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

Sunday, August 31, 2008

August 31, 2008 -- 216.5 Pounds (41.5 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday: Like yesterday, I had one main meal (a pizza) and a lot of the snack type stuff. It all added up to about 2,000 calories.

I was out taking photos yesterday at an event that involved a lot of walking and being on my feet for a couple of hours. Coming on the heels of walking Thursday morning and Friday evening, this being on my feet so much Saturday morning was enough to convince me not to walk Saturday evening. I'll get out today for another one hour walk and then we'll see how the hip and legs feel about getting out tomorrow. I have a feeling that a trip to a hip doctor might result in talk about needing a hip replacement in the future. That's not something I want to consider at this point in time, but I suspect the time will come when a new hip will be what I need if I want to go through life without some sort of minor pain each day.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

August 30, 2008 -- 216 Pounds (41 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday: I don't have an exact list but it was the usual combination of yogurt, crackers, pineapples, hot pockets, popcorn plus a could of light beers that added up to right around 2,000 calories.

While the food yesterday was routine, one thing that wasn't routine is that I walked in the neighborhood for an hour yesterday. It's really not so bad once I get out the door and start moving.

I need to change my outlook on walking, rewire my mind to realize that walking is not some unpleasant task that I should do but it is actually a secret weapon that I can use to turn the tide in this battle against my excessive weight. It's that little extra that I need to turn my ordinary results into extraordinary results.

This 216 pounds is the lowest I've weighed since trying to get really serious back in mid-July. Out of curiosity, I went back and looked at how it compared over the entire history of the blog, going back to the first post made November 26, 2007. On that first day of the blog I weighed in at 225, the same as my starting point in mid-July. My guess is that I was disgusted by eating too much at Thanksgiving and determined not to gain another 10 pounds in that deadly stretch between our two most food oriented holidays.

It looks like I succeeded in getting to Christmas without gaining any weight. After that I had some spotty results in January and February of 2008 with my weight actually getting as low as 214.5 pounds. The backslide started once again in March, not surprising since that would be the transition between the managable basketball season to the hectic photographing of the Millsaps spring sports of baseball, softball and tennis.

I need to remember this history. I've made the trek from 225 to 215 within the past year, only to give it all back again. I can't be satisfied with this level and I can't stop to rest. I have to be detemined to never reach the 220's again for the rest of my life. About a month from now I need to be writing that I have to be determined to never reach the 210's again for the rest of my life. And by the time I go back to Dallas to visit at Halloween, I would really like to be at a point where I can be determined that I'll never again go over 200 pounds in my lifetime. For this all to happen, walking has to be my secret weapon to go along with a slightly improved eating plan. I can do this--I will do this!

Friday, August 29, 2008

August 29, 2008 -- 217 Pounds (42 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday: yogurt(100)--crackers(190)--pineapple(300)--hot pockets(600)--yogurt(100)--crackers(190)--pineapple(300)--popcorn(200)--2 multi-vitamins plus a few other vitamins = 1,980 calories

I walked Thursday morning and I need to force myself to walk today, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. I would like to see 215 pounds on the scale next Tuesday and I won't do that unless I get out and walk 3-4 miles each day between now and then. It's not something I like to do but I either need to force myself to do it or I need to make it more interesting. There's no rule that says I have to depart from my house and it might be far more enjoyable if I'll drive to a location and then do my walking there. I need to investigate that concept a little more deeply.

I listed my vitamins in the food list today somewhat to point out that I recognize the nutritional holes in the way I eat. You might remember my story in the past about how I switched over from my regular multi-vitamin to one for people over 50 and my iron level dropped so low that I couldn't donate blood. The multi-vitamin for seniors didn't include iron which means that the iron I was getting from the original multi-vitamin was the only thing that was keeping me from being anemic.

That story about the vitamins points out two things, the most obvious being that I wasn't eating right back when I was 49 just as I'm not eating right now. The other thing is that the multi-vitamins cover up a lot of my dietary sins. Since I've cut back on the calories of late, I've also increased the multi-vitamin total from one to two just to be on the safe side. It's not as ideal as eating 3,000 calories of meat, fruits and vegetables each day and then working off about 1,000 of those calories by having an active life style, but it is the way I've lived for years and it seems unlikely that I'll make any major changes in the near future.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

August 28, 2008 -- 218.5 Pounds (43.5 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday: yogurt(100)--yogurt(100)--Sante Fe Chicken sandwich and baked chips(800, I'm guessing)--yogurt(100)--Jr. CB Deluxe(350)--3 light beers, no nuts(300)--2 bananas(240)--popcorn(200) = 2,190 calories

I gave myself a good rating even though I went over 2,000 calories. This was one of those days that I might have "taken off" from the diet in the past, a day that would have come closer to the 3,000 calorie mark. Also, there's nothing really bad about the food choices unless you point out the lack of vegetables.

It's just after 4:30 at the moment and I'm going to meet Boty for a 4 mile walk. I'm thinking that today should be the start of a push towards 215 pounds, seeing if I can ease back the calories closer to the 1,500 level for a few days while also getting out and walking each day. It's a 3-day weekend coming up and I believe that I could make a nice leap in my weight loss if I would put in the required effort.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

August 27, 2008 -- 217.5 Pounds (42.5 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday: yogurt(100)--pineapple(300)--crackers(190)--hot pockets(620)--crackers(190)--banana(120)--pineapple(300)--popcorn(200) = 2,020 calories

It's nice to see my weight go down a little on a 2,000 calorie day. It makes me think that my body has accepted a set point in the 217-218 range. I had hoped to strike while the iron was hot with a series of sub-1,500 calorie days and by getting out and walking almost every day. Without a doubt, I could have done that. In hindsight, I should have done that. It's just that in hindsight all things are easier said than done.

