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

Thursday, July 31, 2008

July 31, 2008 -- 220.5 Pounds (45.5 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday: I was at 1,300 prior to Nick's (620 for hot pockets, 480 for cereal bars, and 200 for yogurt). Then I added 3 light beers(300) and an unknown amount of calories from nuts. The good news is that I did not go to Wendy's afterwards, opting instead for a can of pineapple slices(300). That gives up a known count of 1,900 calories and then the unknown calories from nuts. Not too bad for a Wednesday.

Rusty, thanks for yesterday's comment. I also talked to Boty on the phone last night and he gave me encouragement to eat a little better, pointing out that popcorn and cereal bars are not 2 of the building blocks of the pyramid of healthy eating. I know that is true and I do recognize the need to move towards healthier eating.

After getting a little frustrated the other day, I actually feel really good about my dieting at the moment. There are a lot of things that I can do better, things that will create improvements in my life prior to any major weight loss. The getting out and walking has been nice and I will enjoy the added exercise once it becomes a habit. The eating better is something that should help me a lot in day to day living. That's actually harder to do than the exercise because so much of my eating is from convenience. It sure is nice to just open a packaged cereal bar or to throw something in the microwave for a few minutes. I need to start eating more like a responsible adult.

For now, I need to close this post and go meet Boty for 4 miles of walking. Please feel free to share your struggles, offer your encouragement, point out stories from the news, etc. I'm feeling pretty good about my dieting right now, like a breakthrough in on the horizon, and comments are something that help me keep that momentum.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

July 30, 2008 -- 220 Pounds (45 Pounds to Go)

Food yesterday: yogurt(100)--cereal bar(160)--beans & rice(310)--yogurt(100)--cereal bar(160)--yogurt(100)--cereal bar(160)--popcorn(200)--pineapple(300)--popcorn(200) = 1,790 calories

I'm certainly glad to see this drop down to 220 today. Yesterday's weigh-in was somewhat of a fluke and the 220 fits in with the weight pattern that I was seeing with my extra walking and fairly low calorie counts. Now the challenge will be to have a great day even though it is Wednesday, one of the consistently troublesome days of the week for me.

I have to see how things are going at work today, buy maybe I will take off work an hour early and then walk up to the start of the Saints practice today. That way I can get in my walking plus have time to meet the guys at Nick's for a few light beers. Today can be a good day if I'll eat light during the day, get in my walking, avoid the bowl of nuts at the bar, only have 3 light beers at the most, and then I need to eat light after leaving Nick's. It is most definitely a plan I can follow.

Right now I need to keep in mind that quote about the man watching the stonecutter. The stonecutter might strike a rock numerous times before a piece breaks off. The success in cutting the stone may have come on one final blow but it was set up by all the blows that came before. At the moment I have made it to the 220 pound mark multiple times without realizing a successful breakthrough into the mid-teens. I will get to 215, a critical mark for me, if I will just keep hammering away without getting frustrated by the lack of instant success. I need to keep remembering my theme for this effort: I Can Do This--I Will Do This.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

July 29, 2008 -- 222.5 Pounds (47.5 Pounds to Go)

I didn't keep an exact food list yesterday so here's a list that might be too high, but certainly isn't too low:

6 cereal bars(960 calories, may have been only 5 but I going for my maximum calories)--1 yogurt(100)--2 frozen dinner entrees(610)--3 slices of a large pizza at Pizza Hut(1,000 or lower) = a maximum of 2,670 calories = about the number of calories I should eat to maintain my current weight.

I think you can see my frustration. I can get close to the 220 mark if I'll get out and walk and if I keep the calories down around 2,000 per day, but as soon as I slip up just a little, the weight jumps back on. Yesterday wasn't a bad day, certainly not like what I'm capable of if we have a birthday party at work and not like a Wednesday night with beers, peanuts, and then a full combo meal at Wendy's. It wasn't a bad day and my weight went up by 1.5 pounds, pushing me days away from any hope of getting below 220 pounds. I am getting very frustrated.

And yet, what else can I do but continue to try. I feel certain that going back to eating 2,500 to 2,800 calories a day would quickly get my weight to 225 and then my body would pack on at least 3 pounds more for needed reserves. My body sure seems to like 225 a heck of a lot better than 219. If anyone is reading this then let me give you the best advice that I can and you will regret it if you fail to follow this advice:

Losing weight the first time is easy compared to trying to lose it again. If you stick with a diet and are able to lose a significant amount of weight, DO NOT fall into the trap of slowly letting the weight creep back. You may think that you can lose it all a second time, but you are going to find that the body is not so willing to change when you start that second diet. Don't let success slip away like I did because it will be far harder to repeat than you might think.

