For much of my life (especially after college when I stopped working out 15-20 hours per week) I have had trouble keeping weight on my body. I remember during a physical exam for a life insurance application years ago that I was told being less than 135 pounds (at my height of 5’6″) was a health risk and raised my premium rates. During college I was somewhere between 140-145 pounds with 3-5% body fat, but within 6 months after graduating I had lost 10 pounds, and a couple years later I was only 128.
Due to this background I always made sure I ate enough food, and if it was evening and I was even mildly hungry I would eat more, so I wouldn’t wake up in the middle of the night starving. Over the past few years since I began working out again more regularly I’ve been able to stay closer to 135, but in the last couple months my habits changed a bit.
We recently purchased a home near a gym where I now coach boys three nights a week from 5-8pm. This means I’ve had to eat something before and afterwards because I miss dinner. Our new home is also very close to a Culvers hamburger and ice cream fast food restaurant, which is new in town and hence has many specials to entice customers. This led to eating a Culvers deluxe double sandwich between 8:30 and 9pm at least once or twice a week for a few weeks, in addition to eating 3 meals and a couple snacks during the day before practice.
I didn’t think much of it until I stepped on the scale a couple days ago and saw I was 139.6 pounds. I have been working out recently but not enough to believe that was all muscle. Then yesterday while unpacking boxes my wife found a couple pictures of me with my shirt off which were my “before pictures” for the body for life challenge we started in the fall of 2000. I compared myself now to then and realized that I’ve put on some additional weight that is not useful except for keeping me warm.
After considering the situation for a little while I came up with the following plan:
- After practice I will not stop and eat anywhere, but only have some fruit and light snacks to make sure I can sleep. My main dinner will be before practice around 4-4:30. Eating too close to bedtime doesn’t give your body time to digest and utilize the energy so it just stores it as fat.
- I will make a point of not finishing food the kids have left on their plates unless I acknowledge that as part of my meal or snack. Conscious, intentional eating is good for me.
- I will stop eating when I feel full, there is no prize for having a clean plate. Being overstuffed makes it hard to digest food, which causes all sorts of trouble.
- I will make sure Willow (he’s almost 2) gets into his crib and out of our bed every night so I can sleep. I always eat more when I don’t sleep well.
- I will continue to increase my activity at the gym when I coach, at a sustainable pace.
I know it will take some time to get back to a healthy balance, but I was pleased to see progress even in one day (I lost a pound the first day). As for how I’ll be able to tell when I’m in balance, I should be able to see my stomach muscles (ie 6 pack) without flexing, regardless of how much I weigh. 🙂