Weight Loss Ticker

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Don't Fear Christmas

Sorry that I have had so little time to blog lately. I do miss it. I will catch you up after the New Year. Right now, I have a few thoughts about Christmas and living a healthy lifestyle.

Not only is this time of the year filled with all sorts of unhealthy foods, but everyone is encouraged and expected to indulge again and again. Now, I don't ban any foods. I don't tell myself that I can't have this or that. I do indulge now and then. However, the atmosphere this time of the year produces an dull itchy sensation in the veins in my forearms. I feel the need to nosh on every cookie, candy, mixed drink, nuts, chocolate goody that comes my way. At times, the urge seems overwhelming. A voice tells me that I have done so well, it will be okay. I exercise a lot. I will burn the calories. Besides, you can make up for it after New Year's.

I believe the cravings to be psychological. Any physical cravings are the result of my psychological weakness. Therefore, I am challenging myself to live and eat health during the Christmas season instead of fearing it. I will not simply try to minimize the damage or give in until January. I plan to use the following psychological tactics to fight my psychological shortcomings:

1) Remind myself that if I don't eat or drink that sumptuous treat even if it only appears once a year, my head will not explode; I will not die; the earth will still rotate and spin; my life will not be diminished; the party/dinner/family time will not be ruined.

2) Remind myself that a treat for my body is to eat healthy and in moderation. Overindulging leaves my body tired, uncomfortable, and cranky. Eating healthy fuels my body to do what needs to be done, to train, and to feel good physically.

3) Remind myself to respect myself. Giving over to abandon shows that I have little respect for myself. Why should anyone else respect me if I don't respect myself. I am worth treating my body with special care.

4) My happiness and joy are not defined by the foods I eat, but by who God has made me. I don't need to eat that Christmas cookie in order to enjoy myself.

5) My children watch and learn from everything I do. What do I want to teach them about food and holidays?

6) I will not fear the temptations of Christmas, but embrace the challenge of eating healthy and exercising.

This is my plan. Unfortunately, I did not start the month out with this in mind, but it is never too late.

One final thought: There are plenty of Christmas specials that decry the greed associated with Christmas. What about the gluttony associated with Christmas? I think we can decry that too. Celebrating Christmas is not about gifts, nor is it about cookies, cakes, mixed drinks, eggnog, stollen, chocolates, etc... Don't fear them! Christmas is simply about the birth of Jesus to a poor family. Somehow, I think his birth can be celebrated without over-indulging ourselves.

Merry Christmas to all my blogging friends and a happy, healthy New Year!

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Still Here

Sorry, I haven't posted in so long. I have lost some weight, but my scale died since then. I am under 230 and have pictures which I will post when I get a chance. Since my last post my daughter and I ran in another race. She ran 5k with her best time by far. I ran the 10k with a good time, but I know I could have done better. In addition, my wife did the 5k walk. She has been wearing a pedometer and trying to get active. It took a year and half, but I think my new lifestyle is wearing off.

After that, I ran a 15 mile training run. I did not get dehydrated that time and it was a much better experience except it was the toughest run yet.

Last week, my 7 year old demanded that I start training her to run. so now, I am training myself 3 days a week, my oldest daughter 3 days a week, and my second oldest 3 days a week. IOW, I am out running 9 times a week. I am so geeked that I am having such positive influence on my family.

The big news is that last Saturday, my daughter and I returned to our first race. She ran that 5.7 mile that we both ran last year. It's a very hilly course. She demolished her time from last year by 27 minutes. I am soooo very proud of her.

I am flabbergasted at my own achievement. Last year I ran the 5.7 with an 11:14 pace. This year I entered the half-marathon. I knew I could run much faster than last year. For example, my last race I ran at a 9:10 pace for 10k (6.2 miles). However, 13.1 miles is another beast altogether. My 14 mile horror run was at an 11:48 pace. My good 15 mile run was at 10:47. Even though I tried to incorporate hills into my run, I knew that they were nothing like some of the monsters on this course. So I was hoping to finish with a pace around 11:00 which would bring me in around 2hrs 24 minutes.

The night before the race, we drove to my in-laws to spend the night. They were going to watch the other kids. To my horror on race morning, I discovered that my running shoes weren't in the suitcase. Whenever my wife packs me, she always hounds me to double check what she packed. Sometimes I do, but often I don't. I didn't bother. I should have double checked. Now there was no time to get them. Luckily, I wore an old pair of running shoes up to their house. I quit running in them because they were not well padded and rubbed the top of my toes the wrong way. I had no choice, I had to wear them. I only hoped that my feet would survive them.

It rained all morning. It was chilly out, but thankfully the rain stopped before the race began. There were a lot more people running the half than I expected. I figured the more serious runners would enter the half, so I was banking on finishing last and being alone for most of the race. However, I was never alone. There were always other runners around me. The killer hills I remembered didn't seem so bad. Don't get me wrong they were tough, but my training got me through. Miraculously, the shoes never bothered my feet. Thankfully, a good portion of the run was on a dirt trail.

During the run, I knew I was running faster than I had been in my training runs. I was worried that I would run out of steam before the end. I was trying to pace myself so I could complete the race without dying. My hips started to get sore around mile 9. At mile 10, I started to tell myself that I just had a nice easy 5k run. I tried to push out of my mind the previous 10 miles and talk myself into think I was just running a 5k. My sore hips were telling me other wise. However, the thought of only running 5k prevailed. Instead of running out of steam, I increased my pace during mile 10, then a little faster during mile 11, and even faster during mile 12. I crossed the finish line in 2 hrs. 9 mins. and 34 seconds. That was a pace of 9:53.

All I can say is wow. I am grateful that God has given me strength and the wherewithal to run a half marathon and finish in a pace that was over a minute faster than I hoped for.

Some people have asked if I am going to run a marathon. Let me tell you that the half marathon was tough. There is no way that I could have run a marathon. A year ago, I would never have entertained the idea of running a half-marathon. Six months ago, I would have said that I would never have been in good enough shape to run a half marathon by now. I was sooooo wrong. What completing this race has taught me that I am stronger than I think I am. I encourage my daughter during our runs by having her say that she is stronger than she thinks she is. What irony that I needed to learn that very lesson for myself. So the answer is yes I am going to enter a marathon. I found one at the end of May that is on a flat course and not too far away. In addition, I have made up my mind to enter 2 Triathlons next year. One will be an olympic distance in August. The other will be the same one I did this year, but the half-ironman distance.

If you haven't noticed, I have become more self-confident. I have come a long way since my whiny, self-pitying, depressed filled days when I started this journey. I don't believe the confidence comes from the weight loss in and of itself. Instead, I believe the reason is two-fold. One reason is the increased fitness which led me to be able to train for and complete a triathlon and a half-marathon. Second, my biological changes have affected my emotional/psychological well being. This is partly due to the side-effects of weighing less as well the side-effects of living a fit lifestyle.