Monday, July 28, 2008

July 28, 2008 -- 221 Pounds (46 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday: canned fruit(300)--popcorn(200)--soup(380)--big box of Milk Duds(600, do I get credit for being honest)--pizza(700) = 2,180 calories

Hmm, does it look like my food selections are getting worse? I went to the store to get a newspaper and right there at the front door was a display with big boxes of candy for only a dollar a piece. How could I resist a big box of Milk Duds at that price? I will admit that I was already thinking about getting a candy bar as a treat before I got to the store and it wasn't much of a leap to go with the bigger box at the bargain price.

The good news from the weekend is that I went walking three times, each time a walk to Millsaps College to watch the Saints practice. I really don't like to go out walking without a destination in mind so going to see the Saints in a perfect as a motivation for walking. It is about 3 miles for the round trip, not a bad distance to walk if I will do it 4 or 5 times each week.

I'm writing this Sunday evening so I don't know what the weigh-in number will be tomorrow. I need to be somewhere below 220 by the end of this week. I can't keep bouncing around in the low 220's if I want to get to 175 by the end of the year. I really need to crack 220 by the end of July and then try to reach 210 by the end of August. That won't happen by wishing alone.

Note after the weigh-in: I'll admit that it is really frustrating that I'm stuck at this point. The calorie count hasn't been so bad and I have been walking. Maybe I need the calories to stop at about 1,500 each day instead of closer to 2,000. What I really need is 20 miles of jogging each week to go along with 2,000 calories a day--that's a plan that would get my weight dropping. The only flaw with that plan is that I would last a week before the pain in my hip reduced me to a limping old man who couldn't sleep at night. I'm going to stick with my efforts despite this frustration. When things are tough, the choices are to give up or to toughen up. I really don't have a choice here and toughen up is the only option I can take.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

July 27, 2008 -- 220.5 Pounds (45.5 Pounds to Go)

Food yesterday: 3 popcorns(600)--2 canned fruit(600)--pizza(700) = 1,900 calories.

The above is a shorthand version of what I had to eat yesterday. Will the day come when I heat up a can or vegetables or drink a glass of milk or eat a solid source of protein? I don't know. I don't mind eating like this and it certainly fits my lifestyle so why change UNLESS I would feel better and have more energy if I followed a more traditional diet. That's the big question, would I feel better if I ate better. I probably need to test that theory.

On another subject, I went for a walk Friday evening and again Saturday, both times walking from my house to Millsaps for the Saints Training Camp. I think I'm going to make this a habit while the Saints are in town. It gives me a purpose for my walks and that makes it easier to get out the door. Maybe I'll be in the habit of walking by the time the Saints leave town and it won't be so difficult to just go out the door because it is good for me.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

July 26, 2008 -- 220.5 Pounds (45.5 Pounds to Go)

I almost forgot to post this morning. I didn't keep an exact list of my food yesterday, but it was the same mix of cereal bars, yogurt, frozen entrees, popcorn and canned fruit. I went a little heavy on the cereal bars so I'm guess the calorie total was closer to 2,200 or maybe as high as 2,400.

I did walk about 4 miles yesterday evening. I walked from my house to the Saints Training Camp at Millsaps. I stayed at the practice less than 10 minutes before taking the long way home to complete my walk. After having a media pass last year and spending so much time at the Saints camp, it seems rather boring to go and just watch the team going through drills. Still, it is a destination for my walking, so I might end up walking to Millsaps quite a few times over the next few weeks to see what's going on at Millsaps. Going out for a walk is a lot easier when you have some destination in mind, even if the destination is fairly boring.

Friday, July 25, 2008

July 25, 2008 -- 221.5 Pounds (46.5 Pounds to Go)

Food yesterday: 2 cereal bars(320)--yogurt(100)--pasta(320)--rice and chicken(290)--2 popcorns(400)--2 things of canned fruit(600) = 2,030 calories

I'm already at work and already working so I only have a minute. Is there any doubt that I need to add exercise to the mix to get this thing moving? There's no doubt about the need for exercise, just doubt that I'll ever get moving. I need to get started this weekend.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

July 24, 2008 -- 222 Pounds (47 Pounds to Go)

Here's my food list for yesterday: I did really well in the morning, at lunch, in the afternoon, and then I threw it all away at Wednesday night with the guys. Yes, that is a rather special time of the week for me and one where my focus is enjoying time with good friends, but I have had a great time while showing great restraint so the over indulgence yesterday was not necessary.

