Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The First Official Weigh-In: Surprise source of motivation

I finally got the WeighMax W-op440 scale I ordered from Raven Scales Online, a seller on eBay, last week. I had to order a special scale since the last time I weighed myself a couple of months ago it registered at more than 400 pounds, and even the heavy-duty kind you can find at most retail stores only go up to 300 or 350 at the most.

I was excited about weighing in, because I've been implementing healthier foods into my diet slowly but surely. But during the past month I hadn't really kept myself from eating out, and I was still snacking on Snickers and Reese Cups at least a couple of times per week, so I thought I might be at the same weight and perhaps even more (which is why I pessimistically ordered a 440 max scale instead of being optimistic and buying the 400-pound model).

Anyway, the last week and a half of sticking to an extremely healthy diet (even during the holidays), and walking and biking (although in limited amounts), must have paid off. My weight is now down to 388 pounds! This may not seem like something to celebrate, but it is certainly something to motivate me to keep up what I've been doing and add even more exercise to the equation.

In related news, a friend of mine is getting rid of a BowFlex home gym he bought in 2006 and has never used, and he's offered it to me for free as long as I haul it away. I hope to be going over there tonight or tomorrow to get it. I'm hoping I'll enjoy the workouts at home, cuz that'll save me lots of cash on joining a gym.

Until next time...thanks for reading!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Supplements (and you!) are supporting my success

I've been doing a lot of experimenting with my diet since my last post four days ago. I've started cooking a lot more, and I'm pleased to say I have only eaten out once - on Christmas eve. The fast food joints have called to me on a couple of occasions, but I've been able to abstain.

Part of my success can be attributed to the supplements I've been taking. I've been taking a GNC Mega Men Performance and Vitality Vitapak (with a multivitamin, fish oil, whole oat powder, an amino acid and a couple of other "manly" nutrients), and I've been starting off each morning with a smoothie made from 1/2 cup of skim milk, 1/2 cup of plain low fat yogurt, a few blackberries and a scoop of low fat whey protein (100% Gold Standard Whey from Optimum Nutrition). Also, I'm taking WellBetX's PGX, which is a soluble fiber complex and sugar blocker, to help me control crashes and cravings, and to help suppress my appetite a bit. It took some searching, but I found this product at The Vitamin Shoppe.

With the help of these supplements, I've been able stick to the diet guidelines I posted in my last post. Unfortunately, because of the weather, I haven't been able to stick to my plan of biking daily to prepare for my new commute. So instead of biking to the train tomorrow, I'm going to drive to the train station in Albuquerque and then walk to my office from my stop in Santa Fe (about 3/4 mile each way). This may not seem like much, but for me it's more than I'm accustomed to, so I think it'll make a difference.

I want to thank everyone for reading my blog and for sending me your emails of encouragement. This is a daunting undertaking. If anyone reading this can relate with my battle of the bulge please let me know and share your struggles, too, so maybe we can gain strength from each other. Please sign up for an account if you don't have one so you can subscribe or follow the blog. Thanks!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My Diet and Exercise Plan

I've been paying attention to a lot of diet advice from books, magazines and afternoon talk shows lately, so I have a pretty good idea of the nutritional principles that will work for me. I plan to:

1. Eat six times per day and in smaller portions to avoid crashes that lead to cravings

2. Prepare meals ahead of time to make sure I have healthy food ready when I get hungry

3. Incorporate "power foods" like almonds, yogurt, berries, oatmeal and whole grains that will help me maximize my calorie intake for energy and stamina

4. Eat more fiber-rich foods to make me full faster

5. Eat foods that are rich in vitamins and nutrients, especially antioxidants

6. Reduce my salt and sugar intake, and eat more fruit to satisfy my sweet tooth while avoiding empty calories

I also plan on adding exercise to the equation by incorporating it into my daily routine rather than tacking it onto a to-do list, which has always failed me in the past. I commute from Albuquerque to Santa Fe on the new Rail Runner Express. My home is three and a quarter miles from the downtown Albuquerque train station, and my workplace is a little over half a mile from where the train stops in Santa Fe. As a result, I'll be riding my bike about eight miles every day - four miles at 6 a.m. and another four miles at 6:30 p.m.

