S1E49. Into The Homestretch

I had to reach deep into the back of the closet to snare the clothes bag that held my rarely-worn sport jackets and dress pants. I bought them shortly after moving in with Sally ten years ago because I needed something to wear for her niece’s wedding. I weighed 145 at the time.

Last month, while packing to attend the wedding of a friend’s daughter in North Carolina, I thought I might wear something from that bag, and I also thought that since I had lost 31 pounds and now weighed 155, they might fit.

WRONG!

The jackets fit fine, but it wasn’t even close when it came to buttoning the pants. The label said they were a 34″ inch waist, but if that was true, then I had a 37″ belly!

(It befuddled me because Sally had recently bought me some casual slacks (with elastic waists) that fit perfectly…and they were 34s. It’s a mystery I’ll have to solve another day.)***

Bottom line, though, was that I couldn’t wear those pants…and that pissed me off enough to motivate me to lose whatever weight necessary to get into them again…and to re-gain my boyish figure from when I was 60 and courting Sally.  😀

At that point, I had been dieting and exercising for six months and losing weight slowly but steadily. My weight had plateaued and so I needed to change something if I was going to drop another 10 pounds.

I couldn’t really eat less because I wasn’t eating all that much to start with. It’s not like I could give up Twinkies and brownies because I wasn’t eating anything with sugar or bad fats in it. And everything I was eating had a role to play in maintaining brain health, so there was nothing I felt comfortable cutting.

I was already using intermittent fasting as a weight-loss tool, so I couldn’t add that to my routine.

Since restricting caloric intake and intermittent fasting were not options, exercising more was the only path left open to me, so that’s what I did.

I had been jogging 11 miles/week and so I increased that to 21. 

I also added a set of exercises for my abdominals (a variety of crunches and planks). I figured that tightening up those muscles might pull my gut in without my having to hold my breath, and that could be worth a couple of inches right there. Make no mistake about it: it’s not that I covet 6-pack abs (which, by the way, I NEVER had). I just want to be comfortable in those pants.

Finally, I increased the weight on my strength training workouts in order to try to build a little more muscle mass. Muscles don’t just burn calories when you use them; they burn calories while resting, too, and that’s helpful. 

The science behind this is fascinating. It appears that your body will try to maintain a metabolism that fits your caloric intake while ensuring that you have enough stored fat to survive a period of food scarcity. 

You can see how this would have been adaptive during our specie’s hunter-gatherer millennia, but it’s a real pain in the ass today. When you burn off too much stored fat, your autopilot lowers your resting metabolism to conserve what’s left. That was the cause of the plateau I had hit at 155. Even though I was exercising to burn more calories, my resting metabolism slowed down to offset that, giving me a zero net change in weight.

By amping up my exercise routine and keeping my caloric intake constant, I would start to lose weight again. However, I only had but so much time to lose those 10 pounds before my metabolism adjusted once more. The race was on!

In the last 3 weeks, I’ve dropped another 5 pounds. I’m now in the homestretch: 36 pounds lost, 5 to go. The finish line is in sight, sometime around the middle of January.

Just for the hell of it, I tried those pants on again and…miracle of miracles…they fit just fine! So now I have clothes to wear for dressy occasions AND I’ve eliminated the belly fat risk factor for dementia.

*** It’s another day and I’ve solved the mystery! When I woke up yesterday morning, I recalled that those dress pants, although having a 34″ waist off-the-rack, had been custom tailored to fit my 32″ waist of 10 years ago. My new casual slacks, on the other hand, have a 34″ waist with the capacity to expand out to accommodate what was my 35″ waist in November. Voila! There’s the 3″ difference between the two pairs of pants and my (at the time) 35″ waist.

_______________

6 Comments

  1. tencat9511771 says:

    This is a motivation for me. Somehow my weight routine (and my stretching routine, too) have slid off my schedule. It was gradual. Every so often I will commit to adding back the routines and will manage maybe two days the first week of recommitment, but sore muscles convince me that maybe twice a week is fine. But by the second week in I will conveniently forget. So here I am in my second week. I read your blog. And now I am thinking about getting out of bed and lifting a few weights, rather than forgetting altogether.
    Anyway, it is nice to see that your over achieving self is still active, goal achieved a month ahead of time! Good for you. Enjoy the wedding:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Stretching is kryptonite to me! I’ll fight through it for a day or two, but then the pain makes it seem like it’s just not worth it. It’s now on my ‘things to get around to someday’ list.

      Like

      1. tencat9511771 says:

        Ha Ha…the trick is that when you stretch it should not hurt. As you move into the stretch gently extend and relax into it. With each slow breadth try stretching incrementally more. But do it easy and smile while you do it. If it hurts your forcing it too much.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Zella+Felzenberg says:

    Now that the pants fit, you need to adjust your weigh loss and exercise routine or they will fall off you before the wedding.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sage advice! I’ve been thinking about how to manage a soft landing at my target weight without overshooting…and not gaining back any of the lost weight. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

      Like

  3. Once again, Wayne, I bow to you. You are freakin’ amazing!! Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

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