At this point in time, my new beginning to get serious about losing weight is looking like just another sputter from the past. I haven't given up hope yet since there is so much more I can do that would get me back on track. The question is will I do those things? Maybe I do need to join a health club as a way to get back on track with the world of exercise. I'm just don't want to make that commitment until I show some sort of commitment like walking in my neighborhood, sticking with the stretching, and maybe a few pushups and situps each evening. Here are some quotes that fit my current situation:

Quotes of the Day:
---You won't find any rules for success that work unless you do.
---There's no bargain for the price of success.
---A winner never quits and a quitter never wins.
---The sweetness of winning remains long after the price is forgotten. (That's one I need to motivate me to pay the price demanded by the first three quotes.)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

July 23, 2008 -- 221 Pounds (46 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday: cereal bar(160)--cereal bar(160)--yogurt(100)--chicken and rice(290)--yogurt(100)--cereal bar(160)--3 popcorns(600)--pineapple(300) = 1,870 calories

Quotes of the day:
--Maturity is the ability to do a job whether you are supervised or not.
--Perseverance pays. Diamonds are merely chunks of coal that stuck to their jobs.
--Your success is more from your attitude than from your ability.

The other day I was checking out the diet and fitness books that I've acquired and rarely followed over the years. I decided to check out the book, "Dr. Bob Arnot's Guide to Turning Back the Clock". That's really what I want to do, turn back the clock to about the age of 36 instead of my current 56.

After reading the first couple of chapters, it appears that I picked out the wrong book or else I'll have to do a complete turn around in my life. His approach is geared far more towards becoming more active rather than cutting way back on food. I really think that is the better approach and it certainly is the route I travelled between the age of 20 and 40, but I'm just not sure if my body can hold up to the activity level that I would need to maintain. His second big point is on the importance of eating the right foods. Look at my above list or any other list in the last week and you'll see that I'm no where close. I actually can't remember any point of my adult life when I ate healthy.

Reading Dr. Arnot's chapter on the importance of eating well did make me wonder just how much change I would notice if I suddenly went to a healthy diet. Would my body reject this healthy food as some sort of foreign substance or would I feel better than I have in years? It's tempting to give healthy eating a shot, but it seems like that would be a more difficult change than getting out and returning to a high activity level. It certainly is food for thought that I'll keep in mind.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

July 22, 2008 -- 221.5 Pounds (46.5 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday: cereal bar(160)--cereal bar(160)--yogurt(100)--Wendy's(700)--cereal bar(160)--yogurt(100)--cereal bar(160)--popcorn(200)--pineapple(300)--popcorn(200) = 2,240 calories, I can do better than this.

Quotes of the Day:
--You will succeed only if you believe you can.
--A bad habit is like a comfortable bed, easy to get into but hard to get out of.

I needed a quote yesterday for the post on the other blog and that led me to the list of quotes that I compiled many, many years ago. I have enough quotes to last for a long time on both blogs so look for the "Quotes of the Day" as a feature until I get tired of them and move on to something else.

While I can't swear that every quote will relate so directly to dieting, the above two certainly hit the target. My guess is that many overweight people no longer believe they can succeed in losing weight. This lack of belief makes starting a diet difficult and successfully completing a diet virtually impossible.

As for the quote about a bad habit, why is it that bad habits are easier to get into than good habits? Without a doubt, it is easier to get into the habit of overeating than to get into the habit of overexercising? I definitely need to work on my bad habits and maybe I can start by cutting down on the number of cereal bars I eat each day.

Monday, July 21, 2008

July 21, 2008 -- 223 Pounds (48 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday: popcorn(200)--popcorn(200)--pineapple(300)--chili(460)--30th birthday party for Travis, didn't worry about what I ate. I'll work it all off plus some during the week. (I'm not surprised that the weigh-in went up so high after a big and late supper. I think this will come off in a few days and I'd really like to see numbers in the teens by the weekend.)

Congratulations to the health officials in New York City. They passed a law saying that chain restaurants (a chain is considered to be 15 or more locations) had to clearly post on the menu the calorie count of each item they sell. That should shock some customers and maybe some people will actually understand why they are having a weight problem and they will make some changes in their choices.

Obviously the chain restaurants aren't happy about this and they point out that they already make that information available. What the restaurants know is that there is a big difference between (1) making the information available in very small print on a bulletin board that no one will look at, and (2) putting the total number of calories right by the price of the item so people will have a hard time missing the calorie count.