Sad to say, this does not mean that it gets easy. For example, I pass by a wonderful bakery on the way to the pool. This morning as I was coming home, I thought to myself that I could stop there. Nobody would know. They have these wonderful long johns filled with peanut butter cream. After all I just ran a half-marathon. I could afford to indulge. How easy it would have been to turn in. Frankly, I am not sure why I didn't stop. I didn't use my usually psychological tricks to get pas the temptation. I simply just passed by. I could have stopped an ordered 2 of those fat and sugar filled delights so easily. never gets easy. But it is possible!

"You are stronger than you think you are!"--HalfMan

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

14 Miles

Yesterday, I ran 14 miles. I have this bandoleer thingy which holds 4 water bottles plus a pouch to hold my cell phone, gu packs, and facial tissue. I purchased some gu packs for my triathlon only to discover that I can't stand them. gu packs or gel packs are these little packets of syrupy, sweet, gelatinous gunk designed to give endurance athletes a boost of fast digesting carbs. I find them gross. I discovered that I like Sports Beans much better. I have yet to test out the Sports Blocks, but since I don't like gummies, I am in no hurry. Anyhow, since I had some left over, and being as cheap as I am, I wanted to use these things up, so I packed up 2 of them. I missed lunch and my afternoon snack because I get very uncomfortable with food in my stomach when I run long distances. So in addition to the gu, I filled 3 bottle with Gatorade for the extra calories while running. 1 bottle I filled with plain water.

My run started off goofy. I forgot to start my watch, so I had to back track in order to get the right distance figured. I found myself running slow. I am not sure if it was psychological because I knew the run would be long or if it was the result of over training and stress. My wife came down with pneumonia again (2nd time this year), so I had a lot of extra to do around the house. I am not complaining about it, but it was added stress. I had been coming down with the some of the symptoms of over-training. However, my in-laws had come over to help and it would be about the only chance to do my long run according to my training schedule, so I went anyhow. Regardless, I was puttering along.

It was a bit hot and humid, so I started on the Gatorade after 15 min. and took a sip every 15 min. thereafter. At an hour, I forced down my 1st gu pack, followed by some water. At 1:45, I reluctantly, consumed the other one, followed by some water. These stupid gu packs were messy, so I had to use some water to rinse my hands each time.

At this point, the last thing I wanted was something sweet. I wanted water, water, and more water. But dummy me, had only 1/2 bottle of water left and I didn't want to use it up so soon. So I continued to drink the Gatorade and kept reminding myself that it would hydrate me better than straight water. By 2:15, my stomach was churning and the thought of anything sweet left me nauseous. However, I knew that I needed to keep drinking the Gatorade. I did have a few sips of water, but I wanted to save the last of it for near the end.

There was a couple of times I thought I would barf, but I didn't. By the time I hit 14 miles, I was miserable. 2 hours and 38 minutes had passed by since I started. I hobbled another quarter mile back to my house where I drank 2 cups of water and collapsed on the couch. My stomach was in knots, my legs hurt, my hips were sore, my feet were swollen, and I felt terrible. After about an hour, I started feeling better.

I lost about 7 lbs on the run. That's a lot of water loss. I didn't drink anything right before I ran because doing so makes me need to pee on my run. Looking back, I did not drink very much on the run. Each of the bottles carries 8 oz. of liquid. All together I drank about 14 oz of Gatorade. I was having a hard time drinking the vile liquid so I had about 2 oz. left in one bottle and one bottle untouched. I am guessing I had 5-6 oz. of water accounting for the two times I poured water on my hands to get rid of the gu stickiness and the one time squirted some water on my face. That means that I consumed at the most, 20 oz. of liquid. After I returned, I drank 2 glasses (12 oz.) of water totaling 44 oz. which is about 2.75 lbs of water. Still I weighed 112 oz. less than when I started. I am convinced that I felt so bad and the run was so miserable was because I became dehydrated. After a few hours, my muscles felt better, I was no longer nauseous, and I felt pretty good.

I need to rethink my hydration issues before my next long run in 2 weeks and the half-marathon in 4 weeks. That all being said and done, I am pleased that I was able to run 14 miles. Imagine what it would have been like if I was properly hydrated and nourished. 14 miles is a new record for me and shows me that I can finish a 1/2 marathon which is 13.1 miles. 14 miles! Wow! I get a little choked up when I consider where I was 19 months ago. I never imagined that I would go from a 380 lb. blob to completing a triathlon and training for a half-marathon. It's funny how hopeless things seemed at the other end of the spectrum. All I can do is thank God and keep going.

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Week 86 Weigh-In Buffet??!!

Last Week's Weight: 231.4 lbs.
Today's Weight: 230.8lbs. (-0.6)
Total Lost: 149.26 lbs.

Fat Ratio: 20.4%
Lean Mass: 183.7 lbs.
Fat Mass: 47.1 lbs.
Waist: 45.5 inches

Bleh, I was hoping for better, but perhaps the buffet is to blame. Regardless, I don't have much to complain about. At least it's moving in the right direction.

Anyhow, we made a trip to Bay City and Saginaw last Saturday. My wife needed to get her bassoon repaired and I wanted to see what kind of end of season bike deals were to be had. We ate lunch at Applebees and I had their chicken and portabella on a whole wheat bun with fruit. It was quite good. So far so good even though I missed part of my breakfast and my mid-morning snack altogether. As the day progressed, I missed my afternoon snack. By the time 6PM rolled around, I was getting light headed and weak. The prospect of going to another restaurant and waiting for at least a hlaf hour or longer for food was not going to work. Therefore, I was going to stop at a sub shop where I could get something half way decent and FAST. Before we headed to the sub shop, we spotted a buffet. That sounded great, so we went.

We got seated and I headed straight for the salad. I was able to get a healthy plate and they even had fat free dressing. Then I headed for the main course. I found some sweet potatoes and baked chicken breast, but I had to peel off the skin. The meat was dry. I tried the pot roast, but it was dry. I found some fish, but had to scrape off the greasy breading. I decided to eat some dessert, so I took a little sample of 4 different ones. I took a bite of each which was a mistake. All but one tasted like crap.

After, I decided I couldn't stomach any more of this horrible food, I recalled that almost every buffet looks better than it actually is. I wish I had gone to the sub shop. I sat there and looked around at the other people in the restaurant. It was eerie. Every single person in there was obese. Okay, a couple were simply overweight. However, there was at least one person at each table that was extremely obese. One table made my heart sink. One lady was about 500 lbs., another was about 250 lbs. There was an infant, but I wasn't sure which lady it belonged to. However, there were two other children. A boy about 8 years old was around 175 lbs, and a girl about 10 who looked over 200 lbs. This group had been in there before us, and I think the kids were up to get food every time I was. When I was done, the kids were still running around getting food. I saw the girl at the dessert table at least three times.

