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April 21, 2012

Losing weight

Scale showing 169.2 lbs.Seeing a number below 170 on the scale today made me feel great.

For the past 20+ years my weight has ranged between 175 and 185 pounds. When it hits 185, often after the Christmas holidays (lots of eating, not much exercise), I feel it. The jeans are a lot tighter, and I have to go one notch farther on the belt.

When it's at 175 I feel pretty good, so I never actually set out to get below 170. But I'm still happy to see that number on the scale.


Mostly I have the Cleveland State Recreation Center to thank for this. Since I joined in late January I've gone 2-3 times a week to run and exercise. The running is similar to what I usually do at Edgewater Park, but the Rec Center removes my "it's too cold/snowy/rainy" excuse for skipping it.

And in addition to running I've added about 15 minutes of rowing and 10 minutes of bicycling to the routine. Not a lot, but enough to burn a couple hundred more calories three times a week.


Eliminating my constant travel companion—a big bag of pretzels—from my car was another important step. I'd gotten into the habit of munching on pretzels every day as I drove to work and back. I'd count out 6-7 pretzels to keep my intake to 170 calories, but still, 340 calories Mon.-Thurs. adds up.

Getting rid of my habitual snacking—I'd eat those pretzels anytime I got in the car, not just when I was hungry—was important, but it wasn't the only change in my eating habits. For the past couple of years I've been cooking differently, moving towards more vegetables and much less meat.

Used to be that I'd plan every meal around meat and vegetables. No more. Now my first thought is to try for a good all-veggie option, like this. I'm not opposed to eating meat, but for both health and environmental reasons I'm trying to cook more with vegetables, what I call a Semi-Veggie Diet.

I've also slowed down on grabbing that second helping at dinner. Used to be almost automatic, but now I try to slow down and think about whether I really want more.


Not much. None of the above requires heroic self-discipline, especially once you get started. It's a matter of replacing one set of habits with another. After a week or two, driving without eating pretzels seems as normal as driving with eating them.

What's the point? Well, I feel better, lighter mentally as well as physically after making these changes in my life. You may too. The key is to start somewhere, anywhere, and make one small change. Once you do, the next small change is easier. And the next. Might even build up to a big change, if that's what you have in mind.

Just start. See where you end up.



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