* Code to improve Google search: Frank's Weight Loss Blog: January 2008

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Day 30--218 Pounds--2 Pounds Lost

Today's weight is a reflection of the party yesterday and maybe a little bit of weighing early. This was another "get up at 4:20" days, today being the day I jog with Boty. The idea of us jogging one day a week was that it would get us together for a visit AND it would inspire us to stay on our jogging program. We've gotten in the visits over many months, but neither of us has put together a decent stretch of jogging. I think that might change. I've jogged twice since last Thursday and so has Boty. I think we both are highly motivated to get back to a decent level of fitness.

Got to go--I need to be at the track in 22 minutes.

Whew Doggies! Just got back from the track. Last week it was a struggle to do 1:30 walks followed by 3:00 of jogging. This week we bumped up to 1:30 walks followed by 4:00 of jogging and it was really comfortable. It's a far cry from the Olympics, but it is a huge jump in such a short time. If the jogging becomes confortable, then it is far easier to be consistent. If the jogging becomes consistent, then my weight loss effort will go to an entirely new level. If the weight loss goes to a new level, the jogging will become even more comfortable. You see how this works?!? Why didn't I do this a long time ago?

Food today--yogurt(100)--crackers(190)--sandwich and potato salad(700?)--Twix bar(280)--popcorn(250)--pizza(720) = 2,250 calories (what happened to the 400 calorie max at any one time? good question--sometimes I just don't live up to my plans)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Day 29--216.5 Pounds--3.5 Pounds lost

I think most people in America are aware of the warnings that obesity is the greatest health threat we have right now. The evidence continues to mount regarding the health problems that occur when the pounds continue to mount. I think my office environment is fairly typical in that we have plenty of people who are obviously overweight, obese, or trying very hard to not move up to one of those categories. So why is it that someone brings cookies, candy, cake, brownies or some other high calorie treat almost every day?

Sure, the overweight people aren't forced to eat, but if they had a lot of self discipline with food they wouldn't be the overweight people. Suppose that a third of the folks at the office were alcoholics. Would we have people bring beer and liquor every day and leaving it in the lounge for anyone who wanted to partake. That would be seen as extremely poor judgement to have alcohol around a large group of alcoholics, and yet we think it is wonderful when people bring food that ultimately contributes to the problems of the obese. It doesn't make sense to me.

No one will be bring food today. We are having a retirement party for a man who has worked at the company for over 44 years. That's becoming more and more of a rarity for any company. The party will be catered by the group that does all of our office parties and the food will be great. I will show restraint to a degree, but mostly I'll show foresight by keeping the morning calorie total to a minimum and then some discipline in the evening to make up for the party at noon. With a little planning, dieting doesn't have to mean that you miss out on everything or that you blow the diet if you allow yourself the freedom to enjoy a special occasion.

Food today: yogurt(100)--crackers(190, see below*)--ate a lot at the party--didn't eat much in the evening--I would say that I hit about 3,000 calories for the day--not a good day for dieting, but not a bad day for just a general day.

*(It's 6:30 now and I would like to put off the yogurt until around 8 and the crackers till around 10--it's just easier to go ahead and list them now, somewhat like planning a menu to follow for the day.)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Day 28--216.5 Pounds--3.5 Pounds Lost

I didn't think that the weight would stay at 216.5 for this morning's weigh-in even with my low calorie count yesterday. First off, I weighed a little early this morning, getting up at 4 instead of 5:30. It doesn't sound like it would make a difference but it does because my body is always storing up more fluids for disposal--that's what happens when you have an addition to diet sodas.

The reason for the early start is that I need to go out jogging/walking this morning. I had the alarm set for 4:20 and I woke up on my own 20 minutes early. I guess it's a good sign that I got out of bed early. There still isn't an excitement about getting back into jogging, getting fit, losing weight through running, etc. That's probably too much to expect right now. I do seem to recall that the getting up and getting started was often difficult even when I was very fit. The difference is that back then I felt great at the end of the run, knowing that I had started off the day with an accomplishment, and actually feeling energized for the rest of my morning. Now I feel the accomplishment, but I hardly feel energized after running. I feel worn out. I just need to push through this beginning.

It's now 4:30 and I guess I need to hit the road. The outdoor thermometer says it's 56 degrees outside so I'm going out with shorts and a hooded pullover. It seems like one of those is going to be the wrong choice. In the past I went with shorts unless the temps got below 40, but I was running the whole way. I may regret the shorts this morning since I'll be doing such a slow pace with a lot of walking breaks. Or, I may regret the hoodie because of the heat buildup from the layers of fat that I'm carrying. Oh well, I'll survive.

One last thing. I don't want to gross anyone out, but I naturally strip completely when I weigh in the morning. It's the only way to go if one is interested in consistency and accuracy. I look at myself in the mirror and the first thought is always, "I'm fat". That's not a case of self-loathing, that's just a realistic assessment of my current situation. I don't need to carry this extra weight 24 hours a day since I have no anticipation of being stranded on a desert island and having to live off my stored fat. It's insane that I burden my daily life with 40 extra pounds that I have to tote with me from place to place. It's just insane.

(Added note: Today's run was much better than the Sunday run. I finished the 4 miles in less than 50 minutes, a reflection of more jogging and less walking. The best way to describe the run is to compare it to driving my truck that has a standard transmission. I can drive 30 miles an hour in 2nd gear but it obviously is overworking the motor--that's how the jogging felt on Sunday. Today it my jogging felt like going 30 miles an hour in 3rd gear, not any faster but much more comfortable and therefore I put in longer stretches of jogging. Progress is being made.)

