A Goal Mostly Hit

Back in October I groused about my weight and how it was making me feel physically, and proposed that I should lose twenty pounds by my birthday, which is, as it happens, this Friday. Today I’m happy to announce that indeed, I have lost twenty pounds from my top weight! So that’s good.

The slightly less great news is that it’s twenty pounds off from a top weight that I reached in December, which was nearly five pounds more than what I was in October, because, you know, holidays. So I’m still five pounds off from my ultimate weight goal of 170 pounds, and it seems unlikely I’ll drop five pounds by Friday, save by dysentery, which I am not inclined to contract.

I propose to solve this dilemma by a) celebrating hitting the goal of losing twenty pounds anyway (yay!), and b) setting a new target date to hit 170 pounds, which will be June 17, which as it happens is my anniversary date with Krissy. That’s about five weeks away, and as I’ve been losing roughly a pound a week — which seemed both a sensible and achievable goal in a general sense — getting to 170 by then seems doable. See you in June, target weight.

I have to say that dropping this weight has done me good aside from the simple physical side of it — although that side of it is not insubstantial. When I started in December I was winded after walking a mile on the treadmill, and now I can run two miles on the same treadmill without feeling like I want to die, and beyond that I’m feeling other physical benefits in terms of endurance and health. But there’s also a psychological benefit as well, which comes down to the ability to look in the mirror and see someone there who matches my own self-image of who I am.

As I’ve noted before, I’m not a proponent of the idea that “thin” is necessarily the body ideal for everyone, either for their physical or mental well-being. But I also know that for me personally, the weight gain was not positive, as much for what it represented in terms of what I was doing to my own body as for itself. Making it a goal to get myself back to what I see as “myself,” and having that be an act of my own will, has been a good thing for my mental health, I think.

When I hit 170 my plan is to pause there and try to maintain at that point for a bit, and see how I feel. I’ve weighed less than that before (in my 30s I was around 160 – 165), but I think at that point I’ll have to see what works for a 50-year-old version of me, not the version that has been around for over a decade. I suspect regardless I’m stuck with exercising regularly now, which is a thing I don’t love for itself, even if I like what it does for me. But, again: 50, as of Friday. I need to be exercising regardless.

So: Hooray! 20 pounds down! Five more to go! A reminder we are all works in progress, and the good news being sometimes that progress is a positive.

37 thoughts on “A Goal Mostly Hit

  1. Good for you! I know firsthand the amount of sustained effort it takes to lose 20 lbs, and I’m glad to see your hard work paying off.

  2. Come on, Scalzi. Think positive. You could go to the right restaurant tonight, contract food poisoning and drop those last 5 pounds by Friday. We believe in you!

    Congrats, Dude. Twenty pounds ain’t easy.

  3. Congratulations.

    May I ask how tall you are?

    My own weight is currently in the low 170s, after having been relatively stable in the low to mid 160s for a few years. Meanwhile I’m aging and my height seems to have decreased from 5’8” and change to something under 5’8”. Aging and retirement have also had their effects on morale, and I’ve been somewhat inclined to let myself go. However in the last 2 weeks I’ve been imposing some self-discipline and I’ve lost a couple of pounds. Weight this morning was 171.5 lb., loosely defined goal is 163-165. (I hope you don’t mind my sharing.)

  4. ‘Thin’ is not the key – but healthy for an individual’s body type is. I’m tired of this ‘it’s okay to be unhealthy and obese’ rubbish. It’s not. It’s every bit as bad as being anorexically thin. In the last decade I have had five old friends die due to health complications directly due to being much too overweight – and others who are suffering serious negative physical effects from the same. One has ruined his feet and his hands so badly that he can barely walk and can no longer play guitar, which is heartbreaking for him.

    Another – Shae – died at 32. He was a very big fellow, happily married with two young kids. He had a tumor in his abdomen of a sort that should have been easily removed save that by the time they found it, it was basketball sized and inoperable. The surgery to remove it would have killed him. They tried hard to reduce it with drugs, but never got it down to a size they could work with. Now his wife is widowed and his two toddlers will probably never remember their father. Totally unnecessary. In a smaller person, even one somewhat overweight, the tumor would have been detected and removed and his life never would have been in any real danger. Absolutely tragic.

    The key is not ‘thin’ or any fantasy target weight. The key is ‘healthy’. Good for you on achieving that!

  5. I lost 100 lbs. in the last year, which has been a major life change for me. What I like best about it is how it makes it easier to play with my two year old granddaughter!!! (Well, and also how I can find clothes to wear much more easily). And it’s amazing now how easy it is to take the stairs . . .

  6. 20 pounds is nothing to shake a burrito at. Clearly a win, even if it’s not quite the win you wanted.
    “No plan of operations extends with any certainty beyond the first contact with the main hostile force.”
    In this case…Holiday munchies.

  7. Congratulations! I stand in awe, as someone who should start hitting the treadmill and starting a journey to under 200 lbs. That would mean losing 25 lbs. But looking at your inspiration, I suddenly find it completely doable! THANKS for that inspiration!!!! And congrats again on your stick-with-it-ness that brought you to this happy point. I feel for you, I also hate exercise, but seeing as it’s the necessary component in weight loss, I will go ahead and start. (There is no try!)

  8. About 10 years ago I lost 30 lbs. As I was doing it, the number on the scale became less important than the “movement challenges” I was coming up with for myself. I would bet my daughter how many times I could go up and down a set of stairs while we were waiting for my husband to get out of the store, that sort of thing.

