* Code to improve Google search: Frank's Weight Loss Blog: January 2009

Saturday, January 31, 2009

No Pain, No Loss--Day 2--223 Pounds (3.5 lbs lost)

A bad day. On the surface it looks like a great day. Just holding on to the 3 pounds lost in Day 1 would have been great and I ended up lowering the total by another half. There was a 3 mile walk in the morning and maybe some exercise in hauling, washing, and folding 9 loads of clothes at the Laundromat. The calorie total was reasonable even though I couldn't give you an exact number. So what was so bad? The Banana Nut Cheerios were a problem.

When a hillside turns into a landslide, it is usually because of slow erosion that has taken place over the course of time. At work I had a container with some Banana Nut Cheerios that I could nibble on as a snack, and knowing that I was going to wash clothes and might get hungry, it seemed like a good idea to take the container and some Cheerios with me. At first it was just a few to "get the taste". Then a few more--and more--and before too long the entire container was gone, maybe half a box of cereal.

The good news is that it still didn't throw my calorie total for the day out of whack. The bad news is that this was a gross disregard for my diet plan. Have you ever seen a parent tell a child not to do something and the child looks the parent straight in the eyes and does it anyway? That was me with the Cheerios yesterday.

It seems like a small thing when it is actually huge. When compromises are made, my decision making goes out of control. When justifications are made, allowing myself to splurge a little because I did very well in the morning, then progress made becomes progress lost. There's a plan. I have to stick with the plan. If I allow tiny rivers of erosion to continue, there is a certain landslide of failure waiting in my future.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

No Pain, No Loss--Day 1--223.5 Pounds (3 lbs lost)

Friday morning note: It's 4:30 and no one has been shot in the neighborhood for almost 2 hours--I hope that's a very bad joke. The weight today doesn't mean that I've lost 3 pounds of fat, just that I hardly ate over the last 24 hours and I gave blood and I have this short term weight loss. The important thing isn't this mornings weight, but yesterday's actions.

It's Thursday night so I don't know what the scales will say after one complete day. Day 1 will end up as a success regardless of what the scales say. There was 3 miles of walking, eating only when hungry except for the Oreo's I ate after giving bloood. Even with the cookies the calorie total is under 1,000. That's not a number that I was shooting for, it's just what came up when I only ate after getting hungry and then I ate less than normal.

With the right mental approach, this doesn't have to be hard. And if my mental approach isn't right, then I just have to suck it up for the first half of this year. I'm going to get this weight off this year and it will be off by the end of the summer if not by the beginning.

Intro to No Pain, No Loss--1/29/2009--226.5 Pounds

Most people who want to lose weight also want the process to be easy and hassle free. That's what I've wanted, thinking that I can still do some of the "fun" things when it comes to food as long as I compromise and I'm good most of the time. If I were capable of such restraint and good decision making, I wouldn't have 50 excess pounds of fat that I need to lose.

When I give myself choices, I'll make the wrong choice too many times. I've proven that over the last year. Maybe my decision making is good enough to maintain a weight. That's something we need to find out after I get down to 175 pounds. In order to get to that 175 pound mark, I have to clamp down and cut out almost all of the "fun" things. For example, the Wednesday nights with the guys has been a major stumbling block so I'm going to switch to a diet soda instead of a beer and there will be no snacking. That's the type of "painful" choice that I need to make.

For the daily stuff, I need to strictly follow my "3 Rule Diet":
1) Always eat when you are hungry.
2) Never eat unless you are hungry.
3) Eat half of what you think you should eat.

I've really never followed any of those rules to any great degree. I haven't followed rule #1 because I break rule #2 all the time and therefore I never really get hungry. Rule #3 is one that I sometimes think that I'm following, but in reality I'm probably just splitting my eating into two sessions while eating the same amount.

To go along with this major cutback in food, I plan on increasing the activity. Maybe just walking instead of trying to get back into jogging too fast. There's no point in laying out any big plans on this end at the moment other than to do better. The main focus now has to be the cutting back on the calories, on walking more, and if I throw in stretching and other exercises that that's all a plus.

For anyone who happens to read this, there's is absolutely no reason for you to believe that this will last more than a day or two. I think it will because it seems like it is easier to follow something strict rather than something that gives a lot of choices. We'll see. I'm ready for something to work.

A Post to Separate the Failures From the Successes to Come

I'm not sure if I ever got this bad on my dieting, but there were too many compromises and "special occasions" in the past. Now it needs to be all business until the work is done:

Final Result (01/29/2009) -- 226.5 Pounds

Update Thursday morning: The scale displayed 227 then 226.5 back and forth a couple of times before giving 226.5 as the weight of the day. It might have been more appropriate if it had given me the 227, the same weight as the day I started this 4 week diet. Let's face it, these last 4 weeks were a diet in name only, certainly not in action.

Here's the good news. Every failure was a success in the mind of Edison because it narrowed the search for the solution that would work. These last 4 weeks have told me something. This last year or so on this blog site have told me something. Plus, at least the trying to lose weight has kept me from being about 250 pounds by now. You know that would have happened considering how hard it has been to stay even while somewhat working on the problem.

It won't surprise you that I have a new plan and I'll have a new blog name. While the plan has never really been the problem, this is something a little different and it might have its foundation built on all the failed plans that have come before. I'll make the name change and add another post later in the day. As with all of the plans, I really think this one is going to work and I have to be right one of these times.


