Losing It For The Family

Losing It For The Family

Thursday, January 29, 2015

More Measuring Sticks, Less Danger

One of the things I had always wished I did in my last weight loss journey was to have taken progress pictures. I do have pictures in every day life from back then, but I mean pictures where I posed with no shirt on so that I could see the progressions. I decided this go around that I will be doing the pictures, so I had Kathy take some pictures here while back, and then this past Monday, I had her do it again. I have to be honest, I almost jumped the tracks when I saw the two side by side, because frankly, I couldn't tell there was any difference. Luckily, I had to be at work pretty quickly, so I didn't really have time to stew on it and really get aggravated.

So here is why the fact that I don't tie my progression in this journey to any one thing is so key to my doing well. That very well could have been a trigger to relapse, for at leas a couple of days, but instead I was able to make some key realizations over the next two days. First and foremost, I recalled that I had just weighed Saturday, and since January 1, 2015 I had lost 9 pounds. I realized I was busy pedaling away on the recumbent bike at the gym on a level 2 levels above where I started not too long ago. I continued to think about it while I was doing a back workout where I was doing assisted pull ups in three sets, 5 first set, 4 second set, and 3 third set when I started out doing 3-3-1. I added weight on every lift that day also. I continued to think about those pictures while I was getting dressed back in my office clothes and was buckling up my belt on not the first notch where I started out, or the second notch I had worked my way to not too long ago, but the third notch which I had discovered I had to have that morning when my pants were not staying up on the way in the door to the office. On Tuesday, I realized I had no reason to be down on myself based on those pictures as I doing my interval jogging/walking workout and the jogging intervals were being done at 5.0 mph, and I was not really struggling at the end of the workout (I started out in December with my run interval speed being 4.2 mph) which means my next run workout, the run intervals will be 5.2 mph.

This was not a post to brag about me and my progress. Not one bit. It was a reminder to me that in this tender stage of reboot, I cannot let the mistakes I made last time and in all my reboot attempts keep me from soldiering on. The mental gymnastics in this game are crazy, and you have to find a way to create successes to beat out the dangers of perceiving you are failing. The more measuring sticks you use, the less danger there is you are going to not find some kind of success to keep the momentum going. This time around, I had to find success in a scale number and fitness sign posts. Next time around, I may have to find success in the fit of my clothes or my energy level. Another time I may have to find success in the fact I have been consistent with 4-5 days a week working out for a whole month (which come this Friday, will be the case). ABC's of lifestyle change baby. Alway Be Conscious!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Living In The Matrix

I will not pretend like I am a Matrix Trilogy junkie. I have probably seen all 3, but not multiple times. Anyway, the one thing I remember is when Neo began to see what was really going on around him after taking the blue pill. It took awhile, but then he became who he was supposed to be. The last month and a half or so, I am starting to to feel like I am starting to see things how they really are. I have this clarity of mind, solid will, and a forgiving heart for myself. With these in place, I have to admit my journey continues on with less stress or urgency than the one before.

I first became aware of my presence in the Matrix this past Saturday. We were in Sam's Club, and there were about a billion samples being offered. We had just come from Chick Fil A for lunch, so I had already eaten. I was not at all tempted by all the samples being offered, despite the dangerous classification of "free food" that has screwed me quite often. I then started noticing other things. When I looked at the junk food that was packaged up pretty and looking so yummy, I saw it for what it was. It was junk. It was terrible fuel for my body, and it was an obstacle to where I am headed if I gave in and bought that stuff. It held no appeal to me whatsoever. Now I am not saying that it will NEVER hold any appeal, but that day, I didn't feel like I was depriving myself by not buying the junk food we usually stock up on.

I also am getting much better at being able to play it by ear when my work schedule conflicts with my workout schedule, so that I don't wind up missing a day I intended to workout. It isn't as hard as I workout at the gym, but when I had to work through lunch, I am no longer the guy that just crashes after supper and hopes that I can make it up one day this week. I go straight from the table to the bedroom, lace them up, and go walk a couple of miles around the block, but I make sure I am at just shy of jogging speed when I do it.

