Week 32: I am killing it!

I was listening to one of my favorite Pandora workout stations on the treadmill the other day and Power by Kanye West came on. There is one line in the song that really resonates with me and it really is the theme for this week in my journey

At the end of the day goddamn it I’m killin’ this shit

Sometimes the daily ups and downs and all of the other noise in life makes me lose sight of the bigger picture in my journey. It is easy to encounter a minor setback and let it be discouraging. But, just when that happens, there are new wins that make me step back and say “wow!”.

This is one of those weeks that started a little discouraging and then something just clicked. The second half of this week was amazing, it was successful and it reminded me of how far I am come.

Crushed the 85 pounds lost mark

Over the past week plus, I was flirting with hitting the 85 pounds lost mark, but suddenly had a big upward weight fluctuation and missed hitting that milestone. That happens and, while frustrating, is a part of the journey to which I have become accustomed.

Next thing you know, pretty much overnight, I not only got to the 85-pound loss mark, but I blew right past it to 86, then 87 and then 88 in the span of 4 days. It was amazing! It is like something clicked in my metabolism and I am a weight burning machine! Even today, after drinking a few beers yesterday which usually cause a temporary weight gain, I was down another .2 pounds – I expected to be up.

If my current trend continues, I should achieve the 90-pound mark early this week. I am very excited about that!

Numbers just tell part of the story

As you have concluded by reading this blog, I am a numbers-driven guy in this journey. I like measuring things, predicting where I will be, comparing my forecast to actuals to identify variances, and so forth. The numbers are something that I can measure and can easily see progress. Visually seeing your own progress, when you see yourself every day, is a lot hard than the numbers.

Through this journey so far, it has been hard to really tell a difference in my appearance. I know I look different, people say I look different, but it isn’t a stunning difference to me. That all changed this week as Liz and I have tried recreating some old pictures to show a before and after.

The following pictures, while not exact recreations, are directionally the same pose in the same place. Both sets of picture are at two of our favorite local restaurants: Barcelona (which remodeled) and CBC. After looking at these pictures, yes I see a difference! And, there are more pictures to come when we get back to Indian Lake in a couple of months.

Inconsistent gym visits, but they are happening

I am still very inconsistent in my visits to the gym. I want to go every day or at least every 2 days, but I am still finding it too easy and comfortable to hit the snooze button instead. It is particularly hard to go back to the gym a day after a good workout where I am sore. But, pain is part of growth and I just need to be aware of what I am doing so I don’t injure myself by over-working one area.

That said, I did get to the gym a few times this week and I even got to go outside for a run to enjoy an unexpected 60-degree day in January. As has become a bit of a trend, my Saturday workout this week was a rock-solid one and I killed it. I burnt over 1000 calories in the workout and was able to target lots of different areas of my body.

I have noticed myself getting stronger too. On many of the machines I have been using for months, I have moved the weight up 1 or 2 plates. Plus, I started doing arm curls with a 30 pound barbell, then had moved up to a 40 pound and today I moved up to 50 pounds. The 50 pound barbell is important because I feel like that is a respectable amount of weight to be using when other people (other guys really) see you working out. That is probably just in my head really.

Another sign of progress is my treadmill approach over the past week. I have started a routine where I warm up for 2 minutes of increasing speed walking just to stretch. Then, I set the speed to 5.5 mph which is a 10:54 mile and I run a mile! It isn’t comfortable, I often want to stop and walk part way through, but I do it. Just 3 or 4 months ago, I couldn’t even imagine running a mile and now it is part of my standard routine.

Something I learned this week is that I am not good at controlling my pace when I am not on a treadmill. On Friday, I went out for a run outdoors for the first time in a long time. I set out with the goal of running at a pace of 11 or 12 minutes per mile. This is a good, semi-comfortable pace and I thought it would let me complete my first full running lap around Schiller Park – a goal I have had.

Turns out, including my .25 mile warm up walk to the park and a brief slow down during my lap, my pace was 11:26. This means that I must have been running at a 10-minute mile and that is a little too fast for me right now. No wonder my heart rate stayed in the “Peak” zone almost the whole time! Oops.