Because of the hours I'll be traveling, I also have to plan my diet to fit my routine. Here's a sample of my planned diet for workdays:

5:15 a.m.
¾ cup oatmeal cooked in water
2 tbsp skim milk
2 tsp brown sugar
1 banana

6:30 a.m. - to eat on the train
protein bar

10:30 a.m.
10 almonds
1 banana
1 cup flavored yogurt

12:30 p.m.
1 can of tuna
2 slices whole wheat white bread (to make a sandwich)
1 tsp olive oil
1 hard boiled egg
½ avocado, sliced
1 leaf green or red lettuce
1 apple

3 p.m.
10 almonds
1 cup flavored yogurt

5:30 p.m. - prepacked to eat on the train
6 oz chicken cutlet
1 cup broccoli, cooked
2 leaves green or red lettuce
½ cucumber
½ tomato
¼ cup beans (navy, kidney, lima)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

7:30 p.m.
Smoothie with:
½ cup nonfat plain yogurt
½ cup skim milk
¼ cup frozen blackberries
1 tbsp peanut butter or whey protein
1 packet Splenda

I'll also be taking supplements to help me be sure I'm getting all the daily nutritional requirements. For now I'm trying the Mega Men Performance and Vitality Vitapak from GNC. I'm no nutritionist, and I haven't counted the calories of this diet, but compared to the fast, fatty foods that have been the staple of my diet I think this plan will serve me well.

If you have any advice or tips for me, please leave your comments here. I'm going to need all the support and encouragement I can get!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How did I get here?

Right now, millions of overweight Americans are asking themselves, "how did I get here?" And I am one of them. "Here" is that place and time beyond comprehension, that moment you realize your weight has reached some abstract number you never imagined it could reach.

When I recently tipped the scale at just over 400 pounds, I knew I had arrived at that dreaded place, and I couldn't believe it. The last time I was really checked in to my weight I was inching upwards of 290 pounds. I didn't really worry, though, because I truly felt I would never again top my previous high weight of 310 pounds, which I had reached ten years ago. After hitting 310, I was able to get back down to 220 by giving up meats and cheeses and walking, biking or rollerblading everywhere I went. And after reaching my goal, I swore I would never go back to that unhealthy max again. But somehow, here I am, not at 310, but getting damn close to reaching 410 if I don't make some drastic changes.

I never even imagined what enormous amount of food I'd have be eating to reach 400 pounds. And somehow I never really thought of myself as fat, even though my family and friends never failed to remind me. I don't think I eat like a total pig. Sure, I enjoy sweets and fatty foods like everybody else, but I eat those things in some sort of moderation...don't I?

Well no, I don't. I have to admit that I do binge on those comfort foods every once in a while. And if I'm going to make a positive change in my life and start to get my weight under control, I'm going to have to drop the denial game once and for all. In fact, I'm going to have start looking at myself and my lifestyle in a 360 degree mirror - you know, the kind Stacy and Clinton use on that show "What Not to Wear". I'm going to have to just suck it up and admit that I'm here because of the decisions I make each and every day. I'm here because of what I eat, and because of when I eat, and even because of where I eat. I'm here because I've slowly, almost methodically, adopted a sedentary lifestyle by trading in my rollerblades and mountain bike for a DVR and an all-in-one remote control. And I'm here because up until now, I just haven't really cared.

That brings me to the point of this new blog. I believe I am finally starting to care again. I'm tired being fat and feeling there is nothing I can ever do about it. I know, like I've always known, that I am the only one who has the power to make a difference in my life, and I'm committed now to making one.

This blog will chronicle my progress as I attempt to make healthy choices and recessutate my formerly healthy lifestyle. My goal is a big one. I want to lose 180 pounds - that's the weight of an average adult male - and get back down to about 220 pounds. Oh, and did I mention I want to do it naturally, though diet and exercise, and not the lazy way, through some sort of unatural stomach-altering surgery.

So far, I've bought a mountain bike, and am starting to ride it daily to prepare to begin commuting to and from the train station starting in the new year. I've bought a couple of cook books with healthy recipes, and I've started cooking for myself six days a week and eating out one, instead of the other way around. I've also ordered a scale that I can use to weigh myself at home, so I can track my progress, which I'll be sharing here online with you.

Please feel free to comment on my blog if you have any tips, or would like to encourage me on my journey. I expect it will take me about two years to get me down to my goal weight.

Thanks for reading!