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

Friday, May 29, 2009

May 29, 2009--220.5 Pounds (3 pounds lost)

Here are the recent numbers:

---About 2,500 calories yesterday.
---Walked about 3 miles to Millsaps and practiced racquetball for 10-15 minutes. Don't want to overdo this and really gimp up my hip.
---Walked about 4 miles with Boty this morning.
---Stretched about 20 minutes yesterday.

The last one is the biggest one. With the heat going up, the walking during office break periods has come to a halt. I've brought a yoga mat to work and plan on stretching during my breaks. Maybe, just maybe, that will help my leg to the point where I could actually jog, and I feel like jogging is the thing that would push my weight loss along the fastest.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

May 28, 2009--221.5 Pounds ( 2 pounds lost)

The weight I post to the blog is what I see on the scales first thing in the morning. That's always a pound or two lighter than what I weigh before going to bed. I knew last night that today would be bad and I considered the possibility of "forgetting" to post today, or posting today without putting a weight. Let's face it, it's embarrassing to do so poorly and while some of this jump is temporary because of Wednesday night, I'm afraid that much of it is due to backsliding from the last week.

It all goes back to a familiar pattern. I stop posting the food list to the blog even though I'm still keeping a list. Then I start keeping up with the calories in my head instead of actually writing a list. Soon after that, all accountability is out the window. You know the old story about Thomas Edison failing 10,000 times before inventing the electric light bulb? It's starting to feel like I'm closing in on his number of failures with my dieting efforts.

I know the things to do for success, a pattern that isn't perfect or one that I'd recommend for others, but one that has worked for me. The path to success isn't hard to find, it's just hard to follow. I'll get back on today, definitely going back to the food list and walking to Millsaps this evening for more racquetball practice and stretching. It's possible to salvage a decent weight loss number for this month and the overall 4 month goal is still possible with some drastic improvements in my behavior. Maybe today's weigh-in will give me a push towards those drastic changes.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

May 27, 2009--219.5 Pounds (4 pounds lost)

This seems to be a popular weight. The good news from yesterday is my first outing to the fitness center at Millsaps. I walked there and back for a total of about 3 miles. There were no photos along the way so it was a little better exercise than my normal walks. At Millsaps I hit a racquetball around for the first time in years. Hit the ball went surprising well. Moving to the ball went surprising well considering that my expectations on that couldn't have been any lower. Heck, the fact that I didn't trip and fall down at least once exceeded my expectations. I'm really starting near the bottom of the athletic scale, as low as I've every been since my childhood string of non-stop athletic lowlights.

Memorial Day has got me all messed up on my days. Today is Wednesday. If the diet was my single focus in life, I'd skip the gathering at Nick's tonight. If just about everyone else was showing up every week for the full timeslot, then I'd consider coming late and leaving early. While skipping and partially participating are options, I'm sure I'll show up to meet with the early birds or bird or to sit by myself, and then I'll stay till the bartender gives me the check because he knows that I'll leave him the best tip. I'm like the government--if it ain't my money, I can be a big spender!!!

The good thing about today is I'm not tired. There was no getting up in the evening because I couldn't sleep. After the racquetball, it seemed like non-sleep from pain was a certainty. With that in mind, I did take some OTC painkillers before going to bed. That might have to become a daily habit if that's what it takes to get enough rest.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

May 26, 2009--219.5 Pounds (4 pounds lost)

Another early morning weight as it was obvious at 4 this morning that my sleep was over for the night. I got up and wrote tomorrow's slice of Frank post and naturally had a diet soda to help me think.

It would be nice to end this month with 7 pounds lost. That's not the goal, but it's better than nothing and it's better than 4. Progress is being made and clothes fitting better is confirmation of what I'm seeing on the scale. The walking is helping. I walked about 4 miles yesterday. Good for burning calories but it does nothing for my heart since I'm stopping to take photos or visiting with people I meet along the way. Once again, it's not a perfect routine but it's better than nothing.

This week I'll try to get by Millsaps and use the fitness center up there. I never knew that Millsaps alums could use it for free. That's a deal I need to take advantage of this summer while I have the time. I'm looking forward to hitting a racquetball again after giving up the sport several years ago when I dropped my YMCA membership. I need an activity like that to make me sweat.

Monday, May 25, 2009

May 25, 2009--220 Pounds (3.5 pounds lost)

Part of bouncing back up to 220 pounds is that this weigh-in came at about 3:45 in the morning. If I was able to sleep till 6:30, the number would more likely be 219. If I was able to sleep late on a holiday, like to about 8:30, the total would probably be 218.5 pounds.

The reality is that I've been awake since at least 3, thinking and not feeling like sleep was coming again this morning. Part of it is a pain in my lower right leg, somewhere on the outside portion just above the ankle. It's one of those things that is bothersome when I start walking and then it usually gets better after a few minutes. It's sometimes that's bothersome during the day but I can move my foot or leg or stretch and let my mind get distracted by other things so it's not too bad. The worst time is when it bothers me and I'm trying to sleep. I can't move enough in bed to get comfortable and when I try to calm my mind for sleep, the pain becomes too noticeable. It's simply a discomfort that makes sleeping difficult at times. I'm getting ready to take some over the counter pain killer in a minute and maybe that will help, but I don't want to get into the habit of taking a couple of pills before going to sleep every night.

