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

Monday, December 31, 2007

Day 36--222 Pounds--3 Pounds Lost

It's looks like I'm not going to get off so easy for my 2 weeks of overeating. I know that exercise is the thing that I need to add to my routine and I'm finding it hard to get started. All I need to do is walk for 30 minutes about 5 times a week. It doesn't seem like much but it would be something I could fit in my schedule and it would get me back in the habit of doing some activity most days of the week. For there I could add in a little jogging and maybe move it up to 45 minutes and who knows, maybe I can work my way back into becoming an actual jogger again. That's the one thing that will turn the clock back 20 years on my health.

Weight today: 222 Pounds
Exercise today: walked 4 miles
Food today: yogurt(100)--

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Day 35--221 Pounds--4 Pounds Lost



This photo has nothing to do with losing weight but I saw on someone else's blog that you could load photos directly to Blogger, which is a great improvement over going to Photobucket and then creating a link. Click on the photo and you should get a full page version of the image.

Other than trying out this new feature, there really is nothing to report. My weight jumped back up today which doesn't mean a whole lot. Losing weight is not a process that follows a straight line so a gain of 2.5 pounds following a day when I really didn't eat very much is not such a big deal.

Today's Weight: 221 pounds

Today's exercise:
Today's food: Pineapple(320)--popcorn(250)--pizza(700)--chocolate(see below)--popcorn(250) = unknown.

(Millsaps had a basketball game this afternoon and one of the parents brought food from home for their son and they brought a gigantic slab of homemade chocolate candy for me in appreciation for all the photos I take. In theory, I could appreciate the thought and then give away the chocolate or even throw it away. In reality, I would never do that with such a thoughtful gift. So, I have one more item of fattening food that will be a part of my diet for a few days and I'll try to cut back in other areas as I indulge in this holiday gift.)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Day 34--218.5 Pounds--6.5 Pounds Lost

Last year one of my co-workers was telling me about an article she read about gaining weight at Christmas. The article said that you shouldn't worry too much about gaining a few extra pounds at Christmas because if you will just go back to your normal way of eating after Christmas, all of those extra pounds will come off in January. She was skeptical, not believing that the body is just as determined to lose weight to get back to a set point as it is to gain back weight that has suddenly been lost.

If anyone is reading this then it is probably someone who has been reading my other blog for a long time. Therefore, you should know all about the body and its set point, a weight that the body has been conditioned to believe is the proper weight to maintain. It is our actions that condition the body to change that set point either up or down.

If you go out and eat a lot of extra food during the holidays or on a vacation cruise, the body will gain weight in the short term but that doesn't move the set point. If you go back to your normal eating pattern, the body will burn off the excess weight and get back to your normal weight. But, if you continue to eat excessive food, the body at some point decides that this excessive amount of food is a signal that there is a need for more fat and it will bump up the set point.

Or, if you cut back on food is a quick 7-day diet, your body will lose weight in the short term and will then try the best it can to gain back those lost pounds so it can get back to the set point. If you cut back on the food for long enough, or if you become more active and start burning up more calories, the body will eventually decide that the set point needs to be lowered. It's the persistent effort needed to get the body to lower the set point that marks a truly successful diet. I had moved my set point down to about 219 pounds prior to my birthday/Christmas binge and apparently my body decided not to change the set point, thus my quick return to this level. Now I have to continue my persistent effort to bump the set point lower and lower.

Weight today: 218.5 pounds
Exercise today:
Food today: pineapple(320)--pizza(700)--popcorn(250)--pizza(700) = 1,970 calories

Friday, December 28, 2007

Day 33--220 Pounds--5 Pounds Lost

(Note: It's good to see that zero on the end of my weight for the first time in a couple of weeks. It is amazing to see how refraining from 1,500 to 3,000 calories of junk each day can really help a diet--maybe that's something that would be helpful for many overweight Americans to try.)

There was a time when I played all sorts of sports. Between the age of 20 to 35, I would say I was fairly active or very active in soccer, running, tennis, basketball, golf, racquetball, ping-pong, and softball. When I wasn't playing one of those sports, I was filling my spare time by coaching one of those sports. Is it any wonder that I had no problem keeping my weight at 165 pounds and my body fat level below 10%?

I'm not sure of the order of my retirement from all of these sports. I am sure that I'm basically down to just an occasional tennis match and a four mile walk each week as the sum of my physical activity. Is it any wonder that I had no problem ballooning up to 225 pounds and that a third of my body weight is composed of fat?

The need for more physical activity in my life is evident. I think the only logical thing to do at the time is to focus on more outings of combined walking and jogging, the most basic and beneficial exercise I can do to get my health back on track. As I increase this activity, I'm afraid that I'll probably need to drop tennis completely from my weekly schedule. The Sunday afternoon matches I play and the trips to Raymond for Monday and Thursday tennis all take a slice of 4-5 hours out of my life. It's not just the tennis, but the preparing to play, the travel to the courts, showering after, etc. I enjoy it all from a social aspect, but it is time I can no longer afford to give up when I consider just how little time I have and how much I already have to do. I sure wish I could find a way to get more than 24 hours in a day, but until I find out that secret, I have to start using my time in a more efficient manner and slow paced doubles hardly fits the definition of efficient exercise.