I walked away having learned a few lessons. 1) I don't belong at buffets. Not only do they provide very little healthy food, but most of the food is bland and gross. Further, it's too easy to lose track with all that food available. Plus, I felt terrible the rest of the day, 2) I am thankful that I have turned from the path I was on. I could easily have reached 500 lbs. and more. What would I have taught my children? Would they have become obese too? I shudder to think of it. 3) Though I was walking in their shoes, I have no idea what I can do to encourage/help anyone who is currently going down that path. "Excuse me. I couldn't help but notice how obese you are. I used to be like that. Please, eat healthy, eat less, and exercise. Have a nice day."

Every once in a while, I used to have someone tell me I should lose weight for my health. That would tick me off. They didn't know whether or not I was already doing something about it. They didn't know that I hadn't been twice that size. They didn't know squat about me. Someone I didn't know telling me I should lose weight just made me mad. As if I didn't know I should lose weight. But that bozo who didn't seem to want to get to know me felt it was his duty to tell something so blatantly obvious just felt insulting. However, I would just smile and say thank you.

My rule of thumb when it comes to giving out such advice is I say nothing unless asked. If it's someone close to me, I will say something like, "Hey, I am going for a walk, I could sure use some company. Let's go." I always loved it when someone asked me to do something with them. If you have any thoughts on the subject, please share them with me.

"Difficulties strengthen the mind, as well as labor does the body."--Seneca

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Week 85 Weigh-In I AM TRIATHLETE!!!!!!

Last Week's Weight: 231 lbs.
Today's Weight: 231 .4lbs. (+0.4)
Total Lost: 148.6 lbs.

Fat Ratio: 20.6%
Lean Mass: 183.7 lbs.
Fat Mass: 47.7 lbs.
Waist: 45.5 inches

I am not concerned about the weight. After the recent huge losses, I think things are just evening out.

Now for the big news. I completed my first triathlon on Saturday. Now before anyone gets overly impressed, most people think of the Ironman triathlon when they hear triathlon. There are actually four basic levels (distances)of triathlons: Ironman, Half-Ironman, Olympic, and Sprint. I did the Sprint distance which was a 500 meter swim followed by a 20k bike followed by a 5k run. My times were as follows:

Swim: 13:27 min.
T1: 3:38 min.
Bike 43:43 min.
T2: 39 sec.
Run: 29:06 min.
Total: 1:30:27

I am quite happy with my results. I made a few mistakes. Overall, I was about 15 min. faster than what I clocked on my run through on Labor Day. I came in 54th out of 99 racers. I came in 36th out of 54 men. In my age group(35-39), I was 9th out of 15. However, I did not compete in my age group. I competed in the Clydesdale division which is for racers over 200 lbs. In my division, I finished 2nd out of 4. I received a plaque for getting second place.

I am thrilled that I actually did a triathlon. This was inconceivable 6 months ago, let alone 85 weeks ago. Now that I have done it, I want more. I loved it. It was so much fun. Whether or not I received an plaque is irrelevant. The fact that I could go out there and compete in such an event and do well is beyond words. I held my own. I came in right in the middle of all three disciplines. I fit in among this group of athletes and it felt great. I want to compete in more triathlons. I can't wait until the next one...but it probably won't be until next spring. Oh well, just that much more time to train.

For right now, I need to set my eyes on the half-marathon. That will be coming up quickly enough. In reality, it will require more endurance than the triathlon did. Although, I will continue to cross train with swimming and biking. In fact, I hit the pool this morning. I worked on the breat stroke which is new to me. All I have worked on for months is the freestyle. I thought I should try and mix things up a bit.

Now for some more from the book I have been readin, "Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy." Last week I ended with the authors critique of several popular diet schemes. He continue by giving his own suggestions for weight control. He has a threefold approach.

1) Get more physically active.
2) Find an eating program that works for you.
3) Become a defensive eater.

1) He explains that physical activity burns calories that would otherwise be stored as fat. It builds and maintains muscles which are what burns most of our calories throughout the day. Without exercise, fat replaces muscle which means your body burns less calories throughout the day. We should exercise at least 30 minutes a day, do things to make our day more active (take the stairs, park far from the entrance, etc...), and find something fun to do.

2) Whatever food program you follow it should be low in refined carbohydrates and have whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. It should avoid saturated and transfats, but provide mono- and poly- unsaturated fats. He recommends a Mediterranean style diet which is low in red meats. Most of all, it must be something that works for you.

3) Defensive eating:
*Stop before you are stuffed.
*Be selective (Don't just eat something because it was put in front of you.)
*Choose small portions. (restaurant portions are huge, enough for 2 people)
*Beware of desserts (Skip the meal and share 1 dessert 4 ways, eat a healthy meal and skip the dessert is even better)
*Slow down and pay attention to your food when you eat.
*Be creative with low-calories options to show that you really care. (in reference to cooking at home).
*Keep track of the calories in the foods you eat. You don't need to formally keep track just be aware of what you are eating.
*Spoil your appetite. Have a snack before your meal so that you aren't starving when you eat.
*Minimize temptation. Don't keep unhealthy for which is supposedly for the kids in the house.
*Be vigilant. Remember the food industry is doing everything they can to get you to buy more of their food. They are not truly interested in your health.
*Try to keep it simple. The less dishes served, the less we eat.

Next week, I will review the chapter on why fats are actually good for us.

"Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude."--Thomas Jefferson

Living Fit Is My Number One Job!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Three Days Until Triathlon

3 Days left. Today, they set up the transition area and looks like they were getting ready to place the buoys, but I don't know if they got that far. They took over most of the parking lot at the park, so I am not sure where people are supposed to park. The weather forecast says 60% chance of thunderstorms, so I am worried it might get canceled all together. I have trained for so long for this that I would be disappointed if I didn't get to race. Although, I did a run through on Labor Day, it's just not the same as an official race. I know, the journey is the most important part. All the preparations are what I should be proud of. I will probably repeat that if it does get canceled, but still, it will be a major let down.

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!

p.s. I ran 5k at a 9 min pace today. That is a new record for me!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Week 84 Weigh-In I'M FAT!!!!!!


Last Week's Weight: 235.2 lbs.
Today's Weight: 231 lbs. (-4.2)
Total Lost: 149 lbs.

Fat Ratio: 20.6%
Lean Mass: 183.4 lbs.
Fat Mass: 47.6 lbs.
Waist: 45.5 inches

Wow, I never expected to lose that much this week. It's interesting how our bodies work. Sometimes, the body likes to hang on to the fat despite our best efforts to make a calorie deficit. Other times, it seems to lose the fat when the deficit doesn't seem to be as great. I know in the big picture it all evens out, but it is interesting to see how it works week to week.

