I confess that I had a small internal goal. While the focus of my weightloss is on my overall health, and my big goal of losing 157 pounds over two years (or whatever time it takes), I do have little mini-goals. Breaking 300 pounds is one of mine, and I hit a plateau around late October, early November. I’ve been stuck in the teens — 315, 318, 313, etc. I had plans to hit the exercise routine hard in December, but my body and mind was telling me to take it easy and just “rest”, and for once I listened. I disconnected from a bunch of stuff, and just hoped that I could maintain through to the new year. I knew I wouldn’t hit my 300 goal, but I’d settle for not going up more than 5 pounds. If I did, well, no biggie, I’d refocus in the new year.
Managing the Cycle
As an aside, I’ve discovered my life revolves around a week-long cycle. If I do what I need to do on Sunday to prep for the following week — laundry, groceries, and chopping celery and cauliflower for snacks — then my week starts well. That momentum carries me through to Thursday or Friday, and while the weekends are hard, I just have to hang on and the cycle starts again. If I don’t start well? Then I’m playing catch-up all week. It isn’t simply a matter of jumping back in on Monday, as Monday I’m in lunch modes or not. Snack modes or not. I find it hard to carve out the time or energy to do the chores if I didn’t start well. And if the week doesn’t go “well” or I’m simply playing catch-up all week, the weekend hits REALLY hard for me.
I still crave ice cream. I crave the break from the diet and new life, with all its extra stressors. So, not surprisingly, the biggest cravings have hit on Fridays and Saturdays on weeks that didn’t go well. I’m waffling on whether I’ll let myself have some when I reach my first big mini-goal of 300 pounds, or more accurately, 292 pounds which will be 50 pounds down. A small stress release and treat. My brain squirrels go both ways on whether it is likely to cause total slide (i.e., my weight won’t suddenly blow up if I have it, so my sub-conscious is going to start telling me it’s no big deal, I can have it in moderation like everything else, as every alcoholic has told him or herself at some time about booze) or just be a minor break (i.e., it might serve as an extra motivation to reach the next big goal).
I mentioned earlier that I was a bit stressed about Christmas, and that is a multi-faceted aspect.
First, there is getting everything ready. Except this year, I was off for the month of December, so a lot of the errands didn’t turn into last minute outings, and I used Amazon a lot. I didn’t feel as stressed about it this year.
Second, as an analytical introvert, I’m nervous spending a lot of time around a bunch of people in a group, even if they’re nice like Andrea’s family. It isn’t the people, it is just the “group” thing. All meals at the same time, everything done together. At the extreme, it feels like group work in school, without the grades or the ability to just do it all yourself. 🙂 But I was fine this year. The pre-Christmas break gave me a stress release, so I went in more calm than normal perhaps.
Third, I was a bit worried about my food choices. I love Christmas meals…I don’t do turkey at home very often, and I love turkey, gravy, steamed veggies, mashed potatoes, stuffing, etc. And I knew I would probably have more helpings than I should. Which I did. But more often than not, I did extras of the protein options. Well, except for desserts. I had an extra cookie or two, or an extra Rice Krispie square, but I also watched what I ate the rest of the day. I even took little bags of celery and cauliflower to help maintain my small snacking schedule, even if I didn’t do as well on ensuring I had breakfast. And I had a binge breakfast when I went out with my brother. Overall for the week, I felt I was coming out a bit above normal, but not bad.
Fourth and final, I was stressed about my blog. I don’t mean that I was going to be away from it, which I was, I mean just that I’ve made my goals and plans public, and people want to talk to me about it. Congratulate me on my effort, support me, etc. Which is all great. Except if you’ll recall, I’m not used to talking about my weight. Ever. So while the conversations are all supportive, my first reaction when we start talking about it, brought up by them not me of course, my old instinct reacts for just a second — “Oh no! Shields up! Something’s coming about my weight! Torpedo in the water! Dive! Dive! Dive!”.
Then my brain over-rides it and says, “Hey, dummy, you did this. You said the topic was fair game. And relax, whatever it is, it is not only likely to be positive support, but also if it has a bit of edge to it, you’re doing this FOR YOU, not for others and you can handle it. Plus you’re already down at least 27 pounds, relax!”.
Plus, I have to confess, some of the people are opening up to me and taking risks themselves. They’re sharing THEIR stories about weightloss or struggles, stories I have never heard before. Or, at least, stories that I hadn’t fully understood before, perhaps because I didn’t want to think about how they compared with me.
If someone, for example, was talking about struggling to lose 5 or 10 pounds, I would tend to tune out and run the other way in the conversation. It wasn’t any of my business, I didn’t think 5 pounds was that significant, and if they did, what would that say about me being 157 over healthy? That was my rationale anyway.
I’m still a bit in two worlds…I recognize that the weight you want to lose is all about you, and what you feel / see is your healthy goal. If that is 5 pounds, it may make no more difference psychologically than if it was 50. It’s all about the narrative you tell yourself. Yet the other world is still the old one…157 vs. someone losing 20? No comparison, right? Except of course it is.
