Friday, May 22, 2009

Day 54 – A Hard Workout

I weighed in at 206 this morning for a total weight loss of 9 pounds. I was glad to see a drop after so many days of no loss. I’m trying not to get too excited about it though because I have been here before. I am really looking for the breakthrough into the 201 range. But I am not down. I think I would need to see a five pound weight gain to let it get to me.

I have changes some of my snacking habits too. Typically I would have five Peanut M&M after lunch. I was pretty good at eating no more than five too. However, this week I am trying to control even that by having some almonds instead. The nuts may actually be more calories (I only have ten almonds) but I know they are better for me. I am also trying to maintain a minimalist lunch too. My lunch is mostly vegetables. Today’s lunch was half a cucumber, ten baby carrots, a small portion of zucchini cook in olive oil, and a sugar free jelly sandwich. I don’t really like sandwiches so it was mostly just two slices of whole wheat bread.

I managed to get in my mid-day workout today. I am very pleased with the workout I had. This is only the second day back to the gym after my illness so I knew it would be tough. I hit the treadmill first and set it for 35 minutes at a speed of 5.5. It felt really good, though always hard work, and with 3 minutes left in my routine I cranked up the speed to 7.0 to the end. That is always the longest three minutes! Then I went through all of the day’s weight machines for 15 repetitions and 3 sets apiece. I can still feel the burn as I write this an hour later.

There is a three day weekend beginning tomorrow and I have nothing planned. That means I have plenty of time to get my workouts in. I plan on getting to the gym each day immediately after breakfast, which is my desired time to work out. Saturday I have plenty of time, with nowhere to be so I will do the treadmill and all of the weight machines.

With my weight loss today and the total of 9 pounds, my average weight loss over 54 days is .17 pounds a day. Let’s see if I have a new weight loss trend starting!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Day 53 – Getting Back On The Journey

This morning I weighed in at 207 pounds. Situation normal. No weight loss. A funny thing occurred to me; before I started my workout routine, I had maintained my weight at 215 pounds for a couple of years. But now that I am working out (hard I might add) I have dropped about 6-8 pounds and have maintained about 208 for over a month. I have difficulty understanding why I am flat lined at about 208 with a hard workout but maintained 215 without a workout. The answer must be in my father’s words and I am gaining muscle. So there has to be a breakthrough soon.

Today is a very full day for me at work so I will have a struggle getting the mid-day workout in my schedule but I am determined to get to the gym today. Another situation has popped up today. We were all told that lunch will be provided today by the employer so I didn’t pack my normal lunch only to find out we are having pizza! I need to learn to ignore the fact lunch will be provided and bring my lunch anyway. At least then I can see what the company is providing and still have a fallback lunch. I can always put my lunch in the fridge for the next day if they bring us salads and other healthy foods (as they usually do).

I didn't exercise yesterday because it is one of my normal days off from work out so I am determined to get to the gym sometime today. I am still working hard to get back to my “pre-illness” strength so I know the exercise will be difficult. Also, with my busy schedule today, I will have a mental wrestling match because I will feel too tired after work to go to the gym. I have to overcome that feeling today.

With no weight loss today I am still at a total loss of 8 pounds after 53 days for an average of .15 pounds a day. I need a breakthrough!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Day 52 – Illness Brings Me Down

Don’t pay the ransom; I’ve escaped!

It has been several days since I have been able to write a posting. I was sick for several days and as a result, my day-job was really backed up. So since I make my living from the day-job, I focused on that work.

As you can see, getting sick causes some problems at my desk. But the other issue is that getting sick can also really be disruptive to my weight loss. For three days I was unable to work and it would be bad form to be seen in the gym after calling in sick! Plus, even though I called in sick for three days, there were additional days I felt good enough to be at work and function but I was in no condition to actually workout! So for about a week I was unable to go to the gym.

Yesterday was my first day back to the gym in eight days. My big surprise is that I didn’t gain or lose weight. I guess my weight loss was suspended while I was sick. My first day on the treadmill was very difficult! It is amazing how much ground I lost in losing a week of exercise. I did manage to push myself through the 35 minutes on the treadmill at a speed of 5.5. I was exhausted at the end but I did manage to get through all the weight machines done as well. It was pretty difficult to do 15 repetitions.

At this point in my journey, I have lost a total of eight pounds in 52 days which gives me an average weight loss of .15 pounds a day. This average is dropping rapidly since my weight loss has plateaued for the last month. I am at the point where it is a struggle to keep going because I’m not seeing recent progress. I’m sure this is the point where most people quit. I need to keep pushing myself and renew my commitment.

I do have one encouragement: I have gotten myself to 35 minutes at a speed of 5.5 on the treadmill. I have also gone from a minimum weight for 10 reps/2 sets on the weight machines up to 15 reps/3sets on bumped up poundage. In a nutshell, I know my abilities have increased greatly even though I am not seeing a loss of weight. But that much energy must be having an affect! I do believe my father was right when he told me that I am building muscle, which is four times heavier than fat. If that is so, I should see my current plateau end sometime soon.

I keep on going!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Day 39 – Every Day Is A Battle

It never gets easy. As you can see on the graph to the right I was doing well early in my journey but have struggled for the last two weeks. I haven’t figured it out yet but I suspect that I am eating too much. As I have described earlier, I don’t eat badly, so it must be the volume of food. Also I probably eat too much meat and not enough protein from other sources. Plus, I hardly eat out any more.

Maybe my dad is right, I’m building muscle while I am losing fat. Since muscle weighs four times more than fat it won’t show on the scale yet. But there has to be a point where the work begins to show as weight loss. I am getting pretty anxious to see that particular turn of events. For the last two weeks I have had no net weight loss. The only positive I can see is that I am not gaining weight. There have to be other positives that I can’t put my finger on yet. After all, when I started my journey I couldn’t run for 10 minutes and now I am running at a much faster speed for 35 minutes. Plus, I have continuously increased the weight on the weight machines and increased the number of repetitions.