I believe all my pain on the right side is connected and that losing weight would help make it mostly go away. Losing weight is more easily achieved by a regular dose of walking, which naturally creates more of the pain. Things have gotten to the point where I may actually, seriously consider stretching. Stretching is one of those things that I hate to do, and in the short term it has always added to the pain, but it's one of those things that I'd sure rather try instead of thinking about hip surgery.

I'm really tired, but there's no point going back to bed yet. Maybe when the pain killers kick in and after I've moved around some, I'll be able to sleep for another hour or two. This is why I seem to be tired all the time, this inability to get a good nights sleep. Old age sure brings on a wide range of complications.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

May 24, 2009--218.5 Pounds (5 pounds lost)

Not much to say today. Nice to see a drop, makes it hard to see losing an average of 10 pounds per month with all this up and down going on.

I'm trying to eat light this morning and early afternoon because the Millsaps baseball team has a banquet at Schimmel's Restaurant at 4:30 and I'm invited. It seems unlikely that the day will end under 2,000 calories even though I'll be around 700 before the banquet. The key is to not let it all get too bad.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

May 23, 2009--219.5 Pounds (4 pounds lost)

Didn't we just go through this--stuck at a higher level after a setback and then seeing no progress for a few days?

The story of my weigh-ins seems to follow the pattern of trying to keep a hyper-active child or pet calm. Once you get things settled down, all goes very smoothly until the least little disturbance and then it gets wild in a hurry and it takes a while for everything to settle back down. When I'm clicking off multiple good days, then things are very smooth. Then along comes one bad day and the weight jumps back up and waits there, not wanting to settle down very fast.

The lesson to be learned is stop having bad days, or at least cut them down to not so bad when in an unavoidable situation.

Friday, May 22, 2009

May 22, 2009--219.5 Pounds (4 pounds lost)

I didn't do anything special Thursday to recover from Wednesday night. Just the opposite was done as I let some of the frustration and irritation from Wednesday cause Thursday to be a bad day overall. Throw in the elements of me going through a stretch of constantly being tired and my hip and right leg being bothersome, probably from too much walking, and it's really been a bad last couple of days.

That's water under the bridge now. What can be done is to make Friday a sub-2,000 day. I'm off to a good start by resisting the urge to eat a cereal bar at home this morning. The first thing I'll eat today is a yogurt at work. The second thing I'll eat today is another yogurt at work, and that will only be after I truly get hungry.

I wasn't about to type "this isn't hard" and then I realized that yes it is hard. Let your guard down for a minute and half a day of good effort is gone. Let some negative emotion creep in like I was feeling about Wednesday night, and it's easy to think "the hell with it" and set the diet back two days or more. Dieting is hard when your body goes into full force "save this guy from starving" mode. Dieting is hard when there's so much food available and you've laid off your favorites for so long--Wendy's, ice cream, Sugar Babies, and on and on and on.

Dieting is hard, but not impossible. The rewards are huge but they seem so far down the road that they appear minuscule during day-to-day living. That's why I have to focus. That's why I have to plan on eating yogurt once, then yogurt again, then just one hot pocket and a yogurt for lunch. It's not impossible and the rewards really are huge in so many ways. I just have to dig deeper and stay more focus. I can do this.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

May 21, 2009--219.5 Pounds (4 pounds lost)

This weight gain was well earned on two fronts. First, I was tired yesterday so I did eat a little too much at work. That was offset somewhat by walking at both break periods. The bigger damage was done by the Wednesday night get together.

What I needed to do yesterday was go home, take a nap and then walk. That's been my pattern of late and the positive results have shown up in the mornings. Instead, I tried to take care of an errand after work, by 5 I felt like I could barely stay awake so I went through a fast food drive-in for the first time in about 2 weeks, and then came the beer and nuts at the bar. The result wasn't 3 pounds of real fat gained, but the temporary jump in weight is a setback.

One of the "gang of 8" lost about 30 pounds in the last year or so. When I spoke about trying to diet and do the Wednesday night thing, he said that what he did was show up, have one beer and one glass of water, and then he left early. It would be nice if my option was that simple--or if I would allow myself to take such a simple option.

The Wednesday group has really been just 7 in 2009. My brother, for reasons unrelated to the group, the bar, alcohol, etc, decided about 6 months ago that he had to cut some things out of his life and the Wednesday night group was a casualty. He had been the ringleader. He and I had been the most loyal attendees, but not by much because in the beginning everyone tried to work their schedule around our Wednesday evening gathering.

Now we have 7 and I'm the only one who consistently shows up early and stays till the end. There was a time when of the 7, we were often failing to get a majority. That has improved now that I send out an email to everyone on Wednesday morning, trying to be clever and reminding them about Nick's in the evening. It hasn't improved to the point that I can come late, have a beer and water, and then leave early.

