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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Moving to a New Blog

(Note added 03/2/2010: The "Frank on a Diet" blog mentioned below never really got going or resulted in any weight loss. Fortunately, yet another blog was started in mid-February and it has been quite successful with 8 pounds lost in less than 3 weeks. That blog is "Diet or Die Early".)

Instead of continuing this blog, I'm starting off fresh once again with the blog "Frank on a Diet". The book "You on a Diet" by Drs. Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz will be used as a guide, trying to get into the mode of eating better, more exercise, and even some stretching. There's nothing revolutionary about the approach, but it helps to have someone else spell out a plan instead of relying on some general concepts bouncing around in my head.

Mentally, it should help to have a new beginning instead of continuing this blog which has mostly recorded shortcomings instead of successes. A new blog, a new start, a new plan, a new attitude--let's see if that adds up to new and better results.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

November 18, 2009--225.5 Pounds

How does one quit blogging when weight is dropping like fall leaves? Too bad the chances of averaging 1.5 pounds lost per day over the next month is about equal to the chances of our Gang of 8 winning the lottery.

At least there have been some positive actions on my part. No more hot pockets for breakfast, replaced instead by oatmeal. No more candy at work--or at least until the ladies in the department next door refill their candy bowl. I went through the Wendy's drive-thru and only had a small burger for supper last night, which at least help some when I slipped up and bought a Snickers at the Millsaps basketball game.

Yesterday at work saw the last hot pocket lunch as well. For right now it will be back to soup and a yogurt for lunch. That's got to be better than the hot pockets even though the calorie difference isn't much. Maybe with a light lunch followed by a heavy dose of willpower at Nick's this evening, I can have at least one more day of the weight dropping.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

November 17, 2009--226.5 Pounds

Had to post today since this is a 2 pound loss from yesterday. Not that I did anything unusual from my 2,000 to 2,500 calorie routine and no exercise because of the photo editing. It's just my body getting back to where it wants to be.

If/when someone unlocks the key to that control room and people will have the ability to in essences "reset the body thermostat" to burn off excessive fat, that could be a fantastic day for humanity. Or a disaster. Right now people tend to show some self control because of the consequences suffered from overeating. If the consequences could be erased with a pill, it would be very tempting to eat 4,000-5,000 calories a day.

What would be the harm in that you ask? Well, think of the stress on the body of bringing in all that food and then burning it up. Sort of like keeping a furnace going at the maximum temperature all day. Do that day after day, year after year, and systems break down. We could all look slim and trim on the outside while we prematurely age on the inside.

Not that we have to really worry about all that. Someone will find the key and then they will get a patent and charge a fortune for their discovery. Even if the medication costs 10 cents to make, they will charge $1,000 or more for a one-month diet package. And they will probably need that money to fight off the class action lawsuits that follow every new wonder drug. Helping humanity is a nice thought, but the bottom line is going to be the focus when people start finding ways to alter our genetics.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Officially Back to the Beginning

Astute and long time blog readers will remember that I started blogging when my weight was 225 pounds. That was in late February of 2006. However, you might also remember my mentioning that my weight was actually 230 pounds prior to that and the blogging didn't start until 5 pounds were successfully lost.

Sunday morning I weighed 230 pounds. Not surprising coming on the heels of staying up all night Thursday and then going to a football team supper after the game Saturday. Today the weight was down to 228.5 and maybe a few more pounds will come off rather easily, but there's no doubt that I'm all the way back to where things started about 4 years ago.

A few things have changed for the worse since that time. First, my exercise level has dropped to zero compared to some tennis and maybe a little bit of jogging in 2006. The second big change is that I'm 4 years older. That makes it a little harder to take off the weight and it makes me closer to the time when various ailments of the elderly will start popping up. I'm really at the 11th hour of dieting if my goal for losing weight it to lower my risk of a wide variety of diseases. And the last big change is that I'm no longer quite as embarrassed about my weight. That's a bad thing. This notion that one should be comfortable with who you are is a bad thing if you are a person who is 20 pounds into the obesity category. This isn't about feeling good about yourself, it's about being healthy and making the journey through life easier.

