Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My weight loss update!

Click to enlarge

I’m now in my third month of a weight loss program of my own design. And oh, sorry. There will be no before or after photos of my disappearing belly fat. (Well, maybe one ‘after’ shot sometime in June or July when I hope to have gone from 201 pounds all the way down to 176 – my supposed ideal weight).

I began this weight loss pilgrimage on March the 8th after I got in firmly in my head that the word ‘obese’ was not going to be a part of my physical description. (I’m already saddled with such terms as ‘old’ and ‘flabby’. That’s plenty of baggage to have to carry around as it is, thank you very much).

When I began to approach the concept of dieting, I resolved to do a little bit of research to see what might or might not make sense for a sixty something older guy to attempt. After tromping around the internet for a bit of time, I came up with a coupe of concepts that I thought might work. Here they are in no particular order:

Exercise – Ya just gotta do it!

There was no way I could get around the need to exercise. Dag nabit anyway. It just made plain sense to me that if I wanted to make some changes, I’d have to give my metabolism a good old kick in the derriere. That meant getting up off my old butt and moving around some.  In my case, I needed mild 'cardio' workouts along with something that could build some endurance (improve muscle tone). It turned out a bicycle was just the thing, and so, that’s what I elected to work on. Four days out of every week, I have gotten on that bike and have done a few miles…up hill and down hill!

Kill off the white stuff!

By white stuff, I’m referring to carbohydrates in general. Things like bread, chips, rice and the like would be a definite no-no with the exception of one day each week. On that one day, I would eat anything I like – pancakes, ice cream, etc. I decided to do this after reading a post by Tim Ferriss who wrote that by ‘dramatically spiking caloric intake in this way once per week increases fat loss by ensuring that your metabolic rate (thyroid function, etc.) doesn’t down-regulate from extended caloric restriction.’ He’s the author of a book entitled ‘The 4-Hour Body’ available at Amazon. I liked this man’s approach and creative style.

Count those calories!

While this might not be required for others, for me it is a must. In order for me to stay focused and to see results, I elected to tract every bit of food I ate. I even have gone as far as to weigh everything to the gram! My program of choice for this effort was called FitDay, (although there are many others just as good out there to try).

Once I began tracking my calories, it was a simple matter to dial down my intake to match a goal of losing one pound a week. In my case, that worked out to about 1,500 calories a day as a targeted goal. Does that mean I hit the target every day? Heck, no! Some days were a total wipe out. But, I generally was able to rebound the next day and so get back onto the glide path (planned loss of weight) I had set for myself. Was I hungry? Sure, all the time. But, by keeping the goal in mind, I found I could get through hunger and on to the next day. Keeping a daily record of my weight (see graph on top) was a big help also. Man oh man! It was neat when I began to see results after just a few days!

Build meals that work for you, not against you!

Lastly, I did some research on meal combinations that I felt would be nutritious while, at the same time, cutting out some of the bad elements I so wanted to avoid. I also thought outside the box here. Take breakfast, for instance. Normally, I would have something like cereal or flapjacks or eggs and toast. But in looking at those types of meals, I realized that I was not doing my ‘program’ any favors. A high carb start to any day sets the tone (a bad one) while screwing up my circulatory system to boot. Eating any food that spikes blood glucose should be done with some consideration. (That meant I could have a high carb like potatoes or pasta, but wanted to make sure that was timed with a good workout beforehand). Is this scientific? No, but it seems to have worked for me! Here’s an example of the outside the box breakfast: A fish filet, small cup of Great Northern beans and a glass of milk. Above right, is a graph showing where the calories from this particular meal originate. Note the relatively low carbohydrate content. In the next panel below, note that this meal also provides a fantastic does of essential nutrients to help get me get off to a good start for the day.
So, that has been my plan, and it’s resulted in the loss of eleven pounds in about eight weeks. Not too shabby!

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