Losing 10 lbs. seems harder than the first 50

I haven’t lost my desire, nor will power to lose 10 more pounds, but it feels so much harder right now. I’m motivated, but not charged. I’m only in the gym like 2-3 times a week, I really need to amp that back up to 4 – 5 times. I’m about even from my goal, sitting steady at that 220 mark. I really want to get down to 210.

I think I need to challenge myself more…. I think I need to establish a new goal. I need to find a run to train for, and keep running. I’ve only been running once a week, I think capturing these ideas from my brain here are going to help me.

I find myself making excuses, or allowing things that I wasn’t previously allowing to distract me. I’ve been crazy busy at work. Excuse. I’ve had lots of things going on in my personal life. Excuse. I’m starting to see that I need to re-focus my energy.

I know I’m capable of getting to my next goal, I just need to reset my expectations and realize that this one is going to be harder than my first one. It sounds crazy, but I already know that is how it’s going to go. I need to establish a bigger goal (aside from losing the 10 lbs.) and allow that goal to push me into my smaller goal. I think running a 5K or maybe a 10K is where I need to go. I think the Shamrock run is approaching, maybe I need to register for that, and set a goal to finish in a certain amount of time.

 

First Goal – Achieved. – What’s Next?

"Goal Achieved"

When I set out about four months ago to lose weight, I had an ambitious goal. There of course was a number that I wanted to hit, but really what I wanted was to feel better about myself both physically and mentally. I wanted to shed physical and emotional weight. Yesterday, I was one pound from that goal, as close as I’ve ever been. I’ve set this goal a number of times before, but never had the gumption to make it. I was a little worried that I’d stall for this last pound, and somehow never make it.

Today that has changed. When I “weighed in” today, I had exceeded that goal by almost an additional pound and a half. I started out 262lbs. and had set a goal of getting down to 220lbs. Today’s weight was 218.7. I weighed myself twice, as I didn’t believe it, the second weight was  .1 less. It’s official, I’ve hit my goal! I’m so happy with everything the way it’s gone. No crash fad diet, no feeling of dread about working out, I’m not restricted to certain foods, it just feels way better than other approaches I’ve adopted in the past. I’ve “technically” lost more than 50lbs, as at my worst I weighed 270lbs, but was 262 when I started back in Sept.

Now what? Well the first thing I can say, is that I’ll continue to blog, and hold myself accountable. Getting on the scale every morning is probably one of the biggest motivators, the fact that every time I weigh myself, the difference (plus OR minus) goes right to this blog on the left hand side! That is huge for me, I’m putting it all out there. One thing I know is that I don’t ever want to carry around that much weight – ever again.

I had been previously losing about 2 lbs. per week. I’m going to scale that back a bit, and lose 1 – 1.5 pounds per week. This slower approach of losing weight will allow me to up my calorie intake from 1600-1700 calories I had been eating to almost 1900 per day. My next weight goal is to get to 210 pounds. (Only 8.7 pounds to go!) After I hit 210, I’ll evaluate where I’m at, and may try to get to 200 pounds, I’m not sure yet, I’m still kind of taking this as it comes. I think I need another trip to Aruba, so I can go rent a wave runner, that’s kind of what started all of this.

Not to sound cheesy, but if you’ve been sitting back, wanting to make a change, yes, there’s will power and a regimen to follow, but I really think the harder part is what your brain is telling you to do. Conquer the “no way” or “can’t” attitude and know that if I can do this, there’s no reason you can’t too. It takes hard work and dedication, but as you commit yourself to the process, you start to see that the weight comes off faster than you think. There are even times in the process where you get so excited about waking up to weigh yourself that the whole thing snowballs, you’ll do more than you think you you’re capable of.

The way that I feel when I wake up, walk around, and live live lighter than I used to be is so much better than I could have realized. So many things are just easier now, I enjoy getting out to do things where I used to just stay behind. I’ve blogged about this in the past, but don’t mess around with it, just decide to do it and change. It’s not really as hard as you may think.

Planning is Key

PlansOne of the things that continually throws me for a loop is unexpected things that happen in life. It’s the mundane, unplanned, and necessary things. Unplanned child pickups, work running later, emergencies, these are the things that can screw up your plans for the day. It’s ok to miss a workout here and there, but for me, I need to stay focused. My old track record is a series of events like this; getting sick or injured, being busy at work, or a busy home life. These are things that have traditionally derailed my success in the gym.

Now I’m trying to not allow these type of small setbacks be an excuse for failure. It all goes to where I’m at mentally. I have to realize that life happens, and I need to try to make sure I keep focused, and don’t let these things allow me to create an excuse for failure. So when I’m planning to hit the gym after work, and I have to do some unplanned thing, I’ll often try to go later at night when things have calmed down, or work out at home doing some sort of cardio.

Time isn’t the only thing you have to plan. Planning what you eat is crucially important too. There’s been days where I forget to bring my (calorie planned) lunch to work, and I just assume that I’ll go to Subway, or get some grilled chicken, or a salad. But days get hectic, and before you know it, lunch has passed, and the day is closing. Now I’m hungry, and not thinking clearly. These are the times when I make poor decisions. Decisions based on emotion.