It's Wednesday night and the number for tomorrow's weigh-in really doesn't matter. The 4 week diet was a failure because I didn't stick with the plan. It might be more accurate to say that I never really started the plan.

I've had some good plans over the last year. None of them were hard to follow, all of them would have worked. It seems like the best plan going forward would be something similar to the cut back on television watching plan, which was to cut out everything. Knowing that I can't go for days or even a day without food, the next best plan would be the 3 step diet where I don't eat unless I'm really hungry.

In two months I have to give a speech at an awards ceremony. Shortly after that I have my annual physical. I'd like to make some progress on the losing weight before those two events. My best chance is to stop eating unless I truly feel hunger pain. It's not the healthiest way to go but I'm slowly killing myself with overwork and stress already, so how much harm can another bad habit do? Besides, what are the odds that I'll stick with this plan for more than a morning or a day at the max?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Day 28 (01/28/2009) -- 225 Pounds

Unless I go totally wild this evening at Nick's, I'll at least have lost some weight at the end of this 4 week diet. I'm not sure where I'm going to go from here. All of the plans I'm tried will work but it comes back to that old saying, "For the plan to work, you've got to work the plan". I'm not working anything and the results or lack of results prove it.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Day 27 (01/27/2009) -- 224.5 Pounds

This is the number I expected yesterday. Better late than never. Nothing much to report today other than I did fairly well at limiting the food intake on Monday. It's right at 6 AM now and the plan is to walk for 20-30 minutes at the office before I have to start work at 7. That's something I can start doing on the days when the temp isn't near freezing.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Day 26 (01/26/2009) -- 226 Pounds

I thought it would be less today. I did much better yesterday on the eating so maybe that will pay off in the next day or two. In the next couple of days this 4 week diet that never really started will be over. After that I don't know what I'll do.

I will continue to post my weight each day--we all know what kind of disaster I'll get into if I stop all levels of accountability. There's no need for a formal plan of attack if I'm not going to follow any plans. Maybe it's just a case of needing to go back to the ultimate basis plan, which is "eat less, move more". The part that has been the miserable failure of late is the eat less. That's something I can start working on today even if I don't find the time to get out walking.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Day 25 (1/25/2008) -- 226 Pounds

I really thought it would be worse. I helped Isabelle and Bill move some furniture yesterday and lunch and supper both came from Wendy's with a DQ ice cream cone in between. My bedtime last night was 6:30 and I got about 11 hours of sleep. That was related more to general exhaustion, not moving furniture. There's more stuff to move today and I'll help with that instead of going to the Millsaps basketball games. One thing about moving furniture is that when you break for the day, the work is over. With photography, when one leaves the gym or field, their work has just begun.

I'm going to attempt to eat far less today, even if it means a sea of diet sodas. Cutting back on eating is not like cutting back on television watching. I've gone 6 weeks without television at home (other than an occasional DVD) because I was able to remove the rabbit ears and make the televisions unable to pick up signals. If the rabbit ears were still attached, I'd still be watching too much television. Well, I can't disable my stomach for 6 weeks. I have to eat something each day and the hard part comes is doing less. Doing none of something is often easier than doing less, a lesson that is taught to recovering alcholics. It's too bad that not eating for 6 weeks is something that will put you in a hospital or a grave--not eating at all is a diet plan that many would find easier than trying to eat a little less each day.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Day 24 (1/24/2009) -- 225.5 Pounds

Is the 4 week diet a failure? Who knows since I haven't really given it one iota of a chance to succeed. There's a part of me that wants to think that dieting is as simple as saying, "Okay, now I'm going to diet and lose 20-50 pounds." I want to think there's no real effort involved other than making the decision to lose weight. On the surface this seems logical because isn't dieting simply cutting back on food intake? Eating less isn't an activity that takes any extra time. Maybe there's a trade off of taking more time to fix healthy food and then taking less time to eat since one is eating less, but cutting back on calories isn't something that involves a lot of time, money or special equipment.

That sounds logical to me. On the other hand, it also sounds logical that if losing weight is that simple, then we wouldn't have a country where over half the adults are overweight and a third are obese. If we are allowed to assume that the vast majority of adults would prefer to be in the normal weight range, and we know that a significant majority of adults are in the overweight and obese range, then logic says that losing weight is not as simple as just making the decision to lose weight.

When I lost weight successfully, I was focused on losing weight. My blog was all about losing weight. I was taking some time to exercise, playing tennis for sure and maybe I was jogging some during that point in time. The photo project at Millsaps wasn't nearly as big as it is today and it wasn't so all consuming in my life. I worked on losing weight, I was excited about losing weight, and my primary project in life was losing weight--is there any doubt about why I was successful then and I have no success now?

Is that a legitimate analysis or an excuse for my poor performance? Maybe some of both. I know that physically I'm worn down and I've felt slightly sick all week. Maybe a tiny fever, worn out quite a bit, sometimes grabbing food as a way to get through the morning and then taking off in the afternoon to go home and nap before working at the computer for hours on end. It does sound like an excuse to me. I still think I should be able to diet even while grinding myself down to the level of being sick. I don't know. In hindsight, probably the worse thing I could have done for my health was starting back on the Millsaps photos at the beginning of October. It's a project that makes it hard to focus on anything else in life.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Day 23 (1/23/2009) -- 224.5 Pounds

I did keep up with my food intake yesterday and it stayed under 2,000 calories. I'm afraid that it wasn't the most nutrious food list you'll ever see, actually being very poor even by my low standards. Mother had an eye doctor appointment at 12:45 followed by a trip to the pharmacy to fill some perscriptions. This got me out of whack on eating lunch so I got a mid-afternoon candy bar and somehow things never got on track.

