weight watchers

January 28 – Finding the right fit

“The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.” – Carl Jung

I have often been asked “how did you do it?”. Just this week a co-worker was talking to another person near my desk. I was vaguely aware of the conversation, but immersed in my own work. I turned to get something off a shelf, when one of them said “Bob did it…”. I looked up and was drawn into a conversation about weight loss. The person who was visiting has been told by his doctors that he must lose weight for health reasons. I was asked about how much I lost. I told them the story of loss and gain, and re-dedication. Then the inevitable question arose…how?

When asked that question I have a somewhat pat answer. “I follow Weight Watchers, and I walk a lot.” That is short, and succinct. And,  the vagueness is intentional. I have learned that what Carl Jung says above about life in general is particularly true when it comes to weight loss and becoming more healthy. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. What works for one will not work for another. As I have said many times before…

Weight loss is simple, but it is not easy.

The formula for losing weight is deceptively simple. To lose, you burn more calories than you consume. There are two parts to the equation. Work them both, and have success. Simple, right? But the truth is that both parts are difficult to execute.

It is hard to be in constant control of calorie intake. If you have even a minimal social life,  eating out makes it hard. If you have a demanding job, spending the time on home cooked, healthy, sensible meals is a challenge. And, battling hunger is a problem all its own.

Increasing the burn rate is also harder than it sounds. Committing time to walk more, go to the gym, and so on are difficult to balance with having a career, being a parent, and so on. There are no easy answers there either.

Yesterday I talked about the commitment, and keeping weight loss on center stage.

The key to success is to find something that you are willing to do, every day, for the rest of your life. Anything short of that kind of lifestyle change is just a fad diet, and will universally fail. And, what works for me, what I am willing to make a lifelong commitment to, is not necessarily what will work for you.

If you are reading this blog for inspiration, let me say this to you… Don’t give up! If what you are trying to do isn’t working, and doesn’t feel like something you can commit to for the rest of your life, then try something new. Let me tell you an analogy from my life that might illustrate the point.

I go to meetings just about every work day. Some are short, some are long. Some are working sessions where actual decisions are made, others are informational. They share one thing in common, there is information in the meeting which I need to retain, which means, I need to take notes in some form or fashion.

Over the years I have used many ways to take and retain notes. I have tried all-encompassing notebooks that serve as a diary of my days. I have tried using a pad of paper, and tearing off the notes from each meeting to be stored in a folder related to that specific project or subject. I have tried taking notes in OneNote, and on and on. I have not yet found my ideal note taking strategy, but I have learned one thing about myself. I like trying out new ways from time to time. For me, changing up how I gather and sort my notes keeps my mind fresh. Just this past week I bought a new notebook.

I may never find the best way to take notes for me. But, by varying the approach, while keeping a few key points in mind, I can be effective. I think it is the same with weight loss. There are certain principles to keep in mind, like portion control, balance, and thinking about the calorie density of foods. How I arrange the food in my actual daily intake can change over time, and still be effective. The same is true for exercise. Right now I am all about interval training on the treadmill. In a few months I might be about neighborhood walks, or riding a stationary bike, or lifting weights. The important thing is to keep the principle of increasing my calorie burn in mind, and keeping it fresh.

Bobby-C’s thought for the day…Being successful at weight loss is about finding what works, sustainably, for you! Keep trying until you find that fit, then stick to it as though your life depended on it.

January 27 – Making health my primary focus

“We don’t get offered crises, the arrive.” – Elizabeth Janeway

Today is weigh-in day. I stepped on the scale and it registered 247.4 pounds. I didn’t weigh in last week, so over the last two weeks I have gained 1.0 pounds. For 2017 I am down 2.6 pounds, or about 1% for the year. I didn’t weigh in last week because I was fairly sure I had gained. This week I feel pretty good that I lost weight, although not all that I gained.

For the week I did well on workouts. I did a total of 3 sets of interval training on the treadmill of 58, 42 and 58 minutes. I ate sensibly, but didn’t track. That remains an issue. And, I didn’t do extra walking at work. On the whole, it was a good week, but not a great one. I can and will do better.

Handling crises is a big part of my job. I often am handed projects that are complex and filled with issues. It is my job to assemble the right teams to address the issues and get the project back on track. This year, as I have written in past posts, the crises have been of a budgetary nature. These have been the bane of my existence since the Holiday break. I am happy to say that there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Yesterday we had a breakthrough meeting and hopefully have addressed the problems with a set of plans that will be acceptable. There is still much work to be done, but now we have a plan, which is a quantum better than before.