Weight today--220 pounds
Exercise today--
Food today--yogurt(100)--oatmeal(160)--Wendy's(680)--3 cookies(140)--pineapple(320)--popcorn(250) --canned fruit(320)--popcorn(250) = 2,220 calories

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Day 32--221.5 Pounds--3.5 Pounds Lost

I almost forgot to get a post done this morning. Not much to report except that yes, there was food still around at work yesterday and no, it wasn't really hard to resist it. It actually seemed like everyone was able to resist the junk yesterday, an indication of just how much we all stuffed ourselves in the runup to Christmas and on Christmas Day.

Weight today: 221.5 Pounds
Exercise: Playing tennis this evening
Food today: crackers(190)-crackers(190)--soup(400)--chocolate(250)--Wendy's(680)--popcorn(250) = 1,960 calories (Now that wasn't so bad to stay under 2,000 calories for a day--losing weight may involve breaking some mental desires but it does not involve physical pain if you spread out small portions throughout the day. Eat like you have had the stomach reduction surgery and you will never need to have the stomach reduction surgery.)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Day 31--223.5 Pounds--1.5 Pounds Lost

This ugly period of gluttony is over. I'm sure this morning will start off with free goodies in the break room at work, leftovers from Christmas that people want to get out of their house and into the bellies of others. I'll have none of it and I know that I need to get back to stringing together sub-2,000 calorie days.

I think I mentioned on this blog that I was having lab work done last Friday for a physical this Friday. It's a long story, but I was wrong on the schedule for my physical. I have a three month reprieve with the lab work and physical actually being scheduled for the last week of March. That's three months that I can use to make a dramatic change in my life. Can I get to 190 pounds by then, shedding over 10 pounds per month in the first quarter of 2008? I think I can if I will add activity to dietary discipline. Activity is my secret weapon if I will just use it. That's a big IF and it will be the key to any permanant success I achieve in 2008.

Weight today: 223.5 Pounds
Exercise today:
Food today: yogurt(100)--yogurt(100)--crackers(190)--chili(460)--candy bar(230)--pineapple(320)--popcorn(250)--popcorn(250) = 1,900 calories

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Day 30--222.5 Pounds--2.5 Pounds Lost

It's Christmas Day, the last day of giving in to the "12 Days of Christmas Food". There are several ways to look at the last month and my dieting efforts.

--First, it is obvious that this was the wrong time of the year to start a diet since it is almost impossible to stay on a diet between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I think the opposite, namely that this is the most important time to be aware of all that you are eating because there is almost a limitless amount of temptations.

--Second, I got off to a good start and then failed miserably over the last two weeks. That's somewhat true except that I'm not going to be that harsh with myself. I did get off to a good start, the middle got a little shaky with too many days closer to 2,500 calories instead of 2,000 calories, and then the last 10 days or so have been pretty bad. I think this is primarily a reflection of Christmas being the most food oriented time of the year and not a failing of my will power. When the special food goes away, I'll be able to get back to those sub-2,000 days.

--Third, it wasn't the extra food that hurt the diet so much as it was the lack of exercise. On that, I plead 100% guilty. I have to force myself to take some time and get out and walk or jog 4 or 5 times a day. It's a habit I once loved and it's a habit I would love again if I would just force myself to start and stick with it. The exercise is something that has to fall into place this time or I will find it unlikely that they diet will have any long term success.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Day 29--222.5 Pounds--2.5 Pounds Lost

Not much to add to what I've been posting for the last week. Today I will make the brownies for our Christmas Eve parties and that always involves scrapping the bowl plus eating the unattractive outer edges when I'm getting the brownies out of the pan. This evening there will be the Christmas Eve gathering at both my Mother's house and at a cousin's house. This certainly is a holiday that is centered around food.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Day 28--223.5 Pounds--1.5 Pounds Lost

I was at a Christmas Party last night till past 11 so I'm not surprised by today's weight. I'm playing tennis this afternoon and maybe that, along with no parties planned for today, will get me back to a little better weight.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Day 27--221.5 Pounds--3.5 Pounds Lost

The diet seems to be suspended until after Christmas. The combination of birthday food, Christmas parties, and people giving food as a gift for Christmas has sidetracked any hopes of sub-2,000 calorie days. That's not to say I couldn't be doing that even at this time of the year, but I'm going to enjoy the festivities without going too far overboard. At this point my major accomplishment for this first month may simply be staying even during the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That is an accomplishment of merit.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Day 26--222 Pounds--3 Pounds Lost



This was the food table at Wednesday's office birthday party BEFORE all the food was put out. In addition to the strawberry cake, fudge, nuts, chips, banana pudding, sandwiches, meatballs, and melted cheese, there was still an ice cream cake and a few other things still in the kitchen. This for a group of no more than 20 workers.