Anyhow, I hit two milestones this week. I am below the weight I was when I got married. The body proportions are all different. I thought I might be able to fit into a suit that I bought about a year after I got married. No dice. I have a couple of theories. One, I have much greater muscle mass than I did back then. I also think that much of my fat back then was marbled between my muscles and hanging around in between all my internal organs. Therefore, I had a smaller waist, et al. I believe I now have less fat and more muscle, but my fat mostly below the skin instead of in the muscles and between the organs. It's just a theory. Otherwise I don't know how to explain that I am lighter, but have bigger proportions. I suppose the suit could have shrunk.


The second big milestone is that I now have a BMI under 30. In other words, I AM FAT!!!!! rather than obese. I hope and pray that I will never again be described obese in medical terms. The next big goal besides the ten pound markers are to get under 200 lbs., and then of course down to 190 (if that still makes sense), and finally my ultimate goal in terms of weight is to get under 15% body fat. I am not at all confident that my own body fat calculations are correct. When I get closer to 190, I will try to get an accurate body fat test like the dunk tank test.

I do want to emphasize that even though I am excited about these weight goals being met, my ultimate goal is live a fit lifestyle. That goal can be accomplished each and every day. Yet, it is new each and every day. In other words, I can and do accomplish living fit from day to day, but it is never to be marked as a something as fait accomplis.

I wanted to report a little more on our vacation from a couple of weeks ago. The day after the race, we went to the Michigan Renaissance Festival. We go to this most years and we all have a lot of fun. The kids especially like to watch the jousting. I enjoy the whole atmosphere. Anyhow, they had a rock climbing wall there (Don't ask me how it fits the theme), and my wife wanted to try it. So I paid for her to try it. Well, I had to try it then too. I had a lot of fun. They tried to start me on the difficult wall. Well, having never done it before, I did not make it very far. They then put me on the easy wall, and I got to the top with no problem. That was another goal accomplished.


Finally, I mentioned that I was reading the book "Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy." Here is a little synopsis of what I have read so far.

*The USDA's original food pyramid was misleading and too vague because it didn't differentiate between good and bad fats, good and bad sources of protein, or good and bad sources of carbs. In addition, it made no mention of exercise.

* The new USDA's "My Pyramid" while acknowledging the importance of exercise is even more vague and confusing than the original and necessitates the use of the internet to use it.

* Dr. Willett proposes "The New Healthy Eating Pyramid" which takes into account the body of studies on health and nutrition and corrects the problems he has with USDA's pyramids.

* Chapter 2 deals with deciphering studies and reports concerning diet, nutrition, and weight loss. He gives the following guidelines to help:

1) Pay no attention to studies done on animals. They may pave the way for research on human beings but are never a basis for changing our own diets and habits because the effects on an animal can be quite different for humans.

2) Don't worry about studies done in controlled environments such as hospitals or special research centers. These studies look only at how the body responds to different foods in isolation, but not at over all health risks. Studies done in the real world are the ones to which we should pay attention.

3) Studies that pay attention to disease endpoints are more important that studies that look at intermediary markers that may lead to the disease. In other words, those markers don't always translate into things like heart disease or stroke, so look at the studies that focus on the direct connection to the disease.

4) Larger studies are better than smaller studies.

5) The more studies the confirm each other the better. If only one study concludes that something is bad, but 20 other studies conclude that it is good than we should assume that it is good.

* Chapter 3 talks about healthy weight. He explains that this is not as simple as people think it is. For example, a person may have a BMI under 25, gain 15 lbs and still have a BMI under 25. However, a 15 lb. weight gain can have serious implications for our health. While things like BMI's and weight charts can be helpful guidelines, much more needs to be taken into account.

* He talks about the reasons for weight gain: Diet, genes (but only partly), lifestyle, and culture. Of course, the simple math of it is more calories in than calories expended.

* He then evaluates diets:

1) Low-fat diets aren't good because they limit the good fats we need.

2) Low-carb diets may help with weight loss, but if they allow unlimited amounts of red meat, butter, and cheese, this is not good for optimal health.

3) Low-energy-density diets don't differentiate food based on its health value, but simply on its ability to fill us up with the least amount of calories.

4) Low-glycemic diets are not too bad but there are simpler ways to accomplish the same things.

I think I will save his approach to weight control for another post. Anyhow, the bottom line is that diets that are designed for weight loss all have pretty much the same track record when it comes to keeping the weight off. What is needed is a diet that is designed to give us the best possible health all our lives.

"Practice yourself in little things, and thence proceed to greater."--Epictetus

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!

ADDENDUM 6 days until the Triathlon (500 meter swim, 20k bike, 5 k run)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Week 83 Weigh-In

Last Week's Weight: 238.8 lbs.
Today's Weight: 235.2 lbs. (-3.6)
Total Lost: 144.8 lbs.

Fat Ratio: 21.0%
Lean Mass: 185.8 lbs.
Fat Mass: 49.4 lbs.
Waist: 46.0 inches

Back from vacation and as you can see, the quest to lose weight while vacationing worked out. I had a few indulgences and a little sickness, but in the end I had quite a substantial loss. I am not sure if anyone else lost 17.8 lbs. in the Labor Day Challenge, but I suspect I may have pulled it off and won. This also means that I have lost more than 3/4 of my original goal weight. This means I am 5/8ths man. I am getting closer every week to reaching my Half Man goal!

One nice thing that has recently happened is that my wife has started walking. She has a pedometer and keeps track of her steps every day. I am proud of her.

I started reading a book called "Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating." It is critical of the USDA health pyramid because it is too vague and misleading. I understand why the author says this, but for me, I guess I just filled in the vagaries and wasn't mislead due to a lot of other things I read. So when it makes grains, bread, pastas, and rice the base of a healthy diet, I assumed this meant whole grains, not refined. I do think that the criticisms are worth reviewing.

The book has much more than mere criticism of the food pyramid. For example, it gives some guideline for evaluating studies. I will need to do separate posts on the things I learn in this book. It is quite good so far.

Oh yeah, I did a practice triathlon this morning. I finished it and felt great. About an hour later I started to feel wiped out. I am not sure if its from the workout or this lingering sinus/allergy thing that crept up on me last week.

I hope everyone is doing well and staying out of Gustav's way.

"If we all did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves."--Thomas Edison

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Week 82 Weigh-In

Last Week's Weight: 239.2 lbs.
Today's Weight: 238.8 lbs. (-0.4)
Total Lost: 141.2 lbs.

Fat Ratio: 20.9%
Lean Mass: 188.9 lbs.
Fat Mass: 49.9 lbs.
Waist: 46.0 inches

Just checking in from vacationland. I managed to squeak out a little loss. This makes 6 consecutive weeks that I have lost weight and have over 14 lbs. lost for the Labor Day challenge. Perhaps, I might lose 15 by next week.

