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

Monday, April 27, 2009

April 27, 2009--220.5 Pounds (go figure)

I haven't been weighing myself lately because there hasn't been any reason to expect anything other than bad news. Last week my work day ended at noon each day as I tapped into my vacation time to work on photos. There simply wasn't time to do much walking and my hope was to somehow maintain the 222-224 range by not going crazy with the snacking. Why my weight dropped to 220.5 is a mystery.

This week I'll still be busy on Millsaps photos. After that I could be busy for the next 4 months getting several years of other photos organized, editied and posted. Plus, I have so many non-photography things that are in disarray and need lots of attention. Somewhere in all that there needs to be time set aside for walking and other exercise. How I'm going to find that time is just as much a mystery to me was the weight loss was this morning.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

April 22, 2009--Still 222 Pounds

The "still 222 pounds" is a good thing. My plan is to shorten my work day to 7-12 every day this week and then use the afternoon and evening to work on photos. The idea of viewing weight loss as a job is a good one. It's just that there's no way for me to pretend I have 3 jobs, especially when the commitment needed by the photos has gone wild.

The last week has been busy. The good news is that I no longer turn myself into a zombie by working on the photos till 2 in the morning. More vacation times gets used on the project and people have to wait longer before seeing the photos on the website. At this time last year I was 100% certain that 2007-08 would be my last because the physical and mental toll was simply too great. This year has been constantly busy, but not frantic. It has made a lot of difference.

Much has been accomplished in the last week and much needs to be done. The softball photos are completed and posted. Now I need to burn about 25-30 DVDs. There's a batch of tennis photos that need to be edited, posted, and then I can burn DVDs for the tennis teams. The same is true for the women's lacrosse team. Monday night there was an award ceremony for the Millsaps athletes from the senior class. Those photos need editing and posting. The baseball players each received a DVD Monday of games played through April 11, so the photos from the Trinity game are last on the list. However, they play the SCAC Tournament this weekend so I'll be taking photos at up to 6 games from Thursday through Sunday.

I need to spend as much time as possible on the photos, and when I take a break it has to be used to accomplish necessary tasks like eating a meal, cleaning dishes, paying bills, keeping up the blogs. Yeah, it probably wasn't a good time to start a new blog. The deal with that is the "Photos from Fondren" blog is suppose to be centered around photos taken when I walk to lose weight. So starting that blog was tied into this plan of giving more priority to the weight loss effort. I went ahead and started the blog even though it looks like the serious walking can't start for another week or two.

All in all, staying at 222 pounds is not such a bad thing right now. I know it's still possible to be in the 2-teens by the end of the month and maybe that will happen, but the reason I weighed this morning was to make sure the weight hadn't ballooned into the upper 220's. With all that time I've been spending in front of a computer, that was a definite possibility.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

April 16, 2009--Almost 10 PM

I'm doing better on the eating. Not great, just better. Taking the afternoon off helped me get some photos done but the next 10 days are going to still be totally exhausting. If I can just make it to May, then things will get better.

And it's not like I can devote all my time to photos since there are always other things that have to be done. There was a break in the middle of this afternoon to go get a new cell phone since my old one had a severe crack. I traded in the Plain Jane model of 2007 for the Plain Jane model of 2009. It's a company phone given to me in case there are computer problems at night or over the weekend. There's no restriction on me using it for personal calls, but I never come close to my 300 minutes allowed each month. I guess some would have hit the company up for a fancier phone, but it's a more comfortable feeling for me to just get what I need instead of trying to take advantage of the situation.

As for the eating, mostly what I'm doing is trading off bad choices with not eating later. Wednesday night was Nick's and while my snacking wasn't held in check at the bar, the beer and the nuts sufficed for the rest of the evening since I skipped supper. Today it was the office birthday party for the people born in April, so I substituted junk food for real meals. Poor eating and a heavy work load--that's a combination that doesn't work well.

