Heavy Thoughts

I recently read a blog post about the ridiculousness of the fashion industry and our media that glorify twig-thin, emaciated women and how the impact of that emphasis is literally killing women young and old.  For about .834 seconds, I thought to myself, “Sad, but I have no idea…”  I did not finish the thought before a Simpson-esqe ‘doh’ echoed around the emptiness that is my skull’s interior.

The problem is, my stomach is about as empty as the inside of my head, and I’ve gained some appreciation – albeit small – of the struggle to keep a certain image that cuts against the grain of genes and habit.  As a member of the military, I’m expected to meet certain criteria: health, standards, physical fitness marks, and height-to-weight standards.  I have my opinion of these charts I’ve lived my life by, but complaining is much like lecturing a wall.

My problem came to a head upon my return from Kabul.  After a year performing a stressful and sedentary job, in an emotionally toxic environment, and a physically toxic environment, I’d crept up in weight, and too much.  A lot more Rants came home than left.  I tried exercise there, but the air is full of burned, harmful elements and after allergic reactions each time, I simply gave up.  My run times got worse over time, not better.

Normally, approaching a weigh-in, I’ve only had to drop a pound or two and make sure I could do enough pushups and such.  Sure I’d have to get “taped,” measurements taken because I was over the prescribed limit, so the Army reverts to rough body composition estimates.  I knew the weight I could keep and “tape out” (pass) successfully.  I’ve been doing this since I was a senior Captain and age began its evil work on an already heavily-boned frame.  For the balance of my 21 years before, I always was under the weight limit, but barely.  I’m not big and burly so much as I’m dense.

This time my weight challenge went beyond what I expected.  I had a month to drop 47 pounds to make weight, or 35 pounds to tape out.  After a month of eating a half-sanwich a day with a vitamin and struggling to function on nothing, I’m there.  I can tape out.  On Monday, I made my run time.  I now can, with most of my shorts, pants myself merely by putting my cell phone and wallet in my pocket.

If you are a gym goer, you know what a 35-pound iron plate looks like.  I have just shed myself of one in an extreme demonstration of sheer will in thirty days.  I don’t advise carving off a pound a day.  Your body does freaky things in protest, some of them truly alarming.  Do not try this at home, viewers.  For the curious, some statistics:

My height: 73″ or 6’1″ barefoot

Army Regulation Weight for 73″: 208

My Post-Afghanistan Weight: 255

My weight on 7/7/13: 220

I’ve modified what I eat, which has been the key to my success, if you call it that.  Once under 230, I added a breakfast of fruit and some almonds.  I supplement the sandwich now with vegetables, nuts, fruit and eggs.  I’ve not eaten a tortilla in over a month, nor have I tasted mayonnaise in as long.  Candy, milk and sugar don’t exist in my universe.  Maybe equally important, I have allowed one no-rules dinner a week, which let me grill ribs on the Fourth, and a steak or two that likely kept me from chewing my own hand off in my sleep.  You can thank that allowance for the recent Carne Verde recipe as well.

One thing I’ve learned is that this just sucks.  I really do feel for people who have to exist this way continuously simply to draw a check.  People should eat carrots but not be as thin as them.  I don’t buy fashion magazines as one glimpse of me will prove, but I’d boycott anything to do with them or the airbrusher’s union supporting it.  I’ve also learned that retooling how you eat is important but easy because if you’re hungry enough, carrots are freaking delicious.  I’m letting myself have some more to eat now, but most of it is simple fruit and vegetables.  I’ve found they’re far more satisfying over time.

I am easing back into rational eating, and gladly.  Again, don’t try this approach.  I am going to hang onto my rabbit food, too, and might see how close I can get to 208.  But I’m in no particular hurry now.

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91 Responses to “Heavy Thoughts”

  1. Fascinating, Rants. Thanks for that!

  2. If you don’t mind, if you could detail out what you did and send it to me that would be great. I need to lose some pounds….

  3. I would have killed someone if I had to survive on half a sandwich a day…

  4. Ah, crash dieting. I’ve tried many times, and usually tap out after a week because I’m not very pleasant to be around when hungry. Small changes and consistent exercise seem to be the only things that work long term for me, and the older I get, the more I have to adhere to “lifestyle change” instead of spending three weeks at the gym and dieting, hitting the weight I want and celebrating with cheeseburgers until it’s time to repeat. Congrats on making your weight though. It was interesting to read the experience from your point of view.

  5. Great post – I honestly think any kind of dieting requires a LOT more courage and fortitude than I have. I’ve tried – but it’s so hard to keep going day after day.

  6. I feel your pain, Rants. Eating less than you want (some might call it “sensible” eating but we all know that’s bullshit) sucks, so eating less to cut weight quickly has to be utter misery. I’ve never had to meet any weight requirements but I’m sure I’d be mean as fuck. I’m trying to lose weight myself and for the most part I’m managing pretty well but every so often I start having wet dreams about giant cheeseburgers and giant bowls of ice cream. Meh.

  7. Your diet sounds a lot like this sugar detox I’m on right now but I don’t get fruit either. I don’t think I could only eat half a sandwich a day though, that’s just crazy. Course I can’t have bread so a sandwich is out anyway. By the way, lemon in warm water helps curb the appetite. I hope you can find a way to maintain the healthy weight and eat throughout the day.

  8. I had a colleague this year tell me that she needed to lose weight. She was leaving the International school to work in a state school. I didn’t realize until later that these two things were related. In Germany, a public school teacher must maintain a healthy BMI. It is grounds for dismissal if you don’t maintain it over time. Some would say this is a bad thing, a person has rights, let them eat whatever the fuck they want. But doesn’t an employer want a healthy worker? And would this save the insurer money as well.