Anyhow, I did well on my 10 mile race. It was crazy. There was over 12,000 people who ran that day. I am not sure how many ran the 10 mile, but it was a crowded run for the entire distance. Three strange things happened on the run. A frat house was handing out Krispy Kreme's on the route. YUCK!!! Second, a radio station was handing out small cups of beer. I started to wonder if this was the Homer Simpson race. Third, people (men & women) heading off into the bushes to relieve themselves. Does anyone remember Billy Carter? Anyhow, the place was a zoo. I am not sure I like that big of a crowd. Now, I am thinking about doing a half-marathon at the end of October. I must be nuts!!!!

I some more about vacation later. Hope everyone is doing well.

Spider, Captain, and Brad...Get it together!

"Pain is just the feeling of weakness leaving the body"

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Odds and Ends

This morning the temperature was 48F. The water temp was 68F. I took my sweats off and froze as I stood there in my skin tight tri shorts. The lake looked eerie with the vapor rolling off it. I wondered if anyone was watching this insane, under dressed, tubby man walking out into the water. Diving in, I realized that I was much warmer in the water than out. As I began my swim, thoughts of what others observing me evaporated with the water vapor. I focussed on stroke technique, proper breathing, and keeping balanced in the water. Before I knew it, the sun was up, the swim was over, and thoughts turned to what it would be like on the day of the triathlon.

Now, for something completely different. Will at 4xlt left me two questions, I would like to address.

"How's your body and skin taking the dramatic weight loss?"

I think my body is taking it quite well. My shape is not changing in all the ways that I had hoped, but I am still quite aways from a healthy weight, so that may yet come. Although, I am anticipating that it's a result of the abuse I have done to my body. Then again, I can't expect a 39 year old body to look like a 20 year old body despite the Bowflex commercials. As far as the skin goes, I think that can be answered under the second question.

"I've heard stories of people having particularly saggy skin left from where they carried their fat - namely in saggy stomach pouches, man boobs, and arms. 140+ pounds in, are you running into that as well?"

You can see from the pictures that I have what I call a "belly flop." That is the part of my stomach that flops over like a big fold. So far, it has not tightened up, but it doesn't seem to have grown worse with the weight loss. I don't think it's sagging down any more than it ever did except there is a lot less to hang over. Around my navel and down the center part of my stomach, you can see wrinkles caused by sagging skin. The funny thing is that when I run, it makes a flopping sound. I am not sure anyone else can here it, but it make me smile.

On my chest, there are fat deposits below my pecs going around to the side. So my nipples seem to hang below my pecs. Again, this doesn't seem to have grown worse with the weight loss and may tighten up later.

Hanging off my triceps to my armpits there is some hanging skin. I hope that this will tighten up as well.

The final place I have noticed anything is a little sagging skin on my upper inner thighs.

I don't know exactly how things will shape up as I continue to lose weight. I certainly hope that things will tighten up, but they may not. I get the impression that this the sagging skin is more common with the bariatric surgery when rapid weight loss occurs. I don't consider that I have lost weight rapidly. Certainly, there have been spurts of greater weight loss, but all in all, I think my loss has been gradual. I am averaging 1.7 lbs. per week which is well within the 1-2 lbs that is recommended as safe weight loss.

Anyhow, my real goal is not 190 lb weight loss, despite my blog name. That was just a ballpark figure based on bmi. My ultimate goal of course is to continue to live a fit lifestyle. That includes getting my fat composition under 15%. 15% for men is considered healthy. Therefore, once I get under 15% and hold that for a year, I will reevaluate skin sag and such. If things haven't tightened up enough then I will consider surgery, but I doubt I will be able to afford it. "Hey kids, let's go dumpster diving for our food so daddy can feed his narcissism!"

BTW, check out Will's website. He has accomplished quite a bit.

On for something completely different. We leave tonight for week. We are going to my dad's house to get it ready to sell. During this time, we will go to out next race called the Crim. I will be running 10 miles (yes miles, not kilometers) and my daughter will run 5k. It's supposed to be the biggest race in Michigan and a lot of fun. However, I am not sure if I will have the chance to log in my next weigh-in, so my next one might be the last one for the Labor Day Challenge. Don't think I will be laying around drinking beer for a week and eating pizzas.

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Week 81 Weigh-In

Last Week's Weight: 241.8 lbs.
Today's Weight: 239.2 lbs. (-2.6)
Total Lost: 140.8 lbs.

Fat Ratio: 21.6%
Lean Mass: 187.5 lbs.
Fat Mass: 51.7 lbs.
Waist: 46.5 inches

My wife bought me an "inspiration" shirt for our anniversary. by "inspiration," it was supposed to be a shirt I couldn't wear until I lost more weight. It was a large, not XXXL, not XXL, not even XL, but simply large with no prefix. So I tried it on and it fit! Granted it probably runs a little large in the sizing, but it fit none the less. My poor wife. She tried the same thing last Christmas, only the shirt was XL at the time.

Anyhow, I was please to have such a large loss since we had an anniversary, a day at the county fair, a night at our favorite restaurant with awesome homemade desserts, a trip to the city which included eating out, a wine tasting, and a picnic. It's a wonder I didn't gain a ton...but then again, I am learning new habits. I am learning to respect myself. While my eating wasn't always the healthiest, I certainly didn't pig out.

Now, I have hit the next 10 lb. marker. It took about 3 months...well actually, I plateaued for 2 months, and lost he weight in the last month thanks to phase 2 of my fitness scheme. Since I started my blog, I have always taken the ugly truth pictures at every 10 lb. loss. So without any further adieu, here they are...

For comparison, you can find my 250 lb. pictures here and my first pics at 368.6 are here and here. I didn't take any at my high of 380 lbs. or at 370, but you can still see quite a difference anyhow. It makes me sick just to see those pictures, but I am certainly grateful that by the grace of God I have continued on this journey of fitness of which I pray that I remain for the rest of my life.

"If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else."--Yogi Berra

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

12 Mile

I ran 12 miles this morning.



Living Fit Is My #1 Job!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Week 80 Weigh-In

Last Week's Weight: 243.2 lbs.
Today's Weight: 241.8 lbs. (-1.4)
Total Lost: 138.2 lbs.

Fat Ratio: 22.5%
Lean Mass: 187.4 lbs.
Fat Mass: 54.4 lbs.
Waist: 47 inches

No time to comment much today. It's our 19th wedding anniversary. I had hoped to get to my wedding weight (235 lbs.) by today, but no dice. It's not a big deal. It just would have been cool. One thing, I have noticed as I approach that weight is that my proportions are not the same as back then. I think all that weight has taken a toll on my body shape. I guess that is just part of the consequences I must live with.

Till death do us part.

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Deja Vu

On Friday, my wife was helping me with my swimming cap. After drying it out, she sprinkled it with a little talcum powder. When I got over to put my cap and goggles away, I noticed that she got some powder on my goggles. I was about to say something about her getting powder on my goggles when I was struck with Deja Vu. I could swear that it happened before. It couldn't have happened before. Friday was the first time I wore a swimming cap. None the less, it sure seemed like it all happened before...only this time, I didn't make any comment to my wife.