Food list: yogurt(100)--crackers(190)--Wendy's(680, I just hate to give up that Frosty treat)--popcorn(250)--fruit(320)--pizza(740, a last minute decision as somewhat of a reward for doing so well lately) = 2,250 subtotal.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Day 27--216.5 Pounds--3.5 Pounds Lost

It was nice to see something lower than 217 today, even if it's just a half pound. I really shouldn't say "even if it's just a half pound" because that buys into the idea that cutting back on food and exercising a little should immediately reverse months and years of bad behavior. I've never gone hungry over the last 2 months, I've had times where I've eaten very well in a party situation, and yet I've lost 8.5 pounds (I had lost 5 pounds before starting the day count over on January 1st). At that rate I'll lose 50 pounds over the course of a year without any pain or real sacrifice. I will be erasing about 15 years of poor eating in one year, not a bad trade off.

While diet marketers like to make claims that you can lose 10-20 pounds in the first 3 weeks, health experts always say that you need to lose at the more healthy rate of 1-2 pounds a week. That sounds so pathetic--I think health experts should do the math for people and tell them that they should lose no more than 52-104 pounds in a year. Those are life changing numbers, and a person can reach them slowly but surely in a year. When it comes to weight loss, there is no such thing as "just a half pound"--a half pound is reason for celebration.

Food today--yogurt(100)--crackers(190)--chili(400)--animal crackers(250)--soup(360)--yogurt(100) = 1,400 calories (and never a moment when I felt hungry)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Day 26--217 Pounds--3 Pounds Lost

I'm sweating as I type this post. No, there wasn't a miracle and the central heating suddenly became efficient enough to make the duplex toasty. I just got back from a 4 mile jog-walk that did turn into a walk-jog by the end. Speed is not the issue. My goal now is to get out 3 times a week and complete 4 miles one way or another. My hope is that eventually that 4 miles will become a steady jog at a moderate pace, aided by the fact that I'll be carrying around far less body fat. That's a very achievable goal.

Here's my exercise plan. I need to get out 3 times a week and 1 day is covered by the Thursday morning jog with Boty. That leaves me with 1 jog to do over the weekend when I can run in daylight and at the warmest time of the day. There really isn't much of an excuse for not getting in a weekend run. The 3rd jog needs to come on Tuesday mornings and it means getting up at 4:20 and not making excuses about why I need to reset the alarm for 6.

Way back when I was in good shape and actually enjoyed running, I found that the 3 jogs a week was ideal for me. There were times when at least 2 of those jogs each week were a 10-mile run at a sub-8:00 pace, something that was fairly easy at the time. A lot of years have passed and a lot of pounds have been added since those days. The reason I like 3 longer jogs back then is that is always gave me a days rest between runs and it gave me some flexibility in my schedule since I also had an extra day of rest.

It seems to me that a reachable goal to shoot for is a 6 mile jog in less than an hour, three times a week. I would eventually like that to become a 9:00 minute pace, and I could see the day when it became an 8 mile jog instead of 6, but that's a goal way to far from my current reality. At the moment I really can't jog 1 mile non-stop unless I want to push myself into a very uncomfortable level, so the 6 miles in a hour is a big enough goal at the moment.

With the jog this morning and some restraint in my eating today, maybe I'll see something below 217 tomorrow. That would be nice. Dieting can seem painfully slow while in reality the weight comes off far faster than it went on. I'm sure I could lose weight faster if I did something radical like one of those high protein diets, but the big picture is that I need to make subtle changes to my lifestyle in order to lose the weight. I need to find a more responsible way of eating that I can follow for 30 years, not just 30 days. I need to find a form of exercise that I might stick with for 30 years, even if that eventually becomes a 2-mile walk in 45 minutes. In the long run, the method of weight loss is just as important as the weight loss because it has to be something that you can continue to do for the rest of your life.

Food today: yogurt(100)--popcorn(250)--pineapple(320)--lasagna(720)--yogurt(100) = 1,490 calories

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Day 25--217.5 Pounds--2.5 Pounds Lost

There's an odd thing about this blog (other than my poor food choices and occasional binges while saying I'm on a diet). I'm referring to the oddity of writing as if others are reading while knowing that I might be the only reader. That's not a veiled request for people to add comments so I'll know you are here--I think I kind of like the not knowing. It's just odd because sometimes I feel like I should word things like this is a journal, somewhat of a written account of my day or a pep talk to myself on how I'm going to do great today. Instead, I tend to write for "my readers" which is a little crazy sounding if there are no readers.

There's nothing like beginning with a tangent. My main thought today is that I plan on making this an incredibly productive weekend. The number one goal for today is to get the photos from two basketball games finished, giving me about 6 days of no worries about Millsaps. Also in today's goal is to get a pile of ironing done and just clean the surface level of junk in my house. My duplex is a livable mess. After all, I basically come in each evening and sit at my computer editing photos or writing blog messages until it is time for bed. I use about a third of the duplex and the rest is just storage space. That other two-thirds has a tendency to become piles of stuff. It is just stuff, not dirty plates with mold of various colors springing to life. There's a difference between sloppy and filthy.

So today I plan on being in all day, working on things that tend to mind numbing, a state of mind that often drifts to thoughts of food. I've got to focus on staying under 2,000 calories. Along with getting a lot done in catching up my life, I want to make a big push over the next week to get the weight down to 216 pounds or slightly lower. I think my body is ready for a drop if I'll just give it a shove.

Okay. I've rushed through the above so it didn't take long, but I do need to get started if this is going to be a super-productive day. Wish me luck diary or wish me luck readers, whichever the case may be.