    Hang in there. I think fajitas on a bed of lettuce with plain yourt (sour cream substitute) and some homemade salsa is just as good as fajitas in tortillas.

    • This is a trend now in the U.S., yes. I’m undecided about the goodness or badness of it, but I do know that Americans are in fact generally pretty fat, so maybe this is positive. And yes, cabbage leaves make pretty good tortillas too, and are more durable than lettuce.

  9. Glad to read you are not going manorexic. Restrictive diets fuck with the metabolism, and yes, the mind as well.

    • I’m not manorexic, don’t worry. I was worried about the mind thing, but after the aliens told me I could eat apples I knew I was okay.

  10. Dear god that sounds brutal! But great job…you can level out now! So just one sandwich a day…hmm…I would love to drop 5 lbs.

  11. Oh, but what a rant we’d have heard if you passed a 35 pound block of Rants in one…sitting.

  12. That’s an ungodly amount of weight to lose in such a short time span. I would go insane-er. Ugh.

  13. Wow, brutal. And you’re right – there are people whose livelihood and entire sense of self-worth depends on living that way on a permanent basis. Terrifying to think about your body in constant rebellion and feeling yourself decay while still alive.

  14. I just cut out carbs (the super bad ones like bread…bread is my enemy) and fast food. I was an over eater and fast food junkie. Fast food is the Devil! I’ve also learned to eat smaller portions and I’m exercising regularly (power walking 20-30 minutes a day).

    It is turning out to be a lifestyle I can actually deal with. I still have the ocassional sweet but because I cut back pretty much all sugars, I get bad headaches when I eat sugar. So I just don’t eat it.

    I do miss some food and warm dinner rolls and pancakes but I can live without them. 🙂

  15. In high school, I dated a boy on the wrestling team. Their coach had them run track laps in the 90 degree sun wearing full body wetsuits. They’d lose pounds of water weight before weigh-in, then power-load carbs before their matches. It made me so ill.

    Anyway, it says a lot about you that you had the mental stamina to do this. I hope you never have to do it again!

  16. Holy cow. That is intense. I can’t imagine being under that kind of a deadline.

  17. Melanie Says:

    35 lbs in 30 days. Oh dear. I lost that when I went through the involuntary divorce diet. Some days I only ate cereal, others, a box of oreos. It’s not good what that does to you. On an up note, I know I could survive Survivor.

  18. Whoa – I couldn’t do it. I lost a whole bunch of weight more slowly, sensibly, so that means I’m more likely to keep it off, right? Wrong. It’s a hell of a lot easier to work on gaining it back – THAT I can do 1 pound per day for sure.

    Good for you for tackling your goal like that.

  19. Weeping for the days when I could eat anything and it didn’t matter.
    (No Mexican food – poor child!)
    The one “free – no guilt meal” a week works – and lots of water /no bread and 40 minutes on a treadmill daily will lose weight – 30 min for maintenance once goal is reach ( take one day off a week).
    That works, I know it, so why am I so lazy?…summer…so sleepy…too hot to move much. Once it gets cool, it’s easier to lose weight…really
    Hang in there – it isn’t easy. You’ve done a great job so far.

  20. Okay, so this was not to be a funny Rant but I had to laugh out loud about the steak staving off the desire to gnaw off a hand during sleep. That was just darned funny.

    As someone who continues to battle weight issues, I applaud your tenacity. I think my lack of a stick-to-it gene is what kept me from ever considering a military career; I scoff at direction-following too, so it would not have been the wisest choice…

    Be well and be careful!

  21. I think your diet sounds reasonable, if skimpy, but I suppose that skimpiness was necessary to crash diet. I lost 40 lbs over 2-3 weeks when I gave up sugar, and even though I was still eating like a crazy woman… just the loss of weight plays havoc on your mind. My diet now is a lifestyle choice, like vegetarianism– one where I’m always full and always eating something I want to eat– not a crash diet… and that, I think, makes all the difference.

    It was great reading this type of post from a male perspective. Thanks for posting it. 😀

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  23. This is my first time visit at here and i am in fact pleassant to read everthing
    at one place.

    • I love reading everything at one place too. I also like when motherfuckers spell correctly, you bitch. Try it, soon. First time, last time, go the fuck away.

  24. I like the no-rules dinner idea, I think it helps make the whole plan more bearable

  25. Having just been advised by my doctor to shed a few pounds because of creeping high blood pressure, I can certainly sympathize with you Rants. But I have been advised to lose 2 lbs. per month, not 35 lbs. in 1 month. Your body must be screaming at you – how could you do this to me? Please take care of yourself – you’re too important to your blogisphere friends!

  26. Half a sandwich a day? Madness. Did you ever have dreams about a big turkey with those white thing on its legs like Bugs Bunny always did when he was hungry?

  27. I’ll let people know if they are sending you a “care” package to just eat what’s inside before shipping. You are welcome. *grin*

  28. I changed my diet a little over the past 7 years, but still include bacon and Spam (yeah, I love the stuff, blame my ex-services father). The biggest change was, I got off the couch. Even a short walk a day helps. Longer walks, especially with a Mastiff on the end of the lead trying to re-direct your course, works even better. Proof? I was 230+ 7 years ago, when I found my current doc. Last weigh-in was 186, continually going down. No, I’m not Charles Atlas by a long shot, but there’s about 50 pounds less of me today! Same thing worked for my wife, to the tune of 75 pounds. Between us, we lost a teenager! 😀

  29. […] the meantime, I’ll sit here eating my carrots and apples, content in my near-60 pounds of weight loss simply by not eating this sort of crap. […]

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