So after years of not really trying to lose weight — and as a result gaining weight — I’ve turned things around. Slowly.
But first, a brief weight timeline, from the time of my July 2013 graduation from Rio Hondo College Police Academy — coinciding with the lowest I’ve weighed in my adult life: 198 pounds. Of course the climb up from that began almost immediately. Funny how fast you rebound when you completely suddenly top a rigorous physical training schedule, coupled with a complete removal of aaaaall the stressors involved in academy training. Within a couple months I was above 210. Factor in the new stress at that time of a prolonged period of unknown as to whether all that hard work was going to pay off in me getting hired as a humane law enforcement officer for spcaLA, and there was an increased amount of comfort eating going on, to the point when I completed the physical exam as the last hiring hurdle I was at 227.
And all the while rationalizing it because even though it was a gain of roughly 30 pounds in the span of five months, me anywhere below 230 is still nothing to be too upset about.
Trouble is it didn’t stop after the elation of getting the job. Instead, over the ensuing seven years, I just kept going up to the point where in June of 2019 at my next physical, I tipped the scale at 252. Certainly I didn’t take that lying down. A few months earlier I’d purchased an ebike and had recommenced bike commuting to the tune of logging more than 2,600 bike miles in the ensuing 11 months, but ebikes being ebikes all relying on the motor to do most of the work did was keep me at or around that weight, which was frustrating and defeating in its own right.
Then came March 2020 when the pandemic halted everything. Not only was I suddenly not riding at all, but even once the lockdown ended by choice given the levels of infection as well as the overcrowded hospitals I elected not to ride for the next 16 months as an overabundance of caution against taking a spill on my bike or getting hit by a car either of which might leave me laid up in some overloaded ER’s hallway.
Which brings us to my most recent physical in June 2021, where the scale told me my almost entirely sedentary self was now near the heaviest I’d been in my adult life; 262 pounds. My doctor was all WTF. No moreso than me, especially when considering that over the years on that climb up to such a disappointing plateau, I’d made smart, conscientious choices about what I put in my body: I practically eliminated diet soft drinks so prevalent througout my entire life (seriously, I’d consume upwards of four cans of Coke Zero a day), and I followed my wife (though not quite as strictly) as she chose to journey on a path without meat and dairy.
But those healthier diet choices did not automagically translate to a slimmer waistline.
As coincidence would have it, a few days after my physical I got a deeply discounted offer to try Noom, and signed up. For the first several weeks I dove in and was dedicated to reading the daily articles and got a good sense of its philosophy — even moreso I was strict in logging my meals. Eventually I quit the reading, but not the logging, and it’s proven to be the deciding factor in my slow, steady progress downward. There’s just something in the daily tallying of calories that helps me succeed — even though I almost exclusively exceed my calorie allocation by a few hundred every day.
The weight loss has been glacial . My first step on a scale on June 12, 2021, read 258.1, but three days after that I was at 260.8. From there though cumulatively it’s been super slow and steady in the right direction, aided at the beginning of November 2021 by me finally ending the bike ban and getting back into my commuting groove.
A side benefit of adding that physical activity is that I’ve been making a concerted effort to ride powered more by me and less by the bike’s motor. And it’s paid off. I did a 22-mile recreational ride over the weekend, and spent a fair number of miles at the lower pedal-assist levels of 1 and 2, never going above 3. In the past, I would live at level 3 and wouldn’t hesitate to put it on 4 or 5 to flatten out hills,. Now I’m excited and pleased when I don’t.
When I stepped on the scale this morning, it read 231.8, leving me a pound away from a cumulative loss of 30 pounds. The comparison is that I’m only a few pounds of being back to where I was when I got hired. Sure, in this age of diet quackery that promises maximum pounds shed in minimal time with minimal effort, eight months is a “long” time to drop “only” 30, But I’m pleased and proud of the accomplishment, and looking forward to the rest of the slow road to go to reach my goal of 210. I imagine it may take me until June to get there — just in time for my next physical where I will look forward to my doctor saying WTF but in a good way.