be disciplined in avoiding high-cholesterol foods is contrasting with others’ inability to cut back on their own caloric intake. So they are embarrassed and annoyed by my success. They don’t want to hear about it, and I have been asked not to talk about my diet, my web site and its content in their presence.

When my cholesterol numbers were just one digit away from the heart attack zone, and I was scared I could die, I suddenly stopped eating high cholesterol foods. I thought possible instant death was a pretty good motivator. I mean we aren’t talking here about a few extra pounds of cute chubbiness. I was terrified.

No matter. It’s offensive and insensitive at some people’s dinner tables for me to be saying “No” to cheese or creamy soups in their’ presence. It would be better if I just ate what I consider life-threatening foods that are offered. Even in restaurants, I shouldn’t be asking about the ingredients of certain dishes. All this discipline I am displaying is really not nice. It’s even very inconsiderate of those in the room who are not able to avoid foods that are making them weigh more than they would like to weigh.

Talk about social pressure. Read the rest of this entry »

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Peter Houldin Tells How He Lost 130 Pounds and Became a Marathon Runner!

I’LL START WITH A CONCLUSION: DIETS ALONE DO NOT WORK. YOU HAVE TO EAT PROPERLY AND EXERCISE REGULARLY. YOU HAVE TO ADOPT A DIFFERENT LIFESTYE.

HERE’S MY STORY:

Peter Houldin in 2008

Peter Houldin in 2008

Growing up, I always carried a few extra pounds, but never considered myself obese. In high school, I played football, basketball, and golf and was in decent enough shape.

Not until I reached college did the weight start pouring on. In the fall of 1992, I entered my freshman year of college and probably weighed 210 pounds and wore a 38-waist pant. I had a large frame and am six feet tall, so wasn’t overly worried. Certainly didn’t feel fat.

Over the next few years—probably due to too little exercise and too much cafeteria food, pizza, and cheap beer—the weight slowly–ok quickly–started to pile on. By junior year, I weighed 284 pounds and was squeezing into a 44 pant. I had gained 74 pounds in 2½ years!

Peter Houldin in 1994 at 284 pounds

Peter Houldin in 1994 at 284 pounds


Peter Houldin in 1990's before weight loss

Peter Houldin in 1990's before weight loss

While I was having a great time putting on the weight and playing collegiate golf, my studies took a back seat. Over the holiday break of my junior term, I received a letter from the academic dean suggesting I stay home for a semester and prove that I wanted to be in his school.

As it turns out, that was one of the better letters I ever received. I took it as a challenge. I enrolled in a local state college and spent the spring semester working hard at both school and on my weight. Not only did I excel in school, but by the summer, I had dropped a ton of weight.

To be honest, the first pounds were the easiest ones to lose. Given I had put the weight on so quickly, fortunately, it came off equally as quick. That’s not to say I wasn’t diligent about it. I took stock of the habits that caused the weight gain, namely, fast food, pizza, beer, and zero exercises. I decided to do just the opposite. I began a cardio regimen and went back to the basics with regards to food. I ate very boring and plain foods – turkey, mustard, and whole wheat sandwiches. Chicken and veggies for dinner, and eliminated alcohol and snacks.

When I returned to my original school the following fall, I had taken off 60 pounds. Read the rest of this entry »

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What’s Your Choice? 50 Years of Denial or 30 Years of Pleasure?

I met a 40-year-old woman yesterday whose husband used to go to the gym religiously and turned into quite a hunk, she told me. She knows what a fit body can look like and the work it takes to make one.

She is now 30 pounds heavier than she was 20 years ago, has a serious cholesterol problem and really intends to start exercising and cutting calories. She’d like to have her old, slimmer shape looking back at her in the mirror. Her only concrete effort so far is cut back her three-cokes-a-day habit (at 150 calories each) to one a day.At least it’s a start.

I told her how I gave up everyday cheese, my favorite source of protein, when my own cholesterol shot up. She said she loves cheese too, and can’t yet stop eating it regularly. Why is it so hard to take those steps to better health? Are we all just too busy? Or too lazy?