The last few days have been like I hit the chute square at Candy Land and I've been sent halfway back on the board. I don't say this with any great pride, but it could have been worse over the last few days. I did show some restraint, whereas there was the option of going totally hog wild for the lead up to Christmas. Tomorrow there is a big Christmas party, Sunday I'll be fixing brownies, and Monday is Christmas Eve and our family's big time to celebrate Christmas. Maybe I'll be lucky to be 222 pounds on Christmas Day. After that I hope the "mandatory" eating goes by the wayside and I can get back to really sticking to my diet.

I have an appointment today to give some samples for lab work. This will be followed up by a physical with my doctor next Friday. It could have been and should have been a physical where I walked in at a stunning 175 pounds. As it is, I'll be walking in with the need to lose weight just as it has been with every other physical I've had in the last decade. Let's work on making the 2008 physical stunning instead of status quo.

Weight today: 222 pounds
Exercise today: none
Food today: yogurt(100)--

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Day 25--221.5 Pounds--3.5 Pounds Lost

It appears that a day of gluttony equals 3 pounds gained. I know it is just a temporary gain made up mostly of going out with the guys last night and then eating a late meal from the drive thru window at Wendy's. Even though there are a ton of goodies still available at the office, I really have no excuse for going over 2,000 calories today and tomorrow. My guess is that 2 sub-2,000 days will have me back down to a weigh-in of 218-219 on Saturday.

I think I have my set point down to about 219 right now and that my body will drop back down to that if I give it half a chance. I'd like to see that set point moved to 217 by the end of the year, a goal that might require a little bit of getting out and walking. It certainly will require more restraint than I've shown lately.

Weight today: 221.5 Pounds
Exercise today: walked 4 miles
Food today: yogurt(100)--oh my, the best laid plans of mice and men... I got to work and before 8 o'clock a co-worker came in with a Christmas "Happy" that included some wonderful chocolate. Shortly after that a co-worker handed me a tin of that fantastic fiddle-faddle that she had packed up just for me. It was Wednesday all over again as I once again went through a day of junk and virtually no real food. I had some fruit and I had some popcorn, hardly the making of a meal but at least it was better than what I was eating throughout the day.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Day 24--218.5 Pounds---6.5 Pounds Lost

I know it must seem like I'm cheating by even calling this a diet. Yesterday the consumption of junk food as my primary meal got so bad that I stopped trying to guess and list the calories. How does a day like that lead to a half pound weight loss?

Well, for one thing, I haven't gone totally insane with the Christmas eating. Outside of the Christmas junk, the rest of my eating was yogurt, fruit, and a couple of bags of low-fat popcorn. It's not like I'm eating regular meals and stuffing the cracks all day with cookies and rum cake. I can tell you that I don't feel guilty about the way I'm eating right now. It's Christmas and great food abounds. Why not enjoy the food of the season as long as you don't go plum pudding crazy and gain an extra 10 pounds?

Today starts a difficult stretch for me and if I come out on the other side at 218.5 pounds it will be a small, dietary Christmas miracle. Today we have the office birthday party for the December birthdays (that includes me) and I will eat with some restraint, but I will eat. This evening is the guys meeting for drinks and at least I can vow to refrain from the table snacks in that setting. Saturday there is a big party at a friends house, a minefield of calories. I will take photos at the party and maybe I can use that activity to stay away from mindless eating. Then on Sunday or Monday I'll be making brownies for Christmas and a cook does have to test taste their wares. And of course, there is Christmas Eve with the family and that is a time for food and merriment.

There's no reason that I can't both enjoy these next few days and also show restraint to nibble and sample instead of gulp and gorge. I know I can do enough to keep my weight where it is today, and then I can get back on track as the temptations slack off with the start of a new year.

Weight today: 218.5 Pounds
Exercise: none expected
Food today: No list being kept. I expect a day of restraintful pigging out.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Day 23--219 Pounds--6 Pounds Lost

There's somewhat of a Catch-22 with this blog. I assume that very few people are reading so I don't put my full effort into these posts. On the other hand, maybe very few people are reading because I don't put my full effort into these posts. Experience tells me that my full effort is unlikely to pull in and keep any readers, so I doubt that this blog will every do much more than its main purpose, which is to help me lose weight.

For anyone who might be reading, let me just tell you that this system of just staying accountable works. In addition, I will tell you that in today's society, not becoming aware and accountable is almost guaranteed to fail if you are trying to stay at a healthy weight. While we hear that a typical man should consume around 2,500 to 2,800 calories a day, this doesn't match up with what we are conditioned to think of as a normal eating day. It's very easy to think you are eating normal only to find that your light breakfast is 500 calories, your reasonable lunch is 1,200 calories, your regular supper is 1,000 calories, and all the snacks in between total close to another 1,000 calories. It's easy to pack away 3,500 calories in a day and think that you are eating a "normal" amount of food.

