I'm James Maxey, the author of numerous novels of fantasy and science fiction. I use this site to discuss a wide range of topics, with a heavy emphasis on cranky, uninformed rants about politics and religion and other topics that polite people attempt to avoid. For anyone just wanting to read about my books, I maintain a second blog, The Prophet and the Dragon, where I keep the focus solely on my fiction. I also have a webpage where both blogs stream, with more information about all my books, at jamesmaxey.net.


Thursday, September 05, 2013

Day 365: Year one of living better

It was 365 days ago that I downloaded MyFitnessPal on my smartphone and made the choice to turn my life around. I put in my weight that first day at 284 pounds. I just weighed myself a few minutes ago, and I now weigh 228 pounds. Not only have I been able to lose about 20% of my body weight, I've now kept it off since I hit my major milestone of 224 pounds back in May.
Alas, I never reached the goal of hitting 220. So close, but it eluded me. I'm still hoping that I'll get there eventually. My weight started going the other way in May when the days started getting longer for a very good reason: I began moving my body through space at distances I couldn't have even dreamed of last year. Below is a chart generated by Endomondo, the program I use to keep track of how far I walk, hike, bike, run, and kayak. I started using the app last December. As you can see, I got a little obsessive about keeping my total distance always just a little bit higher than the month before, I trend I managed until August. But, in fairness, I had weeks of vacation in June and July where I had the time to do more long bike rides. The fact I got as far as I did in August while holding down a full time job is a pretty good accomplishment.

So, while I've gained a few pounds, I'm pretty sure most of the gain has come from adding muscle to my legs. Since we added biking to our workout schedule, it really uses a very different set of muscles than hiking. We've gone from sweating and panting our way through six mile bike rides to managing 30 mile rides, with plans for longer ones.

Alas, some of the few pounds I've added back might be fat. One paradox of all the exercise I've done this summer is that it's kept me eating ridiculously high calorie loads. Over the course of a week, I might burn an extra 8000 calories from exercise, but all the working out leaves me famished, so I can't stop snacking, and feel justified eating larger portions of everything. I'm still avoiding soda, but confess I've gone back to eating pizza after mostly staying away from it last winter.

Of course, weight isn't the only important number when it comes to health. I gave blood last night and my blood pressure was terrific and my resting pulse was only 68. My resting pulse used to be in the high 80s or low 90s. I used to have pretty frequent back pain, and now I go whole days without noticing a twinge. And, I'm still fitting into the 34" waistband pants I bought back in the spring. All in all, I'm probably more fit than I've ever been in my life.

Cheryl and I have moved ourselves through space under our own power a little over 750 miles so far this year.  We plan to make it to 1000 miles before years end, though it does get a little tougher in the winter since it's harder to get in long hikes or rides after work when it gets dark 30 minutes after Cheryl gets home. Still, I think we'll make it.

The major milestone I'm shooting for now is to bike 50 miles on my 50th birthday. That's in early March, so weather might complicate that. Obviously, if it's snowing or raining hard, I'll have to reschedule. Still, it's something to look forward to, and something I could barely dream of when I started this last year.


Suzanne Warr said...

Bravo to both of you! That's seriously impressive. I know how annoying it can be when you have trouble making that last tiny bit of weight come off--but really, it hardly matters in the grand scheme of your new lifestyle and all those miles. Woot, woot!

Mr. Cavin said...

Yeah man. When it comes to weight, those numbers are going to go up and down. As long as they still do both, you are still winning. As for your pulse and BP, that's where the bragging rights really lie. Good job!

James Maxey said...


CathyB said...

Congrats to both you and Cheryl, James! This investment in your future will never stop yielding dividends.

Oz said...

I'd like to suggest that you register with the National Weight Control Registry soon. It's helped me keep some part of the weight off over the years, and to keep trying to get back to a lower weight. You need to keep a minimum of 30 pounds off for a year. Easy for you. They send you surveys, you're part of a database of people who have lost weight.
Oz Drummond, on myfitnesspal too

James Maxey said...

Thanks, CathyQ

Oz, that looks interesting. Technically, I won't have had a full year of a weight loss of 30 pounds until December or January. I'll take a look at it. I feel pretty confident I can maintain my current weight. The worst of my weight gain habits are pretty far behind me. I may eat pizza from time to time now, but in moderation. I know longer consider the appropriate serving size "1 pizza." And, I'm still avoiding soft drinks, my biggest source of empty calories. I don't miss them at all, even a little. In fact, when I do sip on one every now and then, it just tastes insanely sweet, almost sickening. How do we ever train ourselves to drink those things?

Oz said...

It happens slowly, over time. But yes, you've hopefully changed some very basic habits. Alas, I can't have even one slice now, since I'm not as active as you've been. But we went from ordering a pizza each to eating maybe 3 slices each, sometimes only 2. So a pizza now feeds the 3 of us.

ozdrummond on myfitnesspal...Klingonguy is on it too, though he's sporadic again.