At least I'm trying a little harder. Boty and I are scheduled to walk for an hour in the morning. That will be good. I'm up this late only because I'm trying to burn 25 baseball DVDs this evening and it looks like 20 is about all that I'll get done. I've gone overboard on the baseball team this year and it will take 2 DVDs for all of their photos. I'm trying to get the first one done and distributed by Monday or Tuesday of next week. Number 19 just popped out of the burner, but I looked at the roster a minute ago and they have 42 players and 5 coaches. Add in the extras for the communication department and the sports information department, etc, and I will need about 55 copies with each copy taking about 10 minutes to burn. What a pain the butt--maybe I need to stay up and get to number 25.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Day 1 of New Job--223.5 Pounds

As mentioned earlier, I'm going to take more of a job like approach to the weight loss. In recent years, I've always felt like I have two full time jobs, the one where I get paid and then the free photos that I do for Millsaps and others. While I would love to be able to shed the paying job, that isn't possible, so let's take it out of the conversation.

I've let the photography come before any weight loss effort. I know it doesn't seem like the two mix, but they do. The photography gets me out of my routine when I'm out taking photos and I often use that as an excuse to grab something at a fast food place or a concession stand. Then when I'm home editing the photos, I often snack a lot as a way of taking a break or in an attempt to stay up later.

So, eating has become a way of either mentally or physically sustaining the photography projects. If snacking all night makes the photography work easier, then it has been okay in the past to let the diet slide. That's an attitude I have to change, so food is no longer going to be in the support group for the photography. I have to stick with the dieting as faithfully as I devote myself to the photography.

Today I was 223.5 pounds. I won't weigh again until April 30th, the next time that I'll get a paycheck. I need to see real progress and accomplishment in these first two weeks.

Monday, April 13, 2009

April 13, 2009--Yet Another Approach

I wrote about this on the other blog so pardon my repetition. Something I wrote recently made me realize that the losing weight thing has been treated like some project I'll get to when everything else gets caught up. Since I haven't been caught up in years, the dieting effort has suffered greatly.

Therefore, my plan is to elevate the weight loss efforts to a higher level, making it more of a priority in my daily life. In essence, it will become my third job to go along with my paying job and the volunteer job that takes so much time. I have to shift time or focus or whatever so that the weight loss part is a real part of every day.

In keeping with making it like a job, I plan on weighing twice a month, on the 15th and the end of the month, the days when I get a paycheck at work. For some reason it seems right that I don't weigh every day even though the concept is to put more daily effort into the dieting. It seems right in my head, just not in the words I'm coming up with to describe this idea.

Wednesday is the 15th and I'll get a starting weight at that time. That doesn't mean 2 days of partying before accountability. It means two days to try and get my weight down so the first weigh-in won't be too embarrassing.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

April 9, 2009--224 Pounds

I could tell you that the uptick today is because of the Wednesday night get together and the following trip through the Wendy's drive-thru, but the uptick is really because I'm not trying very hard. My serious dieting effort is always waiting in reserve, waiting until I get through this batch of photos or the next. I'm waiting for that mythical stretch of time when I'll be able to concentrate on getting fit and losing weight. That time period truly is a myth.

The overload of photography will always be there until I adjust my priorities. Right now I don't walk in the morning and evening because I have so many photos to process. That needs to be flipped. I need to say that I can't take photos of an event because I have less time for photos due to my walking in the morning and evening. There will always be more things to photograph than time available, so waiting for that workload to slack off is pointless. I have to take that time out of the realm of free time and make it assigned time, a part of the day where the first priority is some exercise.

It's a good plan. I'm going to start it just as soon as I get through with these spring sports at Millsaps. Or after I do the St. Paddy Day Parade photos. And I still need to finish up the photos from last year's Jubilee Jam, plus that's coming up in June. And organizing the family photos needs to be done as soon as I get out from under the 2008-09 Millsaps photos. And, and, and.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

April 8, 2009--223.5 Pounds

Not surprising that the weight went up this morning since I ate supper after 9 last night and the only exercise I've gotten this week is typing and clicking a mouse. It's been cool/cold this week so there's been no walking during break time at work and the backlog of photos to be edited has been larger than normal. It doesn't make dieting and exercising impossible, but it doesn't take much to throw me off those two tracks.