Food today: yogurt(100)--popcorn(250)--pineapple(320)--lasagna(720)--

Friday, January 25, 2008

Day 24--218 Pounds--2 Pounds Lost

It's 4:38 in the morning. Boty and I wimped out of our jog/walk yesterday because of the cold and rain. Today it's just cold, somewhere right below freezing. It's a day where we both would have wimped out individually, but neither wants to admit that to the other so I'll be out the door in a minute for some much needed exercise. Doing something as part of a group does make things easier. An individual with strong willpower can usually accomplish the same as a group endeavor, but how many of us can maintain a strong willpower for very long?

Whew! I made it through the 4 miles. We walk for 1:30 and then we jog for 3:00 and occasionally we walk through one of the 3 minute stretches. For someone who sees themselves as a runner, it is a pathetic aerobic effort. For someone who has gotten totally out of the habit of exercising, it is an encouraging start. I see it both ways, bemoaning the fact that I once was in such great shape and I let it all slip away, but knowing that I can get back to an active lifestyle if I'll just be persistent in my efforts.

I realize that getting out and jogging/walking 3 times a week should be my highest priority. I have so many things that I do for others and I tend to let these things come ahead of my personal needs. I need to move the 3 exercise sessions to the top of the "must be done" list, regardless of what else I have to do and regardless of how little I might want to get out and run during this cold weather. It just has to be done.

Food today: Animal cookies(250)--yogurt(100)--Butterfinger(270)--Lasagna(720)--popcorn(250)--popcorn(250) = 1,840 calories

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Day 23--218.5 Pounds--1.5 Pounds Lost

To call this is diet is somewhat misleading. It is a struggle where I need to keep up with the good and the bad. Both are relevant and while the bad doesn't help me with immediate weight loss, it does make me think about my actions and it does keep the bad from becoming the really bad.

Believe it or not, yesterday's bad day could have been really, really worse. I'm not looking for applause when I say that, just pointing out that staying accountable does help even when it seems that things are out of control. The out of control part came after 5:30--I did have a ton of the mixed nuts that they have on the table at the bar, plus 3 beers, plus a Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe and a small order of fries at Wendy's. The beers were light beers and I didn't splurge by adding a Frosty at Wendy's, but those items still add up to 1,000 calories. The nuts were 500 calories or more--supposedly they are a healthy snack, but that's only true if you can stop reaching into the bowl. Who can do that in a bar?

Where's the good news in all this. Well, this week we have had some killer cookies in the lounge as well as a pecan pie and some breakfast muffin things. In the past I would have gotten 5-6 cookies each day, somewhere in the range of 1,000 to 1,500 calories extra per day. I would have had a slice of pie, somewhere around 400 calories, and who knows how many muffins with their extra calories. I've resisted all of these things because of this food journal.

The other bit of good news is that I have lost 6.5 pounds since Thanksgiving. I could have done better for sure, but 6-7 pounds over 2 months is the same as 36-42 pounds over a year. I would be very happy if I was 42 pounds lighter after a year's time so this rate of loss isn't bad. It's just not near my best effort and my hope is to have that 42 pounds off much sooner than next Thanksgiving.

I have no excuses for a bad day today. I have 99% confidence that I'll stay under 2,000 calories today and fairly strong confidence that I can put together a nice string of sub-2,000 calorie days.

Food today: yogurt(100)--crackers(190)--heart candies(100)--Zero candy bar(240, working through lunch)--pineapple(320)--corn(280)--potatoes(150)--pickles(90)--popcorn(250) = 1,720 calories (actual vegetables on the list--it turns out that vegetables are pretty good--the world is full of surprises)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Day 22--217.5 Pounds--2.5 Pounds Lost

Trying to keep two blogs going is difficult considering all the other things going on in my life. I usually write the post of the main blog on the night before, and ideally I get up at 5:45 to get ready for work and that would give me 20-30 minutes to post here before getting to work at 7. The snooze alarm has been used often in the last week and that cuts out the time I would use for this blog. I need to do better.

I also need to do better on the weight loss efforts. Yesterday was a bad day in many ways. When I ate lunch at Wendy's, I abandoned the plan of trying to stick to 400 calories or less at any one time. Instead I went with the normal burger and small Frosty for 680 calories. Not horrible, but small diversions from the plan have a way of becoming much bigger. Then I lost track of the food I ate. The saving grace might be that I didn't really have supper, filling in instead with popcorn, beer and Belgium chocolate. What a combination for a well-balanced meal.

Today I have to remember and then follow my plan. Keep the food at any one time under 400 calories. Keep up with all the food. Plan ahead, such as eating light during the day because I'll have a few beers with the guys this evening. Know ahead of time that the day will be shot if I start eating from the snack bowl of nuts at the bar, so that has to be an absolute no-no. When it comes to dieting, planning is the key. When you rely on your instincts to make the right decisions you are well on the road to failure.

Food today: crackers(190)--yogurt(100)--crackers(190)--Wendy's(680, I know: bad boy, Frank)--yogurt(100) = 1,260 subtotal.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Day 21--217.5 Pounds--2.5 Pounds Lost

It's been a hectic morning and I almost forgot to post. You know it has been busy if I forgot to post on a day when my weight dropped 2 pounds. I hope this means my body now considers 217-218 as a solid set point. It can be a real pain in the ass to battle with the set point, but once you convince the body to lower the set point it becomes a real ally, as seen by this drop in weight despite the overeating from the weekend.

Food today: crackers(190)--yogurt(100)--crackers(190)--Wendy's(680)--Chex Mix(210) = 1,370 subtotal.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Day 20--219.5 Pounds--.5 Pounds Lost

If anyone is checking this blog, they will notice that I didn't post over the weekend, and you can correctly assume that I didn't do very well on my diet over the weekend.