Clothes are a struggle… a good problem

All of the new pants I bought a while back when I did my first round of wardrobe replacement are now unwearable for me. A couple of weeks ago, I bought a couple of pairs of new jeans that were 10 inches smaller than when I started. So, this week, I decided I needed to buy some more and went shopping.

My first stop was Target where they didn’t have my size at all. They had bigger, which isn’t helpful. They also had smaller, which I tried on and they are just a little bit too small. So, with a bit of anxiety, I decided to take a trip to Old Navy.

Old Navy pants shopping gives me anxiety because I tried to buy pants at Old Navy a while back. In August, when I first started needing new clothes, I tried Old Navy and it was a very discouraging moment because they had nothing big enough to fit me. I wrote about this in my 8/26/2017 post.

What a difference a few months can make! I grabbed a few pairs of jeans in my size (yes, they had it) and headed to the fitting rooms. I tried them on and had to abandon them all. They were WAY too big on me and I couldn’t wear them. I ended up going down one more size (which is 12 inches less than when I started) and those were even a bit big on me, but comfortable. Plus, they were on sale for $25 a pair, so score!

Unfortunately, I have reached a point where pretty much my entire closet has to be purged. This leaves me with like 10 shirts and 5 pairs of jeans that fit me and nothing else. So, I am going to have to keep buying clothes that I am just going to get rid of in a couple of months. This part of the journey is annoying and expensive. However, it is also pretty rewarding!

My goal is in sight… then what?

My final thought (who am I, Jerry Springer?!) in this long post is about my goal. When I started this journey on 6/15/2017, I set a goal of losing over 100 pounds in under a year. I thought it was an aggressive goal and I would likely not achieve it in that timeframe.

The reality is, I am on-pace to hit 90 pounds by the end of January. So, I think my 100-pound mark will be here before St Patty’s day. While it is exciting that my goal is really in sight now, it also leaves me with a question that I am struggling to answer.

Then what?

I am going to need to make some choices about what I want to do after I hit my goal. Option 1 is to switch into “maintain” mode and just hold at that weight. That doesn’t sound exciting to me. Option 2 is to just keep going and figure out a new goal. That sounds like a recipe for aimlessness.

So, I think I am going to just keep going until I hit the 1 year mark in June and see where I am then. It would be awesome to be under the 200 pound mark – I cannot believe that is even a possibility! But, I am also going to start focusing on bodybuilding, targeting certain areas of my body that I want to continue to refine. Plus, I will start focusing on other related goals like running a 5K.

But, I cannot take my eyes off the prize. I need to get to the 100 pound mark first before I can figure out what to do next.

Check back next week for more!

Last week’s stats (1/15 – 1/21):
Distance walked/run: 25.4 miles
Total calories burnt: 24,571
Total calories consumed: 10,970
Weight change: 0.7 pounds lost

My Morning Routine

I am completely fascinated by reading about the morning routines of famous leaders current and historical as well as others who are willing to share. Over the past couple of days I have read a couple of good articles about the things that high performers or strong leaders do in the morning. Here are links to a couple of them:

Given that my morning routine is where I made one of my biggest changes to support my Operation Melt journey, I thought I would write a one-off post to share my routine.

Prime Time

One thing I will say before going much further is that the morning is my prime time. I think the best in the mornings. I am most focused in the mornings. I have the most control over my time in the mornings – with the exception of having to go to work. So, when I looked for where to prioritize “me” time and chase personal pursuits, the morning was the clear answer. So, that is why this morning routine has come to be over the past 7 months.

Wake Up… Eventually

On weekdays, my alarm is set for 5:15 each morning. I have set it as early as 5 or as late as 6 depending on my needs. But, 5:15 is really my sweet spot. In case you are wondering, my normal bed time is 11 or 11:30.

When my alarm goes off, I immediately hit the snooze button. Usually, this only lasts until 5:25-5:30 or even just for a few minutes. However, there are mornings that this will persist until 6:30 – those are usually bad mornings where I don’t get to “me” time and I feel excessively rushed.

Bathroom Time

So, I am going to possibly over-share here, but we are all adults and we all use the bathroom.

My first step after getting out of bed is to go to the bathroom. In the bathroom, I have an iPad and I use it to check email, check Facebook and sometimes read news on the web. But, I always spend a bit of time writing in the morning on the iPad.

