A Fat Man's Journey (Working my way back…)

An Attempt to Journey from Fat to Fit in a Lifetime. Eat right, Eat less, Move more


A Pretty Good Day on the Plan Front.

I got in my walking at work and I was pretty good with the bagels… This weekend will be the real test as I will eat every meal at a restaurant from Thursday night until Monday lunch…..

The challenge to not give in to the temptations of the menu will be a difficult one to sustain for 4 days, and no, I will not give myself some grace to treat it as a special event and eat with less restrictions on myself.  I can’t do that.  My make-up is such that I won’t allow it in myself….

I expect myself to live this way for what I hope to be a very long life so I cannot say that today or tomorrow is something special and I can eat large portions or give in to the temptations….

Tonight’s dinner was REALLY good.  We made Miso soup and added Swish Chard, parsley, Chinese Radish (white and purple) and some bell pepper.  Just a few minutes before serving I added some catfish.  As soon as the fish was cooked through I served.  WOW, was it GOOD!

This is how I eat now and I am really enjoying it.  I love the fresh foods, the vegetables and the fish…

The weather precludes a walk at the school but as I mentioned I got in the miles at work… Tomorrow night will be a long time in the car so I MUST get the miles in at work….

Two holes left on my belt.  Time to drill…  I think I mentioned previously that I will not buy a new belt until I hit my target weight.  Then I plan to BURN this one….  Well, maybe keep it as a cautionary tale….

Stepped on the scale this morning and saw the magic 270 pounds….  35 down, 60 to go….  I have a birthday coming up and I am going to aggressively pursue being at 265 pounds before that day, I have 11 days to go.  I can do it, I know I can, I just have to stick to the plan and not lose the momentum this weekend.

I think about this every single day.  Every meal, every motion is thought out ahead.  Today will be cereal with fruit…. Lunch will be a salad, or a can of tuna in water or….  No more mindless eating for me.  I plan everything.  We are meeting a friend for dinner tomorrow, my youngest and I are, and the negotiation over the place to eat….  Had to be food the kid would eat (finicky monster that he is) and had food I would allow myself to eat…..  No small considerations involved here…  We settled on a place, it will work out great…  But this is what I mean about not allowing myself even a day off….  It would have been easy to go to the local famous pizza joint but they don’t serve anything but pizza.  I Could have said what the heck and eaten pizza but I know that is a slippery slope…..  One piece becomes two becomes three…. Becomes getting lazy, making more excuses, becomes 305 pounds….

The youngest said we should find a place to walk on our trip….  LOVE THIS KID!!

Today is a 2000 calorie day by design.  Tomorrow is a 1500 calorie day by design.  It is part of the plan.  Work the plan, achieve the goals…..

I want to be at my goal weight by the end of this year…  I expect to be in the 240’s by the time I ride the 50 mile ride in June…..  These are the goals… The plan is designed to achieve the goals…

I know I harp on this incessantly… But this is how I am doing it.  I never lose sight of the goal.. I never lose sight of the plan to achieve the goal.

Missus and I are doing it together and that is making all the difference.  Going it alone is much too hard.  Having people read this blog is helping… I am still shocked that people are reading it.  I am thankful, very thankful, still shocked.

I have been getting on the wind trainer, doing my ten minutes… Feels good.  I will be on it tonight as soon as dinner has settled.  I have found it is easier for me to ride at night than in the morning…

Still wondering when the weather will allow me to get outside and ride.  Yes I know plenty of people ride in the cold, I used to.  I am not ready for that.  I need warmth on my old bones to get out there right now.  I am still planning to get down to South Jersey a couple of weekend to ride the nice flat terrain of the Pine Barrens….  Wanna come along?

I know this post has been all over the field today, kind of a stream of consciousness sort of thing….

I guess the fact that progress is being made has me revved up!

More Later……



It is Always Dangerous When I Get to Thinking…

I think people understand alcoholism and have some sympathy for the alcoholic.  I think it is understood that it is a chemical addiction and a powerful draw to the recovering alcoholic.  The same goes for drug addiction.  We may not exactly sympathize in many cases but we do understand the chemical dependency and the hold that the drugs have over the addict.

Certainly if a medication were introduced that would aid the alcoholic by reducing the urge to drink or aid the drug addict to avoid the pull of the drugs, most would consider it a societal gain.

The simple fact of the matter is you don’t become an alcoholic with your first drink, nor, as I understand it, a drug addict with your first snort of cocaine.  Both addictions are avoidable by never taking a drink or doing a drug.  The alcoholic can avoid situations where alcohol is consumed or served.  The drug addict can avoid situations where drug use is in play.

We have to eat.

