wieght loss

Too hard on myself? Or being accountable?

This weekend my wife and I went on a camping trip. It was our second of the year, and we had our annual visit  from some very dear friends and their two young daughters. We experienced some cold weather, including hail! When it was relatively nice, we went on a hike of a couple of miles up a sand dune.

While keeping warm at the campfire, the wife of the couple mentioned that she’d read my blog post on Friday. She offered encouragement, then said she thought I was being too hard on myself. She pointed out that there have been Holidays, family events, Mothers day, and so on that could take me off track. She reminded me that I have come a long way, and am still down well over 120 pounds. I smiled, and thanked her. Then I mentioned that all of those things might be reasons why I gained, but none of them excuse the weight gain.

Any event – whether a wedding, Holiday, special dinner, and so on – may be a reason to go over on a particular meal, but they shouldn’t derail that day, let alone many days. I didn’t gain 11 pounds in 10 weeks because of a Holiday, or a special dinner, or even attending a wedding. I gained because I slipped into old habits. I let myself believe that seconds at dinner was ok, or that I had “earned” a snack in the evening because it was a hard day. I elected to sleep in the morning rather than get up and hit the gym. In short, I slacked. I could make excuses for myself, but that won’t change the direction of my weight.

When I reached the end of my weight loss in 2000 and 2001, I allowed myself to become complacent. I allowed myself to believe that I had this weight thing licked, and could go back to mindless eating. 13 years and 127 pounds later, I finally got my head out of my rear end and realized that this is a lifelong effort for me.

I am not saying that there can’t or shouldn’t be times to celebrate and have a little extra. What I am saying is that when I do, I need to remind myself to make up for it, and get back on track.

The 130+ pounds I lost didn’t happen because I allowed myself to make excuses, and allowing myself to make excuses won’t let me maintain my weight loss, let alone continue to lose to get to my overall goal.

The title above asks the question whether I am being too hard on myself, or holding myself accountable. I prefer to think that I am holding myself accountable. I am not particularly down on myself, I am not beating myself up over the recent gains. I am merely looking in the mirror and telling the person responsible for my gains to get his ever loving rear in gear!

Week 106 and a reassessment

On Friday morning, March 25th, I weighed in at 217.4 pounds. That represented a 1.2 pound increase for the week.Since starting this journey toward better health on March 1, 2014 I have lost a total of 127.6 pounds, or 37.0% of my original body weight.

All weekend long, and honestly for the last several weeks, I have been struggling to decide what my approach should be, and what my attitude should be about my present weight, and my overall health.

Back when I started this blog, on March 1, 2014 I remember sitting at this same desk I’m occupying now, and trying to decide what to name it.¬† I finally ended up calling it “Bobby-C’s Health Journey”. I recall purposely not choosing to call it “Bobby-C’s Weight Loss Journey” because I wanted it to be about more than just a struggle with the scale. I wanted it – the journey – to be about becoming a more healthy person. Here I sit, 106 weeks later. and in some ways I have found myself disappointed. Today I want to tweak my attitude, and my approach to this Journey toward better health.

This is my weight loss chart for the past 106 weeks:

all time

That first year I lost 117.2 pounds. or 34% of my original weight. At that point, I was sure that reaching my ultimate goal of 195 pounds was right around the corner, and I’d be hitting in time for swimsuit season. That isn’t quite how it has worked out. I did continue to lose weight from that date. By the 4th of July I had reached 218.8 pounds or a 126.2 pounds loss. I felt fantastic! Even though my weight loss rate had slowed from a running average of 1.9 pounds per week to 1.1 pounds per week, I was still losing. That was when I really slammed into the plateau on which I find myself today. Here is my chart starting with the July 4 weekend:

since july 4Since that weekend I have spent virtually all of my time between 215 and 220 pounds. I have had a few weeks below (in September and October), and a few above (around the Christmas season), but essentially I have been living in that band. In fact, had my original goal weight been about 217 pounds, I would probably be celebrating about 6 months of maintenance, with a few hiccups. In short, I’d be pretty darn happy.

But weight doesn’t tell the whole story. Here are some other numbers from then and now (note that some measurements are approximated based on my clothing size at the time):

key numbers2

First, the good news.

  • A1C in 2014 was at least pre-diabetic. Today, at 5.2, it is normal
  • BMI went from 46.8 to 29.5
  • Total Cholesterol went down, and my HDL (Good cholesterol), went UP
  • Waist to Height ratio and Body Fat Percentages both improved

The not-so-good news:

  • BMI is still within 0.5 of obese, and high in the overweight range
  • Body Fat Percentage is still in the Very High range
  • Waist to Height Ratio is still in the Very Overweight range, bordering on Morbidly Obese

In short, there is still some work to be done.

