All posts by Richard Ha

39 pounds in 39 weeks

Richard Ha writes:

Since I got that email from Mike Tanabe I wrote about here last week, I have a new goal. I’m going to lose a bunch of weight.

Aside from health reasons, my reason for losing weight is to be able to ride my bike on the Kulani trails and have fun. The Kulani trails are an insider thing that only mountain bikers know about. I’ve ridden there before, but that was ten years ago when I weighed about 195 lbs., and at that weight it was more work than fun.

I estimate that I need to get down to 180 lbs. to have fun, and 175 to have a lot of fun.

Right now I weigh 214 lbs., so I have 39 lbs to lose and since I’m planning to lose a pound a week, 39 weeks to lose it.

About losing one pound per week: One pound equals 3,500 calories. To lose one pound per week I need to either eat 3,500 less calories or exercise 3,500 calories more than I do now. Or, some combination that results in a 3,500 calorie deficit. I can’t do diets and I can’t count calories, but I can do exercise.

My plan is to exercise so that I use up 500 calories per day. That times seven days equals 3,500 calories per week. I use an elliptical trainer, which is easy on the joints so fat old guys can use it. So it’s all doable.

I’ve been thinking about this for a long time now, sort of like when I quit smoking cigarettes. One day, 25 years or so ago, I quit cold turkey. I carried around a partial pack of cigarettes in my glove compartment for many months without even seeing it.

I’m at that point now with the weight loss. It took running into Mike and then his email to push me over the edge.

I’m going to post here every Tuesday re: how it’s going with my “pound a week” goal. Knowing I’ll be checking in here will keep me on track.

At 8:00 am Sunday, May 21, 2006:
Weight was 214.8 lbs.
Goal 175 lbs.
Weight loss to date —–
Resting heart rate* 65 beats per minute.

* This goes down as one gets into better shape. Lance Armstrong is said to be at 32 beats per minute. My lowest resting heart rate was 52; that was many years ago.


Uncle Tomato

Once upon a time there was a little girl named Emma Rose who really loved tomatoes. When she even just saw a picture of tomatoes in a magazine, she would say, “That’s my favorite.” Sometimes she ate Hamakua Springs Country Farms tomatoes like they were apples.

One day Uncle Richard was visiting Emma Rose’s house, and he brought a big box of goodies. Lettuce, cucumbers and many different sizes and types and colors of tomatoes.

Her mama said something about how nice it was that Uncle Richard brought them her favorite food. Emma Rose exclaimed: “Uncle Tomato!” and then laughed and laughed.

When Uncle Richard heard about this, he replied:

“You know, back when I was in high school and the macho image was everything, if someone told me that in my later years I would be known as The Banana Man and Uncle Tomato, we would have to go behind the gym, scrap.”

He’s mellowed since then.


Guy with the Bike

Richard Ha writes:

Mike Tanabe emailed yesterday after he read the blog. He is a professor at the University of Hawaii at Hilo College of Agriculture. More than ten years ago I audited his tissue culture class and, with his help, made a commercial tissue culture lab to produce banana plants. 
Mike is also an elite master mountain bike racer. He is not your average weekend warrior. He is an inspiration and role model for bikers half his age. He and I put on mountain bike races 10 years or so ago. I even entered several novice races back then.  
Mike wrote that I was becoming recognized as the guy with the shorts, which represents the casual and comfortable attitude that Hawaii is known for. Now, with all the concern about global warming and energy supply, he said, how about being identified with a bike as well as short pants? I hadn’t given that a thought. 
I thought to myself, I am 61 years old now and way overweight. I can’t do this.

He went on: You could be identified as the guy with the bike who cares about his health, and a person like this might be perceived as one who produces healthy food products and cares for the health of the earth, using less petroleum products and hence producing less harmful emissions, etc. This could be two-pronged in that it could serve as a marketing tool but also, you may be coerced to start riding again and the result would be an excellent supplement to your weight training program, he said. I had seen him at the airport a few days ago and we caught up with each other’s training programs. 
Imagine, he said, photos of you next to your banana plants, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, watercress, herbs, etc. with a bike. Even when receiving awards. Perhaps even from the President of the U.S. who has been very open about his passion for riding mountain bikes. Hmmmm!!! I wouldn’t have to wear long pants. 
But then again, Mike probably really just wants to get the President to accompany him and the boys on the Friday Kulani Trails ride. Less than ten of the most hardcore mountain bike riders do this ride. I’ve tried to keep up and I saw them for a few minutes and lost them for the rest of the day. I’ve even tried to start mid-way. 
I wonder what those trails look like nowadays?