I started writing an article for the Health and Fitness part of my blog, and came to the conclusion that I wanted a section of the blog post that talked about my experiences and why it might not be a bad idea to consider what I say. I got into this, and began to realize that this was probably too much information for most folks to digest when coupled with the actual subject at hand.
The result was, that I decided to turn it into a blog post in its own right and to make it a “resource” for easy access. You’re reading the result of that decision.
Anybody having known me for more than five or six years is likely very much aware that I have been fairly substantially overweight within that time frame. In fact. I started battling my weight in my early to mid twenties as a member of the United States Air Force (I was in the military from the beginning of 1983 to the end of 1991, so from the time I was just turning nineteen, until just before my twenty eighth birthday).
When I joined the military, I weighed in at 145 pounds (around 65.75 kg). After Air Force Basic Training, I had dropped ten pounds and came in at a quite lean 135 pounds (somewhere in the neighborhood of 61.25 kg).
When I went from my first permanent station (around the beginning of 1985) to my second (in the Republic of Korea), I tipped the scales right around 184 pounds (closing in hard on 83.5 kg). Nobody who was in the Air Force during that period need ask how I know. For the rest of you, you should be aware that the Air Force had a “Maximum Allowable Weight” (MAW) for a given height of airman. If you exceeded that weight—unless you got a waiver—you “fell onto” the dreaded Weight Management Program. Failure to progress, meant stiffer and stiffer penalties. You can trust that I spent far too much time interested in my weight back then!
My troubles didn’t stop when I left the military though (in fact, being over my MAW was a part of the reason I left the military—I won’t go into any of the other reasons at this moment in time, among other things, they’re not really relevant to this discussion). By the time I moved to Arkansas from Washington state (where I was when I exited the military and chose to stay) around the middle of 1996, I was certainly over my MAW and probably over 200 pounds (just under 90.75 kg).
At some point around 1999 or so, I probably hit 250 pounds (just under 113.5 kg) or more. I think it likely that by 2005, I was nearer to 300 pounds (around 136 kg) than 200. If I had to guess, I think I was probably somewhere close to 275 (roughly 125 kg) at my “peak.”
The above “journey” is not one I would recommend anybody take! To this point, I have managed to “dodge the bullet” on most of the related health conditions, but not all of them. I’ll not go into detail here, just keep in mind that the potential repercussions are far worse than you really ever want to know.
In 2005, I started working at a new position in a company where I stayed for nine years. While there, I substantially pared myself down in weight and size. I went from somewhere near my peak weight, to somewhere very close to 200 pounds. In the process, I went from a 42 inch (roughly 106 cm) plus waist, to somewhere around a 38 inch (96.5 cm) waist or below.
I really didn’t start this process until around 2010 and lost virtually all that weight (and waist) through walking (yes, you read that correctly, walking). I won’t say there was no change in diet, but my focus was on getting active (and for the most part, the diet took care of itself—and I made no drastic changes).
When I started, I was walking five or ten minutes once or twice a day and probably less than a quarter mile (around .4 km), by the end of that period, I was walking an hour a day, and five miles (around 8 km) in that time. As I implied, I left that position at the end of 2013
These days (at the end of 2015), I weigh in around 194 (88 kg) on a heavy day (I often weigh in between 192.5 and 190). I have somewhere between a 36 (around 91.5 cm) and a 34 inch (about 86.25 cm) waist.
I spend half an hour in a “gym” and about 45 minutes walking and running (I walk about 1.5 miles or roughly 2.4 km and run another half a mile or roughly .8 km). And I do this on days that I work at the office only (and all walking and running is done outside, so if the weather is sufficiently bad—raining more than a drizzle, very icy or snowing at all hard—I don’t walk or run). I don’t do anything on vacation (unless I feel like it) or if I work from home.
Of that time, I spend less than 30 minutes doing the full two mile distance, and the rest in “cool down” time. In general, I average around 4.5 mph or around 7.25 kph.
My heart rate typically “maxes out at” a number less than 160 beats per minute and when I’m truly resting, I have a heart rate in the lower seventies. And as to my “recovery?” I can “come down from” a 160 beat per minute heart rate to under 112 beats per minute in less than five minutes.
I’m far from a superman and there are a good many people in better shape than am I. That having been said, you should understand that, where the are others who have been through a journey similar to mine, I have managed to successfully bring myself into moderately good condition and keep myself there for years (not days, weeks, or even months).
If this sounds like something you may want to accomplish, then it might be beneficial for you to take some time to look at what I have to say about health and fitness.