Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Week 5: The John Nelson Weight Loss Challenge

In February, we challenged our friend John to lose weight. We motivated him by pledging money to the Wounded Warrior Project for each pound he lost between February 1st and May 20th, when he and I go out to California to climb Big Bear, then watch Lance, Levi, and Dave Z. do it at twice the speed.

You can still pledge money by going to the spreadsheet and pledging a buck or two to the cause. When we have the final weigh-in, simply tally up your total and send your donation to the Wounded Warrior Project. If you're a stingy bastard like me, this is a way of motivating yourself to occassionally give some money to something other than a new carbon fiber thingamajigger.

Here's John's update for this week. On day one, John weighed 330 pounds. Let's see how much weight he's lost (and how much cash we're out) in the five weeks since then...

This morning I woke up thinking that I had to measure myself for today's blog. Walking downstairs to the scale I thought about the time. Something as simple as this turned out to be an amazing moment. Because my watch wasn't facing me. It was spun around with the heavy side of the watch face obeying gravity, pulling it around my wrist. Each time I would turn my arm over, it would slide away from my eyes. I giggled, fascinated by the newly acquired talent for not being able to tell time. A new thrill to think about as the weight begins to fall off. The watch band does not fit my wrist anymore. Neither does my wedding band.

Last week someone pointed out that I was disappointed even though I lost five pounds. True, it seems unfair that they didn't lose much while I complained that I was only losing a few pounds. And you know, they are right. How can you complain that after all this time and effort, that I actually accomplished something that for the lack of a better term 'is difficult'? So I promise not to complain about success again.

This last week, my expectation was to lose nothing or even gain a few pounds. I was in Denver in a training class, where the training rewards of the day are candy, the food provided is cake (carrot), and there is an unlimited buffet in front of us three times a day. It was a bit hard to push away from the plates and consider the diet first instead of having extra servings, followed by cake and pie. To top it off, I only got in one work out, at 10 pm till just past midnight on Tuesday. The weight room was available, but the class requirements as well as work back here in DC kept me in front of the computer all day and night. So the calories were going in, but not exactly coming out.

So after finally gabbing my watch and seeing that I had just enough time to weigh myself and then take a shower before work, I found that I had lost four more pounds. The scale measured 314, steady. Freaked me out! Four pounds solely on deciding to eat less everyday. More fruit, like pineapple and melons along with the scrambled eggs and bacon, in small scoops. At lunch I minimized the carbs like the potatoes and rice, and concentrated on small portions of the meats. I was hungry once or twice, but chewing gum or concentrating on the tasks at hand came in handy. Dinner was the hardest. Macaroni and Cheese. Sauces with cream. Battered fish and chicken. Even the vegetable was carrots, loaded with sugars and carbs. But, thinking about this diet, the Warrior funds, and the backing some of you have given me, encouraged me to put small potions on the plate, avoid the carrot cake and tiramisu, and just walk away. The result was a loss... not a gain. Maybe this is attainable. Maybe I can drop below 300 by next month.

Today starts the new month. Technically, its only been 28 days, but the next thirty has more promise than February did. The sun is out, despite the continued cold. The days are getting longer. I came home in sunlight today and left in somewhat lighted conditions at 6:30. This means riding to work begins soon. Pull the temps up a bit, and then it is every day on the bike for me. For now, I'll take my time working into it. For now, I'll go to the USDA gym and work more on the elliptical machine, the weights, and some simple stretching. Something that seems to be successful so far. Base training is boring, but essential for what I need to attain.

The goal remains the same. I want to drop to 285-290 by May and be able to ride up Big Bear by the end of the month. I also want to help Kevin raise money for Wounded Warriors. So the more I lose, the better. But in my head, the real benefit is that I can ride a little better. I'll be able to complete centuries with energy to spare again. I can finish them now, but not with the panache of old. I may even be able to ride cat 5 races this summer, and not be concerned that I'm in last place all the time. I'll be able to hang with the pack on hills, and not ask others to wait on at the top. This, long awaited and long overdue "diet", may be a renewal of a racing spirit that I thought I lost years ago. Hmmm... Is it time to ride again?


TerribleTerry said...

Nice, traveling for work is the worst. Diet, routine, even tolerance to cold...right out the window. Good work!

Calvini said...

Losing 15 pounds is incredibly hard for me, so just wanted to say congrats to you, John, for already doing something amazing. This is especially true thinking about the pounds of muscle you've probably gained.

I'm hoping you can do even more when you really get going on the bike...because I know from experience, success breeds success.

Inspiring, man, inspiring.

qualia said...

Congrats again, John. Inspirational, as my brother says. Keep this up and a year from now you're going to be a completely different person on a bike. Um, not mention, markedly better health across the board.

I think I dropped about the same weight as you this week, but not through willpower: food poisoning.

Majornelson said...

Kevin tells me that some of the guys on the team are trying to lose weight too, joining me on this quest. I'm proud to be there with ya fellas. In this week's update I'll tell you what I'm doing and ask for some additional hints about what I can do. Fifteen pounds down, 20 more to go. But really, I just want to get back on the bike.