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Not long ago, I read an blog post by Leah Culver about how she got into running. I decided that I wanted something similar.

10 years

In high school, I could run a 6-minute mile without breaking a sweat. When I graduated in 1998, I weighed 145 lbs. Then came college, marriage, a desk job, two kids, a dog, and a slowing metabolism that caught up with me before I’d had a chance to realize it.

By January 1, 2008, I weighed almost 250 lbs. I was drinking several sodas a day, and going out to eat all the time. I spent a ton of time in front of my computer screen. Physically, I was a mess. So starting that day, I decided to do something about it.


First, I changed my diet. No soda, no fast food. I started drinking a ton of water — so much that I was peeing 5–6 times a day. I started doing protein shakes for breakfast and lunch, then cooking something reasonably healthy for dinner. It was pretty easy because my wife and I were doing it together, and we were both working at home full-time. By May 2008, I was down to 180 lbs.

Then the housing market collapsed, taking out the economy and our jobs. We tried to float by for a while on credit cards until one of us could land something steady, and I began stress-eating again. Little snacks here and there, allowing myself something bad because I’d been so good lately. I ended up finding a job 150 miles away in Redwood City, CA and began commuting again. More stress, less energy, more snacks, more caffeine, less water. The job I got was with a company that was a start-up in its awkward teenage years. Free snacks and goodies as long as you sat in a chair longer.

Within a few weeks, I was back up to 190 lbs. Although I didn’t have the time to be as hard-core about the way I ate as I’d been when I worked at home, I managed to maintain that weight — give or take 5 lbs. — for the 18 months that I was there. When I left for Seattle in March 2010, I was 195 lbs.


Seattle rains a lot. It isn’t that the cumulative amount of water falling from the sky is more than anywhere else — it’s not. But it rains more frequently than almost anywhere else in the U.S. That means lots of clouds, more Seasonal Affective Disorder, less energy.

I did pretty well through the summer, but I ended up eating a lot between Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. So much candy was sitting around the house for a month after Halloween that it had to be eaten. Thanksgiving was delicious, and who doesn’t love leftovers for the couple of weeks afterward? Then Christmas was driving down to California to spend time with family, all while going out to dinner, of course. January 1, 2011, I was up to 205 lbs. Yikes!

That was also the same time that my wife and I decided to get a divorce. A lengthy 2 years of fighting depression and insomnia, more stress eating, and not caring about any of it (since nobody could ever love me again anyway, right Mr. Depression?).


Last weekend, July 2013, I weighed 225 lbs. I’d been hovering around 215 lbs. for most of the last two years, but I’d let my diet get sloppy over the past few months, so here I am.

I’ve managed to work through my post-divorce depression, and it’s summertime. The skies are clear and non-dreary for the next month or two, so I want to take advantage of the non-rain while I can.

Since Sunday morning, I’ve been back on 1–2 protein shakes per day (depending on my schedule), and paying more attention to what I eat for lunch. It’s currently Wednesday morning. I’ve run a minimum of 1 mile twice in that time, and spent some time doing some arm, leg and ab workouts using some apps I downloaded for my iPhone. I’m down to 220 lbs.

Don’t quit

So, thanks Leah Culver for writing what you did. After running twice (about 1/3 running and 2/3 walking), I’m doing a 16-minute mile. Super-slow, for sure, but at least I’m on the board.

I’ve been investing in my mind for a long time, but I haven’t been investing in my body so much. I -want to- am going to change that. My first goal is to lose 10 lbs. I’m keeping track with Fitbit and RunKeeper. Feel free to join me if you’d like.

But the biggest thing I took away from your post were these words: “Don’t quit.”

Ryan Parman

is an engineering manager with over 20 years of experience across software development, site reliability engineering, and security. He is the creator of SimplePie and AWS SDK for PHP, patented multifactor-authentication-as-a-service at WePay, defined much of the CI/CD and SRE disciplines at McGraw-Hill Education, and came up with the idea of “serverless, event-driven, responsive functions in the cloud” while at Amazon Web Services in 2010. Ryan's aptly-named blog, , is where he writes about ideas longer than . Ambivert. Curious. Not a coffee drinker.