At least my sleep went fairly well last night. The 3 extra strength Excedrin right before bedtime probably helped. My impulse it to avoid taking any medication, but maybe some over the counter pain killers taken in the evening will ease the aches and help me sleep through the night. The fact that Excedrin has caffeine shouldn't hurt my sleep since in my case a lack of caffeine would probably be more of a hinder to sleep.

It's Wednesday so I'll go out for a few beers with the guys this evening. That won't be so bad if there's some restraint shown throughout the day prior to meeting at Nick's Restaurant. Getting out and walking at break time today would be a good idea. I just need to hang on for a few more weeks until the photography eases up and then maybe I can be a little more dedicated to the weight loss and getting in shape. I'm so far behind in everything. If only I could get about 3-6 months of 100% free time to get a breather, to catch up, and to reorganize my life. That's what I need but the only way it could happen is me getting fired or me taking a long leave of absence because of a serious illness. Those options aren't very good so I'll stick with trying to cut back on new stuff and catching up on old stuff. I'm not very good on the cutting back which is needed in order to do the catching up--that cutting back is something I need to work on.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

April 7, 2009

The scales showed 221.5 this morning and my activity yesterday was limited to going to work and sitting at a computer all day, then coming home and sitting at a computer all evening. It's hard to convince the body to lose weight when there seems to be no need to lose weight.

This lack of movement is a problem, as is lack of sleep. Sunday I went to bed well after midnight. Monday it was after 11. That's too late since I have to get up before 6 to make it to work on time. It wears me down. This morning I was exhausted and half asleep in the shower. Rarely do I wake up bright eyed and ready to go. Usually I perk up soon after my feet have hit the ground and there's some movement. Today, I was so tired I could have taken a nap in the shower and staying longer in the shower didn't do much to wake me up.

When I'm tired the trend is to eat more, even if it's just to get through another 2-3 hours. Today I tried to get ahead of the curve and that meant a stop at Burger King for 2 sausage biscuits. Fighting exhaustion with food is a bad cycle when it comes to trying to lose weight. My hope is that a big breakfast will jump start my system and give me a physical lift today. What I need as well is a mental lift that would probably only come if I took 3-6 months off to restructure my life. That's something I could do at 27 or even at 37 years old, but it's risky to think about a long break from working when one is 57.

The restructuring my life thing is probably a topic I should save for the other blog. It's getting confusing to remember where I wrote various things since this blog has become wider in scope than just dieting. I probably should have mention the doctor's report on the "Slice of Frank's Life" blog post for today, but who wants to write the same thing again. Besides, my mind was back on photos when I wrote that post Monday evening late. It's going to really be nice to have 3 days off this coming weekend.

Monday, April 6, 2009

April 6, 2009

A minor drop to 221.5 for my weight this morning. The big news on the healthy front today is my annual physical is scheduled for 8:30. I've already done the blood work and there's nothing fancy about the physical today. No treadmills or anything like that, just checking the results from the lab, a little talking, a little minor probing, and hopefully that's about it.

With physicals, your weight only gets recorded one time a year so I don't know if I've gained or lost weight since my last physical. Because of blogging, I know I'm a few pounds lighter than what I weighted on February 23, 2006. I was actually 230 pounds at the beginning of 2006, so not getting heavier over 3 years is something positive. It's just not positive enough.

Regarding more balance in my life, this past weekend wasn't too bad even though it was all photography. Yesterday I had to work from about 2 till 7 which caused me to miss the first half of the Crawdad Hole Music Festival. That might be a good thing because I got there for the last two bands and took over a thousand photos. A lot will be deleted. Trying to figure out the lighting at these small concerts where the guys are so close to floodlights is difficult for my level of expertise. And when the only lighting on the drummer is a red floodlight, it's hard to get a shot that isn't extremely red. I could really use a mentor in trying to figure all of this out, but the more likely solution is that I take time to study about photography instead of just taking photos and trying to discover the answer on my own.

Got to get to work. I'll write about the results of the physical later today or in the morning. I'm not expecting any terrible news--knock on wood.