These last few days have been tough even at 2,000 calories. Each trip to the store brings a strong desire to buy something chocolate. Last night I so desperately wanted to buy a half gallon of ice cream and eat on that until I became sick or until I reached the bottom of the container. If a person looks at my food lists they will see a person with a habitual eating habit and there was a time in my life when those pineapple entries would have been replaced by packs of Sugar Babies. The yogurts would have been replaced by bagels with 3 to 4 times the calories. And lets not forget that the above list would have been supplemented by a dozen diet soft drinks in the past. Cutting back on these soft drinks has created a void and in the past they often filled a craving without adding calories. Now I'm having to learn to deal with these cravings, sometimes getting a pack of crackers at 190 calories instead of a diet soda at 1 calorie (in honest, I often got a soda and crackers in the past, but not always).

Okay. Now that I have that off my chest, I realize that it still isn't an excuse for not staying closer to 1,500 calories. All I have to do is cut out about 2 items a day. I can extend a can of pineapples into two snacks. I can limit myself to one pack of crackers a day. I could have had one hot pocket and a yogurt which would have saved 220 calories. These aren't things that I want to do, they are things that I need to do.

Finally, what I need to do today is to limit the damage by creating a plan and sticking with it. I'm eating lunch with Gordon and then there is the Wednesday night get-together. My plan needs to be 2 yogurts in the morning, then some reasonable choices at lunch. Maybe another yogurt in the afternoon and then I think I need something like a Wendy's burger before I go to the bar. I have to find a way to avoid the bowl of nuts and I think that involves eating before I go. The key is that I then must refrain from going back to Wendy's after leaving the bar. If I'll stick to this plan then I think I can get another 2,000 calorie day, a real accomplishment for a Wednesday when I'm eating lunch with a friend.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

August 26, 2008 -- 218 Pounds (43 Pounds to Go)

Food List: I kept my list and then I lost it. The work day part was about the same as usual and I was at 1,060 when I left for home. I added 700 calories for 2 hot pockets and then 300 calories for pineapple, a total of 2,060 for the day.

I only have a minute because I'm already at work. I'm becoming more and more convinced that the only solution to the obesity problem in America will be through drugs or genetic modification. Drugs are the more likely first approach, but the genetics will be part of our future. I don't think dieting will be the widespread solution because it is just too difficult for most. It sure as heck is difficult for me.

I've discovered that 2,000 calories a day is plenty to keep away hunger. The problem is that 2,000 calories doesn't fit into the normal lifestyle and what most people think of as normal eating. If you go to a restaurant, even careful eating will usually put you over 1,000 calories for a meal. If friends have you over for supper, you're lucky to get away at under 1,000 calories. If you drink fluids with calories during the day, then staying under 2,000 calories is very difficult.

The obviously flip side to this is to be active enough so that you can eat more than 2,000 calories. It's hard to do, especially for those who are already obese. I have a desk job that doesn't burn many calories during the day. I already have trouble finding time for all that I would like to do which makes it hard to find the time to prepare to exercise, exercise, and then cool off and clean up after exercising.

Oh well. Losing weight and keeping off is hard, just as life is often hard. The fact that it is difficult doesn't mean that it can't be done or that it doesn't need to be done. I plan on continuing to push on.

Monday, August 25, 2008

August 25, 2008 -- 217 Pounds (42 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday: Milky Way(260)--banana(120)--popcorn(200)--corn(280)--potatoes(150)--light beer(100)--popcorn(200)--banana(120)--popcorn(200) = 1,630 calories

This was a good weekend for my diet. I had thoughts about getting out and walking on Sunday, plans that fell through partially because it rained most of the day and mostly because I didn't really feel like it. There was a time when getting out and exercising made me feel better for the rest of the day. Now it creates pains that last throughout the day or longer. Exercise has to become a part of my future and I hope it will be easier to get back in the habit as I lose some of this weight.

With about a week left in August, there is the possibility that I'll be down to 215 pounds for the start of September. That would leave me with 40 pounds to go in the remaining 4 months of the year. That's a tall order under the best of conditions, a much taller order if I don't get back on track with the exercising. I'm realistic enough to realize that I may not see 175 pounds for the start of 2009. That will be okay as long as I'm making reasonable progress towards my ultimate goal. My mistake last time was that I "took a break" from dieting when I got stuck at 190 pounds. What I needed to do back then was take a different approach to my dieting, primarily by adding some sort of exercise, instead of thinking that I could lay back and hope that my body would do all the work to maintain that 190 pound setpoint. It did maintain that level for a while until I overwhelmed it with signals to gain weight, signals that came in the form of overeating.

Those are all thoughts for further down the line. At the moment I need to remember that my first real goal was to get to 215 pounds, something I can achieve this month if I don't screw up this week. The next goal after that will be 205, a number that will put me below the official obesity weight for my height. It will be nice to get back to being amongst the third of Americans who are simply overweight instead of wallowing with the third who are obese. I can do these things--I will do these things.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

August 24, 2008 -- 216.5 Pounds (41.5 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday: pineapple(300)--Wendy's(700)--lt beer(100)--soup(380)--popcorn(200)--popcorn(200) = 1,880 calories

Today's weigh-in is a little hard to gauge. I did a 4-mile jog/walk yesterday afternoon and that certainly is a factor in today's low weight. A factor in the other direction is that I stayed up late yesterday to watch some of the Men's Olympic basketball game and that means that I was eating and drinking fluids till past midnight, a factor in adding to my weigh-in since I got up at 6 this morning.

