Monday, October 31, 2011

Week 36 - RESULTS

As I mentioned in my last post, today marks a new start for me, so I almost don't care what the result was for last week. But, for old time's sake, let's see how we got on...

STARTING WEIGHT:   225.2 lbs

ENDING WEIGHT:  225.0 lbs

WEIGHT LOSS:    0.2 lbs

I predicted another small loss for this week, given my diet over the weekend, but even so, my third loss of only 0.2lbs in four weeks does rankle a little. I didn't manage to drop below 225 lbs, which I would have liked...BUT, as I said, this is the last weigh-in I'll be making under the old, apathetic, unfocussed regime. Starting today, there's a new weight-loser in town...and he's a man with a plan!

I'm so pleased to finally have settled on a new weekly target. I've reset all the formulae on my weight-loss spreadsheet (the same one I've had since the beginning of this blog, never knew I could be so tenacious!), and now the counters tell me how close I am each day to my new weekly goal. It is SUCH a motivator to see the columns all recalibrated at zero, just waiting for me to start weighing-in under the new system. Can't wait to start plugging in numbers!

Another huge motivator has come along too, quite by chance! If you look over at my 'Weight Loss Summary' column on the right, you'll see that the lowest weight I ever hit, before my summer gain, was 222.3 lbs, back in week 26 (exactly ten weeks ago, shocking!). As of today, I am still 1.7 lbs heavier than that...but of course, my new weekly target loss is 1.8 lbs. Therefore, if I can hit or exceed my new target in its inaugural week, it will officially make me the lightest I have been in years! If I can hit my new target loss by this time next week, I will finally be losing the 'old weight' again, and not just the summer gain. If that's not a motivator, I don't know what is! So how am I going to do it?

On the exercise front, last week's runs have got me back in the mood, and going early last week meant my legs have had time to get over the shock of exercising again! I aim to do at least three runs this week...and in fact I have already been for one tonight! So, only two more to go before Monday!

On the food front...I said before that I was eating healthily enough, but just not keeping track of calories etc. Part of the reason for that was, now that I'm based in hospitals rather than the University campus, I no longer have a student common room with a microwave. In the past I would make my own lunches (carefully prepared to be diet-friendly), and heat them up there. But in the hospitals I don't have access to a microwave, so was buying sandwiches or wraps from the canteen for lunch. Always the healthiest option I could find, of course, but I wasn't always keeping track of what was in them (and of course, they include more carbs than I usually like to eat). HOWEVER, I have now invested in a lovely little Thermos flask, with a wide neck perfect for food, so I prepare my lunches in the morning, and they are still nice and hot come lunchtime! (And, just to make sure I stick to it, I'm going to stop taking my wallet in with me!)

So there it is - the new plan. I really hope it works. I'm DETERMINED to make it work. I cannot WAIT to weigh-in next week, and show you all how I've done! I've totally got this one, I can taste it! ROOOOOOAAAAAAARRRRRRR!!!!

71.8 lbs

 225.0 lbs

 225.0 lbs

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My New Target!

Eagle-eyed readers will notice the new countdown ticker on the right side of this page. 

When this blog started, the target for achieving my goal weight was sometime in October. I knew it was an ambitious target (it meant I had to lose 3.1 lbs a week if I were to make it on time), but I decided that I'd rather set a difficult target and fall short, than make my weekly goal easier to achieve, and risk sitting back once I'd made my loss, and not really pushing myself.

The original target date came and went, but I wasn't sure what new target I should aim for, especially since my rate of loss had slowed significantly. I toyed with making it the New Year, but the weekly loss I would need to reach my goal by then was still crazy high. As I've said, I'm all for ambitious targets, but there comes a point where it is SO hard to match, you will constantly feel like you're failing.

So I looked forward in the calendar, and suddenly it seemed so obvious. I started my weight loss on February 21st, 2011...why not aim to have hit your goal weight on the first anniversary of your new life - FEBRUARY 21st 2012!

So there it is. My new ticker is counting down the days until the 21st of February. To hit my goal weight by then, I have to lose just under 1.8 lbs a week. That is a very nice target to my mind. It is nowhere near as daunting as the 3.1 lbs a week I used to aim for (and achieved for months!), and is under the recommended maximum weekly loss of 2lbs, which I'm very pleased about.

Of course, there is the fact that I haven't achieved anywhere near that kind of weekly loss for months - what makes me think I can start doing it now?

