Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Because you asked ...

Before: This was about 3 years ago .. and about the size I was when I began in August

After: This was taken today, December 29, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Hill .. revisited

Way back in September, when this walking thing was still new and in its infancy, I tackled a hill that caused me to question whether I was sane or not. Back then, walking over a mile in one trip was still new. This hill was long and steep. It was an uphill battle (literally.)

Today, four months into my walking habit, I tackled it again.

The last time, I thought my legs were going to revolt and find a new, less abusive body to which to be attached. This time, my legs never made a peep. They quietly went along for the walk.

Here are some shots I took on this trip:

This is at the bottom looking up the hill. I was going to be on that bridge crossing the street soon.

This is looking down the hill back toward the house. Take that, hill!

These are shot entering the cemetery and walking around it.

This is the back row of the left side of the cemetery looking into town (on the left side of the road)

This is from the top of the bridge seen crossing the road in the first picture. This is looking back toward the house.

This is a sign inside the cemetery

It was just a little over 2 miles to, around, and back from the cemetery, but it was a great walk. The air was crisp and clean. It was 16° and sunny. I loved it.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Another new size !!!

I guess I should be used to wearing new sizes, after all, I was often buying bigger sizes before. Since I changed my philosophy about eating, I have also saw a decrease in sizes as well. You would think the thrill would be gone, or at least somewhat diminished, but NO!

This morning while getting dressed, I notice a pair of khaki's that my daughter gave me. She found them while cleaning out some clothes at her house. I was wearing around a 50 waist at that time and these were 46's. She gave them to me instead of putting them in her donate or yard sale bag. I tried them on when she gave them to me and they were way too small.

A couple weeks ago, TJ and I were at a thrift store (great idea for shopping if you are changing sizes consistently) and she found a pair of pants that were 48's. I told her they would never fit, but she insisted I try them on. I did, just to amuse her. Oh my gosh, they fit.

well, as I said, this morning I noticed the size 46's while getting dressed and decided to see how far I needed to go to fit into them. To my shock and utter delight, they fit !!

The worst part of it was that I was the only one out of bed at the time and had to stifle my delight because I didn't want wake TJ up to tell her.

Rest assured, as soon as her eyes were open, I told her.

A new Size !!!!

August 8 ............. size 60
December 27 ...... size 46

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A new love for holiday eating

Before, the holidays were excuses (as if I needed one) to overeat. I would pile my plate full of Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. I would eat until I was more than full and then lapse into post holiday dinner coma.

Now, the holiday are just a part of my new eating philosophy. Having learned how to eat less (yes, it is a learned behavior,) I enjoy my dinners much more. I can still eat full and robust holiday meal and keep the calorie demon in check.

Eat more turkey than ham. Both have plenty of protein, but the turkey is lower in calories. Eat more green beans than mashed potatoes. Green beans are only 34 calories a cup. A good half cup serving is only 17 calories. Eat more corn then stuffing. Corn is only 40 calories per half cup. Go light on the bread and deviled eggs. Go small on the baked mac and cheese.

I stay away from the deserts, but if i were to eat some, it would be a small sliver of pie or cake. All my mouth wants is the taste, and I can get the taste with much less and slower eating.

My dinner at Christmas was 707 calories. My dinner at Thanksgiving was 692 calories. Both days, the total calories were under 1100.

I love eating my favorite holiday treats, much less and therefore, much more.

And .. easy to fix leftovers for lighter meals .. yesss !

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

surprisingly lower than I thought

TJ was running all over three towns yesterday and called me to tell me that if I planned on eating supper, I had better get busy cooking.

Cooking and I are well acquainted.

I went downstairs to the kitchen to rummage for cooking fodder. I found many frozen packs of chicken in the freezer, but I am more partial to pork. Further rummaging yielded the object of my search, pork tenderloin. I also found some frozen vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, yellow and orange carrots.)

Then, it was off to the pantry to find other cooking fodder. I found a jar of diced sweet vidalia onions and peppers, balsamic vinegar, a can of diced tomatoes, and a jar of marinated mushrooms. Things are looking up.

I sprayed the casserole dish with canola cooking spray and added a dash of olive oil. I added the diced tomatoes and laid the sliced pork tenderloin on top of them. I sliced several of the mushrooms and added them to the top. Then I added part of the vidalia onions. Next, I diced up some green pepper slices and added that as well. i finished with a splash of the balsamic vinegar. I covered it and stuck it in the oven to bake (350° for 35 minutes.)

The frozen vegetables from the freezer were put in a microwave safe bowl; about 3 tablespoons of water were added; and it was put aside for a moment.

Out of the fridge, I produced a can of buttermilk biscuits. I added them to a glass dish. I melted margarine and added garlic powder to that. I spooned it over the unbaked biscuits just enough to wet the tops of the biscuits. Into the oven that went.

The vegetables went into the microwave for about 6 minutes.