Then I had a conversation with someone who I knew had been “bigger” in the past, but I’ve never seen photos or heard the details. Like I said, if I had heard any details, I would have changed the subject fast. After all, at 5’11” and 342 pounds (my biggest size), that would give me a BMI of 47.7, obese Level III. Or as I put it earlier, likely the largest friend you know. While BMI isn’t a great indicator for a lot of reasons, it does allow for some generic base comparisons. I was curious for him, so I entered the numbers from his narrative, and his old BMI was 42.2. That’s pretty close to where I am now (I’m just above 43). So when he says “he gets it”, he completely does. He went from that to 28.2. My goal is 25.8. A very similar journey. And a strong reinforcement for me. HE did it. So will I.
I’m also amazed at who is reading my blog. Small confession, I’m frequently amazed that ANYONE reads my blog. Sure, I’m a decent writer, but it’s not like I have any amazing accomplishments to share nor lead the most exciting of lives. It’s a good life, and I like it, but making it interesting? More likely in the TL;DR category in my view (for those not familiar with internet slang, TL;DR = “too long, didn’t read”). Heck, I have to read my posts several times before I press PUBLISH, and that’s almost too much even for me. 🙂 Yet a lot of Andrea’s family are reading it. Heck, even her great-grandfather and parents have read parts (Hi GG! Hi Marney, Ron!). Marney even came to me before one of the meals to ask if it was okay to put cream in one of the dishes, which was incredibly supportive of her. Fortunately, I’m okay with anything in front of me, I just control my side (choices, portions).
But I chickened out on one conversation, and I’m not 100% sure why. I had brunch with one of my brothers over the holidays, and he has diabetes. He spent most of his life taking insulin, from age 17 onward, and eventually had transplants of organs when his failed. He can’t drive anymore. And he isn’t on the internet at all, really, so he wouldn’t know about my goals or my diabetes diagnosis or any of it. He would basically only know if I told him, which I didn’t. I wanted to tell him, and something held me back.
Part of it was that talking about my goal is one thing; talking about my success so far would seem like bragging. And how would I explain all that I have written in the last 15K words into a 90 second blurb where I would encapsulate all of it into “Hey, I decided to get rid of my lard ass”. He and I don’t have the deepest of conversations at the best of times, and this didn’t seem like a topic I was comfortable dropping lightly. Because it’s not “light” for me.
But part of it too was the diabetes. He feels guilty that it was passed on to his son, even though there’s nothing he can do about it. And for him, after all he has been through in his life, if I tell him that I have diabetes, he’s going to take it like I told him I have stage 3 cancer. His diabetes does not look like mine, and he knows all those details, but I told myself in part that I was somehow cushioning him the blow by not telling him. Total BS of course. What I was really doing was denying, as I have since the diagnosis, that I even have diabetes. That it is a glitch in the test, so to speak, and once I lose the weight, the number will go down and I won’t “have” it anymore. Not really the way it works, but I also don’t want to be in the category that he would put me in — diabetics and non-diabetics. Maybe he’d get it, maybe he wouldn’t. But I didn’t give him the chance. I just didn’t tell him. About the weight goal, my loss so far, or the diabetes.
I also didn’t see my sister over the holidays. I usually do, she usually comes over to the inlaws for a visit (their house with all the pet fur and cigarette smoke isn’t great for Jacob’s breathing, so she comes over rather than us going there). But I didn’t actively pursue it this time, too many other things going on, I guessed. Yet I wonder if in part I was avoiding her, as I would with most of my family. Because my history of support on my weight issues is not extensive. That’s not an indictment, it’s merely descriptive. I don’t expect she’d attack me or anything, I just suspect that I would be more anxious about my own family’s reaction than Andrea’s. Partly historical dysfunction, partly the closeness to the bone I think.
Anyway, Christmas was great, and I got through any and all conversations that I did have, just wondering if I was avoiding other ones.
So how have I been doing? I’ve decided to only do measurements once a month rather than every two weeks, similarly with my overall picture taking and weight updates for publication. At least not as full stand-alone topics for a weekly post.
Let’s see how I’m doing.
My new weight, as of January 1st, is 309 pounds. This represents achievement of my Level 2 weight loss goal (being less than 310.6), having lost 33 pounds which is 20% of my overall goal. I leveled up, baby!
I’m off my “plateau” of the weights in the teens, and into the second digit being a zero finally. Even with Christmas, messed up cycles, etc., I not only didn’t gain the worried-about five pounds, I managed to keep things going and actually dropped another 5 in total by the end of December. I’m pretty stoked about that. It’s not 300, my dream goal, but I see myself within near-to-spitting distance. 🙂 I’ve even figured out that my scale was not liking the location I was using on the floor (perhaps not quite level), so I moved it out into the centre of the bathroom floor and it’s all good. I quite like my scale, and for those who know much about scales, finding one that goes above 300 pounds is not easy. I had to search online at Amazon several years ago to find it, as most top out at 300, and even some of those are not very reliable in the last 25 pounds. This one goes to 400, and is pretty much in line with my weight at the doctor’s office.
I’m at 43.1, still within the Obese Level III category. No surprise there. But down from 47.7, so still progress.
