Sunday, November 15, 2009

losing the baby weight

{Note: I don't know what's going on with the fonts in this post. Blogger and I are not getting along today. Apologies for the visual weirdness.}

This is kind of an update on a post from mid-October about getting in shape and barefoot/minimalist running. I'm still at it!

Before Owen was born, I was in the best shape of my life. You know those guys who are like, "I was in awesome shape in high school but as I got older things started going downhill." I wasn't one of those guys. I wasn't fat in high school, but I was, uh, soft. I didn't play sports. I did choir and drama and it pretty much showed. But in my early thirties, I got serious about getting in shape. I picked up a copy of Body For Life, started working out 5-6 days a week, eating 6 small balanced meals a day with an emphasis on protein, avoided sweets, gave up soda, and pretty soon I was looking and feeling badass.

Then ... we had a baby.

You've heard this story (or lived through it) before. Sleep became a luxury, food was something shoveled in whenever possible, often whatever the kids didn't finish, and if there was an option for comfort food, you took it. Cookies? Sure. Ice cream? OK. More wine? Yes, please! In addition to the food, I stopped going to the gym. Pretty soon I was back up to the weight I was at before I started working out.

So for the last 4+ years I've wanted to lose my baby weight. Lisa has since been pregnant again and given birth to our second child, but I've been struggling to drop the 15 pounds I added after the first one.

I mentioned in a previous post I've been working with a personal trainer. While that workout is very effective, it requires one to be pretty disciplined about what one eats. Truthfully, so did my 6-day-a-week workout routine. I was eating really well then, so I can't pretend exercise alone EVER did the trick to take and keep weight off. I have to exercise AND eat right if I want to lose weight. Fuck genetics. (Sorry, Mom and Dad).

So after I stopped going to the trainer, I started doing other things. I seem to be at a place in my life where almost every activity involves some sort of gadget. So I picked up a few.

First, I got Wii Fit Plus. This wasn't really planned. My friend and fellow blogger Kim invited me to a yoga party. I wasn't sure what to expect. Or what to wear. But Kim said I would be the "token man." I said I'd be there. Turns out the party was sponsored by Nintendo to let people (mostly bloggers) try their new Wii Fit Plus. [Full disclosure — I got a copy of the game and a Wii Fit board as gift for attending the party. I already had a Wii.] The Wii Fit Plus is Wii Fit, Plus some new stuff. I didn't do all the new stuff, but I did a little yoga and checked out the new games. They're fun and, like most Wii games, challenging but not super hard, a little goofy, and family friendly. The new "My Wii Fit" feature lets you save personalized workouts. They've added the ability to weigh your babies and pets. Cute, but if they think I'm picking up my 90 lb Black Lab to get him on the Wii Fit board with me, they're insane. My favorite of the new games is Wipeout, or whatever they call it. It's basically like that show where people make idiots of themselves going through an obstacle course. You get to do that without actually getting wet or injured or humiliated beyond the spectators in your TV room. Good times.

But if you want to do serious exercise, the Wii only goes so far. It doesn't really qualify as what I consider a vigorous workout, especially compared to what I did in my trainer's gym for the last year, which felt as close to weekly childbirth as I ever want to get.

So next I got a free iPhone app called "Lose It!" It lets you log everything you eat and any exercise you do. You tell it what you weigh, what you want to weigh, and how fast you want to lose it. It tells you how many calories you can eat daily. Everything you log is tracked against that goal. I've found logging what I eat to be the single best way to eat better. When I have to write it down, I think before I stick something in my mouth. Food. I'm talking about food. But come to think of it, if I have to write it down, it might work for other stuff, too. I've been using Lose It for about a week, and I give it a thumbs up.

After that, I got this:

When I broke up with my trainer (I hope it's a temporary separation), he kindly gave me a home version of his workout to try and help me stay in some sort of shape. It requires almost no equipment. The problem is it doesn't really have a good exercise for the large muscles of your back. The Iron Gym Xtreme takes care of that. It's a fancy chin-up bar you stick in a doorway. No hardware required to attach it, and it'll hold like 300 lbs. Thankfully I'm a few stones shy of THAT number.

Finally, I'm doing the thing I said I'd NEVER do: running. On purpose. And kinda far. For me, anyway. I've mostly run in my Vibram Fivefingers, and once totally barefoot. It's fun. Despite being one of the lowest tech activities one could do, running has still resulted in acquisition of several gadgets. I got another iPhone app to track my runs – a fancy pedometer called iTreadmill. I also started logging my runs on It's a social media site for runners and athletes. It's cool. If you use it, friend me. I'm even considering signing up for a race or two. I'm not ready to start training for a marathon yet, but for the first time in my life the idea of doing that at some point doesn't strike me as completely insane.

And for the last gadget, because I am a dad, after all, I got this baby:
The BOB Ironman Sport Utility Jogging Stroller. I got mine on Craig's List, so gratefully I paid slightly less than the crazy money they want for one of these things new. Still, for a cheap hobby, running is starting to get expensive. It's a cool chariot for the little dude, though. Nicholas has been out with me a couple times and he loves waving at the other runners (especially the ones with dogs), chatting, and kicking his feet.

The quest for a fitter me continues. I've also started singing more again, but this post is already way past too long, so that'll have to wait for another day.



  1. As far as the genetics go, I didn't invent them and I am stuck with them, too. But I think that most people (and I don't mean the Chinese) have to eat right as well as exercise to stay fit. At least, that's what my doctor keeps telling me.
    Congratulations on your continuing efforts and creativity in finding ways that work for you.
    Love, Mom

  2. Speaking of genes, a recent trip to Kaiser revealed that my laissez-faire attitude toward pastry and diet in general had resulted in a balooning triglyceride level. So I have once again curtailed pastry, sugar and alcohol in my diet. Results are good, my latest blood work (on Saturday) revealed a drop in the tri-G levels and a concurrent 10 pound weight loss. Goodbye Christmas cookies and candies.

  3. good luck, mike. I look forward to hearing about your progress!

  4. I heart running...and that's something that a decade ago I never would have thought I'd say. It's very addictive, and so good for you - physically, mentally and emtionally.

    Good luck to you! :)


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