We'll see what today brings in the way of my dieting and what tomorrow morning brings when I weigh once again. I recognize the possibility that I may have seen the 220 pound level for the last time and that would be a very good thing. Of course, I thought I had left that level forever back a couple of years ago when I was so successful with my diet. It was such a mistake to regain all of the weight that I lost back then, a mistake that will be very valuable if I learn from it this time. My diet is one that will never end if I want to lose weight and keep it off permanantly.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

August 23, 2008 -- 218.5 Pounds (43.5 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday--yogurt(100)--yogurt(100)--Wendy's(680)--yogurt(100)--pizza(680)--popcorn(200) = 1,860 calories

The last couple of days have been a good sign. It appears that my setpoint has finally moved below 220 pounds. The way I've eaten over the last few days is actually worse than most of the days that didn't produce a drop below 220 pounds. Now it seems that my body doesn't want to be at 220 and if I'll just give it half a chance it will drop below that number. This is a weekend when I really need to make a push, as in keeping the calories down AND walking each day. I need to see what 2 Very Good days will do in lowering my setpoint.

Friday, August 22, 2008

August 22, 2008 -- 219 Pounds (44 Pounds to Go)

Food yesterday: I can give you the food items without being able to give a calorie count. There was a yogurt in the morning and 2 popcorns and 2 pineapples spread out over the afternoon and evening. In between those was a piece of coconut cake and a plate lunch that might not have been too bad--beef, potatoes and gravy, green beans, salad, and a small roll plus a piece of cornbread that I probably should have skipped. It wasn't a bad day for a non-dieting person, which of course makes it a poor day for a person on a diet.

Todd left a post yesterday about being on a plateau for so long. It really was a struggle to get below 220 pounds and there's no guarantee that I've left that mark behind considering the weigh-ins of the last 2 days. I've gone back and looked at all of my posts since July 14th and I've rated them as Very Good, Good, Average, Poor and Very Poor. These grades are not as clearly defined as the grading scale in a school. They are somewhat a combination of the reality of the day and how I feel about the day. For example, the reality of yesterday would make it a very poor dieting day. I only marked it down as a poor because for a day when I was meeting someone for lunch, I didn't do too bad in my food selection.

If you look over to the left you will see a section for "Labels". This gives a running total of how my dieting days have gone since July 14th. It is a fairly spotty performance. In fairness to myself, at one point I thought that anything below 2,000 calories was a good day and in going back I only gave some of these a score of "Average". That might lower the curve a little, but it doesn't change the fact that since starting this system I have had to give myself a score of "Very Poor" on Wednesday and "Poor" yesterday. That's not going to help in any efforts to drop the weight.

Now, with all that being said, I can get back to Todd's comment. I also thought I was stuck on the longest of plateaus with my body simply refusing to go beneath that 220 pound level. As I go back and look at the overall effort that I've put into the first 5 weeks, I can see that my choices had a lot to do with failing to go any lower. I wasn't cutting back enough on what I thought were my good days and I was sending mixed signals to my body with too many bad days. It's amazing how we all seem to be capable of thinking that we are doing pretty good on our dieting when in reality we aren't. I fooled myself while keeping a blog and a food journal. Just think how easy it is for other people to fool themselves when they aren't doing things to keep up with what they actually eat in a day, week, month or year.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

August 21, 2008 -- 219.5 Pounds (44.5 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday: I made it up till the evening with only 920 calories. Then there were 3 light beers at Nick's and a small combo meal at Wendy's that would push my total to 2,300 or 2,400 calories. Then there were the dips into the bowl of mixed nuts at the bar for far too many calories. It was a bad day that wouldn't have been so bad if I had skipped Wendy's and gone home and fixed a batch of popcorn.

I think the above is about all that I need to post today. I did get up and walked a mile with Boty this morning. He has a pulled muscle or something in his hip area that caused us to stop after 1 mile. Boty and I are going to eat lunch today which isn't the greatest of plans after yesterday's runaway calories. It won't be too bad if I stick with a couple of yogurts this morning and then eat light tonight. I know I can do that.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

August 20, 2008 -- 217.5 Pounds (42.5 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday: yogurt(100)--pineapple(300)--pasta(340)--yogurt(100)--yogurt(100)--popcorn(200)--soup(380) = 1,520 calories + pineapple in the middle of the night = 1,820 calories

Last night was one of those where sleep was hard to find. One of the problems with these restless nights is that I usually find myself hungry, especially if I've kept the calories low during the evening hours, and that hunger gives me one more thing that makes getting back to sleep more difficult. Since the only snacks that I have in the house are low-fat popcorn and cans of pineapple, my late night eating choices were limited and I went with the pineapple. It's too bad that I couldn't sleep because I think I would have reached a new low this morning if I hadn't eaten in the middle of the night.

I'm using a blogger feature for the first time on this post and I plan on going back and updating my posts from the last 5 weeks or so. Blogger allows you to label a post so readers can more easily find a particular subject matter. I've been thinking that I need to do that on the "Slice of Frank" blog, and I realized that it would be useful on this blog as well. My plan is to tag each entry with one of five possible labels: Very_good, Good, Average, Poor, Very_poor. It will give me a running score of how I'm really doing on the diet and it will give me motivation to do better since I'll be somewhat keeping score.

Right now I have no idea how the tally will turn out for the previous days on this diet. In my mind, I think I've done fairly well over the last 5-6 weeks and I've blamed my lack of success in that first month to my body just being stuck on a difficult setpoint. Maybe I'll find that I was really guilty of too many poor and very poor days. These daily distinctions will be fairly subjective and I'm not even sure of the guidelines that I'll use. I have a feeling that it will be a good tool in keeping me motivated from day-to-day, an extra push to go along with keeping the food journal.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

August 19, 2008 -- 217.5 Pounds (42.5 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday: yogurt(100)--pineapple(300)--Wendy's(680)--yogurt(100)--yogurt(100)--pineapple(300)--beer(150) = 1,730 calories.