Because I have a tendency to be an emotional, or stress eater, when there are crises it is particularly difficult for me to stay on plan. Not saying it is an excuse, but it is a contributory factor.

I have come to understand about myself that it is all about capacity. My mind, and my will has a certain capacity to handle things. When there is a crisis, much of that capacity is expended on solving the crisis. That is true whether it is a personal or professional situation. Whichever is the biggest crisis, or worry bead, in my life, gets the most attention. When I analyze why I was successful in 2014 and 2015, I believe it is because my health, and losing weight, was the biggest crisis I was trying to solve. In 2016, once I had my health under control, my projects at work took center stage, and diligence to my weight program was pushed back.

My guess is that it is similar for others. Something happens with our health to make it take the spotlight. It could be bad news at the doctor’s office, or something as simple as the turn of the calendar to a new age, or a new year. For a while, our health becomes the most important thing in our lives. And while our health is the focus, we eat well, lose weight, increase exercise, and so on. But, we humans are notorious for having a short attention span, so inevitably something else comes up, we are dazzled by the shiny bauble, and are off to something else. Soon, the progress we made in our health has ebbed, and we are right back where we started.

Part of my intent with writing this blog, and specifically for my 365 project this year, is to keep my health in my crosshairs. If you are a regular reader, you will note that I missed 3 posts in the last week or so. This week I plan to catch up on those missed posts, and stay on track for the new days.

So, here are my objectives for the week ahead:

  • Track my food every day, no excuses
  • Minimum 3 workouts, none less than 42 minutes, at least one of 58 minutes
  • 50 laps around the internal walking path at work (12/day X 4 days, plus a couple). That is about 8.6 miles

I would like very much to be at, or below 245 when I weigh in next Friday. That would restore me to 100 pounds lost in total.

Bobby-C’s thought for the day…Only when my health is at, or near the center of my focus can I have sustained success. Remembering what is important in my life is paramount.

January 25 – Facing my current reality

“We don’t know who we are until we see what we can do.” – Martha Grimes

This morning I had my gym clothes set out and ready for an early workout. But, I elected to take the hour of sleep instead. The clothes will go into my gym bag, and with me to work today. My intent is to do a 30 minute workout tonight, then get up for a morning workout tomorrow.

After reading the quote, I was all set to tell a story about “back when I lost all that weight…”. As I sit here and think, I am realizing that constantly focusing on those 2 years of my life are not really helping me today. I started this year about 40 pounds over my goal for the year (and 55 over what had been my goal during that weight loss). I can’t keep talking about that time. This is now. Right now I am 40 to 50 pounds over weight, and that is my reality. The sooner that I reset my thinking to that reality, the sooner this ball will start rolling down hill.

Yesterday was a good day, but not a great one. I worked out and ate sensibly, but I didn’t actually track my eating. I know that when I don’t track, I have a tendency to over eat. Tracking my food has to become part of my daily ritual. Until it does, I fear my wheels will continue to spin.

I know what I can do, and I know what I must do. There will be a time, later this year, for me to talk about all the amazing things available to me in life because I am not obese. Many of those things are there today. But, until I get back to my fighting weight, talking about them is just nostalgia.

Bobby-C’s thought for the day…I must accept my present reality if I am to ever have a hope of reaching my newly-set goals.

January 24 -Conquering issues

“Providence has hidden a charm in difficult undertakings which is appreciated only by those who dare to grapple with them.” – Anne-Sophie Swetchine

First let me just acknowledge that I missed a couple of days. We had a family gatherings on Sunday, and yesterday I had a particularly long day at work. I will eventually write for those two days, perhaps starting tonight, just so I can complete the idea of 365 posts in the year.

Sometimes when I am writing on a project like this, the exact right quote comes at the exact time I need it. I feel like today is one of those days. As I mentioned above, yesterday was a particularly long day at work. I came home tired and frustrated.

There is no secret that financial management of projects is something I loathe doing. I know it is necessary, and I actually have skill for it, but it frustrates me to no end. A few years back I asked for a reassignment largely because I was completely at my wits end after dealing with constant financial issues over a period of years. I could go into more depth, but that would only raise my blood pressure, and as you’ll read shortly, my day is off to a good start and I don’t want to ruin it.

