Monday, February 04, 2013
Thirteen weeks ago I decided that I was fed up with my physical condition.
Physically I was a wreck.
I “tipped the scales” at over 131 kilograms (~290 pounds).
“Tipped the scales”... what a silly phrase.
I was breaking the scales, literally.
This wasn’t the most I had weighed in calendar year 2012.
And certainly it wasn’t the most I’d ever weighed.
The maximum recorded weight in 2012 - I seldom stepped on the scale, so it could have easily been higher - was 137 kilos.
At my heaviest - at least my recorded heaviest - of all time, I was in the neighborhood of 145kg.
The metric system might confuse the issue for you feet and pounds folks.
“145kg - how much could that possibly be?”, you might ask.
That’s around 315 pounds!
But even at the comparatively svelte 131 kilograms (kidding, of course), life was not good.
I felt horrible.
I was weak, achy and tired most of the time.
My plantar fasciitis was an ongoing problem.
(Plantar fasciitis is a painful foot problem. I had trouble walking in the morning and couldn’t walk any appreciable distance ever. It was AWFUL.)
I had a closet full of clothes that didn’t fit and the few clothes that did fit weren’t fitting all that well. I could barely button my dress pants and I often stood in the walk-in closet wondering “What the heck am I going to wear today?”.
That is a terrible feeling to have.
Life as an obese 45 year old male with a sedentary job, to sum it up, stunk.
I’ve mentioned this a number of times but I’d spent my entire adult life battling obesity.
And while I have little trouble cutting the weight, maintaining the loss has always - ALWAYS - been the hard part for me.
Like a dutiful soldier, I could put up with whatever stupidity some book diet told me to do but eventually it always resulted in my hatred of the program and complete abandonment of my weight loss.
I always - ALWAYS - gained it all back.
Those book diets - from Dr. So-and-So’s to the Such-and-Such Beach one all ended up losing their luster rather quickly for me. Essentially, any program that created taboo foods and blacklists of off-limit ingredients was troublesome. Any program that required me to eliminate a food I loved or substitute it with an unreasonable facsimile was never going to work.
When you like pizza, someone telling you that pizza is a no-no just won’t do.
When you like pancakes, someone telling you that ‘these “tasty” protein pancakes are just as good’... well, don’t believe the hype... they suck. Absolutely horrific.
So this time it needed to be different.
I needed a solution that would work for ME.
At 45 I knew I was running out of time.
That might sound like hyperbole but it is true.
My joints and back ached and my mobility was not good at all.
My plantar fasciitis was a daily impediment to doing what I needed to do.
I live on a farm and I certainly was having difficulty attending to some projects.
Mowing, trimming, throwing hay, raking, etc.
Those things were painful.
Plus, I was doing nothing.
Unless you count sitting on my rump staring at some screen.
I was doing quite a bit of that!
So I needed to change my life.
Without attempting to adhere to some book diet.
Without looking for the latest gimmick or gizmo.
And it ABSOLUTELY needed to be something I could do for the REST OF MY LIFE.
It is revolutionary!
I tracked what I ate.
Created a daily net calorie deficit that was reasonable.
And eventually, once my foot felt better, I started exercising.
“You didn’t use the MegaDetox Juice Fast Smoothie?”
Nope. I sure didn’t. I think trying to lose weight by going on a liquid diet is pure stupidity and missing the point completely. Short of a physician putting you on a liquid diet, there's really no reason to ever do that. I like smoothies just fine - I just don't rely upon that sort of "solution" to lose weight.
“You didn’t tell us about your bariatric surgery.”
Because I didn’t have it done.
I’m not a fan of bariatric surgery and I’m convinced that what needs to change is the THINKING one does NOT the maximum capacity of their stomach.
But I'm not trying to pick a fight with you over this if you've had bariatric surgery. We'll just have to agree to disagree here.
“You didn’t say anything about your specially prepared meals that you had shipped to you.”
That’s because I didn’t need to spend any money on that stuff.
I ate “normal food" that I bought at the farmer’s market or the grocery or ate at a restaurant.
I'm not here to bad-mouth anyone's meal plan but I didn't need to spend money on those things and I'm skeptical that anyone really does.
