Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Weight Graph: From 15yo until now...

This is a record of my weight since the age of 15, when I stopped growing up ... and started growing out. Bear in mind that for my height the middle of the healthy BMI range (20-25) would have me at 69kgs. At 77kgs I pop through the top of that range....

I can explain every rise and fall in the graph. The first peak was when I started work at the MMBW in 1975, stopped training for footy, and made full use of the workplace canteen and its cooked lunches. Then I went back to uni the following year and the extra activity and better diet dropped the weight back off for another year or two, with the gradual increase matching the slight bulking up that occurs in the early 20s.

I was very fit and strong at this time, and my weight built up under heavy physical labour and plenty of food to a 'solid' 73kgs by age 25. Then I was given a book on the then new Pritikin diet. It made a lot of sense and by changing nothing other than the proportions of food on the plate and reducing fat and sweets I dropped 7kgs in about 4 months. We stuck with the Pritikin inspierd eating patterns fairly well until everything was compromised by the arrival of children in my early 30s. Still, plenty of exercise and a physical outdoor job kept the weight in check for a few more years.

It should also be noted that until the age of 40 (just right of mid-graph/75kgs) I was a regular cycling/walking commuter to work, only about 10kms per day. But after that, time and organisational issues had me catching a tram instead. It didn't seem much at the time as I was still exercising recreationally (though this was declining) and having a light lunch and a walk at lunchtimes. But I can see in retrospect that the difference this made in the following decade was significant and I am yet to approach that weight again, even through averaging 200kms of riding per week in retirement.

Around this time my work changed to office and desk bound roles and the weight crept up to the 3rd peak of 76kgs. I made some changes and began running 5-6kms daily at lunchtimes and a longer run usually Sunday morning. I immediately dropped 3-4 kgs once more.

But ... things changed and I stopped running and tried swimming for a few years. As i went through the 40 year barrier my weight broke through the 76kg mark once more. I got bored with swimming and returned to aerobics and running and the weight gain slowed for a few more years but was heading inexorably towards 80kgs. With primary age kids and a baby, plus a desk job and not enough exercise I smashed the 80kg mark at 43 and headed on up. A knee operation around this time put an end to ideas of returning to running.

At 45yo and 85kgs everything came into balance and I settled at that weight for most of the next decade. I walked a lot and stayed 'healthy' but was overweight and unfit. My BP and Chol levels were still good throughout this period though (120/80 and 4.8) and I was now hanging out for the opportunity to exercise more and regain some fitness. There was some improvement for awhile but some stressful work issues saw a late spike in the year I turned 54, before salvation arrived with me leaving work at 55 and returning to cycling.

I did not drop a gram for the first 4 months until I built up the capacity to extend my rides beyond 100km per week. When that happened I dropped 6 kgs in a few months, all else being equal ie. no dietry changes as such. I still hover in the 'overweight' range at 78-79kgs and this hasn't changed in 12 months even though I now do more like 200kms riding most weeks. I have added cms to my calves and thighs and lost it from my waist, though I still carry some flab - I can see the advantages of bib-knicks in smoothing out the midriff bulges !

I still hope to get back under 75kgs eventually but I will probably have to regain the dietry discipline we had in the early 80s to make a significant difference from now on.


  1. Hi Mike, Finally able to make a comment (woo hoo
    !) but I have nothing important to say :( I did tick the interesting box though! Helen


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