Rather than take in another Pirates game I decided to stay in and get some writing done. This turned out to be the right decision. Although I have not yet experienced an extra innings game on this tour yet, I was happy to see the Pirates game go 16 innings in the rain today while I sat comfortably inside my hosts' home in the suburbs. For those of you who are interested, I will outline how I lost 45 pounds in four months in preparation for this tour, and how I have kept it off while on the road. This will be broken down in the next three off day posts.
It all began on January 3rd 2013. I had not seen the inside of a gym in nearly 15 years. I weighed in at 175 pounds. I am 5'6''. I have a bad back stemming from a car accident when I was 16 years old which has severely limited how active I can be. That, coupled with the depression I have discussed on this site and on the podcast, was a toxic combination that led to my weight gain. As I planned this tour, I realized that if I was going to sit in my car for 15,000 plus miles and eat ballpark food every other day, I was in danger of becoming even fatter. It was on that day that I decided that the only way I would allow myself to do this tour is if I lost some weight. The following are some of the steps I took to get healthier. I kept a record of my daily activities every day to keep me motivated and to give me a frame of reference for where I eventually needed to be.
Step 1: Maintain a sleep schedule
I have been an insomniac for as long as I can remember. Over the past couple of decades I have subsisted on sleeping two or three hours a night or going 48 plus hours without so much as a nap. This was the first hurdle I had to overcome. I could not afford to miss a night of sleep while on the road so I had to train my body to get at least six to eight hours of sleep a night. This was much more difficult than I had anticipated, but with the help of Step 2 I was able to eventually create a healthy sleeping pattern.
Step 2: Quit caffeine
I have been addicted to caffeine for as long as I can remember. My daily intake included six to eight cans of coke/diet coke plus two to three cups of coffee since I was in high school. My initial plan was to ratchet back the dosage so that when I needed the jolt of energy on the road, a cup of coffee would actually have an affect on my system. This was also ridiculously difficult. I wrote down how many cans/cups I consumed every day and started to cut back by one a day. I still craved drinking the same amount of liquid, and just like when I quit smoking cigarettes, I needed to find some way to recreate the ritual. I have never been a big fan of water (I know, I am a weirdo), so I found packets of crystal light flavoring to pour into my water bottles. After suffering through a couple of weeks of massive headaches and nausea, I am happy to say that I have not had any caffeine since February. In all of my driving and late nights on tour, I have resisted the urge to grab a cup of coffee or energy drink and I have survived.
Step 3: Count Calories
I have never really questioned what I put in my body. Being a midwestern boy I have eaten my fair share of red meat. The last time I had my cholesterol checked, I was told that mine would be high for a 65 year old man. That was six years ago and until recently I had done nothing to lower it. Once again I wrote down exactly what I ate every day from snacks to full meals. I put myself on a strict cap of no more than 1,500 calories a day. I made sure to eat at least some fruits and vegetables every day and cut out anything fried. I scaled back on the red meat (without abandoning it completely) and replaced it with more chicken and fish. I found some Mediterranean and Greek restaurants near my apartment and made them my go-to eateries. When I inevitably had a craving for something sweet, I would eat cupcakes from Baked by Melissa. For those of you not in the New York area, Baked by Melissa serves bite sized cupcakes that are 50-75 calories each and are delicious. Instead of eating three meals a day, I ate one and then snacked throughout the day. The meal would be anything from a chicken shawarma to a plate of fish. When I got hungry for the rest of the day, I would eat kale chips, hummus, fruits and vegetables. This way I was able to get enough protein, fruits and vegetables but not over consume. It took a lot of focus, but if I wanted to succeed with this tour I knew I had to do it.
End of Part 1
For Part 2 Click Here
For Part 3 Click Here
Miles Traveled: 0
Time in Car: 0 hours
Sleep Time: 8 Hours 15 minutes
Bottles of Water: 3
Food Eaten: Grapes, blueberries, blackberries, home made Indian food by my hosts
Total Money spent today $0.00
Cumulative Miles through today 15,501
Cumulative Time in car through today 282 hours 35 minutes