I'm obviously making progress with 5 straight days under 220 pounds and with today being my lowest weight in months. The improvements in my weight are fragile accomplishments right now, somewhat like a concrete sidewalk that has been laid but hasn't hardened. If I slip up in coming days, I'm sure my body will be glad to quickly reset my weight into the 220's.

If anyone is reading, you might remember the recent quote about the difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little bit extra. I've been doing that little bit extra lately and it is paying off. It doesn't seem like much, cutting down from closer to 2,000 calories a day to closer to 1,500 calories a day. My theory is that my body had adjusted its metabolism so that it could get by on 2,000 calories a day without having to dip into any stored energy. The drop of another 500 calories per day was enough to forced my metabolism to dip into the stored reserves. I'm hoping that this has finally broken the roadblock to weight loss that I was seeing at the 220 pound mark.

That's just my theory and I hoping the results are the same as what happens when you break a $20 bill. Maybe for you rich people it like what happens when you break a $100 bill. In my case, I'll hold onto a $20 bill because I don't want to break it for some small purchase. I'll hold on to it for a while and then as soon as I make that first purchase, no matter how small, it seems like the resulting change just evaporates from my wallet. I'm hoping that now that my body has made that first small withdrawal from the fat reserves, it will now find it acceptable to continue to make withdrawals. That will only happen if I continue to provide a need for those withdrawals by keeping my calorie count around 1,500 calories.

One last thing that goes back a quote I wrote maybe a month or longer ago. That quote was about the stone cutter who might split a rock on the 100th blow, knowing that it wasn't just the final strike that split the rock but also all of the contributions made by the first 99 hits. I do believe that all of those days when I was staying at about 2,000 calories made a difference. It didn't show up on the scale, but I think I was pushing my metabolism to the limits of its capacity as it tried to maintain my setpoint. It's so important that I didn't give up when it appear that progress was never going to come. Without all of those days, I doubt that the last week would have had as much of an impact. My hope is that this foundation laid over the last 30 days will go a long way in rapidly dropping my setpoint to 210 or lower. Time will tell.

Monday, August 18, 2008

August 18, 2008 -- 219.5 Pounds (44.5 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday--popcorn(200)--yogurt(100)--popcorn(200)--soup(380)--yogurt(100)--popcorn(200)--small chili(200)--small fries(350)--yogurt(100) = 1,830 calories.

I was a little disappointed with today's weight. The good news is that I've been below 220 pounds for several days and that hasn't happened in a long time.

It appears that my body is very comfortable maintaining my current weight if I eat at the 2,000 calorie level, a level that does require a fair amount of dedication and willpower. That leaves me with the problem of trying to drop down to 1,500 calories if I really want to lose any weight. I call it a problem because it truly means that I have to stop eating meals altogether, or at least meals as most people think of them. I can do that for a few days, maybe even a few weeks, but can I really do that for the months that it will take to get my weight down to 190 or below? I'm not so sure that I can just graze for that long.

It may be that I need to try something totally different, something that my body hasn't seen and adjusted to. A high protein diet would certainly be a shock to my system and it might be what I need to drop 15 pounds in a month. I know people who have had that much success or more and they appear none the worse for having gone on such a diet. My big concern is losing weight with a method that I know I won't continue in the future. I'm trying to both lose weight and build eating habits and patterns that will help me keep the weight off in the future. I know that high protein is not a pattern that I will follow for decades, so I'm leery of going that route for my weight loss. Still, if things don't get better soon with my current approach, then something totally different might be what it takes.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

August 17, 2008 -- 218.5 Pounds (43.5 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday: canned fruit(320)--pizza(700)--popcorn(200)--small Frosty(330)--popcorn(200)= 1,750 calories

I started working on editing photos as soon as I got to the computer and I forgot to post my weight. This appears to be progress. Now I just have to keep it up.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

August 16, 2008 -- 218 Pounds (43 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday: yogurt(100)--pineapple(300)--1/2 stuffed egg, small serving of fruit, small rice krispy square(400)--2 yogurts(200)--popcorn(200)--chili(400)--popcorn(200) = 1,800 calories

I might need to add an asterisk to today's weigh-in. I stayed in bed until 10 AM so my weight was somewhat lower than it would have been if I had weighed myself at 5:30. What would really be outstanding would be a 5:30 Monday weigh-in of 218 pounds. That's something I can do if I'll show some discipline over the next two days.

Speaking of discipline, I did show world class discipline yesterday at work. It was the day set aside to celebrate our August birthdays. It was a feast of fatten items--an Italian Creme Cake, brownies, a lemon squares type dish, something called haystacks, rice krispy squares, chips and dips, etc. If it wasn't for this blog and keeping a food journal, I would have had multiples of all of the above. I would have started with way too much at the party and then I would have grazed all day. Without a doubt, yesterday would have been a 4,000+ calorie day in the past or if I had decided to give myself a "day off" from this diet.

You know what's crazy about not eating all of that wonderful tasting junk? At this point, 24 hours after the party, the short-term pluses of eating that stuff would be totally gone. That's the thing about overeating, it does give you a short-term joy but that is very short-term. We risk so much in the way of our health and our possibilities to fully enjoy life for all of these short-term pleasures. It really doesn't make much sense.

Friday, August 15, 2008

August 15, 2008 -- 219.5 Pounds (44.5 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday: yogurt(100)--pineapple(150)--M&Ms(240)--pineapple(150)--yogurt(100)--popcorn(200)--soup(380)--yogurt(100) = 1,420 calories

Thursday I did that little bit extra. The drop in weight is not as significant as the drop in calories. After all, when you look at the food list above you see that it is items that are mostly liquid, the items that get passed out of your body the fastest and therefore create the appearance of a quick weight loss. As I have said in the past, I'll know that I've accomplished something when I get on the scale and it shows 215 pounds. I'm still a ways from that.