Well, as I'm sure regular followers will now, I well and truly had the wind knocked out of my sails over the summer, when I gained back some weight, stopped running, and even stopped blogging regularly for a while. I've struggled to get back into the weight loss since then...I've still been eating healthily enough, but exercise still eluded me, I wasn't watching my calories, and days went by when I didn't weigh at all. 

But, I really feel that I've got my mojo back. I went running on Monday, and even though I hurt like hell for days afterwards, the run itself was fantastic. I went again over the weekend, and my recovery has been a lot more swift. I'm hungry for running now, and am planning to go for at least 3 of them next week. Having a target again is a huge boost too - before, I was quite happy to just see the scales dropping by a fraction of a pound each week, when I wasn't aiming for any particular loss...but now I know how much I want to drop each week, I have something to aim for, my sights are set, and I can't wait to have a crack at it!

I don't expect Monday's weigh-in to be great, even though I've run this week. I had a couple of days over-eating during the week (not by much, but it all adds up). Also, in preparation for my runs next week, I ate mostly carbs today, to try and give my muscles some fuel for the exercise I'm (all of a sudden) making them do again! When I eat carbs my weight tends to shoot up, but I'm sure its largely just water weight, so I don't mind seeing just a small loss (or who knows, maybe even a small gain) on Monday...and then, if I can eat right and do the exercising I'm planning to do, I should hopefully see a MUCH more satisfying loss on the following Monday! Here's hoping!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Farewell To Family (And Hopefully, Pounds)

Yesterday my brother and his wife left the UK for a new life on the other side of the world, in New Zealand. I went down to Heathrow to see them off, which I'm glad I did, even though it took me forever, and I had to stand for almost two hours pressed up close to strangers in a crowded railway carriage. Made me appreciate my reduced figure, though - in the past, I'd have taken up twice as much space, have got all sweaty and smelly, and my legs would have started to give out after the first that's progress right there!

I was a bit bad and stayed behind with my family after they'd gone through the gate, to sit down and have a drink and a bite to eat. I'd already eaten, but thought it would be nice to spend some time with the family I still have in the UK before heading back to my flat. Didn't go crazy - just a chicken baguette, although it was served with fries too. Still, I'm going to let myself off for that, especially as I ran the night before.

Don't know when I'm going to see my brother or sister-in-law next. I won't have the time or the money to go back to New Zealand and visit them - not for a few years at least, until I've graduated and am earning again! Their visa is only for two years, and they might come back for a holiday before then, but there's always the chance they'll fall in love with the place (as I did) and decide to stay (as I didn't). Not knowing when I'd see them next got me wondering - what will my weight situation be when we next meet? Will I have reached my goal by then? Will I still be trying to lose? Will I have collapsed and rebounded and be heavier than I am now?

Only time will tell I guess, but I would certainly hope that, when we next cross paths, I will have finally put all my weight issues behind me. I would like to think that, by the new year, I will be almost at goal. I need to step up my weekly losses if I'm to achieve that, but I'm going for another run tomorrow night, so hopefully Monday's run wasn't a one-off, but the start of a new lease of running life. If I can be nearly at goal by the new year, reach goal and then maintain that weight consistently for 2012, I'll be happy. I want 2011 to have been my Year of Losing Weight, and 2012 to be my Year of Being Slim! Well, not just Year...the first of MANY years!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Week 35 - RESULTS (And Finally, A Run!)

Finally, a weigh-in that I'm blogging on time!

STARTING WEIGHT:   225.4 lbs

ENDING WEIGHT:  225.2 lbs

WEIGHT LOSS:    0.2 lbs

Well, on the positive front, I have recorded another loss. After gaining weight a few months ago, I wondered if that was it for my regular losses, and half-expected to enter a phase of "two steps forward, one step back". That at least never happened, but I am definitely in a "baby steps" phase, if nothing else.

This could well be down to the fact that I have already lost a lot of weight, but I could only 100% support that theory if I had done everything else perfectly. If I had eating carefully, got some exercise in, and still only seen a little loss, then fair play. I could accept a small loss after that, as I would know that was just my new natural rate of weight loss.

But I haven't been perfect. Far from it. I checked, and as of this morning my last run was in July - can you believe it? Here is me trying to lose weight, and I'm not even exercising anymore (outside of my normal daily walking etc). The eating front is a bit better, but I'm struggling with a weekend overload thing at the moment...