Obesity is proving to be as much a chemical dependency as are drug addiction and alcoholism.  Chemical changes in the body drive our hunger response.  There is evidence from medical studies that the obese have high levels of a combination of hormones that trigger the feelings of hunger and low levels of the hormones that signal satiety.  This stays true even after the weight is lost.  There is further evidence that these skewed hormonal levels exist to some degree from early on, before an individual reaches clinical obesity.

So why do we have so little understanding and so little compassion for the obese?  Because, we believe as a society, overcoming obesity is simply a matter of willpower, desire, and good habits, that’s why.

We look at fat people and see them as failures.  People so out of control of their own behaviors that they don’t even know when they are full, when simply to push away from the table.  I have heard more than one person ask rhetorically “don’t they ever look in a mirror?”  Trust me, we do.

I read some comments on a blog last night that triggered in me this bit of thought and introspection.  The blog post was reasonable: What do you think about the newly approved diet drug and the fact that it received approval even though there is significant health risk involved.  The responses saddened me.

Both responses prior to mine were along the “magic pill, don’t have to diet and exercise, take responsibility” line.

I don’t think it is that at all.  I am not looking for a magic pill and the people I have spoken with that have had bariatric surgery all wanted to avoid surgery and pills but after years of the weight loss rollercoaster pills and surgery became the last best option for saving their lives.

The amount of willpower, dedication and effort required to lose 100, 200 pounds, is incredible.  Even the 30+ pounds I have lost has been a fight; a daily struggle against urges, desires, and hunger.  Certainly many people do overcome obesity with hard work and developing good habits.  That is the path I am taking and I am working hard to make it happen.

The sad and simple fact is the people able to maintain weight loss are in the minority.  The majority, more that 95%, will see significant weight gain within two years of reaching their maximum weight loss.

Why is this?  You simply cannot write it off as a lack of willpower, bad habits, bad choice…  There must be more at play, just as there is for the drug addict and the alcoholic.

Obesity is a national plague.  Certainly bad habits are a large part of the problem.  The average American Diet is a recipe for obesity.  Our approach to food in this country is abysmal.  That said, once the slide towards obesity begins, the body chemistry takes control.  It compels us to eat ever-increasing amounts of food.

How is this much different from the path of alcoholism?  Our approach to alcohol in this country is abysmal.. Are we not taught from an early age that good times include large quantities of alcohol?  Just as we did not get obese from our first slice of pizza with double meat and extra cheese, we did not become an alcoholic from our first night of binge drinking in college.

Those that have not walked this path cannot possibly truly understand it.  It is not an easy path and trip hazards abound.  We cannot wall ourselves off from the world.  We cannot avoid parties forever, nor can we never walk in to a restaurant.  Families will hold holiday dinners; boxes of doughnuts will be brought to work…

There are no easy answers and I doubt that this is what the truly obese are looking for.  They are asking for help after years and years of frustration and failure.


Ten Minutes…

I rode the wind trainer today, just ten minutes at a 16 mph average pace but the point is I did it.  Just ten minutes….

The belly was out-of-the-way!  It wore me out to be honest, I am tired.  It is the first time I pedaled a bike in earnest in a year.  But I did it, just ten minutes….

It is a start.  A small step, a tentative step perhaps, but a step to be sure..

I used to ride 25 miles as easily as I would walk across the street.  I loved to ride.  I love the feeling of the wind, the sound of the tires on the road and the whir of the chain over the sprockets….  I loved the exhilaration of the long downhill runs after the long uphill slog…

I am winded.  Not sure I could have even gone 15 minutes… But I did ten.  It is a start.

I learned to ride a bike by myself.  Brothers and father tried to teach me but I was un-teachable.  Clumsy? Uncoordinated?  I don’t know but I couldn’t seem to learn.  At 8-years old I took a bike from the garage and on two flat tires I somehow managed to ride down the sidewalk.   Soon I was able to ride well.  I could do loops around our neighborhood riding no-handed on my medium metallic blue 10-speed Schwinn Suburban…  I never really mastered the crude shifters on that bike…  When I left for college my parents ignored my pleas for a nice Japanese built racing bike and bought me a Schwinn Collegiate..  The bike weighed 40 pounds.  Handled like a tank and was too big for me…

After college I stopped riding… The Schwinn collected dust…

A friend rehabbing from motorcycle accident got me back on a bike and I bought a Specialized Hardrock mountain bike and the rest was history….

Now I am back on the bike… Sort of… On the wind trainer anyway….

I have plans…  My son learned to ride a bike last year… He worked hard at it and is now able to ride well.  His Uncle bought him a very nice bike and come spring son and dad will ride some bike trails together…

I will do some long ride in the spring… Well long for me…. 25-35 miles, do my 20 mile loop…  Do the 50-mile ride for Autism in June… Maybe a century by Autumn….