I am still measuring myself for sixteen different areas and I’m doing the measurements myself. Not the most accurate, but since I started that way, I’m continuing with that approach. For the measurements, I can group things in three categories, based on the last three measurements (the average in inches):
- Areas that have no change since I started: neck, right knee, right calf, and left calf;
- Areas that have increased: left thigh (up .17), left knee (up .50), right upper arm (up .08), right forearm (up 0.17), and left forearm (up .50); and,
- Areas that have decreased: bust (down .25), chest (down .83), waist (down .42), stomach (down .33), hips (down .17), right thigh (down .67), and left upper arm (down .50).
Nothing in there stands out specifically.
Overall, I’ve gone from down 0.00 cumulatively for October to November (original average after three readings) to down -1.00 by mid December and down -1.75 now. I still think that is a misleading methodology that diets use, but who am I to quibble with being “smaller” overall? I’m down over an inch though, which was an indicator.
And yet here’s the weird psychological part. For the first time in probably five years, I actually felt a healthy body shape one day about a week before Christmas. Sure, I was delusional, but it “felt” right, like my chest was bigger, my stomach was smaller, a healthier chest-out version of me. It only lasted a day, but it felt REALLY good. I’ll take it. Maybe if it starts to happen more often, I’ll add it into my well-being indicators.
d. Off-scale Measures
Old ones are shown in strike-out, new ones are in RED BOLD.
|Initial commitment (Psychological)
||Start the journey and early progress
Get professional help |
- Seinfeld progress for plan
|Weight measurement (Physical)
First healthy week
First set of measurements |
- Overcome a plateau
- Change of 1″ in overall
- Change of 1″ in waist
- Change of 2″ overall
- Change of 5″ overall
- Change of 10″ overall
- Change of 20″ overall
- Change of 5″ in waist
- Change of 10″ in waist
- See my toes past my belly
- See “abs” or other muscle definition
||How clothing fits
- Wardrobe feels looser
- Need to tighten my belt
- Notice a difference in photos
- Fit into “old clothes” (275 lbs)
- Need transition clothes (240 or 205 lbs)
- Need new wardrobe (185)
- Fit into ~30″ pants
||Interactions with friends and family
Discuss it with Andrea and Jacob |
Discuss it with professionals
- Discuss it with others (other family, friends)
- A’s ability to hug me
- J’s ability to hug me
||Formal exercise routine
- First set of 5 push ups
- First set of 5 crunches
- First work-out on Bowflex
- First pull-up at park
- First yoga/cardio workout
- First time on bicycle
- Develop fitness test
- First week of 3 workouts on Bowflex
- First week of 2 yoga/cardio workouts
- First week of 2 bicycle outings
- Attempt fitness test
- First week of 5 workouts
- First week of 6 workouts
- First week of 7 workouts
- Passing element of fitness test
- Passing element in each section of fitness test
- Passing entire fitness test
||Informal signs of fitness
- Take stairs from parking to 1st floor at work
- Take stairs to 1st floor easily
- Do something that felt awkward before
- Tying shoes without effort
- Kneeling without pain
- Take stairs from parking to 2nd floor
- Take stairs to 2nd floor easily
- Stairs from parking to building floor
- Stairs from 2nd to 7th
- Stairs from 2nd to 10th
As noted earlier, I have overcome the first plateau (being stuck in the 310s), discussed it with family and friends, and have dropped the first 1″ overall in measurements.
I had hoped to have these nailed down by now, but I don’t. That’s a topic to revisit for a future post.
f. Exercise Indicators
I had hoped by the first of January to have my Bowflex set up and installed, and my basement reorganized so I could start my fitness routines for yoga videos etc. That hasn’t happened yet, so I don’t have my indicators worked out yet. But I did have a weird discovery about mid-month.
I was going through some old e-files, clearing some out, and I came across some old docs I had done when I was trying over several years to go to the gym. Most of them were templates I did to start recording my workouts, and after a few, I stopped going or at least stopped using them and then eventually stopped going. But I only vaguely remember them — now that I see the templates, it’s like “Oh yeah”, but before that, I had no memory of having done them several times. Five or six years over the course of ten in fact. I had, in fact, tried to get fit more often than I remembered.
And as a side bonus, I had recorded my weight several times. Which means I have more accurate historical info on my weight, much higher than I remember being in those same years. Very interesting artifacts.
g. Habit Indicators
This will be a future area to develop too because I want to think about steps, eating my healthy snacks, etc, and figuring out ways to use the Seinfeld chain method / Alcoholics Anonymous chip method to track and gamify my approach.
h. Fitness Test Indicators
I haven’t done the fitness tests yet, and probably won’t start those until May.
I have a working list, and I need to start thinking about this more — I’ve achieved some of my mini-goals already, and I should start nailing down what my “rewards” will be so that I can motivate myself more for the next ones. I think I’ll discuss these next week.
j. Photo update
I have to share my new photos! I’m down another 5-6 pounds, so more progress…
That’s it for this “stock-taking” at the start of January and the start of the new year. I’m excited to see where I go in a year.