Basically, because I have next to no money any more, I'm doing all my shopping (at the weekend) at those super-cheap food stores. Thing is, they charge less because they sell things in bulk, so I end up buying quite a lot of stuff at once to keep the costs down. But then, when it comes to having dinner on the Saturday and Sunday, I feel a bit spoilt for choice, and end up having either "a little of everything", or having too much of one thing, because I've "already opened the packet" and there's loads in there. That has to stop. I keep undoing the progress I've made during the week. I think the weekly progress is a bit of an issue too - by Friday, when I see a loss of a couple of pounds, I get all self-congratulatory, and decide to 'treat myself' that night, or over the weekend, and end up gaining some weight, so I only record a loss of 0.2 lbs or whatever.

I'm really going to try and avoid that this weekend. I actually bought some food for dinner tonight, and instead of cooking the whole lot, only used half and put the rest in the freezer - a little thing sure, but real progress for me! I also need to start exercising again this week - after so long away it will take me some time to get back up to my old distance/time, but I have to start somewhere!


UPDATE: OK, so after writing this post, I decided to save it as a draft, rather than post right away. Why? Well, because I felt a run brewing. I've been telling myself I ought to run for weeks now, but I've always been too tired, or too ill (I've had the same cough for about 2 months now, you'd think as a medical student I'd have seen a doctor by now!). There has always been an excuse.

Well, this morning I told myself I should run tonight, and I left it at that. I didn't try to convince myself, as that's when all the counter-arguments start coming. I just said "I should run", and left it there. And as I was writing the above...I don't know! I checked the clock, saw it was still quite early. I ought to have done some work, but knew I was too brain-drained for it. All I was going to do otherwise was watch some TV and then read in why not?

So I did! I finally went for another run! Managed my old distance too, and was only 3 minutes slower than the last time I ran! Very happy with it!

I shouldn't be so pleased with myself, as its taken me long enough, but I really feel good about today in general. Not just the eating (and now exercising). Last night in bed I was tossing and turning, worrying about how much work I still have to do at Uni before Christmas, worrying about money (since I have none), worrying about my weight loss (as historically, winter is when I pile on the pounds). But I told myself to spend less time worrying, and more time doing. Less time PLANNING to be a better dieter/exerciser/worker, and more time BEING those things. I know its only worked for one day so far, but it feels fantastic...long may it continue!

71.9 lbs

225.2 lbs 

 225.2 lbs 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Weeks 33 and 34 - RESULTS

It's terrifying me, how quickly time is passing. How far into my third academic year I already am. AND, how long it has been since I last posted! Here are the results from the last TWO weeks!

STARTING WEIGHT:   226.0 lbs

WEEK 33 WEIGHT:  225.8 lbs

WEIGHT LOSS:   0.2 lbs

WEEK 34 WEIGHT:  225.4 lbs

WEIGHT LOSS:   0.4 lbs

Now then. Why am I not posting?

Well, I think there are a lot of reasons. One is that I am simply far busier now than I was when I started the blog. My days now just blur into one, as I'm up at the crack of dawn, on my feet all day, and don't do much more than crash straight into bed when I get home. I've hardly done any of my recommended reading for the term, never mind blogging about my weight loss! Finally I can start to empathise with those of my reader's who have proper full-time jobs (and I'm including raising kids or running a home in that!). How you've managed it I will never know!
Another reason is the fact that, after my last post, I felt really determined to crack on with the weight loss, but it was a different kind of determination than before. In the past, my enthusiasm was all high and excited, and I needed to come on here all bubbly and talk about it, and get support from others to keep going. Now, the drive feels different - its grimmer, more silent, more a case of 'head down, and get on with it', which doesn't really lend itself well to blogging. I mean, what would I say? Every day is much the same, with much the same structure, and I just do my best, plod on, and get small but regular results. I'd be a bit bored to blog about that day after day, so I can only imagine you'd be bored to read it!

I don't know, maybe I've just run out of things to say? The whole weight-loss mentality is so much a part of me now, that I almost don't have to think about it. It's just who I am. I began the blog to keep me on track, to keep me motivated, to keep weight-loss at the front of my mind. I don't need it to serve that purpose anymore, so perhaps I need to think about taking the blog in a different direction...we shall see.