I have also learned that this journey has to have some flexibility, and the one thing you cannot expect is that you will meet every single goal exactly as you planned it. Sometimes you will exceed your hopes, and sometimes you will fall short. As I stated before, I am shooting for 2,000 NET calories a day. Over the past 9 days, I have actually gone over that amount twice. Prior to being in the Matrix, that would have been full on meltdown, let's analyze this to death, but not before I gave in for the rest of the day and binged on whatever sounded good at the moment. On both of the days I went over the calorie budget, I took the position, "eh, it is what it is, which is one day in thousands to come. I know that most of those thousands of days, I will be successful, so why sweat this one?"

And finally, and probably most importantly, I no longer feel I have to be a member of the clean plate club. I have in the last three days, left one plate with food left on it, and two bowls of oatmeal unfinished. Now I switched to the traditional oatmeal from the quick oats, so that may have been the difference. All I know, I didn't pull out the "starving kids in Africa" rationalization to make myself keep eating despite being full.

Also, I am no longer beating myself up for the re-gain. As my buddy Sean said, it is not a failure, it was a step in the bigger picture, and a necessary one at that. And when I go over on calories, I no longer decide I ama bad person who doesn't love my wife and kids enough to be disciplined and perfect in this journey. Like I said, it was a day in a journey of thousands of days. And as Divad said, the strive for perfection will lead to failure. We are after all human and admittedly broken, or we wouldn't be here in this blogosphere.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Consistent Not Crazy

As some here may know, I am on the rebound from a successful weight loss in 2010-2011. Although how successful was it if I gained back? But anyway, I lost 100 pounds in 10 months and I was quite pleased with myself. I look back at the pictures from those days (I was ok with being photographed back then) and I wonder what happened and what can I do to keep that from happening yet AGAIN? And I think I have put into place something that will help me from a relapse once I get the weight back off this time.

I did not start off the last journey looking to lose 100 pounds in 10 months. I really just wanted to be a 1-2 pounds a week loser. But I had some crazy success early on, and that got into my head. I remember my first two or three weigh ins, I lost 4-8 pounds each week. Well that was a bad bad thing. Suddenly, only that level of weight loss was acceptable. I always chased that. So I adjusted my diet and exercise routines to get that. I went from a plan that had me getting 2200 gross calories, to 1500-1800 calories gross calories. I went from I want to work out 1 time a day 4-5 days a week, to two workouts a day M-F and then loooooong workouts on the weekend. I was both consistent AND crazy. I don't KNOW this, but I think the reason I was so susceptible to weight gain once I wasn't able to keep up the routine is because my body saw its chance to put some of that weight I just lost really really quickly back on. Now at first I was still eating within reason, but once the weight started to come back on despite that, it stood to reason, why bother to attempt to eat right? So during law school, I abandoned all attempts to eat well and voila, here we are today.

So here is what I do now, and so far it seems to be working really well. I have settled on 2000 NET calories a day, not GROSS. I have an app that gives me an idea how many calories my workouts burn, then I round that down to the nearest whole 100 number. I only workout once a day 4-5 days a week. And I don't have any LOOOOONG workouts. I may step up my workouts later as I lose weight and get in better physical condition, but for now, I will not get CRAZY, but I will be CONSISTENT. And the last thing is that I am not doing anything TODAY that I can't keep up realistically after getting the weight back off. I used a lot of mental energy up keeping myself psyched up to do all that work in 2010-2011, and that led me to go into a "intuitive eating phase" so I could take a break and catch my breath. No more of that either. now that I am only being consistent rather than crazy, I foresee no more "burn out" once I get to where I am going.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

I Have Terrible News

I know I am guilty of this, and I bet most if not all of you are too. I have in past weight loss journeys had the idea that when I got skinny, I would magically be happy. Like it was a magical spell or a wish from a genie, and POOF all will be fixed in your life. I have been the guy with the big weight loss. Trust me when I tell you, your life is still your life when you get skinny. If you were frustrated in your job, friendships, family life, etc. it doesn't just go away. Life goes on as it always does, just now, you have a physical transformation.