The biscuits were just browning on the top when I took them out and spooned the rest of the garlic butter mixture over them and added some shredded cheese. They went back into the over for a few more minutes.

The vegetables in the microwave finished (ding!) The biscuits were done and the cheese was melted. The pork came out of the oven .

One 3 oz tenderloin, about three-quarter cup of the steamed vegetables, and one cheesy garlic biscuit, made the meal. It was a wonderful combination, each part complimented the other parts. And, it was under 400 calories for the meal.


And finished in time for us to make it to church for Bible Study (albeit 5 minutes late.)

Monday, December 20, 2010

The weekend comes and goes

Here it is Monday again. The cycle continues.

The weekend was busier than others, possibly, but not as busy as some.

Schools had been closed for a couple days prior to the weekend. There was snow and ice to contend with. We didn’t do a lot of traveling, Thursday or Friday. For at least one of those days TJ’s oldest son and his wife and son were at the house. The water was frozen at their place. Thursday, I didn’t get to walk. Friday, I walked about a mile and a half.

Saturday arrives. I walk about a mile and a quarter in the cold, snow, and ice.

We have plans for Saturday evening. There was a meeting at a restaurant in the town where I graduated some 35 years ago for graduates of said high school (Woodford County High School.)
There was a reunion in July for all classmates graduating from 1970 to 1980. I was there, having graduated in 1975. I was there at 350 pounds and walking with a cane. Saturday, I weighed 275 and walked without the cane for some time now. Several of the attendees of the first reunion were going to be there and some of them keep up with me on Facebook®. One, in particular, said he wanted to see the new skinnier me.

We went to the restaurant after dropping the youngest boy off at the oldest boys house, where the water flows freely now. I was cautious about eating at restaurants that I didn’t know, but was also confident that I could eat a salad anywhere and be fine.

It was great seeing old friends that I had recently become reacquainted with and catching up on what I was doing, or not doing, as the case may be. I did eat chicken tenders and green beans. Although it is possible, it is hard to go wrong with green beans. Someone at the table said, “As long as they aren’t cooked in bacon fat or something like that.” I responded, “Oh, you mean, any green beans cooked in Kentucky.” Still, it was a good time and not as calorie filled as I feared. The food was good and the company was great.

Sunday was as busy as Sunday’s usually are. I, accidentally, slept in. I did get up before the alarm, but I usually get up a couple hours before the ‘Gotta Get Up’ alarm. I wake up early and go for my walk. The alarm is the get up and get ready for church alarm. So, there was no morning walk for Sunday. Being up later and feeling rushed caused me to walk out the door without grabbing my usual morning breakfast drink.

There was nowhere to stop and get one without pushing us farther behind schedule, so, no breakfast was the way. Church was good. Then we visited a bit and came on home. I had a salad for lunch, and then a grocery run. After that, I went to Lexington for church where my mother attends. It was also a good time and great to visit with mom and two of my four sisters. One was in Ohio and one was snowed in.

I was going to stop on my way home and grab a bite. However, everyplace seemed unappealing, so I made it home without stopping. I knew there were leftovers available at home.

Both days, Saturday and Sunday were low calories days. I mean ‘lower than I like’ calorie days. I know I need to take in a good amount of calories to make my body work right. I know I need to eat enough to convince my body to let loose of some fat. Saturday was only 739 calories, and Sunday was 884 calories, by virtue of the missing breakfast (190 calories.)
I must do better for my body and my health.

Monday has started well. I had a 2.35 mile walk this morning. I did my 180 calories breakfast drink (vanilla instead of chocolate, hence the 10 calorie difference.) My lunch was a salad @ 183 calories. A good supper and an apple for snack and I should be over 1000 calories for the day. My goal is a bit higher. I am working on finding more calorie rich foods that will not overfill me. If I get satisfied, I will stop.

My monthly average is 1005 calories a day right now. My average calories for the length of this ‘diet’ are about 1025 per day.

We will see what tomorrow will bring,

Oh, yes, I have lost 75 pounds now.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A walk .. with pictures

It was another 3° walk this morning. I was bundled up well and had the important parts of my body covered to minimize wind exposure. (gloves, hat, scarf)

Here are some of the shot I took along my 1.75 mile walk:

About half to three quarter mile from the house

Another shot .. backed away a bit

Along the second half .. probably a half mile from home

Another shot .. looking down the bridge to town

From the bridge .. overlooking the creek

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fair trade

This morning I went for my usual morning walk. I say it is my usual walk except for the fact that my walk changes daily. I try to take different routes each day to keep the walking fresh. I do have several favorite routes that I repeat, but not generally day after day after day. This morning was the Locust St to Queen St, to Camargo Rd, to Locust St at Bank St, to Richmond Ave, turn and come back home route. It covered 2.35 miles and took me 47 minutes.

Then, Tammy had a follow up visit to the doctor to see how surgery helped or didn’t, and to see where to go from here. Afterwards, we went to a consignment shop, and then had lunch at the brand new Waffle House here in town. We had talked about it the day before. It just opened this week.