Actually, part of me thinks that once I FINALLY reach my former lowest weight of 222.3 lbs, I might find myself enthused again. There is still a voice in the back of my mind telling me that the weight I'm losing right now isn't progress, so much as retreading old ground, making up for past mistakes. It really puts a dampener on a loss, knowing that you already passed this weight MONTHS ago, and then let it go. That makes me less eager to sing my own praises on this blog each week, but once I feel I'm making REAL progress, I might be back again. We shall see. It's only a few pounds more to drop, but the rate is so slow at the moment, it would take me weeks to get there! Determined to try and go for a run this weekend, just to get back into exercising as well as the dieting (and deep chesty cough be damned, I'm fed up of excuses, even perfectly good ones!).

So...well, I don't know when I'll post again! I'd like to think it would be this weekend, if I manage to go for a run. Or maybe on Monday, for the weigh-in. But it seems like, just for the moment, I am not a reliable blogger. That doesn't mean I've given up! It just means...well, I guess it means things are different now. Things have changed. And perhaps its time this blog did too...any ideas?

71.7 lbs

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Everest

Today, the countdown on my blog ran out. When I started, today was the day I planned to finish. Today, I planned to be at my goal weight.

And today, I am not.

I'm OK with that. I knew it was an ambitious target, but figured it would spur me on more than a lower, easier target would. None the less, the fact that today has always had a big red circle around it on my calendar has given me pause for thought. Made me think about my progress, about my weight loss so far, and about how far I still have to go.

You see, my weight loss is my Everest.

I have always admired people who achieved their weight loss, or any other ambition. People who conquered their Everest. For me, weight loss was always something I thought it would be wonderful to do, something I would always like to do, at some point in the future. But I always told myself it was just a dream, a crazy ambition, that I was far too lazy and set in my ways to ever actually achieve the summit of my Everest.

I mean, look at it. It's so big! Think of the effort it would take to get there. Only madmen would actually try it, and fewer still would make it. It was nice to sit and imagine the view from the summit, but to get there, one would have to drag their way up, inch by inch, step by step, and put themselves through all kinds of pain and torture. I would never make it to the why try? Why face the humiliation of attempting, and failing? Much easier to sit back, with my dreams. In my dreams, I was always already at the top.

But then one day, I tore my eyes away from the summit, and looked at the stones beneath my feet. Every journey begins with one step, they say, and even I could manage one step.

So I took one step. And another. And then another.

And suddenly, I was on my way. I stopped craning my neck to get a view of the summit, but focussed on the few feet in front of me. That was manageable. That I could do. So I kept on, gaining ground, slow and steady, not thinking about the miles ahead, but instead relishing in the miles that were suddenly behind me. I broke into a jog, and then a run. This was easy! I would be there in no time!

But then the slope became steeper, and my legs tired. I found myself slowing, catching my breath, until finally I stopped. Stopped, and at last, let myself look about me.

And the view took my breath away. Look how far I had come! Things were so much better here than they had been before. I could see so much clearer now. I felt alive, and awash with confidence. Look at what I had achieved!

The summit still loomed overhead, much closer than it had been, but the final ascent would be far tougher than my journey so far. So why would I bother? Things were fantastic now, and the view was spectacular. Why put myself through all that effort? Why not just stay here? How much better could things really get?

And that's the question. How much better can they get? Yes, things are much better now. But can I say I conquered my Everest? No. The view is wonderful here, but can I say I've actually seen the view from the summit? No. And would I like to? Put aside all the effort it will take, and all the time - would I like to see the view from the summit?

Oh yes.

So I will carry on. I will persevere. I don't know how long it will take, or if it will prove too much for me, but the summit is so close. I can almost touch it. I can't stop now. To stop now would somehow be worse than never having set out. All I can do is put my head down, focus on the ground before me, and go on. Step by step. Inch by inch.

And one day, I will make it. The summit isn't a prize, something only the brave or the powerful can achieve. The summit is where we all belong. It is our natural place. I belong there, at the summit of my Everest, as you belong at the summit of yours. We are just reclaiming what is already ours. What was ours, and shall be ours again.

So I will carry on. And one day, I will make it. One day.

One day.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Week 32 - RESULTS

I feel like I'm getting back into the swing of things with my weight loss now - let's see if the numbers are still dropping!

STARTING WEIGHT:   227.1 lbs

ENDING WEIGHT:  226.0 lbs

WEIGHT LOSS:   1.1 lbs

Very pleased to see another loss this week. I'm a little surprised that its not a higher loss actually. I don't want anyone to read that as a negative - its just that I'm far more active than I have been over the last few months, now that term has started again, but in the past I was scoring higher weekly losses than this. I guess that's all down to the fact that there's far LESS of me these days, so I'm almost HAPPY to see the losses shrinking!

