Saturday, January 29, 2011

Making Some Progress

The scale showed 230.5 this morning, a little bit of progress and not too far above my goal of 225 pounds. Changing my focus to achieving small goals instead of thinking about the final destination seems to help. Going out for a walk today is such an insignificant part of the journey needed to reach 175 pounds, but it is a nice piece of the plan to get to 225 pounds.

When looking at the big picture, every action taken is such a small percentage of what will be needed to achieve the goal. So small that it doesn't seem like it will hurt much if the action isn't taken, doesn't seem like it will help much if you do the right thing. By looking at smaller targets, it makes each step in the process more important because you can see how that one action will actually help achieve your goal.

With that in mind, I walked twice yesterday for a total of about 40 minutes, and I'll go out and walk sometime today. And, even though I'm going to a fundraiser event this evening, I can find a way to eat less throughout the day and then ease back on the calories this evening. Maybe, just maybe, I can get that weight in the 220's by the start of next week or at least by the middle of the week.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

175 Pounds is Impossible, but maybe...

Getting to 175 pounds is an impossible goal, but maybe I can get my weight down from 232 to 225. That would be an improvement and maybe I could stick with eating less for a few weeks instead of the impossible idea of cutting back for an entire year. And maybe my hip and back and all the various joints could put up with some walking for a few weeks. And maybe, just maybe, I could devote a little bit of time to myself for the next few weeks, going to bed early and getting up in time to walk 45 minutes indoors at the office.

There's no reason to think about getting my weight back to 175 pounds if I can't get from 232 to 225.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Don't Put a Gift Horse in Your Mouth

My weight dropped a pound to 231 yesterday despite me putting everything except a gift horse in my mouth. Truthfully, there were efforts made to curb the eating, but there was also candy consumed and cookies sampled.

Part of the problem--outside of a tremendous lack of willpower--was being exhausted by 8:30 in the morning. I'm talking about that head drooping, eyes shutting type of exhaustion usually reserved for trying to drive at 2 a.m. on a long road trip. It is unlikely that I would have made it through the morning at work without an amble supply of sugar to give me a physical and/or mental lift.

There's no question that I'm overextending myself with a full-time job, three active blogs, the photography, and now a plan to start taking videos. The thing is, all of these extra things in my life are things that add extra to my life. I like the other two blogs and this one is a necessity as it forces me to at least think about dieting from day-to-day. I am obviously obsessed with the photography and the videos will simply be an extension of that obsession. As for the job, well there's no getting around the need for a paycheck and medical insurance, so work will be a part of my life for the foreseeable future.

A busy life is a given for my future. I'm going to have to find a way to diet while getting all of this other stuff done. It can be done and must be done.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Time to Start, Not Quit

This morning's weigh-in was 232 pounds. The good news is that this is better than my weight a month ago. The bad news is that my dieting momentum has been non-existent over the last week. That recent past doesn't have to be my near term future or my long term future.

It's a shame that we humans can't just totally stop eating and switch totally to running off our stored fat. We are like those hybrid cars that use both electricity and gasoline. Or in the case of people like me, some use the energy source from new foods without ever switching over to the stored energy source. It seems like dieting would be much easier if we could flip the switch and go a month or more totally without food. Eating nothing seems easier than eating just a little.

Not that it matters which is easier since not eating isn't an option. I've got to get back to eating less than what my body needs, doing this day after day for several months or however long it takes. My simple 3 step diet is what I need to follow:

1) Eat when you are hungry.
2) Don't eat unless you are hungry.
3) Hold the calories down to 400 calories or less when you eat.

Physically, that works amazingly well. Mentally, it is tricky because of item number 2. Most of the time we eat for reasons other than a sign of hunger from the body. I've got to get back to viewing food as a fuel and using more of my stored fuel over the next few months.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Taking a Step Back

Make that taking several steps back. Things were going fairly well until I hit the Friday of the MS Blues Marathon. Whenever I take on a large photo project, it means hours out taking photos where I make food choices based on what is quick and convenient. Then I'm spending a lot of time sitting in front of a computer editing photos. Plus, I'm not getting enough sleep, so I'm tired most of the time, and grabbing a snack is the short term approach to keeping the energy up.

Along with all of those excuses or realities, maybe the biggest thing is that when I get busy on something else it becomes easy to lose focus on the goal of losing weight. In theory, that isn't very logical. Losing weight is mostly about doing less, namely eating less. That takes less time, not more, so it seems like a person could be as busy as a beaver and still stick to their dieting. Maybe not have time for walking or other forms of exercise, but they should certainly be able to continue to eat less.

Well, whatever the theory or reality, I have done very well from last Friday to this morning. My weight today was 233.5, not a disaster especially after a Wednesday night out with the guys, but it shows that no progress is being made. That's just not going to cut it. If my weight were 190 and no progress was being made towards 175, that would be one thing, but I'm 25 pounds into the obese category for a person of my height. Maintaining the status quo is not a very healthy option.

