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.

 

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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.

10 lbs. Left Until My First Goal

I’m about 10 lbs. from my first goal of 220. I’m at 228.8 right now, so I guess 9 lbs. really. I’ve had a good week, lost about 4.5 lbs., but I think I’ll probably put a few pounds back on this week, that’s typically how it goes for me. I’m trying to lose about 2-3 lbs. per week.

It’s been almost exactly 3 months since Aruba. I’m pretty happy with how it’s gone so far. Once I hit the 220 mark. I’m going to set another shorter term goal to get down to 210 lbs. That would be another 10 lbs, bringing my total loss to 50 lbs. At 210, I’m going to maintain that for a bit, and see if I think it’s even remotely possible to get to 200. I can’t imagine being any less than that, despite what the BMI charts say. I need new clothes. A lot of the stuff I have is just simply too big right now. Here’s some pictures, scroll to the bottom to see the ‘before’ picture!

John

10 lbs. to go! 228.8 lbs. Dec 5, 2012 – about 3 months since Aruba

10 lbs. to go! 230 lbs. Dec 5, 2012 - about 3 months since Aruba

10 lbs. to go! 228.8 lbs. Dec 5, 2012 – about 3 months since Aruba

Geocaching in Aruba

262 lbs.

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.

Calorie Budgets and Holiday Stress

During the holiday season it’s usually a very stressful time to try and lose weight. There always seems to be an infinite amount of food, candy and sweets no matter where you go, and people always wanting you to try their favorite (read – fattening, caloric, un-needed) food. Everyone’s favorite excuse is to delay making any sort of weight loss pledge until the holidays are over. “I’ll start after new year’s”. We all know how it goes, “This year will be different…” or “I’m going to get fit this year!”.

It’s always so relevant and decisive to be past the holidays, but people usually don’t stick to their new year’s resolutions for more than a month at best. That’s why I’m telling you now, don’t let the holidays be an excuse. If you can get through the tempting holidays while continuing to consistently work towards your weight loss goals, imagine how empowering that could be. It’s huge, and a testament to working hard, controlling your eating, and winning over your emotions.

Turkey on GrillThis Thanksgiving I was exactly in that position. And while I did eat more than I should have, it wasn’t repugnant like holidays past. I wasn’t sick-to-my-stomach full. The thing I noticed is I was eating because the food was available, not really because I was hungry. It was just there, and so easy to snack on. I snacked (a small amount) pretty much all day long. When it came to dinner, I was hungry, but not starving, I took a reasonable portion of turkey, a small amount of mashed potatoes, and some green beans, that’s it. I splurged a bit and had some wine too, probably 2-3 glasses. I was probably around 2400 calories for the day just about 800 – 1000 calores over my budget. When you figure most men eat 2000 – 2200 calories per day, that’s not that far out of whack.

The next day I woke up, kind of scared to get on the scale. I had gained two pounds. I was so disappointed. It was a setback, I kept thinking how long it takes to lose two pounds and I just undid this in one night? My (awesome) girlfriend said I was being too hard on myself, she was right. I used to let something like this be enough to derail me and send me packing. Not this time, I decided I was over-reacting and headed to the gym. I drank tons of water, and went back to my calorie counting regimen. The next day I had dropped those two pounds, and a little more. Sure there’s probably some ‘water weight’ in play, and it’s normal to fluctuate a bit, but my point here is realize there will be setbacks and failures, make sure you don’t let these bumps in the road over power you.

My holiday advice is pledge to lose weight now. Don’t wait for the holidays to be over. Create the challenge for yourself and excel at it. Realize that on the holidays you may go overboard a little, have a reasonable amount of snacks and candy, but don’t make that be the norm. Keep focused in your goals and fight everyday to ensure you get to where you want to be. It’s all in your control, it’s all up to you. Now go and do it, because you have the ability, desire, and drive to accomplish whatever you decide to do.