Yesterday I gained one pound and this morning another which brings me right up to the exact weight I was one week ago and two weeks ago! Two weeks straight at 209 pounds. That’s getting a bit distressing. Analyzing everything I have been doing, (eating right, and exercising); I would have to be honest and say I could do better. To quote the Apostle Paul, “For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” It’s all Greek to me. How bad can I be if a Saint can’t even control himself?

Have I always eaten right? I don’t think I could honestly say yes. Just like Paul, I want to, but sometimes I can’t resist. Maybe my portions are just a bit too big. Have I taken advantage of every workout opportunity? Well, I guess not. But I want to. Isn’t that enough? Apparently the answer to that question would have to be, “No, that’s not enough”. So I find my self re-dedicating myself to watching what and how much I eat, and making new pledges to get to the gym and finish every exercise with an honest effort.

Here I go into another week determined with a new dedication. With that said, here is my status for the day. Weighing in at 209 on the 39th day of the journey brings me to an average weight loss of .15 pounds a day. I am not gaining weight but my average weight loss drops with each passing day that I don’t lose weight. I will be at the gym today.

One last note before I post this. I am thinking of upgrading my treadmill routing again. I am contemplating starting at speed 6.0. I will stay at that speed as long as I can. If I can’t make it through to the last three minutes where I bump it to 7.0, I will back the speed down to 5.5. This is basically what I did to get to 5.0 in the first place. In the beginning I couldn’t run at speed 5.0 for more than 15 minutes, and then I backed it down to a fast walk (3.0). Then, each day I tried to run at 5.0 for more and more time until I could run all the way through. We will see how it goes.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Day 37 – Taking A Day Off (Sort Of)

I was hoping to see another drop at my weigh-in this morning. Actually, I guess I hope for weight-loss every day! But this morning I expected it. I weighed-in at 207 pounds, which is the same weight as yesterday.

My feet have been a bit sore lately like I’ve been walking for miles. Because of the tiredness in my feet I decided to give my feet a day off from the treadmill. Instead, I used my mid-day break to do only the weight machine portion of the workout. Normally, I do half of the machines one day and the other half the next day. Yesterday however, since I was giving my feet the day off, I decided to do all the machines. Plus, I still haven’t reached the point where I could do three sets of 15 repetitions for every machine. Yesterday, I was determined to push through all three sets for each machine. I managed to pull it off and I could really feel the “burn” in my muscles. Also, I really felt the oxygen debt build up and I was able to get my heart rate up too. All in all, it was a tough work-out and I feel really good about it. I may keep that variation in my exercise rotation.

On another note, several days ago I sent an email to all of my friends and family telling them about my new blog and my endeavor to lose weight. Several of them sent me a reply back with encouragement but one really caught my attention. As he has done all my life, my father sent me a one liner that said, “If your workout is new for you, you may be losing fat and gaining muscle, which weighs four times more than fat!” That one line was more encouraging to me than all the others. My father has been a big encourager all my life, but his words were important too. Could that be why I have plateaued? Am I building muscle? I hope that is what is going on. I also listen to him because he is someone that was in my exact position many years ago and beat his weight problem. I was in college (and my son just finished college) when dad worked hard to lose the same amount of weight I am working on. He worked hard to understand his weight gain/loss and developed his workout. Now he is in his 70’s and going strong. That’s what it is all about!

With my weight staying the same as the day before at 207 pounds and this being the 37th day of my endeavor, my weight loss averages out to a .22 pound weight loss a day. That is below where I want it to be but the trend is still down. I have scheduled a mid-day workout break today. I am planning on running on the treadmill for 27 minutes at a speed of 5.5 then boosting the speed to 7.0 for the last three minutes. Plus I will do today’s scheduled weight machines for three sets of 15 reps.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Day 36 – Making Some Progress

This weekend was very productive. First off, I did something I usually cannot do: I managed to get a full Mid-day workout on Friday.

At Friday’s workout I managed to do something I had never tried before. This will probable be insignificant to you but it is a milestone to me! I started to think about my normal treadmill speed of 5.0 and realized that I usually feel relatively OK through my 30 minute run at that speed. Remember I have recently been bumping the speed up to 7.0 for the last 3 minutes for a little extra. Friday I thought I would try to boost my normal speed up to 5.5 to see if I could make it for the 30 minutes. Surprisingly, I did fine! Don’t get me wrong, the treadmill is a really tough workout! But I made it to the 27 minute mark and pushed the speed up the 7.0 for the last three minutes! That was a big achievement for me and I was very happy I did it. Now I know I can so I will adopt the 5.5 speed with the last three minutes at 7.0 as my normal run, for now.

Saturday morning my weigh-in resulted in the same weight as Friday (208) so that wasn’t very exciting. I had an appointment in the morning so I was unable to get my early morning start, as is my custom. I have found that if I get to the gym early I am eager to workout and sure to complete everything I should. Otherwise I tend to lose some momentum as the day gets older. So as a result of the appointment in the middle of the morning I got to the gym in the late afternoon and really felt drained of energy. I managed to finish the treadmill but I ditched the weights. I wish I didn’t.

Sunday’s weigh-in was 207 pounds. That is a one pound loss over the previous two days. After the weigh-in I was off to the gym by 7:30 a.m. Everything went very well and I was able to run on the treadmill at my new “normal” speeds of 5.5 & 7.0 as described above. Then I pushed myself to do all of the day’s weight machines with three full sets on each machine. I was pretty tired in the end but I felt really good that I did everything I planned.

