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

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

September 30, 2008 -- 219.5 Pounds (44.5 Pounds to Go)

This is what happens when I think I can take a break from dieting. I don't go nuts and binge on candy every night, but I start a slow creep back to my starting point or higher. There is no question that I NEED to diet for the rest of my life when one defines dieting as closely monitoring the foods you eat. Of course, needing to do something and carrying through are two totally different things.

If you have dieted in the past, maybe you can relate to getting to the point where you get a mental block against dieting. For example, I like yogurt and when I'm dieting I have no problem starting off the day with one thing of yogurt that will last me until the 10 o'clock break. In recent weeks I have had a real aversion to eating yogurt. It's not the taste. It's more of the fact that yogurt represents dieting, and dieting represents depriving myself of things that I would enjoy, and the rewards of dieting are so far down the road that they seem minuscule. That's not exactly a conscious thought process I go through each morning, but it is sort of halfway between my conscious and sub-conscious.

I guess today I'll force myself to start off with yogurt. I know what I should do and I guess it is time to get back to doing those things.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

September 28, 2008 -- 218 Pounds (43 Pounds to Go)

I have a lot to work on this weekend with the Slice of Frank blog so I won't try to write anything here. Besides, I don't really have much to write about these days when it comes to dieting. At least I'm holding steady at this level.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

September 27, 2008 -- 218.5 Pounds (43.5 Pounds to Go)

Not much progress being made. It is slightly better than the days when I simply could not get below 220 pounds and it is significantly better than mid-summer when it looked like I was going to push through the 225 pound barrior, but it is not good enough.

History shows that when my efforts stall for any length of time, the trend is for a drift backwards towards my days of higher weigh-ins. I don't need to see that happen again.

Friday, September 26, 2008

September 26, 2008 -- 218.5 Pounds (43.5 Pounds to Go)

Not much to write about. I'm actually doing fairly well on cutting back in the mornings and at lunch. It's not great, but it's not bad. In the evenings I tend to slip up a little even though the calorie count isn't bad. Most of the time there isn't a real meal in the evening, just a lot of grazing on the usual stuff. The problem is that little of the evening eating is because of hunger. It is mostly eating by habit or to take a break from the computer.

All in all, I'm not going overboard on the eating right now. The problem is that I'm also not cutting back to the degree that is necessary to make any progress. It could be worse--it could be better.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

September 25, 2008 -- 218.5 Pounds (43.5 Pounds to Go)

Just about every work day starts off with the same routine. My alarm clock goes off way too early. I get out of bed to turn it off because the alarm clock is wisely situated on my desk so I have to get out of the bed to turn it off. I then sit back down on the edge of the bed so I can contemplate the fact that it is way too early to get up for anything. At this point, as an almost reflex action since I'm thinking about needing to do my weigh-in, I'll reach down and grab a hand full of the roll of fat around my waist. And in my second reflex reaction of the day, I think, "This is insane to carry around so much useless weight--I really have to get serious about my diet."

If only that moment of clarity would stick with me for the next 16-18 hours. It is insane to carry around 40 extra pounds of weight every day. Who would do such a thing? How many of you would carry around a suitcase packed full of clothes all day for no good reason at all? Would you carry around 4 or 5 12-packs of soft drinks all day even if you weren't planning to drink any? How about carrying 4 big bags of ice? At least with the ice your burden would get lighter as the day went on.

It is truly insane to continue to carry this extra weight and for all of us who are obese, the question is simple. Are we going to continue with this insanity for the rest of our life or will we every live a life where we are free of this needless burden? If we think we'll get freedom someday, why not start now instead of waiting till some unforeseen "right time" in the future to start working on the problem.

It is all so very clear about what needs to be done and the path to success is not that hard to understand. The question that is hard to understand is why I'm so reluctant to get on that path and stick with it until I get to the journey's end. It's a trip that I have to travel someday and the rewards are greater if I start now instead of putting it off until the imaginary "right time".