If anyone is reading this and is also in the process of trying to lose weight, you need to check out the link on the left side of the screen for "All My Links Regarding Weight Loss Information". I should probably update this list and maybe I should revisit some of the sites more often for my own weight loss help. I would suggest starting in the section "Calorie Needs and Calorie Counters". I've found it hard to get an exact number on how many calories I need per day to maintain my current weight, but it looks like 2,500 calories is close to the consensus of the calorie calculators that I found. I suspect most people would be surprised at how low the caloric need number is for their height, weight, age and life style.

If you watch the news and read enough articles about health, you will hear about dozens of reasons for the obesity crisis in America. In my mind, the problem starts first with lack of education and knowledge about caloric needs and caloric amounts in food. I bet the average person doesn't have a clue of how many calories they need to shoot for in a day or what the calorie count is in most of the foods they eat. If that's true, then how can they possibly make the choices needed to prevent obesity? Would people change their eating habits if they were more aware of the number to shoot for and the average calorie total that they are currently consuming? Maybe not, but at least they would understand that it is their choices that are leading to the problem.

By the way, eating to stay at a healthy weight is not something that you can do for a few months and then you can go back to your old habits. I went to this calorie needs calculator to see what were my needs to maintain my current weight. I put in my 5'10" height, 220 pound weight, 56 years old, and conceded that I'm just lightly active. The calculator spit out the need for 2,527 calories per day to maintain my current weight, so trying to stay under 2,000 calories per day is a good weight loss number for me. However, let's say I'm successful and by the end of the year I'm down to 175 pounds. I'll be a year older and hopefully the same height, and when I put in 175 pounds for my weight my needed calories per day drop to 2,154 per day!!!

WOW. Do you see why it is so hard to keep off the weight if people hit their goal and then drift back to something close to their old eating habits? This is telling me that if I want to get down to 175 pounds I'll probably need to eventually drop down to about 1,600 calories per day to get those last 10-20 pounds and then I have to keep my total around that 2,000 calorie mark for the rest of my life. OR, I can move that activity level up to "moderately active" and that would allow me 2,485 calories per day (an unlikely move to "very active" gets me to 2,816 calories and "extremely active" gets me to 3,314 calories--those levels of activity aren't going to happen now but it explains why at 35 I was able to maintain 165 pounds since my extremely active level allowed me 3,500 calories per day).

For now, I don't need to get too far ahead of myself. My best plan of action is to stay below the 2,000 calorie level and gradually increase my activity level. That's really what it's going to take to keep me from being overweight for the rest of my life, a caloric intake of about 2,500 calories per day and a moderately active life style or 2,000 calories if my activity drops off. That's not what I really want to hear but that's just the facts of how the typical human body works. As the title of this blog says, I Can Do This--I Will Do This.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

July 20, 2008 -- 220 Pounds (45 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday: popcorn(250)--Wendy's Jr Cheeseburger Deluxe(350) and small vanilla Frosty(330)--popcorn(250)--pizza(700) = 1,860 calories.

Saturday was a good day since it included a 2-3 mile walk in the morning. I can't really go by time since I was taking photos along the way, photos that will be used on the other blog for the next few days. I am concerned that my right hip and my lower back have been troublesome lately. While there's bound to be a connection between the two, the one that concerns me the most is the hip.

Back about 13-14 years ago I was coaching U-12 Select soccer and playing in a tennis league. I'm sure I was doing a lot of other stuff as well such as running and racquetball, but it was the tennis and soccer that was giving me a problem. I would coach a soccer practice Thursday afternoons followed by a tennis match in the evening and my hip would hurt so much that I rarely slept on Thursday nights. As a sign of just how bad it got, I actually went to a doctor to check out the problem.

The x-rays revealed that the lining in the ball and joint of my left hip was in good shape and the lining in my right hip was about non-existent. I was in my early 40's and I wasn't going to even consider a hip replacement. The doctor understood and he gave me a list of things that I should do: cut back on the sports that put pressure on the hip--lose some weight--stretching to take pressure off the hip--exercises to straighten the muscles. Of course I did none of the above, deciding that I could live with the pain. I did start taking a couple of things in the glucosamine (spelling?) family and I think those helped quite a bit. I have a feeling that it might be time to pay the piper and there's a strong possibility that I have a hip replacement somewhere in my future.

