Monday, October 17, 2016

walk on by

I knew it was going to happen.

But knowing a fact and accepting it with gracious contentment are two completely different things.

When I was in the Air Force (both on active duty and in the reserves), I had a roller coaster relationship with my weight. The scale would warn me when I was nudging too close to my maximum, and I would get serious about dropping a few pounds.

I quickly learned that increasing my exercise regimen and cutting back on food portions would let me lose about a pound a day. Up to a point. The first 15 to 20 pounds burned off like lard in a campfire. And then, it would level off for days with no more pounds dropped.

Back then, those 15 to 20 pounds were good enough to keep me in compliance with the weight standards. We were constantly reminded by the promotion boards that complying with the standards was not good enough. We needed to have The Look of an officer. That always struck me as a bit fascist.

Earlier this month, I slipped into another of my weight loss modes. After looking at several books and listening to a long line of friends and acquaintances, who were absolutely certain they knew The Perfect Way to lose weight, I fell back on what has worked for me in the past: exercise and calorie control.

I did shut the gate on several foods I liked, but that I can live without. Otherwise, I am eating the same food, but less of it. I have even cut back on my social life in restaurants -- for now.

The exercise portion has been easy. I like walking. In fact, I had a regular routine before Barco arrived. The day I took him to the clinic earlier this month, I started my walking routine, again. Partly to stop worrying about his condition.

My routine was to walk 4 miles in the morning and to walk as many places during the day that was practical. Eventually, that stretched into 5 miles in the morning and 3 miles at night. With my incidental walking, I am averaging about 11 miles a day.

For the first five days, I lost a pound a day. It was enough that people commented my face looked thinner.

But, then, the weight loss stopped. I have been stuck at the same weight for over a week now. (By the way, this is one reason Weight Watchers warns its participants not to weigh themselves daily. Despair is not on its diet.)

And I know exactly what is happening. My body has sensed that I am putting a double demand on it -- fewer calories and more exercise. Being a finely-honed machine, it is being more efficient with the calories it receives. Before it will burn off any more of its hard-earned surplus, it will eke out of my lettuce wraps enough mileage to make a Prius owner even greener with envy.

That is the reason I looked at using the Rotation Diet. Its calorie regulation is based on the notion of manipulating the body to ignore its natural metabolism cycle. I did not use it, however, because its menu consists of foods that are very difficult to obtain here.

This morning, I ramped up my walk to 6 miles. That is about as much as I can handle in our heat -- and with the inevitable blisters that pop up after walking 4 miles or so. That will keep my metabolism stoking the energy furnace.

As far as food goes, I have cut my portions down to the point where I am constantly hungry. That is not bad. Theoretically, that will convince my body to start burning up some of those triglycerides it has hoarded in my liver.

One lesson I have learned from past weight loss efforts is that I need to be patient. At some point, my body will recognize it is not a bank. It can use its reserves without fear of federal bank inspectors.

The good news is, other than feeling constantly starved and suffering from blistered feet, I feel great. Barco has given me a great gift. And I intend to put it to good use.

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