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

September 24, 2008 -- 217.5 Pounds (42.5 Pounds to Go)

I was in the shower this morning and I decided it's time to start the food list again. No big pep rally moment. No determined goal setting. Just a simple thought that I've taken a long enough break and it's time to get back to business. At the moment I don't even want to talk about a target regarding calories per day--maybe I won't even add up calories as I keep the list during the day. If I eat better, eat less, and move more, then things will be alright.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

September 23, 2008 -- 217.5 Pounds (42.5 Pounds to Go)

A very non-descript day. The loss might be that my set point is shooting for the 217 level that it had established a few weeks ago. It's nice when the set point mechanism works in our favor.

Monday, September 22, 2008

September 22, 2008 -- 218.5 Pounds (43.5 Pounds to Go)

I once had a friend who was writing a novel. The guy had some troubles in his life which centered primarily around alcohol and drugs, but he really had some writing talent and I would always ask him about his writing and how his novel was coming along. I asked him for years and years about the book he was working on and the answer was always the same--the novel was coming along and he had a character in the book that was based on me.

This friend and I revolve in different circles now so I haven't seen him for years. For all I know, he is still working on that novel. Sometimes a person works on something for so long without making any progress until it gets to the point when it doesn't seem like they are working on anything at all. At the moment, my diet seems to be somewhat like my friend's novel.

The idea of dieting is always in front of me in some form or another. I'd like to lose the weight and I think I have the tools needed to accomplish the job, but I seem to have the dieter's equivalent of "writer's block" or maybe some type of burnout. For the moment, the good news is that I'm not going wild and stuffing my face at every occasion. At the same time, I'm not showing the strict discipline needed to make any progress.

For anyone reading this blog and looking at my list of weigh-ins for the last couple of months, I can understand that you might question if I'm even dieting just as I wondered if my friend was even working on his novel. In my mind, I'm still dieting, thinking that each tomorrow will be the day that I really get back on track. Some day I'm going to be right. In the meantime, this blog and posting my weight is at least a reminder of what I'd like to accomplish. Who knows, maybe today will be the day that I start getting back on track. It's going to happen some day.

Friday, September 19, 2008

September 19, 2008 -- 218.5 Pounds (43.5 Pounds to Go)

Not much to report from a very average Thursday. I did walk 4 miles with Boty this morning so at least Friday is off to a good start. All this walking is great except that it seems to leave me in a constant state of discomfort. Not pain, just discomfort. My right hip is bothersome most of the day--I feel certain there is a hip replacement in my future. After that, I alternate with varying degrees of discomfort in my right knee, ankle, and sometimes the calf. My right leg is just screwed up. On the left side it is much better with only an occasional twinge from the knee to worry about. Old age ain't pretty, especially when a person adds to the problem by being fat and out of shape.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

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

Not surprising after a Wednesday. I feel like I've had a mental turnaround, a new energy that might get me back on track. It's a little more complicated than that, but there's no use giving a whole new theory of how and why I'm going to change unless that theory proves itself with results. We'll see what happens.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

September 17, 2008 -- 219 Pounds (44 Pounds to Go)

Would I feel better this morning if I had skipped all the birthday food at work yesterday and I weighed in at 217 pounds? Probably not, and therein lies the problem. Do I feel better today because I ate too much at the birthday party? No, not really, and therein lies the problem once again.

There's a Bill Murray movie named "Meat Balls" that you might remember. His role is that of a counselor at a summer camp that caters to the less than elite kids, what most of us would consider a camp for losers. Part of the movie centers around this camp's athletic competitions against the camp for rich kids, a competition where the rich kids always come out on top. The grand finale of the movie is an Olympic type competition between the two camps and the night before the competition Bill Murray is giving his campers a pep talk, a speech centered around the idea that the rich kids will probably win like they always do and "It just doesn't matter".

That's a long way to go to get to the idea that lately my mind seems to be in a "just doesn't matter" mode. I am making an effort which is fortunate because I'd be in the 230's or 240's by now if I wasn't making an effort. I'm just not making the kind of effort that is needed to gain much ground in this attempt to lose weight. On the surface it seems so easy: just stop eating foods except for eating low-calorie snacks or meals when you are really hungry. What is so difficult about that? On a rational level it is so easy, and then when you get into situations where food is readily available and for some reason the rational often loses the debate on eating or not eating. Shoot, most of the time there is no debate, just a reflex action to grab a snack because you know that it will taste so good for the next 1-2 minutes.