I'm hoping for a very good weekend. Millsaps has two basketball games tonight and two on Sunday afternoon. Having to being at the gym for 4+ hours is always problematic. On Saturday I'm helping Isabelle and Bill with moving furniture. It's one of those situation when eating becomes a little bit of catch as catch can. It's not an ideal weekend for dieting, which still isn't an excuse for letting things totally slide. I can have a good weekend if I really try to have a good weekend.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Day 22 (1/22/2009) -- 225.5 Pounds

Strip away all the layers of this blog and you come to a core that is undeniable: This blog is about my failures. Maybe the silver lining is that it has limited the damage of my failures so I'm not in the 240-250 pound range, but when it comes to dieting, I have been a failure.

It would be nice if I could blame this shortcoming on something else. Maybe a lack of time or a lack of money. The problem is that dieting is mostly about doing less, not needing the time or money to do more. The plan from the start has always been very simple and it worked like a charm 3 years ago: Be accountable for your actions, be responsible in your actions, and the right results will follow. Could it be any simpler than that?

Maybe failure is part of the process. Hopefully I'll look back on today and this will be the day that I regain some responsibility for my actions. I can start by keeping my food journal today. I can start by going out walking during my breaks today. I can start by doing some sort of exercise this evening when I get home. When I end the failures in these areas, I'll end the failures in my diet efforts.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Day 21 (1/21/2009) -- 224.5 Pounds

It's now 7 in the morning, 3 hours after most of this post was written. I could delete what I wrote at 4 but I'll leave it with this message that you should take what I wrote with a grain of salt. I've heard plenty of married people say something like, "I love my spouse, but there are times when I dream about how nice it would be if I were single." Or, I hear parents say something like, "I would fight to the death for my kids, and then their are times when I think their behavior will be the death of me." Love is a difficult thing, whether it's a spouse, children, or photography.

It's 4 in the morning and I'm writing this while photos of the Colorado College vs. Millsaps basketball game load to Smugmug. Why would anyone be up at this hour working on photos? Good question and all I can say is that I would either be working on the computer or laying in bed unable to sleep because I'd be thinking about how I needed to get the photos loaded.

The January 21st post on the "Slice of Frank's Life" blog ends with a photo of me from 5 years ago, the first day I owned a digital camera. I wrote that rarely do I feel like that person in the photo and this is a good example of what I meant. Five years ago I didn't get up in the middle of the night worried about the things that needed to be done. I didn't spend dozens of my free hours each week glued to a PC at my house. It was a fairly carefree life. Three years ago I was much closer to that carefree life than I am today which might explain why I was able to successfully diet in the first half of 2006 and why it has been such a struggle since.

I try hard to not allow this life I'm leading to serve as an excuse for failure on the diet front. On a logical level, it seems like I should be able to eat less regardless of how busy I get. On a logical level, it seems like I should be able to carve out a few hours each week for walking, exercise, and stretching. Then again, I know that stress and the feeling of constant pressure from always being behind does trigger reactions in the body that sometimes make it hard to do the logical things. Sometimes I eat because I'm just trying to stay awake another hour or two to get closer to caught up. Sometimes I eat because it allows me to put off sitting at the computer for a few minutes. Sometimes I eat just to do something nice for myself. Sometimes it just gets hard.

Obviously I'm tired right now, both physically and mentally. Like that fly and the sugar water, I'll get away from the computer in a few minutes and I might get an hour nap that will give me energy for the morning hours at work. Then I'll take the afternoon off, come home and take a nap and start work on the photos of the Dallas game. That's the last group that needs to be done before the teams play again this weekend. Getting the tax info done on the trust fund will have to be done eventually. Getting the duplex put in order will have to be done eventually. Getting family photos posted to websites will have to be done eventually. It will either get done or it won't get done. I need 36 hours days and maybe eventually I would get caught up.

Before anyone worries about what I've written above, this is simply how I feel when I'm at my lowest. At this point in time, I don't feel like this very often. Come April when I'm trying to keep up with baseball, tennis, softball and maybe a little bit of Millsaps golf, I'll feel like the above just about every day. And come June, I will hopefully be feeling great that I achieved so much during the 2008-09 school year. It is what I choose to do, not because I feel that I must, but because I do gain a lot on the flip side by being productive, by giving back to the world, by building my skills, etc. My worry is that maybe I'm not recognizing the true cost of what I'm having to give to get all of this done. I'm seem to be on the same path my father walked with his health and that path was far too short.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Note to Todd

Todd, I don't know if you even look at the other blog so I'll throw in this extra post to ask you a question. I created a video Monday evening and posted it on YouTube. It is a rapidfire slideshow of photos that have been used on the main blog and I used "Fade" by Dragline as the audio. Let me know if this okay. I put a link to the old Dragline site on MySpace because it seems to be working better than the new site which didn't want to play all of the songs.

Here's the link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EVGwpSqVBE

Hope this is okay to use the song--it's probably my favorite of the songs I've heard by the band via MySpace.

Day 20 (1/20/2009) -- 225.5 Pounds

Today was one of those rare days when my weight surprised me. When you go years and years weighing almost every morning, it's easy to get a good grip on what to expect when you get on the scale. I didn't expect this increase.