My son was impressed by the web site I found of a man who lost over 200 pounds. He found pictures of a different man who lost 400 pounds. Clearly those are horribly unhealthy cases of obesity. Those heavyweights can barely walk to the bathroom is my guess. It’s easy to see that they finally decided to alter their limited, immediate daily activities.

But if you are only 30 pounds heavier than you used to be, what’s the big deal? It’s not that bad, and the food tastes so good, and maybe you won’t continue to gain just a pound or two a year. And maybe the cholesterol won’t keep rising up and blocking arteries and lead to a heart attack. Just maybe.

Last night we went out to dinner, and I ordered the only soup—potato. I started to send it back after it arrived, because it was half cream. I need to avoid dairy products, because I want to keep my cholesterol down. My son said he would eat it, so it stayed.

Now here comes the silly part. With recent stories of two people dying of heart attacks, a friend who says he eats extra calories, because he could die in 10 minutes, and a woman telling me how much she likes cheese, I am sitting at the table wondering why I don’t have at least a taste, one spoonful, of this incredibly delicious-looking soup. After all, I rationalized, I just did 5+ hours of exercise in the last day—more than enough to offset the cholesterol damage that might result.

Absurd, right? No moderation here. Pretty extreme. One damn spoonful. Will I die on the court? If I am going to die, I may as well enjoy some potato soup. So I did. Had four spoonfuls. And swallowed each one so slowly and lovingly that you might have thought I was tasting fine wine or rare caviar. Swirling the juice around on my tongue. What a nutcase I am.

What is the goal, really? Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Some Overeat—for Extreme Pleasure or Because the Consequences Don’t Matter If We Die in 10 Minutes

I read an astonishing comment in the paper yesterday about couples over 50 who have ceased to have sexual relations or reduced the frequency to negligible levels from their earlier days.
(http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/03/when-sex-leaves-the-marriage/)

This one lady said something I didn’t know: The dopamine rush that we all love can come definitely from sexual orgasm, food and music. Maybe even from extreme sports as well. “For me personally?” this woman wrote. “Music does it most, but food is a very close second, if not a tie (just try a nearly pure, dark, bittersweet, 70 percent or higher chocolate sometime — WOW). Sex is just fine … but it doesn’t feel as vital personally as the other two do.”

Well I need to say WOW also. I had no idea that food could be that exciting. No wonder some people can’t stop over eating. I guess I am really missing out. I mean, I like a delicious meal and a pleasant tune or fabulous symphony. But I am clearly not aware of how stratospheric some highs can be from food and music. Well, we are who we are, and we are not all the same.

In a conversation today, a 53-year-old said to me, “I could be dead in 10 minutes, so why not give myself some pleasure and have another dessert or third glass of wine.”

This reminded me of an inspiring talk I had yesterday after tennis with Francois Di Gregorio, one of the regulars who has stayed in good condition and plays three or more times a week for decades. Read the rest of this entry »

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Is It OK To Tell Your Friends That They Are Fat And Should Lose Weight?

I took a little flak from a close friend about what I did say and what I didn’t say. When he ate four desserts at my dinner the other day, I spoke up. He chided me for noticing, counting and judging. I said I knew he was trying to lose weight, so I couldn’t not be a good pal and point out to him how he was sabotaging his effort.

Two days later he was annoyed that I hadn’t spoken up and given him some business advice. I said I didn’t feel it was my place to butt into his affairs. Maybe what he was doing would work out, and he hadn’t asked for my opinion.

“So if I have a broken leg and am not taking care of it, you’re not going to speak up or get me to a doctor?” he asked.

I reminded him about the four slices of cake, and he said that maybe he really doesn’t want to lose weight, in spite of his public declarations that he does want to be lighter and that he goes to the gym, he says, to burn calories.

Very confusing. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mother Nature Gets Even and Has a Tick Attack Me From Behind

The turkey is cooking as I write. Friends will come over to taste wild turkey for their first time. It is nothing like a domestic bird. I have marinated the turkey for two days in garlic, oil, white wine. It smells great.

before cooking

before cooking

The day of the hunt, Wednesday, I went to the gym. Nothing special. I was pretty tired. But at least I made it there–workout number 7 for the month.

On Thursday the 28th, I did 50 push ups again, 10 breaths, 10 more, 10 breaths, and 6 more. I wrote and rested.