I do have a choice each time and I actually do make the better choice the vast majority of the time. After all, most of us go through the day with food always nearby and readily available. All I need to do is make the better choice a few more times each day and I'll start making progress again. It's easier said than done, but I can do this if I can focus on the fact that it does matter when I pull back and look at the big picture.

I hate to set goals when I have such a poor track record of even attempting to keep them. That being said, I'll set two goals today and maybe I can use them to start making better choices. I'm going to Dallas at Halloween and I'd like to be under the obesity level by then. For me that level is right at 207 pounds. And with this being the 17th of the month, I am now exactly 3 months from my 57th birthday. I'd like to be at 190 for that birthday, not an easy task since it equals 10 pounds per month, but a doable task if I'll combine the walking and the willpower I showed when I first combined dieting and blogging. These are things that I can do, now the question is will I do them? We will know on October 31st and in 3 months.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

September 16, 2008 -- 217.5 Pounds (42.5 Pounds to Go)

I did jot down my calories yesterday, finishing up with about 2,600 calories of the usual stuff--crackers, yogurt, hot pockets, Wendy's, and canned fruit. I also walked about 3 miles when I went up to Millsaps to watch a Millsaps JV football game.

Today is the day our office celebrates the September birthdays. That means a choice of about 10 dessert type items will be available at 10 and throughout the day. I feel like participating in moderation. I sure don't need a 4,000 caloire day which is quite possible with the food choices that will be available, and I also don't want to sit at a table sipping a diet coke while watching everyone else eat all of the treats. My logical goal to shoot for is a moderate day with some walking this evening.

Monday, September 15, 2008

September 15, 2008 -- 218 Pounds (43 Pounds to Go)

I didn't make the big push that I talked about to get to 215 pounds by today. Dieting has many similarities to trying to quit smoking. It's easy to come up with a plan and the plan often seem very doable on paper. Isn't it as simple as just saying no to every craving that comes along for extra food or the next cigerette? All you have to do is say no repeatedly until the problem is solved. What could be hard about that?

The flaw in the plan is that the reward for saying no is something that is mostly way into the future. Ther furtherest down the timeline is added years of life, something so abstract and in the future that it hardly serves as motivation at all. After that you get things in the closer future like feeling better and looking better. These are good but they aren't nearly as exciting as having that piece of cake now or that cigerette after a meal now.

I could go on and on about this but I'm now at work and I don't have the time to write more. The bottom line at the moment is that I need to go back to the food list and I probably need to stick to the food list for the rest of my life. There could be worse things to have to do as a daily routine so I shouldn't complain.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

September 14, 2008 -- 217 Pounds (42 Pounds to Go)

Nothing much to report here. I think my set point must be at about 217 right now so this weight isn't a surprise after a somewhat average day. I saw a Yahoo story about a blogger who had gained back 15 pounds of the 50 pounds she had last. The blogger said there were 4 changes she made from her successful habits that allowed the weight to creep back on. I thought it could have been narrowed down to 2 things of probably equal importance: (1) she stopped being consistent with her exercise and (2) she stopped keeping a food log.

I think the point that should be remembered is that dealing with obesity is a lot like dealing with alcoholism. Once you have the problem, you will have to be vigilant for the rest of your life if you want to get better and stay better. For an alcoholic, kicking the alcohol habit for 6 months or a year is a huge accomplishment, but it doesn't do you much good in the long run if you gradually slip back into becoming a practicing alcoholic. It's the same for someone who has become obese. Losing weight over a period of 6 months or a year is a huge accomplishment, but it doesn't do you much good in the long run if you gain all the weight back.

The truth is that I'll need to diet for the rest of my life if I want to stay out of the obesity category and in the lower end of the overweight category. That's just reality and I need to accept that if I want to live at a more healthy weight and body fat level.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

September 13, 2008 -- 217 Pounds (42 Pounds to Go)

I walked 8 miles yesterday, 4 miles with Boty in the morning and then 4 miles when I went from my house to Belhaven College last night for a volleyball game. I ate fairly reasonable during the day and then I hardly ate anything for supper, thinking that I could buy something to eat at the volleyball game only to find that they had no consession stand.