Last night I sat with my wife in the living room and vented my spleen about my frustrations. I even hinted that perhaps it is time for me to move on from my current assignment. I told her that doing so would allow me to sleep better, eat better, be less stressed and angry, and actually like my job again. She listened, offered her thoughts, and then I settled in for some light reading.

This morning when the alarm went off at 3:50am, I was eager to get out of bed and get to the gym. At the time I thought it odd because I have struggles to mightily in recent weeks, but it was not a time to question success, so off I went. When I got to the gym I opted for the 58 minute workout rather than the 42 minute work out. At no time during the workout did I even consider stopping, I was eager to be successful.

After my shower this morning I read this quote and it hit me. I have this challenge in front of me, and I need to rise up to it. In fact, I have two challenges:

  1. To get my weight back where I want it to be.
  2. To wrestle long-term control of the finances of my programs from those who are unable to handle them, and make them right.

If I shy away from the challenges above, my thirst for peace may be slaked for a short time. But I know that if I persevere through, and get to success, the sweetness will be far greater, and the peace more lasting.

This morning I feel energized. Having a 4:00am workout is good medicine indeed. I am off to go tackle the problems at work, and my healthy lunch is packed to fuel my day.

Bobby-C’s thought for the day…My destiny lies not in the avoidance of problems, but in the diligent conquest of them.

January 20 – Navigating the office eating minefield

“For better or worse, the workplace has become the eatplace.” – Gabriella Stern

I am a big fan of Seinfeld. I still watch the reruns, and it still makes me laugh. In one episode, Elaine laments how often there is cake at her office, and the effect it is having on her waistline. This quote relates to that phenomenon.

As it turns out, my office isn’t too bad for this, at least not any more. There was a time when Friday donuts, regular birthday cakes, work anniversary cakes, and so on were contributors to the difficulty in maintaining a sound, healthy diet. There are still a few candy bowls around the building, and the occasional cake or donuts make their way in, but it is largely under control. I will say that since I work from home on Friday, I am likely missing some of the sweets that work their way in.

But, the fact that there is food at work means only that temptation exists. What I do about that temptation is up to me. I cannot use temptation as an excuse. I need to be honest, track my food, and stay true to myself. That isn’t to say that I don’t have occasional treats. It means that when I do, I need to account for them.

The good news is that over the past 3 years I have become largely immune to the temptations. The only time I will indulge is when we have a special event, or a member of my team has an anniversary or birthday, and then I keep it small. Office eating is not my problem these days.

Bobby-C’s thought for the day…There are many minefields to success when it comes to eating sensibly. Taking accountability for my own choices keeps my head in the game.

January 19 – Recharging my batteries

“Inside myself is a place where I live all alone and that’s where you renew your springs that never dry up.” Pearl Buck

The somewhat clumsy syntax of that sentence aside, this quote from Pearl Buck does resonate with me. To those who know me well, that might be a surprise, so let me delve into it.

If you have ever been exposed to the Myers Briggs test, you know that the first of the 4 letters in your type indicator describes whether you are an Introvert or an Extrovert. I am an Extrovert to the extreme. What that means is that on a day to day basis, I draw energy from outside myself. I am the type of person who is energized by a group activity, like a party or departmental off site. Introverts would find those same activities to be exhausting. At the end of a work week, I am ready to get out and about and enjoy a nice dinner, maybe spiced by a cocktail; whereas an Introvert (like my wife), is ready to curl into the family room with a good book, or maybe a movie.

The little known fact about me is that, from time to time, my Introvert tendencies also come out. This week has been a mix of the two, and so this quote is timely.

My team at work participated in an all-day offsite on Wednesday. It was great. We had a long and illuminating discussion about one another’s strengths. We got to know each other better, had some fun, laughed a bit and found insights to how we can best work together. When that day ended I was on fire. I was full of energy and couldn’t wait to tell others about the experience. That day was the embodiment of my Extroversion.

Fast forward 1 day to Thursday. The 3rd Thursday of the month is a stressful one for me at work. On that day we culminate our Project Governance cycle with the top level meeting in the morning. In the afternoon we start the next month’s cycle of Governance back at the bottom of the pyramid. I am responsible for presenting with Senior Management in the morning, then working with the teams in the afternoon. When the end of the day comes, I am pretty tired.

I left the office with the faint hope of going to the gym, but my tired mind wanted only to come home and be alone. I beat my wife home by several hours, and spent the time alone, much of it napping, the rest of it in mindless rest. I was embracing my Introversion.