But it isn't all bad news. Once you get skinny, the problems may still be there, but two things have changed. First of all, you may not have fixed ALL your problems, but you did fix ONE issue in your life that likely has been giving your grief for a long time. At the very least, when you have reached a weight or fitness goal, you dropped off one of the things that keeps you awake at night. Another thing you have done is to equip yourself with a tool to deal with the rest of life's troubles that can wear on you. Had a bad day at work? Rather than coming home and binge eating on junk as a coping mechanism, now you have the option to strap on the running shoes and go run off the crazy, or hit the gym and get a good weight work out on. Because we all know how the binge eating solution ends up.... you having had a bad day AND and bad evening in the end. None of us have ever said "I really regret that great workout" but we have all said, "I can't believe I at the whole thing" (you may or may not get that joke).

Monday, January 19, 2015

Be Specific

As this journey goes along, I am learning that one of the keys to success is to never leave yourself in an open-ended goal. Never say I want to or I hope to. That leaves the possibility of failure open, and those easy outs are dangerous. Also, when you are doing your planning for the day or the week, never be general, be specific. I am getting very good at this. I don't say I want to work out 4-5 days this week, I say I am going to work out Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. I always decide what workout I am going to do the day before. I am very specific and goal oriented now. I am a to do lister, so when I make the list, it gives me great satisfaction to get the list done.

I also discovered that my night eating problem is an easy fix. I am very specific about what can be eaten after supper. I can have either or both a piece of bread with peanut butter on it and one packet of meat with a cheese stick rolled up inside of it. Those are the only options, and I am very specific about it.

On a very important side note, I am in such a good place. My wife Kathy has been charging ahead in getting fit and eating healthy. If the truth is told, the reason I started back going strong is that she has been getting up every day and walking out the door to the gym at 4:50 a.m. and she has adopted the mantra "No Excuses" so that she doesn't talk herself out of it like she used to. She has also made it impossible to get an unhealthy snack around the joint. I was rummaging the other day trying to find something to eat that I shouldn't be eating, and there is NOTHING! I wound up eating carrots and hummus and some peanut butter that day! It is a great problem to have though!!

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Stuff I Missed

As much as I try to let this journey be its own, I often think about my success from 2010-11 and what I did and the crazy awesome results. I have stated before that I really didn't start off with the idea that I would lose 100 pounds in 10-11 months. that Literally just came out of nowhere. Now I worked hard, but when I set out, my hope was to lose that much in say a year and half or two years. But I kid you not, the weight just kept coming off, even on the weeks I had terrible eating habits. I was a hard worker in the exercise department, but at least once or twice a month, I would have a day or two that I just didn't do that well on the diet.

So awhile back, I decided it was time to be taking my blood sugar and working on my diet based off those numbers. My first time out I think my blood sugar was like 287 or somewhere in that range. I know, that is pretty bad. But over the course of the last few weeks, my eating has been for the most part really good. I have been tracking calories and getting 4-5 good workouts in a week. Also, the quality of food I take in has improved dramatically. Lean meats like chicken, shrimp and fish, lots of salads with yummy vegetables, fresh veggies as sides, beans galore! I have noticed that over the last week or so, my blood sugar has started to nosedive. I just took my blood sugar before starting this post and it was 143!! And that is after supper! So anyway, back to my point. I remember a loooong time ago, I was diagnosed diabetic and was told to take metformin and exercise, eat less, etc. and that if I did that, the weight would fall off of me when I got my blood sugar back right. I took the pills........ the rest, meh. Anyway, it occurred to me that I probably missed that the first time around, and that is likely why I lost weight so fast. My blood sugar was under control for the first time in years, and as the doctor predicted, the weight fell off. So now, I am adding the tracking of my blood sugar to my daily routine so that I can learn what foods do what to my blood sugar and tailor a diet around that. How did I miss that?