I had the 5 ounce strip steak, with eggs over medium, hash browns with onions and tomatoes, and toast. I had water to drink. As near as I can tell, by the internet info I gathered and the portions I ate, my lunch was 564 calories. This was in contrast to my usual lunches of 275 to 360 calories. It was somewhere between 200 to 300 calories more than my regular lunch fare.

After lunch, Tammy had to go to the hospital for x-rays. I stayed home and worked on some writing She told me she was going to stop by the library on her way home and wanted to know if I wanted her to come by and get me. I told her I had already planned to walk to the library while she was gone, so I would meet her there.

I decided to walk around the longer way to the library. The direct walk there is a half mile. I put my books to be returned in my backpack and headed out after a while. I walked past the library (truck was not there yet) and on down toward the bypass to a known turning point and back to the library. She was outside when I got there, so my timing was good. I returned my books and checked out a couple more. She was still browsing, so I told her I would walk on home. She pulled into the driveway as I crossed the street to the house.

The entire walk was 1.9 miles and took about 40 minutes of actual walking time. Between the two walk, I covered 4.25 miles and burned 574 calories.

So, I walked off 10 calories more than my lunch added.

Not a bad trade at all.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

On the border of CrazyTown

I am not sure I am only on the border anymore.

12° on my morning walk on Tuesday, and I still went for my walk. The wind chill was -6°.

7° on my morning walk on Wednesday, and, once again, I still go for my morning walk. I have no idea what the wind chill was, or even if there was one. It was a fairly calm morning.

12° this morning, and I am bundling up for another morning walk. Today's wind chill, according to the local weatherman is 4°.

I always knew I would go crazy one day, but I never knew I would be crazy about walking. I especially never figured I would be crazy enough to be out walking in this weather.

I have always worked in this weather. For most of my adult life I have worked in the construction industry and that generally required some outside work even in the harshest conditions. I recall working on a scaffold 30 feet in the air with the winds blowing off the river in Canton, Ohio, with the temperature being only -6°, but, that was for money.

This is different. No-one is paying me to be out there this morning.

Well, I guess that isn't exactly true. What drives me (or pays me if you prefer) is stepping on the scales after four months and seeing it read 72 pounds lighter. What pushes me out the door is the feeling of much more energy than I have had in a long long time. What moves me past the pain in my heels (tendonitis) is the near erasure of the constant pain in my back, knees, and ankles. There are as many reasons to go walking in this near zero cold weather as there are days I am adding to my life and the life I am adding to my days.

So, I am off to don the official uniform of a crazytown walker.

two pair of sweats .. check
two long sleeved t-shirts .. check
one pull over wind-breaker type jacket .. check
one pair of jersey cotton gloves .. check
one toboggan .. check
one muffler style scarf .. check
one pair of walking shoes .. check
cell phone for emergency .. check
Ipod for Bible or music listening .. check

crazy idea that this will change my life .. CHECK !


Didn't do my walk as intended .. had to run to son's place to fix electric and take his wife to appointment .. walked 2.2 miles in Winchester before working on his place .. Temp was almost up to 20° by then ..

Friday, December 03, 2010

The Question Answered

A friend asked me what I was doing to lose weight.

Why do people ask such questions and expect one line answers?

Ask me what I did to gain up to 350 pounds and the answer is not one line either.

Losing weight is simple. Burn more than you eat or eat less than you burn.

That is the short and simple answer.

What am I doing to lose weight? I am burning more than I eat or eating less than I burn.

Now, the nuts and bolts of how I am losing weight goes like this:

I started August 9th. I have lost 65 pounds in 16 weeks. Now, that is definitely not typical. Typical is about 2 pounds a week.

What I eat:
Breakfast is always a slim-fast chocolate drink: 190 calories, 10 grams of protein. I usually drink it after my morning walk of 2 or more miles

Lunch varies.
Sometimes it is a salad (usually in the 275 to 325 calorie range.) My salads consist of lettuce, broccoli, onion, radish, carrot, red and green peppers, boiled egg, shredded cheese, and a fat free Italian dressing.

Other times, it is a sub from subway: 350 to 360 calories. I get the turkey and ham, or chicken breast, or club, all with pepper jack cheese, includes everything except pickles.

Supper is anything I want, just in moderation. My suppers are usually in to 500 calorie range (which is a lot of food to me now, veggies=low calories) steak, pork tenderloin, chicken, fish, even pasta.

We never were big on frying things, fried chicken on occasion, but not much else.

Snacks consist of several things: fruit (apple is 81 calories, banana is around 80 to 100 depending on size .. peach and/or pear cups are 70 to 80 calories,) yogurt cup: 100 calories, baked chips and salsa (salsa is only 5 calories per tbsp.).

I also have a jug-o-fireballs. I have one of them about every third day or so, only 35 calories.

(The big Hershey’s chocolate bars are only 40 calories per square.)