On the other hand, having a day under 1,500 calories is significant. Just by looking at the list you can see why I've been trying to get away with a daily intake of closer to 2,000 calories. Let's break it down by groups:

3 yogurts--300 calories--I do like the yogurt and in my opinion it is the best tasting and most filling 100 calories you can find. Still, this isn't nearly as much fun as 3 Krispy Kreme donuts during a day, something that would add on about 500 extra calories.

1 can of pineapple chunks--300 calories--I finally found myself splitting one can into 2 snacks. That helps a lot on keeping the calories down since a morning and afternoon snack of pineapples has been 600 calories in the past. It seems to me that snacks in the 100-150 calorie range are the only way one can get under 1,500 calories in a day. Physically, I'm okay with that size portion. Mentally, it seems like I'm not eating enough for it to be considered a real snack.

1 bag popcorn--200 calories--Another food item that falls into the snack category. Oddly enough, I'm not sure that popcorn is any more filling in the long run that the yogurt. It is more satisfying to eat because you get to eat longer and you feel like you are eating a lot more.

1 bag of M&Ms--240 calories--I was out at lunch and my choice was a snack or a meal. I wasn't very hungry so I went with the snack. I guess I could have gone through a fast food line and gotten one item that would have still stayed under 400 calories, but even a 350 calorie cheeseburger deluxe at Wendy's would have been enough to put me over 1,500 calories for the day.

1 can soup--380 calories--This is the closest I came all day to anything that resembles a meal. If I had been eating out at a nice restaurant, this would have been an appetizer and not the entire meal on its own.

The bottom line to all this is that staying under 1,500 calories each day means that I have to stop eating meals and just try and eat healthy snacks all day. That sounds like the way I need to go in the future if I want to get to 175 pounds. Let's keep in mind that a snack can be a can of corn or peas or potato or beans. It can also be an apple or an orange or a banana. Snacks don't have to be junk food, just items where the calorie total stays somewhere in the 100-300 calorie range.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

August 14, 2008 -- 221 Pounds (46 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday: hot pocket(300)--yogurt(100)--Whopper Jr(410)--medium fries(370)--pineapple(150)--popcorn(200)--3 light beers(300)--pizza(700) = 2,530 calories

"The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra."

I know, I know, I know. Why should I expect to lose weight if I'm going to have a 2,500 calorie day instead of a 1,500 calorie day? I'm not trying hard enough at the moment, but I am trying. Yesterday I left the bar and went to the grocery store instead of Wendy's. I really, really, really wanted to buy a half gallon of ice cream and eat most of it for supper. When I was in the line to pay for my pizza, I really, really, really wanted to buy a candy bar, either a Milky Way or a roll of Rollo's. For those who are reading this blog, I agree that there have been too many fast food items, cereal bars, and popcorn, but I have also held back remarkably on candy, chips, ice cream, and many of the other things that I love so much.

I'm going to try to reset my thinking to only eat when I hungry. I've always had a policy to eat when I feel hungry, but lately I haven't been hungry too much because I'm doing too much preemptive eating. I suspect that 1,500 calories spread out throughout the day is all that I need to prevent feelings of hunger and it is exactly what I need to get through this setpoint.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

August 13, 2008 -- 220 Pounds (45 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday: yogurt(100)--hot pocket(300)--yogurt(100)--Wendys(680)--pineapple(150)--yogurt(100)--canned fruit(320)--popcorn(200)--popcorn(200) = 2,150 calories

I'm running late today and I guess I really don't have anything significant to say. It's Wednesday so today is that big question mark about how well I'll do. After hitting 220 this morning, I really don't want to have a big eating day and slide back to 221 or 221.5 pounds. The easiest way to avoid a big day would be to skip the Wednesday night get together with the guys. That's not a sacrifice I'm going to make when I know that can be avoided if I'll make sacrifices in other areas.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

August 12, 2008 -- 221 Pounds (46 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday: banana(120)--yogurt(100)--pasta(640)--yogurt(100)--popcorn(200)--canned fruit(320)--chili(460)--popcorn(200) = 2,140 calories

Have you every had a friend who swears that they are hardly eating and yet they still can't lose weight? While I believe that in more cases than not it is a situation where they are eating more than they think, I'm now more open to the possibility that they are really cutting back without much luck in the weight loss area.

I can do better in my efforts. The last 3 items on my list total almost 1,000 calories, more than I need in the late afternoon and evening. I haven't gone walking in 4 days, choosing instead to work at my PC while keeping an eye on the Olympics. I had really hoped to lose weight without doing anything drastic like trying to keep my calories under 1,500 per day. It may be that such a cutback is what it will take and that 2,000 calories is the maximum I'll be able to eat if I want to keep off any pounds that I've lost.

I still believe that 175 pounds is a number that I can eventually reach. The thought of reaching 175 by the end of 2008 is starting to slip away, but I'm still keeping that as my goal. The struggles I'm having make me think that the answers to America's obesity problems will not be found in more self-discipline by individuals. I doubt that many with an obesity problem will even try to lose weight with the average discipline level that I'm currently using, much less at a more intense level. I'm starting to believe that the obesity problem in America will only be solved with drugs, medical procedures, and maybe even genetic altering.