In America today, where we throw in so many extra calories between meals and people pour in extra calories with soft drinks, alcoholic drinks, and even the calorie packed sports drinks, it is just about impossible to stay in the suggested calorie range unless you become consciously accountable. Here's a good rule of thumb to follow: If you think you are eating normal, then you are eating too much. For the vast majority in America, what they look at as eating light is actually the normal amount for their age, sex, and activity level. Trusting your instincts will lead to becoming and staying overweight because our instincts have been calibrated to an incorrect level. To stay in the correct calorie range and thereby maintain a healthy weight, it depends on making a little effort to be accountable.

Weight today: 219 pounds
Exercise today:
Food today: yogurt(100)--Christmas junk (see below)(1,000)--pineapple(320)--popcorn(250)--this day's food journal just fell apart as the day progressed. I stayed aware of the calories and I made up for junk by not eating much of anything at meal times. Tomorrow won't be much better since we have our office party for the December birthdays. That's makes me one of the honorees since my birthday was two days ago (I hit the non-descript age of 56). It would just be rude of me if I didn't get a little of everything--it looks like another day of mostly junk and very little real food.

Christmas junk--We have free food all over the office. Today it was rum cake, cookies, and "fiddle-faddle", the best version of a CrackerJack type snack that I've ever had. In addition, there are the people who give out Christmas "happies", where they come around and give you some sort of high calorie goodies. I have had a little of all of the above snacks and even showing restraint quickly adds up to 1,000 calories or more. I'm trying to make sure that I keep my real food calories down while eating these fun calories, not exactly the healthiest approach to take, but better than topping the 3,000 to 4,000 calorie range.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Day 22--219 Pounds--6 Pounds Lost

In theory, I'm suppose to be shooting for sub-2,000 calorie days in order to lose weight. In reality, I'm finding myself closer to the 2,500 calorie level over the last week or so. That's not a bad level for maintaining my weight or even for slowly losing weight. I just have to be careful that I don't make it a habit, or that I don't let 2,500 creep up to 2,800 and then to 3,000 calories.

I can eat less than 2,000 calories a day and never be hungry if I don't do silly things like getting the combo meal at Wendy's, something I did yesterday to add an extra 300 calories. That, plus one last bag of popcorn was enough to put me over my primary goal. That's just a case of not showing much discipline. I'm showing some, but not enough.

Today is my 56th birthday. Back when I started combining blogging with dieting almost 2 years ago, my idea was to be at 175 pounds for my 55th birthday and then I would maintain that for the rest of my life. I made a good start towards that goal, losing 35 pounds in 4-5 months but then I plateaued at 190 pounds, and that was followed by a slow return to my starting weight. It was a wasted opportunity and it was also a learning experience. I know that I can get to 190 pounds by doing exactly what I'm doing now. I can maintain that with ease if I will stick to the program that gets me there. Can I go lower or do I need to go lower? Time will tell. For now, I'll just get back to 190 to enjoy all of the health improvements and personal life style improvements of that weight, and this time I'll be better prepared to stick at that level or continue lower.

Weight today: 219 pounds
Exercise today: none
Food today: yogurt(100)--this day didn't become uncontrollable, but it did become uncountable with some various things going on at the office and lunch out with a friend for my birthday. It was one of those days where I knew there would be bad moments so I basically offset them with good moments like a very light supper. These types of days can be dangerous in that they allow you to lie to yourself, but I hope that eventually I can have a mindset where I don't have to count calories but I can rely on common sense keeping the calories and weight under control.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Day 21--219 Pounds--6 Pounds Lost

No particular reason why I should be losing a few pounds over the last few days. It's just the way weight loss seems to work. A lot of good days will lead to good results in the long run even though there may be no rhyme or reason to the day to day progress. The best thing is that maybe I have gotten past the 221 pound set point. I didn't think the 221 pound plateau would last as long as it has so far. I would love for the next solid plateau to be all the way down at 215 pounds, but I suspect that it come sooner than that.

Weight today: 219 pounds.
Exercise today: none
Food today: yogurt(100)--popcorn(250)--pineapple(320)--popcorn(250)--pineapple(320)--Wendy's(1,000)--popcorn(250) = 2,490 calories subtotal.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Day 20--220 Pounds--5 Pounds Lost

It's the weekend and you would think that I'd have plenty of time to write a post on obesity, or tips about losing weight, or tales of the difficulties and triumphs of my current diet. Unfortunately, my weekends for the last few months have been tied up with working on photos. It's part of the reason I have so much trouble with my weight, going from a job where I spend so much time behind a computer to a pastime that also involves a tremendous amount of time sitting in front of a computer.

Let me just make a general comment about this blog and my diet. Since I don't have a hit counter on this blog, I have no idea if anyone is reading. Based on past experience, I doubt that many or any are reading so there isn't much motivation for me to write down my thoughts if I'm only sharing them with myself. If anyone does happen on this blog, they may read a few posts and conclude that I'm not on a diet at all. I can understand that thinking, but those people are wrong.