Of course, the reality is that overweight people are viewed as less attractive and maybe viewed as lazy or lacking in willpower or whatever. That is what it is, and it is another reason or motivation to work on losing weight. Speaking as a fat person, I do think my extra weight makes me less attractive and it is a result of lack of exercise and lack of willpower. We are not suppose to point these things out to overweight people because that is being insensitive, but I guess it is okay to admit the realities of my life. In a lot of ways, this extra weight is a burden on my life and the responsibility for putting it on and taking it off rest solely on me. The nature of our society and the abundance of fast food restaurants and empty calorie treats all make the job tougher, but the responsibility ultimately rests entirely on my shoulders.

What am I going to do going forward? One of the things I strongly considered was to quit blogging about trying to lose weight. The blogging was great at first and now it seems to be a monument to my failed plans and inability to stay focused for more than a few days at a time. There was a great temptation to go into the Blogger setup yesterday and with a click of the "Delete" button followed by a click of the "Yes I'm sure" option, this blog would be gone. Seeing as how I'm totally back to where I started, it seemed like an potentially appropriate thing to do. However, it just didn't feel right to delete so much work even if it has been spotty at best.

Instead of deleting the blog, I'll wait and see how I feel about the blogging. It seems unlikely that I'll get back to daily posts here, but I might give progress reports periodically. Or I may just give those reports on the main blog. We'll see.

On the weight loss front, last night's supper was just vegetables and oatmeal will now replace the hot pockets for breakfast. The photo project will soon fall back to a manageable pace and there will be no excuse for failing to walk. I'm not sure that the photo project is a valid excuse for not walking, but now I can't fall back on that as justification for inactivity. It all comes down to eating less, eating better, and being more active. These are things I can do and now we'll see if I can live up to that responsibility to myself.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Day 9--Unknown

You can tell how unfocused I've become on the weight loss as I keep forgetting to post in the morning. Tuesday evening the photo editing lasted till 11 p.m. and started back up at 3 a.m. Wednesday morning. There wasn't really a spot where I could get a normal weight.

Maybe the soccer photos can be completed and ready for distribution by Friday if I'll follow this 4 hours of sleep routine the rest of the week. It would be nice to get those totally completed and have myself down to just football for the weekend and next week.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Day 8--225 Pounds (3 lbs lost)

I may have to accept this 225 level for a week or so. Right now what I really want to do is get the fall sports completed and move on to some other things in my life. Maybe when that's done I can get back to some of the longer walks through the Fondren and Belhaven neighborhoods.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Day 7--225 Pounds (3 lbs lost)

Forgot to post this morning. Not much to report from yesterday. Will be glad when I'm not spending all day tied to a PC. Maybe then I can get a little more focused on this weight loss effort.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Day 6--225.5 Pounds (2.5 lbs lost)

Two things have become obvious to me recently:

1) My setpoint is no longer 222 pounds. My body didn't rush to get back to that level after my trip to Dallas and who could blame it. While I have no exact number, there have been multiple times this fall where stretches of no exercise of the body or willpower have bumped my weight several pounds higher than that 222 mark. Each time the weight would fall back to 222, not because of great dieting days on my part, but mostly because that's what my internal mechanism wanted. It's not surprising that my internal weight thermostat got bumped up a few pounds and it looks like it might take a couple of weeks to get back to the 222 pound level.

2) I'm in the worst shape of my life. My entire life, not just my adult life. Even as a fat little kid I could get out and run and play. I might have been the least athletic on the field, but at least I could play. This morning I was sore from walking 3 miles Friday morning and 40 minutes Saturday night. Walking at a slow pace makes me feel like I've been in some tough, physical sports competition. I guess standing and taking photographs for over two hours Friday night added to the soreness, but basically my general fitness is just pathetic. My fitness level has dropped to the point where it's hard to even do the basic first steps on the road back to fitness. I'm starting to doubt that I'll every get back to anywhere near being fit, not as long as I'm putting so much time into other things.

Last thing before I switch over to that primary "other thing" for the rest of the day. The labels of "Positive" and "Negative" seemed like a good idea except that most days seem to fall into a gray area. Ever day so far could have been better. Every day so far I've said no to a lot of impulses that would have greatly hurt my weight loss efforts. So, while I like the labels as somewhat of a "gold star" to shoot for each day, I'm dropping the labels because it's too hard to determine positive and negative. Right now I'm just trying to get my life to the end of November when there will be some breathing room. Maybe not breathing room, but time to spend on digging out from everything that has piled up around me. Those things weigh me down as much as the excessive fat stored all over my body.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Day 5--225 Pounds (3 lbs lost)

