Weight Loss Ticker

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!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Week 68 Weigh-In and Lots More

Last Week's Weight: 251.8 lbs.
Today's Weight: 249.8 lbs. (-2.0)
Total Lost: 130.2 lbs.

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

I finally dipped under 250 lbs. I know I have been struggling with the whole number on a scale vs. fitness issue, but dang it feels great to get to this milestone. Certainly, my weight is a factor in the Big Picture of my total fitness. Mostly, it's a vanity thing. Not that I have arrived; not that I am at a healthy weight; not that it's time to quite my healthy lifestyle. It's simply one of those numbers I thought that I might never reach again. It's far from time to quit. It's a shot in the arm, letting me know how much I am capable of. I WILL reach a healthy weight, NOT by obsessing about my weight. I will do it by focusing on my fitness.

Speaking of fitness. I ran 9 miles on Saturday. That is a new record for me. It was a harsh run. I am not sure exactly what the problem was, but in the end I finished it. I am glad I did it. It really wiped me out.

Speaking of fitness again, I went to my first swim training session today. I did not have to wear a speedo although the trunks I wore bore the Speedo logo. I was not swimming wiht the high school swim team, but about 5 high school girls who just started training last week. Surprisingly, the coach took a lot of time to help me.

I was just awful. I can't swim with a hill of beans. The most difficult thing so far is getting the breathing down. I think that I am actually holding my breath even though I am exhaling underwater. I am sure that it will get better as I practice. For this first practice, I felt awkward and clumsy, but that was to be expected.

Finally, as you can see, I changed the look of my website. I lost some stuff in the translation. It was a pain in the butt to change and took way too much time. So if you hate it, don't tell me. I wanted to change it in celebration of breaking 250. speaking of which, that is my next 10 lb. marker. My tradition is to post my sagging belly every 10 lb. mark I reach. I hope you are not squeemish!

"Happiness does not consist in pastimes and amusements but in virtuous activities."--Aristotle

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Wine Tasting

My wife and I were invited to a wine tasting event. We have never been to one, nor are we connoisseurs. The theme for the night was Sauvignon Blanc. We learned to smell the wine and look for the different "noses." I could actually smell the difference between some. Some I couldn't. I learned to taste the differences. Again, some I could and some I couldn't. It taught me that I actually like white wine when I find the right one. My favorites were the French and New Zealand wines. We bought a bottle of the New Zealand wine called Babich.

I could never afford to collect wines and drink anything too fancy. Wine does have some healthful benefits, but should still be used in moderation. I have to admit, we only had a sip of the wines, but after 20 sips, that's quite a bit. Yoohoo! I had too much last night, not that I was dancing on the tables or anything crazy. All and all, we had a great time. Apparently, this is a once a month thing. As long we can find babysitters, we will be back.

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Little More Personal or Narcissism Unleashed!

I have been mainly blogging about fitness, weight, and related issues. I have not blogged much about me, what I do, who I am, etc... I have wanted to, but time has been an issue. Also, I have to figure out just what I should reveal and what I should hold back.

There are a few reasons why I believe I should hold back some information. 1) I hold back because I want to be more open. Doesn't that sound insane? No one I know personally, not even my wife knows about this blog. I don't want people that I know reading this blog in case I write something that would piss them off. If I want to blow off a little steam, I want to be able to do it here without repercussions.

2) I have heard about people getting in trouble with their employers because of their blogs. Well, I don't think I would get fired over this blog, but it could cause a lot of discomfort. I have said some things that even as vague as they were would have caused me problems if people where I work knew I was writing this blog.

3) As lame as this might sound, people treat me different when they know what my profession is. It's a little different and most people don't know how to handle it. No I am not a member of the mafia, or a gerbil psychologist, or anything off the wall. In fact, I have had a lot of education to prepare my profession including post-graduate work. I know it's lame to say that much but not give you any clues. All I can say is tough. Deal with it.

Now for some more personal things. Some of this you may already know from previous blogs. I married my high school sweetheart at age 20. We lost our first child to an early miscarriage. Since then, we have had 5 beautiful children. The oldest is 8 and the youngest in 9 months. My wife and I are both 39 years old.

