* Code to improve Google search: Frank's Weight Loss Blog: November 2007

Friday, November 30, 2007

This Blog is a "No Sitemeter" Zone

Sometimes it is better to know too little than to know too much. When I started my first blog almost two years ago I was confident that there would be a steady growth in readers as people attempting to lose weight would find my blog and then keep coming back for tips, encourgement, insight, and various other types of support. That blog did not have any type of counter when I first started, but eventually I wanted to know just how many secret readers I had on the site. I added a counter from SiteMeter and discovered I had a well kept secret instead of a lot of secret readers (the above image is the actual counter page from the Slice of Life blog).

After that experience, I've decided not to add a counter to this blog. I would rather keep alive the possibility that people trying to lose weight are adding me to their favorites list than know any exact numbers. Experience tells me that not many people will ever read what I'm writing and that is no longer a disappointing thing. It is actually a very liberating thing as I can now write just for me without worrying about boring people with repetition or being embarrassed to list a meal from Wendy's for 10 straight days.

While knowing that I'm writing basically for myself, I'll still write as if I have an audience, like I'm trying to express myself to someone else. It's an easier way to write and anything that will make writing easier is exactly what I need. Plus, I know there will be a small audience of family and friends who will keep up with how the weight loss efforts are going. I'm fairly confident that this effort will get me back down to 190 pounds at the very least without much backsliding along the way. There will be a lot of opportunities to backslide with Christmas and New Year's coming up, but just because free food is available, it doesn't mean that a person has to eat. I fully expect to lose 8-10 pounds in December even with all the Christmas goodies.

Weight today: 218 pounds. Let's see--I started at 225 Monday morning and now I've lost 7 pounds. Fortunately, it's not that easy. If 4 days of low food actually produced a 7 pound weight loss then I'm afraid our ancestors would have starved to death during times when food was scarce. I'll be a little surprised if this rapid drop continues all the way to 215 pounds and I will be very surprised if I actually go under 215 pounds anytime in the next 10 days. That is a solid set point because I stayed at that weight for months and I don't think my body will give up that mark very easily, but it will give it up when I stay persistent.
Exercise today: None.
Food today: yogurt(100)--crackers(190)--animal crackers(250)--Wendy's(680)--yogurt(100)--crackers(190)--chili(450) = 1,960 calories

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Photo I'd Like To Forget

One trick in selling diet products it to show a really crappy "Before" photo of a person--I think the above photo fits the bill. This was taken on October 10, 2007 by a fellow photographer at the Millsaps football game and now I understand why people always tell me to warn them before I take a photo. You'll have to just trust me when I say that I am slightly more photogenic when I can get prepared for the shot.

Hopefully, there are some people who would look at this photo and think that I don't look so terrible. I see dozens of people each day who are far more obese than me, but that doesn't mean that I'm okay just because so many are in a health crisis. At 5'10", the number that separates "overweight" from "obese" is 207 pounds. Just getting out of that obese category makes a world of difference in lessening the chances of health problems.

While my concern with losing weight is primarily about my health and making day-to-day living easier, I'll admit that looking better is something I would like and something that should be a goal (we'll get into the health vs. looks issue in a future post). If you take a close look at the above photo, you'll see that the front of the shirt isn't hanging loosely. It's tight enough that you can make out the belly button crater, never an appealing look. You can also see an ample "love handle" on my left side, especially back where I'm leaning against the fence. I'm lugging around at least 30-35 extra pounds, the equivalent of carrying almost 2 cases of soft drinks every second of the day and getting rid of that burden will make me feel and look so much better.

Added note: Yesterday it was a plate of brownies left in the break room here at work and today it is a fantastic 3 layer chocolate cake that looks like it came out of a fine dining magazine. If I wasn't documenting my food intake and therefore being held accountable for my calories, I guarantee that these free snacks would have added at least 1,000 calories each day to my total. Sometimes losing weight in America is like trying to "just say no to drugs" while living in a hippie commune--there seem to be temptations and pitfalls around every corner.

Today's Weight: 220.5 pounds
Exercise Today: Walked about 3.5 miles in about 55 minutes (6 points), 2 hours of slow paced doubles (2 points)
Food Today: Animal crackers (250)--oatmeal(160)--pineapple(320)--animal crackers(250)--Wendy's (680)--yogurt(100) = 1,860 calories

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Better Days

This is a photo taken when I still had some success to show from my last diet. It was taken on November 11, 2006 and my blog entry shows that I weighed in at about 197 that day. That wasn't too bad, gaining only 7 pounds during the two months of photographing the fall sports at Millsaps. It was a time marked by late nights and hundreds of hours editing photos at the computer. It led to eating for an energy burst, a welcomed diversion, procrastination from going back to the computer and a host of other excuses. In a post on the Monday after this photo was taken, I wrote that I was disgusted with this back sliding and determined to get back on track. I guess I wasn't discussed or determined enough. I would love to get on the scale tomorrow and see a legitimate 197 flashing back at me.