I really thought that I might have seen a bigger drop this morning, but then again my body might still be favoring the 217 pound set point. If it had been working towards dropping the set point earlier in the week, I probably derailed that move when I ate so much on Tuesday and Wednesday. I really, really want to get away from the food list and replace it with a mentality that has me eating less just because I know it is better for me to eat less. Making that switch is proving very difficult, which shouldn't come as any surprise. Fighting temptation is often a very difficult thing to do.

Friday, September 12, 2008

September 12, 2008 -- 217.5 Pounds (42.5 Pounds to Go)

It would have been nice to see a larger drop this morning. I think I have come to the conclusion that I need to keep some sort of list, not so much for the total number of calories in the day but more to create a 10 second window of opportunity to "just say no".

I'm probably like most folks in that I would hardly need to eat if I only ate when I'm hungry. Most of my eating comes because I'm bored OR I want to put off starting a job OR because the time of day tells me it is time to eat OR because I want 5 minutes of tasting pleasure OR just because there is food available. If I could retrain my mind to only think about eating food when I'm actually hungry, then losing weight would be a snap.

That's the new trick I need to teach to this old dog--don't eat unless I'm actually hungry. Every time I'm thinking about getting something to eat, I need to ask myself, "Are you actually hungry?" If the answer is no, then I don't need to eat. If I can make that one behaviour modification, then there will be no need for a list and no worries about being overweight.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11, 2008 -- 218 Pounds (43 Pounds to Go)

No need to panic about today's weight. It is the typical Thursday morning bounce made worse by the office party Tuesday and the left over goodies that we all snacked on throughout the day Wednesday. That's all the fun I can allow myself and today it will be back to yogurt, hot pockets, pineapple, and popcorn--AKA the 4 major food groups.

I'm going to really focus on seeing 215 pounds by next Monday. It's time for me to hit that mark so I can then set my sites on getting below the next zero-ending number. For some reason, any number that ends in zero seems to be a big mark in dieting just as it is a big mark with birthdays.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

September 10, 2008 -- 216 Pounds (41 Pounds to Go)

Yesterday gets and "Average" score as a compromise between a "Very Good" and a "Very Bad". We had a luncheon for a co-worker who is leaving for another job and there was a festival of covered dishes to go along with sandwiches from a local deli. I'm guess there were 10 different kinds of desserts and I must have sampled at least 5 over the course of the day. While it was an unusual day and in most cases I won't be surrounded by so much temptation, it still shows the slippage I'm having on eating less and eating better. I either need to do better on my choices or I need to go back to the food list.

On the good side, I walked over 6 miles yesterday. There were the 2 miles in the morning and in the evening I walked from my duplex to Mother's house, from there to Millsaps for a volleyball game, and then I took the slightly longer route home from Millsaps back to the duplex. I feel pretty good Wednesday morning after all that walking, but as a precaution I skipped the two mile walk this morning. I don't want over enthusiasm to kill my consistency as it did in the past when I tried to jog too far and then would have to recover with 3-4 days of no exercise.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

September 9, 2008 -- 216 Pounds (41 Pounds to Go)

Without the food list there isn't much to write about each day. Yesterday was the first day that I thought I went overboard with my eating, partially or mostly because I wasn't keeping the food list. It's not the meals that seem to get me in trouble, it's the grazing that comes between the meals.

Today we have an office party so I'll have to be very good before and after the party, and reasonable during the party. It is a lunch giving for the computer consultant who is leaving for a full time job after consulting at our company almost full time for over 3 years. There will be sandwiches and that's not too bad. There will also be extras in the way of deserts that people will bring and that's where I have to be very selective.

On the exercise front, I walked my 2 mile course once again this morning. This is working out well because it is structured and I like structure and patterns. I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, but I could see myself moving up to a 3 mile walk after a few weeks, and then when it gets cooler I could see that becoming a 2-mile jog with a 1-mile walk to cool down. If I'm smart about this, I might actually work up to some decent jogging several months from now. If I'm really smart about this, I won't screw things up by trying to move up to any level of jogging that will throw off the consistency factor. The key is to get out every morning and do something, not to have 1 good day followed by 2 days of no exercise.

Monday, September 8, 2008

September 8, 2008 -- 215.5 Pounds (40.5 Pounds to Go)

I used my time at Millsaps this past weekend to get in some walking. Friday, I walked 30-40 minutes on a practice field when the start of a soccer game was delayed. Saturday, I walked up to the campus from my house for the football game. And Sunday, I drove up to campus and then walked about 35 minutes before a soccer game and another 15 minutes at halftime. This walking along with reasonable eating seems to be making a difference.