Negative day of dieting. It's nice to have lost a half pound despite a bad day, but that's probably because I ate a very early supper. Someone had several pizzas delivered to the office yesterday, plenty to share and I had plenty. What I should have done was stick with my normal lunch which would have been hot pockets, but that didn't make sense because they are so much like pizza. The only difference is that the hot pockets were a measured quantity that would have been just right. The pizza was a near unlimited quantity that kept calling me back for more.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Day 4--225.5 Pounds (2.5 lbs lost)

Based on yesterday's logic, Thursday could be seen as a negative dieting day even though I did well for the circumstances. The reality is that more could have been done almost each day in almost everyone's diet, so by the strictest way of thinking, every day that could have been better should be counted as a negative. I'm not going to be that strict. Thursday was full of good decisions and the weight this morning was down a pound from yesterday--in my book that gets a "Positive" label for the day.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Day 3--226.5 Pounds (1.5 lbs lost)

I've been adding a label to the last few posts as a way of keeping up with "positive" and "negative" dieting days. Initially there was going to be a "neutral" category as well. That got scratched because it seemed counterproductive to dieting.

You see, yesterday was perfect for a "neutral" day. There were free Krispy Kreme donuts at work and I resisted the temptation (along with all of the free candy which is always available). At Nick's it was a night of 3 light beers and no sampling of the bowl of nuts so 300 calories is really good for a Wednesday evening with the guys. Staying out of that bowl of nuts was a real challenge. It was a day when things could have fallen to pieces and I stayed strong.

Or fairly strong. I was home in the afternoon working on photos and I snacked on a 250 calorie bag of popcorn along with another later in the evening. There was a banana before leaving for Nick's and a 700 calorie pizza after Nick's. Maybe the calorie total for Wednesday was 2,500. Not bad considering the circumstances, so maybe "neutral" is valid considering all of the good decisions made. Still, 2,500 calories is a number that isn't helping me lose weight. That's the bottom line. I'm trying to lose weight and yesterday wasn't an effort that pushed me further in that direction. If this was sports, we could call yesterday a moral victory which is a nice term for a loss. Yesterday was a moral victory for my dieting, but it still was negative in regards to achieving my goal.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Day 2--226 Pounds (2 lbs lost)

While these still a lot of road ahead, it's nice to get out of the driveway with a couple of pounds lost.

Yesterday was a good day. That's what I need as my norm and when there are deviations from the pattern, it needs to be insertions of great days instead of taking a short break from the diet. That's been the problem in the past. No consistency in putting together a long string of good days, and far too often the break in the string was a splurge of calories instead of a day of less calories and more activity.

Right now I'm dealing with being swamped with photos while also suffering a mild case of photo project burnout. That doesn't mean it's impossible to get out and walk 30 minutes--heck, getting out and walking 30 minutes might be exactly what I need for the burnout--but for the moment, my mind isn't 100% on doing 100% of everything needed to lose weight. For the moment, it's important to keep the calories down each and every day to establish a base line that will rarely get crossed until my goal is reached.

Today's challenge shouldn't really be a challenge at all. The group meets on Wednesday night and I can limited myself to 3 light beers and still have a great time. There's no need for free peanuts, an extra beer, or a trip through the Wendy's drive-thru on the way home. With a little planning and discipline, staying under 2,000 calories today really won't be difficult.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Day 1--228 Pounds (0 lbs lost)

Was really expecting to see 226 pounds this morning. Avoided all the candy at work yesterday plus 2 cakes. All I had for the day was: hot pocket(260)--yogurt(100)--hot pocket pita thing(440)--popcorn(250)--soup(380)--popcorn(250) = 1,680 calories.

Yeah, it would be better if that was 1,680 calories of fruits and vegetables. And it would be better if I had been out walking some instead of finally getting a pile of ironing done and then spending the rest of the evening in front of the computer. There's always better that can be done, but in this case it seemed like I had done enough to get a drop. Not that it matters much. At 228 pounds or 226 pounds, I still have a long way to go.

Let's look at the situation. Forget about the fat childhood and all of the mental and physical implications of those first 18 years. I hit 200 pounds just before turning 19 years old, and for the first time in my life something clicked and I was able to lose down to 180 pounds. That weight continue to drop until it bottomed out at 165 pounds, my weight when I left college and that's where I stayed until about the age of 35.