Then Mother Nature got even with a smile. In the afternoon, I felt a sharp pin prick near my butt. I touched, my wife looked, and there was a tick, locked in a potentially harmful 36-hour kiss. It was hidden between my cheeks! And that was why I had missed it when I’d done my “tick check” with a mirror. Clever guy. He also knew how to conceal himself from the prey…which was me. And I was worried about the coyote jumping me from behind. A tiny tick did it.

Every time I come out of the woods, I unfailingly examine myself for ticks within three hours. I have been told that if you remove them within 24 hours, there is probably going to be no problem—not enough time for the insect’s saliva to make much of a difference. After a day, there is more danger of getting Lyme disease or another very serious bacterial infection called ehrlichiosis.

So if I got a bird, a tick got me. I have many friends who have been sickened by these bites, and in addition to dizziness, fatigue, fever, aches, some have had facial distortions, lost memory for years…it can be bad. So it goes.

I knew I had really adapted to country life when I could walk in the woods and tall grass and be OK about spending a few minutes taking 20 or more ticks off my clothes and skin. I felt I had arrived.

I have city friends who drove to our farm, got out of the car, stood on the driveway and unabashedly placed their pants inside their socks, sprayed insect repellent containing DEET on their clothes, and then walked on the driveway pebbles into the house. Fortunately I have learned to love the woods and live with its risks. And I have never even seen a bear or a mountain lion…just coyotes and bobcats, like this one a friend photographed at the same farm where I shot this week’s turkey.

bobcat

bobcat (photo by Rudy Kellerman)


Read the rest of this entry »

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Can You Work Out Well At Home? I Can’t.

May 24, 2009

Well I did NOT make it to the gym yesterday. But I did work out at home, but with lots of interruptions and distractions. Hard to focus. Think I need the gym to concentrate. Read the rest of this entry »

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How Do You Gain Weight? Or Lose It Without Diet Change and Exercise?

I have been noticing these weeks all the ads about how to lose weight. Why does anyone believe you can lose weight without exercise and any change in your diet if you just send in your money for the secret promise? That you can eat all the sugar or carbs or sweets or bacon or meat…even pure lard, and you are “guaranteed” to lose pounds. You can almost lose the weight while you sleep if you just send in your check to find out the miraculous answer to your dreams. Am I so naive again to not grasp what is beguiling millions of others? Is it the instant gratification, the something for nothing philosophy? Tell us what you think.

One undesirable consequence for me of all this activity is that I am losing weight—down to 165 this morning. That’s nearly the lowest I have been since high school, and I am the guy who wants to build muscle and gain weight. So I have to be the goose who is cramming food down his own gullet. Not for paté, but for muscle. Some of the articles say that I need to eat at least 500 to 1000 more calories a day than usual. Have 5 or 6 little meals a day. And drink protein shakes! Read the rest of this entry »

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What It’s Like To Hit With A Squash Champion

Avoided the gym Monday, so that I would not be tired for the big squash day yesterday: hitting with Gustav, one of the top (#4) college squash players in America. It was a real thrill. I invited my friend who has own squash court to join us, and he and I alternated hitting and playing with the expert…for 2 ½ hours. Learned a lot, couldn’t master the new techniques, of course, but definitely improved and know what else to practice.

I worked on return of backhand serve and hitting the ball after it bounces off the back wall…a special stroke with a low open-faced racquet. I love that I can return a really hard-whacked ball. I love that I could get two points in one of the games. And that I wasn’t too winded this time. Something is definitely working!

I have a funny reaction to hitting with superior athletes for the sheer joy of it. Especially when they are not coaches giving their time and lessons in exchange for monetary payment. Maybe it is just an ego trip…but I am falling for it and liking it. I remember that George Plimpton wrote books about playing with professional teams—football, baseball, hockey, etc. But I gather that these were partly sociological explorations to convey the sport from a player’s point of view. He was never attempting to equal the pro’s skill level.

Similarly I am playing a competitor I can’t possibly defeat. He is giving me the honor of his time and the fun of experiencing his incredible returns and placements. Mostly he gives me do-able shots to keep a rally going and make me feel good. And I know that that is what is happening. He is not really toying with me. But he is also barely trying to win the point. More often than not, I will make an error that gives him the point.