The key to losing is to burn more calories or take in less, or a combination of both. For me, walking 2 miles in 40 minutes burns just over 300 calories. It would be more or less for others because of individual weight, higher or lower.

You burn about 10% of the calories you take in by chewing and digesting. Then you burn calories just by living, heart beating, lungs working, blood pumping, ect..

You can find out your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate - number of calories you burn by doing nothing) at Then you multiply your BMR by how active you are and it tells you how many calories to take in to maintain your current weight.

A pound is 3500 calories. Cut out 500 calories a day or burn 500 more calories a day, and you will lose 1 pound in one week.

My BMR is about 2344. Then my activity level brings the calorie count up to 3345 to 3633 calories a day. (You will find this using the Harris-Benedict Equation. The link is on the same page as the BMR calculator.) According to this, I should take in 3300 to 3600 calories a day to keep my weight where it is. I take in about 1100. Using the figures from this site, I should take in 23100 calories per week. I take in 7700, leaving a 13400 calories deficit. Divide that by 3500 and you get 4.4 pounds per weeks. 4.4 pounds times 16 weeks is 70 pounds. I have lost 65 pounds, so it is close.

That is the nuts and bolts.

What one line answer did you want?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Major Milestone Achieved

August 8, 2010:

I decide that enough is enough. I weigh in at 350 pounds. This is not the heaviest I have been (weighed in once at the DR office at 362) but it is heavy enough. I told TJ (Wife) that I wanted to change the way I eat. I realize that I need to change everything about my eating habits. I eat wrong. I eat at the wrong times. I eat the wrong things. I eat the wrong amounts. I eat for the wrong reasons. That changes August 9th, the first full day of my new life.

I plan to lose 130 pounds in 12 months.

August 15, 2010:

After one week on the modified eating plan, I have lost 12 pounds and decide it is time to up the ante. I need to increase my activity. I decide it is time to start walking. Up to this point I have walked for a while with a cane and then only when I deemed walking to be entirely necessary. You know, there is usually someone that will get that for you, or go into the store for you, or do the errand for you. While being helpful, my wife and kids enabled my excuses. I put excuses behind and take a walk around the block. It is one/third of a mile. It took me 20 minutes and I came home breathing hard and sweating.

August, September, October, and November:

The distance I walked on my daily walk increases. I usually do 2 miles but have had days of nearly 4 miles. November 11, I pass the 100 miles walked for exercise mark.

My daily calorie intake has dropped over 70%, from over 3500 to around 1050 calories.


It has been 113 days since I changed my life, literally.

My waist has gone from 58 inches to 47.5 inches.

My hips have gone from 60 inches to 48.5 inches.

My BMI has gone from 53.2 to 43.3.

One hundred thirteen days and my weight has dropped from 350 pounds to 285 pounds. I have lost 65 pounds. That is half of the 130 pounds I plan to lose.

Sixteen weeks and one day and I have lost 22 inches from my waist and hips. Even my wedding ring is nearly too large for my fingers. My face is smaller. My feet are smaller. I can bend over and touch the floor again.

This is the new me.

Today, I am half way to the me I will be again!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving success

It was a great thanksgiving, for which I am grateful.

I didn't go over in my calories and enjoyed practically all of my holiday favorites. I had: Turkey, Ham, Stuffing, Green Beans, Corn, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, and Baked Mac-n-Cheese. I had them all in moderation.

My weekly calories prior to T-Day were:
Friday - 1149
Saturday - 1019
Sunday - 1013
Monday - 1117
Tuesday - 890
Wednesday - 707

And, my calories for Thanksgiving Day .. 1022

The average calorie intake for the seven days including Thanksgiving is 988 calories a day. The daily average for the month of November (so far) is 1015 calories a day. (Now, before you fuss .. I am being supervised by my doctor and she is good with my calorie intake as long as everything keeps functioning properly.)

I can't really say that I was concerned about overeating yesterday. I knew my new eating discipline would prevail. (Although, it did look like a lot of food on the plate.)

I did stay away from all the pies. There were (and still are to some degree) apple, cherry, pecan, and pumpkin pies. I will, at some point this week/weekend have a small slice of pie, but even then it will be much less than my last years normal eating.

Let me be the first to say, I don't feel I have given up anything in this new eating plan. I still eat the things I love. I eat them with a new moderation, but I still eat what I like. I think one of the biggest downfalls in dieting is the idea that you have to give up the foods you love. It is not necessarily true.

My favorite sandwich is simple and loaded with fat and calories. It is a bologna and cheese sandwich with Miracle Whip and onions. I used to eat them many times for lunch. Unfortunately, I would normally eat two of them, to the whopping calories total of well over 1000 calories. I don't do that now. One sandwich, on thinner bread, eaten every now and then.

We cook better. We use lighter substitutes. We don't compromise taste. We cook lighter and eat less.

It was a greatly successful Thanksgiving Day.

I hope yours was as well.