Or maybe instead of a hip replacement, I can try doing some of those things the doctor suggested over a decade ago. The biggest one is stretching, something I did do at one time and it did help a lot. I'm stupid for not continuing to stretch, but it is just something that I've always hated to do. I guess the time has come to push through the hate. I won't achieve my goal without more exercise and I'm afraid that I won't be able to do more exercise without stretching. This is one that will test my new motto of "I Can Do This--I Will Do This".

Saturday, July 19, 2008

July 19, 2008 -- 220.5 Pounds (45.5 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday: yogurt(100)--cereal bar(160)--yogurt(100)--hot pockets(700)--cereal bar(160)--yogurt(100)--light beer(100)--pizza(640) = 2,060 calories. I thought I was under 2,000 calories even with the pizza and then I remembered the third yogurt as I was typing up this list. Bummer.

In recent weeks it has been the weekends that have been a problem. That needs to be reversed this weekend with these next two days being ones where I actually improve on my performance from the last 5 days. We'll see how that goes.

Friday, July 18, 2008

July 18, 2008 -- 221 Pounds (46 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday: yogurt(100)--cereal bar(160)--yogurt(100)--hot pockets(620)--popcorn(250)--canned fruit(320) = 1,550 calories

The above is closer to the calorie total I should be shooting for each day. It's one of those days where I didn't allow much of a slip-up in my food choices, such as an extra cereal bar or two, and it is the kind of focus that I need to have on days when there isn't any sort of special event like the Wednesday night get together.

In addition to the low calorie total, I also went walking for 36 minutes in the evening. It wasn't bad, especially with the MP3 player keeping me company. It would have been better if I had been jogging. During the walk I was thinking about how I do miss jogging. I miss the hard work of going up a hill, I miss that feeling of fitness when recovering on a flat stretch, I miss the feeling of accomplishment after a good run, and I even miss that dripping sweat that tells you it was a job well done. When I was in shape, I really did enjoy going out for a run.

The key element in that last paragraph is the part about "when I was in shape". I'll admit that working out isn't all that much fun when it is a struggle just to limp to the finish line. Right now I'm at that struggling/limping level of fitness and I'm going to just have to bite the bullet and work my way on up the fitness ladder. I can do this and I will do this.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

July 17, 2008 -- 222.5 Pounds (47.5 Pounds to Go)

Yesterday's Food: yogurt(100)--cereal bar(160)--hot pockets(600)--cereal bar(160)--cereal bar(160)--yogurt(100)--popcorn(250)--2 light beers(200)--Wendy's Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe(350) and small fries(350) = 2,430 calories.

Okay, let's analyze the food choices from yesterday. We'll start with the fruits and vegetables. There was a tiny amount of fruit in the yogurt and some lettuce and tomato on the cheeseburger. Oh yeah, I'm sure there were some hops and barley in the beer and popcorn sounds like it should definitely be in the vegetable group.

When a person has to search that hard to find some fruits and vegetables, there's something wrong with their diet. I need to work on this but the above is fairly close to how I've always eaten except that normally I would have far more calories from far more junk. I do take vitamins every day to fill in for the gaps created by my food choices. It's not the ideal situation, but it's where I am at the moment.

Since this was a Wednesday food list and I did go to the bar to meet the guys, staying under 2,500 calories was a fairly good effort. It could have been and should have been better. I should have done 1 hot pocket and a yogurt for lunch and then I could have repeated that in the afternoon. That might have eliminated both of the afternoon cereal bars. The popcorn in the afternoon was okay since it was designed to keep me away from the bowl of nuts at the bar. Maybe I need to look into those bags of popcorn that only have 100 calories or I should invest in a bowl with a lid so I can eat some popcorn and save the rest for later. As for the Wendy's, that's okay because I like to eat a decent amount after drinking a couple of beers.

All in all, the 2,430 calories was okay, but it would have been easy to get under 2,000 calories. This seems to be the struggle I have to face, being dedicated enough to shave off those 500 calories that make the difference between an okay day and a very good day. I can do this--I will do this.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

July 16, 2008 -- 221.5 Pounds (46.5 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday: yogurt(100)--yogurt(100)--hot pockets(680)--apple juice(140) and cookies(210) when I gave blood--popcorn(250)--pineapple(300)--popcorn(250) = 2,030 calories.

