Monday, January 28, 2008

Monday Morning Stats - 1-28-08

I am going to try to be consistent with entering my Monday morning stats. I have always taken stats like weight every week, but have only been taking measurements and Body Fat measurements occasionally when I think about it.

Last week stats

Scale: 177.0
Average: 178 *
Last Week Average: 178
Loss: 0

Waist: 35
Stomach: 36.5
Chest: 38.5

Body Fat Measurement:
Caliper: 21.8***
BMI: 26.1****

*According to rounded up - my official weight.

**This is really the first time I have taken these measurements and written them down. The trending may be crazy at first until I get consistent.

***This is the first time I have logged this, and I am not sure how accurate I am with my measurements. I am following all the instructions, but this seems low.

****According to the official BMI calculations and this BMI Calculator.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Hanging Skin - when will it go away?

I know this can be very disgusting, and I am sorry for that. (I will also spare you the pictures) Since I have lost the 80 lbs, and since I am still losing fat even though not as much weight, I have skin hanging in areas of my body. Some of this is obviously in my belly, but also in most areas of my body including my face, legs, etc.

I am trying to do the caliper test and it shows that my body fat is lower than what the official BMI measurements say, but the hanging skin always makes me feel like I am still quite a bit overweight. I still have a belly, although it seems to get slimmer each week.

What I am wondering is.... when will this start to subside? When does it start to tighten up? I have read that it takes some time, but I don't know if what I am experiencing is still fat, or just hanging skin. I have also read that drinking a lot of water helps, and I think I am drinking plenty of water to do this.

I am trying to do some research on this and see if what I am experiencing is normal and expected, or if there is more I can do about it.

Any thoughts or links would be welcome.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Lack of encouragement

These past few days have not been really encouraging. I have not been seeing the movement in the scale or average daily weight over the past week like I was seeing in the previous weeks. I have been eating really good, but have upped my distances in my running, and continued with my weight training so it doesn't make sense. I guess that is why so many people tend to fail.... because of the unpredictability of weight loss.

Oh well, things are not as bad as they sometimes seem. I will persevere! And the days and weeks will get better. So when do you start seeing yourself in the mirror like you really are and not like you were?

Till next time......

Monday, January 21, 2008

Monday Morning Stats - 1-21-08

I am going to try to be consistent with entering my Monday morning stats. I have always taken stats like weight every week, but have only been taking measurements and Body Fat measurements occasionally when I think about it.

Scale: 178.4
Average: 178 *

Waist: 35
Stomach: 36.5
Chest: 38.5

Body Fat Measurement:
Caliper: 21.8***
BMI: 26.3****

*According to rounded up - my official weight.

**This is really the first time I have taken these measurements and written them down. The trending may be crazy at first until I get consistent.

***This is the first time I have logged this, and I am not sure how accurate I am with my measurements. I am following all the instructions, but this seems low.

****According to the official BMI calculations and this BMI Calculator.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Some Recent Encouragement

I have been encouraged recently by my weight. Just like mentioned before I do have the daily fluctuations but I also have been able to start to notice trends, and the recent trend is that I am still moving downward at a better rate than I was over the past couple months. You could say it is because of the holidays, but it started before the holidays. Now when I say better rate, I am not talking much over a 1 lb a week rate, but that is better than what was happening over the past two months.

You can see here on the left what it looked like for the month of November - only a .36 lb average weekly loss all month. Plus you can see the jumping all over the place.

Now on the right you can see in the past 30 days a .81 lb average weekly loss, which is up to 1.1 if I only consider this last week alone.

I am moving in the right direction! I have also seen some new low end spikes which are always nice. My latest lowest spike was this morning at 175.8. You can see my progress live by clicking here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

To Count Or Not To Count

8 months of counting calories behind me and I am not sure if it truly helped me lose any weight. OK, yes I am sure it helped me, but how much it helped me I will never know. I was losing quite a bit of weight before I tried counting calories by just portion control and working out. It wasn't till I came across the Traineo website that I even thought about counting. On "My Page" at Traineo there is a place to track your diet, although it is not the greatest tool, I wanted to track my diet so I started to look into counting calories.

I spent some time on the web looking for and trying to understand how to count calories. I came across a site Called Fit Day which is a free site that allows you to enter what you eat and will count up what you are eating as far as calories go as well as Fat, Protein, Carbs, etc. I found that the great database that Fit Day had was great, coupled with the fact that they would let me enter my own food, I was off and running in no time.

