A Heavy Issue

Perhaps I’ll engage in some lighter fare, and I do need to address a couple of long-lost topics that have gotten lost amongst the..er…heavier topics.


Actually I do want to talk about weight, specifically mine.  My mass seems to be in a linear incline since I’ve pretty much given up the smoking.  I say “pretty much” as I have had a couple of deliberate lapses lasting over a couple of 2 day road trips.  But by and large, I’ve been good.  The smokes still have a psychological pull, as I do miss them, especially during the stressful times.


But weight.  Geez.  After 10 years staying at pretty 219 lbs. or so, I’ve gone up to close to 240 over the past year.  Today I found a place where I could calculate my BMI (body mass index) and I’m at 29.9!  I’m 0.1 from going from “overweight” to “obese!”


My knees are suffering for it.  Other systems are too, I’m sure.  So I’m watching it to make sure I at least stop the incline, which I’ve done since February.  But now I really need to get it off and this will involve some exercise.


I hate exercise.


I don’t mind doing something relatively purposeful.  For instance I still use a push mower on my 2/3 acre lawn.  Okay, it is self-propelled, but with the bagger I’m still pushing and sweating buckets in the Georgia sun.  So once a week, I have that going.  I still don’t like it much but at least it makes more sense to me than walking a track or running somewhere I don’t need to go.  But my knees don’t really like this very much.  Once a week is about as much as they’ll take of that pushing over the rough terrain that isn’t even that nice of a lawn..


Swimming is not something I do well, and since there’s no pool, river or lake nearby, that’s out.


Joining a fitness club: That totally seems like a waste of money for me.  Pointless exercise, remember?  This works for some and it is a yuppie thing to do to keep in shape.  But it’s not like a real club, with dancing girls, a pole, cigarettes and mixed drinks.


Plus, the idea of driving somewhere else in order to exercise just seems odd to me.  If I lived within walking distance, it wouldn’t be a big deal.  But if more of us lived within walking distance of stuff, this probably wouldn’t be an issue at all.



Yeah, there is one sort of exercise for pleasure that I could totally be into.  But my wife would sooner see me dead than do that 3x a week for 30 minutes.  “Enjoy the heart attack, Fatman!”  I can’t even get it once a month.  Or even once a year. 



 I Finally did find something that looks like it might appeal to me.  I recently read about a guy who played video games and lost a pretty significant amount of weight.  Video games?

You can read for yourself. 


If you don’t like video games, you will totally not get it.  At least this is true for Arwyn.  I approached her with the idea and she outright scoffed.  She admitted that I had gained weight, and so has she.  But the idea of video gaming it off seemed absolutely preposterous to her.  Her idea of an intense video game is spider solitaire.  I’m more of an RTS man, like Age of Empires.  But back in the ’80’s I spent vast sums of money on various video arcade games. 


Anyway, I’m thinking of trying to step my way into shape using Stepmania, which is the open source (and free) version of Dance Dance Revolution.  I downloaded the program and a bunch of the songs and it’s actually kind of fun to play on the keyboard.  In fact I really like it as the music is real techno-ish and is heavy, heavy on beat.  Perfect for dancing and I probably burn a few extra calories grooving around while doing it with the keyboard.  It certainly is challenging and I notice that I am getting better at following the arrows, but I still struggle with anything but the easiest of selections!


Fortunately, Stepmania is fully configurable, so I can adjust and tweak it enough so it isn’t overly frustrating.  I’m using version 3.9 at the moment, and it is compatible with most operating systems even PII’s with 64 Mb RAM (there’s also a Linux version for you that are Penguin friendly).   Slowing it down for a middle-aged, overweight guy like me is a must!


My step mat has been ordered through eBay so we’ll see how things work, shortly.  I suppose I could work a fitness/weight loss theme in here somewhere, amongst my other topics.  Blogging is a good way to help with accountability.  Sometimes.  I’ve read a couple other blogs that had weight loss as somewhat of a goal or theme, but they didn’t do very well.  The blogs were quite successful, but the weight loss– eh, not so much.


I’m actually getting two mats, so I can either have one at home and one at work or I can find a similarly slow, middle aged partner to compete against/play with.  It would be nice to have a partner to play with.




9 Responses to A Heavy Issue

  1. Hey if you ever need any help let me know. The biggest concern with people starting out a program or even continuing one is, they just simply do not know how to produce lasting results. I wrote a post in regards to one of your paragraphs. http://mcgheetraining.wordpress.com/2007/04/12/mow-the-grass/

    Good luck to you,


  2. Bama says:

    If playing Age of Empires made you lose weight I would probably weigh 150lbs by now!

    Good luck with whatever plan you choose. Don’t hate on the gym too much, though. I never really liked exercise before I started either but it can grow on you.