I do have a spring within me, and it does refresh my spirit. While I may not always dip down into it, I know it is there. Days like yesterday are essential for my long-term wellbeing. As Extroverted as I am, I recognize that there is a strong need in me to sometimes just be alone with myself. Yesterday it was about doing nothing. Sometimes it is about reading a book, or taking on a solitary project that gives me both peace and joy.

I am a day late with this post, as it should have been out yesterday morning. That happened because I overslept my alarm and was rushing to be on time for work. This morning I made the conscious decision to skip my Friday workout. I also forgot to weigh in before eating for the day, so this will be a no-weigh-in week. I had a discussion about this with my wife, and I asked her if she thought I was being lazy. She assured me that she does not think I am lazy, but rather that my life has been hectic and stressful the last couple of weeks, and my body needed the rest. I trust her opinion, and am not being hard on myself today. As I wrote the other day, the fact that I am struggling means that I have not given up. During the low times from June to the end of the year, I didn’t give my weight, my diet, or my health much thought. Those days I wasn’t struggling, and the scale tells the tale.

For the week ahead, my intent is the same as for the week just concluded. I will work to track my food, hit the gym 3 times, and walk daily. That is a recipe for success for me, I just need to follow it.

Bobby-C’s thought for the day…When I am at my peak of Extroversion, I still have those days when I need to just be alone with me. Even my batteries sometimes need a charge.

January 18 – The struggle is real, and that is good news!

Today’s meditation in Weight Watchers Success Every Day. 365 Meditations for Your Weight Loss Journey talks about sabotage. It talks about the phenomenon where, as a person loses weight, those closest to them will sabotage their efforts – either consciously or sub-consciously. There are stories of wives baking sweets for their husbands, and husbands buying tours of French restaurants for their wives. I can say, unequivocally, that my wife has NEVER done that to me. She is the most supportive person on this journey with me. The meditation goes on to suggest that a key to success in long-term, weight loss is the buddy system. This is a notion that I wholeheartedly endorse.

As I said, my wife is an amazing and supportive partner in my quest for better health, and I couldn’t do it without her. But the truth is that she is with me every day, and sometimes the bad habits and less-than-healthy decisions have a way of sneaking in. Their insidious nature means that the person closest to me might not see them as they subtly sink my strategies.

When I was losing weight at a rapid pace, I had strong support from outside my house. I was a member of an online support group, I had walking buddies at work who also encouraged me to stick to my packed lunch, and the followers of my blog and Facebook posts gave encouragement and tips along the way as well.

Today most of those vectors of support still exist. I am not an active member of any weight loss groups on line, but my friends at work, and my followers here all still  give the love and support that I need to stay the course.

This week one of my mantras of weight loss keeps ringing in my ears…

“Weight loss is simple, but it is not easy”

I know the simple way to shed the pounds I’ve gained. I need to burn more than I eat. I need to decrease the amount of food I eat, while simultaneously increasing my activity level. I know that. It is simple. But it is not easy.

Every evening this week I have set out my workout gear for a pre-workday session. So far, the only day I’ve gotten up was Monday. This evening will be ridiculously busy, and I won’t get home from work and other things until past 9:00pm. So an evening workout won’t be in the offing. My gear will remain laid out and ready for tomorrow.

I  feel a bit scattered today, but I will end by saying this: the bad news is that I am struggling to stay on track. Getting on the sustained program I desire is not coming easily to me this time around. But, the good news is that I am struggling to stay on track. It is good news, as well as bad, because the fact that I continue to struggle means that I have not thrown in the towel.

Bobby-C’s thought for the day…Yes, the struggle is real. But, if I am struggling it means I am in the game and haven’t given up. As long as that is the case, I am not failing.

January 17 – Giving a full-ass effort

“Trouble is only opportunity in work clothes.” Henry J. Kaiser

I was cruising around on Facebook the other day and I saw an interesting meme. It was a photo of a picturesque cabin in the woods, and the caption was “I want to build a life from which I do not need a vacation.” Most memes I just scroll past without any regard or thought, but this one stuck with me.

We all dream of a carefree life. We dream of having the resources we need to be able to truly do the things we want to do, when we want to do them. The idea of being able to sleep in when it suits us, or to take the whimsical trip to pursue an interest seem romantic on cold, rainy mornings while preparing for work. Perhaps it was just an accident of the wording, but this particular meme suggested not that the person sought a life without work, but rather a life from which they didn’t need a vacation.