I almost got under 2,000 calories despite the extra 350 calories from the blood center. I had gone up to bed without that last bag of popcorn, but I had a hunger pain that wouldn't go away while reading in bed. One of the absolute unbreakable rules of my diet is to never ignore a hunger pain if possible. I don't think a person has to go hungry when on a diet if they will simply cut back on the amount they are eating when they aren't hungry. All of us can get by on low calorie amounts if we eat in smaller portions and throughout the day. My problem is that far too often I eat too much so I won't be hungry later instead of simply eating a small amount when I actually do get hungry.

There's no need in reinventing the wheel so I've done a copy and paste on my post from the "A Slice of Frank's Life" blog. It will be a rarity that I'll have a dieting post on that other blog unless it is just a brief update, and my plan is to be a little more active with my posting here. In the past I've been fairly consistent in my posts, but I haven't had any links to weight loss stories or tips on things that seem to be working for me, etc. I'll try to do more of that in the future. Below is the post about my goal and how I plan to achieve it:


When it comes to posts about dieting, I have been like "the boy who cried wolf" for at least a year. Therefore, I certainly understand if any or all of you are skeptical of my plan to get down to 175 pounds by the end of this year. That would be 48 pounds lower than my Tuesday morning weigh-in, and it would take me back to my weight of almost 20 years ago.

Since every major project needs a slogan, I'm going with "Looking Fine in 2009". It's a catchy slogan that unfortunately is flawed in a couple of ways. First off, I'm not sure that I'll be "looking fine" at any weight. Second, my motive for losing weight should be more than skin deep, focusing more on the improvements in my health and longevity. That being said, I will look better and I'll feel better physically and mentally when I lose this excessive weight, and looking better in the short term is probably a stronger motivating factor that the long term benefits of better health and the potential for a longer life. It shouldn't be that way, but that seems to be the way the human mind works.

Since this isn't politics, I'll need more than a catchy slogan. It makes sense that I should go back to the steps that helped me lose 35 pounds in 2006 and use that as my foundation, and then I need to tweak that plan into something that will get me over the hump that stumped me back then. I have about 165 days to go in 2008. In 2006 I had lost 27 pounds after 100 days and 34.5 pounds after 165 days, a very solid effort, but a pace that isn't good enough to reach my goal. Knowing that I have very little room for error, here's what I think it will take to reach my goal:

-----Consistently keeping my food journal is imperative, even on the bad days. Ideally, this consistency will greatly reduce my bad days.
-----The days over 2,000 calories need to be few and far between. In addition, I need to avoid the practice of eating extra in the evening just because I can fit in another food item below the 2,000 calorie cap.
-----I need to get back to adding yogurt/calcium to my diet. Supposedly it will help me lose more fat, particularly fat around the stomach, and it will help me keep muscle. At the very least, it seems to be the most filling 100 calories that I've found while dieting.
-----Exercise is the big X-factor that has to be added to the equation. Outside of a little tennis, there was very little exercise going on back in 2006. In addition to burning more calories, exercise seems to reduce the number of plateaus and shorten the time spent on each plateau.
-----Here's the step that isn't really hard, but for some reason it is hard for me. I need to stretch. Stretching won't help me lose weigh but it will do wonders for easing the pain in my right hip, and less pain equals the ability to exercise more.
-----And finally, I need to keep my focus on the goal. I can do this if I stick to the plan and stay on course. Detours and side roads will turn this into an impossible dream. I have to stay focused on 175, not settle for 205, 195 or even 185. Once I start cutting back on the goal, I'll start cutting back on the effort.

That's my plan. One other ace in the hole that differs from 2006 is that I won't be doing the Millsaps photos. That was the biggest reason that I didn't exercise back then and it was also a contributing factor to some of my bad days because some days were so hectic. If I will work as hard on myself as I worked on those photos for other, then this thing should be a breeze.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

July 15, 2008 -- 223 Pounds (48 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday: cereal bar(160)--morning vitamins--cereal bar(160)--2 hot pockets(620)--afternoon vitamins--pineapple(300)--canned fruit(320)--popcorn(250) = 1,810 calories

As you can see (if anyone is reading this), I've added a new element to my title line for the post. I've given myself the goal of reaching 175 pounds by the end of the year. That's not unreasonable, it's not impossible, but it is less than 6 months away so I have no more room for backsliding and taking breaks from my dieting.

While that seems like a huge long term goal, it is really more of a mid-range goal. As I discovered during 2006 and 2007, losing the weight is something that can be done in less than a year. At that point, the truly long term goal becomes the task of keeping the weight off. I drop the ball on that one the first time around, so now I'll be better prepared to maintain once I get the weight off again. Of course, over the rest of the year I'll need to set and achieve plenty of short term goals in order to reach that 175 pounds by 2009. Those short term goals are needed to help keep a person focused and to give them a sense of accomplishment.