For example, last night one guy got there before 5:30. In theory we meet at 6:00, but some come straight from work and are there by 5:30. I joined him at about 5:30 and we were the only ones there for about 30 minutes. He probably wouldn't have stayed till 6 if I hadn't shown up. Then two others came in with one being my brother for the first time this year. Finally a fifth member came in for the last half hour or so.

It doesn't sound bad, 5 of the 8 showing up. In the no-shows we had 2 out-of-town and 1 sick. But without my brother's rare and surprise visit it's down to 4. Take me out of the equation and it is down to 3 with one guy sitting by himself from 5:30 to 6:00, then 2 guys talking from 6:00 to 6:30, and finally they would be joined for a few minutes by a third member of the group. The group has been on thin ice for 6 months and the cracks were starting to show even prior to that. There just doesn't seem to be a way for me to skip out and focus on my diet without the group ending, so I'm doing the best I can with this landmine in my path every week. It does get a little frustrating and maybe what we need is to take the summer off from meeting. That would make my dieting an easier task to tackle.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

May 20, 2009--216.5 Pounds (7 pounds lost)

While there were a few too many cereal bars consumed yesterday and that might have bumped, my total up to 2,500 calories, I walked at both break times and after work for a total of about 75-80 minutes. I'll have to be careful on the cereal bars today and with the temptation of snacking at Nick's tonight since the long walk may be out for tonight. I'm toying with the idea of walking to Nick's which is about 2.5 miles, and then walking back after a long rest and 3 beers. The problem isn't the distance or the beers, it's the heavy traffic and lack of sidewalks. My guess is that this is a good plan in theory and a bad plan in reality.

The last three weeks have really pointed out the emotion roller coaster and pitfalls that come with dieting. The first week was great as I lost 4-5 pounds with ease and with enthusiasm. The second week started off with the admittedly horrible diet breaking performance at the baseball game. That, along with my body's desire to get back to 222, gave me several days of feeling like almost all progress had been lost.

Once the baseball night was overcome, there was the much smaller hiccup at the baby shower. That was just last Friday, but it had me thinking that maybe the idea of losing 10 pounds in a month was too lofty a goal. I even mentioned that maybe it would be more realistic to shoot for 25 pounds in 4 months. Now all of a sudden I'm back on track for 40 in 4 and my emotions are high like they were in the first week.

Some will say that this is proof that a person shouldn't weigh every day. They are wrong in my opinion. When you weigh once a week, there is a tendency to think you can cheat a little right after the weigh-in day and make it up later. There's less accountability. There's also less knowledge being gained. My Friday weights have been 223.5, 221.5, and 218.5, and those weights don't really tell me much about how my body reacts to eating binges or days when I walk a lot. More numbers give me more knowledge. I just have to be strong emotionally when the numbers don't seem fair or when the numbers are so good that I'm tempted to cheat a little.

Got to got to work. This has to be a very good day at work and a 3 beer/no snacks night at Nick's . Maybe I can hold on to 216.5 if those things are accomplished.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

May 19, 2009--217 Pounds (6.5 pounds lost)

Praise the Lord and pass the raisins! (See Anne's comment about raisins on yesterday's post.)

We all know that 2.5 pounds of fat wasn't lost yesterday. It was a good day, right at 2,000 calories and 50-55 minutes of walking, just not a day when one could believe that about 8,000 calories of fat were burned.

Going back to yesterday's comments, Todd was talking about his weight being stuck at about 221 and I talked about the reality of weight plateauing (spellchecker won't like that word). Looking back on my diet for almost 3 weeks, this is about where I should be if dieting was a perfect action/reaction system. It's not. Sometimes you do great and gain weight. Sometimes you cheat and are "rewarded" the next day with a 1.5 pound weight loss. Eventually it all evens out.

My quick drop and Todd's quick drop were both a little too much too fast. If only dieting were so easy, but I believe we simply got the drop on our weight control mechanism. In my case, any bad day seemed to be severely punished by too much weight gain and too long to take that weight back off. It's all the give and take of reestablishing a setpoint. Hopefully, my body has retreated and is willing to let the setpoint drop to this 217 mark or maybe all the way back to that 215 beachhead. The key is to not get discouraged. The right actions will eventually create the right reactions by the body. You just have to have faith.

More to come but I have to get to work..........Okay, here's a little more:

I wanted to read and comment on the link left by Anne in yesterday's comment section. There were a lot of good tips and reminders in that article. The advice given was the exact opposite of what Todd is trying, suggesting that people should eat less meat and more fruits and vegetables if they want to lose weight. I'm not sure that there is a "one plan fits all" solution to dieting and good health. I'm fairly certain that my habit of avoiding meat, fruit and vegetables isn't the best route to follow, and if I'm able to change, the change towards more fruits and vegetables would be the more appealing route to me. Others would be more comfortable going in the opposite direction.

It seems to me that ultimately, losing weight comes down to what was said at the top of the list from Anne's link. To lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you consume. Maybe certain diets induce the body to do a faster job of this, but just about anything will work if a person is consistent and persistent in their efforts. That's really the key. Find something that you can follow and then stick with it long enough to let it work. I can do that.