And .. my weigh-in for today .. 288 pounds .. down one more pound

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What? A new size ?

OK, so most of my pants don't fit anymore. I still have a few pair that I can wear. Some of them only bunch up a little under my belt. I posted recently that I found a pair of khaki's in the closet that I looked at and said to myself, "Those will never fit." They were waist size 50. A couple hangers over were another pair of pants that I used to wear that were a waist size 60.

Just to see how much farther i had to go, I tried on the 50's. To my shock, I didn't have to go any farther. They fit!

Yesterday, my wife was at a local buy out store. They buy out lots from stores that are overstock or closeout merchandise. She called me to tell me they had some black St John's Bay dress slacks for $2 and asked if I wanted a couple pair. Well, I do need pants and $2 was a great buy. I told her yes. She said they had 50's and 48's. I told her to get me the 50's as it was what I was wearing.

She came home with two pair; one size 50 and one size 48. I figured I could wear the 50's and work on fitting into the 48's. I tried on the 50's. They fit just fine, but I do have to hem them.

So, I tried on the 48's to see how close I was to fitting into them.

Oh My Gosh !! They fit ?!?!?!

I fit into a waist size 48 pants for the first time in I can't remember.

Let the good times roll !


Monday, November 15, 2010

Late Weigh-in

I didn't get the opportunity to weigh in this weekend as we were busy and didn't visit mom's house. I use her scale for several reasons; a few of those being, it is a DR type scale, it is where I weighed when I began, and it is far enough away to prevent me from obsessing and weighing every day.

So, this weekend's weigh-in was pushed back until today.

The results of the weighing are that I lost another 2 pounds last week. This brings my total weight loss to 61 pounds in 14 weeks. I have gone from 350 pounds on August 8 to 289 pounds on November 15.

I can not even begin to catalog all the changes that losing 61 pounds brings. Someone asked me if it felt better being this much lighter. I had to say yes, but, I feel better in ways I wasn't aware that I felt bad.

When you gain weight slowly, you grow accustomed to the limitations and restrictions gradually. Sure, you notice the big differences. You notice how hard it is to get up and out. you notice how much more effort it takes to do things. You notice how clothes fit tighter or how you have to buy bigger sizes.

However, there are changes you don't notice because they happen so gradually, or it isn't something you do all the time.

There are changes in how long you can stand before pain makes you sit. There are numerous endurance limit changes.

I notice now how I can stand for much longer periods without having to sit down. I notice how I am not constantly shifting my weight from one leg to the next to be comfortable. I notice I walk down steps one step at a time instead of making half steps. (This is where you bring a foot down to one step and then the other foot to the same step, and repeat.)

I notice I don't hurt as much. I don't breath as hard. I don't snore as loud (well, I didn't notice that one. I was told.)

So, yes, it does feel much better. It feels better in ways that will only be evident as I encounter them, but, encounter them, I will.

289 !!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

100 miles

August 8th, I was 350 pounds. It was not the heaviest I had been, but it was plenty heavy enough. I decided to change my life.

August 17, one week into my new lifestyle, I decided that walking would be good for me. Later that evening (11ish) I took off for a walk around the block. Firstly, I live in a small town (pop. 5600,) so; it was safe to be out walking around that late at night. Secondly, it was just 1/3 of a mile.

It took me 20 minutes. Yes, I was walking at the blazing speed of one mile per hour. Oh yeah, it wore me out as well.

August 18, I did it again, albeit much earlier. August 19, I did it three times that day and reached my first mile walking day.

By the end of August, I had walked one 1.8 mile day and had walked 9.75 miles for exercise. I only count the walking I do specifically for exercise.

By the end of September, I had walked a personal best day of 3.28 miles and had walked 43.78 miles that month and achieved a 53.53 mile total.

By the end of October, I had walked a personal best day of 3.9 miles and had walked 41.25 miles that month and achieved a 95.05 mile total.

November started out badly for walking. As you may have read in the previous post, I didn’t walk but one day in the first week. Yesterday, I was determined to get back into the flow of walking. I walked 1.4 miles on Wednesday. Today, I walked 2.4 miles. This brought my total miles, in one week shy of three months, to 100.67 miles walked.

Now, my brother is a runner. He runs 5 to 7 miles a day. Some days he runs 10 or more. He is preparing for a marathon. 100 miles is a couple weeks to him. But, for me, it is a major thing. I was not a walker or runner. Now, I did run in high school, but that was decades ago. (35 years to be exact.)

So, just endure me while I celebrate reaching the 100 mile walking milestone.

Yip yip yippeeeeee !

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

getting back on track

The last seven days have been rather hectic and detrimental to exercising. There have been Doctor visits, hospital stays, surgery, son's wedding planning, daughter's moving, and car selling. Yeah, seems like an average week. In the seven day stretch, I managed to get in one hour of walking.

This morning started out trying to be busy (son-in-law issues) but I was determined. I walked 1.66 miles, including a stop at the courthouse to file the marriage license from last nights wedding.