Again, do what you wish. It isn't MY job to tell you what you should eat. It is YOUR job to figure that out.
I'm happy to give you my opinion. Plainly and simply, I don't think it is either necessary or sufficient to buy special foods. What IS KEY is a diet which is varied and healthful. I think - no, I KNOW - that it is possible for anyone to do this. Quit putting yourself in a box. You can do this.
“Why didn’t you tell us about the gym you went to and personal trainer you used?”
Because I didn’t go to a gym or pay for a trainer. I don’t have anything against gyms or trainers per se but I didn’t use them. I don't have money for a gym membership or for a personal trainer. Perhaps I might consider that if I did, but I don't.
If YOU like the gym or find a personal trainer a valuable component of your "program", then by all means go to the gym and/or get a trainer.
I've got lots of opinions and positions on topics. And while it isn't MY job (or intention for that matter) to convince you that my way is best, I'm perfectly OK giving you my opinion. And you are perfectly free to ignore and/or disagree vehemently with me. Feel free. Just recognize that ad hominem attacks (personal attacks) are not part of the game. Let's agree that if we're going to criticize, we'll do so about the merits of one's plan not about the person, OK?
So my "program" or "plan" or whatever noun you wish to use simply involves two thing, really:
1. Eating better foods that result in consumption of calories that fall within my daily net calorie target; and
2. Spending somewhere between 30 and 60 minutes a day most days of the week engaging in some sort of physical activity.
Oh, and if there is a "3" then it is...
3. Focusing my mind on being more aware of reality - not my interpretation of reality - and changing my beliefs and attitudes about that reality. For instance...
Suppose I'm not seeing the scale move like "it should". Perhaps it has been flat all week or perhaps I've seen an increase since last week.
If I believe that this is clear evidence of the "fact" that my "program" is hosed up, then that's likely to do three things:
A. It will change my thought life regarding losing weight.
B. It will negatively affect my emotions.
C. It may cause me to act differently, act rashly or take steps which SEEM to be logical and reasonable but are actually quite foolish and unnecessary.
So I try to focus on reality and making reasonable interpretation of that reality.
I think you should do this too.
So I've "preached" enough here, I think.
On with the data!
In 13 weeks I have lost just over 17 kilograms.
That's 1.3 kilograms (2.88 pounds) per week on average.
I've Tracked every day now for 13 weeks - that's 91 days straight.
I've exercised now for 5 weeks straight and feel much stronger and healthier.
Streaks are fun, huh?
Well, I think so.
It is my intention to keep those streaks going.
I've written a lot of blog posts - probably 75 - and managed to tork off a few people.
I'll count both of those things as progress.
Kidding, of course.
Blogging is helpful for me to stay focused.
If you get anything out of them then I'm thrilled but they are definitely written for me because I personally need to hear them.
At some point I'll post some pictures, perhaps.
I've noticed some positive changes in my body and that is encouraging.
Things have been good these thirteen weeks.
I've learned much about myself and am pleased with the progress I've made.
I have collected a lot of data along the way and am using this to improve things.
And I'm doing some planning.
"So what will you change?", you might ask.
Food-wise, I'm very pleased with how things are going. I plan to stay the course, other than adding some variety to my food.
Well, I'll be making a few changes to be sure related to exercise. Most of those are about increasing the intensity level of my workouts and structuring them a bit more.
:: I've been walking on the treadmill at 3.0 mi/hr and at 0 incline. I'll be upping this toward 3.5 mi/hr and to some incline greater than zero. Not sure what that incline will ultimately be but time will tell.
:: I've been doing two-handed kettlebell swings. These are great. I'll be adding some new kettlebell exercises.
:: I'll be working the Bob Harper DVD workout into the rotation on a regular basis. It is very difficult right now for me, particularly the balancing part but I know that it will be easier as the weeks progress.
:: My abs workout has mostly been "just" doing crunches. I'll be adding to this a bit.
(Edit: And yes, Dee, I'll be working on improving that 12 second plank of mine too! )
The next thirteen weeks will be fun for me.
I'm sure of that.
Make it a great day!