Counting Calories has helped me learn so much about eating and how I ate. I was able to learn more about what a good portioned meal looks like, as well as how much nutritional content my meals contained, or didn't contain. Even though I said I don't know if counting calories truly helped me or not, I do know that the results of counting calories has helped me tremendously.

Around the holidays I decided it would be just too difficult to count calories with family in town and how the schedule was going to be so I decided to take a break from counting. Mysteriously enough, though I was addicted to counting, when I stopped counting my weight kept dropping, and in fact the very slow weight loss period the couple mouths preceding seemed to speed up. You see, one of my problems with counting was that I was absolutely fixated on getting the calories I determined was the right amount for my body. That in itself was not bad, but what was bad was that I was not all that great at determining that amount. I only took into account my weight and where I wanted to be when determining my calorie deficit. I did not take into account that I was weight training multiple times a week as well as running multiple times a week. This type of calculation can be hazardous to your weight loss. The fact that I wasn't taking my calorie burning into account meant that at times I was eating too few calories, which made my body think it was starving so it held onto the calories I was giving it. This caused me to slow down drastically, and at times even stop losing weight.

I have not gone back to counting calories since the holidays, and so far I am doing well with my average weight loss around 1 lb a week. This is right where I want to be since I am so close to my goal weight. Losing too much more than that could be very unhealthy at this time, and make me more susceptible to putting it back on. I guess you could say in a way that I am starting to move into more of a way of eating that I will be maintaining the rest of my life. That being the case, my body at some point will just stop losing, and at that point I will know that I am right where I need to be.

Counting calories for me was absolutely necessary to help me understand what I am eating and what the food I was eating contained, however for me I don't feel like it is a way of life. I will forever look at labels, but I will not forever do the math on paper.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The woes of weighing daily

There are many opposing ideas on how often you should weigh yourself when trying to lose weight. I for one find myself needing to weigh myself everyday, mainly because if I do not it is on my mind all day, wondering how I am doing and if I am really messing up. The downside to this is how much body weight can fluctuate from day to day due to water intake, sodium intake, and a plethora of other variables.

These fluctuations can really cause havoc on ones emotional state if they pay too close attention to what the daily weight actually is. This can give you emotional highs and lows and if not careful can actually derail an otherwise very healthy change in lifestyle. I found myself at times falling into this trap and getting really depressed when I found myself down to a new low only to find myself up a couple pounds the very next day.

I am sure these fluctuations can be explained to a certain degree, but to the non scientific like me they are unexplainable. Take for instance this past weekend. I woke up Saturday morning to a weight of 177.0 on the scale. The previous days before I was hovering in the 177.x range so this wasn't too surprising, in fact I was pleasantly surprised because I had not seen that low before. I then proceeded to get myself ready and went out for my long run of 14 miles as I am preparing for a February Half Marathon (follow my progress here). I then spent the rest of the day being quite active including playing some baseball as well as eating very well. The shocker came when I got up This morning, just two days later and the scale said 179.0. How could this be? I just ran 14 miles, and then ate very well for two days.... and then an increase of 2 lbs?!?

I used to let these fluctuations bother me, but as time has progressed I realize that these are normal and in my opinion very hard to explain many times. I have found that it is much easier for me to stay focused and not get the emotional highs and lows if I look at the trend that these daily weights give me. Many months ago, during one of the times I was having trouble with the emotional bouncing I came across a site that will do the trending for you. I have been using Physics Diet ever since, and have been very happy with the results. It lets me know if I am still on the downward trend, and how fast this is occurring. You can take a look at my chart by following this link > My Public Profile.

I highly recommend that if you do decide to weigh yourself daily that you take the daily weights with a grain of salt and you focus more on the trend, as that is where the real truth can be found.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The First Year

My lifestyle was just like anybody else's that was overweight. My days, weeks, months, years were filled with, eating too much, looking forward to the times I could get together with friends and just pig out, and just sitting in front of the TV or computer with a bag of chips fully knowing that by the time I got up they would be almost gone. Bad food choices coupled with the absolute avoidance of any type of activity over the years led to me being who I was at the end of 2006.

These beginning pics were from before January 1 2007, at 258lbs +/-:

Over the years I knew I needed to lose weight, but just kept gaining. I always told my wife that if a Doctor would tell me to lose weight I would do it, but I could never get a Doctor to tell me to lose weight. I switched Doctors but still no luck. Finally I asked a Doctor to do some blood work on me and it came back that I had really high liver enzymes. I went to a specialist and finally, for the first time I had a Doctor tell me I needed to lose weight...... so I did.....

