Week 22: Getting Back On Track

After a pretty uninspiring week last week, I am seeing some new progress this week. I had a couple day of missed workouts and my weight fluctuated up a bit. Then, by mid-week, I started getting back into the regular routine of working on and saw some progress. I started seeing my weight more consistently getting to the 259 mark.

On Saturday, I dedicated a lot of time to exercise. I went to the gym for a workout and did a pretty good workout and burnt a ton of calories. Then, I got home from the gym and noticed that the weather was pretty nice. So, I went out for a second workout outdoors with a run around the neighborhood. Then, later in the afternoon, I went out for another walk. These are choices I would never have made on a Saturday morning/afternoon before this journey began and I am happy that it is requiring less and less willpower to keep moving and it is starting to become more of a habit.

A new issue I am starting to develop is that I am starting to struggle a bit with my daily calorie target. My daily calorie target is 2100 given my current weight. Unfortunately, one craft beer (which I really like) is 240 calories or more (more than 10% of my target). So, it is getting much harder to fit in everything in my calorie target and the importance of calorie burn through exercise increases.

Related to my calorie target is a mental struggle too. I have dropped my daily calorie target from 3000+ to 2100 in the span of 5 months. I think this physical change has happened faster than my brain changing to understand it. My brain doesn’t want fewer calories yet even though my body physiologically needs fewer calories. So, I still have cravings here and there that I need to manage. That was something unexpected for me and something that will take some work to manage. Plus, I am going to have to get ok with drinking WAY slower when I drink in order to stretch the calorie consumption over a longer period of time.

This whole journey has been a lot of work for me and has required commitment and focus. So far, I have done great with that and have managed to lose 20% of my body weigh in 5 months. I am very proud of that accomplishment and most people never achieve what I have achieved. But, I think the next chapter is going to be even more difficult. The weight burns off way more slowly now and there are more days where I gain than there used to be. My body is more sensitive to peaks and valleys of consumption now than it used to be. My heart and lungs are becoming more efficient, so the same exercise is less impactful than when I started. But, my running endurance has not ramped up as quickly as I had hoped and I struggle with more than 2 minutes of running. I have not done a good job with putting together a plan for the gym, so I do the same things there, I meander around and get bored. I know I can do this, but it is harder than it was to achieve the same successes.

One other win this week is in my cardio fitness score measured by my Fitbit. I started in the range of “Poor to Fair” and this week I moved fully into the “Average” category after spending a month or more in the “Fair to Average” category. I really hope this is real and my heart health has really improved this much.

Last week’s stats:
Distance walked/run: 26.9 miles
Total calories burnt: 25,614
Total calories consumed: 13,180
Weight change: 1 pound lost

Week 21: Unexciting Week in My Journey

This was pretty much just a ho-hum week in my fitness journey. I got some good workouts in and tried to make mostly good decisions. But, a long weekend at Indian Lake hurt a bit because it was too cold to go outside for a run (though we worked in one hike) and calorie consumption usually goes up when there. Plus, it was another week (albeit 4 days) of excessive stress that left me so drained that I was falling asleep before 10p each night, which is abnormal for me.

On a positive note, there was one morning this week that my weight dipped below 260 and I was in the 250s. I did a fairly good job of managing my calorie intake even with alcohol and junk food at the lake. So, it wasn’t all bad in the health department.

Plus, this was another week where it seemed like more people are noticing the changes. I had several people come up to me and make comments about my weight loss. I really think a lot of that was related to some new jeans that I bought. I bought the jeans at Target! I cannot remember the last time that I could go into a Target and buy clothes to fit me. That is progress.

Last week’s stats:
Distance walked/run: 33.2 miles
Total calories burnt: 27,840
Total calories consumed: 14,434
Weight change: 2.4 pounds lost

Week 20: Birthday Week Wins and Losses

My birthday week is now complete and I did celebrate a bit too much. I had a delicious Mexican lunch with my team at work and they got me a cake. All wonderful. Then, I had a huge birthday dinner that I referred to a s brutal calorie assault. Add to that some pretty heavy drinking and it wasn’t my healthiest choice yet. The next day, I was up 3 pounds, which is clearly temporary water retention and unprocessed food in me because that is not biologically possible.

On the topic of biological mysteries… I had a killer workout on Saturday. I walked/ran over 16,000 steps and 6 miles. I had 2 total hours of exercise. I even extended my running duration even a bit further than I have to-date. I burnt about 5,000 total calories and stayed at my consumption target for the day. In all ways, that should translate to weight lost. But, I was .6 pounds heavier the next morning.

I have thought, up until now, that the big temporary weight gains were related to alcohol intake. I had pretty much convinced myself of that. Then, I ended up drinking on a planned non-drinking day this week (perhaps related to ridiculous levels of work stress) and the next morning I had lost 4 pounds. So, it is becoming clearer to me each day that I really don’t understand my body.

On a positive note, I have hit a new low weight this week even with all of the fluctuations. At one point this week, I was down to 261 pounds. At the same time, I have learned something else new, weight loss impacts the size of your fingers. My wedding ring has started falling off and I have even accidentally flung it across the room because it is so lose. This is a fascinating result of weight loss that I would never have thought possible, though it makes sense once you think about it. But, this also means that I am at my smallest point in at least the nearly 17 years we have been married.