A diet is what you eat, whether that's 1,000 calories or 5,000 calories a day. I know that most people think of the other definition of a diet, namely an intentional cut back on food intake in order to lose weight. The only diet that is really going to work in the long term is when you simply become aware and accountable for the food you eat in your daily diet. That's what I'm doing. When you look at diet as a temporary change in eating habits in order to lose weight, the odds are that the weight loss will be temporary just like your change in eating habits.

Right now I'm cutting back on my calories in an effort to burn off some of the stored energy in my body. When I get down to the weight I desire, I still have to watch my diet, being aware and accountable for the food I eat each day. As I proved in late 2006 and most of 2007, as soon as you drop the accountability then the old habits will come back along with the old weight range. I don't expect anyone to look at my food list and think they should be eating like I do. In fact, I recommend that you don't eat like I do since it is too much junk with the emphasis being on convenience and not healthy eating.

You won't take any great eating tips away from this blog. The only thing I can tell you is to be accountable for what you eat. Once you do that, you will either lose weight or you won't trap yourself with the mind set that "it's impossible to lose weight". Losing weight is actually easy for anyone who takes the approach of staying within their food budget just as almost all of us find the strength to stay within our financial budget for our lifetime.

Weight today: 220 pounds
Exercise today: walked to the store--about a mile round trip
Food today: yogurt(100)--Milky Way(260)--2 frozen dinner things(610)--chocolate(300)--popcorn(250)--lasagna(400)--popcorn(250) = 2,170 plus maybe a little extra that I forgot to list.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Day 19--221 Pounds--4 Pounds Lost

The other day I was carrying in some diet sodas at the apartment. Just carrying 2 of the 12-packs up the stairs makes a noticeable difference in the effort needed to climb one flight of stairs. That's just 16 additional pounds that make a big difference, so wouldn't losing 16 pounds make a big difference in the opposite direction?

It's a shame that some health organization doesn't have a campaign where people can borrow a 25 pound weighted vest and wear it for a day. Someone is my situation, which is somewhere around 14 pounds over the line that separates overweight and obese, could get an idea of just what those extra pounds that seperate obese from "not too bad" actually feel like. While 200 pounds isn't where I would like to stop, just getting from my initial 225 pounds to 200 would be like shedding a 25 pound vest and that would lift a tremendous daily burden.

For those with much more to lose, I can see where they might think that losing 25 pounds isn't worthwhile if it leaves them with 100 more that they need to lose. But 25 pounds is 25 pounds, and even if you have 100 or more pounds that you need to lose, dropping 25 pounds is the equivalent of not having to carry around three 12-packs of drinks with you every step of your day. It would be a huge burden taken off a person's system and they would feel the difference.

I need to get these first 25 pounds off and I'm just piddling around. It's good to be losing weight at a time when most are gaining, but I could do more. I need to do more. I will make an effort to do more on both the cutting down the calories and the increasing of exercise.

Weight today: 221 pounds
Exercise today:
Food today: crackers(190)--oatmeal(160)--snickers(230)--McDonalds(700)--cookies(200)--popcorn(250)--lasagna(400)--popcorn(250) = 2,380 calories

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Day 18--December 13, 2007

Okay, I've had a minor fling with food for the last few days and now it is time to get back on track. I should point out that there was some willpower shown over the last few days. Yesterday there were two pies in the lounge and I didn't have a piece. Monday when I was returning from tennis, I had a huge craven for a large Frosty but I downsized to a small when I got the the order screen. Maybe this is somewhat like a alcoholic parent wanting credit for only beating the children two days a week instead all seven, but at least I didn't backslide totally.

Weight today: 222.5 pounds, not too bad considering the last few hours of yesterday.
Exercise today: walked about 4 miles this morning, played 3 sets of doubles.
Food today: crackers(190)--crackers(190)--chocolate(230)--chili(500)--candy(200)--McDonalds(700)--popcorn(250)--PB&J(200) = subtotal of 2,460 calories.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Even Bad is Better

There's nothing about the last few days to indicate that I'm serious about losing weight. Even so, the fact that I'm keeping this food list is keeping a lid on the calories and it is keeping an out of control attitude from becoming out of control eating.

In recent weeks, I have been going through the motion a lot of days, just trying to one task after the next done. It's not quite as much drugery as I make it sound, but it is fairly mundane and there is a tendency to look for a fun break here or there to spice up the day. I wish my mindset was such that I saw a brisk walk around the neighborhood as a fun break, but my mind is conditioned to think that getting something to eat is the pause that refreshes. For a variety of reasons, all rather flemsy excuses, I've been taking too many refreshing pauses this week and I'll go into today trying to do better. It is Wednesday, so I'll have the extra calories this evening, something that I'll have to account for in my eating from 7 am to 5 pm as I save a little room for those extra calories in my daily intake.

Weight today: 222 pounds (I'm not sure if this number will move very much until I start exercising more.
Exercise today: none expected
Food today: oatmeal(160)--Nekot cookies(240)--Wendy's(680)--3 light beers(300)--Combo at Wendy's(1,000)--snacks at the bar(?) = a bad night. It was bad in both the calorie count and in the attitude.