The success of the walking gave me a great idea when I was driving home Sunday after the soccer game. When I got to my house I kept going, measuring off a 2-mile walking course that starts and ends at the duplex. As you all have seen with my food journals, I seem to be comfortable with repetition. I have a 4-mile course that I've run in this neighborhood since I first moved into Fondren in the late 1970's. That's 30 years ago and once I established a running course that I liked, I never really bothered to come up with others routes for variety. Well now I have a 2-mile walking course that I can finish in about 34 minutes. That means that I can get up at 5 each morning, walk the course, have a little time to cool off before I shower, and easily get to work on time. This seems like a routine that I could do just about every day of the week and I think it will do wonders for my weight loss.

Just for the record, the weight you will see each morning will be the pre-walk weight. I'm sure that I would have been under the 215 mark if I had weighed after walking, but that would have been cheating. If I keep doing the walking, the 215 mark could soon be a thing of the distant past.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

September 7, 2008 -- 216.5 Pounds (41.5 Pounds to Go)

Not much to report since I'm not keeping up with a food list. I'm doing a fairly good job of eating a reasonable amount, not as low as in the past, but also not going wild with this new freedom.

I drove up to the Millsaps campus Friday and I walked for other 30 minutes between a couple of sporting events. I tried a different spin Saturday, walking up to Millsaps for the football game. I think this is about 3 miles as a round trip since I try to take a little bit of the long way. I'll be going back to Millsaps today, driving to the campus and then walking between a couple of soccer games and probably at halftime. It's so important to get in that 30+ minutes of walking each day--doing that on the weekend is good, and now I need to make sure that I do it on the week days.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

September 6, 2008 -- 217.5 Pounds (42.5 Pounds to Go)

I've come to the conclusion that the weight is not going to come off very easily just by cutting back on my calories. I need a break from the dieting, which is not the same as going wild and eating everything in sight, and I need to just get out and walk more to get my body in the habit of burning more calories.

In theory, I think this will work. If nothing else, then maybe eating a little more will get my body a little more revved up and it will make it easier to lose weight when if I go back to sub-2,000 calories.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

September 4, 2008 -- 218 Pounds (43 Pounds to Go)

I did pretty good yesterday at the start. I passed up on the pastry snacks someone brought and I just had a yogurt and a pack of crackers in the morning. Then I just had one hot pocket and a yogurt for lunch. Then I ate a banana before going to the Laundromat and I added in a regular Pepsi while waiting for the clothes to wash. After that it turned into a very poor day with Wednesday night group and then a trip to Wendy's. For that one day, I just didn't care.

Part of that half day of non-caring came from being tired of cutting back so much without much to show for it. That doesn't mean that I'm giving up the diet, it just means that sometimes a person needs a break from constantly saying "no" about things that they really want. I understand that I have to get right back on track to saying "no" to most of the food options surrounding me. It will take a lot of saying no to undo the results of so many years of saying yes far too often.

I'll also admit that part of the breakdown yesterday was a general foul mood that I expressed over on the main blog. While I still think America is the greatest land of opportunity, I think the country is on a downhill slide that isn't going to stop. I say that regardless of who wins this next presidential election. I believe there was a time when we took to heart the words of JFK when he said, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." I doubt that any politician could utter such words to our 21st century American population and have any hope of becoming elected. Oh well. I've about resigned myself to not pay attention to any of that anymore. I'll just live my life and not worry about the big world around me--I'll be gone before it all falls apart.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

September 3, 2008 -- 218 Pounds (43 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday: yogurt(100)--canned fruit(320)--one hot pocket(350)--yogurt(100)--yogurt(100)--banana(120)--popcorn(100)--soup(280)--popcorn(100) = 1,570 calories


Bummer. I'm usually fairly accurate in predicting my next day weight and I was thinking I'd see 217 or maybe even 216.5 this morning. Going up a half pound didn't seem very likely. I mean really, look at how little I ate yesterday: 3 yogurts, a can of fruit, a banana, 1 hot pocket, soup, and 2 of the tiny, little 100-calorie bags of popcorn. There's just not a lot to cut out from a day like that.