It is like when I play ping pong with my grand son—for me it is effortless and lacks any challenge. I do it to help the child learn and to enjoy the interaction. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Week of Casual Conditioning—Frisbee, Tennis, Squash, Beach Running, Hiking After Turkeys

It’s been a busy week. I went to NY City last Wednesday (the 6th) to pick up my son from the end of his junior college year. I thought I could take it easy when we arrived home. However within five minutes of returning from my seven-hour round trip and unloading the car, I was “invited” to play Frisbee. Turns out my son wants to try out for the NYU Ultimate Frisbee team next fall and needs to practice. It was too good a chance to bond with my boy, so I re-learned how to throw and catch. I still have some bruises almost a week later.

After an hour of running after the spinning disc—no leaps, jumps and falls—I gave up and admitted I was tired. I had really been pushing hard and hoping he would want to stop first. In fact he played for another hour with his friend who happened to drop by shortly after I called it quits.

The next morning I was playing tennis doubles for 90 minutes, then an hour plus of practicing my spin serve with one person. My tennis game is really improving. Yet I am impressed that players who are not as good as I am overall are very comfortable correcting my game. And you know what—they often make good points, even if I think that I should be the one giving advice.

Then I fit in an hour of squash practice—mostly return of backhand serve. Read the rest of this entry »

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Fool Your Body by Doing Exercises It Hates or That Are New

The next morning, Thursday the 30th, I played tennis for 90 minutes in my regular doubles game. Nothing exciting, except it was outdoors–initially a brisk 47 degrees that warmed up nicely with more sun and running after balls. Lots of spring birds singing around us too.

My serve is my best weapon, although my net volleys were angled well. My team won two sets, and then the last set ended 2-2 when one of the group had to leave. It could have been 3-1 my team’s favor, because I missed two net volleys at the very end of a multiple deuce game. I blew it just when I was thinking I had it made. But I lost focus and lost the game…

Took a half hour break and practiced squash for an hour, particularly some of the techniques I was taught at Trinity earlier in the week. There was a 30-minute session of my hitting balls to the left wall—as if on a serve—and then returning them with a backhand. I can see the form of the experienced players, and I pretend that I can slip into their skins as they make their graceful moves. There is still quite a ways for me to go, but I have the general idea.

I am only on 6 ½ hours of sleep, so by now I am a bit worn out. I go home, eat, finish some work and drive to Boston to bring back some of my daughter’s belongings before college ends next week.

After the three-hour ride, I make it to the gym at 7 pm and spend over an hour working on my abs, lats and talking to three different trainers. This starts as a bit of a push—I am slightly dazed—but by the end I am revitalized and alert. It’s funny how the trainers at the gym the hotel in Boston arranges for guests to use are always so helpful and give me new exercises to do. I love how over the months I gradually learn about new machines and techniques, new philosophies and new ways to eat.

If you google “exercises,” there will be 64 million results to read that will tell you what to do or buy. “Stomach abs” (1.4 million) and “ab exercises” (1.7 million) also give you lots of choices for figuring out the best way to achieve your goal. It can be very confusing.

On the other hand, many of the same suggestions are repeated, so why not just dive into some and see what happens. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Do We Eat (So Much) Good Food That It Is Bad for Us?

We met some friends for dinner Saturday night. The wife–a size ZERO–mentioned how thin I looked and that her husband had a growing belly, which she patted affectionately. Then he offered me a hard-liquor drink. I agreed to split a beer with him.

At the restaurant, he ordered a bottle for three people (I passed), and all the wine disappeared easily. It accompanied his enormous New York strip steak. The monstrous portion must have been two+ inches high and seven inches long and four inches wide. He enjoyed and put away almost all of it, sharing just a couple of slices with the other wine drinkers. The menu also offered a variety of sauces as toppings–gorgonzola, butter, cream. Gee I wonder why he has that cute expanding belly. I can’t imagine where all the food goes. My stomach could never contain such a giant quantity.

Clearly I am constructed differently from most people. I am more of a grazer who can eat two or three appetizers for dinner and be satisfied…plus a dessert of course.

