Blog

Six Months, Fifty Pounds

On July 2, 2011, I weighed myself, like I do every morning since I started [trying to be healthy and lose weight](http://tinyscreenfuls.com/2011/04/im-done-being-the-fat-guy/), and I weighed 300 pounds. Six months earlier, at the start of the year, I weighed 350 pounds. Six months, fifty pounds. I’m proud of what I have accomplished, but I have a long way to go still. 115 more pounds until my goal, which I should hit by summer of next year. But this feels like a milestone, so here’s some of what I’ve learned in the last six months.

## Mindfulness and Quantification

I don’t consider myself “on a diet”. I’m not. I just eat. But I am mindful of what I eat. I record and quantify it. Recording all this data about myself (everything I eat, my daily weight, along with daily blood pressure and heart rate) pushes the happy button in my nerd brain. I can totally understand the [quantified self movement](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantified_Self “Lifelog – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia”). I want to get a [Fitbit](http://www.fitbit.com/ “Fitbit”) device to track my daily activity and sleep, especially now that it integrates with [Lose It](http://loseit.com), the app/site I use to keep track of everything.

## Habits

I’ve been doing this long enough now that I have a feel for how many calories I should be eating each day, and if I had to, I think I could continue without explicitly logging all my food and activity. I’m not going to stop logging, since as I mentioned, I find it fun. It’s like a game now. But I think I’ve started to retrain away years of bad habits. And that feels like real progress.

## Bending Over

I can bend over and pick things up off the floor now, and breathe at the same time. I can tie my shoelaces. There are a whole bunch of other changes I’ve noticed with my body. I won’t detail them all here. But the best of all is that I feel better than I have in at least a decade. I have more energy. I don’t hurt when I stand up or walk for more than a few minutes. I actually feel good when I go for a walk. Walking used to be torture, and forget about anything more strenuous than that. I still don’t do much more than walking, but hey. Progress.

## Protein is Your Friend

I never really paid much attention to nutrition before. As in, what function things like protein, fat, and carbs have. I knew the basics, like carbs get turned into stored fat, etc. And I’m still no expert. But one thing I have learned is that protein is awesome. When I eat a lot of protein for breakfast (an egg, some jerky), I don’t feel hungry until at least lunch time. And protein is fuel for your brain. I’m sure this is incorrect in at least three different ways, but sometimes I figure if I can keep my brain fueled with protein, the rest of my body can fend for itself, and raid my ample fat stores for energy.

## Clothes

All my pants (cargos) are waist size 48. If I’m not wearing a belt cinched really tight, they drop straight to my ankles. Sorry for the mental picture. They don’t sag, they’re not baggy – they fall straight off. I need to get some new pants, but since I’m “in transition” to my destination weight, I don’t want to spend a lot on new clothes, so I’m going to hang on as long as I can. The other nice thing is that I can fit into shirts that I haven’t been able to wear in a while. I have many geeky t-shirts that have been hanging in my closet since I outgrew them that now have the added benefit of being vintage geeky when I wear them. And I look much better in a t-shirt too. Not as much “tenting” at the bottom, where my belly bulges.

## Onward

I’ve still got a **long** way to go. I’ve set my goal weight at 185, which is what I weighed when I came home from two years in Brasil as a missionary, when I was the most healthy and fit I’ve ever been in my life. Then, I wasn’t even trying – my daily routine of walking about 15km a day, and eating mostly beans and rice took care of changing my flabby self into something resembling a fit human being. I had muscle definition. I had a flat stomach. I don’t want to be a model or anything. I just want to be healthy and fit. Thanks to all of you for your encouragement, sympathy, suggestions, and support. It means more than you know. Hopefully I’ll be posting another milestone update soon.

Standard
Blog

Weight Loss Plateau – I’m Stuck

I was doing so well with my [weight loss progress](http://tinyscreenfuls.com/2011/04/im-done-being-the-fat-guy/). Better than I had reason to expect, actually. I was losing two to four pounds per week. About 35 since the beginning of the year. And then it all stalled out. For the last four weeks or so, I’ve been stuck at about 315-317 pounds. And it’s driving me crazy.

I’ve been trying to figure out why – take the nerd approach, and figure out what part of the system is causing this outcome. I have a couple of suspects. First: High sodium intake. I like the salty stuff. Popcorn with lots of seasoning. Overdosing on the jerky. I even put salt on my pickles (a lifelong favorite snack, even more so now that I’ve learned that they have practically zero calories). I’m thinking that maybe there’s something going on with osmosis and water retention. But I obviously don’t know.

My other suspect is eating late at night. I’ve found myself in the habit of eating really low calorie snacks and lunch during the day so I can have practically whatever I want for dinner, and leave room for some heavy duty snacking in the evening while I’m watching Battlestar Galactica with Rachel. I’ve read in the Lose It book and elsewhere that getting good sleep is important to weight loss. I don’t stay up too late, and I sleep well, thanks to my BiPAP machine I wear at night to treat my sleep apnea. But I’ve also read that eating after a certain hour (say, 8PM) makes it harder for your body to burn calories while you sleep. Or makes it more likely to store your late night snacks as fat. Or something. I don’t know, and that’s the point. But it makes sense.

I also suspect that my metabolism might have adjusted to my new eating habits, and needs to be jumpstarted. So I’ve started walking at least once a day to fire it up. What used to be painful torture is actually enjoyable now. Never thought I’d get back to the point where I enjoy physical exercise. It’s something I hated for so long.

I’m not looking for someone to tell me the answer, because I know what they’ll say. You’re right. They’re all bad. Stop it. I need to continue the nerd approach, modify one variable, and see what that does to the results. I need to either cut down on the salt, or the late night snacks. My problem is that they’re often the same thing, and I really don’t want to stop. I like them both. A lot. I guess that’s why this whole weight loss thing is so hard. But on the other hand, I’m tired of the frustration of my weight not going down week after week even though I’m staying under my calories. I know what I need to do. Now, I just need to do it. Shut up and ship. Wish me luck.

Standard