Can you doubt me?  I can’t and I have spent a life battling self-doubt….  I am learning to believe in me.  I said I would lose the weight and the plan is working, the weight is coming down… I am maintaining the good eating practices…  Maintaining the exercise….  I am on the bike again….

So eating right, exercising…  Good things….

Getting my house in order so to speak…

The results so far:

  • I have lost nearly 35 pounds (33-34 depending…..)
  • I have built my endurance up to where I can do a ten-mile hike on moderate hills or a 5 mile hike in hilly terrain (I have witnesses).
  • I can do ten minutes on the wind trainer at 16 miles per hour
  • I am happier
  • I feel better
  • I am less “testy”
  • I smile more
  • I laugh more.

Been thinking about why all this is.  I have written before about the euphoria that comes with the initial positive results of working to lose weight.  I wondered if this would be sustained… I am thinking it is.  Yes I have ups and downs… The stagnation of the weight that I experienced over the last couple of weeks certainly played with my emotions…. I never lost hope.  I never wanted to give up.  I was on a roller coaster to be sure….

But I think by and large the positive attitude remained and I stayed pretty upbeat….

I rode the wind trainer today, just as I said I would.  Ten minutes…. 16 miles per hour

It’s a start….

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What A Wonderful WEEKEND!

There are few weekends that I can say were great top to bottom. This one would join the very short list.

Yesterday was cold and extremely windy but mostly sunny and I enjoyed a great hike at the Rockefeller preserve. Afterwards I went to a little bar/burger joint in Tarrytown and had a very good chicken breast sandwich on a whole wheat bun with mushrooms, grilled onions and cherry peppers. I drank diet coke… the unsweetened iced tea looked like lightly tanned water…….

The fun part was asking for hot sauce. The young lady asked if I wanted hot (Frank’s) very hot, very-very hot or “The Death Sauce”, which she assured me would make me cry. Those last three where apparently of their own creation. I asked for the very-very hot but she brought me a little serving cup of Franks. I again asked for the very-very hot, assuring her that I consider Franks to be a beverage not a hot sauce. She then brought me the very hot. I again asked for the Very-Very and she brought me the Very-Very AND (presumably to teach me a lesson) the “Death Sauce”. All this was done in good humor and with smiles as she warned me several times to be careful with the “death sauce”.

To make a long story short…. I had to ask for more of the “Death Sauce”. It was very hot but…. Well suffice to say, no tears on my part, just wide eyes on the young lady’s part…..

I enjoyed it….. And the young lady was impressed and told me to cook was shocked…

Last night we had a nice dinner with Kabocha Squash, a dish I had never had before… Really tasty.

Today we went out as a family to do some shopping… We are looking for a new electric range for the kitchen (no, really? Where else would it go?). Our range is dying a slow and painful death as it is having trouble holding temperature and so forth. Sigh. It is ten years old so I guess that is what you get out of a range now…

Anyway, back to the really good weekend.

We went out as a family, the kids were helpful and well behaved, and we stopped at a favorite market and picked up fresh tilefish and fruits and vegetables. AND we found black rice!!

When we got home I went out to the school track and walked two miles and climbed the bleachers ten times. A solid work out.

This has become something of my practice I guess…. A longish hike on Saturday and two miles and some bleacher climbs on Sunday….

So the combination of the hikes, the food, the great time with my children and Missus and the favorable weather have all combined to put a smile on my face.

I notice that I am generally in a batter mood after I get in my walks and hikes and I think that HAS to be a positive for the people around me.

My weight today was the same as yesterday but I am perfectly ok with that… It is still 2 pound down from last week!

I figured out (in a very rough estimate sort of way) that if you exclude the lox I have eaten for the last 30 years, I have had more fish in the last thirty days than in the last 30 years.

Not sure why because I have always loved fish, even the overcooked-leather-like flounder my mother used to serve…. How a cook as good as my mother could make fish so overcooked and tasteless is beyond my comprehension………… None the less, I looked forward to it…. Ok, I was a strange kid…..

So walking today, a bit windy and cold but BRIGHT sunshine and the track mostly to myself…. The iPod playing my walking music playlist…. The legs were a bit tired but I got through at least two miles…. I say at least because I lost count at one point so I either walked 2 miles or 2.25 miles…. I threw in the extra lap so I could be sure. I forgot to check the Fitbit before I started so I couldn’t use that as a guide…

I know I had said I was going to run today…. Too cold and too windy…. I couldn’t bring myself to run in my heavy winter coat…..

It is on the plan.

AND Tomorrow is when I start getting up a half hour earlier so I can start riding the wind trainer!!!!

I think enough of the belly is out of the way!!

The plan this week is to do 7 miles of walking every day.

Chat later.