Also, I probably should mention - I didn't weigh in this morning, so the above is the weight I had hit by Sunday morning. Sunday night I was on-call at the hospital, and had to stay overnight in their on-call rooms. As such, this morning I didn't have my scales handy to weigh in, nor did I have my webcam to take photos for this week! I will tag the photos onto this post tomorrow morning, so it's up to date.

I want to re-design the spreadsheet I use to record my weigh-ins this week, as I'm still using the old system, which has a target weekly loss which is well beyond me these days. I was going to aim for a 2.3 lb weekly target, but I haven't really been anywhere near that over the last three weeks, so might have to rethink it again. That said, I haven't been for a run in, like, forever, and although its the LAST thing I want to do when I've been on my feet for 12 hours a day, I don't want to be relying just on a calorie deficit and a more active daily lifestyle. I need some specific, focussed exercise in my day too, so I might take some time to go over my timetable, check for days where I have an earlier finish or a later start, and see if I can squeeze some runs in there...the pain will be temporary, but the smaller belt will be...well not forever, but certainly longer!

71.1 lbs

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Some Awesome Things That Have Happened Since I Lost Weight

The following is just a list of a few things that have happened since I dropped out of the obese BMI category, that have made me smile or have given me a new burst of confidence. My blog has been a bit grumbly and negative of late, so thought I'd brighten things up again!

- Had to get refitted for the wedding. My brother got married about a month ago, and I was the best man, so I got to dress up in tails. The first time I was measured up for the suit was back around April, and I warned them that the clothes may not fit come the wedding. True enough, I went back around July, and they had to make everything a size smaller. Hooray!

- Had to buy a new belt. I'd already had to carve a few extra holes into my old belt, but even so, it was getting to the point where the tail, when fastened, was wrapping itself almost half-way around me again! Felt wonderful to have to buy a new one, whose biggest size is smaller than the smallest size of my old one!

- Can sprint up my stairs now. I live in a flat on the fourth floor of a block, and when I first moved in back in February, I would have to stop around the third floor and catch my breath before continuing up to my flat. Nowadays I can sprint up the stairs two at a time, and only be a little puffed out at the end!

- I got asked to join a sports team. Well, sort of. A colleague of mine was part of the university's American football team (which isn't very common over here in the UK). When he saw me on the first day of term, after I had slimmed right down, the first thing he did was ask me to come along to training! That has NEVER happened before - ok, I was never the LAST person to be chosen in sports at school, but I was definitely down there. As it happens, he forgot to send me the details so I didn't end up going, but was still delighted to be asked!

- I had to buy new shirts...and went for slim-fits. My old shirts look like tents when I try them on now, and the jumpers/pullovers I had resorted to at my heaviest were no better. I had to go buy a bunch of new shirts to wear on the hospital wards this year, and found some which seemed to fit me wonderfully. It was only when I got them home I realised they were the 'slim-fit' variety - couldn't quite believe it!

- Friends want to read my blog. People have been noticing the weight loss for a while now, and some ask how I did it. After a few drinks I'm more than happy to tell them about how I blogged my progress, and that helped keep me on track. So far I've never actually given the address out, but a few friends have begun sidling up to me and asking for the link, so they can do the same! I'm very free with advice and encouragement, but don't want to share the blog until the journey is over, and I've maintained the loss for a while. Still, the fact that people are impressed, and the fact that, perhaps, I'm encouraging others to get healthy too...well, that's wonderful!

And finally, the thing I still can't quite believe, but I assure you, it happened...

I took my shirt off in public! 

Lol ok not public as such, but I still took it off! We were studying abdominal examination techniques, and the tutor wanted to demonstrate on one of us students. Since my group was made up of two girls, a guy who begged me to do it so nobody could see his tattoo, and myself, the pressure was on. In the past I would have refused point blank, no matter how awkward it became if the others kept asking. But this time...I only had to think for about a second. I wasn't COMPLETELY happy doing so, as I've still got at least 30lbs to drop until I consider myself 'ready', but even so, it wasn't really a problem at all. I no longer think of myself as a bloated, obese oaf who needs to stay covered up. Nowadays I'm just a guy, still a bit podgy, sure, but with nothing serious to be embarrassed about. So off came the shirt, and all my past hang-ups and fears came off with it!

So there we are, just a few things that have made me smile since I've dropped out of the obese BMI. I think its a pretty good list...and I'm not even done yet!