This morning I weighed-in at 206 pounds for a two pound drop for the weekend. I am one pound over my lowest point at 205. I am hoping I can hit 205 during the week. With the new weight loss I have lost 9 pounds which brings my daily average weight loss up to .25 pounds each day. A ¼ pound a day seems slow but it also means in 30 days (a month) I could lose 7.5 pounds! I like the sounds of that! So since I’m dreaming…at a quarter pound of weight lost a day and 27 days left in this month; I could break 200 pounds by the end of May!! Breaking 200 deserves two exclamation points…

Friday, May 1, 2009

Day 33 – The Mind Game

I weighed in at 208 this morning for a one pound loss. I know it’s not much but I will take any loss at this point. I find myself a bit more motivated each time I see a weight loss. I am much more interested in controlling my diet and working out when I see progress of any sort.

Yesterday I reported a two pound weight gain. As a result I had a real struggle getting out the door for even my mid-day workout. Then once I did get to the gym it was a challenge getting through the exercises. I always start with the treadmill. The treadmill is a challenge every time. Not once have I gotten on that thing without thinking about stopping before the 35 minutes is up. It is a real head game to push through to the end. I will always feel so winded and weak that I want to stop early. However, the truth is that I can make it. I know I can; I’ve finished over and over but my mind will always challenge me.

As a result of putting off my mid-day workout to the end of the day I had a mind game going on about getting home in time for an appointment I had at 6:30. Even though I left work 30 minutes early so I could squeeze it in before the appointment I stopped short of completing the weight machines. As it worked out I had plenty of time, in fact, the appointment was even slid out another 30 minutes later into the evening.

So the workout is one mind game. My diet is another! It seems I want to eat all the time. Plus, when I let myself get really hungry I want to eat everything in sight at mealtime. I am still learning what to snack on between meals to keep the hunger in check. I have read that nuts are good for that. Maybe I will get some almonds or something when I go shopping this weekend.

With the weight loss today, I am at 208 pounds. That puts my daily average at .21 pounds. I need to lose more so I am planning a mid-day workout today.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Day 32 – Disturbing Results

This morning’s Weigh-in didn’t go the way I was expecting it to go. I weighed-in at 209 pounds, an actual 2 pound weight gain. At this point I seem to be going two steps forward and one step back. Sometimes even worse. Even being an optimist I struggle with my energy to push on. It seems like I have tried so hard but it’s like running in deep mud.

Yesterday was one of the days I don’t workout. Looks like I should have worked out anyway but I am concerned that my feet will get some sort of injury if I don’t give them some of rest. Maybe I’m not looking at all the options I have available like riding a bike or swimming. I think I better look closer at the other options. For now though, the mid-day workout is great for the days I can afford the time.

Today has been a very busy day and my scheduled mid-day workout break has come and gone. I have a meeting this evening at 6:30 so time will be really tight if I wait till quitting time to go to the gym so I am planning on leaving work 30 minutes early and head to the gym. I am going to try my push to the 7.0 speed during the last three minutes on the treadmill again.

With my 2 pound weight gain today, I am losing ground but not out of the race. This weight gain brings my daily average to a measly .19 pounds. That number is dropping fast. I am hoping I am just on a plateau that will break soon. By the end of this week I have lost nothing. I guess that means the good news is that I didn’t gain either so for now I will have to accept that. I will carryover my goal that I failed to hit into next week. My goal then is the same: beat 208 pounds by this time next week. Plus, my target for May 21st is to beat my lowest weight of 205.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Day 31 – Good Workout

After yesterday’s posting I managed to make it to the gym. I had limited time but I really felt strongly about getting at least some of my workout into the day. I got to the gym at about 4:45 p.m. and almost all of the treadmills were full. I found an open treadmill and set it for my 35 minutes run at a speed of 5.0. I felt really good all the way through the run so when I had three minutes left I cranked up the speed to 7.0 to finish 30 minutes of running.

When I first get the speed up to 7.0 my mind instantly tells me that I can’t make it! I have the thought that I couldn’t possibly maintain the pace and I will probably give up before the time runs out. But I also notice that the increased speed actually feels more comfortable on my body. Somehow less awkward. I don’t know how else to express it. I have learned that I can overcome the torment if I keep from watching the timer and just push through to the end. I am always happy when I have finished because I know it was the right thing and my body will be better for it. I also managed to get all the day's weight machines done.

I am not planning a workout today but I want one. Could it be I’m getting addicted? I think about working out all day, even though I know it is a physical struggle to put my body through. But I need days off as well. At my age the feet are feeling the beating of years of running and my current weight isn’t helping either. The arthritis in my feet and back ache too. When I was younger I could run every day but not anymore.

My weigh-in today was disappointing but I am not down. I weighed-in at 207 pounds which is the same as yesterday. That brings my daily weight loss average down to an even ¼ pound.

I keep pressing on.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Day 30 – Fighting Back

Today’s weight-in brought me to 207 pounds. Finally some downward progress. With this one pound loss my daily average goes up to .27 pounds. I am hoping to get my daily average up to .30 pounds a day.

I am trying to keep everything in perspective. I can get distress about losing a measly one pound or I can see that I am only two pounds from my lowest point. I like the look ahead. I see that there is real potential to reach or even beat my lowest mark to-date. That is exciting! If I can break through my lowest point, I can make it through the 200 pound barrier. And if I can do that, then my goal of 185 pounds is totally possible! I am an optimistic person and I know I can make it even if there are bumps along the way, like last week.

At the end of my last post I mentioned that I was going to push myself harder on the treadmill. Well I did it! Yesterday during my mid-day workout break I set up my usual run for 35 minutes with the speed set at “5.0”. Then, with three minutes left, I increased the speed to 6.0 for one minute. And for the last two minutes I pushed the speed to 7.0 to the finish. It felt good (and hard). It was very strenuous and really tested me. I will be on the treadmill again today and hope to push the last three minutes up to 7.0 to finish.

I have not been able to get a mid-day workout break in today but I’m hoping to go right after work. My struggle with an “after work” workout today is that I have an appointment at 7 p.m. tonight. That’s going to be tight!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Day 29 – Still Struggling

I had a bit of a lack-luster week end. I gained another pound that put me at 210 pounds. Saturday I did go on a long walk again because I really enjoy my long walks. However, I sacrificed the gym to take the walk. Clearly, I should have sacrificed the walk for the gym!

