My weight loss habits and tricks so far.
Saturday, January 04, 2014
I haven't posted on my blog for a little while, so be prepared this could be a long one. I have had a few friends ask me how I have lost so much weight, so I figured I'd document it here. Some of this may be redundant from my other earlier posts but I wrote this for another blog post for a friend.
2013 kind of sucked for me and I feel 2014 will be a significantly different year, and I'll explain why. Please forgive my wordiness.
Over the years I have yo-yo'd all over the place with weight gain and weight loss. Always a bike nut I always fall back into cycling for fitness and some fun.
I think my last big weight loss hurrah was in 2007 while training for the Lake Tahoe Bicycling Century. I lost about 80 lbs. during that training effort. When I did the Tahoe Century in 2007 I was around 180 with about 25 more pounds to lose, but it was almost as soon as I met my goal of finishing that ride I gradually slipped back into bad eating habits and losing some of my weekly training rides. Even though I did two more centuries that summer and a couple other shorter organized rides. I always supplemented my hours of riding and burning calories with more eating. Back then I think I put so much more emphasis on the riding to lose weight and no real thought or effort into the diet. That is the KEY problem I faced then.... poor eating habits.
I'm 5'8" tall and currently weigh 242, down from 296 back in October. In October of this past year (2013) I had again gained the most weight I have ever seen on a scale in my life. I think I actually hit 298 but I kept telling myself that scale was hosed up or something. Anyhow, I was in the 290s, my knees and joints were killing me, I was sweating profusely just doing minimal tasks and I was living in the fear of high cholesterol and high triglycerides. I also lost my Dad to a heart attack in January of 2013 which was a huge blow to me emotionally and ultimately physically because I gained another 15 to 20 lbs. after his death. Damn!, he wasn't even fat or what seemed to be out of shape, suddenly he fell dead one cold snowy January day last year from a massive coronary heart attack. I sat and thought every day how come he had to die and after looking at the facts it was because he didn't eat right, didn't exercise and never got checked out very frequently. I guess when you are not fat, you assume you are eating ok. Not so.
Fast forward back to October... I finally decided it was time for me to get my ass to a doctor and get checked out. If my seemingly healthy dad could fall dead from heart disease, my fat ass certainly should as well, even though he was 22 years my senior. Sure enough after EKGs, Treadmill and blood work I was basically pretty healthy but my Triglycerides were a bit high. Unbelievably my bad cholesterol (LDL) wasn't over 200 but needed attention as well. The docs said I was in ok shape but needed to make some serious changes to my diet and activity. Yeah, yeah, I have heard that before... but this time I kept thinking about my dad and I did not want this to eventually catch up to me as it did him.
What I have done to lose 50lbs in three months.
Of course as I started out I made some huge weight losses immediately but as the weeks wore on I have tapered down to a 2-3lb per week loss. I have accomplished this primarily with diet alone and very little exercising or physical activity as I was uncomfortable doing a lot of things like riding my bike or running. However, I am now adding in more activity on a weekly basis to change things up. I started walking at first and then adding short bursts of “slogging”. I’m anxious for the days to begin growing longer so I can ride my bike after work again soon.
Since the triglycerides were high and my glucose levels a little high, my doctor recommended that I begin cutting out all sugars and enriched wheat products, almost like a sugar buster diet. Getting off the "white" foods and beginning to eat natural foods again was the plan. This is kind of extreme, but I keep telling myself that "if it didn't grow out of the ground or was not cut from the bone, don't eat it." Instead of grabbing a McDonald’s Egg McMuffin and a coffee in the morning every day on my way into the office, I now bring a Grapefruit, a hardboiled egg or two, steel cut oats and a cup of coffee. I do this breakfast nearly every day, with a little change-up here and there. Sometimes I throw in a couple strips of turkey bacon on the weekend to make it interesting. After breakfast I'll do a snack of blackberries, strawberries or raspberries. No yogurts any more either. No fake sugars or real sugar. I'll use Truvia for sweetener but not sure if that is good for me either. Lunch time I do Spinach.... tons of spinach and romaine, tomatoes, onions and mushrooms in a salad, either brought from home or from a local eatery that makes a great spinach salad. I top my salads with any of the following: Salmon, Tuna, Chicken or Turkey -- anywhere around 3-6 ounces of meat to provide some good protein. Afternoon snacks consist of a dozen or so almonds or maybe a 1/4cup of pistachios. I’m learning what snacks are ok and how to keep them to a minimum without adding extra calories. Usually, I don’t get home until 7Pm because of a very long 90 minute commute. By the time I get home I’m fairly hungry and try to get things rolling immediately so that I’m not eating supper late in the evening. Super usually consists of more fish, poultry or pork tenderloin. I will roast whole a whole chicken and cut it up for supper and leftovers for the following day’s salad. We have essentially cut out all dining out except for those restaurants that I know will prepare me a piece of salmon or fish the way I like and provide olive oil and vinegar on the side for dressings. I have been learning to get more creative with my broccoli, spinach and other green veggies. I’ll do lots of garlic, onion, and mushrooms stir fried with my veggies to liven up the greens. Evening snacks are pretty much out of the picture now. Occasionally I’ll eat a small bowl of pistachios or nuts. I guess I could do some celery or carrots but I’m not a big fan of veggies as evening snacks yet. I know that this is probably just a small picture of my current eating methods and I know that I have blown it many times over the past few months, but as I stick to this basic plan I have been regularly losing the weight. I hit a plateau last week after dropping down into the high 240s, but this past week I bumped up my treadmill efforts a bit for three days and boom, I fell instantly from 248 to 242 in just a few days.
I am guessing as I up my activity levels I will also have to up my calorie intake but I’m worried about this transition and don’t plan to make too many quick additions to what I have been eating so far.
I’m a Beer LOVER. Also a home brewer for many years that makes some pretty damn good beers. I regularly meet with friends that brew and we exchange ideas on recipes and equipment. Brewing beer is a big part of me, a great hobby and past time. Problem: alcohol and the carbs associated with my beer can throw a real monkey wrench into my weight loss and fitness goals. Initially, my doctor told me NO alcohol while starting out. Ok, I did that for a month or so and it really sucked. I knew the holidays were coming from November through the first of the year and lots of beer would be flowing at this gathering or that. I have made a real effort to cut back my alcohol consumption drastically and account for every bottle drank in my food journals. At 200ish calories a pop, good beer costs a lot on the weight loss budget.
Exercise and Activity Plans
So far I haven’t incorporated any organized or specific activities. I have been using the treadmill on a occasional basis and just recently began 30 minute walk/run session again. Regretfully, I’m going to have a little set-back beginning this week because I’m having an umbilical hernia repaired. Nothing big, matter of fact the hernia is not even bothering me at this time, but the internist thinks that if I plan to begin working out hard, riding bikes and running again in the future I should get this repaired sooner than later. So, I guess after my scheduled surgery this week, I’ll be out of commission for another three to four weeks while it heals up good. Although, I shouldn't experience too much difference in how my activities have been going as I haven’t ramped up my exercising up to this point too much. My plan is to incorporate walking on a daily basis and slowly begin to increase the intensity over the month to follow.