At the end of January I came back from Orlando, Florida, and I looked at myself in pictures taken at Disney World and the various other parks and there was one thing I noticed: I was getting really fat. I could really tell it in my puffy face and I could just see an increase in the sheer mass of my body. The crazy time of work through the September, October, and November months where I eat garbage 24/7 had caught up with me along with a holiday season where I disregarded any type of portion control or junk food limit. I immediately went out and bought a scale and it confirmed what I had seen in the pictures. I was almost 20 pounds heavier than what I consider my ideal weight.
This appalled me. It made me feel lazy. That night I told myself I was going to make some changes. I was going to eat better and make my workouts harder. Working out is no problem for me, it is something I need to do to stay sane. But what I needed to do to shed some pounds was to increase the intensity of my workout, and I did. Through the month of February I jumped into eating better and exercising harder. I started to see results. Then came March and April and I worked even harder. I went on my self-made “Soupa Diet” (the diet consisted of soup and a girl my friend and I knew always said “suppa” instead of “super” and we always made fun of her for it so that is how the name of my diet originated). I ate half a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast, a whole peanut butter sandwich for lunch, and a can of Campbell’s Chunky soup for dinner. Strictly nothing in between meals. I did this Sunday through Friday and then ate like a king on Saturday. Yes, I know it was an unhealthy and an odd way to lose weight but I didn’t really care too much because I loved the results. My roommate was dieting too and we were motivating each other. By the time May rolled around I had lost a little over thirty pounds. My six pack from my senior year of high school and freshman year of college was visible. I was down to about 168, twelve pounds below my ideal weight.
I stayed on my diet probably about half of the month of May and then I started traveling and the whole discipline deal went out the window. When you travel there is no sense in eating healthy and punishing yourself. You got to enjoy yourself, and I really enjoyed myself. Throughout the summer I ate well and drank like a champ. With being on the road so much, I missed a lot of workouts. In between trips I made sure to work out as much as possible and I think that is what saved me from completely going off the deep end. As of right now, I have gained half of the weight I worked so hard to lose during the Spring. The scary part is that I am now entering a part of the calendar that is very capable of exploding my waistline.
September, October, November, and December are months that keep anyone working in a Division I athletic department from having an outside life. The hours are long and you are pretty much working seven days a week. Stress levels become high and people get on edge. Now, for most people, one of two things happen when stress levels rise: You either gain weight or you lose weight. It is very hard to stay normal. However, when you are around a place where yummy, greasy, heavy food is readily available, chances are you are going to gain weight.
Here where I work, pizza is a main staple during the season. Because Pizza Hut is a corporate sponsor, there are always boxes of pizza in our department refrigerators. We utilize Pizza Hut to feed our student workers, to give our athletes a post game meal, to provide our press box personnel with a halftime lunch on football game days, and reward fans who attend certain athletic events. This all generates a lot of leftovers and on long days we eat it up. Friends of the athletic department bring food by regularly and it sits upstairs at the front desk for us to devour. When the football team does not eat all of their breakfast burritos we are the benefactors of the remains. Various hotel chains come around during our busy months trying to get us to do business through them and they never fail to bring delicious, fattening cookies and/or brownies. Before the Pizza Hut pizza even arrives up in the Press Box during halftime of the games, we are treated to a warm catered meal. Once the basketball games start in late October, each of us on staff who has a working function at the game (I do) gets to indulge in another catered meal. Sometimes the basketball teams will not eat all of their food from their pregame meal and we get to pig out on that as well. Frequent trips to the vending machines are made for candy and peanuts. Besides the candy and peanuts, the type of food I have mentioned above all qualifies as comfort food. Believe me, when you are stressed, you want some comfort. As I said earlier, hours get long so sometimes I miss workouts. Unfortunately, the campus gym I use is only open until 11pm. You do the math, increased food intake and decreased exercise is not going to give me the body I want.
So hopefully by writing this post I will make myself even more aware of the trap I am prone to fall into over the next few months. I need to look at a picture of me in Orlando each day during this busy time and use it to scare me into not becoming that size again. Hopefully I can exercise a little more self-control than I did last year and watch what I put into my fat mouth. In order to watch I am going to have to do one thing: Don’t Blink.