UPDATE: All of the blood work came back normal so it looks like I might live another year. My cholestoral was about 150, a huge improvement from the 250's of the past thanks to me finally agreeing to take Vytorin. The thing is, a few years ago they wanted the "bad cholestoral" number under 130. Now they want it under 100 and mine was at 106. That means I'll be bumped up to a stronger dosage when I get the next perscription filled. Like everyone else, I'd prefer to be healthy without the drugs and I resisted taking them for a few years. Now I figure I'm a fool if I don't spend some extra money for better health.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

April 5, 2009

I worked till almost midnight and now it's just after 5 on Sunday morning. I shouldn't be up this early and hopefully there's a 2 hour nap in my immediate future. My eyes still want sleep, my hip and back are a little too sore for a quick return to dreamland so I'm hoping that 3 extra strength Excedrin will kick in to solve that problem.

Today's weight was 222 pounds, same as yesterday. Yesterday's eating pattern was acceptable. It would have been nice if I had walked 3-4 miles instead of just one short walk to the grocery store. Speaking of the grocery store, I've decided that I need to cut way back on the processed food that comes in packages you can tear open with your hands. That's a general rule with plenty of exceptions. However, it would catch many main food groups that need to come out of my daily diet: hot pockets, frozen pizza, candy bars, snack packs of crackers, cereal bars, popcorn, and things like a bag of cookies or chips. Cans with pop-tops are okay. Take away the pineapples and soup type items and I'd starve.

As mentioned, this is simply a rule to make me think. Yogurt is good for me and that's something that is easily opened by hand. Hot pockets and popcorn aren't terrible as long as I don't overdo the frequency. The main thing is for me to think before eating, and for me to realize that things that are packages in cellophane, paper, or cardboard, are often fast food items that aren't the top choice for a healthy diet.

As for the rebalancing my life thing, I'll have to admit that yesterday was mostly spent editing photos from start to finish. The photos will be a big part of April as the spring sports end up at Millsaps so there's not much way to get around a lot of computer time. Rebalancing my life doesn't mean dropping the photography or cutting back tremendously. It's about keeping the obsession with photography under control and then being more efficient with the time that I do have away from my real job and this pro bono job.

The good news is that most of the Fondren music photos were edited. The big chunk of time went to the Passenger Jones and Owen Beverly photos. A smaller amount of time went for photos of a singer named Sanders Bohlke, sort of an Iron and Wine type singer, and then getting the Maloney Trophy photos done from Millsaps baseball. I need to edit the photos from last weeks Millsaps softball and I want to take photos all afternoon and evening at the Crawdad Hole 7th Annual Music Festival. Unfortunately, we have a problem at work that involves meeting with a consultant this afternoon at 3 and that hampers my planning.

Okay, it's almost 6 on Sunday morning and I have the Excedrin's washed down by a diet soda, so maybe I can nap if the aches are masked by the pain killers and the DT's are stopped by guzzling a Diet Pepsi. It seems unlikely that I'll ever break the diet soda addiction--water just tastes so bad which is strange since it is suppose to be tasteless. When I get up again, maybe I can get some things done with my morning other than editing photos since I'm trying to rebalance my life. Actually, I just need to get a few real life weekend things done since I'll be out till close to midnight this evening--the music festival ends around 11 this evening and I'll catch as much of the ending as possible after working at the office.

One last thing. It's too early to tell where this new version of the blog is going. Right now it seems like it's become somewhat of a journal/diary type blog. That might work out well for me. The main blog might be "A Slice of Frank's Life", but it's a little boring when it focuses too much on my life. This blog might be the place for me to write to myself, providing the little reminders about the pitfalls that are ahead and reflections on things I've done in the recent past. In general, it can be the place where I can write whatever I want without worrying about being interesting to anyone else. We'll see how it goes.

Update, 10:00 am: I went back to bed just before 6 this morning. The hard part about sleeping is trying to cut out the thinking. My brain is like that one person who wants to stay at the party another hour when everyone else has been ready to leave for an hour. I think about things that need to be done, things that have taken place, random thoughts pop up that then get shaped into one of my mental blog posts, one of those things that gets written in my head and never makes it to the blog. Maybe I dream, but mostly I daydream about things. It's almost like I'm trying to tell myself a bedtime story.

