This is the story of my journey trying to lose over 70 pounds, regain my life, and hopefully help others have success doing the same thing.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Hi... remember me?

(he said as if anyone actually reads this...)

SO... about a year ago, I get this bright idea to lose a bunch of weight and blog about it as I went.  Since I was gonna go from a rather rotund 270 pounds to a (relatively) svelte 200, I titled it "From 270 to 200."  As anyone who actually READS this has found, I started late and actually got up to 278 before I started, making the title rather inaccurate. 

All went well for about three months.  I lost about 20 pounds by exercising more and eating less.  Then you'll notice a break in the blog.  A long break. 

It all started with a case of strep throat.  I was actually on an exercise bike at a hotel in Indianapolis when the battery on my phone/MP3 player died.  I went up to my room to get my backup when MY battery died.  I suddenly felt like someone hit me with a truck.  I could barely get the energy to walk across my room, much less finish my workout.  The next week was REALLY the pits since a) the docs at the MedStop were SURE it wasn't strep (though they had no better diagnosis) so I lived with it till the end of the weekend when my REAL doctor could look at me and b)since the strep had set in completely, it was very tough to kick.

The GOOD part about that (there was a good part?) was that I lost about another 5 pounds, and got all the way down to 250.  Unfortunately, that was the beginning of the way back up.  I didn't feel like working out for a LONG time, and then once I COULD have worked out, well.... I didn't.  Just couldn't seem to get motivated.  Of course, at first, the weight stayed off, so heck... not so bad, huh?

Then the weight started to come back.  But it was only a pound or two--nothing to worry about.

Ice cream.... my downfall will always be ice cream.  I'm an addict.  There should be a 12-step program.  And the fact that Kroger has AWESOME cookies and cream ice cream (which just to make it worse is about the cheapest in the store) didn't help.  So I started the climb back up.

Welcome back.  Back to 270 (plus) again.  After losing 28 pounds in 38 days (plus one strep infection), I bottomed out, and took 10 months to go right back where I started.  So now it's time to start over. 

Shall we begin?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Balance in the universe

There's a phrase I use quite a bit: "there's balance in the universe."  Think about it--the balance of gravity and speed allowing planets to orbit stars.  Charge balances mass and speed as electrons orbit nuclei of molecules.  And usually when you get screwed over in some way, there's an up side in there somewhere. 

OK, not as cosmologically accurate, but it seems that way, doesn't it?  This applies in weight loss, too.  For instance, it was MUCH easier to gain this weight than it will be to take it off.  However, it seems that I am seeing results sooner as the weight goes down than it did when it went up.  Already, I can start feeling some muscle tone.  I'm actually aware of my muscles (which were darn near non-existent two months ago).  I can feel my energy level improving already, even with only 5-6 pounds gone. 

All this serves to motivate me a bit.  I've been more patient this time than in previous attempts to get my weight/life under control.  Hopefully this means that I'll be more successful.

I'm changing my life.  The weight will follow.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Stepping things up...

Well, after nearly a week of doing almost NO exercise (as the result of a combination of weather, location, and pre-scheduled activities), I've hit it hard this week.  I've been attempting to do more, shorter workouts.  In other words, rather than spending an hour on the machines every other day, I try to do 15-20 minutes twice a day.  I don't know if it has made much difference yet (too soon to tell), but I FEEL like it is.  I'll know better on Tuesday AM when I can use my "control" scale at home.   If I could believe the ones in the hotel workout rooms, I'd say I'd lost about 7 pounds in the last couple of weeks, which just ain't the case!  Besides, the actual "correct" number isn't what's important.  By that, I mean that I don't care what my weight is as much as how much it's changed.  SO-- I'll know how I've done in a few days.

However, my goal is NOT to hit a target weight.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, my goal is to change myself to a person with better habits.  Given that I got up early the last couple of days just to work out, I'd say I'm making some progress in that department!  I'm confident that if I stick with these changes, I will see the weight drop, the clothes fit better, and the muscles get stronger.

It's just a matter of time.