Sunday morning I was off to the gym at the crack of dawn. The problem is that I slept a little too long and got to the gym later than I needed in order to get the full workout. I need to get to the gym at 7 a.m. (when they open) so I have enough time to get the treadmill and the weight machines done before I must leave. If I don’t leave by 8:30 I will be late for church, which is a priority for me.

So there you have it. I had two days of opportunity I let slip by. I did get some exercise but not enough. Saturday & Sunday are critical days for me. There is no reason I should not find the time to get a full workout on those days. So in that since, I failed. As a result I weighed in on both days at 210 pounds. A winner doesn’t let the opportunities go by.

Today, however, I weighed in at 208 pounds. This was probably a result of the workouts on Saturday & Sunday but I know I could have done better. At 208 pounds I am below last week’s ending weight. Also, with 208 pounds my average daily weight loss is taking a dive. Currently, with 29 days and only a 7 pound weight loss, I am averaging .24 pounds a day. I would like the daily average to get to about .30 pounds a day. To attain that number it will take real dedication to the workout routing.

I have to say that I surprised myself on Sunday when I was on the treadmill. I did a little experiment, normally Iset the speed of the treadmill to 5.0. The five really means nothing other than it is faster than 4.9. However, on Sunday, when I had one more minute left to run at 5.0, I pushed the speed up to 6.0 and it felt really smooth. That felt so good I pushed it up to 7.0 for the last 45 seconds and that felt great! So today I will see if I can sustain 7.0 for the last 2 minutes and see what happens.

I added a new feature today. Look to the right just below I put a chart of my weight loss progress. The green line is my weight every day. The blue dashed line is the trend.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Day 26 - I’m Not Quitting!

Well I guess I have to live with it! I am the same weight as yesterday, 209 pounds. It’s Friday afternoon and I just returned from the gym for my mid-day workout. I wasn’t going to workout today because I generally don’t have time on Fridays. But I felt that I had to put the time in today because I didn’t get a workout yesterday, plus I had two poor weigh-ins in a row. I guess I can’t call today’s weigh-in bad because I didn't gain anything but I didn’t lose either.

Tonight is our date night and my wife wants pizza. Well, actually, so do I, but I also want cookies, prime rib, and a cheeseburger with fries. I will buy the smallest pizza I can get and I will only eat two slices. Once she has the portion she wants I am going to throw the rest out! I don’t need to eat the rest as leftovers just because we paid for it. If I do eat the rest I will “pay for it” by gaining more weight. That’s too high a price. I haven’t spent 50 hours in the gym giggling. It has been very hard work to lose the measly 6 pounds to date!

So far I have been on this journey for 26 days. And as of this morning, I have lost 6 pounds. My average weight loss for 26 days is .23 pounds a day. I have to find a solution to my weight loss or someday I will die on the treadmill!

Here is my weekly status so far:
Week 1 I lost 5 pounds.
Week 2 I lost 4 pounds.
Week 3 I gained 1 pound.
Week 4 I gained 2 pounds. (This week.)
Net weight loss is 6 pounds. At least my losses were bigger than my gains.

I am trying to keep things in perspective and not give up thinking I will never hit my target of 185 pounds. So looking at the progress I have made I can only conclude one thing: I have lost 6 pounds. That is progress. I never thought I would get to 185 pounds in a month anyway. But I have made progress.

I can see I have a couple of new targets:

  1. Lose weight by the end of the next week;
  2. Lose more than 6 pounds by the end of the next four weeks.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Day 25 – So Much Gain In One Day?

Yesterday is one of the days in the week that I do not workout. I have five days every week that are available to me to schedule a workout and there are two days that have such time constraints that a workout is out of the question. So yesterday was one of the “time constraint” days with no workout. I would think that in one day I could “hold the line” and at least maintain the weight loss achieved to date, but no. I got on the scale and was surprised that I had gained 3 pounds! After a gain of one pound the day before I am looking down the barrel of a four pound gain in just two days! Plus tomorrow I will be posting my gain/loss for the week and it’s not looking good at this point. Just to break even for the week, I will need a 3 pound loss by the morning. Maybe if I cut my left arm off I can squeak by…but do I need the whole arm or just the hand?

So what went wrong? I already bought a new scale and I even bought a new battery for it. But is the scale just messin’ with me? After all, we don’t have the best relationship… I step on its face every day and it lies to me so maybe the scale can’t be trusted...hum.

Look what this weight loss struggle has done to me! I am beginning to see inanimate objects as evil creatures!

Let’s take a look at what might have happened to me. I can accept the one pound gain on day 24. After all, a little fluctuation is understandable. So looking at yesterday’s diet I know there was a change from my “normal” fare. Breakfast was the same: Mini-Wheat cereal with low-fat milk and a small banana. Lunch was different though. I had an appointment to meet with a friend for lunch. We went to Panda Express and I had Chow Mien, Black Pepper Chicken, and String Bean Chicken. So yummy! Now I am looking at the Panda Express web site to see the nutritional info for the items I selected, so let’s take a deep look at what I ate.

Chow Mien: 440 calories with 14 g of fat; 1,050 mg of sodium.
Black Pepper Chicken: 215 calories with 13 g of fat; 880 mg of sodium.
String Bean Chicken: 190 calories with 9.5 g of fat; 650 mg of sodium.

Totals: 845 calories with 36.5 grams of fat and 2,580 milligrams of sodium.
These are huge numbers! And this is perceived as a healthy fast-food restaurant. I took another look at the menu and nutrition information to see if I could find better choices for the next time I go to Panda Express. It turns out that I don’t eat the worst stuff but I could do much better. So the next time I go to Panda Express I will ask for the following menu items.