Since November of 2016, I have been journaling every morning. It is a good way to document my life and keep a record. But, it is also a good way to explore thoughts and ideas. Also, it is just relaxing. I do my journaling in OneNote and my normal daily journal entry follows a structure, but I will deviate from time to time.

  • How am I feeling now and anything immediately on my mind
  • Recapping the events of the prior day
  • Reviewing my plans and goals for today
  • Checking in on my health – status from prior day, current day weight, any issues, any progress

I know that a lot of the morning best practices say that this is the time to disconnect from devices. I don’t do that and think it would be unproductive and uncomfortable.

Then, I brush my teeth, complete my daily weigh-in (usually multiple attempts until I get a consistent reading) and get dressed to head to the gym.

Syncing My Apps

Once I am downstairs, I grab a big glass of cold water and I spend a few minutes syncing up all of my apps. I make sure my weight has synced to Apple Health and then I log my BMI and my resting heart rate. Then, I go into my food tracker app and flag the prior day as complete and log today’s weight. Once I finish this, I know that my key metrics are all set and I can start my day.

Working Out

The workout information below is “happy path” and assumes that I haven’t skipped my workout – this happens sometimes. Plus, it assumes that I am working out in the gym instead of outdoors.

After syncing up all of my fitness apps, my next step is to put on my gym shoes and head out the door. I try to get to the gym before 6:30 and spend a solid 30 minutes working out. On weekdays, my workout primarily focuses on the treadmill for some cardio. If I finish my cardio before 7, I will toss in some weight training too, but only if I have time. My weight training is primarily on the weekends or days off work.

After I finish my workout, I dash out to the car and head back home.

Closing Out My Workout & Breakfast

When I get home (usually just after 7), I grab another glass of water and probably some food. I say probably because I sometimes skip eating and grab something healthy on the way to work or at work. My normal breakfast consists of oatmeal (warm or cold overnight oats) or fruit with a hardboiled egg or an artisan toast or a smoothie or a Dannon Lite & Fit yogurt.

While I am eating and drinking, I log the results of my workout in my food tracker app. This is where I get a full picture of what my calorie budget will be for the day. Plus, I may use this time to get caught up on my Operation Melt Twitter account.

Work Prep and Hitting the Road

My next step is to get ready for work. I take my shower (often for too long!), shave, do my hair and get dressed. My goal is to get into the bathroom to start prep before 7:30 and to leave the bathroom before 8.

I head downstairs pack up anything for work and then head out the door for work. My goal is to get there in enough time to get organized before my standing 8:30 meeting.

My Commute

I try to get in the car just after 8 and hit the road. I usually start with a stop at a local coffee place: Winan’s, Stauf’s or Starbucks. Then, I hit the road for my commute which is normally less than 15 minutes.

While I am in the car, I usually listen to XM radio and catch up on the news of the day. I usually listen to CNN or MSNBC for my trip. Alternatively, I may decide to listen to comedy stations and get a good chuckle in while commuting. If I am in the middle of an audio book or podcast, I may continue listening to that in the car.

Starting My Day

I get to work around 8:20 or so. Then I startup my computer, check email one more time and then head off to my 8:30 project standup meeting. Once I am there, I virtually cease to be in control of my schedule through the day because my calendar stays pretty full with meetings. I try to piece in the real work in the free times between meetings or at lunch or at the end of the day.

Just to put some closure on the day, I usually exit the office around 6 each night.

There you have it, my morning routine. I really am not 100% content with it, but it is way better than this time last year. At that time, my routine consistent of waking up, getting showered and getting the hell out the door so I could be at work between 7 and 7:30. My current routine is much healthier!

Week 31: The scale isn’t always my friend

This has been a week of mixed results and random fluctuations in my weight. There have certainly been some positives, but lots of frustrations with my weight.

My results.. The scale is an asshole!

Most of the week, I haven’t known what to expect when I stepped on the scale and I spent most of the week working off a big weight fluctuation.