Got to go. Got to find more free time in my life or get my life back on a less hectic schedule. Mostly got to summon up some willpower that is strong enough to hold out during both the ups and downs of my life. In theory, I should be able to do that.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Making Progress

This morning's weigh-in was 230.5 pounds. It's hard to say where that leaves me in regards to how much weight I've lost. It's down 8 pound since December 17th, but only down 4 pounds since December 18th. It seems like I was down to 231 right before New Year's Eve, and I'm positive that my weight was 234 on January 2nd.

Considering all the food and liquids that we consume and expel over the course of a day, it's not surprising that the body's weight fluctuates. It's better to look at body weight like the stock market. There will be up days and down days which we shouldn't get too excited about one way or the other. The more important thing is if the trend is in the upward or downward direction. Right now my weight is going in the downward direction and that's a good thing. Once that trend gets down to the 225 pound area, then we'll know that there has been a significant change.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Running With Danger

The MS Blues Marathon is this weekend. A healthy thing for the runners, a dangerous time for me as a photographer. I was up at 4 this morning fixing photo CDs and DVDs for a few of the musical acts that are repeat performers from last year's event. That gets me well on the road to being exhausted sometime today and all of tomorrow. When I'm exhausted, food seems to be my solution for getting a little quick energy.

I'll be at the marathon expo most of today, primarily to photograph the musical acts. Then it's over to the War Memorial building for more music and to take photographs from 5 to either 7 or 8. The marathon starts at 7 on Saturday, so I'll have to be up by 5:30 at the latest. Then I'll be on my feet all morning getting photos. It's going to be very tough and maybe I will eat extra to keep going. My aim is to keep that extra to a minimum. Sometimes you just have to do the best you can with a situation. And who knows, I may be too busy to eat and this might turn out to be a good weekend for the diet.

Got to go. Need to shower before going to work for a few hours before going to the expo.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Seven Deadly Tins

While not as bad as the seven deadly sins of lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride, these seven tins of cookies are potentially deadly to the dieting effort of myself and my co-workers.

They were in the office lounge Tuesday morning, apparently leftovers from the company's gift giving during the Christmas season. At a whopping four pounds each, that's a total of 28 pounds of cookies just sitting there and tempting those of us who really need to lose some poundage.

There will never be a time when temptation takes an extended holiday. This week and for the next couple of weeks it will be free cookies in the lounge. Year round it will be free candy at strategic spots around the office. Every fast food place will have value menus and super size specials to entice you into eating more. We either learn to resist these daily traps or we concede that our dieting efforts will never be successful over the long term.

Looking at the big picture, I have too much to lose if I don't buckle down and lose some weight. I've made a lot of sucker deals in recent years, trading small moments of taste bud pleasures for years of better health. That just can't continue in my life and I won't trade in years of living for small tokens like a handful of Danish Butter Cookies. Whatever it takes, this diet is going to work and last.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

You and I Have A Lot of Willpower

We all talk about lacking willpower when it comes to curbing our eating. The truth is that all of us have a tremendous amount of willpower instead of very little. I imagine my eating desires mirror those of many of you imaginary readers--namely that I would be perfectly happy shoveling 4,000 to 6,000 calories down my throat every day.

Mine would be a desire for all things junk. I could munch all day on candy, chips, and cookies. Just mindless eating at a rapid pace. Yogurt covered cereal bars are a real weakness. Finishing off a 1,200 calorie box of 6 in an hour would be no problem. If there were no consequences, I seriously think that 6,000 calories a day might be on my low side.

Aah, but there are consequences, so I hold my eating down to half of what I desire or even less. Not because anyone forces me to, or because I've run out of money to feed my habit, but because my willpower is strong enough to avoid temptation almost all of the time. What does it take to get all of us over the hump and to the point where our willpower is just a little bit more effective? We say no to so much available food already--every time we walk into a store, a restaurant, our own kitchen--what will change our mindset to the point that we say no enough times to start losing weight?

That's something we all need to think about. I don't have a clearcut answer on how to get myself over that hump so I'm going to give this a lot more thought. You don't need to sit around waiting for my answer which might not apply to your situation anyway. Give it some thought, reflect on how often you are able to turn down food each day, and then come up with a way to boost that willpower just a little bit more to the levels needed for losing weight. We all have this ability to lose weight, we just need to find the key to success that is stored away somewhere in each one of us.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

How Much Cutting Back is Enough?

I've done a good job of cutting back from most of the junk that was keeping me away from any chance of losing weight. No candy at work, no sampling of the free food brought to work, very few trips to Wendy's and never buying the combo meals. It's a start, but it doesn't feel like enough.