Steamed Rice: 430 calories with 3 g of fat; 35 mg of sodium.
Mixed Veggies: 140 calories with 11 g of fat; 165 mg of sodium.
Broccoli Beef: 170 calories with 8 g of fat; 570 mg of sodium.
Totaling: 740 calories with 22 g of fat; 770 mg of sodium.

By making some simple selection changes I could have reduced the calories, fat, and sodium by the following numbers.

Reduced calories by 105
Reduced fat by 14.5 grams.
Reduced sodium by 1,810 milligrams.

However, story about my food choices is not over. Last night we went to a friend’s house for dinner and had tacos. But of course, I was hungry when we got there and I totally lost count of the number of chips I ate before the tacos were ready! I did manage to limit my self to two tacos made on the smallest tortillas. Then to finish my gluttony for the day I had three cookies.

OK. Maybe no real surprise how I gained three pounds. Back to the normal diet and definitely back to the gym today!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Day 24 - The Gym Rat

This morning I stepped on the scale to see that I gained one pound making my current weight 206 pounds. I am not concerned about just one pound because I like the overall downward trend I am experiencing. After 24 days I am losing .375 pounds each day, on average. That is just over 1/3rd of a pound daily. I can live with any weight loss. That also means I am trending towards losing 2.625 pounds a week! It is a slow weight loss and hard work but I have decided to make this new “way of life”, my actual way of life.

Yesterday I made it to the gym for my mid-day workout break and I saw something that strikes me as strange. I see it almost everyday. So today I want to talk about it. I get on the treadmill and I work at the pace required to get to the proper pace for my heart rate. In order for me to achieve the proper rate for my heart, I have to work rather hard. I find myself breathing heavy, so heavy I could not possibly hold a conversation with the person next to me. The most I could say to someone is, “Hi”.

Please don’t get me wrong, but there were two women next to me, on treadmills, that talked to each other constantly through my workout. All I know is that if I am able to hold a conversation, I am not getting the workout that I need. It is easy for me, then, to assume that they cannot be getting a “workout” at that pace. So why do they do it? I’m sure there is some benefit to walking on the treadmill for an hour but why not stroll through a park instead of in a gym?

My point is this, if you have determined to lose weight, exercise is a must. But to go further, you must work at it. Be dedicated and work hard. Walk in the park with your friends and have fun while you get some exercise but don’t forget to find some dedicated time for a workout that seems hard.

I want to lose weight, so I work hard. If you are overweight, I want you to lose weight too. Get committed and work hard when you need to and have fun when you can.

I close today with some fun quotes I found, hope you like them!

“I have to exercise in the morning before my brain figures out what I'm doing.” ~Marsha Doble

“If your dog is fat, you're not getting enough exercise.” ~Author Unknown

"Don't dig your grave with your own knife and fork. ~English Proverb

"A diet is the penalty we pay for exceeding the feed limit." ~Author Unknown

"More die in the United States of too much food than of too little." ~John Kenneth Galbraith

"The cardiologist's diet: If it tastes good, spit it out." ~Author Unknown

Monday, April 20, 2009

Day 23 - Almost 20 Diet Tips

As I mentioned in the last posting, I have a guest post today. But before we get to that I will give you my daily update, which is the whole reason for this blog. I managed to get to the gym last night instead of going during the day. I left work and got home to greet my wife as she arrived home and her first announcement was that she was going to make me dinner. That may not sound strange to you but we usually make our own means and eat them together. My only concern was to eat fast and get to the gym while I still felt like it! So after an hour of dinner preparation and a great meal, the thought did cross my mind that maybe I could pass on the gym. However, it was just a fleeting thought and I did manage to break the gravitational pull of the couch and I got out the door.

This morning I weighed 205 pounds for a loss of 2 over the day before. That is a milestone for me... I have lost a total of 10 pounds to date in 23 days. Now about our guest post...

I have a very close friend, who wishes to remain nameless, that agreed to put together a list of tips that helped her lose a significant amount of weight years ago and kept it off. I have witnessed her living by these tips and she looks marvelous!

  1. Don’t let yourself get hungry. If you are hungry, you will be tempted to eat something you will regret later. Always keep healthful, low-fat munchies with you. In your purse, desk drawer and glove compartment.

  2. Plan ahead. If you know you will be out shopping all day, or on a long drive, take your health snacks/meals with you! Buy a thermal food bag if you need your foods cold/warm.

  3. Snack between meals. There is nothing wrong with snacking as long as it is healthful. With healthful snacks, you will not be as hungry for your main meal and will be less apt to eat too much.

  4. Learn what healthful snack foods you like and keep them with you. Don’t carry carrot sticks with you for later if you really don’t like them. You will only end up eating the carrot sticks AND still crave the junk food.

  5. Read “ingredients.” You need to read more than the label on the front. The front label is merely a sales tool so read the ingredients. Stay away from hydrogenated oils, coconut oil, salt, white sugars, white rice, and white flour.

  6. Don’t eat junk food; eat real food. If you eat “junk food” with white sugars, white flour, preservatives, other “junk ingredients,” the food item will not satisfy you. You will be hungry again very soon. Junk foods have been proven to give you the munchies and cause you to crave MORE junk food! Eating healthful foods causes you to crave healthful foods.

  7. Eat “natural” foods. Purchase foods that are as close to “natural” as you can get them. Natural foods satisfy hunger and the body will process the food and not store it as fat. If you eat junk food, the body will not know how to process it, so will store it as fat. Nuts – with no oils and salt - whole wheat breads, whole grain rice, dried/fresh fruits are great sources of vitamins and very filling.

  8. Eliminate milk products from your diet. Milk is very important when we are growing, but once we are adults, we don’t need it. Yes, we still need calcium, but it can be taken in vitamin form. (I was told, just this week by my doctor, to get more calcium and Vitamin D in a pill form!) Milk products - cheese, butter, ice cream, and milk - all very fattening! Try to find a substitute for the milk on your hot and cold cereals - soy/almond, rice milk are great. If you need real milk, drink fat free milk, but it is not as filling as the other milks listed above.