Last week’s stats:
Distance walked/run: 28.4 miles
Total calories burnt: 26,962
Total calories consumed: 14,439
Weight change: 5.1 pounds lost

Week 19: Not a Great Week for Fitness

This was a rough week for my fitness journey. I ended up prioritizing work over fitness a bit and I made some bad choices in consumption (food and drink) which culminated with eating half a pepperoni pizza at 1:30 in the morning. Plus, with events in the office and a 2-day leadership retreat focused on trust, the stress this week has skyrocketed. Maybe one of my least productive weeks since my journey started.

I skipped working out for 4 days straight, though I did get my steps in from walking during most of those days. Balance that with eating a lot of calories. Add to that some new-found digestive issues that have come up during my journey and the early part of this week was terrible. That is on top of last week’s very slow loss.

Once I got near the end of the week, things started to change a bit. My weight finally started to budget a little bit. I have now hit the 60-pound loss mark after struggling for a bit to get there. Really, it took me about a month between the 50 and 60 pound mark. This rate of loss is much slower than I had hoped, but that is going to happen as I keep getting smaller. Another thing that happened is that my daily calorie target has now dropped lower. I am now just a little above the 2000 calorie mark as my daily target.

An interesting lesson that I learned this week is that my tastes are changing a bit. I used to really dislike drinking tea and it is not something that I have drank in years. However, this week, I had hot tea at dinner when we went out to a Chinese restaurant and I really liked it. I am not sure if my tastes are changing because of this journey, but it is happening at the same time. And the taste changes are for the better for sure.

On a final note, next week is Halloween and that presents a challenge for me. I am a big fan of candy. In particular, chocolate in the form of Reese’s, Twix, 3 Musketeers, Milky Way are all great and I can eat them for hours! But, with my current journey, those are foods that may be non-productive for me. I am hoping that I can resist the temptation of those through Halloween. Fingers crossed, anxiety high.

Last week’s stats:
Distance walked/run: 43.7 miles
Total calories burnt: 30,126
Total calories consumed: 15,397
Weight change: 1.3 pounds lost

Week 18: Well, it has come to this… I have joined a gym!

This has been another big week in my health journey. The big event this week is that I joined a gym. There was a morning where I went out for a walk/run and the temperature was in the 40s so I decided it was time to start moving to an indoor option. There is a great gym close-by with all sorts of TechnoGym gadgets tied to apps and it isn’t overly crowded (intentionally) and it is cheap. So I pulled the trigger and did my first few workouts there. Still prefer to go outdoors when I can, but I will blend for a bit until it is consistently too cold.

First time at the gym was a mixed success. After finally getting all of the gadgetry to sync up (still struggling with how to make the Fitbit work in the gym), I did a good workout on the treadmill with some walking and running. However, the treadmill is way different than being outside and it took me a bit to get my footing and feel comfortable, but I got there. Then, I was done with the treadmill and I got off and headed to the side of the gym with weights and really had no plan. I didn’t know what to do and just meandered around using a machine here and there. So, my lesson is that I really need to figure out a plan and routine to get myself into. One thing is good, the treadmill keeps a consistent speed so I am not slowing down without knowing I am and the result was my highest calorie burn in a single workout to-date – over 500 calories in 30 minutes of treadmill time!

I am happily firmly into the 260s with my weight this week. Though there have been some big day-to-day fluctuations in that. I have definitely confirmed that high alcohol consumption, regardless of calorie impact, turns into weight fluctuations. So, at least I have an explanation now.

Another tough setback this week is in the stress department. With the changes that have happened at work, some budget challenges and people behaving badly, the stress is really starting to increase. I am still doing a pretty good job with sticking to my boundaries of not coming in early and not working too much at home, but the environment is certainly not ideal now. This is just one month out from my return visit to the doctor to evaluate blood pressure and doesn’t bode well for that.

Finally, this week, I had an interesting experience. On Saturday morning, I got up and went for an outdoors workout with a walk/run around Schiller Park. Then, when I thought I was done, I decided to go to a coffee shop just off the park (Winan’s) and grab a cup of coffee. While I was there, I learned that there was an event featuring a walk from the German Village location of Winan’s to the downtown Columbus location (about 2 miles) that happened about an hour before. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t know about it because I thought that sounded like fun. Then, it dawned on me: I don’t need the formal event for me to do that walk. So, I set out to do a combo walk/run from German Village to downtown. When I got to the downtown location, which is really nice, I discovered that my favorite barista from German Village was working there that day. So I went in and got another small coffee and watched the world go by. Then, I set off to run a lap around the Columbus Commons park and did a walk/run home. In all, for the day, I walked more than 20,000 steps and more than 10 miles! Definitely not something I would have ever made the decision to do before.

Last week’s stats:
Distance walked/run: 35.5 miles
Total calories burnt: 27,953
Total calories consumed: 14,841
Weight change: 5.2 pounds lost