My male friend from dinner is also unable to stop smoking–he has done it for years–even though his father died of emphysema, and his own lung capacity is diminished. But for me, I don’t think of gluttony as an addiction like tobacco and drugs. Am I naive? All three are major contributors to bad health. They are all undesirable…But eating too much food that gives the diner pleasure seems an easier habit to break than nicotine and cocaine. What do you think?

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How to Avoid Eating Crappy Food That is Bad for Us?

Went to a movie on Friday night and automatically bought some popcorn…with extra oil. I was told that it was not coconut oil (very high cholesterol) and that it was butter-flavored. So I still don’t know what it was and how bad for my health. With salt added, it was delicious munching during the show, and my friend had half the bag.

Later he chastised me for buying it at all. Although he loved eating it, he regretted that I had tempted him, and he had succumbed. He is usually the one who goes right to the popcorn counter and buys the super jumbo size. However now that he is going to the gym and is more determined than ever to lose weight, he sees how much effort it takes in the gym to offset those little white puffy kernels slathered in fattening oil. Nevertheless he ate his half with gusto.

Why do we so easily violate our resolutions? Why should it be so hard? These days I can ignore the ice cream in the freezer for months without so much as a small taste. Other years I was eating it nightly or a few times a week…with chocolate syrup added. In a reality TV show I saw, one of the obese twins who supposedly wanted to lose weight was caught squirting the chocolate syrup directly into her mouth.

My solution is not to have the “bad” food in the house at all. That way I am unable to eat it when I feel those inevitable cravings. (Some ice cream is there for the kids when they come home from college, but my desire for low cholesterol makes it easy to avoid my old ice cream addiction.) I know that I am very weak-willed and often can’t resist my hunger for sweets. I will even stoop to crappy Easter candy (two chocolate covered mints last night) or straight teaspoonfuls of honey.

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How Much Alcohol Do You Drink?

Most people like to drink alcohol, whether it’s beer, wine or liquor. These beverages lubricate social gatherings, relax people (numb them sometimes) and allow the bonds or the handcuffs of propriety to be released and put aside. Alcohol gives some people courage. I have had enough drunken stupors to know that I don’t like the hangovers, the embarrassing behavior, or being really sick. Like one New Year’s Day in high school, when I was the only band member who couldn’t and didn’t perform at half-time in the Orange Bowl–I was still dizzy and nauseous and in bed!

I have had plenty of beer in college and after to know that it fills me up till I am bloated, and I don’t care about telling an ale from a lager. I do know that I prefer foreign beers to the popular domestic ones, which are too thin for me. But aside from one trip to Ireland, where I longed constantly for a Guiness at the pub while I was touring (and probably would be an alcoholic if I lived there), I can usually pass.

That helps keep the weight off and the body healthier. Most people, however, need their drink.

I bought wine by the case when I first moved to Manhattan and had seen enough movies and sophisticated magazines promoting the mantra that any cool professional man knows his grapes and the good years to order. At one point I believed I could taste the minerals from particular French soil. I loved certain vineyards and knew lots of the best years. But after those many glasses at dinner, I was falling asleep when I wanted to read. So I stopped drinking every night.

For decades I have watched people twirl the glass, smell the bouquet and swish the delicacy in their mouths. Some talk incessantly about it, collect it, offer it with pride, and I appreciate their passion. Read the rest of this entry »

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Are You Able to Try New Things, Like Food and Experiences?

I have long thought of Life as a smorgasbord—a buffet table full of items to taste, to try at least once. Then I can decide if I like them and want more on my plate when it’s food, and repeated or deeper experiences when it’s a new adventure or pleasure or pastime. I can’t relate to diners who always order the same familiar foods…”What if I don’t like the new dish in a restaurant?” they worry. “I will have paid for something that I don’t want to eat.” I think they must live their lives the same way—afraid to do something different, take the new path to the left instead of the traditional path to the right.

People often choose what their peers or the society tell them they should like. But that stopped working for me before high school. Perhaps it’s the result of being an outsider who was laughed at because my father was regarded as a “quack” before holistic attitudes or chiropractic principles were appreciated. Unlike other kids, I had a working mother too, which was unusual in a world of women who were expected to be nurturing housewives. Anyway doing what one was supposed to do was not part of my character, and it has helped me deviate from the norm.

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Are You Ever Nauseous Doing Exercise?

