September 2008
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No Pain, No Gain…

On April 7 of this year, I stepped on the scale and my heart sunk; I was 236 lbs. Factoring in my height, if you calculated my BMI, I was 1/100 point off of the start of obesity. I was the stereotypical couch potato geek, who’s only form of exercise was typing.

Why, you may ask, am I mentioning this now?

Because today I completed my first 10K, and here is how I did it.

1) Doctor Doctor, tell me the news…

This was a no brainer, but I talked with my doctor first. I have hypertension and high cholesterol, and I wanted to make sure that I was good to go as far as diet. He pestered me about exercise, but I wanted to lose weight first.

2) Sugar = Bad!

This one started out hard, but got easier as I progressed. I started cutting out carbs (I sort of followed the South Beach Diet in the beginning). All I knew was, if it was white, I kept away from it. My diet evolved to the following on week days:

  • Breakfast – 2 eggs and turkey sausage/kielbasa; I drank coffee sweetened by Splenda (my new friend)
  • Lunch – A Publix (local supermarket) Turkey Cobb Salad with a low carb dressing & 2 Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Dinner – Whatever my wife or I cooked, but a reduced portion, and lots of salad.

I drank diet green tea throughout the day, and snacked on pecans or walnuts. On weekends I ate eggs/sausage in the morning, a simple lunch and dinner. I always seemed full. If I craved chocolate (my one weakness), I would eat sugar free Russell Stover chocolates…Oh, and I would never eat after 9:00 pm – ever.

3) “If it can be measured, it can be managed…”

I am paraphrasing Management Guru Peter Drucker here, but it is absolutely true. I created a spreadsheet listing the date, my morning weigh-in on that day, how much I lost/gained from my prior weigh-in, and pounds to drop to get to my target. If I lost weight, I was elated; if I gained weight, I didn’t freak out. Rather, I tweaked my eating habits until I found what worked better. I kept track of everything that I did. On another worksheet, I graphed the results. There is no better motivation then looking at a graph steadily heading lower as the days pass.

4) Run, Forest, Run!

The pounds stated to come off pretty quickly, until I hit a wall. That is when I realized I needed to start exercising…duh! So I went to a local high school track and started running…for about half the length of the track before the pain got too bad; so I walked the other half, then ran a half, then walked a half…and so on. I did this for the next week. Slowly, I was able to run a full lap, walk a lap, then run two laps, walk a lap, then run a mile, and so on… I would get up at 5:45 am, run/walk as far as I could until 7:00 am, come home and get my daughter up. I’d have breakfast, then drive my daughter to school and head off to work.

And that is basically it.

Today, I only had one goal – Finish the race…and I did.


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