My feeling is that this is a temporary blip on the chart. It would have helped it I had gotten up and run this morning as scheduled. The clock went off at 4:15 and I did get up, but it was sub-freezing, it wasn't the first time I had been up during the night, and I was simply more tired than motivated. It could be that all of my walking and jogging will have to come when I get home from work, not early in the morning before starting my work day.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Day 19 (01/19/2009) -- 224 Pounds

I got tired of working on photos this evening so I've been killing time with small stuff instead of being productive. This being productive all weekend sure makes for a long work week. It won't be surprising if I take a couple of afternoons off this week so I can come home and take a nap.

The exercising is going great, the dieting not so great. It's not like I stuffing my face non-stop, it's just that I'm not staying under 2,000 calories a day in order to attack my excessive fat from both angles. While the Garmin might seem like an expensive toy that isn't really necessary, it sure has gotten me motivated to go out and walk more. Between the first day I used it, the 8th, and yesterday, I have walked and jogged over 26 miles.

My fitness level is still terrible. Yesterday I decided to simply jog by feel, not worrying about specific minutes of walking vs. jogging. While it was tiring simply because it was 60 minutes of exercise, it never felt stressful. The problem is that my heart rate went about 15 bpm higher than what is suppose to be my maximum heart rate. I don't know exactly what to make of that. I mentioned this high heart rate to a friend who is a cardiologist and he didn't seem distressed by the news. That's good but I'm going to get the Garmin book out and set the alarm to beep when my heart rate hits 160 bpm. That's as high as I needed to let it get.

It's 9:30. I guess I'll try to get some sleep which is all dependent on me being able to shut off my thinking. Daydreaming during the day is okay. Daydreaming at night when it is time to sleep is a bummer that wears me out.

Monday Morning Update: 224 again which doesn't surprise me. It's hard to call this a plateau since I haven't been really cutting back on the food with my body failing to respond. I believe it is easier to cut back on the food during the work week so maybe I can keep up the walking, cut back on the food and get to at least 222 by this time next week. I don't see any possibility of 217 by the end of the 4 weeks, a reality that isn't an excuse to quit trying.

Day 18 (01/18/2009) -- 224 Pounds

There's no reason to think I should have lost any weight over the last 24 hours. Here's the rundown of my Saturday:

7-12:30 -- Sit at the computer editing and posting photos from the 1/9/09 Millsaps basketball games with Austin College.
1:00-6:30 -- Taking photos at the Grand Opening of the new Jackson Convention Center. A lot of standing around that bothers my hip more than jogging.
6:30-10 -- Going through the photos from the afternoon. I took about 1,400 photos and just under 900 make it passed the first cut.

Today won't be much different with the big exception that I'll go out for a 60 minute walk/jog. I'm working on the convention photos now (waiting for a huge folder to copy so I'll have a backup), then I'll switch over to Millsaps basketball from last Sunday while listening over the internet to Millsaps play today's games in Atlanta. That will still leave me the games from last Tuesday to edit and post.

I'm starting to think that my dieting is going to be a lot like that wheelchair marathoner trying to get up the hill. One of his keys to success was to turn sideways when he wasn't able to make progress so he didn't roll back and lose the success that he had already achieved. That's been my big problem, making progress and then giving it all back. On weekends like this where I am so busy sitting at the computer, at least I can make sure that I don't slip back.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Day 17 (01/17/2009) -- 224 Pounds

I really wanted to hold on to 223 pounds. Unfortunately, daily fluctuations happen and sometimes they go in the wrong direction even after a fairly good day. The best part about yesterday was my walking at work despite the cold weather. When walking on my own, I can get in .8 of a mile during a 15 minute break and then there's time to walk 2.2 miles and still eat during my lunch hour. There are two key elements here. First, I have to get into the routine of doing this day after day, and second, it helps if I'm walking by myself.

Up until now I've been walking with a group of ladies who walk during their break. The problem is that it turns our 15 minute break into something closer to a 25 minute break. If 5 are walking, we start to gather 2-3 minutes before 10. Then there's always one person running late so we go out the door a couple of minutes after 10. We walk somewhat at the pace of the slowest person which pushes the longer route to over 15 minutes. Then, if you walk by the break room to get something to drink or eat, it's easily becomes a 25 minute break. If I'm going to take 10 extra minutes at break time, I'd rather do it at my desk checking emails rather than in such a public manner.

Oh, well. This weekend calls for a lot of sitting at the computer. I'll probably get out today to take photos at the grand opening of the new convention center in Jackson, and tomorrow I'll go out for my 60 minute walk/jog. The rest of the times I'll be at the duplex, mostly editing basketball photos. It would be an excellent time to do some situps, pushups, and stretching while taking breaks from the computer. We'll see how that goes.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Commenting on Blogger is an Iffy Proposition

I tried and tried to get a comment to take as a reply to Todd's comment below. At least I have the option to do a new post, an option the readers don't have. Here's my comment to Todd:

If I remember correctly and you started out at 230, then 217 is really great progress. Now I know you can get back in the groove on those workouts which will be much easier than the drastic step I've added to my routine--I'm trying to drink water instead of diet sodas! Water is just so plain--I can't stand it. People have suggested that I use those artifical sweeteners but if I'm going to do that then I might as well stick with the sodas. Anyway, it sounds like you're doing great even without the workouts so maybe a couple of weeks of working out will drop you way down to a much lower plateau.

Frank (Man, I see what everyone means when they say they have problems leaving comments--it's like Blogger just freezes up and won't accept anything--I've tried about 5 times to post this and hopefully I'll be successful eventually.)