Made it to the gym again today after a business lunch. Stayed 1 ½ hours, which is 30 minutes longer than usual. Doing extra stretches and gutting out abdominal exercises. This is hard. Some stud hung from a pull-up bar and slowly lifted both of his legs up to a right angle about 10 times–will I ever do ONE of those?

Then I tried that contraption where you entangle your ankles in four cylinders at the top and lean down at a 45 with your head near the floor and hold a 20-lb ball in your outstretched arms, tuck your arms with the ball and sit up to a crunch. I felt nauseous and worried about throwing up in the sparkling weight room. Only the idea that people might be watching these words kept me going.

Earlier at lunch, I passed on dessert–practically a first when my weight is ok. And my favorite–key lime pie–was on the menu. So I am taking this more seriously than I imagined. I asked one built guy doing the reclining sit-ups if he had a six pack, and he said he didn’t, because he drank too many beers. Diet counts a lot, it seems.

Finally I fantasized that everyone in the gym was going to recognize me from this web site and applaud my heroic, painful effort. It kept me doing more reps.

I like that I am having fantasies too. Real progress!

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A Fairly Rigorous Exercise/Athletic Program

Yesterday was my birthday–I ate homemade berry pie (instead of birthday cake and ice cream), lunched with friends and family and talked on the phone to well wishers. No exercise. But today I was real physical. I played 90 minutes of doubles tennis, rested 30 minutes, practiced squash for an hour, rested 30 minutes, then spent two hours practicing tennis with a partner and playing 12 games. This is certainly going to help me stay fit…and I played the best doubles net games of my life–very confident. Also pleased that I was not tired after such a long vacation from regular sports activity. I even spent about three minutes on my abs around 11:30 pm. As you gather, I can be compulsive at times–I want to get back in shape…although I don’t see that tennis or squash develop any stomach muscles. They appear to be merely cardio with fun and friends.

My brother trains for mini-triathlons, and he says I don’t eat enough protein to build muscle. So I ate a whitefish sandwich for lunch and mussels and shrimp for dinner–I almost never eat red meat, pork and veal.

Eating enough food is a new challenge as I am a modest eater and don’t seem to crave meals as often as most other people…when I do eat, the quantities are pretty minimal. As one girl friend’s frustrated mom said about 25 years ago, “He eats like a bird.” I am also increasing my intake of water. I have never followed that eight glasses of water a day routine, but I am aiming for that much daily agua now…

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Managing Your Food…If You Can

I have learned that as undisciplined as I am when it comes to exercising, I am very disciplined compared to others when it comes to eating. My father always said that “You are what you eat.” My wife calls me the “food police.” Since high school when I weighed 170, I have reached 185 pounds and dropped to 163 or so. But that drop was during a brief period when I jogged for a couple of months on a dare to run in a seven-mile road race.

It took me years to realize that when my clothes became tight, it was NOT because they were shrinking in the wash—I was gaining fat. So I would then give up the desserts I love and bread and muffins and lose the weight. I was that disciplined. Once the pounds were gone, I was back to ice cream every night, and sometimes three desserts a day between Thanksgiving and New Years. Predictably I regained 10 pounds each December…that I would then lose over the next few months.

About two years ago, my cholesterol rocketed up to 239, which is almost heart attack range I read—so I instantly changed my diet and my life. I began exercising daily on a rowing machine that had been gathering dust, gave up ice cream, chicken skin, sea urchin and many other high cholesterol foods. Within three months I was down to a cholesterol number of 178. Amazed everyone. I stopped the rowing. Now the number is 204. Not bad. Much safer.

But I asked my doctor at this year’s physical why people who say they want to lose weight continue to eat foods that are clearly fattening. “I can’t lose weight,” they whine, and then they drink almost a whole bottle of wine, snort that blue cheese down or have just a “tiny” spoonful or two of cake or ice cream at most meals. “Not everyone is as disciplined as you,” doc pointed out. “They don’t want to give up those good tasting foods that you can avoid.” Even though some of them go to the gym more than I do, spend an hour on a machine to lose 300 calories and then have one drink or dessert that in five minutes puts all those calories right back on them. Not logical…but people aren’t logical. Read the rest of this entry »

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