View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Tuesday, September 21, 2004


Last year, I started to notice some disturbing things. Like I would get winded sitting at the dinner table. Like I was buying new clothes because I couldn't breathe wearing the old ones. Like I was running out of holes on my belt.

I had seen this show before. My dad had lost a ton of weight running, then had put some back on, and then had a heart attack at 53. My grandfather died of heart disease. My dad is still with us, but the whole thing seemed like an extraordinarily scary waste of time.

About the same time I noticed that sitting on a park bench was taxing my stamina, I was doing just that, reading Peter Robinson's character study of Ronald Reagan. After John Hinckley tried to kill him, Reagan had a small weight room installed in the White House. He worked out so assiduously on them that this 70-year-old added an inch to his chest.

So much for excuses. It was back to the recumbent bike, and time to keep an eye on how many trips to Pete's Pizza I was making each week. Start out at 20 minutes a day, and add 5 minutes each week, building to an hour a day.

Last week, I officially hit 15 pounds lost since I started this daily routine. This week, I've done 60 minutes both Monday and Tuesday mornings. Today, I hit 840 "calories burned," my goal. I put "calories burned" in scare quotes, because I have about as much faith in that number as I do in Dan Rather-certified documents. But it's still a measure of how hard I'm working, so it's worth something.

I'm fitting back into that interview suit I bought in February of last year. I've lost two holes on the belt. I breathe much easier. Target: 40 pounds by the end of February. That's about 5 pounds a month between now and then, and it'll mean that I can start working on endurance. Maybe switch over to the stair-stepper at the school gym, maybe add some weights.

The trick is to do this each morning. Every morning.

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