I don't believe in past lives, reincarnation, alternate realities, etc... I know how the mind works as far as striving to make associations and connections even when they don't exist. Something similar happened in the past with other items or there was some jumble of dreams from which my mind connected.

Anyhow, I love these kinds of experiences. It reminds me how wonderfully fascinating the mind is. It reminds me how terribly creative I can be. For a split second, it makes me wonder if someone hit the rewind button on the story of my life.

Living Fit Is My #1 job!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Week 79 Weigh-In

Last Week's Weight: 247.0 lbs.
Today's Weight: 243.2 lbs. (-3.8)
Total Lost: 136.8 lbs.

Fat Ratio: 22.1%
Lean Mass: 189.5 lbs.
Fat Mass: 53.7 lbs.
Waist: 47 inches

This plateau is officially over. I was quite thrilled to the loss this morning. Even more important, I have really noticed some differences in my fitness. My regular running pace has increased. All the swimming has developed my shoulders much faster than weight lifting alone did. Even though, I still feel awkward with the freestyle stroke, I am getting faster and feel better. I don't know exactly how to explain it, but I feel strong. I feel muscular. Of course, my feeling doesn't match the body I see in the mirror, but who cares. I take this feeling of strength as a sign of getting fitter.

Speaking of swimming, we took the kids to the beach yesterday. Swimming in the open water is more challenging than swimming in the calm pool. I need to start training in the open water at least a couple times a week. That will be good since the lake is much closer than the pool, and there is no charge to use the lake.

I need to get some new tires for my bike. I have a hybrid that I will be using for the triathlon as I can't afford a road bike at this time. My current tires are more mountain bike-ish, so I need to get some slicks. Hopefully, that will help a little bit with the speed. I am not sure what I can do to make it a more aerodynamic ride, but that's what I got to work with so it will have to do.

Oh yeah, I do have a race before the triathlon, it's a ten mile run in a couple of weeks. It's not easy to train for both things, but hopefully, the 10 miler will help with more overall fitness for the triathlon. I hope I haven't bitten off more than I can chew.

"Practice yourself in little things, and thence proceed to greater."--Epictetus

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Week 78 Weigh-In

Last Week's Weight: 249.8 lbs.
Yesterday's Weight: 247 lbs. (-2.8)
Total Lost: 133 lbs.

Fat Ratio: 23.1%
Lean Mass: 189.9 lbs.
Fat Mass: 57.1 lbs.
Waist: 47.5 inches

So far, everything seems to be on track with Phase 2. If I lose again next week, I will officially declare that I have broken through this plateau.

I went back and figured out my 10% body weight loss marks. I took my original 380 and subtracting 10% giving me 342. Then I subtracted 10% of 342, and so on down to my goal weight. This was to give me some more benchmarks. I added these weights to the right, and I have officially passed the next 10% benchmark.

Sunday, we took the kids to their cousin's birthday party down in Taylor. It was at a place called "Pump It Up!" Basically, it was this room with 4 inflatables. The only thing they had when I was a kid was the moon walk at the fair. There was a giant slide, a basketball court, an obstacle course ending with a giant slide, and a gladiator ring with giant boxing gloves and some padded fighting sticks. My sister rented this place, so it was just our group. The best part about it was that the adults were allowed to play on it too. The kids dragged me on it immediately. I had a blast. We had a lot of fun. If you click on the link, there is a short video about it.

"Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude."--Thomas Jefferson

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!

Friday, July 25, 2008

It's What's on the Inside that Counts!...Right!?????

Dealing with my own obesity most of my life, I was always annoyed that people were so hung up about what's on the outside. Everyone says that it's what's on the inside that counts. Yet very few people practice this universal sentiment (including myself as I have discovered). I now realize that it was one way to continue in denial about my problems. I guess I felt indignant that others would not ignore my problems because I didn't want to feel guilty about ignoring them. As an adult, most people don't say anything to your face. This makes it all the easier ignore my problems.

What's on the inside does count. Now, I realize this truth in more than one way. Fat is on the inside. While on the outside, we may see the results of excess fat. That fat itself is on the inside, marbled in our muscles, crowding and constricting our organs, and of course spilling over our frames for all to notice.

The person on the inside counts. We want that person to stay healthy for as long as God has given that person to walk on this earth. That is why we must not ignore the fat on the inside. That fat leads to heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and a whole host of other problems. IOW, that fats leads to tragedy for the person on the inside.

If what's on the inside counts, and I think it does, then we must count everything on the inside.

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Realage, Fitday, and Recipe Calculator

Inspired by my friend Sayre, I tested my Realage. Being obese and all, I expected my realage to be much higher than my actual age. I was quite surprised and pleased to find that my realage is 37.5, a whole 2 years YOUNGER than my chronological age. Therefore, I am giving up exercising and heading to the Golden Corral because I figure I have 2 extra years with which to skate by. Okay, I am kidding, but it was a nice little boost to see that number.

Concerning Fitday. This is a nice tool to use because you can add any food or dish as long as you have the nutritional information. Once you enter it in, it remembers it. The problem is that I find myself manually entering in most of my foods. It never seems to have an exact match. Then, what do you do with a recipe. Some cookbooks come with nutritional info, but even then, we often substitute.

The answer is Recipe Calculator. You just add in your ingredients and it spits out the nutrition. The only thing you must do is figure out what a portion is and how many it makes. Otherwise, it is quite handy.

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Week 77 Weigh-In

Last Week's Weight: 253.0 lbs.
Today's Weight: 249.8 lbs. (-3.2)
Total Lost: 130.2 lbs.

Fat Ratio: 23.1%
Lean Mass: 192.1 lbs.
Fat Mass: 57.7 lbs.
Waist: 47.5 inches

Can't complain about that, except that I have been there before...then down...then up...then down...then up... Anyhow, it's going in the right direction. Tracking my food has been a real eye opener. I have a better idea of what I am ingesting, and in turn, I am better able to eat healthy. I hope that is what is reflected in the scale numbers.

The 12k (7.5 mile) race went well. I finished with a 9:50 pace. Now it's time to gear up for the next race. I have about a month to prepare for a 10 mile race. That's right 10 MILE, not 10k. I think I will be ready. If I finished that with a 9:50 pace, it would be a miracle. I am shooting for 11:00. My daughter ran the 5k last Saturday. She did pretty good. She keeps improving. She stuck it out despite problems with blisters. She is a real trooper. I am constantly amazed by her.

BTW, our trip last month was fantastic. We played in a water park attached to our hotel one day. That was a lot of fun. In St. Louis, we went to Six Flags, Cahokia Mounds, the zoo, and Meramec Caverns. We ate too much, spent too much, and rested too little.

When we got back, the work was piled up for me as well as several other obligations. I have been crazy busy trying to everything as well continue training. Nothing is slowing down, but I will try to post at least with my stats once a week.