Though we were high school sweethearts, we didn't go the same high school. I met my wife at a summer band camp. She plays bassoon. I play trombone. She plays in a community band. I play in a big band. If you don't know what that is, it's basically a jazz band that play a wide variety of styles. We have 18 musicians playing and 3 singers. Music is an important in our family.

Also, I am an avid reader. I love reading all kinds of books. I'll read classics like Les Miserable or the Iliad. I'll read Tom Clancy novels. I'll read books on religion, philosophy, and science. I read health and nutrition books. I love to read. Unfortunately, I often buy books when I know I won't get to them for a long time. I probably have a good year's worth of books waiting to be read.

Two of my guilty pleasures are cigars and Everquest. I like a good cigar now and then, but I am certainly no afficianado. Everquest is an online computer game considered "Old School" by today's standards, but I like my friends there and I don't want to have to learn a whole new game. I am such a GEEK!!!!

We live in a little resort/retirement community in Michigan. It's a beautiful, wonderful place. I used to love it here, but now I find that I am missing the suburban life. I don't want the traffic, but I wish I had all the conveniences and opportunities that come along with living in a metropolitan area.

My 2 favorite cities are St. Louis and Toronto. I like St. Louis because it has almost everything a bigger city like Chicago has to offer but is much smaller and easier to navigate. I like Toronto because it is so clean and it is very cosmopolitan. I love the cultural mix. There is no cultural mix where I live. Our greatest cultural mix is when a Republican and a Democrat sit down together.

None the less, I have mixed feelings about where I live. There is lots of places to run, bike, and x-country ski. We live less than a mile from Lake Huron. There are lots of rivers and hiking trails. I would hate to give that all up too. Right now, there is no opportunity to change where I live, so I figure I better enjoy the heck out of the area while I can.

Just one more thing about me for now. I use to work as a part-time professional magician. I did kid's shows, churches, community groups, and the like. I am a self-taught magician, but it's been a long time since I have down any shows.

I think I am going to try to post about my life, at least that part which does not directly tie into health and fitness, about once a week. I know this was more about me, but I plan to post about things happening in my life as well. Sheez, is this narcissistic or what?

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Week 67 Weigh-In

Last Week's Weight: 253.4 lbs.
Today's Weight: 251.8 lbs. (-0.8)
Total Lost: 128.2 lbs.

Fat Ratio: 23.1%
Lean Mass: 193.6 lbs.
Fat Mass: 58.2 lbs.
Waist: 47.5 inches

Sheri pointed out that I neglected to acknowledge that I reached the milestone of becoming 2/3rds man last week. So, I am pointing it out now. I have lost over a third of my original body weight. I am slowly creeping toward what in my mind is a huge milestone, that is, getting under 250 lbs. I am not sure why that number is such a psychological issue in my mind, but it is. I don't expect anything magical to happen. By this point, I realize that eating healthy and exercising will not get any easier. The law of diminishing returns became evident months ago. None the less, I am excited about getting under 250.

Although, I constantly must remind myself that this is about fitness and the weight loss is merely one component of weight loss. So in that vein, I ran 8 miles on Saturday. It was a miserable run. I had a bit of a cold. I under dressed since I didn't count on the cold breeze coming off the lake. Finally, after the first mile, I felt like I had to go to the bathroom. That was miserable. Yet, after I finished and cooled down, the urge disappeared. None the less, I ran at a great pace for me and I am glad I did it.

"The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones."--Chinese Proverb

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Week 66 Weigh-In

Last Week's Weight: 253.4 lbs.
Today's Weight: 252.6 lbs. (-0.8)
Total Lost: 127.4 lbs.

Fat Ratio: 23.9%
Lean Mass: 192.2 lbs.
Fat Mass: 60.4 lbs.
Waist: 48 inches

That is a nice modest loss.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that there was going to be a triathlon in my town this fall. I have been thinking it through and reading a bit about triathlon training. First of all, there are basically four levels of triathlons. Most people are familiar with the Iron Man Triathlon which is crazy long. The last leg of it is a marathon. The next tier is a half-iron man or 70.3 Iron man which ends with a half marathon. Next is the Olympic triathlon with the final part a 10k run. Finally, there is a sprint triathlon which ends with a 5k run. The one in my town will include both a half iron man and a sprint.