Note: If I could ever lose weight, maybe the Wendy's people would hire me to combat Jarrad (spelling?) over at Subway. He is a great example of someone doing something special and then having that combined with one big break that has changed his life totally. I'm sure there are hundreds of people who have done the same thing, following the same routine over and over and eventually losing a lot of weight, but none of them got that big break that turned them into a national icon.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Day 16--222 Pounds--3 Pounds Lost

In a lot of ways, I'm at a low energy cycle of life right now. It's more about having a hard time generating enthusiasm rather than the power to get things done. My life has fallen into a pattern of doing a lot of good things that are really about serving others while often neglecting myself. These are things I choose, I get satisfaction from the results, and it does have the benefit of improving some of my skill sets, so I'm not really complaining. It's just that this doing for others doesn't leave me too enthusiastic about life from day-to-day. It is like I've fallen into a rhythm on a long training run and I'm just churning out miles without really enjoying the run. There are benefits, it is productive, but it isn't that satisfying.

What's that thought doing on a diet page? Like with everything else in my personal life, I'm having trouble generating much excitement about the prospect of losing weight. I'm not planning to get off the diet, but I also don't feel like doing much of the rah-rah type posts proclaiming how great it will be to weigh 30 pounds less or how great it will be for my health. I just don't feel the spirit.

Weight today: 222 pounds
Exercise today:
Food today: crackers(190)--snickers(230)--snickers(230)--Wendy's(700)--Nekot cookies(240)--2 PB&J sandwiches(700) = 2.290 calories

Monday, December 10, 2007

12/10/07--Day 15, 222 Pounds (3 Pounds Lost)

That's a disappointing title for a post. When I started this I lost about 6 pounds in a few days, found a stabilizing point at about 5 pounds lost, and now I seem to maintaining or gaining on about 2,000 calories a day. It's easy to see how people get frustrated and quit their diets.

The problem is that we micro-analysis our diets while we totally ignore the odd ways our weight fluctuated as it was going on. When not on a diet, I'm sure I had plenty of days where I ate too much but the next morning I showed that I lost weight. That wouldn't make sense on the surface, just as me gaining 1.5 pounds since yesterday morning doesn't make much sense, but it's the way the body works.

I don't know the exact number but I think the typical human body in 70% fluid. That would make my body about 150 pounds of liquid, so considering all of the fluids that go into my body each day in the form of diet soda, a 1 percent increase in my fluid level isn't that odd. I just have to remember that continuing to make the right choices will lead to the right results. This weight will come off much faster than it went on, plus I have the added bonus of not gaining additional weight while I'm dieting. I'm sure I was on the way to 230 pounds when I hit the brakes on my runaway eating two weeks ago.

Weight today: 222 pounds.
Exercise today: Played 3 sets of doubles at such a slow pace that I'm not sure if it qualifies as exercise.
Food today: yogurt(100)--this became somewhat of a hectic day and I was feeling a little down so I cut myself some slack and hit somewhere between 2,500 and 3,000 calories. I'll get back to accurate reporting and a lower calorie total tomorrow.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

A Long Day at the Computer

I've been sitting at my home PC all day working on photos and I just haven't taken the time to add today's post. That doesn't mean that I haven't been keeping my food list or that I've allowed myself to slip. On the contrary, I've been very aware of my food intake and it would have been massive today without this food journal. I wanted to get ice cream and a frozen pizza when I went to the store to get a newspaper (still unread as usually happens when I buy a newspaper), but I held off because I would have had to write down my failure in will power.

Weight today: 220.5 pounds
Exercise today: No exercise this weekend--what else in new
Food today: fruit(320)--2 PB&J sandwiches(700)--pasta(590)--popcorn(250)--graham crackers(140)--graham crackers(210) = 2,210 calories (a little extra after a poor start with the sandwiches)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Don't Screw Up on the Weekend

I'm feeling much better today, at least back to 90% with serious exercise probably being the only thing that I wouldn't feel up to this morning. It's a shame that I didn't get some of that quick weight loss that others get when they are sick, it would have been a little payback for feeling so punk. I guess the fact that I really didn't eat a lot over the last two days was offset by the fact that I spent most of that time in bed.

My weight this morning was 220 pounds, a number that is proving to be more of a set point than I thought it would be. My miscalculation probably comes from my reluctance to weigh and keep up with my food intake during October and November, and I probably had been tipping the scales at 220 or higher more consistently than I wanted to admit to myself. But, that ship has sailed and I did let my body get comfortable at this higher weight so now I just have to continue to convince the subconscious to let the weight drop back down. It will happen if I am insistent enough and persistent enough with my actions.

Weight today: 220 pounds (5 pounds lost, day 13)
Exercise today: none
Food today: popcorn(250)--graham crackers(140)--lasagna(400)--pineapple(320)--graham crackers(140)--graham crackers(100)--popcorn(250)--popcorn(250) = 1,850 calories

Friday, December 7, 2007

Thursday, December 6, 2007

A Rare Sick Day

--I lost back all of that sleep I gained Tuesday night with a sleepless Wednesday. There was nothing different about my Wednesday pattern so I think it's just one of those things.