Right now it feels like I've dropped to a healthy level of eating for maintaining my weight, but not a low enough level to lose weight. I don't want to rush things by trying to do too much, too soon. On the other hand, I don't want my body to think there's going to be enough food around to keep my weight comfortably near the 230 pound level.

It's tough to find the right balance. We want enough food so that dieting doesn't feel like a punishment and so that a person feels like they can develop a healthier view of eating for a lifetime. However, my body has 60 pounds of stored food that I need to burn off in order to reach my goal. That's not going to happen unless I start short changing my body of its daily needs.

That's got to be my focus every day, trying to end the day about 500 calories short of what I need for that day. It won't promote a rapid weight loss, but it will promote the type of weight loss that might be kept off for far longer.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Don't Put a Gift Snack in the Mouth

Before talking about dieting, let's acknowledge the clever title for today's post. It would seem that being named a "Blog of Note" is just over the horizon with writing like that. For you hundreds of imaginary foreign readers, I should explain that this is a play on words regarding an American saying, "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth". Other countries have the following sayings:

---Don't check a gift chicken's beak.
---Don't squeeze a gift cow's teats.
---Don't examine a gift goat's feet.

For some odd reason the sayings in other countries rhyme as well as refer to livestock. Well, while today's title is a clever play on words, what we need to think about is doing the exact opposite of the wisdom from those old sayings. This old wisdom basically says to accept a gift from someone without doing much examination of the quality of that gift. That kind of thinking is deadly for the person on a diet.

People are always offering us free snacks. How often have I jokingly said, "Well it would be rude to say no" right before accepting and consuming some 500 calorie treat? Too often to count. Free food isn't free when it comes to calories unless someone is giving you a bottle of water. That's something I'll need to keep in mind today because it is a certainty that some of my co-workers will be getting the holiday snacks out of their house by bringing them up to the lounge at the office. The free snacks will be there and they will be tempting--but they won't be free of calories.

During our special "Season of Dieting" in the first quarter of this year, if you can just avoid the food offers that seem too good to pass up, then your chances for success will go up greatly. That means passing up the free junk food offered by other, passing up the Christmas candy that is now 50-80% off the regular price, and even passing up the chance to Supersize a meal for only 39 cents. Don't let all of these "bargains" turn into a bad deal when it comes to your dieting.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Distraction Season is Over!!!!!!!

The last 5-6 weeks of every year are known to most as the "Holiday Season", starting off with Thanksgiving and ending up creeping into the next year with New Year's Day. For those trying to diet, it is also the "Distraction Season" or the "Season of Temptation" or whatever else you want to call it. For the person on a diet, it is a big win just to keep from gaining weight during this season where eating too much is the expected norm.

Now that is all behind us and hopefully not too much of it has taken up residency on our behinds. Now we reach that time of year where people hunker down and wait for spring. Let me suggest to you thousands of imaginary readers that we make this our special "Dieting Season". A time when we combine our most determined dieting efforts with the quarter of the year that offers the least amount of excuses for diet breaking.

I'm asking all of you with a significant amount of weight to lose to join me in a goal of losing 20 pounds by the end of March. That's a significant amount of weight that you will notice once April rolls around. How significant? The next time you are grocery shopping, pick up a case of 12-ounce sodas. That's just under 20 pounds. Carry that around for about 5 minutes and then feel the relief when you put it down. Now think of the relief of not having to deal with that much weight 24 hours a day.

Can you do this with me? A three month stretch that we focus on as our "Dieting Season" with a goal of dropping 20 pounds. We have to start now. We can't yo-yo with our efforts, having two good days followed by a bad day. All of us will have days that aren't as good as they need to be, but we can avoid the major blowups that send a diet reeling. Three months, 20 pounds to lose--we can do this.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Starting off 2011 at 231 Pounds

While a weigh-in of 231 pounds leaves a lot of work still ahead of me, it is much better than the 238.5 pounds I saw on my December 17th birthday. It's a shame that losing 7.5 pounds in two weeks isn't something a person can do all the time on a diet, especially on a diet that included some ups and downs due to various activities associated with the Christmas season.

The math is fairly simple since my goal is to reach 175 pounds by my next birthday. Losing 5 pounds per month would put me at 176 pounds to start December, giving me 17 days to lose the final pound. The only real difficulty with that plan is the frustration that comes when weight loss is so seemingly slow. Looking at the big picture, the amount lost in a year, a person losing 60 pounds in 12 months would be a remarkable thing. Looking at the small picture, cutting back on eating and only seeing small drops or no drops from week to week, losing 5 pounds per month can feel like a pointless endeavor.

I would naturally prefer to lose 10 pounds per month, hit my target weight by the start of the summer, and then spend the rest of the year maintaining that weight while improving my general fitness. That's what I'll shoot for, but if that plan doesn't work out, it's going to very important that I remember the power of small weight losses from month to month and how they add up to a huge success. One way or another, this weight is going to come off.