I may fall and break my hip soon. Tonight I ran 3.05 miles here in Albany right as the streets were beginning to become slippery with freezing droplets of rain glazing the concrete and cement. My sneakers–which I hope to retire soon–are coming apart but they still have some treads left on them and so I was able to get through the nastiness on the ground without taking a header into something real hard. The coldness came on quickly. It’s been warmer here lately and the temperature may have dropped five degrees while I put on my well-worn sneakers.  I noticed that the further I ran, the harder my rain-soaked hair became. It was nice.

When I weighed in I was 192.6, which is about a pound more than the same time yesterday. For Lent, I’ve given up a few things (although it’s only Ash Wednesday). One of those things is weighing myself on a daily basis. I gave myself a 20 pounds in 20 weeks goal and I have until nearly mid-May to achieve it, which I know I can do. It feels much easier than before. I’m thinking more positively before and dealing with the fluctuations much better than I have ever done. Add to that, I’m eating better. Things feel good. Even on a miserable freezing rain night such as this.

At this time last year, I believe that I was about 215 lbs. I can’t be certain of that, but six months or so before that I was 224. I now weigh in at the lightest I have in three years, but I’m still not content. I’d like to be down to 175 at the most, though I know in doing so my body will fight me each day to the last calorie. Simply put, within me are habits, bad ones, that seem to define my body.

Like just this morning, maybe 3 a.m., I polished off the remainder of a box of cinnamon Life cereal. I was legitimately hungry I suppose, but it was still not a good idea when in my funky green fridge were oranges. Consuming the tasty squares at 3 a.m. is bad enough, but to do so without milk, now that’s just pathetic.

And yet, that’s what I did. I wolfed down the remainder of the box without recourse to my attempt to cut out carbohydrates for the next nine days (I swear I’ll do it again like last time!, except we’re supposed to have pizza at work next Friday and how can I resist a slice or two?!)

So, gluttony took my over last night and when I awoke this morning the first thought that I had was that I’d failed. I’d done so well, too, well, except for the piece of mushroom pizza I’d had after the movie last night, before the Life incident. Lately, however I have employed the philosophy that if you dwell on your mistakes you’re more doomed to repeat them, again and again.

I showered, dressed and set off for work on foot, a two-mile path through Albany (pictured below).

For the past three days I’d walked to work in an attempt to get as much exercise and sun as possible and really found myself enjoying my trips too and from my office. I am hoping that despite the fact that it’s not the dead of winter yet in Upstate New York, I’ll be able to do that walk at least three times each week. We’ll see. Today my feet were soaking wet all throughout day from the fresh slush on the sidewalks, but by the time I got out, the sunlight had all but melted what was left of it. I headed back walking quickly (I’d also walked 1.5 miles on my lunch break for the third day in a row). It felt great to be out, even though the temperature had by sunset dipped beneath freezing.

When I got home, I decided that to speed up some of my weight loss (I’ve lost five pounds since the new year), I’d go for a run.

I ended up doing a three mile run in the freezing cold and by about the halfway point the gusts were killing me and through my forest green soccer shorts, my penis was practically frozen. Still, it was worth it, and I’m proud of myself for my accomplishment. I try to run as much as possible but this winter I’ve had to mostly settle for the eliptical at the gym. It was great though. Now, if I can refrain from any early morning snacking, I may just be set to dip below 194.4.

You ever see those news segments on CNN, MSNBC, FOX or the nightly news on the epidemic of obesity? While the reporter narrates their piece they do it over footage of random fat people crossing busy city streets. The shot is always from the waist down and the person is oblivious of the fact that their gross legs and rear end will be broadcast to a nation.

I used to feel bad for those people, but now when I think about it I can’t. A person who has gained too much weight in the last few years (though it’s been melting off pretty good), I know that no matter where you are in public, people see you.