Between Saturday morning and Monday morning of this week, my weight increased 3 pounds. I know that it is biologically impossible to have a “real” weight gain of that much is such a short period of time, so I know it is temporary weight. My body is very susceptible to day-to-day fluctuations based on alcohol consumption (though that has leveled out), water consumption, sodium and the speed of my digestive system. I know that and I know it well. But, that doesn’t make it any less frustrating.

Though it took me most of the week, I got through the fluctuation, Then, Saturday morning, I reached an all-time low weight. 84.4 total pounds lost and I am sneaking up on the 85 pound mark pretty quickly.

Unfortunately, this morning, I had another weight fluctuation from yesterday’s low weight. I am up just about 3 pounds from yesterday morning – that sucks! But I did eat A LOT of food (though within my calorie target), had 2800mg of sodium and drank over 200 ounces of water. Other than over-consumption of alcohol (which I did NOT do yesterday), I think those are all of my common triggers of fluctuations. But, I am hopeful that I break through this temporary gain MUCH faster than last week’s.

Skipping the gym… often

One thing that might be contributing to the slower movement in my weight is that I skipped the gym for almost the entire week.

It was so cold in the morning, there was lots of snow on the ground all week, I was experiencing several frustrations unrelated to fitness and the snooze button was my choice over working out. I know better than to do this and know that those are just excuses. But, those were the choices that I made and I need to get better at choosing better.

I did get back to the gym on Saturday and had a great workout. I set a new personal milestone that I will talk about in a minute. But, that personal milestone on Saturday meant that I was very sore on Sunday and ended up deciding to make it a day of rest.

1000+ calorie workout

During my Saturday workout, I set a new personal record for calories burnt in a single workout. I burnt 1033 total calories during my workout and felt pretty good with it.

I did 35 minutes of intervals on the treadmill to start the workout and felt pretty exhausted at the end of that. Then, I did 25 minutes of weight training including abs, seated rows, barbell curls, lunges, bench press and squats. Then, I did some planks before a cool down stretching set. But, I still had some energy and saw where I was on calorie burn, so I decided to hop back onto the treadmill for a little more before calling it quits.

What I didn’t count in my 1000+ calories of exercise was the afternoon housework and the planks while watching basketball. In general, I had an exercise-filled day on Saturday that helped put me back on the right track from the low exercise week.

Unfortunately, as I mentioned above, I started feeling a little sore right before bed on Saturday night. Then, when I woke up this morning, I felt like I had been hit by a truck. My chest, arms and thighs are very sore.

I didn’t recognize you

Over the past couple of months, the changes in my appearance related to my fitness journey have become pretty obvious. I am not just smaller, but I think I look pretty different. And for me to notice it when I see myself every day, means that others are really starting to see it.

These changes in my appearance led to an interesting experience on Thursday at work. I was coming down the stairs and at the bottom of the stairs was one of my friends and a mentee of mine. We have spent a fair amount of time together and she knows me pretty well. But, she told me that she didn’t recognize me at first.

That was a pretty validating and motivating reaction to get. I am not trying to become a different person, but I kind of am trying to become a different person.

Reaction from others

One thing that has been very interesting through this journey is how people react to it. People really aren’t sure what to say or how to react in a way that won’t offend and it leads to some very interesting (yes, I keep using that word because I can’t think of another way to describe it) conversations.

Here are a few examples of the reactions that are pretty common… let me start off by saying that everybody has 100% the best of intentions. Everybody is trying to be supportive and I completely appreciate that and am blessed to have so many people around me who actually care. I just wanted to share the reactions because they have been on my mind. Plus, Liz and I had a long discussion about them yesterday and it was an ah-ha moment.

