Friday, December 31, 2010

End 2010 on a Good Note

Today is a non-work day for me so I have complete control over my eating schedule. During the work week it is almost required to eat a meal before 7 and from 12-1:00 even if I'm not particular hungry. On my non-work days I can eat based on hunger. It's 7:30 right now and I haven't eaten since there's been no signal from the stomach that food is needed. Maybe that signal has been drown by the flow of diet soft drinks, something that starts early in my day and doesn't slow down much until I go to sleep at night.

Since I have no big plans for this evening, there really isn't an excuse to do poorly today. Tomorrow I'm going to my brother's house to eat lunch and watch the MS State football game, so that might not be an absolutely great day. That's all the more reason to make this the best day possible when it comes to not eating food just for a temporary taste satisfaction.

For the record, my weight was 232 this morning. It seems like that's up from yesterday which would be no surprise. I'm trying to be aware of my weight each day while also not paying much attention to how it compares with the previous day. Good dieting days are what I need and while those may not be reflected on the scales from day to day, they will be reflected in good results over the weeks and months.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Why a Successful Diet Never Stops

I was down to 231 today which is good news, but more important is that yesterday was a very good day of keeping away from extra calories. There will be times when good days don't bring a visible result on the scale. There will be times when good days actually are followed up by an increase in weight. That's normal. The key is stringing together a lot of good days and not counting on stringing together a lot of days with weight losses.

Got to stop at Kroger so this will be a quick thought. I logged on to a website this morning that has a calculator for daily calorie needs. Let's suppose that I exercise 3 times a week, something that needs to become a future routine. At that level of exercise, a 59 year old, 5'10" man weighing 235 pounds needs 2,598 calories each day to keep his weight level. With all things staying the same except the weight dropping down to 175 pounds, that man needs just 2,223 calories per day to keep his weight level.

It makes sense that the person who isn't lugging around 60 extra pounds is doing less work. That's the point of dieting, to take some of the strain off the body. However, it means that if you successfully diet and then go back to your old level of eating, you will eventually go back to your old weight. It doesn't sound fair, but reality often isn't what we want it to be.

For now, my concentration needs to be about losing weight. Once that goal is achieve, I'll have to focus on either exercising more or continuing to eat less. I need this weight loss to last 20 years, not the 20 months or so like what happened back in 2006.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dieting is a Trade-Off, Not a Sacrifice

You ever had one of those situations where you were saving for something big and special? Maybe a new car, a down payment on a home, a wedding, college money for the kids, etc. In order to achieve that one big thing, you had to trade off a lot of little expenditures for a stretch of time.

That's what dieting is all about, trading off little treats and unneeded calories for one big accomplishment that will be much better in the long run. When I'm around people who are dieting, too often their focus is on all the sacrifices they are making and how hard it is to pass up the temptations day after day. I've been guilty of this often. I can tell you from plenty of experience that the more a person fixates on what they are giving up instead of what they are trying to achieve, the more unlikely it is that they will have dieting success.

I want all of you imaginary readers to try something today. When you see something you really want to eat but really don't need, focus on how great it is that you are one step closer to your big achievement because you didn't succumb to that particular temptation. If we all can change our focus to the big picture of our final destination instead of the small changes that are needed to accomplish our goal, then that would go a long way towards successful dieting.

(Got to get to work--no time to rewrite this first draft. By the way, I was down to 233 pounds today and more importantly, yesterday was a very good day of working towards my final destination.)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Pound Lost on a Bad Day

Even though my weight dropped to 234.5 this morning, yesterday really wasn't a good day. It's sort of like being in school and not reading the assignment, but everything works out okay because the teacher doesn't call on you. Sometimes the wrong actions work out okay for a day. It's just that the wrong actions almost always generate the wrong results in the long run. That's certainly true when it comes to dieting.

