Weight loss update: Week 2

This is a follow-up to Weight loss update: Week 1

I did not lose any weight this week. However, I have decided that since I already eat a pretty reasonable diet — breakfast/lunch/dinner-wise, anyway, I’m going to focus on getting more physically active, and hope the weight loss comes along as a result of that.

This past week I walked from work to rehearsal of the Aurora Chamber Singers rather than driving, and walked back at the end to pick up my car. Round trip about a mile, but that’s something. And then today Jay and I walked 4.5 miles.

I really, really, really want to get back in the habit of doing a daily walk at lunch and to doing yoga classes after work. The reason I haven’t been is twofold: on Mondays and Tuesdays, when I could’ve gone to a class or something, I’ve been too lazy and tired after work to trudge the whole block to Sangha Studios on Pine Street in Burlington for yoga. And on Wednesdays and Thursdays I have rehearsal of musical groups I’m in. And on Friday, I guess I tend to want to leave that open for doing something with Jay. Of course, I could do yoga on the weekends.

“Concert season” will be wrapping up soon with concerts of the Aurora Chamber Singers on May 11 at the College Street Congregational Church in Burlington (information here) and Me2/ Orchestra at Lamoille Union High School in Hyde Park, VT on May 18. (information here). (There’s also a concert of Me2/ Orchestra in Montreal on May 11 but I can’t go because of the Aurora Chamber Singers concert the same night.) Once rehearsals wrap up for the summer, it’ll be a lot easier to get exercise in.

It’s also easier when Jay’s in town because he can guilt/harangue me into going to a yoga class after work or come by and drag me out on a walk. Burlington (where I work) has lovely walking trails, especially along the waterfront, and I work a block from the waterfront.

Then, too, I plan to start aikido lessons once the concerts are over. I’ve already got my gi (the white jacket and pants that you wear while out on the mat) and made connections at the local dojo on Pine Street (also a very short distance from my office).

So I do have plans. I just need to stop making excuses to myself and carry them out.

 

Diet Update: Week 2

This is a follow-up to Diet Update: Week 1.

On Sunday of last week, my weight stood at 243.8. I weighed myself after coming in from gardening this afternoon and my digital, WiFi-enabled scale dutifully registered my weight as 237.4. For what it’s worth, my weight two weeks ago was 252.2.

I know. That’s impossible. No one loses fifteen pounds (okay, 14.8 pounds) in two weeks unless they’re on the Bataan Death March.

There are factors that can skew the numbers — am I hydrated or not? Have I, er, been to the bathroom? I have to assume, given my results just now (again, 237.4, down 6.4 pounds from a week ago), that I am:

  • somewhat dehydrated
  • er, “empty”

At the end of the day, I do have a theory. I’m losing weight because:

  • I’m crash dieting, eating 1200-1600 calories a day of mostly vegetarian protein sources
  • I’m getting a bit more exercise (multi-mile walks twice in the last seven days)
  • I’m shedding the excess water that my blood pressure medications have caused me to retain.

I know water retention due to medication is no joke; last summer they tried me on a drug called Bystolic and I promptly put on about ten pounds. In one week. They took me back off it — the excess weight almost immediately went away.

So here’s my theory: something is causing my body to start shedding the excess water it’s been retaining ever since I went on those meds. Maybe it’s the longer hours of daylight. Maybe it’s the significant reduction of my food intake. Maybe it’s getting a bit more exercise — I’ve gone for walks twice this week (and I should have done more).

It’s a mystery.

Weight loss update: Week 1

My weight is down about 2 pounds from a week ago. Sounds good I guess, but I don’t think it’s anything to shout about. I’ve weighed myself several times this week, and I’ve seen the numbers go down a little, up a little, down again… I know that it isn’t really valuable to weigh in every day; I know that differences of a pound or two from day to day aren’t significant and that they represent the weight of water, undigested food, etc. I also know that net pounds lost only tells half the story, because a pound of muscle lost is worse than useless. I’ve got to pick up some resistance exercises to keep from losing muscle mass.

I haven’t been keeping an obsessive log of my food intake because I know that, for the most part, I eat healthy food and not to excess. Although maybe I should keep track; it’s hard to know how much over diet I go on a given day because of eating out once or getting free bagels at work. Free snacks, especially carbs (which is what most freebies are), are my weakness.

What I really need to change is my activity level. I have been trying to do that this week. Last Sunday Jay and I went for a 4-mile walk outdoors. On Monday I treadmilled for about 20 minutes. On Tuesday I rode the exercise bike for about 40. It’s hard to keep track of all these things, even with a Fitbit watch to record my activities…because for the most part, it doesn’t record them automatically. I have to stop and start the record. I nearly always forget. But I’ve started manually entering all my activities into Strava, in hopes that seeing a record of it will give me positive reinforcement. It’s been a good technique for me before.

Oh yeah, I also did a few exercises with barbells on Friday. Bicep curls, deltoid extensions. I need to get more systematic about that and add a whole range of exercises.

 

Diet Update: Week 1

One week ago I weighed 251 pounds. Today I weighed myself mid-afternoon and the scale read 243.8.1I’m using a WiFi-enabled digital scale that automatically logs my weight to the WeightGurus website.

I know that seems impossible, barring surgery.

I’ve been really watching my caloric consumption for the last week and I’ve tried to exercise: a half hour on a stationary bike, a half hour on a treadmill, a couple of walks. Somehow it added up to precipitous weight loss.

I think the key is that I’ve been eating a high-protein diet (with some vegetables; I’m not insane) composed largely of things like MorningStar Farms meatless patties, Quorn patties, and so forth. They fill you up and they taste pretty good and consequently my body accepts getting only 1,600-1,900 calories or so a day.