  • “You are just melting away” or “the incredible shrinking man” are ones that I get often. These are fine, they make me feel good and they are the inspiration for the name of my website.
  • “You must feel so much better” is one that I keep hearing from people and it is a head-scratcher for me. I didn’t feel bad before and wasn’t aware of any ways I was struggling in my life. So, it isn’t that I feel “better” per se, but I do feel different. I have a bit more energy, I am way more aware and deliberate in my life and I am trying new things that I didn’t know I was missing. Plus, as I sit here on a Sunday morning completely sore from a workout, I am not necessarily feeling “better” that the same Sunday a year ago.
  • “Is Tony ok?” Is one of the earlier reactions that I got and it was through somebody else. This colleague of a colleague notices that it looked like I was losing weight and was concerned. This was an awesome moment for a couple of reasons. First, this may have been one of the earliest instances of a random person noticing my results, so that’s fun. Plus, this person who hardly knows me expressed concern in my well-being. That kind of makes me happy for humanity in general.
  • “Tony isn’t even overweight anymore, he’s just like a normal guy” is something that I heard recently that made me chuckle a bit. First, it is an uplifting statement because I am, in fact, still overweight and working to lose 16 more pounds on my journey. But, to have somebody say that I am not even overweight is great and the first time in my entire life that I have heard that. But, when I was overweight, was not a normal guy? I know this is not what the person meant, but I really is a symbol of the impact of body size on society’s perceptions of you as a person. Deep, right?
  • “You must be so proud” is something that people often say to Liz when talking about my weight loss. This is a very interesting sentiment and I am not sure what it really means. Liz and I have been best friends for over 20 years and my size and her size have never been a dimension of our relationship. Are people saying she is proud because I have set a goal and worked my ass off to try to meet that goal, so it is pride in my determination? Or is it pride that you finally have a smaller, right-sized man? I am not offended and I don’t think she is either, but it is a head-scratcher.
  • “You better watch out Liz if he keeps going” is one that Liz hears a lot and it is a bit more offensive (though I know that is not the intent). Though I am sure this is an innocent statement to humorously show support, there are several possible disturbing meanings of this. First, it could be interpreted as “wow, Tony is almost thin enough that people will finally find him attractive and you are going to need to be jealous Liz.” If that is the meaning, this compliment kind of sucks. If it means that “Tony is going to be attractive and choose a different mate”, the compliment really sucks even more. Or, if you put those together, it could mean “Tony is going to be attractive and women are going to start throwing themselves at him and he is going to cheat on you” which is the worst possible meaning. While the rockstar feeling sounds fun on the surface, my size has nothing to do with my integrity.
  •  Finally, there are some people, people in our family, who had no idea that anything was different about me at Christmas. I had lost 75 pounds in just over 6 months, I had lost about 10 inches off my waist and there are people who didn’t notice. This is a great moment in grounding me in realism about my journey.

As I said in the beginning, none of these statements are really offensive or hurtful in the slightest. Everybody has the best of intentions and wants to be supportive and complimentary and I could not be more appreciative. But, I am always fascinated about how people speak to and interact with one another and this has been a great case study.

Check back next week for more!

Last week’s stats (1/8 – 1/14):
Distance walked/run: 24.9 miles
Total calories burnt: 24,547
Total calories consumed: 10,961
Weight change: 1.7 pounds lost

Week 30: Progress is coming fast now

It is already the second week of 2018 and things are really heating up for me in my Operation Melt journey.  My cold is pretty much gone and I am making things happen.I am in a much better spot this week than I was last week.

Here are some of my highlights this week.

Returning to the gym

Through the entire first week of 2018 I skipped out on the gym. I have plenty of reasons (or excuses) including that I was sick and that it was really cold (single digits) in the mornings. But, mostly I found that my morning choice was snooze button over working out. Fortunately, I started reversing that trend this week.

Throughout this week, I went to the gym 3 times. The 3rd time was on Saturday after we had received 6 inches of snow. The roads were mostly snow covered and were very slippery. Plus, it was like 16 degrees and wind gusts of 20 MPH. I actually had to wear boots and change shoes at the gym. But, I guess that is what commitment looks like!

I have altered my gym routine a little bit. Instead of just running on the treadmill for my first 30 minutes, I am now doing an interval run on the treadmill. I have adopted something called a pyramid interval and it goes like this:

