Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Getting better about honoring my commitments

Since second semester of my junior year of college, I have a history of at least twice a year declaring "New Fricano." The first time it meant substituting tequila shots for beer because I was unhappy with my weight gain. (I just learned a few seconds ago that I was correct about shots having fewer calories! Hooray!!) Unfortunately, I didn't exercise and still ate like shit so I never lost an ounce.  Since then it has usually meant curtailing discretionary spending but also cutting back on fast food.

Last fall though it took on a new meaning—exercising more. Or more accurately ... exercising. One pair of work pants had become a wear-only-when-everything-else-is-at-the-cleaners item and my unshirted profile (see stomach chubb, or don't if you wouldn't want to be grossed out) in the mirror was making me embarrassed. The goal was to build up my endurance so that I could run 3-4 miles each time I ran and to run four days a week. Unfortunately, the day I chose to start it was already 90 degrees by 9:30 a.m. so my first run was about one mile, and I couldn't even make it the full distance without stopping to walk. After a month I had increased to only about 1.5 miles per run. Of course I was running only twice a week (at most). After a life of not running (boringness of running, love of inline skating, arthritic knees), it was hard to want to run especially in our neighborhood (lots of street crossings, narrow roads, hardly any street lights) at night.

The neighborhood we moved to last December helped me increase the running. With much wider streets, more street lights and fewer street crossings, I increased to two times a week (most weeks) and 2+ miles per run. And I was running at about an eight-and-a-half-minute-mile pace. But still ... I never pushed myself beyond that.

Then I went to Portland and Seattle this summer to visit my best friend from college, Bill. I got there on a Sunday night and for the entire week it was a taste-tastic vacation of amazing beer (no better city for a craft beer snob), indulgent food (I swear that every goddamned restaurant we went to served mounds of tater tots) and video games. The unsurprising side effect of my gluttony and sloth was that by late Thursday night I couldn't wait to get back to Bill's just so I could change out of the jeans I was wearing, which had become straight-jacketly constricting on my creeping chubb.

I have to give a quick shoutout to Bill who generously carts my ass around wherever I want to go pretty much and every time I'm there that includes hiking to the top of Multnomah Falls.

This year my friend Amy, who had recently moved to Portland from L.A., joined us. It was one of the things she wanted to do upon moving but hadn't had a chance prior to my visit. We had a great time and Bill was nice enough to email me this picture he took of us.

Well, I thought it was nice until I noticed that a fat guy (with no neck!) had stolen my identity. This made me feel worse than any photo of me since the one that appeared in my yearbook photo freshman year of high school. My reaction to that one was "Who is that ugly girl? ... Oh FUCK, it's me!" It was again "New Fricano" time, but this time there's no fucking around.

So since returning home on July 2, I've started the Mike Fricano body modification project. It involves running at least three days a week, but four if possible. I have increased my running distance to three to four miles per jog at a nine-minute-mile pace. I have stopped drinking at home (though I still drink plenty). I eat an arugula, cucumber and pepper salad almost every night before dinner thus keeping my entree portion size down and increasing my vitamin intake. I also have decreased my sugar-loaded Coffee Bean calorie fests (iced blendeds) from thrice (or even four times) a week to just once a week—a Saturday indulgence. I've even taken to counting how many potato chips I eat to make sure I stick to the recommended portion size on the bag.

The results have been awesome. I estimate that at least half an inch of chubb has disappeared from my waist; I can fit into those jeans very comfortably again and even those work pants. I have even started to enjoy running. There are nights when I'm driving home and I anticipate the feeling of driving home stinking of my own sweat.

The running, which usually happens around 10 p.m. has eaten into time I would read or blog, but I have no regrets. In my older age, I've had to learn to prioritize my desires. And right now, being unchubby is top of the list. This is not the sexiest post to renew my blogging, but I'm back!


Lydia said...

Wow - how did you commit to such a dramatic life change?

Mike said...

It actually hasn't been hard. I'd say the biggest motivator is seeing myself in the mirror.