Also, there is a solution to a problem I had that I apparently just wasn't bright enough to figure out until 3 days ago. I know by now you all have to be tired of hearing me gripe about my after supper eating. And I don't blame you, I am tired of it too! So in a sudden epiphany ( I am sure it was Divine Intervention) it occurred to me that the solution was simple. I now have a menu for what I can have after supper. Rather than leave it to subjective decisions each night, which we all know is a slippery slope, I went with the decision to make the after meal snacks set in stone. I get one piece of bread with whatever the name of the small spoon is full of peanut butter and a glass of milk for one snack, and the other snack is a packet of Carl Buddhig lunch meat with a pepper jack cheese stick inside of it. That is it. Those are my only options. The first two nights it was like a load was lifted off my shoulders when I knew that I wasn't in for a debate about what, when and how much to eat. How frikkin' simple is that, and how did I miss that solution?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Where Does The Common Sense Go?

If you are reading this, the odds are you, like me, are trying to effect a life style change. You are unhappy with your current weight and physical fitness. It also stands to reason that if you are in this subset of the blogging world, you are at least average, if not above average intelligence and looking for not only support, but to broaden your knowledge of what works and doesn't work by gleaning ideas from your peers. So to recap, we are smart but overweight/out of shape folks here.

Despite what all the fad diets and special drinks/food/supplements would have you believe, I think we all know that weight loss is by far the simplest math equation possible. Eat less calories + burn more calories= burn off excess fat/build lean muscle. Seriously, how much easier can it get? But how many times have we sat around, hacked off because we just upsized our shirt size, or got winded tying our shoes, but continued to stare at a tv/ipad/video game screen for hours? The most activity we got was getting up to go to the bathroom or get something to eat. How many times have we had something delicious to eat, and though we aren't hungry, we go get more? Because it was just that good. How many times have we had an hour to burn before some event, and made the decision that the only viable option was to stop for some food somewhere? All the while, our self loathing brewing beneath the surface.

I say all this, because this morning, I made me a sausage patty for breakfast. My wife used to make fun of me because I made hamburger sized sausage patties. I have managed to downsize them quite a bit in the past couple of months. But anyway, after I finished my sausage patty this morning, I thought man that was good! I SHOULD COOK ME ANOTHER! Now it is important to note that after eating, I wasn't hungry, not in the least. I just WANTED another couple hundred calories that would serve no purpose but to up my calorie count for the day! Granted, it was a fleeting thought, and I never acted on it because my common sense took over. I want to be thinner, and I won't get there by eating seconds when I am not even hungry!

But the question stands, when we are making terrible choices after deciding we are tired of being overweight and out of shape, where does our common sense go? How do we reason that sitting here rather than cleaning the house or doing yard work is the best course of action? How do we rationalize that I am not happy with where I am physically, but I will still have that second slice of cake or 5th piece of pizza when we know the math doesn't add up to what we state our goal is? Where does the common sense go?

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Bow on Top

I have to admit, overall it has been a pretty great week. I talked in my last post about the things I have noticed that weren't necessarily any of my goals, but were sign posts. Since that post I have added a couple of things, one of which I am calling the bow on top of the present.

First, I have had a hectic week. This go around, both divisions of the circuit court are having their pre-trial hearings within 3 days of each other. And in division 2, we didn't have pre-trials until yesterday and trial week is next week, meaning that we weren't going to find out if we had trials next week until yesterday. As luck would have it, it looks like I have a trial on Thursday. But I digress. So anyway, preparing for court left me a bit haggard this week. And Thursday was one of those days I really needed a workout. I was not able to get one at lunch like I usually do and that had me worried. I am on a pretty good streak and didn't want to start the downfall. Good news is, unlike any other time, I decided that since i was not able to get to the gym at lunch, I was going to walk that night. AND I DID!! Not only did I walk that night, I went a half mile further in that walk than I have been going recently!!

