At the moment I find myself obsessing a little about my weight. There are three basic reasons for that:
1. Its a number. Weight is measureable against an easily understood standard, be it in pounds, kilograms or stone. Its also pretty easy to measure. How I feel, the spring in my step, the feeling of lightness when I run can been felt but not really measured. Do I feel lighter than I did six months ago? Yes. Do I feel lighter than last week? Well, I don’t know, actually I don’t think I do (in reality I am lighter but I’ve pushed up my running load so everything ‘feels’ heavy right now). I could do the same with body fat, strength, VO2 max, power max etc – those are great numbers, probably better than weight to track – but they are hard to track too. These output measures require all sort of special tests, equipment, skills etc. Weight just requires a scales and the ability to stand still for a few seconds.
2. It’s a number that really puts my transformation into perspective. I started this trip at 128 kg, I’m now 106 kg, I’ve lost 22 kg. I’ve lost almost 15% of my body weight. Put it another way, I used to try and run, ride and swim with one of those big 20 kg plate weights strapped to my guts. But I’m not finished. My goal is around (not sure what my final race weight is) 97 kg. That means I’ve got another 9 kg to lose, that’s 9% of my current weight. When I’m done I will have lost 31 kg (almost 70 pounds!) or nearly a quarter of my body weight. That’s a barrage of numbers I know but it’s a barrage that makes me feel great, those numbers are like friends cheering me on, saying “look what you’ve done!”.
3. I can control weight. I can’t get taller, I can’t make my hands and feet bigger, my hips narrower, etc but I can make myself lighter and leaner. In a sense this is the real point of monitoring my weight. That weight is a nice easily measured and understood number is handy but not really a reason to measure it. After all I’ve spent most of my professional life complaining about pointless measures put in place solely because they are easy to get. But my ultimate purpose isn’t to be light; its actually to live longer and better. My purpose is to compete, maybe even excel, at something again. Weight, especially the useless fat I was carrying (and still am to be honest) gets in the way of those aims. And I can remove it! Its hard, I’m often hungry, often sore, always a little tired but I can do it – if I know what ‘it’ is. Watching, managing and ultimately reducing my weight is a big part of ‘it’.