--Feeling much better now even though my temp shows as 100.5, which doesn't sound too bad except that my norm in 96.5 when I give blood. However, the thermometer has a low battery and I don't trust any reading it shows.

--It will be a day in bed with light eating. I'm trying out a bowl of pineapples now, followed by some Excedrin, and then it's back to bed. I have a feeling that I'll be back to normal by tomorrow morning.

--12:25 pm and I'm still alive. I've been in bed all morning, no stomach problems like last night but still a fever. I wanted to use this illness as an excuse to get a big tub of ice cream at the store. I think I'll compromise and get a loaf of Bunny Bread and some peanut butter and strawberry jelly--umm, if that doesn't make me feel better then I'm really sick.

--4:45 pm: It's hard to say if I'm feeling better. Fever is below 100 but I still feel really blah. I'm not very good at being sick since I rarely get sick. For the last couple of months I've thought it was crappy to use up so much vacation time to work on photos and now I know that working on photos is much better than taking time because you are sick. I think I'll take my big bottle of Sprite Zero and a pack of graham crackers and go back to bed. This is one of the few days where I really wish I had cable TV.

Weight today: 220.5 pounds.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Sleep--It Does a Diet Good.

One would think that the key to losing weight is a lot of activity and that is usually the case, but when activity reaches exhaustion, it can be a disaster for a diet. Yesterday afternoon at work I just couldn't keep my eyes open because of fatigue and I turned to food for a quick kick. It's an easy habit to get into and lack of sleep is often a cause of overeating, both from eating snacks because you are up later at night and from eating snacks to try and get through the day.

I went home last night and was in bed before 5 in the afternoon and I only got up for about an hour to eat a small supper. During that time I may have had the TV on for about an hour and I may have tossed and turned a little bit, but there were 10-11 hours of pure sleep before the alarm clock went off this morning. It was a break that was greatly needed and I wish I could do that several nights in a row.

But alas, it did mean getting behind just a little more and tonight is the Wednesday night out, so I won't be getting double-digit hours of sleep tonight. Knowing that I'll be out having a couple of beers this evening, I just need to hold down the eating during the day with an avoidance of snacks at work and a trip to Wendy's at lunch. There's no reason that I can't have my social time and also stay below 2,000 calories--it just takes a little planning and then sticking with the plan.

Weight today: 220 pounds (Day 10--5 pounds lost)
Exercise today: once again, I can fill this in with none from the very start of the day.
Food today: yogurt(100)--crackers(190)--chili(400)--crackers(190)--yogurt(100)--3 light beers(300)--2 frozen dinner deals (560) = 1,840 calories

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Getting Back on Track

Yesterday was a potential day of gluttony that I reduced to a normal day of eating for a typical American. There has to be flexibility when people are trying to lose weight, knowing when to allow for a little extra without allowing an occasion to become an excuse for massive backsliding. Today I'll get back to my goal of staying under 2,000 calories for the day.

Weight today: 221 pounds
Exercise today: none expected
Food today: animal crackers(250)--yogurt(100)--crackers(190)--Wendy's(680)--cake and piece of peanut brittle(500?)--lasagna(400) = subtotal of 2,170 calories (It was either a sugar fix or go home early to sleep and I had work that needed to be done.)

Monday, December 3, 2007

Beginning of Week Number 2

If fatigue was a key element in losing weight then I'd have no problem staying in the ideal weight range. It's not so much the physical wear and tear, it is the mental depression of always having so much to do and no amount of effort seems to clear up the back log. I keep thinking that things at Millsaps will slack up and that will eventually happen, but it hasn't happened yet.

The good news is that I haven't used the situation as an excuse to eat. I've wanted to eat out of habit, not because of hunger, but this blog and having to keep the food journal has kept me on track. I need to start walking/jogging in an effort to get 30-40 points per week on the Ken Cooper aerobic tables. That will have to wait until I'm only half swamped with things to do.

I hate to take an afternoon off for vacation time just to recovery from the weekend, especially when I did nothing exciting to recover from, but I may have to take off this afternoon for a long nap. We have our company office party tonight after work and then the Wednesday night group is having supper this evening with the wives invited. I'll join them late and have a beer or two. Even though I don't expect that to last too late, I'm afraid that I'll crash far too early if I don't get a nap.

I've gotten to the point where I don't know if I more eagerly look forward to the weekends to get a break from work or do I look forward more to the work week to get a break from the weekends. I need a vacation.