Tech Review – FitBit “One” – Calorie, Step, and Sleep Tracker

Fitbit

The FitBit “One” is the latest calorie, step, and sleep tracker from the makers of FitBit products. It’s very similar to the FitBit Ultra but has several improvements. My FitBit Ultra I purchased years ago had finally died, so I decided to give the One a shot. You can purchase the “One” direct from FitBit at http://www.fitbit.com/one for $99 at the time of this post. (Note, this is not an affiliate link, and I don’t receive any monetary residual from FitBit, I’m just a fan of their products.)

What is this thing? What’s it used for?
The FitBit One is a small sensor that you wear all day long (and during the night if you want to.. more on that in a bit) that  tracks several activities. How many steps you walk, how many flights of stairs you ascend, the distance in miles you travel walking or running, how many calories you burn, and it provides a graphical representation of how active you are at any given time. It also has a clock, and alarm that can wake you up in the morning. Why? Well I’m a technology geek, and I like to be able to measure a lot of these things, and then use that data to correlate what’s working for my weight loss routine. It also keeps me accountable, I’m trying to walk 7,000 steps per day right now which is just about over 3.5 miles per day. Some days I destroy that number, others, I don’t even come close, but it’s a reminder, something to motivate me, and motivation is probably the number one thing that I struggle with.

What’s in the box
The box is small, it’s more box than product! Inside the box you’ll find the FitBit One, a clip that houses the unit for attaching it to your pocket, belt (uh no thanks), or for the ladies, their bra. It also comes with a small USB dongle, USB charger, and wristband for sleeping. The USB dongle plugs into your computer, and whenever you’re within 30 feet or so of your computer, the device will sync it’s data to the FitBit web site. If you have an iPhone 4S or later, the FitBit One will sync via Bluetooth to the FitBit application (free download) and then to the FitBit web site, you don’t even need a computer!

The box

The box.

FitBit Setup Card

Quick setup.

The stuff.

The stuff.

The device
The device itself is about the size of your pinkie finger, it’s smallI’m pretty sure I would lose this thing in a heartbeat if it wasn’t for the very well designed clip that comes with it. The old version of the FitBit “Ultra” tracker was almost like a clothes pin, the clip was part of the tracker. The new “One” is almost like a skinny small stone, it has just a single button on it, and an OLED display. It weighs almost nothing, and again, is very very small. I was worried at first about this, until I saw how it worked with the clip. The battery lasts for about a week between charges, and the FitBit dashboard will alert you when it’s low. It takes an hour or two to charge.

It's small.

It’s small.

Clip front.

Clip front.

Clip back.

Clip back.

The Clip/Carrier (Pictured above)
The clip that comes with the “One” is brilliant. It has a very strong and flexible clip across the back of the housing that the “One” slides into. The front of the clip is a sturdy, but flexible rubber gasket that allows you to slip the “One” into it. You can then clip the whole unit to the inside of your pocket, or anywhere on your body. FitBit recommends keeping it near your torso for the best results. I’m a little worried that over time this clip will wear out, especially if you’re removing it every day to use it at night. Time will tell, and FitBit seems like the kind of company that would replace a broken clip if it was warranted.

Setup
Setting up the “One” is simple. You can use a computer, or if you have an iPhone 4S or greater, you can skip the whole computer part. You go to the following url: www.fitbit.com/one/start/ and their online web site walks you through the setup. After you’ve created your free FitBit account, you can download the iPhone application. Either method, app or computer setup, you’ll pick your goal, FitBit will calculate your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) and then will ask you how aggressive you want to be in your weight loss. 2lbs of weight loss per week is the most aggressive you can get, and for me created a 1000 calorie deficit based off the calories I burn per day. It was actually within about 20 calories of how Lose It determined my caloric deficit, so the calculations must be pretty universal between applications. FitBit is working on Bluetooth Android and older iPhone support at the time of this writing.