Monday, August 11, 2008

August 11, 2008 -- 221 Pounds (46 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday: yogurt(100)--popcorn(200)--pineapple(300)--2 yogurts and 2 bananas(440)--popcorn(200)--pineapple(300)--pizza(700)--candy bar(300) = 2,540 calories

This wasn't a very good weekend for the diet regardless of what the weigh-in will say Monday morning. I didn't go walking this weekend and I didn't keep my calories down to the levels I should be shooting for if I want to lose weight. I did cut my diet sodas down to about two a day and those were primarily needed to fight against caffeine headaches. There's no doubt that I could have kept the calories lower, but some of the extra came from the double whammy of cutting back on the sodas and time spent watching the Olympics. I've done a good job of cutting back on television time in recent years, something that might do a backslide with the Olympics on for the next two weeks.

Monday will start my first week at work with no cereal bars and no diet sodas. It will be a change to say the least. I believe I'll be able to keep the calories below 2,000 each day and maybe this will be the week that jump starts my weight loss.

Monday morning note: I wrote the above Sunday evening. Yes, the weigh-in this morning was disappointing to some degree even though I ate a good bit over 2,000 calories yesterday. As for weight loss, this last month has been rather unsuccessful. At least I've been successful at stopping my weight gains, a trend that I had been seeing month after month for quite some time. Without this last month of keeping the food diary and making an effort, I have no doubt that I'd be seeing weigh-ins closer to 230 pounds instead of around the 220 mark. While holding steady isn't what I'm shooting for, it is a plus that I've stopped a dangerous trend that had been going on for at least a year.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

August 10, 2008 -- 221 Pounds (46 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday: popcorn(200)--pineapple(300)--pizza(700)--banana(120)--popcorn(200)--2 bananas and 2 yogurts(440)--popcorn and a light beer(300) = 2,260 calories

I'll admit to being disappointed with today's weight. The calories weren't bad and they weren't great yesterday, but I went from my norm of about 12 diet sodas to just 2 diet sodas. I didn't think I would see this bounce up after such a reduction. We'll see how it goes over the next week, not that I have any plans to go back to massive consumption of sodas. I really need to get that out of my routine even if it doesn't do anything to help my weight loss.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

August 9, 2008 -- 219.5 Pounds (44.5 Pounds to Go)

Food yesterday: ham and cheese hot pocket(300)--yogurt(100)--2 hot pockets(600)--yogurt(100)--yogurt(100)--Wendys Jr CB Deluxe and small fries(700)--popcorn(200) = 2,100 calories

It's an improvement. What's not shown is that I cut down on the diet sodas, something that will be drastically reduced from here on out. My plan is to stop buying diet drinks in bulk at the store so they will be unavailable in mass quantities at the office and at my home. I'll still have a diet drink here or there, like when I walk up to the Saints camp sometime this weekend or when I'm taking photos at an event next Saturday, I just won't have the non-stop flow of drinks that makes up my typical day.

I doubt my body will care one way or another about the exclusion of cereal bars. The cut back on the diet sodas is a different matter all together. It will be interesting to see just what that does to the weight loss effort.

Friday, August 8, 2008

August 8, 2008 -- 220.5 Pounds (45.5 Pounds to Go)

I don't know about the food yesterday. I ate the rest of the cereal bars which is not as bad as it sounds because I was down to 4 left. I ate at Wendy's and got a medium Frosty because I was so tired yesterday. As for supper, I managed to eat some popcorn while reading the newspaper and trying to watch the news. I made it to the beginning of the local news before deciding to go to bed. I was so exhausted, probably an accumulation of things topped off by getting up at 4:20 Thursday morning to go walking.

The good news is that I got in between 10-11 hours of sleep last night. I feel much better at the moment, a feeling that I hope will extend throughout the day. As mentioned above, the cereal bars are gone. They won't be replaced with more from the store. Now the big question is the diet drinks. I'm definitely under a 2-day supply and I thinking about going cold turkey on those. Diet drinks really help me when it comes to keeping my calorie count down, but maybe a nice glass of cold water would do just the same. I tried cutting out the sodas at one point within the last year and I was okay with it, and I definitely was able to sleep better. Unfortunately, it was also at a time when I wasn't focused on dieting so I gained weight. I believe I can cut out the sodas and keep down the calories this time. Maybe that's the jump start that my diet needs.

Todd, I'm glad to know that someone else has had cereal bar problems. I least I know there aren't just problematic for me. The first time I had to go cold turkey on cereal bars was when I kept boxes of them at work and at home. It got to the point where my favorite supper was a box of yogurt covered banana nut cereal bars. Oh baby, those are good. This last time I knew to keep the cereal bars out of my home and that helped a lot with the addiction. Or at least it helped slow down the spread of the addiction. I have a feeling that I'll need to ban cereal bars for life if I want to lose weight AND keep it off.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

August 7, 2008 -- 221.5 Pounds (46.5 Pounds to Go)

Wednesday was one of those days that started out poorly at work, a minor crisis that could have become a major crisis, and it led to a day when no real food was consumed--plenty of cereal bars, some yogurt, beer and nuts at the bar, and some popcorn at home. Fortunately, all worked out okay in the end in regards to the mini-crisis, something that concerned me far more than one day of my diet.

I'm writing this Wednesday evening so I have no idea of what tomorrow's weigh-in will be when I get up at 4:30 to go jogging. One good thing about Wednesday is that I made a huge dent in my existing supply of cereal bars. I'm down to a handful and I may go ahead a eat all of those tomorrow just to get rid of them. After that, I'll have to once again establish a ban on cereal bars. I've been through this before, buying cereal bars as a nice treat to have between meals and then they become all that I want to eat. It seems that this is one product where I have enough willpower to refrain from buying them at the store, and I don't have enough willpower to eat them responsibility if they are sitting in a storage box in the office break room.