Weight today: 220.5 pounds. That's 4.5 pounds in the first week with a times when I showed even more weight loss. My body seemed content to shed a little weight from the start but the caution flag has been thrown up about going below 220 pounds. The internal workings of the body knows that sudden weight loss might indicate a life threatening situation so it applies the brakes to conserve the body's energy, which is stored in the form of fat. If only there was a way for the conscious mind to override the instincts of the body--a secret that would only lead to other health problems in the other direction and people would burn off all their fat for the sake of looks.
Exercise today: I can say with certainty that this will be none.
Food today: yogurt(100)--animal crackers(250)--Snickers(230, just trying to hang on this morning)--pineapple(320)--animal crackers(250)--yogurt(100)--supper at office party followed by a couple of beers with friends--there's no way to calculate the calories except to say that it was far less than it normally would have been without the blog.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

How I Gained Back 35 Pounds

Yesterday was a good example of how I gained back all of my lost weight over 12-15 months. I had photos from 5 Millsaps basketball games to work on and the gist of my entire day was sitting at the computer editing and posting photos. It took all day to just complete 2 games so I'm back at the computer this morning hoping to get a third game complete before going to photograph the Millsaps women in a game this afternoon.

I can't say that I worked non-stop yesterday because this is the kind of work where any distraction is welcomed. I often looked out the back window for birds at the feeder. Sometimes I sat by the window with my camera for 5-10 minutes, trying to get shots of some bird I might not have photographed in the past. I had the television on during parts of the day but that was just to glance at, not to sit and watch for minutes at a time. AND OF COURSE, when looking for a distraction to take a break from boring work, the thought of getting something to eat crossed my mind many times yesterday.

Is there a physical connection between being bored/procrastination and eating food? There certainly is a mental connection on several levels. First, getting food takes us away from something we aren't enjoying or it delays us from getting to something we don't want to do. Second, getting food can become a reward for having done something we aren't enjoying or as a bribe to do something that we would rather not do. And third, eating something is a pleasurable thing which puts it ahead of "boring" and "dreading" on the list of things to do. Given a choice, and we all are adults allowed to make most of the choices in our life, I tend to pick activities of pleasure over boring activities or doing things that I dread. Is it any wonder that the majority of Americans are overweight?

While yesterday was my first day over 2,000 calories since I started this blog, it may have been my most successful day. On days in the past when I have worked all Saturday or Sunday on photos, it hasn't been unusual for me to go to the grocery store at lunch to buy a frozen pizza and a carton of ice cream, and then to eat all of both items before bedtime. For those who don't count calories, that's a total of 4,000 calories just for those two items which means that I probably hit about 5,000 calories on those days. Is it any wonder that I gained back all of my lost weight and is there any doubt that I need to monitor my food intake for the rest of my life in order to keep my weight under control?

Weight today: 220 pounds
Exercise today: none expected except for clicking a mouse a thousand times, pushing a shutter button about 400 times, and ironing some clothes that desperately need to be ironed.
Food today: yogurt(100)--canned fruit(320)--lasagna(370)--yogurt(100)--pineapple(320)--pasta entree(270)--beans and rice(310) = 1,790 calories

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Avoiding the Tricks of Penelope

I've somehow made it through my life without reading the Odyssey, and I doubt that I'll ever go back and fill in this void from my youth. I never saw the value in reading the Classics during my years of formal education, weather it be the ancient tales from the Greeks or the more "recent" classics that were from the 18th and 19th century. If the point was to illustrate that the basic human condition has remained the same throughout history, then just give me some excepts and I'll accept that wisdom, but don't make me read a long complicated book that's guaranteed to bore the typical high school student. Here's a thought--give kids reading assignments that they will enjoy and maybe they will learn to enjoy reading.

I did learn enough about the Odyssey to recall the trick Penelope used to avoid picking a new husband while Odysseus was away on his adventures. She was under pressure to remarry and give the kingdom a new king, but she had faith that Odysseus was still alive and that he would return (or maybe she just liked the idea of not having a husband around). She told her suitors that she would pick a new husband when she completed her tapestry, something that was never going to happen because she would weave during the day and then unweave the tapestry at night.

For the last year or longer, I've used the weekends to unweave any success I may have had during the week. That's just one of the tricks I was using to get out from under the responsibility of being accountable. During my period of success, I posted virtually every day for 10 months. In a chicken and egg scenario, I either started slipping so I became less consistent in my posting, or I became less consistent in my posting so I started slipping. Either way, not keeping up with what I was eating on the weekends was a key element in my return to obesity. Posting on the weekends will be a key element to my return to a healthy weight.

Weight today: 219 pounds. It looks like my body was willing to give up about 5 pounds without a fight, pounds that I had recently gained as I spent so many hours at the computer finishing up the fall sports photos. Those pounds were somewhat like the extra weight you gain on a cruise, shocking when you first get on the scale and see the damage done, but easy to get rid of if you get back to more responsible eating. I'm going to predict that my body will only make a minor stand at this 218-220 level because it was never really established as a firm set point. Since I will be exercising in the next week at a higher level than any time in the last year, it won't surprise me if I'm back to the much more challenging 215 set point by the end of the second week of this diet.
Exercise today:
Food today: popcorn(250)--canned fruit(320)--popcorn(250)--pineapples(320)--popcorn(250)--Wendy's (1,030) = 2,420 calories (after sitting at the computer all day working on photos, I either rewarded myself with fries at Wendy's or I bribed myself by making a deal with myself that I would continue to work late tonight on photos if I could get fries--it was either fries or I would have popped yet another bag of popcorn.)