I addition to the Labor Day Challenge, I have a personal challenge. I would like to get down to 235 by August 11th. That's how much I weighed 19 years before when I got married. I thought that I would have hit that by now, but it didn't work out. It's a lot to lose by then, so I won't beat myself up if I don't. It would be kinda nice though.

"Perseverance is failing nineteen times and succeeding the twentieth."-- Julie Andrews

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sorry for my absence

No, I haven't moved into the donut shop. I haven't given up. I haven't stopped. I just became incredibly busy. Training for a Triathlon takes up a lot of time. Just for the swimming, it takes me 40 min. to get to the pool, 45-60 min in the pool, and the trip back. That's more than 2 hours three days a week. I ran a 5k race last Saturday in which I did all right. I could have done better. Oh well. This Saturday, I will run a 12k race, the longest race yet. While on vacation, I ran 10 miles one day. That was a new record for me. My physical activity has been pretty good.

Healthy eating has been more or less on track. My weight has been fluctuating between 248 and 253. I have reached my first official plateau. Therefore, after almost 18 months, I have moved to phase 2 of my healthy living plan. I knew I would get here, but I was hoping not as it is more time intensive. Phase 1 was NO measuring, NO counting calories, fat grams, carbs, proteins, etc..., NO deprivation, NO Dieting. Simply eating a healthy mixture.

Phase 2 is basically the same, but with the added task of tracking what I eat. Yes, it is counting and measuring, but not to stay within a certain perimeter. Instead, it's to makes sure that I really am eating the way that I think I am. I started doing this Monday, using FitDay. Two things surprised me right away. First was how much fat I ate. I thought I was doing pretty good watching my fats, but in reality I was consuming much more than I thought. This fat mainly came from peanut butter (the natural kind) and walnuts which I put in my morning cereal. The second thing that surprised was how many calories I burn each day. For example, it calculated that I burned 4730 calories on Monday. Wow! I thought it would be between 2 and 3k. Anyhow, tracking what I eat is a useful tool. I am getting a more realistic picture of what I am eating. Like I said, I knew this day would come. Now, I just need to incorporate tracking into my daily habits.

As far as the 4th of July challenge went, I concede. I didn't weigh in then. I really have no idea what I weighed. In fact, I haven't had an official weigh in since before vacation...well at least until this past Monday. My weight was 253lbs. on July 14, 2008. I am game for the Labor Day Challenge, and will use that as my starting weight. I am optimistic that with my phase 2, I will blow all challengers out of the water.

I will post more when I can.

"The fact is, that to do anything in the world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as we can."--Robert Cushing

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Week 72 Weigh-In

Last Week's Weight: 253.4 lbs.
Today's Weight: 249.2 lbs. (-4.2)
Total Lost: 130.8 lbs.

Fat Ratio: 23.1%
Lean Mass: 191.6 lbs.
Fat Mass: 57.6 lbs.
Waist: 47.5 inches

I will never understand these fluctuations, but it sure is nice when it fluctuates downward rather than upward. Somehow, I think it is simply how my body is adjusting.

I leave for a conference tomorrow then for vacation at the end of the week. I plan to do plenty of weight lifting, running, and swimming while at the conference. Our vacation will be visiting friends in St. Louis. I am not sure if I will have access to any pools, but my feet are still available, so I will do plenty of running.

Hopefully, my plan to keep eating healthy while at the conference and on vacation will work for me. I hope everyone is doing well and I will report back in 2 weeks.

"Fortify yourself with contentment, for this is an impregnable fortress."--Epictetus

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Week 71 Weigh-In

Last Week's Weight: 251.4 lbs.
Today's Weight: 253.4 lbs. (+2.0)
Total Lost: 126.6 lbs.

Fat Ratio: 23.1%
Lean Mass: 194.9 lbs.
Fat Mass: 58.5 lbs.
Waist: 47.5 inches

That was disappointing to say the least. It's strange how on the previous week I weighed 4 lbs. less than I weighed on Monday. This week, I weighed 3 lbs less on Saturday than I weighed on Monday. I am not quite sure what the issue is. But obviously last week was no blip.

I have had a bit more stress lately. Also, I cut back on exercise last week as I was showing symptoms of over training, although they are also symptoms of stress. This week I am back up to my normal level of exercise and everything seems to be falling in place, so I think the light week helped, but not on the scale.

This could be muscle gain, my body adjusting, or even the weather. These weight gains have corresponded with the warmer weather. With the added stress, I have been more anxious and restless. Strangely, I have been feeling more down in the dumps despite the nicer weather.

Next week, I leave for a conference in Milwaukee. My family is coming with me. After the conference, we are taking a week's vacation with some friends in St. Louis. That will be tricky food-wise since we will be staying at their house and somewhat subject to what they serve. I do have a few strategies in the works that should help, while not making me seem to be an ungrateful guest. I am looking forward to running around Forest Park. I have biked around it, rollerbladed around it, but I have never run around it.

"Success in life is a matter not so much of talent or opportunity as of concentration and perseverance."--C. W. Wendte

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Growing Up Geek!

Yep, I grew up a geek. I played Dungeons and Dragons among my friends. A nearby mall had a store which sponsored games in the halls of the mall on Saturday mornings. I got my friends interested, although I haven't played in several years.

Along with that, I read all kinds of fantasy like Tolkien, Brooks, and Moorcock. I still read fantasy quite a bit. I even wrote short fantasy stories now and then, though not for publication.

I loved Star Trek and still do. I like them all. I rented Star Trek Enterprise and watched all the seasons over a year's time. I have even been to a couple of Star Trek conventions. I like other Sci-Fi shows like Babylon 5 and Farscape.

I received my first computer just before high school. It was an Atari 800. I taught myself to program basic. I taught myself assembly language on it. In high school, they started offering computer classes. I soon learned that I knew more than the teacher. I programmed my own word processor which I used fr my first two years in college. After that, I bought a Packard Bell and never bothered with programming again.

I started playing trombone in the 4th grade. So I was a band geek from early on. I even went to band camp for three years and I loved it. In fact, I met my wife at band camp. I started out as a music major in college. Now I play in a stage band. In fact, we have a big concert coming up soon.

However, I was involved in not so geeky things. I played sports most of my way through school. I played baseball and football. I did wrestle one season. I was never into soccer or basketball too much.

I also hung around some of the "burnouts." I got into smoking and drinking and the like. I was never really a part of that group.

I was always involved in church. I was in youth group by my own choice. My parents didn't force me to go or anything. I like church and still do. My Christian faith is an important part of my life.

When it gets down to it, I was never really a part of any cliques. I just new that despite my involvement in sports, I wasn't considered a jock. I certainly wasn't when of the "popular" kids. I guess I didn't worry about it all that much, but as I look back, I see that I was pretty much a geek and I still am!

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Week 70 Weigh-In

Last Week's Weight: 248.4 lbs.
Today's Weight: 251.4 lbs. (+3.0)
Total Lost: 128.6 lbs.