Day 16 (1/16/2009) -- 223 Pounds

This is a move in the right direction as I've gotten to my lowest weight so far (4 pounds lost in 15 days of dieting). It is still possible to reach my goal of 217 for the morning of January 29, 2009. It won't be easy since I need to average a half pound loss per day, so there's no room for a bad day and little room for an average day.

I used the Garmin yesterday to measure the distance of a trip around our building. There's a longer route on the sidewalk that is almost exactly .2 miles and a shorter route that is about .15 miles. I walked .8 miles before work, .7 miles during a break, and then over 2 miles during the first part of my lunch hour. That's what it is going to take, using small pieces of free time to build a significant number like 3.5 miles of walking in a day. The 2 mile walk at lunch needs to become a fixture for my days when I'm eating lunch here at the building.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Day 15 (1/15/2009) -- 223.5 Pounds

Instead of posting early this morning, I left home early so I could measure the distance around my office building. There's a sidewalk that goes around the building in either a short loop that takes you right past a bunch of office windows in the front, or the long loop that goes up to the street in the front. The long loop is right at .19 miles, close enough to call it a convenient 2/10's of a mile.

I have walked some with several of the ladies who like to walk at break time. They walk on a road that runs behind our building with one route being 8/10's of a mile and the route in the other direction is 7/10's. It's nice but a little hilly and you have to worry about a small amount of traffic. I think I might prefer doing laps around the building. A total of 15 laps would equal 3 miles and that could be split into 4 at each break and 7 at lunch. It really wouldn't be hard at all to get into that habit.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Day 14 (1/14/2009) -- 224 Pounds

I once helped coach a soccer team that was just a player or two short from being the best in our league. We had a very talented all-around player and if we put him up front the offense would click and the defense struggled. If we put the kid in the back, he solidified the defense and the offense would lose its spark.

That seems to be how my dieting has gone recently. There have been times when I've done well on holding down the calories but I didn't exercise enough to keep my metabolism up. Now that I'm exercising, I've fallen down on the dieting end of the deal. I need to combine the two if I want success.

There's 2 weeks to go in this 4-week diet and 7 pounds yet to be lost. It is still within reach if I'll go every day under 2,000 calories and if I'll add some walking in with my 3 longer outings. It involves a full effort, not the piecemeal approach of the past. This is something I can do and it is something that no one else can do for me. Two weeks to lose seven pounds--I need to step up to that challenge.

Todd, I've done a poor job of responding to your comments. How are the workouts going, not so much about how easy or how hard, but how consistent? It seems like you have always dropped weight in a hurry when you were consistent with your workouts. If I remember correctly, your wedding is at the end of February so that month will be full of activities and it will become as difficult as trying to diet in December. You and I need to really, really focus on the next two weeks.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Day 13 (1/13/2009) -- 224 Pounds

My oh my! It's 7 on Monday evening and I need to jog in the morning if I'm going to stick to my schedule of walk/jogging 3 times a week. The predicted low tonight is 34 and I guess that's what it will be when I hit the roads just before 5:00. I had better enjoy the warm weather because the temperature predicted for 5:00 this Friday is around 25. It won't hurt my feelings if Boty wants to cancel that early morning get together--I can still run Saturday and get in my 3rd run for the week.

Tuesday morning: I got up and walk/jogged and it wasn't bad at all. The temp was about 36 degrees and there wasn't any wind, so there really wasn't a good excuse not to get out.

I can't remember if I wrote on either of the blogs about the results from my first outings with the Garmin and the heart monitor. The plan was to go out for 60 minutes, alternating between 1:30 minutes of slow walking and 1:30 minutes of slow jogging. I'm talking really slow, as in averaging 14-15 minutes per mile. The problem is that my heartrate shot through the roof. The Saturday run had me at an average of 144 bpm and I maxed out at 167 bpm--those numbers are not good from a medical or training perspective. I felt okay, but the heart monitor said I was doing too much.

Today I reluctlantly dropped back to 2:00 minutes of walking followed by 1:00 of jogging. Once again it was at a very easy pace and I only covered 3.72 miles in an hour, but my average heart rate was 124 bpm and my maximum was 154 which came a couple of time when my jogging segment coincided with a very steep hill.

I can tell you right now, this one bit of feedback that has told me to cut back on my training far more than I would have done without a heart monitor is worth the $135 dollars I paid for my Garmin. For one thing, it puts me training at a level that will help me improve more quickly. And more importantly, it gets me out of a level where I was dangerously overtaxing my heart.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Day 12 (01/12/2009) -- 224 Pounds

I was hoping for a lower weight today since I walk/jogged a little over 4 miles yesterday. This was a 4 am weigh-in so maybe it would have been less if I had slept till closer to 6.

The sleeping thing is getting to be a problem. I get to bed at a reasonable time and I'm tired and ready to go to sleep. Then I start to think. I've always had trouble going to sleep right away because when I get in bed I start thinking about things. It might be about events from the day, things I need to do, mentally writing up a blog post for the next day, or a whole host of things. It's bad enough that this keeps me from getting right to sleep, but if I wake up in the middle of the night it starts all over again. Usually by this time I've rested enough that I'm not really tired so I just lay in bed thinking, sometimes falling back to sleep and sometimes getting up to work on things (like this blog) in hopes of getting tired again.

I'm going to make a checklist of things I can do to improve the sleeping situation. Number 1 on the list with a big red circle around it has to be the diet sodas. Giving up television was easy, so easy that I didn't even realize that yesterday marked one month without television at the house. Giving up diet sodas is an entirely different story. I can work through the physical addiction to the caffine and whatever other chemical my body is now hooked on, but the mental aspect is much tougher. Like a person smoking cigerettes, I reach for my addiction far more often out of habit than need.