The big killer was Saturday when there was food after a funeral followed by an engagement party that night. I would be embarrassed to even give a guess as to the number of calories consumed. Even if I gave a low estimate, it would be an extremely high number for anyone who is claiming to be on a diet.

I also didn't run over the weekend as I was suppose to. The cold weather was a factor, the two functions on Saturday was a factor, the Millsaps basketball games Sunday afternoon were a factor, and the biggest factor was that I just didn't make myself get out and run. I was so enthusiastic about this a week ago prior to the really cold weather and prior to getting swamped with another huge batch of photos to work on. I'm not sure that I'll carry over that enthusiasm into reality.

I'm going to try very hard to get back on track today with the diet. I stuck to the diet around this time of year in 2006 so I can do it now. My problem seemed to be that I go for months where I'm killing myself to do nice things for others and I have no time to do nice things for myself. I think I compensate by giving myself food treats which are certainly satisfying and don't take much time. I need to realize that the nicest thing I could do for myself is to lose weight and get more healthy, but that is a reward that is long term and it sure is nice to have a here-and-now reward for all the work I'm doing.

Food today: crackers(190)--yogurt(100)--crackers(190)--lasagna(350)--yogurt(100)--popcorn(250)--pineapple(320)--chocolate(150)--popcorn(250) = 1,900 calories

Friday, January 18, 2008

Day 17--218 Pounds--2 Pounds lost

I almost forgot to get a post out here--I'm leaving work in less than an hour to meet with my mom, cousin and a documentarian from Los Angles who is doing a Civil Rights story. With time pressing, I'll just start the food list and leave this post at that.

Weight today: 218 Pounds
Exercise today: none
Food today: crackers(190)--crackers(190)--Wendy's Jr. CB Deluxe(350)--Butterfinger(270)--crackers(190)--(I'm ready for this work day to be over)--

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Day 16--219.5 Pounds--.5 Pounds Lost

I think there's more at work here than the late supper at Wendy's. This 220 pound setpoint is proving hard to leave after I dropped those 5 pounds between Thanksgiving and the first of the year. Seeing the occasional drops to 217 make me hopeful that a permanant drop is soon to come. In the meantime, all I can do is to continue to do the right things. The right choices will lead to the right results.

Boty and I went out and jogged/walked 4 miles this morning. I had my countdown timer set and we would walk for 1:30 and then jog for 3 minutes. I know it sounds pitiful, especially since we walked one of the 3 minute segments. Both of us were once decent runners, both of us are now poor runners, and both of us will once again become decent runners or at least fit enough to comfortably jog 4-6 miles. Again, it's a matter of making the right choices enough times and the right results will follow.

Weight today: 219.5 Pounds
Exercise today: 4 miles of walk/jogging
Food today: crackers(190)--yogurt(100)--crackers(190)--Chili(460)--candy bar(240)--pineapple(320)--rice and beans(310)--popcorn(250) = 2,060 calories

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Day 15--217 Pounds--3 Pounds Lost

Just a quick post this morning since I'm running late:

--Jogged yesterday so I'm not surprised that the weight went back down. I've been doing well enough that the weight should be down to 217.

--It's Wednesday which means have a few beers with the guys. It's not a problem if I stay away from the bowl of nuts they have out on the tables and if I just keep things on the low side throughout the day.

--Today might be the first day of 2008 that I take off from work to work on photos at home. And so it begins. Can I keep up the exercise and stay away from the extra calories while being tied to my home computer and the photos for the next 4 months. The answer is yes, but I recognize that it will be a big challenge.

Weight today: 217 Pounds
Exercise today: none
Food today: yogurt(100)--crackers(190)--Wendy's Jr. CB Deluxe(350)--Snickers with almonds(230)--yogurt(100)--popcorn(250)--at this point things went downhill. I was the first to show up at the bar and I started eating the mixed nuts at the table, then I had 3 light beers, and finally I decided to go and get a full meal at Wendy's because of the beers. I'll get back on track tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Day 14--219.5 Pounds--.5 Pounds Lost

This is probably the first time I've worked on a blog post while having to wipe sweat off of my forehead. Actually, in recent months it has been rare that I had to wipe sweat off of my forehead for any activity other than just standing out in the Mississippi heat.

It's 6:07 AM right now and I just got in from a 4 mile walk/jog. While my time was about the same as last Sunday, this was a more comfortable outing. The one good thing about being out of shape is that progress is easy to see and I know I'll see a huge improvement over the next couple of months if I'll just get out and go slowly for 4-6 miles three times a week.

This morning's weigh-in was disappointing and it helps explain why the diet industry is a huge multi-billion dollar cash cow for so many. Losing weight the natural way seems slow even though we can take off weight in about 5-10% of the time that it took us to gain that weight. Losing weight is not as simple as deleting files on a PC. It is a complicated process that we are asking our body to do after years of telling our body to do the exact opposite.

Every time you eat more than the calories you need in a day, you are telling your body that you want to get fatter. Fortunately for us, the body usually ignores those orders and it tries to burn off those extra calories and maintain the status quo. If we persist in overeating, the body will reluctantly add some body fat, but I'm convinced that the body is far more willing to lose weight than to add it on. I bet most people eat close to 1,000 calories more than actually need each day. Those extra 7,000 calories in a week should amount to a 2 pound weight gain for the week and that would mean a 100 pound weight gain for the year, but the body just boost the metabolism to take care of most of that excess. Thank goodness for that.

I'm doing the right things and everything will work out fine if I stay on my current path. I just hope this path gets to the edge of the plateau before too long.

