Another Milestone: 75 Pounds!

Tonight, I reached the latest milestone in my Operation Melt journey!   As of tonight,  I have reached the 75 pounds lost mark! This means I am 75% to my goal and only 50% through my timeline.

It has taken me about 3 months to reach this point after celebrating my 50-pounds moment.  It has been lots of exercise and lots of smart eating that has made this possible.  Plus, it has also been driven by lots of feedback, compliments and other social reinforcement.

It is particularly notable that this happened in a rare nighttime weigh-in after a day of eating and drinking.  So, it is quite possible that I not only achieved my goal, but I may have shattered it!

This hasn’t been easy and it was plagued with ups and downs, but it has been rewarding and I am super proud of myself!

In celebration of hitting this milestone, I have decided to launch OperationMelt.com a day early.  Yes, I am launching on the eve of my 6-month anniversary instead of on the anniversary proper.  So, tomorrow is the big day where the site goes public.

Week 25: Hoping for a Big Week!

This week is going to include the 6 month anniversary of starting my Operation Melt journey. On Friday, 12/15, I will hit the 6 month mark from that first visit with the doctor that prompted me to decide to be healthy. In this lead-up to the 6-month mark, I am hoping for lots of big things to happen.

First, I am optimistic that I will hit the 75-pound loss mark before Friday. I have been pretty much holding steady at 72 pounds down for the last 3 days of this past week. But, that has included a fair amount of drinking (it is the holiday happy hour season!) which causes me to retain water and my weight to go up. One or two dry days and I expect to see a big movement which should put me past that next goal mark.

Second, this week I am “officially” launching OperationMelt.com which includes lots of information commemorating my entire journey. I soft launched it this prior week with a few friends and had them start providing feedback. The first big ah-ha that my friend Julie told me was that the blog needs way more pictures. Pictures of me and of other interesting parts of my work.

Posting more pictures is a little tough, because I have not done a good job of taking photos along the way. I have LOTS of before pictures and a couple from the journey that show some progress, but nothing that really shows the change. I think Liz and I are going to work to recreate some of the moments from old pictures with the new me. So, they will come to the blog, it may just take a little time.

This past week has been pretty motivating in my journey. I had some good, intense workouts. On Saturday, I had a morning at the gym without any time pressures at all and I really killed it. I did 35 minutes on the treadmill with a higher percentage run versus walk than ever before. I did another 25 minutes or so with weights (and really felt it the next day!) followed by some cool-down stretching. In my just over an hour at the gym, I burnt more than 1,000 calories, so this was a good workout for me. Plus, I found myself getting into “the zone” on the treadmill because of my music. I played a very motivational Youtube video that I sometimes watch at the gym of motivational quotes over intense music. This is the same video I have linked in the Inspiration section of OperationMelt… I LOVE it!

Another big motivator this week was feedback from other people. I saw one of my good friends Beth for the first time since late summer (time gets away from us) and she was shocked at how much I had changed through my weight loss journey. She was so supportive and complimentary that it was really energizing to keep going. Plus, another acquaintance of mine saw me for the first time in a while and wanted to know how I did it. I really wish I could have just said “check out my website at OperationMelt.com to learn more about my journey”, but it wasn’t ready yet.

On the stress front, this was another tough week and I am still struggling with the best way to address stress in my journey – open to suggestions. I had a pretty stressful week at work with a number of issues that I needed to address and some that are still going. Plus, this week we had to put our cat down. She has been with Liz and I before we were even together and is about 20 years old. It was her time, but this came on top of lots of other stressors and was unexpected. But, I think my body has become much more resilient to the stress and physically lets it go faster.

One final note…. As I am coming up on the 6 month anniversary of starting this journey, I started to reflect a little bit. I have learned a lot along the way and have captured some of my biggest ah-has in the My Results & Ah-Has section of the site. I have had lots of wins and many losses along the way. Here are some interesting stats about this first 6 months (minus 1 week):

  • I have walked about 1.75 million steps since June spanning more than 865 miles covered – this is nearly the distance from Columbus, Ohio to Portland, Maine.
  • I have climbed over 1,500 stories, this is almost the height of Mount Kilimanjaro.
  • This all has translated to about 93 hours of exercise in the 6 months!
  • I have lost about 75 pounds which is the weight of about 100 cans of beer or 300 sticks of butter!
  • I have decreased my waist size by about 6-8 inches so far. I have decreased from a big 3X to an average 2X on shirt size.
  • My resting heart rate has decreased from around 80 beats per minute to around 58 beats per minute and my overall cardio fitness (VO score) has increase from “Poor to Fair” to a solid “Good”.
  • My average pace time for running/walking a mile has decreased from around 17-minute miles to around 13-minute miles or less – because I run now and couldn’t think of doing that 6 months ago!
  • My daily calorie intake has decreased by 1,500+ and my consumption of good versus crap food has skyrocketed!
  • I no longer cringe when I see myself in a mirror, in pictures or when I go to try on clothes.

So, needless to say, the first 6 months of this journey are shaping up to be very rewarding! I am looking forward to where I will be at the end of the next 6 months. I am confident that I will have crushed my goal of losing more than 100 pounds in less than I year.

