If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome. Anne Bradstreet

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. Ether 12:27

Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season therof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul. And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion. D&C 59:18-20

Sunday, March 27, 2011

My current program

I've decided to re-publish my weight loss chart, although my relapse into obesity is a personal embarrassment to me and a terrible frustration.  Perhaps someone can benefit from my constant struggle.  The chart starts on October 24, 2005, at a weight of 255 lbs.  I didn't know it then, but for my height, that put me in the super obese category.  That's bad.  Really bad.  I hit my low of 145 lbs on February 6, 2008.  That's 2 years and 3 1/2 months to lose 110 lbs. and to do it in a very consistent, downward fashion.  Losing the weight wasn't that much of a struggle -- I had a couple of different methods that I switched between and I was able to get some good physical activity consistently.  I had a mind-set that whatever my situation, I adapted.

Then I lost that mindset.  I know from my journals that the first crack in the mindset occurred when I pulled some all-nighters in order to meet a pressing deadline for a website project I was working on.  Then I took an out of town trip and thought it wouldn't matter how lousy I ate during that trip because I could get right back to eating right.  That is my downfall -- I can overeat today because I can eat less tomorrow and make up the difference.  Addiction doesn't give vacations.  It's ever present, just waiting for a chance to get you back into its clutches.  That's a hard lesson to learn.

I didn't just give up and throw in the towel, though -- well, not for very long at least.  I made some valiant efforts to get my eating under control again.  This last effort started on December 28, 2010, with reduced calorie intake by simply just eliminating junk food and soda.  My primary motivation was extreme concern about my health.  I had been on a very long period of severe insomnia, going days on end only getting 2-3 hours a sleep at night.  I was physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted.  I felt that my weight was at least a contributing factor, and felt like if I didn't reverse the upward trend, I would soon be attending my own funeral.

On January 1, 2011, I added steps, starting off with 300.  Steps is such an easy thing to do at home.  I love going to a gym, but I can't afford a gym membership and I don't like all the extra time it takes just to get there and back, in addition to the workout time.  The step only costs about $30 and takes up very little space.  I don't do any "routine" -- I simply do steps.  Doing 300 steps was a challenge, not only because I was physically out of shape, but because I was still exhausted from the insomnia, which had eased quite a bit, but still a problem.  I do my steps at night while listening to my scriptures off the computer.  It's a wonderful way to combine spiritual and physical fitness.  Then it's a hot bath and off to bed.  That helped to continue to break the back of the insomnia.

On January 9, my weight loss, which had started out so good, had stalled, so I decided I needed to go on a calorie budget.  I realistically set my goal weight at 150, as at that level I felt very good and even though overweight, I was satisfied with how I looked.  I calculated my calorie intake for that weight at a moderate level of activity, which equals 1903 calories.  So I set that as my calorie budget to start the next day.  I knew I needed some motivation to follow that budget, so I imposed both a reward and a penalty.  For my reward, I earn a penny for every calorie I am under budget which when I've saved enough, can be spent for something very frivolous, indulgent, and unnecessary.  For my penalty, I have to do an extra step for every pound I am over.

That may not seem like much of a penalty, but on the very first day, I was over budget by 380 calories.  I was up to 440 steps by that time, so I had to add 380 steps to 440 for a grand total of 820 steps.  That indeed was a penalty.  But I did them, and the memory of how hard it was is still very much with me.  The most calories I have gone over budget since then is 3.

January 12, I added some weights to my steps -- a single 5 lb weight held straight out in front of me, chest high, for 5 out of every 20 steps.  I was up to my goal of 500 steps by then.  Each night, I increased one more step until I reached 13 steps out of every 20 with the weight.  I found holding the weights in front to be very good for strengthening my core muscles.

January 22 I incorporated some upper body exercises into the steps, using 2 5-lb weights and still doing 500 steps.  I wanted to increase my upper body strength as well as continue to strengthen core muscles.

January 24 I upgraded to 8-lb weights, still doing 500 steps, starting out at 5 out of 20, and adding one more step each night with the weights.  On January 31 I reached 10 out of 20, and felt inspired to start alternating days:  "A" days would be just steps holding a 5-lb weight in each hand, and "B" days would be steps with weights + upper body exercises.  I still continued to add 1 step out of each 20 with weights on the B days till I reached 12 out of 20.

February 4 - I lowered my calorie budget to 1850 calories; February 7 - I increased my weights to 8 lbs., following the same pattern of starting at 5 out of 20 and adding one more each time; February 14 - dropped my calorie budget to 1800 calories.  February 16 - I increased the number of steps to 600 for both "A" and "B" days. On "B" days, I did 120 steps for each of the 5 upper body exercises that I did.

February 28 - I upgraded to 10 lb weights, changed the number of steps to 700 for both "A" days and "B" days, added 2 more upper body exercises for the "B" days and did 100 for each, and replaced ankle weights and wrist weights for holding a 10 lb weight in each hand for the "A" days, as I felt that 10 lbs in each hand would put too much stress on my wrists and elbows.   That wasn't as much combined weight, only 10 lbs total compared to 20 lbs total, but my intent was to have the "A" days be less intensity than the "B" days.

Shortly after, I saw a The Biggest Loser segment wherein the 2 trainers were going to have their contestants work out with body weights strapped on equal to the amount of weight they'd lost, so they wouldn't forget what it was like carrying all that extra weight.  I thought that was a good idea, and decided I would use the "A" days to carry my "lost" weight doing steps.  So on March 14, I invested in an adjustable weight vest that would go from 1-20 lbs using 1 lb weights.  I so far had a 19 lb loss, so I added enough weights to the vest that combined with the ankle weights and wrist weights equaled 19 lbs.

March 15 - After reaching 10 out of 20 for my "B" days, I didn't want to go any higher for either repetitions or for weights, so I decided to add some intensity to those workouts by holding a 10 lb weight in each hand some of the last 10 steps of each set of 20.

March 22 - I upgraded the "B" days to holding the weights in each hand for the balance of the 10 steps out of 20 for the entire 700 steps.

March 23 - I upgraded the weight vest for a total combined weight of 20 lbs to match my current weight loss.

I am currently at a 21 lb loss, so I will be adding one more lb to my weight vest tomorrow night.

I've considered dropping my calorie budget to 1750, but have felt inspired to put that off.

So that's my progress so far on this most recent effort to control my eating and improve my physical fitness.  I have an upcoming vacation April 12-15, so it remains to be seen whether that will throw me back into the other mindset.  That's what happened last October -- and that did me in for the whole rest of the year.

When you look at the weight chart -- it appears that my weight losses were very rapid -- so be sure to read the dates along the bottom line.  The blue dots represent actual weights, and the purple line is the trend line.  You can click on the chart to enlarge it.

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