My approach to food has to really become one of just eating when I'm hungry. That's not 100% possible since a person has designated times to eat in most work situations. That's okay since it is only two times during my day, right before starting work at 7 and sometime between 12 and 1. It's all the other times when I eat for reasons other than hunger that are causing me the problem. I suspect that only eating when my body asks for food through the hunger mechanism would cut my eating almost in half. That would go a long way in getting off all of these extra pounds.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Now the Excuses Are Over

Got on the scale this morning and saw 235.5 pounds, better than the 238.5 which appeared after my birthday 10 days ago, but a long, long way from where I need to be. Started to put "where I want to be", but it's hard to say if that's accurate. Naturally I want to be closer to 175 pounds if there's no work involved. Do I want to be closer to 175 pounds if it means cutting way back on the junk foods I eat and starting to exercise more? That's the key question.

Christmas is over so now we reach that equally deadly season of Christmas leftovers. People will be bringing the leftover goodies to work, passing along the extra temptations and calories that they don't want sitting in their homes. This is a bigger test than anything that will come up to celebrate the New Year. This is a day when I absolutely must stay on track and skip the free junk in the office lounge. It's not really such a hard thing to do, I simply need to follow Nike's advice and "just do it".

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve--A Day of Hectation and Temptations

One of the good things about no one reading your blog is being able to make up words like "hectation". It would have been just as easy to write, "Christmas Eve--A Hectic Day With Temptations", but that doesn't rhyme at all.

It's 10 a.m. and I've been busy. Hauling clothes to the Laundromat to wash and dry four loads. Then off to Krogers. Man is that place busy with people getting last minute food items for Christmas. Found everything at Krogers for my brownies except for the caramels--all they had were the caramels with that white blob in the middle. I love those things, but they won't work for my brownies. Anyway, I had to go to McDade's for the caramel and somehow also picked up a 6-pack of Lime Cactus Michelob Ultra. It might come in handy on a day of hectation. The first of the 6 is helping me write this post and it might take 12 to 24 ounces more to get me through the brownie making phase of the day.

I guess that's the next phase in my day, making brownies. Have to make the ones with mint patties and chocolate in the middle, then another pan for the brownies with caramel and chocolate. After that I'll iron clothes while watching a DVD. I'm leaning towards "Edward Scissorhands" since it has parts that feel like Christmas. Then I have to get my Christmas presents ready for this evening (it doesn't take too long to put cash in envelopes), get my camera gear lined up, maybe work on the photos from the Wednesday party, write a few Merry Christmas emails, do a Christmas post for the fle-pics blog, and finally get ready for the Christmas Eve parties. The first party is just Mom and my siblings and their families. That's from 5:30 to 7:00, followed by the bigger party with cousins and that one goes from about 7 to 9. It's going to be a very long day.

What does all this have to do with dieting? Not much on one level, and a whole lot on another. Isn't this where all of us get in trouble with our diets, those periods when things get hectic (or as some like to say, those days of hectation), and the days when special circumstances seem to justify binge eating that will undo several days of good efforts. I think the realistic person looks for a compromise in these situations.

In my case, I will lick the spoons, bowls, mixer beaters, and everything possible after making the brownies. That's a tradition that shouldn't be broken, but I don't need to add a lunch in with the cooking lagniappe. I also don't need to short the brownies of a few mints or a couple of ounces of chocolate chips in order to get in a little extra snacking in the afternoon. This is not a day to shoot for perfection. It's Christmas Eve and rather than trying to mark the occasion by being a Dieting Saint, enjoy the time with friends and family and just don't let the dieting devil tempt you into something you'll regret for the next 7 weigh-ins. Find a reasonable balance and have a great day. Merry Christmas to everyone!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

When to Diet, When to Party

Yesterday was a day to diet and party. In the morning there were the usual temptations at work along with the addition of a batch of killer cookies made by a co-worker's husband. This husband makes incredible cookies and cakes which he can't eat because he is diabetic, so he makes all of these goodies for his friends, family, and for his wife to take to work.

I passed on the cookies yesterday, along with all of the candy and other wonderful tasting things at work. That was easily a 1,000 to 1,500 calories saved over what I would normally eat when in non-dieting mode. All of that good willpower went out the window later in the day when I made brownies for a party and then when attending the party. Is this a case of "bad Frank", a setback in my dieting efforts? Not really.

As most of you imaginary readers know, dieting is actually a never ending process. We talk about dieting for the next three months, or the next year, or until we reach a certain weight goal, but people like you and I have to be ready to diet forever. That's because people like you and I gain back all the weight we've lost as soon as we think we can quit dieting.