It’s important to plan for these type of things. I usually try to keep some protein bars or other “quick-grab” things to eat. Where I work we have a little vending area that has the ubiquitous selection of chips, frozen pizza, candy, and other unhealthy options. If I don’t have anything to eat at my desk, I’ll go down and try to grab a yogurt, or some fruit – something. I look for a balance of satisfaction, measured calories, and something that’s better than fast food.

Remember, life doesn’t always go as planned, make sure you think about things in a way that you will ultimately be successful. If you have an “all or nothing” mentality (like I tend to) make sure that you approach situations realistically, with a plan, and a mindset that shit happens. Just make the best of what you can.

About a week ago, I had several (3-4) days of weight gain, not a ton, 1/2 a pound here, 1/2 a pound there, but I was wondering if I was going to hit the dreaded “plateau”. I was mentally prepared for this, but it was a bitter thought. I was doing everything right, eating right, exercising, so I was a bit confused. I realized a couple things, I had slacked a little here and there on a handful of cheerios, or a small amount of corn chips. I had almost started slipping back into old habits. I went back to my regimen, and over the next few days started to see the predictable weight loss I had been experiencing. I also realized that some sort of wall is coming, and I don’t know when it is. Several days of no weight loss, or even weight gain, are very normal in this process, just stick to what has been working for you.

If you encounter more than a week or two of a stalled plan, you may have to start changing things up. I don’t think I’m at that point yet, but I feel like I could be getting close. I’m so close to my first goal, a goal I’ve set many times and never achieved. But this time I will achieve it, failure is not an option.

Working Out Mentality

Establishing the mentality to lose weight and workout is hard. It’s probably harder than going to the gym and doing the actual workouts. There’s several components that I have to drill into my thick skull on an almost daily basis to ensure that I’ll continue to keep at it. Ensuring that I keep these things in mind helps me a great deal!

Dedication – Realize that losing weight takes dedication. If you don’t dedicate yourself to the process, the process will not work, no matter how half-assed you go at it.

Never take No attitude – Don’t let yourself become victim to excuses. Beat your brain into submission, that you will be working out a lot, and that you will be good at it. Don’t let your life be the excuse to hinder your progress.

Don’t settle – Don’t settle for less. Remember that you’re worth the hard work, and you shouldn’t settle for anything less.

Push yourself – For me this is key. If you’re not physically drenched in sweat at the end of your workout, my opinion is your weight loss is going to take way longer. I’m drenched in sweat at the end of my workouts, and I continually try and push myself further.

Try new things – Trying new things at the gym, or for your workouts will help you progress in your weight loss journey. I’ve tried running, spin class, and kick boxing.

Measure your calorie burn – Measure what you’re burning. You’ll feel a better sense of accomplishment and appreciation for what it takes to lose weight. Remember you typically have to burn roughly 3500 calories to lose a single pound. You’ll also develop a sense of how hard you have to work to burn several hundred calories. I try to burn 500+ calories at least four days a week. A good week I’ll see five days of workouts.

Know you’ll fail at times – Know that there will be setbacks, but don’t let them beat you. Fix the problem, and move on. Realize that some amount of failure is inevitable, don’t let it consume or beat you. It’s ok to cut yourself a little slack sometimes.

No More Excuses

Face it. Life happens. There’s always going to be a reason that you can probably legitimately convince yourself that you don’t have time to work out, or to be bothered with losing weight. We do it every day, put things off, steer clear of people that we don’t want to talk to, avoid, dodge, and hope that things will just work out.

I’m sure we can all justify this, right?

The things that happen inside your head are so important to identify and fix as they occur. When you’re faced with a challenging situation, think positive, if you hear your brain telling you something else, change it. Sometimes during spin class, I get to a point where I think “This is too hard, I can’t do it.” Right about then the instructor blurts out something like “If you think this is too hard, stop it. Do it. Rise to the challenge.”

It’s amazing when you can identify the things your brain is telling you, without you even really knowing what’s going on! The big focus I have right now is not making excuses for why I can’t get to the gym, why I can’t work out, etc. etc. There’s always a way. I’m a busy guy, work more than full time, have two kids, a girlfriend, and friends. I have to balance this all while I try to meet my fitness and weight loss goals.

I think one of the things that I hear a lot from people is that they can’t afford the gym, but these same people spend money often frivolously. You can get good deals on gym memberships at Costco. Even just walking in off the street to most gyms, you can pay about $40 a month. Cut dinner out for two nights per month, problem solved. There’s even smaller independent gyms around where I live that cost as little as $15 a month.  I got very lucky, I had purchased a membership in Seattle for a small chain of gyms that was acquired by 24 Hour Fitness. I’m locked in to $10 a month for life. There’s been years where I never used it, but always paid, it’s worth it now.