This weekend I need to take a look at changes I can make in my eating habits that will be better for the weight loss and better for me in general. I'm sure I can come up with some major changes that still fit into my lifestyle. In the meantime, I need two days under 2,000 calories to close this week.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

August 6, 2008 -- 221.5 Pounds (46.5 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday: I ate like a normal person yesterday. Well, maybe a normal person doesn't have a half dozen cereal bars in a day, but I ended up the day much closer to 3,000 calories than 2,000 calories. I was tired and I felt like I needed a break so I ate a little extra. I didn't go wild by eating a whole tub of ice cream (that's sound's good) or a big bag of candy (that also sounds good). I just ate a little extra as much for the mental break as for the physical satisfaction. I'll get back to the lower eating today, trying once again to stay strong on a Wednesday night.

Thanks for the comment Rusty. Despite yesterday's one day break, I still have a strong commitment to this and I certainly still have a strong health need to get this extra weight off.

We all know that my eating habits will never makes any one's list of healthy eating. I definitely recognize the need to take a multi-vitamin each day along with a few other vitamins and supplements to make up for the deficits in my diet. I've been taking some of the glucosamines (spelling) for so long that I don't know if they are helping or not. I might stop taking everything except the multi-vitamin as my supplies run out, and maybe I'll consider just taking a multi-vitamin in the morning and another in the afternoon. I'll think about those changes later.

Getting back to the diet, I wonder if I need to shock my body with something totally different? Right now I'm giving my body exactly what it is use to, only in slightly smaller dosages. It seems like that would make it easy for my body to simply turn down the thermostat a little and carry on just fine at the current weight. Maybe what I need to jump start some weight loss is to give my body something totally different, something like one of those high protein diets. I think I can maintain a weight loss with the way I'm eating now, but I'm not so sure that I can create a weight loss with my current diet.

There was a recent news story about the 10 most popular diets. I looked at the list and I thought that there's no way I could do any of these unless I had someone preparing my food and serving it to me every day. That's not going to happen. My guess is that I'm going to have to create my own diet that still has some simplicity of preparation and yet is totally different from the way I eat now. Fruits and vegetables come to mind as a foundation for such a diet. Maybe a simple shift to actually eating healthy would be a big enough shock to do the trick and get the weight loss going. No matter how much I hate the prospects of trying such a radical plan, it might be the road that I need to take.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

August 5, 2008 -- 220 Pounds (45 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday: Cereal bar(160)--yogurt(100)--cereal bar(160)--beans & rice(310)--yogurt(100)--carrot cake snack(100)--pineapple(300)--pineapple(300)--popcorn(200)--mixed fruit(300) = 2,030 calories

I walked up to the Saints practice last night which certainly help with the lower weight this morning. It was hot! On the way back home I was thinking about my diet and the lack of weight loss over the last 3 weeks. Technically, I've lost 5 pounds since I started, but the problem is that I have bumped up against the 220-222 range for a couple of weeks and I'm having a very hard time breaking through. I've decided that I'm in the "Pickle Jar Phase" of dieting.

You know how it is when you try to open a jar and the lid won't budge. You give it your best shot several times and nothing happens. You might try a different approach like using a towel to grip the lid or running hot water over the lid to make it expand. What you know is that if you can just get the lid to move an eighth of an inch then you've got it made, the rest of the way will be a piece of cake compared to that first small movement.

My diet right now is stuck. That's not what you would expect at the beginning of a diet and that's really the problem--this diet didn't actually begin just 3 weeks ago. For months and months I've been starting and stopping diets, going a few days or maybe a week with lower calories and then backsliding. My body has gotten very acclimated to short stretches of lower calories and I believe it has become quick to respond by lowering my metabolism and therefore preventing weight loss. Because of all these false starts at dieting, it's going to take a long, sustained stretch of lower calories and more exercise before my body realizes that it needs to drop some weight. I don't know if that means 2 more days or 2 more weeks, but I believe that the weight loss will become much more rapid if I can just crack this first setpoint, just as opening a stuck jar lid becomes easy after you get that first bit of movement. In most diets, it is the first 10 pounds that is the easiest. In this situation, I'm thinking and hoping that it will be the first 10 pounds that are the most difficult and then things will start falling into place.

Monday, August 4, 2008

August 4, 2008 -- 221.5 Pounds (46.5 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday: popcorn(200)--pineapple(300)--chili(400)--popcorn(200)--pineapple(300)--corn(280)--peas(210) = 1,890 calories

Wow! A photo on the weight loss blog and vegetables on the food list. Will wonders never cease?

I stopped at the local grocery store Saturday as I was finishing up my walk to and from the Belhaven Market. I needed a 10-pound bag of ice so I thought it would be no big deal to get the ice and walk the remaining 3-4 blocks back to my duplex. I was wrong. It was a real pain to carry that extra weight to finish up my walk.

There are a lot of people like me who have a lot of weight that they would like to lose. My goal is to lose 50 pounds, but it's important to remember that each 10-pound loss is a huge accomplishment. If carrying 10 extra pounds for 5 minutes was a noticeable burden, then carrying 10 fewer pounds is bound to make just as big a difference in the opposite direction. I'm half way to that first 10 pounds loss--I need to work hard to get those next 5 pounds off for good.

Note added Monday morning: Grrr. I knew that eating vegetables would be bad for me but I didn't know it would cause this much of a weight gain. I should have had one more round of popcorn and pineapples for supper.