I hate when I don't get to walk.

I never thought I would be one of those. You know who they are. You see them out all hours of the morning, throughout the day, and even late in the evenings. You see them in their walking suits or jogging suits. You see them walking, oblivious to the weather and other distractions. you see their headphones in as they go along. They are the 'walkers'. I never thought I would be inducted into their tribe.

Yet, there I am, in the morning, putting on my walking pants and tightening up my walking shoes. I am checking the battery in my mp3 player (I listen to the Bible as I walk.) I am checking the time to know how long it took me to walk my walk. I am making sure I have my phone for emergencies. I am checking off the list.

Phone ............... check
MP3 ....................check
Key .....................check
Sunglasses ........check

So far, my longest walks have been in the 3 to 4 mile ranges, which takes me 60 to 80 minutes. No extra hydration needed on my walks. I am, however, on the lookout for the dreaded 'fanny-pack' for the time when my walks grow to longer distances and times that might require some additional H2O.

So, today, determination in hand, I got back to the walks.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

59 pounds and the next wall to fall

My latest weigh-in yielded the results of 59 pounds lost in 13 weeks. That is astounding to me. As I have said in the past, I wish this was the hardest thing I have ever done, so I would have an excuse for not doing it 20 years ago, but it isn't. It has been easy for the most part. The hardest part, probably, was coming to the place where I said I was going to do it.

I have gone from my starting point of 350 pounds (not my heaviest) to today's weight of 291 pounds.

The next wall to fall:

I was in my closet looking for clothes to wear a couple days ago. All my jeans and slacks fit me if I don't mind holding the extra 6 inches of waist material while I walk. Or, if I don't mind 6 inches or more of material bunched up under my belt. I did find one pair of khaki's that looked (in my eyes estimation) to be way too small. I checked the size and the tag read '50 waist'. "There is no way these will fit," I told myself.

So, I put them on, and to my amazement, they fit and fit right. A 50 !! No freaking way !!

So, the next wall to fall (since the 300 pound wall fell) is the 50 inch waist wall. I am looking forward to the day when my pants waist size will be in the 40's.

I am leaning against that wall now.

Pushing !!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The Cost of Carelessness

We were busy yesterday running numerous errands and my wife neglected to lay out anything for supper. This was not that big of an issue, as we did have 'carry out' options available. TJ wanted pizza, so we headed to the local Little Caesar's for some hot and ready pizza.

Now, the local joint doesn't cut their pizza's very well. This is fine as we re-cut them at home and make them a 10 slice pizza instead of an 8 slice pizza. This makes them about 200 calories a slice. The 1/8th slice is still only around 250 calories, which isn't terrible, either.

Well, when I went in to pick up some hot and ready's, I found a large line and an empty pizza holder thingie. Their hot and ready's were neither hot nor ready. The worker told me it was going to be 25 minutes until pizza's were ready. I wasn't in the mood to wait, nor go home and come back, so we went to the Pizza Hut which was about a half block away.

We decided to eat in at the Pizza hut. We ordered the large meat lovers for the three of us. I drank water (I hate paying $2 for a soft drink at restaurants.) Normally, knowing I would be going to a restaurant, I will research the calorie contents to make sure my choices are good, but this was a spur of the moment choice. I assumed the calories would be similar since it was still bread, meat, cheese, and sauce.


The difference was staggering, as I discovered after eating. I had three slices of pizza, thinking I would be in the 600 to 800 calorie range. I had less than 400 calories in the first two meals of the day and figured 800 would be fine. It would put me a little above my average, but still within what i consider acceptable.

1 slice of Pizza Hut's Meat Lovers Pizza is 480 calories !!!

Oh My Gosh !!

In that one meal, I had taken in more calories (1440) than I had taken in on any day (total) in the past three months. The total for the day was 1859 calories.

Sigh .. It is just a one day thing, I tell myself. It was just the result of carelessness. It will not change the fact that I have lost over 50 pounds. It will not change the fact that I am more active and feel better than I have in years. It will not change the fact that I have lost 9 inches in both my waist and my hips.

It will change how I eat in restaurants. I will ask for a nutrition guide before I order if I do not already know the calories and such.

This is much too important to get careless after 12 weeks of hard work.

Viva la revolucion !

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Welcome to the new 'me'

There is an old gospel song that has a line or two in it like this:

"When I look back down the road, where I laid my heavy load, and I'm thankful for the victories I've won. Sometimes I get a thrill, when I look back down the hill, and I see just where the Lord has brought me from."

That may or may not be exactly right, but it is as close as my memory will get me.

This is the tenth week of my changed lifestyle. Some folks like to use the word 'diet' to describe what I am doing. I prefer to think of it as a lifestyle change. When we think of diets, we think of something that is temporary. Of course, that is just what the problem is; most diets are temporary. A person notices they are 10, 20, 50, 100 pounds overweight and they begin a diet to correct it. Once they lose the goal weight, they go off the diet. It has done what it was supposed to do. Then they go back to the lifestyle they had before. That's the problem. Their excess weight was a product of the lifestyle they had before and they have just returned to it. In time, they will gain back the lost weight (and generally more) because they haven't changed their eating habits permanently.

