ONE OPPORTUNITY THAT UNEMPLOYMENT has presented is the ability to visit the gym at hours previously inaccessible. Before this week, the only reasons I might go over there at, say, 11 a.m.would be that it's a Saturday, or it's the third day of my fighting off a cold and I'm getting well enough to feel cabin fever. Granted, my main job right now is finding a job, but amid this quest, I'm still pursuing the goal of redressing my eating and exercise habits. So far, I have succeeded.
I've been away from some of the food options that I exercised while employed either out of sloth or boredom. I haven't hit the bagel shop across the street since Friday. The Balducci's in Chelsea is a tourist attraction for me now, not a source of imported cheese and crusty loaves from the Sullivan Street Bakery. The dark hours of boredom and underwork are gone, no longer to be etherized with cheap treats from the candy machines. And platters of cookies and sandwiches, left over from catered all-day meetings, no longer pass by my cube on the way to the kitchen, where inevitably I will be dragged to survey the swag. Yeah, that's all I'll do. Survey it.
As long as I can fill myself with wholesome food on a regular schedule, stay laborious, and keep hitting the gym, I should at minimum keep my fitness level rising. I'm aiming at dropping a pound a week. I know I will be building muscle slowly during this whole process, so the drop may be slower than this at first. Once my frame has a few more pounds of muscle, though, my metabolic rate will rise, as resting muscle burns more energy than fat. Postworkout caloric burns also last for hours, so it's best to hit the weights early.
At the beginning of this year, I weighed 238. I downloaded Jeremy Zawodny's weight loss/diet spreadsheet to make my progress graphic. In my case, I modded it to include two automatic moving averages, instead of just the 5-day one on the original:
The light-blue line is a 7-day moving average, and the cream line is a 30-day one. Today I weighed 229, and my average for the past week has been 228.9, close to the 7-day average for the week prior, but a pound less than the week before that. Slow, but sure.
I've been doing the same routine for 4 full weeks now. I feel stronger. My knees in particular are more sturdy. Around the holidays, they were beginning to — if not hurt, then to make themselves known. I can't afford to lose knee function any earlier than deep old age. Having been fat the better part of my life, I know I've run through their warranty faster than I should have, but it's never too late to take some of the load off. I was getting signals around late December that I was pushing it, not only from my knees, but my feet, which were killing me after my holiday party weekend. My feet hadn't hurt like that since a Saturday in March 2000 spent running around, in crappy sneakers, on a paintball range. Now, both knees and feet are feeling much better. I accredit this to losing 9 pounds and strengthening my muscles and support tissues.
I am by no means done. I plan to do my current routine for at least another week. The Iron Online site of bodybuilder Dave Draper has a follow-up routine, which I shall adopt when the time comes. As long as I can keep the good food flowing in, and hitting the gym, I'll keep getting healthier, and my base mood will also stay high. Last time I visited my dry cleaner, the manager immediately said I'd lost weight. It wasn't as apparent to me, and I knew he was the type to notice differences in the fit of a customer's clothing, but still, it was an important endorsement that I'm on the right path. Because like my job hunt, nobody is going to do this for me. I've got no choice.