What a Difference a Few Pounds Make

Even thought I haven't lost much weight, the effects of diet and exercise are still dramatic.
Even though I haven’t lost much weight recently, the effects of diet and exercise are still dramatic.

The mirror and the camera don’t lie. I posed for new pictures yesterday after wondering if my exercise and diet regimen were having an effect.

I have a love hate relationship with the scale and I feel like I am on the never-ending plateau. The last photos were taken November 3 and I weighed just over 190 pounds. Since then I have vacillated between 187-192. I don’t seem to be able to bust through and get to my goal weight. I have been trying anything and everything to break up my routine and adjust my diet. I survived several days of restaurant food and no exercise and only gained half a pound. So, obviously, I am doing something right.

Everyone keeps telling me to stop worrying about my weight, that it’s just a number. Maybe I’ve had my goal weight of 180 pounds stuck in my head for too long. I always had two goals in mind. I wanted to get to 190 first, see what I looked and felt like, and then decide if I wanted to go to 180. I looked and felt much better at 190 but not as good as I wanted so I decided to soldier on to 180.

I have accomplished so much in the past 14 months. I have lost almost 50 pounds, I’ve run two 5K races without having to stop or walk, my back hasn’t gone out in more than a year and a half, I can get dressed without getting sweaty or winded, I can stand non-stop for two hours, and do all kinds of other things we all take for granted. I’m stronger, I have more endurance and I generally feel better than I have in a long time. Believe me, there is no “finishing,” there is no end. I’ll just work on getting better. Exercise and eating right are now part of my life, there is no going back.

I’ve taken a few measurements since Christmas, just to make sure that I am still headed in the right direction even though the weight loss seems to have stalled. However, until I put the new pictures side-by-side with the previous photos, I didn’t realize how much I’ve changed in the last four months. There’s definition where there wasn’t before, and I’m leaner and slimmer through the middle.

I am one week into a new workout program. In the interest of changing things up every so often and doing something different to keep from getting bored or to challenge my muscles, I started a program I found online. Jim Stoppani’s Shortcut to Shred on www.bodybuilding.com features something called Cardio Acceleration. There is no rest between sets, you do 60 seconds of some sort of cardio – step-ups, running in place, kettle bell swings, etc. I sweat like I’ve never sweat before, I’m sore like I haven’t been sore in months and it almost feels like I am starting over. I’ve noticed a difference in definition in just six days. Today is a rest day. And boy do I need it.

The before and during photos (notice I didn’t write “after”) have served as a revelation. Any time I feel unmotivated or discouraged, I just look at the pictures from January 2013. When you’re a 44-year-old man, looking like you’re 14 months pregnant is a great motivator. Just when I didn’t think the photos would show dramatic changes and only subtle, I find myself mistaken. Pleasantly surprised is more like it.

I’ll check in during the Shortcut to Shred program and update you, my true believers (to borrow a phrase from Stan Lee), as I go through this self-imposed torture.

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