The Least Likely Interview

Earlier this week, I had what is almost certainly my most surreal interview ever.

In the last few years, I’ve been interviewed by the media talking about everything from space stations to comedy to local history to what causes wind (Answer: “magic.”)

During that time if you’d asked me to come up with a topic I was least likely to ever be asked to talk about, “health and fitness” would a good contender for the top of that list.

And, yet, there’s a picture of me and my friend Robert La Branche talking to WHNT’s Greg Screws about weight loss. Between the two of us (to be fair, mostly Robert), we’ve lost about 150 pounds in the last year and a half, so I guess it makes sense, but it’s still weird.

Greg does a weekly series on Mondays where he talks to local people about their successes and struggles with health and fitness, and Robert and I will be featured on Monday, around 4:45 p.m. (It will also be available online afterwards.)

For me, anecdotal evidence is the most motivating; I can read a thousand articles about weight-loss tips and get nothing out of them, or I can have one conversation with someone that’s done something that really works and really take it to heart. Robert’s weight loss both inspired and challenged me — when I saw his success, it really drove home that it was something that I both could and should do. So Robert and I were both glad to share our stories for that reason — we’re not experts, but we’re real people doing real things that real people can do, and hopefully that will resonate with someone.

We talked way longer than can go on the air, so I’m not sure which parts of my story will make the cut — whether you’ll get to hear my sage advise about losing weight via Taco Bell and intermittent exercise. But if it’s the story of thing that interests you, check it out.

“Duh, Losing” — Of Weight Loss And Haircuts

So after the last weigh-in for the weight-loss contest we’re doing at work, I stalled.

For like a week, I was plateaued in this three-pound-or-so range, and couldn’t break out of it.

It was frustrating.

And then, finally, progress!

Big losses (more than a pound) two days in a row!

Like, three pounds in a two-day period!


But —

On the second day, I’d gotten my haircut.

I mean, like, a serious haircut. Probably the most substantial haircut I’d ever had.

david hitt, haircut

And it occurred to me —

What if that day’s weight loss was really just the haircut?

Could I have had a pound of hair cut from my head?

Heather and I debated it. She pointed out that her pony tail couldn’t weigh a pound. I replied that her pony tail was less hair that I’d had cut. She said that it wasn’t, that her pony tail was most of the hair on her head. I disagreed. Sigh.

But —

Then I realized, that if there’s one thing I’ve learned from romantic comedies in the mid-90s, it’s that the human head weighs eight pounds. (If there’s another, it’s that you should show me the money.)

And there’s no way the hair I had cut off was an eighth of the mass of my head.

So I must be losing weight.


(I’m still not above the idea of getting another drastic haircut before the last weigh-in, though.)

Weigh To Go

I woke up last Wednesday morning to discover I was obese.


I have an app on my phone in which I track my weight each day, and it gives me all sorts of interesting stats on my weight, how much I’ve lost, the rate at which I’m losing, etc.

And one of the things it tells me is my BMI, and what it means.

When I started it told me I was Seriously Obese.


When I first started doing a low-carb diet eight years ago, I was Seriously Obese. I managed to work my way back down to Obese, and then just to Overweight.

One one other occasion, I worked back up not only into Obese, but to the upper end of Obese. And then back down to Overweight.

Each time it happens, I say I’m never crossing that line again.

But over the past two years, I’ve worked my way back up from Overweight to Obese to … dun dun dun … Seriously Obese.

And now, back down. It sucks to be on the top side of that line. Heck, it sucks to even be on the bottom side of that line. “Obese” is nothing to be proud of.

But crossing that line — heading downward, at least — is a nice feeling.

And there’s only about 35 pounds until I cross the next one. I’ve done it before. I can do it again.

We had our third weigh-in for the work contest. I didn’t lose nearly as much in the second month as the first, but that’s to be expected. All said, the official tally shows about 21 pounds lost in two months, and Heather is just a bit behind me.

(Of course, just like last time, I promptly went out that weekend and gained some of it back. I did better than last month, though.)