Today's Game Plan: It's Wednesday so I'll be getting together with the guys tonight for a couple of drinks. That's not a problem if I plan. First, I need to get through the morning on a yogurt and oatmeal for about 360 calories. Second, I can have chili at lunch for another 400 calories and a yogurt in the afternoon. That gets me to the evening under 1,000 calories. I can then have 2 light beers (or even 3) at about 100 calories each--the key is to not eat any of the nuts that they bring to the table. Then for supper I can heat up a lasagna and have a yogurt for about 500 calories. It's a plan that won't leave me hungry, will allow me to enjoy a social activitiy, and will still leave me under the 2,000 calorie mark.

Weight Today: 219.5 pounds. What a disappointment to only lose 1 pound yesterday instead of 4.5 pounds. At this new rate it will take me till Christmas to get down to 190 pounds. Unfortunately, that's the way some people think, getting disappointed and quitting if they can't wipe out 10 years of bad habits with 10-30 days of dieting. It doesn't work that way, but a person often can lose weight at the rate of one month of dieting for one year of feasting--that's a fairly light penalty to pay to get back to a healthy weight.
Food Today: crackers(200)--oatmeal(160)--Wendy's (680)--yogurt(100)--3 light beers(300)--chili(450) = 1,890 calories (I didn't exactly follow my game plan but I didn't eat 3 or 4 of the brownies that someone brought to work and left in the break room and I didn't graze on the bowl of nuts at the bar. Those two things alone would have put me over 3,000 calories for the day.)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Ahhh--Easy Pounds to Start the Diet

The great thing about starting a new diet is that there is usually an early surge of success, our own personal version of "Shock and Awe". In my case, I dropped from 225 pounds to 220.5 pounds in one day--I should write an infomercial and try to make a million bucks.

The reality is that Sunday evening was a late night of working on photos and sipping Diet Cokes, plus it came on the tail end of a lot of Thanksgiving food. It made the 225 a little on the high side when I weighed early Monday morning. Follow that up with a day when I put very little in the way of solid food into my system and I did not stay up late pouring fluids into my system, and the 4.5 pound loss seems a little less dramatic. I actually believe that I'll get back to 215 pounds fairly quick because that was my last major set point. From there it may take a little time to move lower, but I've never really added steady exercise to my weight loss efforts and I plan on getting that started before too long.

You'll recognize the photo above as coming from one of those "pay to weigh" scales that were often found at drug stores and the like back when I was a kid. You don't see scales like this very often in public places, probably a combination of everyone having accurate scales at home and most people not wanting to know their actual weight. I found the height and weight table very interesting--that's what we once thought of as normal and for over 15 years I did measure up to the 5'10" and mid-160's. Unfortunately, I only fit half of that description at the moment, since I'm a whopping 50-plus pounds over what I weighed from the age of 20 till my late 30's.

Weight today: 220.5 pounds
Food today: Animal crackers (250)--yogurt (100)--Wendy's Jr. CB and small Frosty (680)--crackers(190)--ravioli(250)--pineapple(310)--yogurt(100) = 1,880 calories

Monday, November 26, 2007

There and Back Again

On February 23, 2006, I started a blog to document my efforts to lose weight. I had reached 225 pounds and it felt very uncomfortable on my 5'10" frame, and even pants with a size 40 waist were becoming embarrassingly tight. Today I start another blog and once again I'm starting at a weight of 225 pounds with a goal of reaching 190 pounds and then either maintaining or possibly trying to lose 5-10 additional pounds.

What happen to the original blog? Well, it worked for a while and I was down to 190 pounds by the end of July, 2006--a total of 35 pounds lost in about 5 months. Things were going great but I didn't want to bore the blog readers with continued details about dieting so that blog evolved into photographs and miscellaneous thoughts, with thoughts and accountability on dieting slowly but surely fading from the scene. And just as slowly but surely, the 35 pounds came back over the last 14 months.

This blog will get back to the basics, retracing the steps that made for a fairly easy path to weight loss, but it will only be about losing weight. I'm writing this for myself and it will only be about my food intake, my thoughts on dieting, my temptations, my successes, my failures, etc. There won't be any site meter on this blog so I won't know if anyone else is reading. I actually don't expect anyone else to read this and that frees me up to focus on exactly what I need without feeling that I also need to be interesting and entertaining. I'll probably try to entertain myself, but who knows if anyone else would find that interesting.

So, once again we begin with the heart and soul of my dieting plan which is simply to be accountable for the food I eat each day by keeping an extremely basic food journal throughout the day (food eaten and the number of calories). Here's day 1:

Today's Weight: 225 pounds
Today's Food: yogurt(100)--crackers(200)--yogurt(100)--crackers(200)--yogurt(100)--Wendy's Jr Cheeseburger(350) and small Frosty(330)--yogurt(100) = 1,480 calories (and with eating habits like this, I make sure to take vitamins to make up for all that I'm missing)