I know that I might come up with a 218 pound weigh-in by Wednesday even though I don't expect to lose 3.5 pounds of fat in 48 hours. As said before, losing weight is rarely charted on a straight line pointing in a downward direction. It's an ebb and flow. Occasionally good days of dieting result in gains and bad days end up producing a loss. I know that's why most people say you shouldn't weigh every day. For me personally, I would rather weigh every day and get a better understanding of how things ebb and flow than weigh once a week and maybe see no change after a week of dieting. Even though I am up at 221.5 today, I know I'm making progress because this is just an abnormal spike up from a lower weight. I wouldn't know that if I wasn't weighing myself every day.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

August 3, 2008 -- 220 Pounds (45 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday: pineapple(300)--pizza(700)--popcorn(200)--Wendy's Jr Cheeseburger Deluxe(350)--Wendy's small Frosty(330)--popcorn(200)--pineapple(300) = 2,380 calories

That last can of pineapple actually came in the middle of the night and it might have been the reason that I didn't stay under 220 pounds this morning. One thing I've discovered when I'm trying to eat less is that hunger often hits me when I get up in the middle of the night. I'm not so sure about the idea that hunger wakes me up, but I do know that I'll start feeling hunger pains if I sit at the computer very long in the early mornings.

I did walk yesterday, this time a little longer than usual. The destination for my round trip journey was the Belhaven Market which is at least 2 miles away. It's a collection of vendor booths that are set up in a parking lot each Saturday, a mixture of arts and crafts, food to go, and specialty food items. After walking for over a half hour in the August heat, I was only interested in the booth that had diet cokes.

The walking I've done lately reminds me of something I once read in a tennis book. The tennis instructor said that people should try to hit a tennis ball at the pace that would allow them to consistently keep the ball in play, and he added that most players failed to realize just how slow that pace was for them. I keep saying that I want to get back to jogging, but I'm starting to realize that walking at the moment is the pace I need to keep if I want to be consistent. I can go out and walk 4-5 times a week. I can't go out and jog 4-5 times a week. I need to focus on getting out and walking consistently, working to get myself to the point where jogging consistently becomes a possibility.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

August 2, 2008 -- 219 Pounds (44 Pounds to Go)

Food yesterday: cereal bar(160)--yogurt(100)--cereal bar(160)--yogurt(100)--2 hot pockets(700)--yogurt(100)--pineapple(300)--popcorn(200)--popcorn(200) = 2,020 calories.

When I first started dieting, I compared the difference between cereal bars and various energy bars or speciality items like the South Beach Diet bars. What I found it that the biggest difference between all of them is the price, with cereal bars being far cheaper. The energy bars might have had a little more protein and some extra vitamins, but those amounts are fairly insignificant, especially since I take a multi-vitamin every day. I'm just mentioning this because my list above would look a lot better if I had "energy bar" or "health bar" on the list instead of "cereal bar".

Still, I need to eat better and I didn't get that done on the first day of August. I did keep my diet list and go for a walk yesterday, so those are two key items that got off on the right foot for August. I'm walking from my house to the Belhaven Market after I finish this post so I'll have the walking out of the way early today. It's about a 4 mile round trip and I'll entertain myself with my MP3 player and my camera.

On today's weight, I'm glad to see a number under 220. Last night I went to bed at 11:30 and I weighed 222 pounds. I got up at 4:30 and worked just a short time on some Saints photos--at that time my weight was 220 pounds. While working on the photos I had a diet coke, then I went back to bed around 5:30 and got up at 8:30 to find a weigh-in of 219 pounds. Yes, there was some peeing going on before the 4:30 and 8:30 weigh-ins, but it just goes to show that one pound isn't that big a deal. What I'm really waiting for is the day I hit 215 pounds. That's the day when I'll know that some serious progress has been made. I'd like to see that day come before I post 2 Saturdays from now.

Friday, August 1, 2008

August 1, 2008 -- 220 Pounds (45 Pounds to Go)

Finishing up July: I started keeping my food list and reached about 1,300 by the end of lunch. I added to that a candy bar(300?), Wendy's(700) and popcorn(200), so I was right around 2,500 for the day. I did go jogging Thursday morning, a very slow 3 miles that was most jogging, and a cool down walk of 1 mile that was also very slow. At this point the 4 miles matter, not the slow time.

Starting August: I'm excited about August. I feel like the last 2 weeks were like taking a play on the road to get ready for opening on Broadway, and today is that opening day. The last half of July showed a 5 pound loss which is somewhat questionable because it's hard to say if 225 was really a setpoint. That doesn't really matter. I can say that 220 wasn't a weight that I was getting to very often so progress has been made. I also think that I've done the work to set up a nice drop in the near future, maybe down to about 217 in a week or so. It's just hard to predict when a diet is near the edge of a plateau and ready to drop.

While the title of this post says I have 45 pounds to go, what I really need to do is focus on having a really strong August. With that in mind, here are some goals that are achievable, but they don't leave a lot of room for fooling around:

--Get my weight down to 210 by the start of September. I need to build some momentum in my weight loss instead of settling for slow and steady, one step back for every two steps forward. I need to start having all good days.

--Keep my food journal every day. This is the key, even on days when I might eat too much. The food journal keeps me focused and it helps turn what would be good days into great days, it turns what would be average days into good days, and it even keeps potentially horrible days at somewhere near the not so bad days. I HAVE TO KEEP THE FOOD JOURNAL EVERY DAY.

--I need to walk for exercise at least 20 days in August. That means not much taking off, especially at the start of the month. I don't want to dig a hole early that makes 20 walking days an almost impossible number to reach. Also, I really think I need to build this foundation of walking before I think about going back to jogging.

--The last goal is a general thing instead of a specific goal that can be easily measured. I have to eat better foods. That's better based upon the very low standards that I've been setting lately. Like the walking this month is a way to hopefully get to jogging, I need to at least start on eating more fruit and vegetables. I need to see more yogurts on my list and less cereal bars. I need to at least turn the tide in improving the way I eat.

That gives me one big target to shoot for and three actions that I need to use to hit that target. I can do this--I will do this!!!