  9. Only take one bite. If you MUST eat junk food, smell it, think about how it will look on your hips and make you feel afterwards. If you still want to eat it, smell it, savor it and take ONE bite and throw away the rest…quickly. Why temp yourself?

  10. Don’t buy foods you love!! You may eat more than you intended. I LOVE granola, and you can buy pretty healthful granola nowadays, but I don’t buy it because I will eat the entire box in ONE sitting.

  11. Know yourself. Know your habits, likes and dislikes so you can create a “healthful” environment for you and surround yourself with as little temptations as possible.

  12. Ignore what magazines and advertisements state. Healthy low calorie, fat free snacks, power bars, cookies, cakes, just make you crave more junk food. It’s not food. Frozen diet meals, including “Lean Cuisines” are not healthful either. They are loaded with salt, preservatives, white rice, and unhealthful oils… ingredients that will only cause you to be hungry soon.

  13. Don’t eat late at night. I don’t eat after 7:00 pm. I’ve heard some people don’t eat after 5:00 pm. Otherwise, it will not digest well and will be stored as fat.

  14. Eat breakfast! Even if it is only one slice of bread or a piece of fruit. Eating breakfast jump-starts your metabolism, which helps you lose weight.

  15. Don’t tell people you are “on a diet.” They will probably just tell you, you don’t need to lose weight and continue to offer you fattening foods. Tell them you are trying to eat a more “healthful diet and not eat junk food.” They will probably ask you more about your new diet and want to join you!

  16. Weigh yourself often! Weigh yourself at least once a day, preferable in the morning before you eat. This will give you an idea of how your diet and exercise worked the day before, so you can plan your day before it starts. Statistical, if you weigh yourself often, you will lose weight.

  17. Get enough sleep. If you do not get enough sleep your insulin glands are off for the day and one will have the munchies ALL day... this is a proven fact and I know it from experience.

Day 22 - A Week Out of the Ordinary

Once again I am apologizing for missing my daily posting. It is truly my quest to post everyday but I just can’t pull it off consistently. So if you are tracking my progress daily I hope you didn’t wander off to some other weight loss blogging dude.

As I push forward to the slimmer me I notice an occasional detour in my journey. This last week I found myself in a training situation for my day job that monopolized my time. Due to the nature of the class, I found myself spending time preparing my homework for each day, as well as acting as the host for the class. On top of those duties, I also played host to the consultant (instructor) and a big-wig from our corporate offices during the off-hours.

The challenges for my weight loss were huge. First, the hours required to pull the event together coupled with entertaining, and homework, I was unable to exercise at all for five days. The week before I began to feel like my workout was part of my routine and I didn’t want to do without it. Now after five days without the workout, I feel like I need a kick in the pants to get going again. Secondly, I couldn’t control my diet very well. The “student body” of this class is from all over the country we thought it would be fun to have dinner together as a class. I chose the best meal possible for me but I’m sure I ate more than I should have, and I didn’t eat it all. Also, every day of the class, lunch was provided so I did not have my usual diet for lunch either.

But that’s not all! My wife and I had made plans long ago to attend a marriage seminar in our city, which just happened to fall on the week-end after the previously mentioned training week. So, Friday night we started the marriage seminar that ran through Sunday afternoon. Plus, we threw in a romantic dinner Saturday evening.

I did manage to make it home Sunday afternoon to make it to my volleyball game. So after five days of no meaningful exercise I got in an hour of volleyball.

Then this morning I took my shower and stepped on the scale, (a new one by the way), and it read 207 pounds. That is a net loss of two pounds for the days I could NOT exercise, plus a five pound loss over last week.

With that weight loss, I find it much easier to get back to the gym today. I am not able to have the mid-day workout but I am dedicated to go home, eat dinner, and head out to the gym for the evening.

Tomorrow I have a guest posting of sorts, which you won’t want to miss. I have a very close friend who lost a significant amount of weight years ago and KEPT it off! Lots of people lose weight but few keep it off. She is going to share her personal dieting tips. Don’t miss it!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Day 15 – Tough Weekend

I apologize for not posting over the weekend but it was a difficult weekend. After my disastrous weight gain on Friday (See Day twelve – Big Surprise) I decided I needed to workout harder over the weekend. The problem was that I knew I only had time on Saturday, not Sunday.

I knew this would probably be a tough weekend anyway because this was Easter Sunday and there is a big family dinner to go to. So not only do I only have one day of the weekend to workout, I had a big meal looming. So Saturday I got a great start to the day by having my usual breakfast and running off to the gym. I ran on the treadmill for my traditional 30 minutes then I did something I haven’t done before. Since my wife was working all day I had no need to rush home so I spent more time at the gym. I have a rotation of weight machines I go through after the treadmill. However, the list is broken into two groups: Day One and Day Two. After the treadmill I usually perform either Day One’s list of weight training or Day Two’s list. But Saturday I had plenty of time and energy coupled with the motivation from Friday’s disastrous weight gain to actually go through both Day One and Day Two’s weight training. I felt good and was happy I did it. The rest of the day was filled with some other work and errands.

Later that day when my wife got off work we determined we needed to perform our normal Sunday Trader Joe’s shopping because of our anticipated busy schedule on Easter. When our shopping was done I decided that I felt pretty good so I asked her to drive home and I would meet here there. So I ran nearly the entire 2.5 miles home. I’m glad I did it too! Plus I slept really well that night.

Sunday morning was crazy for me. I normally get up at 6:30 a.m. and get the gym done before church but not this Sunday! My wife had been heading up the Easter Egg Hunt at the church which is next door to a park. I was the guy chosen to get to the park early enough (6:45) to stake out the hunt areas. So there went my normal workout time. Also we attended church as normal. From there we traveled 2+ hours to the family dinner. The most exercise I got for the day was lifting heavy fork loads to my mouth. Then repeat for uncounted repetitions… Of course Dinner wasn’t served until 4 o’clock so there was the obligatory grazing of condiments. I don’t think I overate at the meal but I wonder about the total effect of the day with no exercise; Dinner with appetizers; driving 6 hours.