It's a sticky wicket. I need more exercise to lose weight. I need more sleep to recover from the exercise. It would help with the exercise if I could lose some weight. The diet sodas keep me from snacking throughout the day so they help keep my weight down. The diet sodas keep me from sleeping so I'm tired and it makes exercising more difficult. I know what I need to do--I just don't want to do it.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Day 11 (1/11/2009) -- 223.5 Pounds

It's nice to inch down a little closer to my goal even on a day when I did not walk or jog. I had plans of walking 1-2 miles and those plans got put on hold by rain for most of the afternoon and evening. Since I'm going out for a 60 minute walk-jog in about an hour, having a complete 48 hour rest since Friday's outing might be a good thing.

I'm really counting on the increase in jogging and walking to be the key to losing a lot of weight and keeping it off. My hope is something that goes beyond the simple concept of burning extra calories. After all, a 4 mile outing might burn off 600 calories for someone my size, maybe less. That's not really a lot and I've had plenty of days where I ate 600 calories less than my supposed daily requirement. Those days didn't do much to bring down my weight.

Here are my two theories of why jogging will be more effective than simply counting on the calories burned:

1) When it comes to weight, the body often acts like a very stubborn kid. The body has a set weight that it wants to maintain and it is hard to get it to change. That's good when we overeat and the body burns extra in order to maintain the status quo, and it's bad when we diet and the body lowers the metabolism to keep us from losing weight.

The best way to deal with a stubborn kid is by giving them a reason to change (other than "I'm going to beat the living daylights out of you" even though that one is often successful). For example, you may battle with little success to get a child to clean their room. Then one day the child is going to have friends over so on their own they decide to put their entire room neatly in order. I'm hoping that jogging and the extra work it creates for my body will be the reason that makes my body decides that 175 pounds is a lot easier to cope with than 225 pounds.

2) I'm counting on the above reason the most, but here's a biological theory that hopefully is just as important. You know how a person will continue to nibble when there's food around even if they aren't hungry. I wonder if the body does the same with food that passes through our digestive system? Let's say I eat a 1,000 calorie item and it takes 4 days for that food to move through my body when I'm inactive, but only 2 days when I'm doing a lot of walking and jogging. Does the body absorb and store all of that 1,000 calories either way, or is it possible that less calories are absorbed when the food is passed through more quickly? I know it can't hurt to have that food out of the system more quickly, I just don't know if it helps. Maybe someone reading this can give us a scientific answer.

Got to go jogging in a few minutes. I'm going to the old YMCA outdoor track where I have easily logged over a thousand miles of jogging over the years (probably several thousand). It is supposedly exactly 1 mile thanks to an odd little loop that one can either bypass or run. That loop is only about 50 yards and it could serve no other practical purpose other than to make an exact mile. Today I'll have my Garmin and we'll find out the truth.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Photos from Jacktoberfest

Find more photos like this on LoungeList: Jackson's Local Social Network

I'm just testing the code for a photo slideshow that I have on another website. I'll leave it here if it works--this blog could use some photos.

--Wow! That worked pretty good. These 4 bands played at a free street festival where they sold beer and food to raise money in the cause of finding a cure for blood related cancer. The first band is the Delta Mountain Boys, photo 15 is the start of the Passenger Jones photos, photo 32 is the start of Rocket 88 out of Oxford, MS, and Blue Mountain photos start at 48 and go to the end.

Day 10 (1/10/09) -- 224.5 Pounds

Now I need to follow this up with a good weekend of walking, jogging, and restraint on the eating.
The big event of Friday was my first real test of the new Garmin Forerunner 305. At $165, it wasn't cheap and it wasn't outrageous (I did get $30 off that price by signing up for an Amazon credit card). I can now keep up with my walks and jogs within .01's of a mile, but all along I've been able to keep up with my outings within .01's of a second. Couldn't I have simply kept up with time spent walking? Yes, but how many times in the last few years have you read about me going out walking because I wanted to add an extra 15 minutes to my weekly total. There's something about mileage that is more motivating than time.

Maybe the thing that justifies the purchase is that I paid the extra $15-20 to go from a Forerunner 205 to the 305 which records the runners heart rate. Yesterday was a good example of the value of this feature. Boty and I were on the fairly flat course for 60 minutes, starting off by walking 1:30 minutes, then jogging 1:30 minutes, and alternating like that the 20 walk-jog combos. Here's what my monitor told me:

--My resting heart rate when sitting in the car before running was about 72 beats per minute (BPM).
--At the end of the first 1:30 of walking it was up to 105 BPM.
--At the end of the first 1:30 of jogging it was up to 138 BPM.
--At the end of the second 1:30 of walking my BPM had only dropped to 118.
--At the end of the second 1:30 of jogging my BPM had climbed to 141.
--This started a pattern of the BPM being slightly higher at the end of each recovery walk, and the BPM likewise being slightly higher at the end of each jogging period.
--By the end of the 60 minutes, I peaked at 167 BPM at the end of the next to last jog and my recovery before the last jog only dropped to 135 BMP.

To some folks these may be meaningless numbers, but they speak volumes about the incredible decline in my fitness. First off, walking for 90 seconds should not cause a person's heart rate to jump above 100 BPM. That is terrible. The jump to 138 after 90 seconds of jogging is equally terrible, and it's possible that the 167 BPM at the end is something I should be concerned about.

