I’ve been a bad boy, but I can’t dwell on it

I've been a bad boy this week. Much like most people do with our feasting days and times, I took the chains off this past week. Even now, I'm sitting here with a dish of ice cream with more than 1 1/2 scoops of ice cream and four cookies as I watch Week 17 on the Red Zone Channel (or ADD Television, as Rachel calls it — that's another story). 

And even though I probably shouldn't, I'm going to apologize for falling off the wagon. I will be back on my quest tomorrow.

In early October, I joined with about 35 or so of my co-workers to participate in an in-house version of "The Biggest Loser," the weight loss phenomenon that starts its 11th season this week on NBC. We also run a local Atlanta version on "Atlanta and Company" weekdays at 11 a.m. 

We weighed in back in early October for a friendly 12-week competition, only to find out that the big boss (our president & general manager John Deushane) had ponied up first, second and third place cash prizes for the contest. To make things fair, the weight loss was going to be measured in terms of percentage of your initial weight lost — which makes sense; I'm a lot larger to begin with, so even though I might lose more in the way of pounds, it's only fair not to penalize someone who is much smaller than I am to begin with. I started out a hair over 317 pounds, which was about 20 pounds heavier than I thought I was. I worked and pushed and the week before the end of the contest in mid December, I actually cracked the 300 pound barrier, which I thought might be an insurmountable line for me to cross. A week later, I stepped back over 300 to finish the contest at 301 and in fourth place, out of the money.

But what was more apparent to me was that my clothes have started to fit differently, and I'm eating differently — the sizes of my portions are much smaller than they have been in the past. I'm drinking more water than I have in years, though I really could (and should) drink more. I'm walking more than I have in a long time, though I'm certainly not working out like I should — the nature of my busy schedule. One of the things I'm doing differently for myself in 2011 is to make more time to workout more. 

This is much more than a fun 12-week contest for me; it has changed my life. I don't expect to get back to my "skin and bones" self that I was back in my school days, but I do want to whittle away another 75 pounds or so over the next year. I think that's a realistic — and healthy — goal for me to have. I want to walk a 5K sometime in the next two months. I have no illusions of being able to "compete" by any measure, but the last time I did, it took me close to an hour to finish. If I can better that time, I'll be happy with myself. 

I'm taking this one step at a time. Now, it doesn't mean that I'm out to set any weight loss records, but by losing a bit at a time, I know I'm doing it safely, and the weight is more likely to stay off over time.

Now I'm not wearing rose-colored glasses — I know that we have our feasts: Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas/New Year's, and yes, Super Sunday. But I know that if I plan effectively, I can find ways to enjoy those without going completely overboard. 

I have found some recipes that have worked for me over time — healthy ways to make things that I enjoy, like good ol' fashioned macaroni and cheese. I'll share some of those recipes as we go through this journey together. If you've got any suggestions for me, I'm more than receptive and happy to hear them. New ideas and suggestions are always welcome.

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