It’s a bit easier to diet when I’m on the road for work — there’s no pantry full of snacks in my hotel room and I can control my intake by buying my meals at the grocery store one day at a time. I eat about 400 calories of some sort of ominous meat substitute for breakfast, skip lunch, and then have 1,200 calories or so of beans and meat substitute for dinner. (Skipping lunch sounds dangerous and scary, but the fact is, when I’m working I’m usually not hungry at lunchtime and I’ve been skipping lunch for over twenty years.) I would have liked to have gotten in more exercise after work, but one night I had dinner with my work teammates and another night I just plain wasn’t feeling well.

I am somewhat proud of myself for what I did the night we all went out to dinner. We wound up at an Italian restaurant and multiple cheesy appetizers got ordered. I kept passing the plates as they went by and didn’t indulge. Then people ordered big-ass plates of pasta and so on — I ordered a spinach salad. I knew that a few forkfuls of some giant cheesy pasta dish — or almost anything else on the menu — would have been more calories than I’d allotted for the entire day. When we were done and returned to our respective hotels, I topped off that spinach salad with some more Gardenburger-equivalent patties.

I was hoping to lose two pounds this week. I knew that to lose more, I’d have to do a lot more exercise than I wound up doing. And somehow I lost over seven pounds. The only explanation I can come up with is that some of that weight loss must have been water weight.

Ten years ago, when I last went on a huge diet and lost sixty pounds, I found that it was absolutely essential to track my caloric consumption meal by meal, food by food, using an app. And that’s what I’m doing again this time. If it goes in my mouth, I enter it in the MyFitnessPal app. If the food in question isn’t already in their database, I add it. It’s virtually impossible to enter the calories for a giant plate of restaurant food, so I tend to avoid restaurants while I’m trying to lose weight. (Well, that’s what I did last time I lost a ton of weight, ten years ago, and that’s what I’m trying to do again this time.)

This weekend Carole and I basically just ate meals from Blue Apron. Their meal kits supply reasonable portions and don’t give you the option of going back for seconds… and conveniently, they tend to already be listed in the MyFitnessPal food database. This coming week I’ve got another trip — all the way to Phoenix and back. The plan, again: calorie tracking, calorie tracking, calorie tracking. Lots of protein and foods with fiber. Exercise as often as I can manage it.

I don’t expect to be sitting here a week from now bragging about losing another six to seven pounds… but I do hope to be down at least two more. Wish me luck.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. I’m using a WiFi-enabled digital scale that automatically logs my weight to the WeightGurus website.

Wherein: We Are Fat

Jay and I are fat.

We’re suffering from the same fate that afflicts a lot of prosperous First World people with demanding jobs and insufficient get-up-and-go: ample “padding” and clothes that don’t fit any more.

It doesn’t help that:

  1. Jay suffers from major depression
  2. I suffer from depression and a certain amount of media addiction (translation: I watch way too much TV)
  3. We both suffer from seasonal affective disorder to a certain extent — we tend to cocoon during the long dark winter months and get almost no exercise
  4. Jay travels for work and isn’t here at the end of the day to kick my ass and get me to exercise
  5. Jay travels for work and so he’s not here at the end of the day so I can kick his ass and get him to exercise
  6. We snack too much
  7. We’re both really, really, really good at making excuses

Thus, we’ve decided to take the dramatic and possibly futile step of publicly sharing our attempts at losing weight. We’re planning on posting weekly weight and exercise updates … hoping that sharing our progress with the world will keep us honest.

We have every app in the book (MyFitnessPal, MapMyWalk, Strava, Fitbit, Google Fit, MyRally, Mindbody). We have Fitbit Ionic smartwatches with GPSes. We have a smart scale that syncs our weight automatically to four of those apps. We have a treadmill. We have a stationary exercise bike. We have actual bicycles that we could, you know, use once in a while. We have kayaks for when Lake Champlain gets above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Jay has fitness centers in all the hotels he stays in. We have free weights — dumbbells and mini dumbbells in various sizes.

None of those make a bit of difference if we don’t use them.

We know diets can work if you have enough willpower. Back in 2009, Jay got … a bit zealous and dropped his weight from 238 (or so) to 178. He did this by strictly limiting his calories to about 1400 a day and spending an hour on an inclined treadmill at 4.7 miles an hour. Obviously, that’s kind of extreme. And it led, in Jay’s case, to a slow rebound back up, via various plateaus every ten pounds or so, to where he is now. Neither of us expects to repeat that kind of monastic discipline; we’re ten years older and have ten more years’ worth of bad habits. But still…

I’m not going to say what I weigh now. Let’s just call it X. My goal is to get down to X-30, ultimately. And X-10 this year, preferably by the end of the summer.

Jay told me to go ahead and share his actual weight – as of this morning he’s at 251 pounds. He’s 6’2. He wants it to be noted, furthermore, that based on his height and weight he’s got a BMI of 32.2 and that means he’s obese. If we wants to be out of the “overweight” zone on the BMI scale he’s got to get his weight down below 195. (Yes, we know the BMI concept has its flaws.) So that’s Jay’s goal long-term — to get back down south of 195. And in the short term, he wants to get back down below 220. So, a loss of 30 or so pounds for him as well.

We’re both planning on walking the 2019 Twin Cities Susan G Komen 3-Day in mid-August and we’re planning on doing as many training walks as possible. We did a four-mile walk yesterday on a chilly, but not cold, day. We’re going to increase our distance week by week until we’re doing 13 miles and 15 miles and so on. Last time we jointly did a lot of training (again, back in 2009) I got in much better shape. So that’s the ace in our sleeve – we’re going to do a crazy amount of walking.

We apologize in advance if our posts about our weight loss progress become annoying — but it seems like holding ourselves publicly accountable is the only option we have left. Thanks in advance for your understanding and support.