Percentage-wise, I’ve lost eight percent of my weight since the beginning of the contest, and Heather and I are still in first and second place.

I’m incredibly grateful to her for her help. It’s great working together with someone who is at least as dedicated as I am, if not more. It’s wonderful when it comes to picking and preparing meals to be eating the same things, and it’s wonderful having the mutual support and accountability.

Three more months to go.

I want to win this thing.

Heavyweight Contender

These aren't my scales. They look like them, except mine are blue. And show a much higher number.

OK, the good news. We did our first weigh-in last week for the contest we’re having at work. And I’m winning. I had lost over 5 percent of my weight since the contest began. The second-place person was a bit under 5 percent, and the next person was under 4 percent.

The bad news. I went off the diet for Valentine’s Day on Sunday and Monday, and gained back like five pounds. I still haven’t taken it all back off. No way I’m in first place today. Sigh. Lesson learned. Back to the grindstone.

Other random thoughts on the diet.

The second place person in the contest is Heather. Which will be nice when it comes to the prize money if we can keep it up. It makes me happy that I’m helping her do this successfully, and that she’s doing so well. It also makes me happy that she’s supporting me, and helping me to actually do this.

The really cool thing about all this is that we’re eating better. Not just healthier, but better food. We’re less likely to eat out because it’s easier to fix healthy stuff at home. And we’re more likely to actually prepare food instead of just microwaving something, since, again, the options would be limited. As a result, we’re being more intentional about what we’re eating and giving it more thought, and the food tastes better as a result. I think I’ve enjoyed my meals more this last month than I have in a long time.

I’m kind of proud of myself. I’m very much at the height of my limited culinary powers, and this is encouraging me to push even further. Take the low-carb secrets I learned the first time around, some basic skills I learned living on my own, a borrowed appreciation for seasoning food, the confidence gained making the cobbler for Heather last year and the added challenge of fixing food for four, and the stuff I’m doing in the kitchen, while still elementary, is a far cry from what I was doing when I started the diet last time. As a rule, I’d rather cook than eat out, and that’s REALLY saying something for me.

The boys are also being great sports about it. They’re somewhat finicky, and a bit reluctant to try new things, preferring to stick to some standards, but they’ve been willing to give some things a try, and, when they prove to be OK, to eat them, even though they’re not the usuals. I’m trying to meet them halfway, customizing a bit to their tastes, but, so far, so good.

Three more weeks until the next weigh-in. Gotta get back in first place.

No Big Loss

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the weight loss contest Heather and I are participating in at work.

So far, it’s slow going, with spurts of losing mixed in with plateaus and ups-and-downs just frequently enough to keep me from giving up.

In over three weeks, I’ve lost about a dozen pounds. Not bad, but almost all of that was in the first couple of weeks. Since then, there’s not much progress.

Part of that may be the fact that I’ve gotten too good at low-carb dieting. When I started doing this diet the first time, about eight years ago, I lost a lot of weight very quickly. Which confused me later, since, in retrospect, some of what I ate wasn’t really as low-carb as I thought. I was picking foods that were nominally low-carb, but ignoring the serving size. Not over-eating even, but, for example, hot dog chili appeared at first to be much lower carb than other no-bean chili, but, in reality, the carb count is lower only because the serving size, intended to just cover a hot dog versus to be a meal, is much smaller. Eat it as a serving of chili, and it’s not nearly as low-carb as I thought it was.

So if my carb count wasn’t as low as I thought it was, why did I lose as much as quickly as I did? Well, because I didn’t know many things I could eat, and as a result, I was eating less. These days, I’m good at this. I know where to find things. I know how to make things, how to create alternatives to things. The other day I ate low-carb french toast, eggs and sausage. It was good, but it was a full meal; a much better meal than I would have eaten in those early days.

It’s much easier to watch my carbs these days than it was for me eight years ago, but that means it’s also easier for me to eat a lot more food while doing it.

We’ll see. Four more months to go. Just gotta work harder.

Wednesday Roundup

OK, I used to the Weekend Updates, way back when, but haven’t in a while. I figured this was a good opportunity to catch up on some things that haven’t made it into full blog posts yet.