  • 2 minute warm-up walk building from 2.5 MPH to 3.5 MPH
  • 1 minute run at 6 MPH
  • 1 minute walk at 3.5 MPH
  • 2 minute run at 6 MPH
  • 1 minute walk at 3.5 MPH
  • 3 minute run at 6 MPH (or 5.5 if 6 is too much)
  • 1 minute walk at 3.5 MPH
  • 4 minute run at 6 MPH (or 5-5.5 if 6 is too much)
  • 1 minute walk at 3.5 MPH
  • 4 minute run at 6 MPH (or 5-5.5 if 6 is too much)
  • 1 minute walk at 3.5 MPH
  • 3 minute run at 6 MPH (or 5-5.5 if 6 is too much)
  • 1 minute walk at 3.5 MPH
  • 2 minute run at 6 MPH
  • 1 minute walk at 3.5 MPH
  • 1 minute run at 6 MPH
  • 2 minute cool-down walk at 3.5 down to 2.5 MPH

The result is that my heart rate stays up the whole time and I feel like I have had a VERY solid workout. Then, depending on day of the week, I move to weight training for another 15 minutes or so. Then, 5 to 10 minutes of cool down stretching.

Weight loss accelerates

Another interesting development in my journey is that my weight loss has significantly accelerated in the new year. Nearly every day, I see a loss of some amount and have started minimizing the daily ups and downs. Even when I drink alcohol, I usually still see a drop in weight unless I drink beer.

Since the beginning of this year, I have lost 9 pounds and I am quickly approaching the 85 pounds lost mark. I don’t know how the acceleration happened, but I am assuming it is related to my metabolism. I guess I really don’t care how it happened as long as it continues!

Daily calorie target falls… again

Unfortunately, there is definitely a downside to the acceleration of the weight loss. It means that there has also be an acceleration in the decreases in my daily calorie target. This week is the first time that my daily calorie budget has fallen below 2000 calories. I am currently down to 1981 calories per day.

I am calling this a downside because calories add up very quickly. So, it is very difficult to stay within my calorie target and still consume enough food that my brain (not body) is satisfied. I think a lot about this when I eat 2 pieces of pizza and drink a glass of wine and it adds up to a third of my daily calorie target.

This is where exercise comes in. My daily calorie target is based on my base metabolic rate (BMR) or the number of calories my body will naturally burn at rest. If I have a good workout that burns another 700 calories, I can increase my consumption a bit. So, sticking with my workout routine is a pretty big deal!

New healthy recipes

The other way I continue to react to my decreasing daily calorie target is by continuing to ramp up the healthy eating. I have been collecting recipes and starting to try a few here and there. A couple of my recent wins include overnight oats and buffalo cauliflower.

When I go to the grocery store, I load up on fresh produce without having a well-defined plan for what I am going to do with what I purchase (in the last trip I bough a parsnip and an avocado). So, I have to find creative ways of consuming the produce before it goes bad or I have just wasted money and food.

My plan is to start sharing some of the recipes on my blog so you can try them too. Plus, I share the ones that I borrow from to create my own via Twitter on a regular basis. So, make sure you follow @OperationMelt.

Opportunities to talk about the journey

One other great thing that has happened over the past week is that I have had MANY opportunities to talk about my journey. I have had lots of random people at work or at restaurants that we frequent come up to me and say “hey, have you lost weight?” Then, they want to know how it happened and what I am doing.

People always ask me “what’s your secret” like there is some magical pill that exists. I don’t know if they are happy or sad when they hear the truth that it is simply a commitment to knowing what I am consuming, managing it in a healthy way and layering on exercise. Then, I direct them to OperationMelt.com to learn more.

I am starting to see lots of interest in my journey online too. OperationMelt.com traffic is steadily increasing and coming from all over the world. When I shared my weekly post on LinkedIn last week, I received over 2000 views of the post. So, lots of people are seeing my journey and I am just hoping that it is helping them be successful with their own journey.

Disclaimer: Everything Isn’t Perfect

I know that this week’s post was pretty much only good news. But, I don’t want to be one of those people who tries to live only a perfect life on social media. Not everything is perfect in my life and I have many of the same trials and tribulations as other people. There are some areas of my life where I am not being successful and some that are just balls of stress. But, I am choosing to focus on my commitment to getting fit and trying to use those positive results as momentum to keep moving forward.

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.
Helen Keller

Check back next week for more!