Monday, May 18, 2009

May 18, 2009--219.5 Pounds (4 pounds lost)

I'm a little bummed out that I've gotten hung up at the spot. Then again, am I really making a full effort to get past this point? The reality is that at 57 years old and with walking as my only physical activity, my metabolism isn't revved up very high. When my calories are cut to about 2,000 per day, my body has no problem getting by on that without having to burn any reserves. Maybe it will eventually need to burn some fat, but not in the short term.

With Todd on the Aikens diet (spelling?), it makes me think that a shakeup in my food selection would be a good idea. I'm not exactly sure what that change will be, but it's something that needs to be investigated. One reason this post is being written earlier than usual today is so I'll have time to stop at Walmart for some grocery shopping prior to work. More yogurt is a definite and then making sure that I eat 3 yogurts a day is a must. The only way that will probably happen is to cut out the crackers--I might not be able to cut out the cereal bars.

Anyway, change is needed to some extent. How much change I'm willing to make is the big question mark. Maybe the change that makes the most sense it to go for a 25 pound loss in 4 months, but it's a little too early to lower the bar. I lost close to 10 pounds a month in 2006 so it should not be an impossible goal in 2009.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

May 17, 2009--219.5 Pounds (4 pounds lost)

I haven't gotten away from keeping up with my food, but the scanned index card may be a thing of the past. First, it's a pain to scan the card each morning, especially on work days. Second, I recognize that my food choices are different and not the healthiest way to go. If posting those choices here would "shame" me into better choices, then it would serve a purpose to list my food items. It doesn't seem like posting my choices is making me change anything at all, so the only thing the scanned index cards do is highlight an eccentric part of my life. I'll skip that in the future.

On the dieting, my calorie count yesterday was right at 2,000 and I walked 6 miles in 3 outings of about 30-40 minutes each. Since my Friday eating wasn't really all that bad, it really seemed like the walking would take me back to at least the 218.5 mark. I'm getting the impression that my internal controls aren't happy about leaving the 220's and the area around 218-219 might be a plateau level for me.

While my exact scientific understanding might be a little shaky, I feel like my grasp of how weight loss works is fairly accurate, at least as it applies to my body. Like a computer, the internal workings of the human body can be very "smart" and very "dumb" at the same time. A computer isn't really smart at all. It simply follows instructions at a blinding speed so it can come up with solutions far faster than what the smartest human could do in their head or with pencil and paper. And when a computer spits out a $5,005,100 home electric bill instead of one for $500.51, it isn't dumb even though almost every adult would immediately see the error. A computer does what it is told and bad software leads to bad results.

The human body has its software that controls the vast majority of what we do. That's good. I wouldn't want to be thinking all day about when to do a heart beat, when to release the white blood cells, how to get enough oxygen to every single cell in the body, what fluids do I release to digest my food, etc. All of these functions are turned over to an internal control and our conscious mind is almost helpless to fiddle with the results. We can consciously stop breathing, but not for long. We might be able to lower our heart rate with chants of "serenity now", but we can't choose to stop our heart all together. Most things we can't control at all, as in we can't think away the creation of new cancer cells.

Our body weight is in a gray zone. We have control, just not full control of the situation. Our internal control comes up with a target weight based on a wide variety of factors. Some are things beyond our control now--body type, were we fat in our very early years, have we gotten this "obesity virus" that has been talked about recently, and our previous instructions we've given the body through our eating habits. That last one is important. My actions of eating more than I need for years boils down to me telling my internal controls that I need to be fatter. Fortunately for me, the body is very reluctant to heed these "get fatter" instructions or else I would be morbidly obese right now. Unfortunately, my body seems to be very reluctant to heed my "get slimmer" instructions as well.

The good news is that the body is far more willing to lose weight than it is to gain. That's logical. All this excess fat and carrying so much extra weight 24 hours a day is bad for the body so losing the weight is a good thing--unless it's because you are starving to death. That's a bad thing so the body will apply the brakes, get the lay of the land, slow things down, and try to figure out why a person who has been sending so many "get fatter" instructions has suddenly changed over to "get slimmer". Hey, all of us would be suspicious of any sudden 180 degree turn in someone and would want to proceed with caution until this new attitude was proven to be sincere.

So right now my internal controls are suspicious of my lower calories and increased walking. I haven't built up much trust and it seems like every bad day is taken as confirmation that I'm not really serious. Then I have to work hard to regain my previous level of trust. After a while, that level of trust might increase a little and the body will allow for a little more weight loss. Not too much all at once, but a little more trust and then we'll see how it goes before trusting a little bit more.

That's how it seems to work for me. When I was younger and more active, the process went faster and the drops were bigger. Now that I sit in a chair most of the day, my internal controls don't seem to feel any great need to rush the process. Besides, I've sent them A LOT of "get fatter" instructions over the years so I understand the reluctance to accept this new me. I just need to keep earning trust and not get upset if that trust doesn't come as fast as I'd like. If I do all of the right things and 4 months only brings 30 pounds of weight loss, then that's the way it will have to be. So far I've only been doing some of the right things so it shouldn't be a surprise that my pace isn't what I'd like. Doing the right things is something I control and that's what I need to focus on instead of how much weight I'm losing and how fast.