Daily use. How do you use it?
There’s really nothing for you to do, other than wear the “One” and go through your normal daily business. You of course can look at the display on the device at any time by pressing the button on it and cycling through the various activities that it’s tracking. FitBit even has a sense of humor, I just picked it up off my desk as I’m writing this review, and it’s display   emitted “Bon Jour, John”. It shows other little funny sayings too, I still don’t think I’ve seen them all!. If you have the “One” linked to your phone, you don’t even have to ever look at it. I just open the iPhone FitBit application, and can see all the data there as it stays in contact with the iPhone application.

Sleep
One of the other things the FitBit one can do is track how efficient you’re sleeping, and while it’s not a replacement for an actual sleep study, you could gain insight about your sleeping patterns. People that are overweight on average have worse sleeping problems that non-obese people. Sleep Apnea is something that millions of americans have and don’t even realize it. The FitBit “One” comes with a small (soft) comfortable wristband, that has a pocket you slip the “One” into. You wear the wristband on your non-dominant arm (so if you’re right handed, you wear it on your left wrist) and just before you’re going to sleep, you hold down the button on the “One” for three seconds, you’ll see a stopwatch start. When you wake up in the morning, you hold the button again, and you’ll see the stopwatch stop. Once your FitBit syncs with your phone or computer, you can load the iPhone application, or go to the FitBit dashboard, and see how long you slept, how many times it thinks that you awoke, and what your sleep efficiency is. If you’re waking up A LOT during the night, it may be something you should monitor, or talk to a specialist about. There’s also a feature from the FitBit application that will allow you to set a silent alarm, so if you do sleep with it, you can have it vibrate to wake you, that’s kind of a nice feature if you don’t want to disturb your significant other.

What’s automatically tracked? What do you have to manually add?

Automatically tracked. (No data entry)

  • Calories Burned
  • Steps
  • Floors Climbed
  • Distance Traveled
  • Activity Level
  • Sleep (you have to start/stop it on the “One”)
Requires entry via app or web site.

  • Water Consumption
  • Weight
  • Food Consumption*
  • Specific Activity (Biking, etc.)
  • Setting a Sleep Alarm

*Note: I enter all my food in my application called Lose It. Lose it provides the ability to sync my food log to FitBit, so my calorie count is very accurate in both places. It’s nice to see the full calorie burn provided in FitBit vs. Lose It. Lose It only shows you the food you eat less the calories you burn working out. FitBit shows you your full burn, even the calories you burn while at rest. I also like the fact that I can track how much water I’m drinking, it’s a great reminder to keep drinking it!

Privacy Settings
This is a good point to talk about privacy, you’re potentially tracking and logging a lot of personal sensitive data. The FitBit web site has a VERY SIMPLE and easy to understand section that allows you to see exactly how your information is stored and potentially shown to friends, or other people.

FitBit Privacy Settings

The FitBit Web Site
The FitBit Web site is a massive dashboard that conglomerates all of the data gathered from the FitBit tracker, and the data you may (or may not) enter manually via the iPhone application or FitBit web site.

The FitBit Dashboard
The dashboard provides the quickest “At a glance” data about everything for your day. There’s all of your step, stair, distance, calories, and activity level goals in one place. They provide the actual data, and a “fuel gauge” style bar that shows you how close you are to meeting each goal. They also have incentive badges that you can obtain for meeting daily, weekly, and life goals. Between my two FitBit trackers I’ve logged 250 miles of walking/running on them now, and this ‘badge’ is displayed on my dashboard. You can also friend other FitBit users, and it will show you their steps in relation to yours, which is fun to create a little rivalry.

Dashboard - Goal Snapshot

Goals and progress.

Below the goals are detailed charts for each of the major activities that FitBit tracks. Very detailed statistics on caloric burn to five minute increments, when you climbed stairs, when you took the most steps, and what percentage of the day you were sedentary, active, or extremely active.

Calories burned.

Calories burned.

Steps taken.

Steps taken.

Time active.

Time active.

The food plan is below that, and it shows you how many calories left you’re able to eat, as well as other graphical views of your calorie status, and what your goals are for weight, and caloric intake.

Calorie gauge.

Calorie gauge.