Last week’s stats (1/1 – 1/7):
Distance walked/run: 21.6 miles
Total calories burnt: 24,320
Total calories consumed: 10,109
Weight change: 5.8 pounds lost

Week 29: 2018 brings mixed results

So, we are one week into 2018 and let’s hope this week isn’t setting the tone for the whole year or my fitness journey is in trouble. I have been sick this entire week with an annoying persistent cough that gets worse as I get active. At the same time, the weather has been in single digit temperatures in the mornings. These 2 factors have combined to make me just want to sleep in each morning and I have not been to the gym through the entire first week of 2018. This is not a trend that I can allow to continue and week 2 of the year needs to be killer!

Success Through the Setbacks

While my workouts have been very limited this week, I am still seeing a positive trend with weight loss. I crossed the 80 pounds lost mark this week. At my Saturday morning weigh-in, I was 5 pounds less than where I was at my Monday morning weigh-in. Certainly, my Monday weigh-in was artificially skewed upward due to my consumption through New Years weekend, but I am definitely at a new low weight at the 80 pound mark.

On Saturday afternoon, I went clothes shopping to find some sweaters and to start thinking about round 2 of buying smaller pants.  I ended up buying two new pairs of jeans, which in itself is not noteworthy.  However, the jeans I bought are the same size I wore in high school!  This means that I have not only lost over 80 pounds, I have also lost about 10 inches around my waist!

So far, 2018 is a definite reminder that success isn’t always a straight line!

Calories In, Calories Out

I have talked before about how my daily calorie intake adjusts down as I lose weight – it has happened again! As of Saturday morning, my daily calorie intake has decreased to 2,005 calories; I have become VERY aware of how low this is. For example, I had a very small amount of high fiber & high protein oatmeal for breakfast on Saturday morning and it represented 10% of my daily intake! And I was still hungry! This is another reason that exercise is so important because the calorie burn gives me more flexibility in calorie intake.

I spent some time this week looking at my average daily calorie burn as tracked by my fitness tracker – which I wear 24 hours per day minus when I am in the shower. Over the past few months, my average daily calorie burn has started to decrease. My body simply does not burn as many calories when at rest as it did when I was heavier. Unfortunately, this supports the decrease in my daily calorie intake target!

The data also supported something else that I kind of already knew.  The cold weather has decreased my average active/exercise calories. The decrease is  because I don’t get as much exercise outside of the gym setting as I did when it was warmer and I would go out for a random walk. I could try to go out for a random walk in the cold weather, but I am just incredibly uncomfortable in the cold now. With such a extreme about of weight loss I am so unaccustomed to feeling the cold as much as I do now that it is almost painful.

Not Getting Easier

My journey is getting more difficult but it is completely worth the effort. The results are so visible to me now that it is stunning and a little emotional.

My weight has been a negative part of my life for as long as I can remember. In just under 7 months and with just a little hard work, I lost 80 pounds, that is about 25% of my body weight. Why in the world did I wait until I was 40 to do this? Why did I let this problem persist for so long and be so embarrassing? I think I look like a different person and I am not ashamed of how I look anymore. Liz has even found some really good “before” pictures that we can completely recreate over the next few weeks to show the change.

My Changing Diet

My diet still includes many of the same things as it did before I started this journey – pizza, burgers, alcohol, cookies, etc. However, I have also added in some new things and am really starting to crave healthier options than I used to. We went grocery shopping the other day and I really loaded up on fresh fruits and vegetables. I have started regularly making overnight oats for breakfast. I made buffalo cauliflower bites as a side dish with dinner (turkey sloppy joes) one night this week. I have saved a TON of recipes that I want to try for various healthy food options and I just crave good stuff.

On the topic of intake, there is another surprise (at least to me) in my consumption. Beer has been pretty much eliminated beer from my drinking habits. I will still drink beer here and there and will likely do so more in the summer, but it just isn’t a go-to for me. Instead, when I am drinking alcohol, I will default to a bourbon that is lower in calories and takes WAY longer than a beer to consume so I drink less of it. Also, I enjoy red wine that is also a slower consumption drink and is heart healthy.

As I said, the first week of 2018 wasn’t the best for my journey though I still made progress. I just have to remember that this is a journey and I will be better next week.

Last week’s stats (12/25 – 12/31):
Distance walked/run: 23.8 miles
Total calories burnt: 25,447
Total calories consumed: 11,937
Weight change: 3.8 pounds lost