Gearlog blogged about the Angry Birds fanfic I wrote a while back. This makes me happy.

• I’m taking a class at church with Heather to get Christian counseling certification. This also makes me happy.

• My List that I made a while back has largely sat ignored for a very long time, but on Friday, I bought a ticket to go skydiving. This also also makes me happy. Heather wrote a blog post about it.

The diet initially met with decent success — 10 pounds in two weeks — which made me happy. But I’ve plateaued already. In fact, I regained a bit over the weekend. I probably deserved that, but also really deserved to lose yesterday. Staying motivated, I’ve realized, is going to be a big challenge. It’s great having Heather participating also and supporting me.

• The U.S. Space and Rocket Center has laid off its curator and archivist, Irene Wilhite, which makes me unhappy.  I’ll admit my bias at the outset; I’ve volunteered at the USSRC for Irene; she’s helped me out several times, and is a good friend. Bias aside, a curator seems like a thing a museum should have. Irene and her staff (her son) have done a lot of work preparing and maintaining exhibits at the museum. USSRC has long had to balance the financial concerns of the museum and Space Camp, and lately has been working, with varying degrees of success, to bring in money-making non-space special exhibits. I hope that this decision is not a sign that the space museum part of USSRC is not being neglected

Soy un Perdedor

After and Before: Me in May 2009 and December 2010

I’ve been fat before.

And I’ve lost weight before. And I’ve got to do it again.

Thankfully, I’ve got motivation now. As Heather wrote recently, we’re having a weight-loss contest at work, and we both entered.

This is not the first time they’ve done it, but it’s the first time I’ve entered. I’ve always had some excuse, or was going to try to do it on my own, or didn’t really need to as much, or was low enough that I couldn’t win, or something.

But now, I need the motivation and discipline and accountability, both from the contest and from Heather working with me, that I signed up.

It’s based on percentage of loss, which means that as one of the heaviest people in the contest, I would have to lose a lot — more than 40 pounds by June — to have a shot at it. But I’ve lost that amount in that period before at least once before, so it’s not impossible.

About eight years ago, I was at my all-time high weight. I started the Atkins diet, and eventually lost 78 pounds. Less than four years ago, I had gained about 30-40 back, so I got more disciplined and began exercising, and lost back to my low again.

I can pinpoint the weekend that the latest enfattening began — the last weekend in May 2009. I was still pretty close to my low then, and managing well. And my friends Lain and Richie came into town, and we ate too much, as we’re wont to do. Normally, I would just make the effort to take it back off after they left, but that weekend, my on-again-off-again of the time chose to be on again, and I was a little less disciplined as a result.

And from there, it was downhill. Or uphill, or something. Slowly at first, but increasingly more rapidly. Since that weekend, I’ve gained about 50-60 pounds, putting me back within 10 pounds of my all-time high of eight years ago. Even worse, about 30 of those were gained since last summer.

And there are plenty of challenges. Eating with Heather and the boys requires willpower I haven’t exercised. When we’re done eating, there are three other plates with tasty food left over. I’ve never had to deal with that before. And this book is killing me, literally. Losing sleep, snacking, quick meals, not making time to exercise, etc. are all not helping. I’ll be glad when it’s done.

The really frustrating thing is, while I’ve been heavier than this before, I’ve never gained this much this quickly before, so I’ve never felt it the way I do now. Eight years ago, I didn’t have the perspective of being in better shape, so I didn’t know what I was missing out on. Now, I’m very aware of the added weight, and I’m very aware of the effects it has, and I’m very aware of the things I could do a year ago that I can’t do now. And, to be blunt, it sucks.

We’ve been doing the contest for a week and a half now. When I weighed Monday, it was the lowest I’d been since November. So that’s something.

So I just have to endure. Be disciplined. Have will power. Do the things I’ve done before. I know they work, I just need to do them. I HAVE to.

So far, this contest is working. I’d like to win. We’ll see. The only thing I care about is this — however the contest turns out —

I’m going to lose.