Tuesday, September 11, 2012

To Beard or Not To Beard...

...is that the question?

Right before I was about to start my Insanity workouts, I joked with my mom when she asked when I was going to shave my beard that I'd do it when I weighed under 200 pounds.

I was over 220 at the time.

Of course, that was shortly before my heart attack in late July that kept me in the hospital into early August.

I'm told that when I went in for the second heart stent, my folks tried to talk the doctors into shaving me while I was incapacitated. It didn't work.

I haven't started the Insanity program (yet!), but I have been losing weight. I'm doing cardiac rehab three times a week. That's basically supervised cardio workouts where nurses constantly check my vital signs and blood pressure.

I've got a couple months of that left.

I've also dramatically changed my eating - lots of vegetables, no more frozen meals that are loaded with sodium and lots of water. It's all coming together to work. This morning, my scale at home read 203 lbs. That's 18 pounds lost in less than a month and a half.

The funny thing is that I remember how excited I was when I finally got to 200 pounds. I was really into weightlifting and was trying to build muscle for baseball when I played in the Kansas City Men's Senior Baseball League in my mid 20's through early 30's. I hovered around a very lean and strong 205 to 210 pounds for the prime of my baseball playing days.

I drank protein shakes like they were going out of style and supplemented with sane amounts of creatine and glutemine. I also lifted some heavy weights. I wasn't the fastest guy on the base paths (hey, I was a catcher, so that didn't matter) but it was hard to bowl me over at the plate.

After I stopped playing baseball, I stayed in the gym (off and on) and went from being in decent shape up to 230ish pounds at one point. I've been in the gym regularly these last few years, which may be one of the reasons I'm still breathing and typing this right now, but I focused on weightlifting and did cardio just to warm up or as a break from hitting the weights.

That's not a way to slim down. It's a way to stay strong, but not a way to drop pounds. This new process has been a big change for me and, obviously, it's working.

So, I'm probably a week or so away from permanently descending below the 200 mark for the first time in over 15 years.

So, what do I do? Do I buzz the facial hair I've had for over a year now or do I keep the beard once I'm under 200 pounds for good? Here's a side-by-side comparison:

I'm nowhere near being done with the weight loss. I figure I can probably drop another 15 pounds over time in a healthy way. Since there's no permanent damage to my heart, I expect to be cleared to push myself physically - which means I may still take on that Insanity challenge.

If nothing else, it would be to prove something to myself.

The question it, will I prove it with or without my whiskers?