There something called the Karvonen Formula that estimates a persons maximum heart rate and the ranges they should shoot for during training. A 57 year old with a resting heart rate of 72 supposedly has a maximum heart rate of 169 so I supposedly was at my peak heart rate yesterday, not really what a person wants to do. According to the numbers from the heart monitor, yesterday was a recklessly difficult workout where I pushed my heart far too hard.

Fortunately, that's not how the workout felt and I've always been very good at monitoring my "feel" during my workout. It didn't seem like I was struggling on any of the jogging parts, I never felt like I had pushed myself to the max in any way. It actually felt like a great workout, just about right on time and distance. It was certainly a much easier workout than the 4 mile jog on my home course last Sunday. If I was going strictly by the numbers, I probably should be concerned, but if you go by the charts then I should have felt totally different than how I felt.

I'll keep an eye on things and I suspect these numbers will improve week after week with the resting heart rate going down, the walking not causing such a spike, and the jogging being more in a realistic training zone region. If those numbers don't drop, then I guess it will mean a trip to the heart doctor for tests. The problem with that is once they run tests, they like to run procedures, and I'm not too keen on that option when I am feeling well in general. We'll see what the numbers reveal in the future and I'm make sure that I don't do any workouts that cause the numbers to push any higher.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Day 9 (1/9/09) -- 226.5 Pounds

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Which needs to come first with me, losing weight so I can work on getting fit, or work on getting fit so I can lose weight?

I've been going the route of lose weight first and then it will be easier to get in shape. That hasn't been working so well. Now I'm trying the reverse. I walked 3 miles yesterday. I'm leaving the house in a minute to walk/jog with Boty for 60 minutes. I think I'm more excited about getting back to a high degree of fitness than I've ever been excited about cutting back on food to lose weight. That doesn't mean that I can eat like a pig, just that working on fitness might need to be the lead dog in the pack.

Got to go and see how long the hip will hold out. I'll add an update on the run later.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Day 8 (1/8/09) -- 226 Pounds

No need to panic. With this being Thursday morning, today is the infamous weigh-in after the Wednesday night group meets. If nothing else, there becomes a problem of timing as I eat more and eat it later in the evening, a fact that certainly showed up this morning.

On the good side, I walk/jogged 3+ miles Wednesday morning and I walk at both my morning and afternoon breaks. That's 5 miles of moving yesterday and I'll walk at break today if the weather is permitting and Boty and I will walk/jog an hour tomorrow. Things are looking good and now that I have this Garmin device that can keep up with my mileage and download to the computer, I think I'll go out for more random walks in the neighborhood. My goal is to start of with three 1-hour walk/jogs each week and enough walking in between to get to 25 miles a week. We'll see what my hip has to say about that plan.

Got to go now so I can pick up some diet drinks before getting to work. It's still a habit I can't break or don't really want to break. I'm going to try to go with the same method as my jogging in regards to the drinking, alternating between a soda and water. Maybe then I can ease up the water and cut back on the sodas. It would be nice to get off the juice (as us diet soda junkies call it) because the cost savings would be great--or yeah, and it would be healthier and much better for my body.

(Note: Rusty said he couldn't post a comment here and I couldn't post a reply to Todd's comment Thursday afternoon. Here's the comment I was trying to add but blogger just gave a note saying "error on page":

Not a great day for either one of us. Far too often I've allowed myself to fall victim to the "day is shot anyway" mentality as a reason to turn a poor dieting day into a terrible dieting day. In tennis they call that tanking a match when you see a player making no effort because he figures he can't win the match. I've got to quit tanking when my day gets off to a bad start.)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Day 7 (1/709) -- 224.5 Pounds

Lowest weight this year!!! Sure, that's the equivalent of saying "lowest weight this week" since this is January 7th, but we have to take our victories where we can find them.

I woke up this morning at 4:20 to go jogging. After stepping on the scales and seeing 224.5, I wondered if it was really necessary to go jogging when I could catch 90 additional minutes of bedtime. Give this boy a gold star because I did the right thing and went jogging. It was 45 minutes of alternating between 1:30 minutes of walking and 1:30 minutes of jogging--let's just say it was 3 miles and maybe a little bit extra.

Todd, you talked about the difficulty of getting to the gym for workouts. It seems like you go through the same thing I went through for decades of running. When I was running in a road race, the hardest part was the last mile. When I was training, which was the vast majority of my running, the hardest part was the first step. Usually I hated getting up to run, I enjoyed being out running, and I felt a sense of accomplishment all day for having done my training. Knowing that I would enjoy the running and feel the pride should have made the getting ready to run easy, but it never did.

My only suggestion to you about the gym is what I have to do with my running. Make the getting up and getting out the door almost automatic by preparing the night before. Have your workout clothes all laid out so you can quickly dress without thinking. If you are going from the gym to work, have your work clothes all gathered and even put them in you car the night before. Do everything to streamline the process between getting up and getting out. It's amazing to see just how much a simple thing like that can help keep an exercise program on track. Good luck and both of us need to avoid the backsliding now that we are going in the right direction.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Day 6 (1/6/09) -- 226 Pounds

The better eating part went well yesterday. The getting out and walking was sidetracked by non-stop drizzle and almost as much blogging. The rain part gets me back to the part about needing to join a fitness club. The blogging part makes me wonder if I would commit the time to make joining a club worthwhile.