Weight today: 219.5 pounds
Exercise today: 4 mile walk/jog
Food today: yogurt(100)--animal crackers(250)--Snickers with Almonds(230)--The Guppy (700--see below)--yogurt(100)--canned fruit(320)--rice and chicken(290)--yogurt(100) = 2, 090 calories

Gordon and I occasionally eat at a Deli for lunch. The catfish plate is good and they don't skimp on the food--a plate full of fries topped with 6 catfish fillets with a roll on the side. While the meal is just too much, there is something about the need to eat as much food on the plate as you can since you've already paid for it. One day we discovered that they have a childs plate that is about half of the adult's plate, which means it is the amount that most should really be eating. I always order the child's plate even though it is embarrassing for the guy to turn back to the kitchen and yell, "Give me a Guppy"--it's not a very manly sounding order.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Day 13--217 Pounds--3 Pounds Lost

So far, so good on eating smaller meals and exercising more. My jogging schedule says I should do 4 miles tomorrow morning and the weather forecast says it will be around freezing in the morning. I'm reminded of the time about 20 years ago when my friend Boty was really into jogging. He lived out of state and I always had to remember to not use the excuse of skipping my runs because it was too cold, maybe around 35 degrees in Jackson, MS, because he was sticking to his running program in Albany, NY, despite wind chills in the teens or below.

If I'm going to stick with this return to jogging on a regular basis, I need to get out and run on my own tomorrow.

Weight today: 217 Pounds
Exercise today: none
Food today: yogurt(100)--animal cookies(250)--morning vitamins--soup(400)--yogurt(100)--popcorn(250)--lasagna(350)--yogurt(100) = 1,550 calories

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Day 12--217.5 Pounds--2.5 Pounds Lost

I expected a bounce back up after no exercise yesterday. The weight from Saturday was improved a bit by the two days of getting out and going 4 miles on foot.

I spent the early morning at the laundromat, yes the same one where a gunman held up the patrons on a Sunday morning a couple of months ago, so I don't feel like going out jogging this morning after spending so much time on my feet. Well, feel like it or not, I will push myself to go out and get in 4 miles at some point and it looks like that will be around 11. My afternoon is booked with multi-tasking as I plan to work on Millsaps photos, watch the NFL games, and try to keep up with the Millsaps basketball games via the internet. Somewhere in there I'll also get in some time to wash dishes and iron clothes--what an exciting life I lead.

Weight today: 217.5 Pounds
Exercise today:
4 mile jog/walk (this took 53 minutes, a time that would have once embarrassed me, but right now I just glad that I'm out there building a base for the future)
Food today: yogurt(100)--pineapple(320)--rice and beans(310)--popcorn(250)--yogurt(100)--lasagna(350)--yogurt(100) = 1,530 calories + 250 for a late popcorn = 1,780 calories

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Links to Weight Loss Items

Instead of listing all the weight loss links on the sidebar of my blog, I think it makes more sense to put them all in one post and then just put the link to that post in the sidebar. Here are some things that might be helpful to anyone trying to lose weight:

Body Mass Index and Obesity: The body mass index is a number that is determined by your height and weight. It is a general measurement that is apparently fairly accurate for the typical adult and it is the standard used in most large studies. Here are some sites that will help you find your Body Mass Index:

From the Center for Disease Control and Pervention: This site should tell you all you want to know about BMI. There is a handy calculator for figuring your BMI and there are explanations of why they use the BMI in studies. Just as an aside, this CDC site has a wealth of information about a lot of things and it is a site worth exploring.

Body Mass Index Table: I like this site because you can print out a table and quickly see what your BMI is at various weights.

Health Risks from Obesity: Aside from being a burden in the form of useless weight that a person has to carry with them 24 hours a day, storing excessive fat raises the risk of a wide array of diseases. Here are a couple of sites that give the statistics:

Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Once again, the CDC is a good starting point. There's a lot to explore in their "Overweight and Obesity" site that will give you a good overview of all the consequences that come with being overweight, plus it gives plenty of advice on fighting obestity. This is probably the most complete site I've found on the problem of obesity.

Health Effects of Obesity: This is a very comprehensive list from an interesting site, the American Obesity Association. They consider obesity a disease and I think it is basically the result of poor choices. Either way, there's a lot of information on this site and it's worth taking the time to browse through all of the sections.

Calorie Needs and Calorie Counters: More and more, I hear the idea that obesity is a disease that needs a medical solution. That's wrong. We all know the simplistic formula for losing weight, "Eat less, move more". Therefore, the simplistic formula for gaining weight is, "Eat more, move less". Since our society has steadily shifted towards eating more and moving less, is there any surprise that the level of obesity has exploded? Educating people on the number of calories they actually need and the number of calories in the food they eat is the first line of attack in stopping obesity. Here are some links to websites that do just that:

Calorie Calculator for Men and Women: This is a great starting point. You key in information about your height, weight, age, and activity level and it tells you how many calories you need each day to maintain your current weight. To lose weight you should eat about 500 calories less than what you need. What I like is that you can see how calorie needs are changed by the two things you can control, your weight and your activity level.

Calculating your Daily Calories: One thing I discovered is that finding a number for daily caloric needs is not an exact science. Various calculators will give you slightly different numbers, but if you check a few sites you'll get a good idea of how many/few calories you actually need each day.

Dietfacts.com: What I like about this site is that the link for "Restuarants" brings up over 400 different restuarant chains. Many sites will give you the calorie numbers for the basic food groups, but I think what gets people in the most trouble is when they eat out. Sometimes the items are a little hard to find on this website, but it gets easier to find things after using the site a few times.