The Body section shows your current weight, and details your latest results. There are also graphical representations of your current BMI and your weight goals.

Weight.

Weight.

Logging Food
The food section of the web application is huge. It allows you to log anything you’ve eaten, the quantity, and for what meal. It’s smart enough to know all the nutritional information, like calories, fat, sodium, etc. and will log all of this data, you just have to keep track of what you ate and enter it. I use Lose It’s application and like their food entry system a lot better, it’s just easier for me. It’s also nice because Lose It will sync this data from the Lose It application to the Fit Bit web site, this way I’m not having to enter it twice!

Logging Activity
If you wear your FitBit all the time, then theoretically you shouldn’t need to log activity, in fact if you wear the FitBit, AND log the activity, it will be essentially double counted. I’ve read that some people take off the FitBit when they swim for example (it’s not waterproof), and still want to log the caloric burn. The activity section allows you to log whatever you want. I don’t use this section at all.

Tracking Weight
The weight section of the logging tools provides a nice graphical chart of your weight logs, and your goal weight. It will even let you enter your body fat percentage if you know it. My scale automatically logs my data to Lose It, but this data does not yet flow through to FitBit. So this is one thing I have to remember to manually enter at FitBit, I guess I don’t really have to, but it’s nice to see the full picture on their dashboard. You can also see your BMI, and it will show your overall BMI change which is kind of cool to see.

Tracking Sleep
The sleep section is very similar to the dashboard view, and allows you to see your sleep pattern and also enter start and stop sleep times manually should you forget to track it with FitBit.

Journal
There’s even a section that allows you to journal anything you want to, whenever you want. There are options that allow you to note your mood, allergies, and any text notes you may want to add. This is not something I’ve used at all.

Heart
The heart section allows you to log your resting, normal, and exertive heart rates. I don’t use this feature.

Blood Pressure
Should you want to log your blood pressure, there’s a section to do that as well, and as often as you want. This is not a feature I’ve used.

Glucose
For diabetic users, There’s the option to log your morning, afternoon, and evening glucose levels.

Community
There’s a huge community of FitBit users. The community section of the web site houses a plethora of online message boards to discuss weight loss, the FitBit products, or just about anything that you may be looking to find related to health.

Premium Features
If you’re looking to get even more detailed reports, statistics, or other features, you can pay a monthly fee to expand the capabilities and services of the FitBit web site. This is not something I’ve elected to do at this time, and can’t really be an expert on explaining in this review.

The iPhone Application
If you have an iPhone 4S or later, you can directly communicate via Bluetooth to your FitBit tracker. There’s no need to have a computer at all! The application is pretty much identical in functionality to the FitBit web site, here are some screenshots of it.

iPhone Dashboard 1 iPhone Dashboard 2 iPhone Activity

iPhone Weight iPhone Food Intake iPhone Water Consumption

Alarm Settings FitBit Settings

The Good
The “One” does everything that FitBit advertises, it’s incredibly simple to use. When I get something like this, I ask myself, could the average user, or my mom be successful with something like this, and I feel like it’s that simple. It’s small, seems very accurate, and I like the fact that it will show a full day’s caloric burn vs. a program like Lose It that just shows food calories consumed minus exercise. The clip that it comes with it is designed well, and overall looks to be a better design that the original “Ultra”.

The Bad
Sometimes it has issues syncing to the iPhone application, it doesn’t happen very often though, and coupled with the USB dongle on my computer, it’s more of an annoyance at times than a ‘deal breaker’. It’s small. I’m afraid I’ll lose it. Other than that, it’s all good so far.

Conclusion
The FitBit One is a great tracker to carry around and gain insight into your daily exercise, calorie, and distance routines. The FitBit software, hardware, and web applications all seem to be top notch, I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase FitBit products in the future! They also sell a wireless scale similar to the WiThings one that I own. I’d love to get my hands on one to review for a few months, but ultimately wouldn’t buy a second expensive scale. Hey @FitBit, send me a scale to review? 🙂