Here are a list of goals that I'll be focusing on in the near future. They are in no particular order and most of them are goals that I'll try to repeat over and over:

-----Give more focus to this blog. I've often referred to my "Slice of Frank's Life" blog as my main blog. Is there really anything that I'm doing over there that could be more important than improving my health, adding years to my life, and regaining a spring in my step? I need to realize that right now, there is nothing that I'm doing that matters more than losing this weight.
-----Keep the food journal for an entire week. This is a goal that I need to repeat over and over, but for now I need to prove that I can do this for one week. The difficulty in this goal is not physical, it is all mental as I fight the responsibility of being held accountable for my actions when it comes to eating.
-----I really need to concentrate on getting to a 215 pound weigh-in. I have muddle around in the lower 220's for a long time and I've even touch the higher teen's a few times in the last few months. When I see 215 pounds on the scale, I will know that I've broken free of this recent range and that real progress is being made.
-----I need to walk more. That can be a combined walking and jogging or just walking, but I have to get out of the house and move around on my own two feet. I will not come close to achieving my goal of 175 pounds by 1/1/09 unless I become persistent and consistent with my exercising.

One thing I have resisted with this blog is adding any sort of hit counter. I know that Todd has been to this site because he has left comments. Maybe others have wandered over from the other blog and maybe others have found this site with internet searches. I have no plans of adding a hit counter so I'll never know if 20 people are reading or just 2--past history with blogs has shown me that 2 is a more likely number. To be honest, there's been nothing here in the past that would give anyone a reason to keep reading. I hope to change that over the next few months and I hope some people will join me with their own goal of losing weight by the end of this year. Please feel free to comment or to contact me at the email address found under my profile--we are all in this together and support is never a bad thing.

Monday, July 14, 2008

July 14, 2008 -- 225.5 Pounds

My dieting is like playing a game of CandyLand (or is it Chutes and Ladders)--every time I seem to make any progress I land on one of those spaces that slides me back to the beginning. My latest slide came at the Strong Family Reunion and as you can see in the title, my weight is once again all the way back to where it was when I started blogging about the need to lose weight.

If only there was some method I could follow that would help me lose at least 35 pounds. Something that is simple, inexpensive, doesn't create any great feelings of hunger, and is a plan that a normal person could actually follow. Could such a plan actually exists? Oh yeah, that describes the plan I used to lose 35 pounds in 4-5 months back in 2006, a plan that only asks the dieter to be accountable for their food and to make an effort to stay under 2,000 calories per day. I was never hungry, I didn't miss out on things with my friends, and I felt much better both physically and mentally while I was losing the weight and during the time that I was plateaued at 190 pounds. Is there any logical reason why I should not retrace those steps?

I've written a dozen times or more that I'm going to get back on track with my dieting so I expect no one to believe me this time. You will know that this time might be different if I actually can list a complete food list for each of the next 7 days. If I can do that, then maybe this will be the time. Actually, that last sentence should read, "If I will do that..." because there is no doubt that I can do it. There is a huge difference between difficult and impossible even though many of us seem to put both of those in the same category. I will concede that losing weight and keeping it off is difficult, but I refuse to buy in to any notion that it is impossible. Once a person believes that something is impossible, then it becomes impossible for that person.

I don't want to get too far ahead of myself with this, but I actually think I can do a better job of dieting than what I did back in 2006. Back then I succeeded with food reduction and not much exercise. I really need to add in the exercise this time. In reality, I may not have a choice. My body seems to be pretty good at sticking with setpoints at the moment and more exercise might be the only thing that will encourage reasonable weight loss. I have to remember that exercise doesn't have to be training for a marathon. It can be as simple as getting up 30 minutes earlier each day and going for a 2-mile walk.

Okay, enough of the planning and the big talk. It's a Monday, I don't have any big food events on the horizon now that I've returned from my Dallas trip and the reunion, so let's see how things look over the next 7 days. There really is no excuse for me to not write down a list of all the foods I eat for just 7 days. I absolutely need to succeed at this small step.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

July 9, 2008 -- 220.5 Pounds

What the last few days has proven is that my setpoint is down around 220 pounds and that's the weight my body is going to try and get to at the moment. I'll confess that the drop in weight over the last few days isn't due to any vigorous exercise or cut back in eating on my part.