Calorieking.com: Another great site once you get the hang of it. For example, search on "Wendy's" and you get almost 200 items in no real order, but a search on "Wendy's Combo" gives you a nice, neat list of all their combo meals. Here's an interesting note: the Wendy's combo meals, if ordered with medium fries and a medium drink, range between 950 calories (Ultimate Chicken Grill combo) and 1,610 calories (the Triple with cheese combo). I need about 2,500 calories a day so one medium combo meal at Wendy's amounts to somewhere between 38% and 64% of my total caloric needs for an entire day. Think about that the next time you are in the drive through at any fast food chain.

Washington Post Fast Food Calorie Counter: This is the easiest to use site for fast foods but it only covers 10 fast food chains. You pick items that are available at a particular restuarant and it tallys up the calorie total of that meal. It's interesting that the sandwiches at Subway aren't really that much less than the basic sandwiches at the burger places.

Miscellaneous Articles Regarding Weight Loss:

Yogurt May Help Burn Fat, Promote Weight Loss: Every time I read this article I wonder why I ever fail to eat 3 servings of yogurt/calcium a day. In this study, the folks who ate 3 servings of yogurt instead of just 1, ended up losing 22% more weight which is great, but the key finding is that they lost 61% more fat, and an amazing 81% more fat in the stomach area.

Gastric Bypass Surgery: What Can You Expect?: I'm including this article for the folks who think that this kind of surgery is the answer to their weight problems. The end result of gastric bypass surgery is not that people eat reasonably because they feel full sooner, they eat less because eating anything more than a few spoonfuls will result in vomiting or intense pain. It sounds like a surgery that leads to a poor quality of life and a different set of health problems, even if a person does manage to lose a tremendous amount of weight.

Gastric Bypass Tips: This site has a lot of information on eating after having gastric bypass surgery. I put it here because I think a person needing to lose weight could take these tips, double the amount of food allowed, and still lose weight. There's no magic about these stomach reduction surgeries--they just force you to do the things that you could already do on your own.

Day 11--216.5 Pounds--3.5 Pounds Lost

I'm usually good at predicting my morning weight and I actually thought I would show a little gain this morning instead of a loss. I did walk/jog 4 miles yesterday and I kept my intake below 2,000 calories, but I thought there would be a little bounce back since I had dropped a fair amount in the previous few days.

This is going to be a weekend where the blog pays off huge dividends. I want to do some work on my blog sites and I have a ton of things to do on my Millsaps and family photos so I'll be sitting at my computer most of the weekend. That means a fair amount of boredom and mind wandering, and with my PC just 3 steps from the kitchen, my mind doesn't have to wander too far before it finds some food to eat. I will walk/jog 4 miles on Sunday as I try to get into the habit of getting out for some jogging three times a week. Even when I was in great shape and at a much lighter weight, I discovered that just doing three runs a week was much better on my body than trying to run more often. I really need that rest day between runs and that rest day will allow me to do longer runs which is really the key. For what I want to accomplish, a 6-mile run every two days is better than a 3-mile run every day.

Weight today: 216.5 Pounds
Exercise today: none
Food today: pineapple(320)--yogurt(100)--rice and chicken meal(290)--popcorn(250)--yogurt(100)--lasagna(350)--light beer(100)--yogurt(100) = 1,610 calories

Friday, January 11, 2008

Day 10--217.5 Pounds--2.5 Pounds Lost

(Note: The post below this note was written Thursday night before the Friday morning weigh-in. Cutting back on my eating for the last 2 days and jogging 4 miles yesterday has created a nice weight loss. I know the weight loss results will not come at a rate of a pound or two a day, but the weight loss will come if I stick to what I'm doing. I've got it in my mind that I want to get back to the weight I held steadily between the age of 20 and my late-30's, and that was 165 pounds. For that to happen, I have to get back into a steady jogging routine and time will tell if the knees and hips will allow that. At least I have a plan and a goal that has me excited--that's a huge starting point.)

This new tactic of trying not to go over 400 calories whenever I eat something is really a good plan for me. I know that for people who have family meals, people who travel, or people who entertain a lot, it would be a more difficult thing to do. That doesn't mean that person couldn't try a variation, such as allowing one 800 calorie meal each day and eating small at the rest of the meals. If you want to have a successful diet, you have to tailor it to your lifestyle, not read a book and try to modify your life so you can diet that was created for the masses.

As you know, if there are any you's out there, I have another blog that gets most of my effort. I'm assuming that anyone who might be reading this is a person who more regularly reads the other blog, and if that's the case, you read what I had to say today about how people who have an actual gastric bypass surgery have to modify their eating habits. It sounds like a horrible life and I would try everything I possibly could with 100% commitment before I would consent to that procedure. In case you didn't see the link that is in the other blog, here's a website that gives you a good idea of what a person has to go through when eating and drinking after a gastric bypass: Gastric Bypass Tips

Weight today: 217.5 Pounds
Exercise today: walked/jogged 4 miles (I hate to admit that I can't really jog a mile non-stop at this time, even at a very slow pace. I could if my life depended on it, but I can't go a mile non-stop with any sort of comfort at all. That will quickly change if I stick with the jogging.)
Food Today: (Note: I do take vitamins to supplement my horrible eating habits) yogurt(100)--yogurt(100)--animal cookies(250)--crackers(190)--canned fruit(320)--lasagna(350)--yogurt(100)--popcorn(250) = 1,660 calories (I may have had one more small item in the morning)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Day 9--219 Pounds--1 Pound Lost

The mental gastric bypass worked well yesterday, keeping me from ever eating more than 400 calories at a time and keeping my total number of calories under 2,000 for the day. I get so irritated when I hear people say that it is impossible to lose weight and now I'm starting to hear health "experts" and politicians saying that excessive weight is not the fault of individuals--that really makes me want to yell at the television, radio or computer screen. Stop giving people excuses for the results of their bad decisions--it is a matter of choice just as staying out of debt is a matter of choice that most people make despite all of the available things to buy, all of the tempting advertising, and all of easy credit options.