At least the good news is that I'm approaching 4 weeks without television at my house. I haven't really noticed the absence other than the fact that I get so much more done during my hours at home. The problem is that I'm so far behind on everything and I keep adding in new projects like the photographs of the marathon. Too bad I don't see getting fit as one of those new projects that should push everything else aside, but I'm getting better and I hope that the new toy coming by UPS will help get me fired up. I like numbers and stats so having a Garmin device to get me all of the numbers for every walk, jog, and walk-jog should provide some motivation.

Well, rain or no rain, Garmin or no Garmin, I'm going to get out and walk-jog before I post again tomorrow. Keep up the good work Todd and make the 220's a thing of the past forever.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Day 5 (1/5/09) -- 226 Pounds

A move in the right direction both on the scale and in my head. I was at the MS Blues Marathon taking photos Saturday and it inspired me to work harder on my diet. It wasn't some wild plan to run the marathon next year, but something more down to earth about how hard some work to succeed and how my efforts pale in comparison. There's no need to rewrite the story here since it is on my other blog under this: Inspiration from the MS Blues Marathon.

The call here is for me to do better in every phase. The plan is to start jogging again, very slowly at first using the method that calls for mixing jogging and walking in a predetermined pattern. Right now that might be 1:30 minute segments, alternating between the two. This might later change to 2:00 jogging and still the 1:30 walking, and then the numbers get juggled as my fitness improves. While it would be nice if next October rolls around and I'm fit enough to at least consider running the half marathon, that's not going to be my goal. My goal is to get back to the 20-25 miles of jogging per week that I enjoyed when I was in great shape.

The jogging is the centerpiece of what needs to change. In addition to that, there is a great need to eat better, force myself to stretch, and at least get back to some form of exercise that builds muscles above the waist and below the neck. If that's nothing more than push-ups and sit-ups then it is still far more than what has taken place over the last couple of years. There's a lot of work ahead of me and success won't happen overnight. Right now, success is not what I need--a successful start down the road to success is what I need. That's what I need to achieve over the next 24 days.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Day 4 (1/4/09) -- 227 Pounds

Todd, excellent job on you weight and your inspired motivation. Plus, you are 100% correct that it is time for the two of us to start hitting some goals.

I spent a lot of yesterday taking photos of the MS Blues Marathon and of course that meant spending the rest of the day in front of the PC working on photos. It's easy to watch a marathon and get all fired up with vows that one year from today, I'll be running the marathon, not photographing the runners. I did get that urge, but I know that's a high that quickly passes.

However, I witness something yesterday that was a true demonstration of real effort, not just the vague effort, half-hearted effort, or no effort that describes my dieting. I'll write more about this on the "Slice of Frank's Life" blog for Monday, but I realize that I face a huge hill in trying to get back to a healthy body and a healthy lifestyle. I need to make a real effort, not just this false pretenses that have been going on for the last couple of years. I need to start by putting everything into making that 217 goal by January 29th.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Day 3 (1/3/09) -- 227 Pounds

Only have a minute because I'm going to leave to take photos of the MS Blues Marathon and Half Marathon. I need to be running in the Half Marathon next year and I'm starting to think that I need to join a health club right now. I won't lose weight without exercising and I'm not doing much in the way of exercising on my own.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Day 2 (1/2/09) -- 226 Pounds

Not much to say about yesterday. Most of my time was spent at the computer burning Christmas CDs for all the family members. Not just my family, but all the cousins, etc. It wasn't a case of burning a disk for every individual, just trying to get enough that each family and each single adult would be covered. The simple thing to do would be to give one CD to each branch of the family and count on someone to make copies and distribute them. Past experience tells me that this often creates a real bottleneck in the procedure since a lot of people don't have much experience at burning CDs, so I give enough copies to get past this problem.

Well, that has nothing to do with dieting. Like I said, not much to say about yesterday.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Day 1 (01/01/09) -- 227 Pounds

I'm going back to my golfing days and taking a mulligan, a one time opportunity to start again. It's a common practice in casual golf even though it is blatant cheating, and certainly what I'm doing has been no more than casual dieting and I'll only be cheating myself.

Actually, my plan all along was to start January 1, but I started early when my weight hit 231 pounds. The last few days have been good as a warm-up, allowing me to get back into the mode of dieting and allowing my body to shed some of those pounds that were going to be temporary if I'd just stop eating so much for a few days. For the record, yesterday was a pretty good day with 2 yogurts, 2 packs of crackers, 2 servings of soup, 2 bags of popcorn, 2 beers (wild celebration for New Year's Eve), and only 1 banana and 1 can of pineapples. It was under 2,500 calories which made today's jump up to 227 a little annoying. But that's all water under the bridge.

This officially starts 28 days of dieting and I'm shooting for a weigh-in of 217 pounds on January 29th. I've decided that 10 pounds in 4 weeks is the maximum I'll shoot for and that's not an easy mark to hit. It's especially difficult when I can't do a lot of exercise at the moment which makes the need for more stretching a top priority. I'm also going to have to start taking something like Advil when I go to bed. I hardly slept last night and it seems like the pain in my hip is the problem. It is difficult to get comfortable enough to go to sleep, which makes me thing that my movement during sleep is causing enough pain to wake me up. Taking pills is a last resort for me, but more sleep would be a wonderful thing in my life.

So, it's Day 1 of 2009 and Day 1 of my 4-week diet. There can be no more mulligans and there can be no more bad years. In less than 8 years I will be older than the age of my father when he died. I'm running out of time to get my health back on track.