The pics directly above are from along the way, and here I am a year later at 180:

I started January 2, 2007 after the holidays since I knew I would fail if I tried to start right during the worst time of year for eating.

The first thing I did was slow down with my portions, and think about how much I was eating, added more water, and stopped all sodas. I did this for one week before doing anything else.

Starting the second week I changed my schedule drastically. I was used to staying up till midnight or 1:00 am everyday. I started going to bed at 10:00 so I could get up at 5:00 am. I started getting up at 5:00 am every day and going for a walk. I didn't do anything special, I just got up and walked for about 30 minutes everyday.

That was pretty much all I did for the first 2-3 months, but I was seeing the weight come off at a good rate.

After 2-3 months I thought about running, but figured I couldn't do it. I started running about 100 yards at a time a couple days a week, but was absolutely exhausted. I didn't give everything up, just kept walking and eating less and felt good about myself for what I was doing.

I did think about switching it up a bit so I decided to join a gym. I found a no frills gym and joined. I had to change my schedule a bit to figure in the travel time so I started to get up at 4:30 am. I had no idea how to use the equipment, so the first week I just walked on the treadmill and watched other people use the different machines. I then started venturing out to the weight machines and have made that a regular part of my week 2-3 days a week.

While walking on the treadmill one day I wondered if I could run on the treadmill. I was scared I would fall off, but after a couple days I gave it a shot. To my surprise, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I was only able to run for a few minutes, and I was really slow but it was a start. I kept running a little bit at a time, and eventually tried to move to the road, but was in a lot of pain. After doing some research, I bought some new shoes from a running store and the pain was gone. It still took me quite a bit, but I worked my way up to running 3 miles at a time, and entered my first 5k in May.

I was elated to run a 5k, since the last time I had run any race was a 10k when I was in high school over 20 years ago. It was a small race, and I finished last in 36 minutes, but I FINISHED!

Around this time I started looking more into what I was eating, not just how much. I started counting calories and watching what I was eating instead of just how much. I also kept running now with my sights now set on a 10k. The lbs kept coming off, and I was very pleased with how everything was going, just continuing to tweak all the time.

As I kept tweaking, I started to add whey protein into my diet for right after working out or running, I also started to eat 6 times a day. I would eat breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack. This really helped me since during this time I started to plateau a bit. I even had to up my calories at one point around here because I was not eating enough.

July came and it was time for my 10k. I woke up on race morning and was almost 200 lbs. The race went really good, and I knew I was making good progress with getting my life in order as far as my health was concerned. I ran the 10k in 1 hour and 3 minutes.

A devastating day came just a few days following my 10k. I continued to run, but was over doing it and pulled a muscle. When all was said and done I had to take 3 months off with almost no running to get my pulled muscle to heal. I was depressed because I was making such good progress, but I kept losing weight because I kept eating right and working out at the gym.

I have now been back running for a few months, and have ran another 5k at 26 minutes this time, and have also run an 8k in 40 minutes. I have made progress that I hadn't even dreamed about. I am now in the middle of training for a half marathon which I will run on February 16th. I have for the past few weeks been running 5 miles two times a week in the morning and have been getting long runs in every other week following a training program. My longest run to date was 10 miles which I did in 1 hour and 37 minutes. I am set to put in 11 miles this Saturday. I even have my sights set on a Full Marathon sometime in 2008, and possibly even a Sprint Tri.

All being said and done, I am now just over a week from my journey being at the 1 year mark. I have lost 78lbs, and would like to lose 10-20 more. Things have slowed down quite a bit which can be frustrating at times, but I know that is how it works when you get closer to your bodies ideal weight.

I know this has been a long journey, but it is just the beginning of an entire life change. I have aspirations of continued success in running and toning of my body, as well as continued weight lose and further tweaking of my diet to make it even more healthy, and also continue to build habits to where it is just part of life.

I have been part of an online community during part of the time that has helped me a lot with a lot of motivation and encouragement. You can search the forums there and see a lot more of what I went through during the journey. The site is Traineo, and my profile page is and this same story can be found there in the forums: my post

As mentioned above I am in the middle of training for a half marathon, I have much bigger goals as well which I will be blogging about at my other blog

I will post updates as my journey continues to a healthy lifestyle, thanks for stopping by to read.

The Slow Approach is better than the No Approach!