It is all so simple on paper. Why do we make it all so hard in reality?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

May 16, 2009 -- weight unknown

I didn't weigh this morning because my watch was lost. What's sad about that excuse is the truthfulness of the statement.

In a sleep news stunner, I actually slept till 7:30 this morning after only getting up once during the night. Being a Saturday, my morning routine isn't as exact as the typical work day so I headed to the bathroom and the shower thinking about my weekend schedule and wondering where I had left my watch. I wear my watch when sleeping, out of habit mostly, but now it's handy because the light feature on my Casio allows me to check the time in the middle of the night without finding my glasses and turning on a light to see a clock.

So it's puzzling to me that the watch is missing, especially when it isn't in the bathroom. Sometimes I remove it before taking a shower even though it is supposedly water resistant up to 100 meters below the water's surface, a claim I've yet to test. Now I'm out of sync from sleeping so late, trying to figure out my plans for the day, and wondering where the heck could I have left that watch. Habit got me in and out of the shower, teeth brushed and shave skipped, and then dressed appropriately for a walk to Mother's house later this morning. That's when I remembered my failure to weigh.

Sure I could have stripped off all the clothes and weighed, but tieing up my right shoe is a bother with my ailing right hip, so I didn't bother. Besides, and I swear this wasn't the prevailing reason but maybe just a tiny factor, it wasn't going to be a good weigh-in. We had a baby shower at work yesterday and my plan was to skip like all the other guys, but all the other guys don't have a reputation as a decent photographer. So it was all the women at work, plus the head of the company who also is the grandfather-to-be, and me as the photographer. While my restraint was much better than Friday night at the baseball game, it was still a bad day for a supposed dieter.

We'll see how much damage was done when I weigh in tomorrow. My plan is to hide the evidence with a very good effort today, including walking to Mother's and back this morning to help her with a small list of chores. There might be a second walk included in the evening to take care of the 2nd (and yes, 3rd) piece of chocolate cake. They were very small pieces and it was very good cake. Only a martyr could have resisted.

Friday, May 15, 2009

May 15, 2009--218.5 Pounds (5 pounds lost)

Once again there were too many crackers and cereal bars on my card yesterday. It pushed my calorie total into the 2,000-2,500 range, not a bad level except when trying to lose 10 pounds per month. I did walk 60 minutes yesterday, a short walk during my morning break and a longer walk in the evening.

Todd left a comment yesterday or the day before about his energy level. I can't remember the exact term used, but it sounded like the same thing as the body's metabolism. Mine metabolism isn't very high. So much of my day involves sitting at a computer, I don't play sports, and things in general go slower when you get older. That's why I'm really trying to get out often to walk. At first I thought the Garmin device that measures distance walked would be a good tool to get me out and about. Now it seems like my camera and starting the "Photos From Fondren" blog has been better. Whatever works is fine with me.

On the weight loss, today marks the second complete week of dieting. There's a part of me that really would like to be further along even though I'm right on pace to meet my goal. It's funny, but I would be horrified at the prospect of weighing 340 pounds by next May 1st, but that's what I'd be if there was a 5 pound weight gain every two weeks. If that rate of gain would be horrific, shouldn't I be ecstatic about that same rate of loss? It's something to think about when feeling like a diet is going too slow.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

May 14, 2009--218.5 Pounds (5 pounds lost)

I'm at work so we'll have to skip the scanning of the index card.

Yesterday wasn't great because of too many crackers and cereal bars needed to get through the day. It would have been a good day to leave early and take a nap. Instead, I left work at the regular time and then took a nap.

Not a long nap, and then I went out for a 4 mile walk. It's odd, but both napping and exercise seem to be good for exhaustion. The calorie count yesterday was between 2,000 and 2,500 so it was actually a good day for the diet when the exercise is added into the mix. Oh yeah, I skipped the Wednesday get together at Nick's. Part of the reason for that is the need to string together a lot of days without a major stumble.

Today will be a better day and I really want to get a nice drop between now and Monday morning. It's going to take a lot of good behavior to reach 213.5 by the end of the first month.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

May 13, 2009--218 Pounds (5.5 pounds lost)

Someone at the CDC dropped me a note yesterday. It said:

Dear Sir: Please note that the CDC has not changed the basic food groups to crackers, cereal bars, hot pockets, yogurt and pineapple. Based on your food choices, it appears that you have become the victim of a hoax.

I know my food choices is an area needing work. Right now the focus is on the volume of food, later it can shift to better food.

The drop of 5 pounds in a few days seems a little bit of a hoax as well, except that I'm not much lower than my weight at this time last week. In my primitive way of understanding the body, it seems like the subconscious thought Friday's food binge might be an attempt to get back to the 222 set point. It held that level for a few days before deciding Friday was a false alarm. After that, the level has dropped back to what it probably would have been if I had skipped eating at the ballgame Friday.

At least that's my theory. The good news is I'm now ahead of the pace needed to reach my goal. More good news is being 4 pounds under that 222 level which my body stuck with for a long time. Getting below 215 is the next big challenge. That was the biggest setpoint on my return back to 225 pounds. I held the line there for months, working hard to not go higher and not working hard enough to go lower. My subconscious might actually be working hard to return to that comfortable location. Once he gets there, it might be hard to convince him to leave.