The only negative of the day is that I didn't get out walking. It's been raining here ever since the hurricane came through the Gulf region. I could have gone to Walmart and walked at lunch, I could have stopped at Northpark Mall and walked after work, or I could have walked in the rain once I got home. I passed on all three so I don't have a good excuse for not walking. I'll try to get some walking in today since it is Wednesday and staying under 1,600 calories might not happen. We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

September 2, 2008 -- 217.5 Pounds (42.5 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday: Just like all the other days over this long weekend with small snacks throughout the day that added up to no more than 2,000 calories.

I somewhat snacked my way through the weekend without bothering to keep up with how many bags of popcorn or cans of pineapple went into the mix. What didn't go into the mix was a trip to Wendy's or anything that fell into the candy category. That is quite a change, especially the part about the candy. There must have been about a half dozen times when I was in a store and I strongly weighed the pros and cons of just one little old Milky Way or even a big old tub of ice cream, and each time I was able to overcome the temptation. The odds of that happening in the past would have been no better than flipping a coin 6 times and having it come up heads each time.

I've gotten my set point down to the 217-218 range and it has stayed at this point for about a week. It's time for another push so I want to limit myself to 1,600 calories or less each day this week. That doesn't leave much room for extras. At first I thought about setting the limit at 1,500 calories per day and then I decided that was too difficult. I know an extra 100 calories doesn't sound like much, but I've learned from experience that this little bit extra will often mean the difference between going to bed hungry or not.

To go along with this calorie limit, I need to find 30 minutes of exercise each day. It can be walking sometime during my lunch hour or time spent on a small stair-stepper device that I have at home, but it has to be something. I believe the lower calories and the added exercise will have me below 215 pounds by September 10th, hopefully closer to 214 pounds. I need to keep making these small drops and before long they will all add up to a very big drop. Just remember, the longest journey beginnings with a few small steps.

Monday, September 1, 2008

September 1, 2008 -- 217.5 Pounds (42.5 Pounds to Go)

Food Yesterday: A repeat of the previous couple of days. The only meal like thing that I ate was a 640 calorie pack of Breakfast Hot Pockets for lunch. Breakfast is truly a good meal at any time of the day. I actually think I was under 2,000 calories for the day but I didn't walk as planned so it wasn't the effort I had hoped for at the beginning of the day.

The beginning of a new month makes this one of those days that calls for grand plans. Trying to set goals like going the entire month with some sort of exercise each day. Going the entire month with no day over 2,000 calories. Going the entire month doing stretching exercises every day, a suggestion Rusty mentioned yesterday and one that I need to heed. Surprisingly, I'm not sure if such a gungho effort would be a good thing or a bad thing.

I know that I need to improve my effort. I would give myself a grade of a C+ to a B- for my last 7 weeks. I've lost about 7 pounds over that stretch and that is progress. If you want to relate my dieting to an old children's fable, I'm taking the "tortoise" approach to dieting instead of the more rapid "hare" approach. What I really need to do is take a mixture of the two. I need to have something I'll stick to with the steady persistence shown by the tortoise, and I need something that will give me a more rapid pace like that shown by the hare.

The path I need to follow is clear and I've talked about it and followed it some over the last few weeks. I need to cut out the one or two snacks that turn a 1,600 calorie day into a 2,000 calorie day. These are snacks that I eat out of habit and not out of hunger. I need to more consistently exercise, something that would become more feasible if I'd think of shorter walks more often instead of thinking that an hour or somewhere close to 4 miles is what I need to accomplish on each outing. And Rusty is 100% right that I need to do more stretching. It would help immensely with the soreness of my hip and joints. I don't know why I have such a mental block about stretching, but I need to get past this somehow. As with the walking, I'll probably be better off if I think about stretching just 10 minutes a day instead of feeling like it has to be 30 minutes.

As for a goal, I'd like to lose 10 pounds in September. The division between obesity and overweight for a person my height is right around 207 pounds. I would like to cross that threshold by the end of this month and then get under the 200 pound threshold by the end of October. This won't happen unless I step up the dieting effort by eating just a little less and exercising a little far more often. Those two small changes can and will make a big difference.