My thoughts are that if I do this, I would do the sprint. I have been running and biking, so I am not too worried about those...not that I am fast or anything. What I am worried about is the swimming part. I am not afraid of open water and I know how to swim...sort of. I can get from one place to another in the water, but I cannot swim like people who swim laps swim. I have never had any training. From what I have been reading, learning the proper technique is the key. I figure unless I learn how to swim the proper way, I will not enter the triathlon.

So, I have been looking into finding lessons in my area. The only decent pool is at the high school in the next town...about a 30 minute drive. Whoever it is that coordinates the community ed. did not seem to be too knowledgeable about the swimming lessons they offer. We want to get the kids swimming lessons too. Anyhow, I found out that one of the guys in my band was a Navy Seal and coaches the swim team at that high school.

Yesterday during our rehearsal break, I talked to him about learning to swim. He told me that he doesn't teach the swimming anymore, only the diving, but that the swim coach was really good. He suggested that I go to the high school team practices. He said they weight lift for 45 minutes and then swim drills for 45 minutes. He told me that some other adult did this last summer. So, I got the coaches name and contact information. I will be calling him this week.

Sounds great! Right!??? Well, I am terrified. I am not afraid of swimming. I am not afraid of learning how to swim. I am a little intimidated about practicing with the swim team, but that's not it either. What scares me is wearing the swim suit. To swim proper you need to wear a Speedo type swim suit. They don't have to be super skimpy or anything, but they are spandex or lycra or whatever. They cling tight to your body. My body is not the type you want to see in spandex.

Admittedly, I have running tights and bike shorts that do the same thing. However, I can wear a shirt which covers the bulbous protrusion which is my belly. With the swim suit, there will be no such covering. I guess I will be fine once I am in the pool, but who knows how much time there will be out of the pool, standing there for instruction or waiting for a lane to open.

I know it's a vanity issue. I know that my belly will be getting smaller. I know that I can't let this vanity issue keep me from doing this, but I feel sick just thinking about it. Oh well, I guess this is price I must pay for letting myself get obese in the first place. I guess I will just swallow my pride and suffer the embarrassment. Now, to see if they even make a swim suit in my size. I feel sorry for anyone who sees me...shudder!

"It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed."--Theodore Roosevelt

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Gauntlet has been thrown

Captain has thrown his gauntlet at my feet with a challenge to see who can lose the most weight by the July 4th. I have been thinking about this long and hard. I love competition. I certainly want to lose a lot of weight fast.

On the other hand, I have been trying my hardest to make fitness my focus. Weight is only one component of that. I believe that we put too much emphasis on the scale numbers and not enough on overall health and well-being.

On this count, I am a hypocrite. The name Half Man is a reference to wanting to lose half my body weight. I get down when I don't lose or even gain. Then, I have to console myself by reminding myself of all my fitness gains. When I lose weight, I am happy and excited. However, you in the blogosphere are the only people who know how much I have lost. I refuse to tell anyone how much I have lost. I tell them I am in it for the fitness, not the scale.

Soooo, I feel that if I pick up this challenge, I will be going against my principles. I started to think about ways to include overall fitness into the challenge rather than just weight, but I couldn't figure a way to do it that wouldn't get over-complicated or too time consuming.

Then I started thinking about my friends Jeff and Brad (who is interested in getting in on this competition). I thought that maybe a little competition might encourage us and help us to keep things going in the right direction.

So I decided that I would take up the gauntlet after all. Why not? At least this was my conclusion while I was out on a nice little 8 mile run yesterday. I might not have been thinking straight. Mostly, I was struggling with my obsession over weight and my obsession to not be obsessed with weight. After all, could I even imagine running down the block last year at this time, yet alone running eight miles. No way, Jose. Running for that long gives you a lot of time to think (and be delusional). So I have put a new section above giving the count for the competition.

If anyone else would like to get in on this competition, just let me know and give me your starting weight. Then give me updates from time to time so I can update.

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!