Thinking in bed is one of my greatest pleasures in life. Unfortunately, it is not something I control. There seems to be no way to turn it off. Counting sheep isn't possible since I can visualize sheep just as I can't visualize anything else with real clarity. If I turn on a CD it sometimes helps and at other times my mind sings along to the songs and gets ready to party for yet another hour. Sometimes I try to find that thin line on the volume where you can tell the stereo is on without being able to make out the words.

At one time I copied a series of cassette tapes from the public library. It was one of these TV evangelists who had some preaching series. Sermons often put me to sleep so I thought this might be a good plan. That was probably 20 years ago and I don't think it got tried very much. There's something that seems inherently wrong about playing preaching show that you can intentionally ignore it.

Well, I didn't mean to write all of the above. I was simply going to report that after a few sputters and starts to my nap, I slept solid from 7 to 9 this morning and then I went into snooze mode for another 45 minutes. While I have a ton of things to do, nothing was more important than getting that extra sleep before the work week begins.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

April 4, 2009

Today I changed the blog name to "Rebalancing My Life". It's not the first time the name has been changed and it might not be the last. While the most evident change in my life over recent years has been the return to the obesity of my youth, there are other changes that have taken place. Mostly these changes center about pulling back from the outside world and going more into solitude. That's not a good way to live.

This pull back is mostly a result of two things. First, when I go to events where I can be social, such as sports or parties or concerts, my main goal now is to take photographs instead of visit with friends and enjoying the evening. Second, all of these photos mean incredible hours spent at home processing the photos. These two things won't go away unless I greatly cut back greatly on the photography and that's unlikely. What I need to do is cut back some and then take that newly created time to get back to the things I once enjoyed so much.

It's a real internal battle. I can always find something else that needs to be photographed. When some free time does pop up in my life, my first impulse is to find something to photograph. That's got to stop. My time would be better spent recharging the other areas of my life. My time might also be better spent studying some about photography instead of rushing out to take more photos. In the short term, I hate to miss out on events to photograph. In the long term, my life and photography will be better with a little more balance and more time given to myself.

For the record, my weight this morning was 222 pounds. I'd like to get that down to 175 pounds over the next few months, lets say by the beginning of the 2009-10 school year at Millsaps. I'll feel better physically and mentally. There is such a huge connection between the physical and mental. When I was in college I lost a lot of weight and went from always having been overweight to fit and athletic--it was a dramatic change. I don't know if it was the mental side in the form of improved self-confidence that allowed me to lose weight, or did losing weight improve my self-confidence. Those two things are so intertwined and it seems like that's been part of my problem of late.

Without much of a life outside of taking photos and sitting at home working on photos, there's not much motivation to lose weight. If I were out more, being more social, trying to chase down a tennis ball--those things would give me a reason to lose weight. For whatever the reason, the concept of losing weight so you will live 6-8 years longer isn't much of a motivator. Rewards in the very distant future never are.

So that's my new approach. When I lost that weight back in college it wasn't with any specific diet or approach other than the fact that I really wanted to lose weight because it would make my life better. I need to rediscover that desire because losing weight now really would make my life better.

Friday, April 3, 2009

April 3, 2009

It's time to start caring again. Mostly it times to stop eating again. I've gotten myself in a big mess with my weight, carrying way to much fat to consider myself healthy. In addition, my activity level has dropped to the point where my fitness level is a joke.

This losing weight and getting back some fitness has to move up the ladder of priorities. It won't replace the photos at the top of the heap, but it has to be almost at that level. That's really the key--it has to fall into the obsession category like the photos. This wishy-washy approach doesn't work, it leaves too many excuses for failure. I need to be obsessed with getting this weight off--how to get to that point isn't quite clear. At least I can be obsessed today with the idea that I won't eat unless I'm hungry. No need to count calories--just don't eat unless I'm hungry--and that goes double for all the Easter candy that people have out at their desks.

9:40--A good day to get willpower. One of the ladies brought a whole bunch of cookies and brownies for her co-workers today. They look great and I'm sure they taste great. I'll pass. At this very moment, I want to make some big changes in my life. The weight and fitness is a key part, but far from all of the things I want to change. My life needs a huge overhaul and hopefully I'll be able to push through long enough to create some major changes.