That’s it for now… my next post will be at 75 pounds or will be my official site launch on Friday, which ever happens first (hopefully the 75!).

Last week’s stats:
Distance walked/run: 33.8 miles
Total calories burnt: 27,393
Total calories consumed: 11,727
Weight change: 4.3 pounds lost

Week 24: Another Week and More Positive Progress

So this has been an interesting week in my journey. I have done lots of workouts and achieved my calorie goals every day. In fact, some of the days my calories were way too low. I have gotten, almost consistently, below the 255 mark, so I am at my 70-pounds lost milestone. Given that, I think I am on track for 75 pounds by Christmas. Hopefully that means I am comfortably on track for my 100 pounds mark within the next 6 months.

This week was my check-in with my doctor to see how the blood pressure medicine is working. Our goal was really to take me off the medication if I was ready. But, I am still just a little too high in the range and stayed on the medication. Much of it is likely stress related, but we are going to give it 3 more months and then I should be fine as long as my progress continues. But, overall, my doctor was very pleased with my journey so far and the approach I have taken.

I continue to experience significant daily weight fluctuations, more than I expect. On days where I expect to be up slightly due to drinking on the prior day, my weight falls. Then, on days that I expect a fall, I see it tick up a bit. I really don’t understand it, but the important part is that it is holistically moving in the right direction even if there are day to day setbacks.

I am also working to proactively manage stress a bit more through daily sources of inspiration and affirmations. A lot of stress is in my control based on my perceptions and expectations and I can manage that. Plus, I am working to share with others to help inspire them as well.

Another interesting thing happened this week, I was at the gym and looked at myself in profile view and really saw a difference. It is difficult to see your own weight changes because you see yourself every day and the changes are too gradual for you to see them. I haven’t done a good job of taking pictures along the way, so it is hard to see any real change in myself. But, I looked in the mirror at the gym and somehow I saw a clear difference in myself. This was helped when I ran into a bartender that I haven’t seen for a couple of months and her first reaction was “wow, you are looking slim!”

Finally, a runner friend of mine gave me some advice about my running. She has looked at some of my posts that include my pace time and she told me that I may be running too fast. She suggested moving down to a 12-minute mile pace (5 mph) and that it may help my endurance. She was right! By doing it, I was able to do my longest contiguous running time yet – 6 straight minutes. Normally, 2-3 minutes or an all-time high of 4 minutes was my max. So, that is a big change.

On a related note, I spent some dedicated time this week getting OperationMelt.com setup and ready.  I am all caught up with blog posts and have tracked my entire journey.  I have setup the site, added my logo, added my non-blog content and all my blog content.  So, I am ready to launch the site.  My “official” launch date is going to be 12/15, exactly 6 months after the start of my journey.

Last week’s stats:
Distance walked/run: 36.7 miles
Total calories burnt: 27,276
Total calories consumed: 13,355
Weight change: 1.9 pounds lost

Week 23: The Thanksgiving Challenge

This is Thanksgiving week and I definitely have some anxiety. This whole holiday now revolves around overeating to the point where you are stuffed. This is not my goal and doesn’t help me.

My challenge for Thanksgiving day was my eating strategy as not to dramatically overdo it. I was ok if I was over my net calories by a bit, but not 1000+ calories over. I decided to eat conservatively for breakfast and lunch. Then, at dinner I made sure that half of my plate is taken up with vegetable dishes. Then, a little turkey and 1 tablespoon or less of each of the starches and other sides. Plus, I slowly drank 2 glasses of wine. I went back for a small amount of seconds, most veggies. And I had a very small piece of pumpkin pie, enough to enjoy but not have a calorie bomb. In the end, I actually wish I had eaten more and I didn’t go over my calorie target at all.

I didn’t starve myself and don’t feel bad at all about stopping myself from going hog wild. Food is fuel as a primary goal and enjoyment is a good byproduct. But, I am not going to allow myself to use a ton of food as entertainment. The company and togetherness is the goal and enjoying the moment is the best part. Allowing myself a 100% unconstrained eating experience does not move me toward my goal, it is a counter-productive distraction from the goal.

In addition to my Thanksgiving eating strategy, I did a pretty good workout at the gym the afternoon before Thanksgiving. Then, on Thanksgiving day I took a nice long walk in the afternoon before going to dinner and most of Friday was high-activity starting at the gym and then hiking with Liz.

As a result of my commitment to conservative eating and ensuring adequate exercise, I actually lost weight on Thanksgiving. How many people can say that?! Unfortunately, after that point, my weight has climbed for 3 straight days.

Some other interesting things that I learned this week… My alcohol tolerance has significantly decreased and the threshold for what causes a hangover is way lower. Even though my water intake is way high and I drink less, it has become very easy to feel hungover in the morning. Also, I am starting to see some tone start developing in my muscles, so that is very positive. But, I have also started developing some loose skin that I hope gets reabsorbed over time.

Finally, I am starting to understand what people mean when then get into “the zone” in the gym. I have hit points where I am so focused on the treadmill that I lose track of time. So, I am hoping that continues and my progress does too.

Last week’s stats:
Distance walked/run: 31.7 miles
Total calories burnt: 27,240
Total calories consumed: 13,961
Weight change: 1.6 pounds lost

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