One thing that you will never here from a dieting guru is that becoming accountable for your food intake is all you need to lose weight and keep the weight off. We are able to keep account of our money to stay out of debt so why would it be so hard for people to keep up with food and calories eaten? The experts won't push for something so simple because there is no money to be made in simplicity. You need a diet that is complex enough that you can turn it into a book and hopefully some money making side products.

At the library I saw one of these books. It is "The Cheat to Lose Diet" by Joel Marion. It's not worth going into the details of his diet but there was one line early in the book that made me laugh. The author tells why most fad diets don't really work, saying "A diet can be great in theory, but if it's not practical for the average person to follow in the short and long term, it's not worth a whole lot." That lines didn't make me laugh, but in the next paragraph he says that the Cheat to Lose Diet is different because of it's simplicity, and then he quoted Albert Einstein with, "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." That made me laugh--what is simplistic about a diet that takes a 270 page book to explain!

If you want simplicity, how about his: "Become accountable for you food intake and your actions and you will either take control of your weight or you will have to take responsibility for your obesity." Now how can I stretch that out to 270 pages so I can make some money?

Weight Today: 219 Pounds
Exercise today:
walked/jogged 4 miles (this took just under 53 minutes and I think the course is short--in the old days I could have raced this distance in about half the time and it would have only taken about 30 minutes on a typical morning jog. I have fallen a long way down the fitness scale.)
Food today: yogurt(100)--animal crackers(250)--yogurt(100)--Wendy's Jr. CB Deluxe(350)--a cracker like snack(200?)--popcorn(250)--pineapple(320) = subtotal of 1,570 calories.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Day 8--220 Pounds--0 Pounds Lost

Today's the day I have gastric bypass surgery. While this is not a 100% guarantee to lose weight and keep the weight off, it is something that has created miracle results for many. In yesterday's local paper there was a story about a woman who completed Saturday's Mississippi Blues Marathon. In 2003 this women weighed 444 pounds and in desperation she had one of the various forms of stomach reduction procedures. Now she is an active woman with a weight down to 179 pounds. Just imagine how many years of life she gained by having that surgery.

At 220 pounds, I'm not really a candidate for this bypass surgery. In addition, trips to the doctor and the thought of any medical procedure are things that are certainly last resorts for me. Therefore, I'm having a mental gastric bypass surgery. There's no need to actually reduce the size of my stomach if I'll just eat like I've had the surgery. For example, I ate an entire 11 ounce frozen pizza last night, only about 700 calories for the entire meal, but someone who had the stomach reduction surgery would have only eaten half. Or, I go to Wendy's and get a burger and a small Frosty, only 680 calories, but someone who had a gastric bypass would only have one of those items.

The bottom line is that all of us can lose weight if we just eat smaller amounts when we sit down to eat. Small meals of 300-400 calories with maybe a yogurt in between would put me on the path to losing weight. People who have the bypass surgery are at the point where they need to be physically forced to eat smaller meals. I think I still have enough will power and discipline left to make this switch by just making a conscious effort to change the way I eat. So as of now, I've had my bypass surgery, and the thought of trying to eat a big meal is just out of the question. Maybe I'll be writing about completing a marathon when I post to this blog a year from now.

Weight today: 220 Pounds
Exercise today:
Food today: yogurt(100)--crackers(190)--chili(400)--crackers(190)--3 light beers(300)--popcorn(250)--yogurt(100) = 1,530 calories

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Day 7--219.5 Pounds--.5 Pounds Lost

Wow, that deal about forcing yourself to throw up after every meal really works! I know, that's a bad joke about a serious ailment. While I can't say exactly why I was gaining weight without eating that much or why I lost so much weight in one day, the answer probably centers around the fluids that I put in my body each day. If anyone is reading this, they probably know that I drink about a 12-pack of diet sodas each day, not exactly the best of habits to be in but at least the total calorie count from all of those snacks is about the same as one lifesaver or one stick of gum. There could be worse habits. The bottom line is that I put about 10 pounds of liquids into my body each day and that could be the reason for daily oddities in my weight.

In an additional note, I want to thank Brant and Rusty for their recent encouragement, Brant by way of a comment on my other blog and Rusty by way of an actual letter that came in the mail--so rare in this day of electronic communication. I appreciate any and all encouragement even though I know that eventually the responsibility all falls on me.

Weight today: 219.5 pounds
Exercise today:
Food today: yogurt(100)--yogurt(100)--ate out at lunch, a Chef salad and a couple of rolls, hard to say what the calorie count was--Snickers(230)--pizza(700) = 1,130 calories plus the lunch.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Day 6--222.5 Pounds--2.5 Pounds Gained

Does the weight increase make me want to just give up and say what's the point of even trying? Yes it does to some degree, but think how bad it would be if I wasn't trying. The key is the lack of exercise, I know that, and yet at the same time I also just don't feel like I have the time or energy to exercise. I've got to do something to get my weight going in the opposite direction.

Weight today: 222.5 Pounds
Food today:
animal crackers(250)--chocolate(240)--Wendy's(680)--pizza(700)--popcorn(250) = 2,120 calories

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Day 5--221.5 Pounds--1.5 Pounds gained

I'm going to have trouble selling a diet book at the rate that I'm going. Even for America, gain 1.5 pounds over 5 days is bad, equating to over 100 pounds gains in a year's time. I can't say that I should be expecting any weight loss since I've shunned any real form of exercise. That seems to be the ingredient that I just don't want to add to my program and I don't know why. I once enjoyed exercising but now I feel too tired or too busy or just too lazy to even go out walking. I think that part of the problem is that I just don't like walking as compared to jogging, and I'm in such poor shape that jogging is no fun. It's a catch-22, jogging being no fun when you are out of shape and you can't get in shape without jogging.