My primary goal and focus of my attention right now is to lose 130 pounds in a year. My goal year began August 8, 2010. I weighed 350 pounds on that day and that was not even the heaviest I have been. It was just what I weighed on that date.

My primary goal is to get my weight back down to 220 pounds.

Here is what I am doing to accomplish this:
• I changed my eating.
• I changed my inactive life.

Allow me to elaborate about the changes.
I changed my eating. This has been a radical change in some ways. Let me first say, I always had healthy eating in my food consumption.
• I didn’t eat a lot of fried foods.
• I didn’t eat a lot of sweets.
• I ate a goodly amount of vegetables.

My problem wasn’t as much what I ate as how much I ate. Even eating healthy foods can be a problem when you eat too much of them. Without actually counting them, my wife estimates I was taking in between 3000 and 3500 calories a day. Those were the calories she saw. There were some days she didn’t see all the things I would eat.

I can tell you this, not as an excuse that I suffer from hypothyroidism. My thyroid tells my brain that I am starving most of the time. I was generally and genuinely hungry most of the time. I am on medication to control it, but the medication cannot control the habits acquired before the problem was diagnosed.

My usual consumption (if eating out fast food) included:
• Wendy’s – 2 singles with cheese and a biggie fry
• McDonalds – a quarter pounder with cheese, a big mac, and large fries
• Taco Bell – 2 beefy 5 layer burritos and a chicken soft ranchero taco
• Burger King – a triple whopper with cheese and a large onion ring

You should be able to see a problem already.

Then, when eating at home, I would have two bologna with cheese sandwiches for lunch and a full supper later, followed by late night snacking. I would sit at the computer and graze all evening. I would open a big bag of chips and eat my way through most of it unconsciously. I would say that 3000 to 3500 calories might have been an optimistic estimate.

Now, on to the non-existent exercise. There isn’t a lot to tell here, since exercise didn’t happen. I walked, when I deemed it absolutely necessary, with a cane. When shopping, I used the cart for support. There was little or no moving around during the day. I have been off work for a while, so there was no going to work and moving there. I worked construction before, but for the four years before becoming unemployed, I was teaching. This entailed moving from the desk to the chalkboard or from the desk in the classroom to the desk in the shop. Again, this was little or no exercise.

That was where I was, on the road, on August 8th, when I decided to change things. There was not a catastrophe in my life. There was not a cataclysmic event that triggered the change. I was visiting a relative in the hospital. He was near 500 pounds and was in the hospital due to an infected port. They had removed the port and were keeping him a few days to insure the infection was under control. He told the hospital that he was dieting so they put him on a low calorie diet plan. He had just finished dinner when I got there to visit. While I was there he had his wife order him a sub sandwich from a local sub shop. In that moment, I saw my future.

At that moment, my lifestyle changed.

I went home that evening, had supper, and didn’t eat anything afterwards. I told my wife that I was changing my eating starting the next day. The truth being told, I started right then. I didn’t snack that evening at all.

I am, in no wise, suggesting that anyone follow my example as far as how much or what they eat. You have to find the plan that works for you. You have to eat in a way that satisfies you or you will not continue. My daily caloric intake dropped from 3500+ to between 900 and 1100 a day. I wish I could tell you that it was the hardest thing I have ever done, but it wasn’t. If it were the hardest thing I had ever done, then I might be able to hang on to my excuses. Compared to the health issues related to gaining and weighing 500 pounds, it was relatively simple.

I have: a slim-fast drink (190 calories) in the morning for protein; a salad (275 to 325 calories) or healthy sub (320 to 360 calories) for lunch; and a moderate supper (whatever I want for around 400 to 600 calories.)

I lose twelve pounds the first week.

Week two began the exercising portion of my life change. I walked around my block. To be fair, the cross streets included a steep incline. However, it was 1/3 of a mile and the first trip took me 20 minutes and almost killed me. I did it without my cane. By the end of the first week, I had logged in 2.96 miles in walking. I know it isn’t a lot to some, but to me, it was 2.96 miles more than I would have walked otherwise. Then, it began to grow.
• Week 2 – 3.29 miles
• Week 3 – 7.71 miles
• Week 4 – 13.33 miles
• Week 5 – 11.27 miles
• Week 6 – 11.04 miles
• Week 7 – 6 miles (had several days with interfering events that prevented walking)
• Week 8 – 7.33 miles (same as above)

Still, even with interfering events, I have walked almost 65 miles since I started walking for exercise. Nine weeks of eating differently, and 8 weeks of moving differently, and I have lost down to 302 pounds. That is an unprecedented 48 pounds. I am two days from this week’s weigh-in, but feel this week may get me down to at least 300, maybe even under it.