While dieting forever sounds depressing, it really shouldn't be. Dieting can and should include times like last night when I ate, drank and was merry with my friends. We talk about dieting to lose weight as a means to improve our quality of life, but we don't want to sacrifice the quality times of our life during the process. I had a great time with friends last night--and now it is time to put in a good day of dieting before the parties of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Today will be a day without junk food, a day to partially make up for the fun of yesterday evening. Being flexible without losing discipline is a key to successfully losing weight and keeping it off.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Have "Officially" Lost 5 Pounds

I did weigh 238.5 pounds on my birthday (December 17) and now the bathroom scale showed 233.5 pounds this morning (December 22). If only dieting was so easy, especially since there was a party day during that 5 day stretch.

It helps the results if you start off on a morning following an evening out for a big supper. It would be more fair to say that I started out around 235 pounds, and there's nothing bad about dropping down to 233.5 over 5 days. I'd love to have that rate of loss for the next half year. The thing is, getting wrapped up in "how much, how fast" is a good way to blow a diet. I just need to keep focusing on doing the right things and letting my body make the adjustments.

This planning thing has worked better than expected. I can't tell you (not that there are any of "you" really reading this) how tempted I've been to have a piece of chocolate, a cookie, some candy, etc, at work. I really, really, really want to just stuff my face and then start dieting at a more convenient time like after the first of the year. That would be time lost, and extra pounds gained that needed to be lost. Not a very good route to success.

Today I'll eat my regular breakfast at work, then pass on the goodies in the lounge and the various candy bowls. At 10 I'll have my 100 calorie thing of yogurt. At lunch I'll have my usual 500-600 calorie meal. This puts me at about 1,000 calories for the day, not what a person might need to shoot for when dieting, but eating less would greatly raise the probability of me deciding to stuff my face and diet after the first of the year.

This afternoon I'll be off work, making brownies as one of my tasks, and then going to a party at 6. I will eat and drink at the party. This is not a diet day--HOWEVER--it doesn't have to be a totally blow your diet day. Sample the goodies, don't stand in one spot and shovel in treat after treat. Don't be the martyr, but do show some sort of discipline. Keep in mind that getting down to 230 pounds will require some sacrifice. After that we will focus on getting down to 225, then 220, then 215, etc. I'll will make these twelve 5-pound steps down to 175 pounds, but it all starts with that first step down to 230 pounds. Let's don't backtrack too much by being a pig this evening.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Planning Seems to Work

Thinking in advance about the various pitfalls at work and how I would deal with them really worked well yesterday. My only deviation from the day's plan was that I did get a 500 calorie frozen meal for supper--not a bad substitute in the plan.

Today needs to be more of the same--don't be tempted by the snacks in the break room. Don't mindlessly pick up candy when passing any of the candy bowls at work. Don't over snack at night as a reward for doing so good during the day. This needs to be a very good day.

For the record, my weight today was 234.5, down from 235.5 yesterday. It's unlikely that I'll get below 230 to start the New Year, but I can get close. Got to run--there are a few things that I need to pick up at Kroger's before getting to work.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Need a Plan for Monday

"Failing to plan is planning to fail."

I'm not sure if anyone famous has claim to that quote. It should just go down as a universal truth, one that has been around for thousands of years. Planning out our work day, our errands, our weekends, etc, is something we all do--and then we tend to leave our food choices open to the whims of the moment. We all know that following our whims when it comes to food choices is a recipe for disaster.

Today there will be free, wonderful tasting food in the lounge at my office. Christmas goodies sent to the office, leftovers from weekend parties, nice gestures from co-workers--there will be a mountain of temptation waiting in our office lounge all day. Definitely a situation that needs a plan.

I'm going to eat my breakfast ham and cheese sub no matter what is available when I get to work. Then if Myrna brings in donuts early like she often does on a Monday, I'll pass on adding that to my breakfast menu. At break time, there will be the temptation to have a cookie or brownie or popcorn or whatever. I'll have a 100 calorie yogurt instead. For lunch, I'll have the 500-600 calorie item that I brought to the office, and I won't have dessert "just this one time". And I guess it goes without saying that I need to pass on morning snacks from the candy bowls posted throughout the office.