During that 165 pound era, I had my body fat level tested several times. All of those test were fairly consistent that my non-fat weight was right around 150 pounds. That would be the bones, the blood, the muscle, and whatever. Those non-fat things haven't changed and let's generously say that the non-fat part of my body today is still 150 pounds even though the muscle mass has to be less than when I was playing sports every day.

Do the math. Subtract 150 pounds from 228 and you get 78 pounds of fat. 78 pounds! Now some fat is necessary for healthy living and maybe some is acceptable as a concession to age and a lower activity rate, but 78 pounds is quite a load of weight to deal with 24 hours a day, 12 months a year. When I weighed 165 pounds, that was 15 pounds of fat. Would it be outrageous to think that 30 pounds of fat should be the upper limit of what I'm carrying around now?

Over the weekend the topic of dieting came up and someone said that I don't look like I really need to lose weight. Whether they thought that for real or were just being kind, I don't know. For sure that would be the opinion of the minority because most would look at me and agree that losing a little weight would probably be a good idea.

Would many think that I need to lose 48 pounds to get from 78 pounds of fat to just 30? I doubt that, but I bet that most of those folks would think that a person carrying 30 pounds of fat is overweight. Maybe that's how this dieting thing should be approached. People should get a body fat test done so they know just how much fat they are dealing with every second of the day. For me, I'm carrying around excess fat basically equal to a 50-pound bag of dog food or potting soil or concrete mix. Have you ever tried toting one of those around and if you have, can you have any doubts that my life would be much easier if I only weighed 180 pounds?

I'm sticking with the diet this time to get to that 180 pound number. Yes, you have read this all before (assuming that anyone is reading), but this feels different to me. My mindset feels much like it did when the blogging all began in February, 2006. It's just something that has to be done and I'm the only one who can do it. Fortunately, there are a lot of rewards for successfully completing the job.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Day 0--228 Pounds

I hope this weight is a little higher than normal due to my munching on the drive back from Dallas last night. Maybe it will give the start of this new effort a boost if there are a few easy pounds that will drop off in the first week. Truthfully, it doesn't really matter where I begin since this isn't a competition to see who can lose the most weight. If today's weight was 222 or 225 or 228 it would still be far too much.

There's no question that 190 pounds is much more appropriate for my 5'10" height. Going by the Body Mass Index, that would still leave me in the overweight range by about 10-15 pounds. I could live with that for a while. Maybe after some time spent stabilizing my body at 190 pounds, I could look at more exercise in hopes of getting down to about 180. That's looking much too far into the future.

For now, I've got to go back to the beginning which would be appropriate since my weight is back where it was in the beginning. I need to understand that what I've been doing lately to maintain the weight in the 220's range isn't good enough by a long shot. There really needs to be a cutback if I'm going to lose 35-40 pounds. Multiply 40 pounds by 3,000 calories and that gives you a very rough total of 120,000 calories of stored fat that I need to lose. It not going to happen with me staying totally inactive and with me breaking my diet here and there day after day. It's going to take work and sacrifice, two elements that have been missing for most of 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Today will be a good test as I expect a pile of Halloween candy to appear in the office lounge. People will want to get their leftover candy out of the house so they don't eat it, opting instead to tempt everyone at work with this sugar in disguise. Making it through today without eating candy will get a good jump start towards success.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

October 29, 2009--223 Pounds

Being accountable over the last 2 days has been like patching up all the holes in a lifeboat. A diet with lots of small "exceptions" might keep one from gaining a lot of weight but it really works much better when all of these holes in the diet are patched up.

Still have no idea when I'll make real progress. Going to Dallas this weekend and should be able to keep things under control fairly well. After that there will be 2-3 weeks solid of nothing but work on finishing photos and getting DVDs burned for over 200 athletes and coaches. Maybe by November 20 the fall sports will be complete--hopefully a little later if it is because the football team makes it to the NCAA Playoffs.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

October 27, 2009--225.5 Pounds

Really haven't had much to write about or any concern about my weight for the last couple of weeks. Sometimes a person gets in a mode of short term pleasures being more important than any long term goals.

Can't say that my motivation is much stronger this morning but an extremely simple thought hit me like a ton of bricks when I was dressing for work:

What happen to the food journal concept?

You can read all of the diet books, internet stories, and magazine articles until your eyes cross from exhaustion and there's really only one tip a person needs to lose weight. Faithfully keep a food journal where you write down what you are going to eat before you eat it. That's it. One simple rule. Follow it for a month and you will see success in your dieting, or at the very least you will see exactly what is keeping you from success.