Let’s say, for the sake of argument that I do lose 130 pounds in the time I chose. What do I do then? Do I end my diet? Do I end my exercise (I have added some strength training now as well)?

I mean, the diet has done its job. It has accomplished its task. Isn’t it time to discard it?

That would be like throwing away all the work I did to get to my goal weight.

There would be some slight modifications, as my goal would no longer be to lose weight.

I don’t think I could ever go back to the ‘me’ I was before. My new eating plan is just my eating plan now. It isn’t new and it isn’t temporary. My walking plan isn’t new anymore and it isn’t temporary either. It is just part of me now. Eventually, I will run as my weight allows the pressure on my knees. That, when it comes, will just become part of me too.

Welcome to the new me.

Sometimes I get a thrill, when I look back down the hill, and I see just where the Lord has brought me from.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Wedding Anniversary

Today is my 7th year wedding anniversary.

So far, the day has gone like this:

*Wife had to take daughter to work (60 miles round trip .. unplanned)
*Youngest son starts puking just before he was supposed to leave for school
*I took a 2 mile walk alone (wife planned on walking with me .. see event #1)
*Took sleeper sofa to son's house (another 40 mile round trip)
*Cut out about 15 feet row of hedges (over 6 feet tall .. burned over 500 calories .. Yipee)
*Finally stopped for lunch (healthy salad .. around 300 calories)

Let's see how the rest of this anniversary day goes ..

Friday, October 01, 2010

DR's office .. yeah!

The DR's office called me yesterday to follow up on my complaint. They were very apologetic and eager to get me in to see my doctor as soon as I could get there. We settled on an 8:40 AM appointment today. It was very different than Tuesday's fiasco.

I arrived on time. I barely got checked in and seated before they were calling me back to the exam rooms. As we were walking back toward the room I would be in, we passed my doctor in the hall. She greeted me, "Hi Ron!" and told me I was next to be seen.

Her nurse checked my vitals and as soon as she left the doctor came in.

We chatted about my diet and the changes I have made for about 25 minutes. She asked all sorts of questions and offered good advice. She, basically, told me that since what I was doing was working, keep it up. She told me what to look for as danger signs if there were going to be problems. There were none of them.

She told me that we needed to recheck my thyroid soon, but since her office lab charges a lot and I am without insurance now, she told me of a local place that charges a lot less, but she couldn't remember the name. She said she would find it and send it to me.

She checked my legs (I do suffer from some edema ... fluid retention) and was very pleased with what she found. She checked my heart and said it sounded great. She checked my breathing and, again, it was great. She checked my blood pressure. She told me that my BP always surprised her. She said, by my size, she always expected it to be high. It was 120/78, which was great. My pulse rate was great.

She checked my glands and remarked that, for the first time, she could get her hands around my throat to check them at the same time. (Good changes.)

We talked about my walking and exercising. I took her a printout (excel spreadsheet) of my daily calories, Carbohydrates, fats, protein, and walking for the past seven and a half weeks. We talked about my meds. I am currently only prescribed meds for my thyroid, but also take an OTC Claritin, a multivitamin, magnesium, and two ibuprofen (for tendonitis in my heels) every morning. She was happy with that.

We talked about her son, her parents, my wife and kids. We talked about singing. (Her office manager told her I complained about the last visit but sang her praises. She told the OM that, in fact, I did sing. She thought it was humorous that the OM used that particular phrase.)

It was a great visit.

After the visit I stopped by mom's to let her know what the DR said and did a 'day early' weigh-in. I won't count it as official until I weigh-in tomorrow while I am in town to get a haircut. But, unofficially, I weighed in at 305 pounds. This brings my total weight loss in 8 weeks to 45 pounds. Unofficially, of course.

Hope your week has been a great one.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Poetry .. Questions


If, by inattention

I allowed you to become my life

And then you walked away

If, even by design

I made you my whole life

And then you weren’t there

If, foolishly I guess

I lost myself in the wraps of you

And suddenly you slipped through

If, of late

I took you for granted and leaned too hard

And then you were gone

If, I only saw

The things about you I loved

And then there was something I disliked

If, by some twist of chance

You became my foundation

But you left, in the storm

If, I unwittingly

Became completely dependent

Then you did something unexpected

If, you became my rock

But turned out to be

A rolling stone

If, I made you my comfort

In the darkest of nights

And then couldn't find you in the blackness

If, my laugh

Became tied to your laugh

And then I couldn't hear it

If, my tears

Knew your wiping hand

But then, it wasn't there to stop them

Did you know

How much I let you become

And did it chase you away

Did my life

So entwined with yours

Begin to choke a little

Was I

Too dependent

Too independent

Was I

Too close

Too far away

Was I

Not enough

Too much

Will I

Love again

Trust to love again

Will I

Find another heart

Will I even look


There is no one

To hear my heart

As it continues

To ask the questions

If I

Did I

Was I

Will I


Ron Simpson, Jr.

September 13, 2010