First things first. Before worrying about the subconscious clinging to 215, I need to get down to that level. My plan is to really work at making that happen by next Monday's weigh-in.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

May 12, 2009--219.5 Pounds (4 pounds lost)

Never question a 2.5 pound loss. Just be grateful and then don't drop your guard and give up the progress. This number is much better than the last two days, plus it moves me back to the pace of losing 10 pounds in a month.

The surprise is that this loss came after I failed to get out for a walk Monday evening. I piddled around on the internet after getting home, mostly checking on the buzz about the NCAA D3 Baseball Tournament, and then wrote a long post for the "Slice" blog. Somewhere in there should have been 30 minutes of walking. Not every walk has to be over an hour or involve taking photos. Some days I need to just go out the door and walk two miles as a break from sitting at the computer.
Todd, congratulations on the rapid success of your diet. I've wondered what it would do for me to go on one of those high protein diets. It would be such a huge change from my normal routine, so maybe that would create a huge drop in my weight. Even though my current diet is woefully lacking in protein, it doesn't seem like the food choices would be a problem on one of those high protein diets. The problem would be food preparation with requirements being greater than tearing open a package or starting up a microwave. While cooking is something I can do, it's not something I care to do.
My goal for today is to stay under 220 pounds. There was a point early in 2006 when I was certain that never again in my life would I weigh over 220 pounds. That "never again weight" moved down to 210 pounds and then 200 pounds. I honestly thought in the spring of 2006 that my weight would never, ever cross over the 200 pound mark for the remainder of my life. Letting that happen towards the end of 2006 or early in 2007 was a monumental failure on my part.
Now I'm back to trying to put the 220's out of my life forever. Within a week that should be a definite reality. Then I can push through 215, 210, 205, and it will be a big day when I leave the 200's altogether. I know this weight loss can be accomplished over the next couple of months. I believe this weight loss can be maintained for a lifetime.

Monday, May 11, 2009

May 11, 2009--222 Pounds (1.5 pounds lost)

(Before I forget, you might enjoy this Youtube video that someone recently sent to me. It's a song called
The Breakfast Song, but it sure sounds like The Diet Song to me.)

Getting back to my diet, this was a disappointing morning. It would be hard to have a better day than Sunday, walking in the morning and having one of my lowest calorie totals so far. I even ate vegetables as an entire meal and the diet soda consumption was low because I ran out. Outside of walking again in the evening, the right things were done throughout the day.

While disappointed, I'm not discouraged. This bounce back up has taken me from being on track to being at half the pace needed, so there's some making up to do. Being discouraged won't help in the catching up process.

The way I see it, and you guys can back me up on this, being on a diet is a lot like being on a date. You start out knowing what needs to be done and things go great as long as you stick to the routine. However, do one stupid thing and the momentum is broken. One stupid thing and then you have to fight like heck to get things flowing smoothly again. Am I right?

While there was nothing wrong about going to the ballgame last Friday and enjoying the evening, I should have showed a little discipline while still enjoying the evening. Let the calories jump to 2,500 or even 3,000 for the evening. Just don't hijack a plate of brownies simply because the diet card isn't being kept. That's a lesson to remember for the next 4 months, 4 years, 40 years.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

May 10, 2009--222 Pounds (1.5 pounds lost)

It's good to get back on track. I'm going out for a 4 mile walk at 7 this morning. Maybe a little more if I cross under the interstate to get a good early morning photo of St. Dominic's Hospital.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

May 9, 2009--223 Pounds (.5 pounds lost)

No diet card and no panic this morning. I followed up the all-nighter Thursday with a trip to the MS Braves baseball game Friday night. A friend invited Fred, Virginia, and I to join him and others at his company's skybox. It was fantastic and a great relief for me to have the chance to be a fan at an athletic event after working the last 60-70 games that I've attended.

With a vast array of free food and drinks, my only shining moment was when passing on an offering from the ice cream cart. That really wasn't a shining moment since I was just too full of everything else to add ice cream to the mix. You know, if it had been an absolute necessity, I could have really held down the eating and the calories last night and still had a good time. It's just that the food added to the experience of going to the ball park with good friends. Last night was a special night and diets have to make room for those exceptions.

The good news is that the sins of the past two days will fade away with the dedication of the next two days. There's no excuse for not walking several miles each day. There's no excuse for not getting back to the diet cards. There's no excuse for not getting back under 2,000 calories each day. I expect to see 220 or lower when stepping on the scales this Monday. Now it's up to me to make that happen.

Friday, May 8, 2009

May 8, 2009--221.5 Pounds (2 pounds lost)

No card today. Instead, a story about why it is so important that I get as much weight off as possible over the next 4 months.

I had to edit baseball photos and burn DVDs last night. Even though I took the afternoon off and worked fairly steady on the editing, it was after 9 before I started burning the DVDs. With over 50 to burn at about 6-7 minutes each, the job was finally finished at 3:30 this morning. That gave me a little over 2 hours of sleep before getting up for work.