This morning I got my answer to the net loss/gain question. I am at 212 for a gain of one pound over Friday’s 211. I will continue to push forward.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Day Twelve – Big Surprise

This morning I got on the scale as usual only to get a huge shock. I gained 5 pounds in one day! I would rather have an actual electrical shock than this! It looks like I will be using more than my fair share of exclamation points in my posting today!! I want to throw the scale out the window but instead I will punish it by standing on it with my full weight every day! Take that!

Okay. I had to pause my writing for a few moments to compose myself… One more deep breath…exhale slowly…go to my happy place.

It is a digital scale and is prone to misreading sometimes so when I first saw 211 on the scale I thought that maybe it is a little whacked out. My practice has been that I will step on it, read the number, get off to let it reset, then repeat until I get a number twice. Lame huh? It’s like getting weighed by a panel of judges and averaging their scores. So this morning I stepped on and off the scale three times and saw the exact number each time.

“Of course you know…this means war!” Daffy Duck. It is so nice to have a quotable role model. My plan for today was for no workout. But I think that has to change. It’s not a big deal to squeeze a mid-day workout into my schedule today but it will mean some adjustments. I will cut my lunch from an hour to 30 minutes and will only have time for the treadmill but that is better than nothing.

This is Easter week and there is a lot of candy in the work area. I have tried to be good and have generally held back but maybe had more than I thought. Or maybe just being near the candy causes it to seep though the pores in my skin… That must be it. I need to live in a bubble to prevent candy leaching into my system. All of this weighs heavily upon the upcoming Easter dinner. I will have to hold to good food only and steer away from the high calorie stuff. I think I will also drink a lot of water just before the meal too.

For the weekend I am planning on a full workout on both Saturday and Sunday so maybe I can get back on track. If I look at my weight loss from week to week, as I described in my last posting, last Friday I weighed in at 209 pounds. As of yesterday, I was three pounds under that and things looked great, but with my five pound gain today I end the week with a two pound gain for the week ending today.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Day Eleven – Noticing Changes

Today brings me more good news as I stepped on the scale and see another three pounds has melted away! So far that is my largest loss in a single day. It seems I have a nice downward trend going. By the end of my first full week I had lost six pounds. By tomorrow I can report the results of my second full week. But for now, I am down three pounds from last week’s loss.

The first week was nothing but a pleasant down hill slide with every day bringing weight loss. This week has had a few surprises:

  • Saturday lost 1 pound
  • Sunday lost 1 pound
  • Monday gained 2 pounds
  • Tuesday gained 2 pounds
  • Wednesday lost 2 pounds
  • Thursday (today) lost 3 pounds

Net loss for the Week to Date = 3 pounds. I can live with the occasional gain as long as there is a loss for the week!

As a result of losing a total of nine pounds since the beginning, I have noticed a few changes. It seems my pants don’t fit as well. To be honest, when you are overweight, nothing fits well anyway, except coveralls! Even though I have only lost a few pounds, I find it increasingly difficult to keep my shirt tucked in. I wasn’t sure what was causing the problem, maybe my pants or shirts were showing some age, I couldn’t figure it out. Then it dawned on me this morning after I realized I had lost a total of nine pounds! I have read that you will notice the loss of ten pounds so I guess this is what was meant. So, for the first time in recent memory, I cinched up my belt one more notch! I consider that to be a milestone. I had never thought of each whole in my belt that way before but the truth is each time I move to the next “notch” it is reinforcing evidence of progress! I guess I better start a savings account for a new wardrobe.

Looking at my weekly calendar, I have a few days where I will not be able to get a workout. Sunday I plan on getting to the gym when the doors open at 7 a.m. Monday and Tuesday I will schedule my mid-day workout breaks. Then on Wednesday my wife and I attend a Small Group from the church which will make it hard to find time for a workout. But Thursday I can schedule a mid-day workout break again. Friday is our Date Night so I will not be working out that day. And finally I will have plenty of time for a workout on Saturday. So in total, I will be able to schedule workouts on five days of the week. Not bad!

Today’s plan: It is Thursday so I am able to schedule a mid-day workout at 11 a.m. I have to keep the timeframe flexible right up to 11 o’clock. The boss can have a last minute “alteration” to my plans. If that does happen, hopefully I can reschedule it. Once I make it out the door, I am gone until the workout is done.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Day Nine - You Are What You Eat

Every morning when I get on the scale it is natural for me to believe that my weight will continue to drop. However, today I gained two pounds. Plus, I gained two pounds the day before. I am trying hard not to let this get to me and start to feel like this isn’t working. I am trying to look at this positively; I’m sure there will be fluctuation in weight.

The thought occurred to me that maybe weighing myself on a daily basis is not such a good idea. Take the stock market for example: Monday its up; Tuesday it’s down; Wednesday it’s up again; Thursday it goes way down; then Friday it shoots up. A person with lots of money in the market can seem bipolar; happy one day and crying the next. But if we just took a look at the market every Friday and only Friday we might see that for the week described the market actually went up since the last Friday! All the excitement every day is wasted energy. So if I were you, I would only weigh myself once a week. For the purposes of this blog, however, I will continue to share the detail of my daily weigh-ins.

I know that I am doing as least most of the right things. I generally eat well. I really mean that! I am like any guy; I love the fatty foods and snacks, but I don’t eat them. I would love to eat a cheeseburger and fries but don’t. My diet basically consists of the same thing everyday. Breakfast is a bowl of bite size frosted shredded wheat with low fat milk. Sometimes I have a banana too. Lunch is usually a wrap made of ham and pepper jack cheese with no condiments. I also have about ten baby carrots, a half of a cucumber (sliced), an apple and sometimes another banana. See, all good stuff!