Like anyone else, I have my days when I absolutely hate my job. There are days when the stress is high, the problems are piling up, and the people around me seem less than cooperative. When I step back, take a breath, and honestly reflect, those days are few. And, most of the time it is my own head that needs to be checked rather than some outside issue.

When I think of making a life from which I do not need a vacation, my mind doesn’t automatically go to a place where there is no work.. My mind goes to a place where the work I am doing is meaningful, and enjoyable in the moment. I think of a place where I, and the people I work with are growing as individuals. A place where at the end of the day, I am exhausted, but fulfilled. To me, that is a good life.

At the end of last year I was having a hard time accepting myself. I was feeling like a failure for having gained back about 30 of the 130 pounds that I lost. Rather than wallowing in self-pity for my misstep, and accelerating my weight gain, I made a conscious effort to do something different. This 365 project is my attempt to right the ship.

I don’t say this to be boastful. To be clear, I have nothing to boast about. The struggle is real and keeps going. I say this, as much as anything, to remind myself that I cannot accept failure that is born of a dearth of effort. If I give my level best, and fail, then I can sleep well at night. But if I fail because I have given a half-ass effort, then I have no one to blame but myself.

Bobby-C’s thought for the day.. When it comes to losing a substantial portion of my ass, half-ass just won’t cut it. I must go full ass or nothing at all.

January 16 – Yet another good reason for keeping my to-do lists

“Every time I think I have touched bottom as far as boredom is concerned, new vistas of ennui open up.” – Margaret Halsey

The thoughts for the day today in Weight Watchers Success Every Day. 365 Meditations for Your Weight Loss Journey are set up to address the fact that it is the middle of January, and center around battling boredom when you find yourself snowed in. As it turns out, today we observe Martin Luther King day, so while many still have to work, I have the day off. Not snowed in, but still home.

The notion that boredom leads to over-eating isn’t limited to snow days, or holidays. I find that I can reach a state of boredom on any day of the week, any time of the day, and with little warning. I like to keep busy, so if there isn’t a ready list of things to do, boredom and its good buddy, random eating, can soon creep in.

For a variety of reasons, our Christmas decorations stayed up an extra week at my house. We started the De-Christmasing yesterday, and got about half done. Today, on my list of things to do is to take down the artificial trees and move them to storage. I also will be cleaning my model trains to prepare them for storage.

My to-do lists are the stuff of legend. I keep a mini-clipboard handy, and will jot down things I want to remember to accomplish. I find it helps both by keeping me organized, and by providing a means to see progress as I check things off the list. When I am on my game, my list is ever-present.

Frequently at this time of year I sit down with a clip board and legal pad and start to brainstorm all of the projects I would like to tackle in the new year. I haven’t done that yet (maybe I can start this afternoon), but I do have some ideas. I want to make a sofa table to go behind my downstairs sofa. It will be about 5” wide, and have outlets in it for both 110AC and plugging in to charge phones and such. That project will wait until the weather breaks, so I can do much of the work in my un-heated garage.

When brainstorming the list, I like to include mini-projects that can be knocked out in only an hour or two. I will confess, this isn’t about weight loss for me so much as just wanting to stay productively busy. I honestly, just love a good to-do list. The fact that it helps with my weight loss goals is a bonus.

This morning I slept in a bit for a week day. I rose at 5:30am and headed to the gym. I did a good, 42 minute work out, then came home and had a light breakfast. I feel good for the day ahead, and I think I have set myself up for a good week.

Bobby-C’s thought for the day…Boredom is one of many reasons I can be tempted to over eat. Keeping a list of things to do helps fight that boredom, and makes me more productive!

January 15- CORRECTION to my graph

This morning my post included a graph correlating my weight loss to the number of blog posts I have written. As I was looking at it this afternoon, I noticed something strange. According to the chart I had lost about 40 pounds in the first month (March 2014). That would have been truly remarkable. In fact, it didn’t happen. I went back to Excel to see what I did wrong and realized I made an error in generating the graph. Instead of picking a line graph, I picked a stacked line graph. Essentially I ensured exact correlation.

Here is how the graph should have looked:

correlation-2

The correlation still exists. There is still a relationship between how often I blog, and my success in weight loss. But it isn’t as exact as my previous graph would indicate.

The bottom line is that there is a relationship between my blog posts and weight loss. Blog posts don’t cause weight loss, that would be a causation relationship. The correlation exists because the number of blog posts and my success in weight loss have a common cause – my commitment and accountability to the process.

The nerd in me couldn’t let the graphical error exist.