So how did I stay up till 3:30? When I had to go buy more blank DVDs last night, I also bought 2 big boxes of Milk Duds. In theory, I needed something loaded with sugar to keep me awake. The second box was probably more about feeling like I deserved a treat for doing so much work. I finished off both boxes last night. That's probably 1,200-1,400 calories of sugar, and it is also probably the only reason I was able to work till 3:30 in the morning.

This is an extreme example, working so late, but there were many weekend days this year when I would get up at 7 to work on photos and hardly leave the computer until 11 or 12 at night. Maybe I could have made it through those days on just 2,000 calories. Maybe I should have taken walking breaks, going out for a 20 minute walk every 2 hours. What tends to happen is that my walks are about 20 feet which takes me to the kitchen and back, and then I can eat on something while I continue to work. Someone with more discipline would do better. Someone with more discipline wouldn't be obese.

Today might be one with a few aftershocks. I'm already exhausted and it isn't even 8 in the morning. Snacking might be the only thing that gets me from hour to hour until I can take off late this morning to deliver the DVDs and then go home to sleep. I'll try to do good and there should be no excuses after today. There are a few little things on the photos that need to be done, but this year's project is 99.8% done unless someone pays for me to go with the baseball team to the NCAA Tournament. That's very unlikely.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

May 7, 2009--220.5 Pounds (3 pounds lost)

Actually a pretty good day for a Wednesday. Rain in the morning prevented that walk. Nick's in the evening took away the time to walk through Fondren. Going with the pizza instead of something less was because of the 3 light beers--I felt like getting something more substantial than soup in my stomach. And leaving Nick's bar after only consuming 300 calories was great. The bowl of mixed nuts on the table were calling my name all evening but I didn't listen. Once I start mindlessly eating those it is assured that I'll eat at least 500 calories worth.

Today needs to be a great dieting day because working on photos will trump any walking in the afternoon. Then I have an invitation to go to a MS Braves baseball game tomorrow and watch from a sky box, so that will up the calorie count on Friday. It's okay for these things to pop up in my schedule from time to time. I just have to make the best of those difficult days, like I did yesterday by staying very close to 2,000 calories.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

May 6, 2009--219 Pounds (4.5 pounds lost)

Here's what we think we know: this rapid weight loss can't go on at such a fast pace. I started on the morning of May 1 and this is May 6. That makes 4.5 pounds lost in 5 days, a great beginning and also an unrealistic pace to maintain after the first few days.

The pace I can continue is the vastly improved actions taken towards losing weight. The lower calories and less diet sodas/more water are things I can do just about every day. There are a few special occasions coming up where staying under 2,000 calories might be difficult, or a case of the dieting really cutting into my life too far, but even at those times I can hold the calories down to some reasonable amount.

It's likewise with the walking. Going out for about 90 minutes like yesterday's outing isn't going to fit into my schedule every day. Like today. The key is that I fit it into my schedule as often as possible, and that I move other things around in my schedule to make room for the walking. My goal calls for losing about 2.5 pounds per week. It helps to get off to such a good start, but it will still leave me with very little room for error. The walking is going to be the key to shorten the plateaus when my body doesn't want to drop to a lower weight. Don't let the momentum die with a stretch of inactivity--that's going to be the key to success over the next 4 months.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

May 5, 2009--219.5 Pounds (4 pounds lost)

There was a time when I thought 4 pounds lost at the beginning of a diet was no big deal. It really was more of a given. Then came about the last 10 diet starts and few if any lasted long enough for me to lose 4 pounds. Most had a lot of problem with that 222 pound mark and I need to be ready for my body to want to return to that point.

The difference with this diet is that I'm actually doing most of the right things. I'm letting myself get hungry before eating. I'm eating less than normal when I do eat. The diet soda consumption has been cut in half. What that does to the weight loss is unknown, but it was greatly needed. And then theirs the ingredient that has been left out of most previous diets, trying to do some sort of exercise each day. It's not much, it's not high paced, but it's something.

I know from experience that my body will not want to drop below the 215 mark. That's a huge setpoint that was held for a long time by my internal controls. It will be great if my weight reaches that point by mid-May because it may take a week of serious work to get the weight loss to drop past that point. All I can do is keep up the right actions and eventually the right reaction will follow.

Reply to Todd's comment because the blogger comment feature can be so screwy:

A good question. I'm trying to really ease back on the diet sodas at night along with doing more exercising, so you would think the sleeping would be less sporatic. So far, not much has changed.

The additional walking has bothered my hip some and that makes it more difficult to get and stay comfortable in bed. That might be a reason that I still wake up several times during the night. This may improve with more walking--it seems like my hip is less sore now because of the consistency of my exercising.

Sleeping through the night would be a very nice side effect of exercise and losing weight. I hope that starts to happen in a month or two.

Frank (I hate it when the blogger comment feature is so problematic)

Monday, May 4, 2009

May 4, 2009--221 Pounds (2.5 pounds lost)

Here's the realization that has finally dawned on me: A diet isn't going to be successful unless you constantly stay near the point of hunger. The problem most of us have is that we rarely allow ourselves to experience hunger and it should be a daily occurrence.