Weight today: 221.5 pounds
Exercise today:
Food today: candy bar(260)--pizza(700)--popcorn(250)--popcorn(250)--pizza(700) = 2,160 calories

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Day 4--221 Pounds--1 Pound Gained

Not much to write about today. I know I continue to eat more than I should and less than I would if I wasn't keeping this blog. It's about 6 in the morning and the Mississippi Blues Marathon starts at 7 about 3 blocks from my house. I still haven't decided if I want to spend the morning photographing the race and the activities surrounding the race, or if I just want to stay in the house working on the photos from last night's basketball games. I'm torn between two viewpoints: (1) If I don't take the photos, then it is an opportunity missed and I can't go back and get the shots later. AND (2) I'm already behind on so many things, why would I want to get further behind by taking shots of people I don't know or of the two people that I do know that are running the race? I have about 30 minutes to decide which path I will follow.

Weight today: 221 Pounds
Exercise today:
Food today: popcorn(250)--pizza(720)--popcorn(250)--yogurt(100)--Wendy's(680)--popcorn(250) = 2,250 calories

Friday, January 4, 2008

Day 3--221 Pounds--1 Pound Gained

It looks like giving a pound of flesh yesterday (actually blood) didn't help me in my weight loss efforts. I guess the point of that was really saving lives, not losing weight.

It will be a big sports weekend so we'll see how that helps or hurts the diet. If I was a participant, it would definitely be a weight loss weekend, but I'll be photographing 4 basketball games and a marathon and then sitting at the computer to work on the photos. There seems to be an opposite effect with my approach to sports. As a photographer, the more sports I cover, the more I have to really watch that I don't snack while at the games or later while sitting at the computer.

Weight today: 221 Pounds
Exercise today: there will be none
Food today: animal crackers(250)--yogurt(100)--Snickers(230)--Wendy's(680)--pizza(720)--brownie at BB game(300?)--popcorn(250) = 2,530 calories.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Day 2--221 Pounds--1 Pound Gained

I actually expected to see 222 pounds on the scale this morning after the Wednesday night get together with the guys. Wednesday is the one night where I will cut myself some slack in regards to my calories, I just need to plan a little better going into Wednesday evening and I need to have a little more restraint than yesterday. I see nothing on the horizon that should keep me away from a nice string of sub-2,000 calorie days. The biggest test will be working on basketball photos Saturday and Sunday--those are days when I need to think more yogurt and less popcorn. The difference between 100 calories and 250 calories a snack does add up after a while.

Today's Weight: 221 pounds
Exercise today:
Food today: animal cookies(250)--yogurt(100)--Wendy's(680)--animal cookies(250)--fruit drink and 2 snack packs of cookies(600?)--pizza(750) = an excuse. I decided to give blood this afternoon, hence the fruit drink and cookies followed by the pizza. Maybe I could have gotten away with a small supper, but they say to eat a good meal so that's what I did.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Day 1--220.5 Pounds--.5 Pounds Gained

Since few are actually reading this, I won't worry that my title should read "After 1 Day" instead of just Day 1. I also can't worry about gaining a half pound after eating less than 2,000 calories and doing a modest amount of exercise. That's one of the problems with restarting in the middle of a diet, you don't get those easy pounds at the beginning. I'm stuck right in the middle of my body resisting much of a move below 220 pounds so there's no way to get rapid and dramatic results in the first week. The results will come if I string together a lot of days like yesterday.

Weight today: 220.5 Pounds
Exercise today:
Food today: yogurt(100)--animal cookies(260)--Wendy's(680)--candy bar(300)--and at this point the Wednesday night guys get together through everything out of whack. I was the first one there so I mindlessly started eating from the snack nut bowl. Then we stayed later than usual so I had 3 beers instead of 2, and I always like to eat something after having 3 beers so I had a late supper. It could have been worse, but it also could have been much better.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A New Beginning at 220 Pounds

Wait a second, can you just start over and wipe out the first 36 days of dieting? I guess so since I'm doing it to start the New Year (Happy New Year everyone!).

I'm not sure if the days between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve were actually a diet in the traditional sense. Of course, we have seen that the traditional diet in America doesn't work so who would want to be on one of those? Over the past 36 days I managed to get through all of the excessive food from Christmas and my birthday while still losing 5 pounds. I would consider that a success if not a model example of how one should tailor their eating habits.

With the holidays behind us, I wanted to get off to a fresh start and I want to settle into a more normal routine. I also want to set a time frame and some goals for this diet. I see my doctor on March 31st for a physical and I need the doctor's scale to register somewhere between 190 and 195 pounds. I also want to be in the first phase of getting more fit through walking and jogging, plus some minor home exercises like stretching, sit-ups, and push-ups. I can't become a Charles Atlas in just three months, but I can make significant progress.

So today begins a 90-day diet with the goal being that I impress my doctor at the next physical. In additional to impressing my doctor, I want to see if there is anything of concern that he finds when I'm in fairly decent shape. As it is now, anything that he would find today may be just a side effect of my obesity and I wouldn't know if the solution should be medication or just more activity and less eating.

Today's Weight: 220 Pounds
Exercise today: 30 minutes of a stair stepper exercise
Food today: yogurt(100)--Wendy's(680)--big chunk of Christmas chocolate(600?)--chili(400)--light beer(100) = 1,880 calories