This is not my favorite kind of Blog post to write as I’m not really one for self-promotion most of the time, but I do feel that I need to reflect upon the last year of my life, and highlight and thank a few people along the way.
One year ago today, I was browsing the BoardgameGeek Website like I do almost daily to some degree. I frequent the forums there from time to time. In particular: Chit Chat. Well, JB posted this thread in the forum asking if there was anyone using this iPhone application called Lose It!. I’d never heard of the Lose It app and did not respond to the thread (in fact no one did.)
However, I was curious about it, so I looked it up on the app store and was impressed with it; coupled with the fact that it was free, I figured I’d play around with it.
I must mention now that a couple of weeks before this, I had stepped on the scale in the shipping department while checking some labels on a skid of product that I was messing with, and doing fast math had worked out my weight (364 lbs). Of course I was disappointed in myself, I knew I was a big guy, but facing the number did not make me happy. Anyway back to Lose It!
So after checking out the app, I decided it couldn’t hurt and decided to give it a shot. So the next morning I started using it. I entered my starting weight from the shipping scale, chose the lose 2 pounds a week option, and began using the app. It spit out a daily budget of 2488 calories for me to eat that day. I figured I could do that… That day, I ate somewhat normally, cutting out a snack or two here and there, and ended the day with a net intake of 2363 calories. A huge amount for sure (especially now looking back), but still a deficit that my body apparently needed.
It would be a long journey according to the application. I chose a final goal of 200 lbs. It seemed like a nice round number. But at 2 lbs a week, that ended up saying that I would reach my goal sometime around September of 2011. One step at a time I thought, and decided to see where it took me.
I continued upon this path for about a week. Eating the exact same things I always did, only trying to keep the portions in a little bit better control, and cutting out most of the frivolous snacking, etc. that happened in front of the television, or in the break room at work.
It was shortly after this that my lovely wife asked what I was doing when we would go eat somewhere and I would pull out my phone. After telling her about the app, she decided to try it as well. This was probably the best thing that happened since finding the app, because then we both were motivated to try it out together.
After a couple of weeks, I went back to work and used the shipping scale to weigh myself again. I had lost 10 pounds. I still weighed a huge amount of course, but now, I had seen some real progress. That was all it took to keep me on the path. I didn’t want to keep going to work to weigh myself, so at this point I decided investing in a scale that could weigh myself was in my best interest, despite the fact that I wouldn’t like the number it spit out at me.
This proved to also be extremely important, as soon after this I had read about weighted averages and the like, and decided to start doing daily tracking of my weight in order to average them out and note the progress. Putting a weight in under trend line meant that I was on the right track, but putting in a higher weight one or two days a week wasn’t the end of the world, because of the trend line. I wasn’t tied to the number on the scale, only the average weight over time according to the trend line. This keeps me motivated through some pretty hard times (May and November 2010) for even though the numbers don’t move much, as long as they are ‘in the green’ the trend line will come down. You can almost predict when you finally break out of a plateau because you’ll begin to get really close to the trend line with your daily weighing and then bamm, all of a sudden you’ll be down with some more cushion to work with.
As I continued to use the program and make progress toward my goals. I found that I was beginning to make better and better choices. The strength of the application was that it was a gradual drop, and here and there I had to drop a few calories out of my diet a week. Because I had started looking for better and better bangs for my calorie buck, I ended up cutting out a lot of frivolous foods, nearly all fast food, looked for healthier snacks, etc. This allowed me to change my diet slowly. Had I started out in March of last year, eating the way I am typically eating now, I might not have done it. The change would have been drastic. However, averaged out over a year; everything was very manageable.
But the biggest change came when I decided to try to try to ramp up the gains I was making by actually adding an exercise regiment to my goal as well, of course, I decided to try to pick back up running around mid-April 2010.
I had tried running to limited success several years ago, but without a change in my diet, it didn’t make much difference, and I eventually dropped it. This time, I made gains more quickly, and being lighter also meant I was quicker and it was easier to move.
In fact, though I hesitate to call myself a ‘runner’ to this day, I have become absolutely obsessed with it as of late, to the point that it has now become the main focus of my health and fitness goals. Especially when I started entering some races beginning in September of 2010. Those are addictive little suckers. Running in groups with others and getting ‘official’ times. On a course that would otherwise be impossible or dangerous to run on. Even though there is no chance of me beating real runners or anything, there is still much enjoyment to be had.
Don’t get me wrong, not giving up on my original goal of getting to 200 lbs of course, but it has become secondary. Once some friends found out I had begun running again and talked me into signing up for the Country Music Half Marathon in April, the running goal has all of a sudden become the true focus of my journey. Once I have completed that, we’ll see what comes next. Thankfully both of these goals are not completely exclusive, and I am making good progress toward both achievements.
So here we have come. One year after I began this journey. This morning, I weighed in at 204. Haven’t quite made it to the 200 lbs mark yet, but I’m banging on the door. Though my weight losses have slowed considerably as I up my mileage more and more. It still slowly continues its downward trickle. When I do hit the goal, I’m pretty sure I’ll continue downward for a little bit more. I think eventually I’m hoping to get to 170 or so. I will be doing this at a much slower pace however, as that calorie deficit is getting hard to meet.
As far as running goes: Last week I ran 21 miles, including my very first double digit 10 mile run. I’m currently a little over a month from my first half marathon, and I think I might have an even bigger goal after that (twice as big actually ) but I want to see how the Country Music Half Marathon goes first. Unfortunately, as Chicago has sold out, it looks like I will target either St. Jude, Tupelo, or Disney instead for that next goal. Chicago would have been fun seeing as how Spirit of the Marathon has been my favorite movie from the last couple months or so.