Do little things that add up. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park in the furthest space at the store, go for walks instead of sitting and watching television. When you’re bored (not really hungry) drink water instead of eating. All of these little things add up over time and can make a big difference!

So don’t start Monday. Don’t start after the holidays. Don’t wait until there’s a certain number on the scale. Start now, hold yourself accountable, and know that whatever you want to do, you are capable of and able to do. No more excuses, now is the time for action.

Teaching Healthy Eating and Responsibility

Daily life can be tough, especially with kids, my girlfriend and I have 2 kids each, and we try to do dinner several nights per week. There are times where we go the easy route, and slack a bit, but generally speaking we’re trying to teach them a healthy balanced approach to meals. It’s a challenge to find a dinner that all six of us will all enjoy, and with one of the kids who can’t have gluten (flour & wheat basically) it creates even more of a challenge.

One night when we were serving a healthy meal of chicken, rice, salad, and fruit, the older girls were complaining about the monotony of dinner. Leslie and I came up with the idea of having the girls plan, cook, serve and cleanup a dinner for one night. We decided to make it even more challenging and have them stick to a budget. So the requirements of the “kid” prepared dinner were this:

      • A budget of $20.
      • The meal had to be healthy, protein, starch, vegetable, fruit. They could include dessert if they could fit it into the budget.
      • Everyone had to like it.
      • They had to do the shopping (we took them).
      • They had to do the cooking.
      • It had to be Gluten Free.
      • They had to serve the meal.
      • They had to do all of the cleanup.

The girls, 10 and 13 went straight for the iPad, and started looking up recipes. By the weekend they had their shopping list. It was funny to hear the inquires and questions about how much things cost. One of them said, “Oh QFC is probably the best prices?” I scoffed. “Whole foods?”, I laughed even harder.

We started them off at Winco. They purchased all of their ingredients (we took care of staple items, salt, pepper, eggs, stuff we already had) including dessert. They pretty much kept us in the dark the whole time as to what they were making, and they were having a fun time. It was hard to not tell them to think about things like preparing the food and staging it so it was all done at the same time. It took a little while, but it was finally time for dinner!

A beautiful meal

They served us like we were at a fancy restaurant. It was a beautiful meal, of Turkey Kielbasa, with red potatoes, a small amount of bacon, and spinach. It was accompanied by fresh strawberries and french green beans.

They also served (not pictured) sourdough rolls that were hollowed out with an egg cooked inside.

Dessert was frozen juice on popsicle sticks, limeade and lemonade mix. I didn’t have one but heard they were delish.

They did a marvelous job, and once dinner was done, the dishes were whisked away and the kitchen was cleaned spotless.

In the future, we’ll present the same challenge to them, but take them to a store where the money won’t go as far, to see what they can do. We’re trying to teach healthy eating habits, responsible financial decisions, and that cooking and cleaning for six is a hard job. I think they’ve gained a great deal of appreciation for what is involved with something as simple as dinner. Oh yeah, they pulled off the entire dinner, for $17! They had $3 left over.

The Decision to Change is Only One That You Can Make.

Simply put, you’re the only person that can make the decision to make change in your life to do anything; lose weight, stop smoking, be a better parent, anything. Despite whatever people are telling you, no matter how bad they may want to help, criticize, or point out the obvious it all resides with you.

Now is the time for change.

Maybe you’re not there yet, maybe the things you want to change aren’t as bad as you think they are, maybe you’re afraid. These are all very normal, common, and real reasons to not want to change. This site is about change, it’s going to be the story of what it took for me to change. It’s also going to be what I use to keep me accountable for that change. I plan to share this journey with you over the coming months, I’ll tell you about my success, and I’ll be honest about my failures. This is a project for me right now, but I hope some people that choose to read my experiences will gain something useful from them.

I’m going to share my journey of the struggle, challenges, and triumphs of weight loss and living a more fit & healthy life. This isn’t a diet blog, although changing my diet and approach to how I treat food is certainly a huge part of it. I’m not going to tell you that if you just cut out carbohydrates, or completely avoid sugar, that you’re going to experience a miracle weight loss, because that’s just fantasy. My goal – what I profess – is an approach to losing weight and being fit that is beyond simple in theory it’s all numbers and dedication.

You’ll never lose weight in a long term healthy way, unless you do one simple thing. Create a caloric deficit. Eat less calories than you burn on a consistent daily, if not weekly basis. If you’re eating 3000 calories per day, but only burning 2200, you’re probably in the long run going to be consistently adding weight. Sure, we all know those people (that we’re quite jealous of) that seem to be able to eat anything without appearing to gain weight. They have the metabolism of a 12 year old apparently! I don’t think this is how most of us are constructed, I know that it doesn’t work that way with me.

I plan to focus on my regime. What I’m doing to accomplish my goals, the tools and technology I use (there’s a lot), and my progress as I strive to reach my first weight loss goal. I’ll also tell you the exact situation that sparked this all.

Thank you for your time. I hope some people will find this motivational or gain some ideas that help them in their daily lives.