It's an odd thing, but it doesn't take much to throw me off a routine. I'm still adjusting back to my normal routine after the trip to Dallas. Of course, not having my PC at home might be considered a major thing that has kept me off my routine. I'm on the computer and internet all the time with my photos and blogs and this having to come to work early or stay late has got me out of sync. If you've read my "Slice of Frank's Life" blog, then you know that I have now gone from a virus on my PC to a Windows system error. Hopefully the virus is fixed and maybe the system error is connected to fixing the virus problem, but the bottom line is that I continue to have a home PC that is unusable. Maybe today is the day that we get everything straightened out or it will be the day that we reformat the hard drive and start from scratch. I have been able to get my photos off of the machine and I think I'll be able to save all of my other data.

You probably noticed on the news yesterday the story about keeping a simple food journal as a key to losing more weight. Did we really need a study to prove what I and many others have said for a long time? I thought it was interesting that they said it didn't have to be elaborate. Something as simple as keeping a list on a post-it note would do. That seems to be a change from the more complicated food journals where you keep up with food, feelings, times, etc. Of course, knowing that a food journal helps tremendously and keeping a food journal are two separate things--for some reason I am still having trouble with consistently keeping a journal. Maybe I need to go to a psychiatrist to find out the reason for that, plus the reason for other oddities in my life.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

July 8, 2008 -- 222.5 Pounds

I'm both too busy and too tired to write here today. I came into work before 5 because I really need to get something done for work, a project that I never seem to have time to complete. What is lacking in my life most is time and I need to make some tough decisions on how to regain the time I've been losing in recent years.

Monday, July 7, 2008

July 7, 2008 -- 223.5 Pounds

No need to panic just yet. I left Dallas at 4:00 yesterday afternoon and it helped to have snacks and diet sodas close at hand to stay energized for the trip home. I got in at 10:30 last night and weighed in at 5:00 this morning, so I wasn't surprised by a high total today. I just need that total to steadily drop before I go out of town again this next weekend.

I haven't looked at my trip photos on a full size computer screen, but just looking at the photos of me on the camera's LCD screen is strong motivation for getting more serious about my dieting and exercise. I'm really not happy about my poor physical condition and about the limitations it puts on my life. I have a long way to go and that goal won't get in closer until I start putting out some serious effort.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

July 3, 2008 -- 219.5 Pounds

I caught the second half of the guys night out yesterday, ate a late supper, stayed up late drinking diet sodas non-stop while getting ready for my trip, and then I got up at 4 to get to work early. It's a miracle that today's number is below 220.

I think I'll do okay on my trip. It's hard to say because I may splurge right from the beginning, eating massive amounts of sugar to keep alert on the drive over--I wish I had gotten more sleep last night. I'll do my best to be sub-220 Monday morning; I just can't make any promises on how I'll do.

Got to go over to the other blog and do a scheduled post for the 4th of July. Todd, enjoy yourself over the 4th when it comes to eating, just don't enjoy yourself too much.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

July 2, 2008 -- 218 Pounds

Yeah, I was pleasantly surprised by the weigh-in this morning. It's a lower weight than anything I had in May and June, so it is some nice progress even if it may not be totally deserved. I haven't done a lick of exercise in the last week outside of walking 4 miles with Boty last Thursday and I really haven't done that great on the diet the first two work days of this week. As a matter of fact, I've been a little disappointed in my diet efforts over the last two days.

The disappointment comes not so much from the food amounts I've eaten, but from my failure to stick to the plan of writing down the food and calorie amount BEFORE I eat the food. To make matters worse, I'm not even writing down the food after I eat it. It's one of those things that a person can get away with in the short term and then it will do them in over the long term. I've started off today on the right foot and I need to stay that way today and tomorrow. Friday through Sunday I'll be visiting friends and I'll just try to do my best without the list--it would seem rather rude for my hosts to put a meal on the table and the first thing I do is pull out a small notebook and document the food they are serving. It would make me feel like a restaurant critic in the home of friends.

I'll post again tomorrow and then it will be Monday before I have another weigh-in. I hope everyone enjoys the 4th of July without feeling the obligation to eat yourself silly. I'm going to try and compromise by enjoying the meals while avoiding all of the grazing opportunities that exist between the meals. I know that's easier said than done, but it can be done.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

July 1, 2008 -- 220.5 Pounds

I came in to work early to add to the post on my other blog. It's now 7 so I can't put much here. The bottom line is that yesterday wasn't terrible on the eating, but I did eat a little extra thanks in part to the frustration of the PC problems. I'll try to keep that under control today.