The one of the goals I have not met so far is the goal shirt. I am so close, but I am not calling it yet. BUT.... I have a pea coat that has both a zipper, then a row of buttons I can button up to make sure the wind doesn't get in. Recently I have declined to use the zipper because it would go, but it was a bit uncomfortable on my belly to zip it up. Friday, I zipped it up, and while it isn't all the way comfortable yet, it was considerably closer to being comfortable!!

Now all that is great, but today, the bow on top of the present came along. I decided that weigh day would be Saturday here while back and so today I got on the scales first thing this morning. I was down 2 pounds from last week!!! I was completely shocked to see that number because I had two days in a row where I struggled to keep the calorie count for the day below 2,000. It goes to show that hard work pays off! I now have a second wind that will help fight off tough days for the next couple of weeks. After weigh in this morning, I just keep thinking "get to 269, get to 269" I bet I can get there by mid February!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The ABCs of Life Style Change= Always Be Conscious

I am starting to see some pretty decent benefits of having been "on" for the past month, give or take. Now I say that to say this. One of those benefits does not happen to be any scale victory, nor have I managed to get into my next goal shirt as of this writing. That COULD lead me to some moments of frustration and possibly to a "why bother?" attitude. But it hasn't. And that is because I have a talent for seeing little improvements and recognizing them for the blessings they are. That is because I am practice the Always Be Conscious method of Life Style Change. It applies to all sorts of things, but the most useful one to me is recognizing that there is more to this than what the scale says or the tag of my shirt says.

Take for example my exploits at the gym. I have been doing three different forms of cardio, rotating them each visit. I do the arc trainer (think eliptical but a little harder), the stationary bike, and then I have taken to jogging in interval training on the treadmill. I run 3 minutes, walk 2 minutes for 1/2 hour. Since I started working out and eating better, I have gone from jogging at 4 mph on the treadmill to 4.7 mph on the jogging intervals. On the arc trainer, I moved up a level on the program I am using, and I can do the whole half hour at speed, rather than slowing down for a little bit on occasions. And on the bike, I am up 2 levels on the program I have been using. Add to that that I have gone up in weight on every single strength training exercise I do and I am having a heck of a lot of stuff to be thankful for! But I have to be conscious of those things as being just as good as lbs or XLs, and they are all sign posts on the road to my goals.

I also have been conscious of my success in the eating realm. And I credit that to my return to the legal pad! I am once again logging my calories on a legal pad. This helps me stay conscious of how much I have eaten today, and more importantly, I can look back at the days prior to today and see how well I have been doing!

The last thing I use to keep my conscious on track is my whiteboard. It is in the entry way of my bedroom, and it is immediately across from the restroom door. I see it first thing when I wake up each morning, and it reminds me that I am on this journey first thing in the morning, helping me get the right mindset before i have a chance to start thinking about what all I have to do today.

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Hunger Struggle Redux

One of the things I hated about my last journey is that while I was very good at being strict with my calorie counts, and I set my limit at 1800 a day. Back then I did not do net calories, I did gross calories. So my thought for this time around was I will go ahead and do net calories. I take off my exercise calories, then I allow myself to get to 2,000 calories net a day. The reason was I was CONSTANTLY hungry before. I don't mean like a nagging kind of discomfort hungry, I mean I was so starving, it felt like I hadn't eaten in days! So for the past 2-3 weeks, I have been doing a good job keeping myself in the calorie budget, and up until a couple of days ago, I wasn't having the hunger problems. Now, after 2-3 weeks of consistent dieting and exercise, the starving is coming back. I am typing this right now having had 3 scrambled eggs at 5:30 a.m., a cup of cereal with 1% milk, and a handful of almonds. My calorie count is 510 at 10:00 a.m. I feel like I haven't eaten since supper last night!