I've got my index card with me today. Broke the rule right from the start by eating my 260 calorie ham and cheese hot pocket and then listing it on the card. In this case, writing down the food item first wouldn't have made a difference, but it does make a difference on the between meal snacks or when ordering at Wendy's, etc. Writing down the item first gives you a chance to consider your choices and make good ones. Writing down food items after the fact can often been just a confession of guilt.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

October 21, 2009--224.5 Pounds

Not much to write. I seem to be settled in at the 224-225 area right now, spending so much time sitting and editing at the computer. Out of 14 work days in October, I've taken off 10 afternoon in an effort to stay close to caught up. Haven't caught up and it might take 3 more afternoons and evenings this week to be caught up before a busy Homecoming weekend.

Yeah, I could take some time for walking and stretching and all that stuff. Yeah, I could eat less even when I'm bored out of my mind from opening, cropping, enhancing, saving, then repeat the process hundreds of times. Right now at this moment, I wonder why I don't do these things, but when I'm mentally and physically beaten down by the time involved and the often tedious nature of the work, it is really difficult to find the strength to take on another big project.

Maybe after the fall sports are over. Maybe not. When there is a break in the photos, it's always nice to have down time instead of moving on to another big project. It's also a time when I need to do a hundred other things that have piled up. This losing weight thing isn't hopeless. It's just more difficult that it appears to be. I'm having trouble finding the solution.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

October 15, 2009--225.5 Pounds

Went to Nick's last night and ate supper afterwards. I did that knowing/thinking that there would be big changes starting today. Basically a plan of just not eating much. What's that? Hasn't that been the plan for over 3 years. Well, yes and no. I'm talking about saying no to just about all food other than some small things at meals and small snacks when I'm really hungry.

For example, I had my hot pocket this morning as usual. I'll pass on the 4 dozen Krispy Kreme donuts a co-worker just left in the lounge for the rest of us. I'll eat a yogurt only if there is a hunger during the morning, not simply because the clock says 10:00. At lunch it will be something small and I'll hold off on any thoughts about topping off the lunch so I don't get hungry in the afternoon.

Candy around the building--all is totally off limits. Sometimes I think it's okay to limit myself to just a little. That never works. Mostly I have to take the approach that there will be no eating unless the stomach insists on something. I have plenty of stored energy to take care of eating less for a long time.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

October 14, 2009--224 Pounds

One more pound down while doing the exact same lifestyle that won't drop a pound in a week once my weight gets down to 222 pounds.

Here's a thought that hit me yesterday. Some of you first knew me when I was a young adult, let's say between the ages of 21 and 36. To that group of friends, you first knew me as an athletic 165 pound guy. Sometimes I forget that there are those who got that initial impression of me. Having been the short, fat kid who was always one of the worst or the worst player on youth sports teams, that is the norm that sticks in my mind.

However, I was a 165 pound adult for well over a decade, eating all I wanted and burning off the excess with running, soccer, tennis, racquetball, basketball, and other things. The YMCA offered a body fat test at that time and my body fat was in the 9% range. You hear about all these people who claim a body fat range of 2-3% and that seems to be a lie. The body does need some level of stored fat to properly function and my understanding is that 5% is about the minimum. It seems like a permanent state of half that minimum would be seriously unhealthy.

Anyway, it seems that my body weight broke down at that time to about 150 pounds of muscle, bones, and whatever and 15 pounds of fat. Let's be generous and say that the 150 pounds of muscle, bones, etc, is still the baseline even though my muscle mass is less. Even with that kind overstatement, my weight from fat would now be about 75 pounds. That's a third of my body weight. That's 500% of the amount of fat I had when starting out my adult life. That's incredible.

It makes me wonder why I'm bothering to eat at all when there is this extra 200,000 calories of energy packed all over my body.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

October 13, 2009--225 Pounds

Lost a pound thanks to the natural process of the body wanting to return to its favorite weight. Been thinking about doing the food journal again and just don't want to do it. Keep wanting to think I can succeed by simply making good decisions throughout the day, counting on being responsible without accountability. That's probably not going to happen. Deep down, I think it comes down to just not wanting to put another limitation on my life. Goodness knows, over the last few years I have stripped away my life of pre-2005 and turned things into something totally different. There are lots of times when I want my old life back, if not forever, then at least for a few months or a year.