When I got up this morning I was all set to write a blog post about how I have been unnecessarily beating myself up. I was going to write about how most of my numbers are just where I’d like them to be, so why all the fuss about the scale. Largely I still feel that way. But, the fact is that I still have work to do. I am not at the healthy weight / BMI. My body fat percentage is still too high, and so on. In short, this part of the journey is not over.

I also had decided that I am going to tweak my approach to my health. Not making wholesale changes, but making a few adjustments that I think will push me to the next level. Here is that plan:

  1. My mind is adjusting to the idea that my new “normal” is to be between 215 and 220 pounds. I will no longer beat myself up for my weekly weigh-in as long as I fall within that range. If 2 through 5 below result in a significant change to that range, I will adjust. But NO LONGER will I spend the weekend upset with a weigh in that falls in that range.
  2. I am going to incorporate some upper body strength training into my workout routines at the gym. I still plan to do the treadmill, but I will cut that back to cover only the time to watch 1 episode of TV (about 42 to 45 minutes). The remainder of the hour I spend at the gym will be on machines to work my arms and shoulders.
  3. No eating after 8:00pm. While I don’t do a lot of unhealthy snacking to begin with, I still do like to snack while watching TV. I am going to work to eliminate that.
  4. Push ups and Sit ups while watching TV. I’ll be replacing my urge to snack with some good, old-fashioned exercises!
  5. Accurately tracking my food and drink. I have been complacent (again), on this, and plan to get it back in line

My long-term goal is still to reach 195 pounds. I do not have a timetable for it, and I won’t be critical of myself for not inching toward it every week.

I would like to say that I will also blog more, but I am tired of making and breaking that promise. I do have some thoughts that I would like to share, and as I have time I will be writing them. But no specific timetables.

That’s it. Just some thoughts this morning on where I stand in my journey, where I still want to go, and how I would like to get myself there.

 

Make mine double cheese with extra pepperoni!

While we’re at it, how about one of those pizzas that is wrapped in like a football field of bacon?

Have I lost it? Has hunger made me go stark raving mad? Has the cheese slipped off my cracker? (mmmm…cheese)

No.

Tonight I decided to make use of the 24/7 coaching from Weight Watchers to ask about my plateau. A very nice coach named Adrienne came on after a few seconds, and I described my weekly routine to her. I told her how much I eat, what I use for snacks (fruits and raw vegetables with occasional air-popped popcorn or an ounce of mixed nuts once in a while), and my workout routine. I told her where I was when I started, and where I am now.

She and I chatted for a few minutes and she discovered that I do not track my activity points. We did a quick calculation, and it turns out that in an average week I am earning about 56 activity points. Her first thought was that maybe I should eat some of my activity points. It was then that I told her I am usually under on my daily points by about 6 to 8 per day.

We talked more, and she is of the opinion that I am actually eating too little, and that my metabolism has slowed down. To get me started back losing weight, she wants me to ::GASP:: eat more!

As soon as I closed the chat window I called Papa John. I still had him on speed dial. He said he’d missed me, and that hanging out with Peyton Manning was a poor substitute for our once torrid relationship.

NO I DIDN’T! Fact it, I don’t even really like Papa John’s pizza, I am a Jets guy, but I digress.

She and I talked about how I can get myself up to the daily point level. I am going to add some to my morning routine, and add an extra slice of lunch meat on my sandwiches. Also, at dinner I will have a bit more of the healthy, lean protein, and I will mix in a little more air-popped popcorn.

I agreed to give this a try from now until my weigh-in next Friday. Wish me luck.

Before I reached out to Adrienne, I also did some research on other websites. One thing that popped out for me was the idea that my workouts are in a rut. I have been doing the same workout – 60 to 90 minutes on the treadmill at 3.8MPH – for several months. I think it is time to do something different. But, I don’t want to miss out on making my 150 miles for my boost. Yes, I know that commitment is mostly to myself, but trust me that it matters to me that I complete it.

What I am going to do, starting tomorrow, is substitute the last 15 to 20 minutes of my hour with work on the stationary bike. I will make up the miles with more walking outside or around inside my building. There is a natural break in my workout when an episode of 24 ends, so that will be when I switch to the bike.

I am interested to see what these two tweaks will do to my progress. I am hopeful that they will break me through the plateau, but if they don’t, I will just try something else.

This is not me abandoning my plan, and that is something I am adamant about. I am tweaking. I am making small changes to improve my results.

I’ll update you on the results as we go!