    At the end of it, I was pretty smug. It wasn’t easy, I never got the endorphin rush, and I missed cake but, I did it. The best part was being more physically fit, which I noticed all the time. The side benefit was knowing that when I reached into my closet, all the clothes would fit.

    Congratulations and good luck.

  9. Congratulations! That’s more than 10% of your body weight, which is quite impressive. Out of curiosity, did you find you had to change your diet much or was it mostly exercise? Also, what do you use to track your weight on a daily basis?

  10. Hooray indeed! Another work in progress here: I’ve lost about 40lb and have 20lb to go (target of 9 stone, or about 125lb). I’ve accepted (yet again) the need for daily exercise; fortunately, I loooove my rowing machine! As I’m sixtyish, my main aim is relieving the pressure on arthritic knees. It ain’t easy, but it is worth it.

  11. Celebrate with ice cream and cake!

    I put on about 10 pounds from Halloween to the end of January (when I went to Costa Rica), and have since lost about 7. Hoping to get back to 190 by the end of May. My Doctor says that 185 is the top of the “ideal” weight for my build and age. (I was 165 when I got out of the Army.) Trying for 180 by Halloween.

    I was at 250 11 years ago.

  12. I am very curious about what you are eating or not eating, in addition to adding the treadmill.

    Congratulations! This is really hard to do and you did it! Hurray!

  13. 20 pounds is most impressive! The only time I ever lost that much I was betting on a cricket game in England (thank you, thank you- don’t forget to tip your waitress!)

  14. I felt much better about myself when I gave up on getting back to my original weight. I decided 8 lbs 4 oz was unrealistic.

  15. You’re doing much better than me. From a high of 193 in November, I’ve managed to get down to around 185 (acceptable goal 175, ideal goal 165), but it’s been stuck there for about two months. One big reason is a bad habit of dealing with stress by mindlessly grazing and snacking; I finally bit the bullet and made a doctor’s appointment to see if dealing with those stress issues might help on the weight loss end as well.

    Back in the early 2000’s, I was able to keep focused better and lost 25 pounds in four months. One of my job customers noticed the quick weight loss and asked, “Excuse me, but…DO YOU HAVE CANCER?”

  16. Congrats on hitting this goal!! That’s awesome, and it’s good to hear you’re feeling better from it too.

  17. Congratulations on your loss! I’m still significantly rounder than I wish, although my most recent blood test says that at least the chemistry is healthy (if I can make myself, the exercise recumbent is my friend.) Be glad you don’t need to be on any drugs; I know from experience that although sometimes they are necessary, the side effects can be distasteful in the extreme.

  18. Congratulations! My brother uses a treadmill too. But I find them a bit too symbolic of life in general at times. Running fast but going nowhere. Unless I channel my inner hamster…

  19. Good for you. I have been running 20 lbs lighter than my top weight for some years, that other 15 lbs hasn’t gone anywhere but I’m generally feeling good (I put the weight on when I quit chain-smoking 28 years ago, no regrets.) I really liked what Peter Sagal, the Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me! host, had to say about diet & exercise in this podcast: https://www.geekwire.com/2019/numbers-geek-peter-sagal-wait-wait-dont-tell-host-incomplete-book-running-author/

  20. Congratulations! It can be especially difficult to stick with exercise if you don’t enjoy it specifically for itself, so double kudos there. I’m coming up on 52, and understand all too well the adjustments to diet and exercise that middle age requires.

  21. I’ve been working on weight loss since last July. As of Saturday, I was down 50 pounds, but I’m still quite a bit heavier than you, Mr. Scalzi. More to go – hoping to get back down to 200 (not bad for someone 6’1 who comes from lumberjack stock).

  22. Just keep doing what you are doing. Do not think of what you are doing as a diet. It is a lifestyle change. There is no need to stop or change. Your weight will stop going down all by itself when you reach your natural weight for what you are eating and doing. Enjoy your new life style and “Live long and prosper!”

  23. I applaud your success and your plan to achieve more. Over the years, I have participated in an advanced 18-month study at a local university hospital (lost 35 lbs), used self-motivated diet and exercise programs (lost 5-10), and am now using a device and app system to track steps and calories (down 19 today). I’ve touched my most current goal of 200 once in the last year and I fluctuate within 5-10 over that as seasonal temptations, and activity, ebb and flow. You’re in the best part of the curve right now, I suggest. In time, the slope will decrease, and then move up and down, but you already recognize the benefits. Keep on keeping on.

  24. Speaking as someone who’s now north of 60, you’re doing yourself a huge favor by developing the exercise habit now. It gets much harder to get in shape after 50. Staying in shape is much eaiser. (Much less hard?) So: go you!

  25. Also: I’ve found that, during the periods of my life when I’ve actually been in shape, I find that I actually start to crave exercise and movement, so you may find that aspect becoming easier as time goes along. (Or not! Bodies are weird!)

  26. Good on you! You are so nearly at your goal weight. I have been on a weight loss journey myself, and have made slow and steady progress. It does make you feel good as you get closer to your goal. It has taken me about eighteen month to lose the weight I have, but the main thing is that I have changed my habits for good. Keep up the good work!

  27. MaximumBob:

    I’m using Fitbit’s since I have a Versa. Bear in mind that calorie counts are approximate and can vary by as much as 20%; even so, I find it useful.

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