Fat Ratio: 23.1%
Lean Mass: 193.3 lbs.
Fat Mass: 58.1 lbs.
Waist: 47.5 inches

Not sure exactly what happened here. I was on track for another loss this week. Yesterday I weighed 147, so imagine my surprise this morning. Monday mornings are my official weigh-in days, therefore, I must record the gain. I am guessing that it's just water gain. Who knows? I'll just keep plugging on and see what happens next week.

Spider63 recently made it known to me that he would like to be included in the 4th of July challenge. He started at 288.2 and is now 282.8. Good job Spider63.

Things are pretty hectic right now between dad, computer problems, work, and the end of the school year. One of these days, it would be nice to have absolutely nothing scheduled for an entire day. Sometimes, it just seems like been abducted on some insane amusement park ride I never wanted to be on in the first place.

"Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."--Oliver Goldsmith

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Week 69 Weigh-In

Last Week's Weight: 249.8 lbs.
Today's Weight: 248.4 lbs. (-1.4)
Total Lost: 131.6 lbs.

Fat Ratio: 23.1%
Lean Mass: 191 lbs.
Fat Mass: 57.4 lbs.
Waist: 47.5 inches

Friday, I had to go to Saginaw for work which is about a 1.5 hour drive from home so I had to leave early. After work I drove straight to the high school which is 30 minutes from our home in the opposite direction, so there was another 2 hours in the car. I went to the high school for swim practice. After one week of learning proper swimming technique, I can see that this is going to take a looong time to get under my belt. I just wished there were a place I could practice in between the lessons, but I will just have to take what I can get.

From swim practice, I met my family at a restaurant for dinner after which I took my two oldest kids (8 & 6) to see Prince Caspian. That was an awfully long movie with a lot of violence. I think Indiana Jones would have been less violent and more fun, but perhaps a little too graphic and adult for the kiddos.

Saturday, I went into work for about 6 hours. I usually work on Saturdays. I gave our lawn its first haircut of the season and then headed out on my 9 mile run. I felt much better than last week. It still wiped me out pretty good and I went to bed early only to be awaken by the assisted living facility that my dad is in. They said that he wouldn't stay in bed and was trying to leave. At one point, he got in someone's car, but there were no keys. By the time I got over there, they had given him some medicine and was asleep.

This place is really starting to tick me off. I was completely up front with them about my dad's Alzheimer's and his behavior. The required a physician's report prior to admitting him. The physician wrote that he thought he should by in a dedicated Alzheimer's wing which they do not have, but they said that it was no problem and they experience with this sort of thing. Yet, they seem to call me every week with one problem or another for which they can't figure out what to do.

Now, I visit dad at least 5 days a week and normally I visit 7 days. However, they never seem to be able to tell me anything until its the most inconvenient time for me to do anything and by the time I get there they have it figured out. This week I am going to check on a nursing home that has a dedicated Alzheimer's wing with private rooms.

Anyhow, Sunday we went to church and then out to eat. After that, we picked dad up and took him with us to the local arts and crafts show. We picked up a few Christmas presents while there. Then we took dad for some ice cream. Yes, I had some too (Extreme Moosetracks). It wasn't as good as I thought it would be. Then we took dad back and came home. I took the kids for a walk and then I headed off to jazz band rehearsal.

Today, I have been very lazy. As soon as I finish with this post, I am going to do my weight training and probably go on a bike ride. I need to head down to Detroit today which will be a killer with the traffic. Detroit is a 3 hour drive away, but with the holiday traffic will probably be much longer.

Oh yeah, I was happy to record another loss. Slow and steady wins the race!...well, unless of course, you are actually in a race. Then fast and steady does, but I guess that defeats the saying. Okay, I am done rambling.

"Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out."--Robert Collier

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Healthy Obesity?

I listen to a podcast called Fitness Rocks. One interview with Dr. Blair caught my attention when the guest said that his research showed that a better indicator of chronic illness was fitness rather than fatness. A person who was otherwise healthy, exercised, didn't smoke, etc..., but was overweight was not at a high risk for chronic illness. I am summarizing from memory. Being someone who would fit such a criteria, my interest was piqued.

I did a bit of looking around on the web. I find this article by the guy who was interviewed. To sum it up, he says that we don't need to worry about the number on the scale. We simply need to eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, exercise 30 minutes a day, not smoke, and reduce stress to lead a healthy life.

A few articles have appeared in response to him and some books that were written calling the obesity epidemic a myth. Here is one in Forbes and another in the Washington Post. These don't leave with anything conclusive. I found this article on the Mayo Clinic website and an article with Calorie Control which seem to speak against Dr. Blair's findings.

Can you be healthy and obese? Can you be fit and fat? It sounds like a oxymoron. I think it is to some extent. I think the point that Dr. Blair is making is a point that I have been trying to hammer into my own brain. The most important thing is fitness. The societal and political culture is so focussed on fat/BMI/numbers on the scale etc... that many people are trying to "fix" their weight by fad diets, risky surgery, anorexia/bulimia, and pills. People are trying to treat the symptoms rather than the disease so to speak. I am not sure that Dr. Blair is advocating obesity. I believe he is advocating fitness.

I think the wrong way to take his findings is to say that I am just fine being 200 lbs. overweight because I walk for thirty minutes every day. Most people who are overweight and obese are at risk for developing high blood pressure, diabetes, and the like. Why? Is it the fat or the factors that lead to being overweight? I don't know. If you look at Dr. Blair's recommendations of eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, exercising 30 minutes a day, and reducing stress, you have to wonder if someone won't naturally lose the excess fat anyhow.

I did watch a show last week called "You the Owner's Manual" which was based on the book. The one doctor showed several healthy organs and several fatty organs. The difference was dramatic. I have to think that the extra fat is not good for you.

Here I am, an obese man who ran 9 miles last weekend, am training for races this summer and a triathlon this fall. I eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. I can't say that I manage my stress well, but it's not out of control. However, I have lost over 130 lbs. by living a fit lifestyle. I don't take any special pills, I haven't had surgery, I am not on a fad diet, and I am definitely not anorexic or bulimic. In fact, I am not on a "diet" at all. I simply eat in accordance with my lifestyle. I will continue to lose the weight because I am focussed on fitness. Yet even now, I know that I am healthier and stronger than most people I know.

This leaves me with my final thought. I may be fitter than a many people. I may be fitter than many "normal" weight people. But, I could be fitter. Fitness levels fall along a continuum. On one end would be lean, athletic people. On the other end would be obese, inactive people. Where you fall in between has more to do with your lifestyle rather than the number on the scale. Although body fat is still a significant factor. This is encouraging because no matter where you fall on this continuum, you do a lot for your health by making a few healthy changes. You don't need to obsess about how fat you are. Instead, you can focus on how much healthier you are now that you have started walking and starting eating better.

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!