Does anybody else have this problem? My thinking is I may have to add some calories to my diet, but that seems like a counter-intuitive action. Thoughts?

Sunday, January 4, 2015

There Is Always That One Thing, Right?

First off, let me say that overall, I am happy with the direction my health and fitness are trending, and I feel overall I am successful. However, there always has to be that one thing that nags you, that you can't help but think "I really have to figure THIS out or there will be problems later." I am absolutely keeping within my calorie goal each day. The problem is, I am worried about the fact that I am only at 1,000 net calories after supper, and so to get my calorie count up, I am eating at night. Make no mistake, it is healthy foods, but as I have chronicled and whined about over the years, it is my night time eating that gets me in trouble most often.

At this point, I am not sure whether to go ahead and address this and try to move more calories to earlier in the day, or if I am just being a worry wart. I guess the real problem is that I am not sure how I would move the calories around. My day is front end loaded, so that is pretty much the reason I get fewer calories during the daytime. I have a good breakfast every morning, a good snack sometime mid-morning, and then a small lunch after the gym at lunch. Kathy has been cooking healthy suppers and so the calorie count on those has been around 500 lately. Like I said, after I take my workout calories off the calories I have had throughout the day, I am pretty low in the calorie count. So my "I can talk myself into anything" self says I NEED to get the count up because if I don't eat enough, then my metabolism will slow down.

Does anyone have any thoughts?

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Day #10 of Being Intentional

I talked about my plan to diet 10 days at a time last post. I am currently on Day 10 of the first rotation. In those 10 days, I have been INTENTIONAL in my efforts. I wake each day and come up with a plan, rather than a "play it by ear" strategy. I have planned a daily calorie limit, I have decided to work out or not, and what workout I would do that day. I have tracked my calories all day every day. I have associated Bible verses with my efforts and memorized them as I headed into each day. And I have to admit, I have come away from the last 10 days with some very positive things.

1. I don't know what it was that wore me out about tracking calories last time. I find it very satisfying to see the numbers and know that I have done a good job today. Another unexpected realization I had was that when I was not really thinking about calorie counts, I was always thinking I ate way too many calories. Now that I am putting numbers to paper, I see that I was eating more calories that I should have maybe, but not as overeating as I thought. I assumed I was getting like 4-5,000 calories a day. I was probably really only getting 2500 to 3000 a day. Still too much to lose weight for my activity level, but not as much as I thought.

2. I have always known this, but I had a reawakening to the realization that when I work out, I make big gains quickly. Example, day 1 I did a workout that included doing pull ups with an assist band. I think i did like 3 pullups one set, 3 the next, and 1 the last set. Yesterday, I did 5, 4, then 3 pull ups!! I also have been gaining quickly in all of the cardio workouts I do. My stamina and leg strength have been markedly better each day.

3. I have dedicated myself to drinking lots more water and little to no diet soda. I have to be honest, I braced myself for a couple of days of being dead tired, but the reality is I never had that happen. I was reading some material after I started to research why that would be. I guess being dehydrated has a lot of negative side effects, sluggishness being one. Once I became property hydrated, I guess my body became a more efficient machine? Plus I got extra exercise going to the bathroom a lot!!

4. When my blood sugar isn't high, I am a stuff accomplishing machine!! Today, I have cleaned up my desk and organized what didn't get thrown away. I cleaned off the catch all kitchen table, and am fixing to head to the gym for a Saturday workout!

5. I like to be sore. I used to hate it. But let's think about this for a second. We all want to be more active as part of our fantasy. That involves us using our muscles. Well being sore means two things. You have muscles, and you USED THEM!! Being sore for an extended amount of time means that you have kept working out and using them!! You were more active and you have proof!!

Here's to the next 10 days!!