Since I'm taking the afternoon off, it makes it easier to avoid the pitfalls of the office. Things get a little better in the afternoon since I don't have much junk food at home. I'm going to a basketball game to take photos at 5. That's not much of a problem until I'm heading home. The thought of stopping at Wendy's will cross my mind--I need to let that thought pass on by. Then I'll get the idea to stop at McDade's for some frozen item that can be heated in the microwave. Got to pass that by as well. I need veggies this evening.

That's my plan: avoid the temptations at work in the morning, don't supplement my lunch with extras, avoid a lot of snacking in the afternoon, and eat healthy and light this evening. That shouldn't be a hard plan to follow. If I'm even halfway serious about losing weight, I will stick to this plan today.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Party On--as in 2.5 pounds back on

It was no surprise when the scales showed 236.5 this morning after last night's party. That's an increase of 2.5 pounds from Saturday morning, a decrease of 2 pounds overall since Friday morning--really somewhat of a normal fluctuation for this time of year. It's like when you fill up your car's gas tank. The car weighs more even though the car itself hasn't changed at all. Or like when you have extra junk in the trunk--that makes both a car and a person weigh more.

I could have done better at the party last night, could have done worse. While losing weight requires a lot of changes, I don't want to become a boring martyr about this process. You know that person, the one who seems to delight in telling everyone just how much they can't eat and how much they are suffering and sacrificing in order to lose weight. All I can think about when those people start talking is that I wish they would suffer in silence.

My goal is to create a realistic life style and discipline that will allow me to enjoy life while keeping my weight at a reasonable level. That means being able to enjoy myself at a party without going overboard, and making choices before and after the big event that lessen the damage done by a festive evening.

Today I need to work on lessen the damage of last night. This is a day when I really need to follow that idea of only eating when hungry, and then only eating a little instead of eating a full meal. It also is a day that has to include some walking, something that can be as simple of walking around the block every so often when I'm tired of sitting at the computer editing photos. It's a simple plan and it will make a small difference. That's the key to successful dieting, stringing together a lot of days with small, positive differences. I can't lose 60 pounds today, but I can make a step in the right direction.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Lost 4.5 Pounds in One Day

The good news is the impressive 4.5 pounds lost in one day. The bad news is that my weight this morning was 234 pounds, much too heavy for my 5'10" frame. As you might imagine, the 4.5 pounds lost are more of an illusion than a reality. Thursday evening I ate out with friends, leading to a disappointing display of 238.5 pounds early Friday morning. Friday afternoon I went out walking and hardly ate any supper that evening. Then I slept till mid-morning instead of getting up early and stepping on the scale. Combine those factors and a big weight loss isn't unusual.

Friday (12/17/2010) was my 59th birthday and I'd like to lose 60 pounds before my 60th birthday rolls around. That would put me around 175 pounds, my weight from around the time I hit my 40th birthday. It's going to take some work, better planning, more discipline, and a consistent effort. Depending on a person's attitude, these changes are either easy or difficult. I guess the actions needed for success are easy, keeping the attitude of wanting to do those actions is difficult.

I'm going to a Christmas party this evening. My plan for today has been to eat less than normal until the party. I've been successful with that up till now and there's no reason for me to falter over the next couple of hours. My plan at the party is to enjoy myself, have a few beers and have some food to eat. Just don't indulge in the desserts, sticking instead to the cold cut sandwiches, fruit, etc. Also, don't stand around a bowl of dip and aimless eat away. That's a good way of adding 500 calories to the evening. I can enjoy myself without setting back my diet. It really shouldn't be all that difficult.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Mark of a New Beginning

This particular blog is my 4th or 5th blog dedicated to dieting. The first blog went well with my weight dropping from 230 pounds to 190 pounds during the first half of 2006. That's when I started writing about other things, losing focus of the fact that keeping weight off requires attention to daily choices just like when a person is dieting. That's how I gained back all of the weight I lost, thinking that the job was over and going into a long slide that has been hard to reverse.

Rather than start yet another blog, I'm just revising this blog on the day of my 59th birthday. So, in order to separate the old posts from the new on this blog, here are a bunch of dashes used to create a separation point: -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------