It’s all a matter of degrees; I am still eating processed deli sliced ham. I could be eating bean sprouts and tofu with pine nuts but then I know I would be looking for a cheeseburger for dinner! I do allow myself a snack of five peanut M and Ms after lunch. My wife can’t believe I can keep from eating the whole bag but it is all I need. For dinner I generally grill a chicken breast on my George Forman grill and then I have two pieces of cinnamon raisin toast. So that is my general diet. Other than that, I find myself drinking about two cans of caffeine free diet coke a day and an ice tea for dinner. I suppose I could drink more water though…

One more note about today: I made it to the gym again for the second day in a row. However, I was only able to complete my run on the treadmill, but at least I got the full time in for that exercise. Yesterday I was able to get the treadmill and all the assigned weight machines finished within my scheduled workout “break”. As a result of taking my mid-day workout break I will need to stay an hour and ten minutes longer at work. The bottom line is: I got my workout in before I was too tired, and I can go straight home after work! This might work for me!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Day Eight – My Work Out

I wrote my last post Sunday morning before church. I usually wake up at about 6:30 a.m. without an alarm so that gives me time to eat something and drive to the gym by 7:00 a.m. But I ended up sleeping until 7 so I didn’t have time to get to the gym and still have enough time to get ready for church. Gotta keep the spirit healthy too!

However, all is not lost! Sunday is also the day for Volleyball! I am on two teams in our church league: one with the standard six players, called the “fun league” and the other team is a four player team of highly competitive players. Both teams play a set of three games so I got in a full two hours of six games. Volleyball is such a fun way to get some exercise! And it is a good work out for a 53 year old overweight guy…

I have had a great run of weight loss for the past seven days by losing about a pound everyday! That’s even better than some of the Biggest Loser contestants do on some weeks. However, even after the volleyball, I gained two pounds today. I am at 209 pounds as of this morning. But I am not discouraged.

In my last post, (Day Seven - Finding Time To Workout), I explained the difficulty I am having trying to schedule my workout time at the gym. Before work was too early; after work I was too tired. But today I tried my new plan of scheduling time during my day on my Outlook calendar. When I got to work I looked at my email to see if any new meeting requests were pending. Then I look for reasonable time slot where I could schedule the workout. I had no meetings scheduled in the afternoon at all so I scheduled the workout at 1:00 p.m.

That was a great plan but it didn’t work too well. By 10:00 a.m. my boss had an urgent assignment for me that had to be completed ASAP. I could see my scheduled workout was in jeopardy. I did manage to get a 30 minute lunch and then I was back at the task. By the time 1:00 p.m. rolled around I was not ready so I slid the workout to 2:00 p.m. Two o’clock came and went before I finished the task and my boss was very pleased. So at 2:55 p.m. I rolled out for an hour and a half workout, which includes changing clothes and travel. So I now only have to make up 30 minutes and I am good for the day! I feel good physically and I have the rest of the evening free. This “mid day plan” just might work.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Day Seven - Finding Time To Workout

Finding the time to go to the gym seems to be a struggle. I have been told that I need to schedule the time into each day which seems easier said than done.

At the barest minimum I have posted a time slot on my Outlook Calendar at work. I set the time for 5:00 p.m. which is the end of day for me. My hope is that I will see it on the calendar and it will prompt me to move the time slot into any available time during the day.

I tried to get up early and head to the gym for an early morning workout. The problem is I need to add time for a shower which means I will be getting out of bed very early in the morning and that proved to be really difficult. It was very easy to turn on the snooze alarm and then lose the time to workout.

Then I tried to go to the gym after work. The problem is that I often felt tired after a full day on my feet I totally lost interest! I just wanted to go home for the evening.

So I'm now trying to find a time slot during the day (I have a pretty flexible schedule) and use it to break up the day. This is my plan: I have it on my calendar every day at work. First thing in the morning I will move the "workout" into an available time slot indicating I am unavailable for me to be booked for another meeting during that time. I'll take the workout break and get back to work.

The good news is that I have lost weight every day so far. Not much weight but losing any is fine with me!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Day Four - Just Beginning

This morning I got up, took my shower, dried off and stepped on the scale before putting any clothing on. To my total surprise I lost 2 pounds! It's only two pounds but I will take it!

I had a couple of days off since my last posting so by the looks of the scale I did some things right.

My wife was working so I had plenty of time for myself. I did four important things during the two days:
  1. I love walking. First thing I did was to take a very long walk. In this case I walked to a neighboring city it's about 6 miles away. I stopped there for lunch at Subway and returned home for about a 13 mile round trip. I was pretty tired but I really enjoyed it.
  2. Later that same day I needed to go to the local drug store. I went into the garage and got into the car. As I sat there, I realized I felt pretty good, even after my earlier walk, so I decided to walk to the drug store instead. This was about 2 miles round trip.
  3. The next day I joined a fitness club. I didn't have time to actually do a work out but I will.
  4. Also, in the evening I played Volleyball on our church league for 2 hours. It's amazing how much work that is! It is great to have such fun exercising too so I highly recommend joining your local park’s league.

Quite a bit of exercise during my time off resulting in a 2 pound weight loss. I'll call it a success.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Day One - My Situation

This is it! I've talked about it. I know I will be healthier and hopefully live longer. I've tried before. But this is it! I'm going about as public as a man can be by going onto the WWW.

This morning I weighed in at 215 pounds. That is the heaviest I have ever been and I have been that weight for almost two years. I am 5' 10" tall and in reasonably good health for a man 53 years old.

I have a few health issues that may be directly associated with my weight so I am hoping that losing weight will help. One, my back is usually sore. Two, I have pain in my feet from arthritis. Three, Acid Reflux Disease. Other than that, I would like to be able put my shoes on with less effort! My blood pressure is good.

So there is my baseline. Follow my story as I progress. I will post as often as I can.