For several months when I was at my heaviest I worked at a state agency here in New York (known for it’s fat people) which had a corridor with very reflective glass, I used to look away as I passed it. I couldn’t bear to look at myself in the mirror. Certainly, in my mind I knew that I’d gotten fat, but I couldn’t bear to look at my image. It was a perverse denial of sorts. After all, I was fat, 224 pounds at one point. I’m now under 200, but still overweight.

Regardless, the one thing that I know for sure is that when a person is not comfortable with who they are, they are more likely to have maladaptive behaviors like overeating or using drugs. To do so helps a person avoid dealing with the fact that they don’t like where they are in life, where they’re going and where they’ve been.  I know because I’ve been in that position.

A recent story that made headlines in the news of the weird sections circulating in American newspapers speaks to our nation’s obesity epidemic.

It’s a depressing thing when we have people who can accept the fact that that they are fat and do nothing about it. Just like myself avoiding my reflection in the Department of Transportation building window, a person who denies their fatness is doing their self a horrible disservice.

We are now the most obese nation in the world, a country filled with fast food joints, buffet style restaurants and eateries that advertise the big plate, 16-pound sirloin and all-you-can-eat fixings. It’s upsetting to think that I’m a part of that trend and the sad state of our dietary lifestyle. I don’t want to be, so I’m taking the bull by its horns and doing all that I can to melt away my fat. It’s not as hard as it seems. After all, I have good motivation, I don’t want to be one of those people taped for the nightly news walking across the street for a segment on obesity.

One thing I haven’t written about which is quite odd considering that this web log is supposed to be about self-improvement (hence the name) is my recent running challenge. About a month ago I believe I wrote about how I lacked the passion I used to have for running. Whether I’ve gained my elan back or not, I’m a running fool lately, having challenged myself to do 100 miles in 40 days. I’m 25 days in and have done 64 miles altogether, which is the equivalent of about 2.5 miles per day. Some days I’ve run only three while others I have done as much as six, so I haven’t run every day. Some days I have a good stride with a quick pace while other times I’m speed waddling, a mess. Regardless of how fast I’ve gone, I have reaped some of the benefits already which include a more relaxed and positive outlook throughout my day, an easier time sleeping at night (although I’m still not doing too well in that department), and smaller troughs and turnaround time in my sour moods and anxiety. That’s not to say running will save my life, but it has made things interesting and challenging to say the least. I weighed in at 208 at the end of last week, which is still much to high. At this time last year I was 224, so there’s some good progress there. It’s early morning here in Albany and I have gone for a run, three miles to be exact. Hopefully, I’ll finish my goal within the next two weeks. When I was 21 I did 100 miles in 30 days! Perhaps that could be my July 11 – August 11 goal….hmmmm….maybe not.

It’s not my ideal weight. I would like to lose 25-30 lbs. more. Actually, I’m quite overweight, although I may not look it.

In June 2006 I weighed in at 224 lbs.

In November I was down to 219. I’m now lower than that. I was at my lowest weight in February when I got down to 207 after some diligent healthy eating and mindfulness practicing.

Right now I really don’t know what to say. I feel like I can do it and should do it. I don’t like being overweight. It’s kinda gross and I feel a lack of energy in comparison with how I felt in my early twenties. Let me tell you that it took a lot of focus and effort to relearn how to play hockey this fall and winter at more than 25 pounds above the weight that I had last played it at in high school. Nevertheless, ice hockey did help me to lose some weight.

So, for tomorrow I’ll be running again across the Dunn Memorial Bridge, which connects Albany and Rensselaer, New York. The run takes me north about a mile toward the Amtrak bridge which carries passengers East-West. It’s a good run, slightly less than four miles or maybe exactly four. I’ll try to measure it out.

Tomorrow’s menu includes a tuna fish sandwich and a salad with smoked salmon in it. I think that diet is pretty lean with dark rye bread and green tea, which I find to be very relaxing. I’ll let you know how it goes.