  3. Desmond Jones says:

    Many years ago, when Molly and I were first married, I bought my first touring bicycle, and I was instantly hooked. On one level, it’s not so terribly different from jogging, or other ‘pointless’ forms of exercise, but on a bicycle, you can actually move fast enough that the scenery changes enough to keep things interesting. And, it does come to have a certain ‘communing with nature’ aspect to it. Plus, your ‘inner engineer’ can get all wrapped up in assembling the ideal gearset, upgrading your equipment, or whatever.

    I’ve documented elsewhere my own weight-loss success (90 lb in 9 mo., and I’ve kept it off for 7 months); in my mind, it’s had more to do with improving my diet, but I will say that, whereas a year and a half ago, it was all I could do to get 15 miles in, nowadays I’m back up to doing 25-30 miles pretty much every weekend (plus one hard round on the rowing machine during the week)

  4. I read about this video game/weight loss quest in our paper not long ago. I say whatever works for you, that’s great. I actually have a PlayStation 2 program called “Yourself Fitnes” that is a butt kicker. It’s a virtual personal trainer. You have to go through fitness evaluations periodically, and it adjust your workouts according to the changes you’re making. Sure, some days it gets boring watching this virtual woman tell you the same things over and over again. That’s why I do other things aside from her every day.

    Mind over matter, Digger! Good luck to you!

  5. FTN says:

    I’m not sure if weights or cardio or something at a gym should really be considered “pointless” exercise, unless you think of being healthy, losing weight, and living to see 60 entirely pointless.

    Although I realize from some of your posts that you may actually feel that way.

    Driving to get to a place to exercise seemed silly to me too, until I took into account the childcare that is offered at the gym. I’d drive many miles for that. I can’t just take off from home and go out jogging with Autumn, because I don’t think child protective services would take kindly to our kids staying at home by themselves.

    And the DDR-type of stuff can be a great weight-loss tool, I hear. Plus, it’s just entertaining to watch. Be sure to get some pictures of yourself doing some crazy dance moves, and post them here for us to see.

  6. xi summit says:

    I am were you’re at, though I’ve been where you’ve not dared. I’m at 240 now shooting for 200 after coming from 295. Sounds like you are being careful about how you go about this and so have aleg up on many people who intentionally try to lose it. Sometimes I wish I had something like the Georgia sun to help me out!

    When I was young I used to ride my bicycle 5-15 miles 5-7 days a week. Gained the weight when I stopped that. I’m hoping soon to get back into that but have weighted until I reached a ‘reasonable’ weight before upping the ante. To now it’s just been eating less dumb and doing more manual work/play at home, though not the type of play I prefer. ……

  7. Tom says:

    I lost about 16 pounds in one month playing the Nintendo Wii with wrist weights and watching what I eat. There are lots of other ways to lose weight with all sorts of video games now. Good luck!

  8. diggerjones says:


    Why was my comment eaten? I’ve been seeing this more and more across several blogging systems, so it’s not just WordPress.

    Aaron, you do bring up an interesting point. As fun as the Stepmania/DDR thing is now, it won’t always have the same appeal. I’ll have to keep an eye out for something else. And it won’t be mowing the lawn because I want to grow centipede grass that don’t need mowing so much!

    Bama you are a bit of an inspiration as you’ve already made some good progress. Maybe it will grow on me and I’ll be in a gym club of some sort some day. But it doesn’t fit into my war-on-debt plan right now.

    Desmond, bicycling is a definite possibility except there’s not a lot of great places to ride in my area. Wish we lived closer to Tallahassee, where they have a 30 mile path going to the gulf!

    FADKOG, if Eyetoy Kinetic had a PC version, I would definitely be looking into that. Especially since the female trainer is a bit of a babe. But I’m not buying a game console just for that, at the moment.

    FTN, the pointless bit is more of the Farm Boy within. I can just hear my Dad now: “Hell, I’ll let you split a whole winter’s worth of firewood AND bale 2500 bales of hay for $50! What a deal!” On the farm, the exercise did double duty as it accomplished more than just good health. It translated into heat, food, money or something more than just for health. Which is probably part of the problem as I still eat farm-sized portions while doing city-sized work. In your case, the childcare alone probably makes it a good deal! We’ll wait on pictures, although I’ll look into getting “before” picture.

    Xi, I totally get “eating less dumb” which I really need to do. For just changing your eating habits, you’ve done pretty well! And how long has it taken? Yeah, know what you mean about preferred play activities.

    Tom, you’ve got a good site there! I’m glad some stuff is coming out for us video game junkies that can make us a bit less geek-like. And I’m looking forward to seeing more games incorporating some movement.


  9. xi summit says:

    I’ve seen a lot of crash-and-burn with weight loss so I took the slow and steady approach. The net is that I’ve lost about 10 lbs a year for several years now. But it’s not just been the eating changes, I also do things more manually. When I hunt I go further into the woods. I scout during off-season for extra hiking. I maintain a larger vegetable garden, and I often use the push-mower instead of the lawn tractor (1.5 acres) or shovel instead of using the snow blower, things like that. Simple, small life adjustments. So far it’s worked, though this year I’ve not lost an ounce yet. Time to get back at it!

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