When you get sleepy, the body is telling you that it is time for rest. When you get out of breath, the body is telling you that it is time to slow down. When it gets cold in our environment, our body signals us to seek more warmth. Hunger is what the body uses to tell us that we need to eat, but most of us never wait for that signal. We eat out of habit, we eat out of impulse, we eat to put off starting a task--we eat for just about every reason except for hunger. I'm trying to bring hunger back into my life.

I have been hungry multiple times since starting this diet on May 1. It hasn't been unpleasant. There's always something available to eat, so hunger in my world isn't the point of desperation that it is for many in this world. Hunger is the signal that it's time to eat. If we would all wait for that signal, then the obesity problem in America would rapidly disappear. It really is that simple and I will lose this 40 pounds before the beginning of September because I'm going to be willing to wait for that signal.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

May 3, 2009--221.5 Pounds (2 pounds lost)

This was a weigh-in at 4 in the morning so it would have been lower if my sleep had lasted 2-3 more hours. It doesn't matter. Being dedicated for a few days will always cause a loss in weight as the digestive track holds a little less, and in my case, the body has to deal with far less diet sodas.

My big thing will be to look at the big picture and focus on the actions, not worry about the reaction of the body. These first two days have been very good. Keep it up like this for 5 more days and I'll have a very good week. Then keep it up for another week and I'll have a great first half of the month. Double that effort and it will add up to a great month.

How great a month? I don't know. My goal is to lose 10 pounds a month and this is doable, but it's not exactly under my control. I control my actions and to some extent that allows me to predict the reaction of my body, but it's not an exact science. My body has stabilized in this lower 220's range and it will take steady change to get the mind to lower the setpoint. When I hit 215 (not if I hit 215), I expect the internal workings of my body to draw the line once again. Our bodies hit the brakes like this because for 99.9% of human history, weight loss was the unwanted result of not having enough food.

We have to realize that the body resists both gaining and losing weight. When one looks at the typical American diet, we find that most overweight adults would be over 300 pounds if the body didn't resist gaining weight. The trick is that the body turns up the metabolism to deal with excess in an effort to maintain the current weight. We gain weight only after we overwhelm this safeguard.

It's just like the flooding situation in Jackson. The folks at the reservoir north of town can hold back the flood waters to a point by letting the level of the reservoir rise. However, at some point this capability reaches its limit and they have to allow more of the flood waters to pass through. When we eat more than we need in a typical day, the body can raise the metabolism to take care of the excess. If the excess becomes too much, the body finally goes to plan B and stores the food instead of burning it. Personally, I believe this constant need to burn the excess is the main reason obesity causes disease. It has got to wear down the body when we operate at a higher metabolism than necessary for years at a time.

This sure is a lot of writing for so early in the morning. I have to go the Laundromat this morning and it's nice to get there early when plenty of machines are available. That's why I'm writing and not trying to go back to bed. I can always take a nap after returning from washing clothes. It's kind of sad, but one of the most appealing things about the weekend is the ability to take naps when needed. I'm definitely ready for retirement.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

May 2, 2009--222 Pounds (1.5 pounds lost)

A good beginning and what should be expected on a day when a person cuts way down on food and walks over 4 miles. While 4 months really isn't a long time, this project needs to broken down into smaller segments. Right now the key is to follow up this good day with a good weekend. the good weekend needs to be followed up with a good work week. By putting together these small pieces, I can created one good month and then another, another, and a strong finishing month.

Today the goal is to put together the first half of a great weekend.

Friday, May 1, 2009

May 1, 2009--Losing 40 Pounds in 4 Months?

That's my goal (see note below). I really have 4 months of the year when I'm not planted in front of a computer for much of my free time. There's no point in outlining my plan since you heard it all before. Cutting back quite a bit on food is a must, but there should never be any time when I get hungry and don't eat. The key is to not eat until I actually do get hungry and then don't eat a whole lot. This plan has worked great on the rare occasions when I've stuck with it.

The food journal is a necessity. It's a simple thing to do that is difficult to do. The difficulty comes in having to be responsible and accountable. I'm not sure if it's even important to keep up with calories. Just be accountable and usually that's all it takes to cut back on the food volume and the bad choices.

Walking is the third thing that has to be done. Jogging is out of the question and I need to be careful about how much I walk. My hip is shot. Not to the point that I want to think about a medical solution, but a medical solution is going to be the only answer if I don't start doing the things necessary to ease the stress on my hip. Losing weight is the number 1 thing I can do (and I guess that stretching has to be added at number 1A).

I can do this and it needs to be done before the consequences of obesity become a clear reality.

(Note below: My starting point is the 223.5 I weighed this morning. That weight is less than the 225 when I started blogging and that 225 was down from my high of 230. There is a positive in having gone 3 years without gaining weight. The only problem is the part about losing down to 190 pounds in the first half of 2006 and then gaining it all back within a year. In other words, my positive is a very small positive at best.

This is going to work. That's how I feel at the moment and I like the idea of a set time frame and a set goal. We know the food journal can be kept for 4 months because that has been done in the past. We know the weight will come off if I keep the food journal, because that was the result in the past. The same pattern will work again now--the same actions will create the same reactions.)