Friday, February 12, 2010

So this is working--right?

At this point, I've been working on the weight loss thing for about a month or so.  Even though my plan is to keep a good, steady pace at the weight loss (2-5 pounds per month), it's hard not to get discouraged that I'm not seeing much of a result on the scales.  At that slow of a pace, it's tough to see the change among the small weight fluctuations that happen day to day.  However, I have seen lower lows than I have in the past, and my "peaks" are lower as well--a good sign, I think.

I haven't seen much of a waistline change yet, either, but I have seen (or felt) at least one small change.  Since one of the parts of my plan is weight training, I can definitely see (and feel) improved muscle tone.  I'm nowhere near one of those guys on the P90X commercial, but I can finally see some limited definition in my shoulders, chest, and pipe cleaner arms!  Also, I can feel that I'm a bit more "solid" than before.

SO--even though the progress is slow, I'm OK with that.  If I lose 2-5 pounds per month, that could be as little as a 25 pound loss over the entire year.  Like I said, tough to see that day to day...

BUT--and as odd as this seems in a blog entitled "From 270 to 200", my goal is really not to lose weight.  My primary goal is now to change myself into a healthy person.  Frequent, regular exercise.  Better food choices Now, if I do that correctly, I will lose weight, but my goal is not to lose the weight but to change who I really am.  That's much harder than merely losing weight, but the payoff is much greater.

You see, if someone were to hand me a pill that caused me to lose 70 pounds over the course of a month, and I found myself looking at a big "200" on the scale in March, that would be great--except for the fact that I would immediately begin gaining that weight again.  The reason diets don't work is because dieters focus on a number (their weight), not on what got them there.  When (and if) they reach their goal weight, it's as if they say "game over" and go back to their "old lives."  If that's what got you fat the first time, it'll sure enough do it again.

Instead, by changing habit patterns, we change the road we walk that gets us where we are.  By turning myself into someone who doesn't hate exercise, that becomes a lifestyle--not a goal.  There's no "finish line" to distract me.  I won't look forward to the day when I can "get off this diet", because I'm not on a diet--I'm rebooting myself. 

I'll let you know how it goes...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tom Petty was wrong

He said, "The waiting is the hardest part."  I have to disagree--the starting is the hardest part.  About two weeks ago, I started this process of losing a LARGE amount of weight.  Seventy pounds or so, in fact.  Now, I didn't just suddenly wake up one morning, look in the mirror and say, "Holy cow--I'm fat!"  I've seen this developing over many years, but I didn't do anything about it. Because (sorry, Tom), the starting is the hardest part.

Over the last couple of weeks, I've started.   It wasn't easy--breaking bad habits (laziness) and starting new ones (exercising) is tough.  But I've made it through two weeks.  And that's a start...

So--what am I doing so far?  I start out with 35 mins on the stationary bike, followed by 20 mins on the track.  Initially I was only able to run about 7 minutes, but I've increased that by about a minute each time, and now I'm up to 15 minutes running, and walking the last five.  Once I get to 20 minutes running, I'll increase the track time.

Two or three times a week (depending on my schedule), I end up with a workout from the Ultimate Dumbbell Guide (no jokes, please).  This is a full body workout, and it's my first experience with weights since college (and we were only passing acquaintances then).  That takes about 30 minutes. 

Now, for those of you keeping score, that's about an hour and a half of a workout.  I have the luxury of being able to carve that much time out of my schedule fairly often--you might not.  There's nothing magical  about the times--it's just what I could spare for now.  On busy days, I do less.  On quiet days, I do more.  The key is to do something, do it consistently, and if possible, do it willingly--seems like you lose weight easier when you ENJOY what you're doing.

So get out there and start!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Not the most accurate title...

I created this blog "From 270 to 200" to chronicle my attempt to lose, well, about a third of my body weight.  Unfortunately, between the time I set it up and the time I actually started a) writing, and b) losing weight, I actually gained a few pounds.  "From 274 to 200" didn't have quite as much of a ring to it, so I left it as it was.  Deal with it.   :)

About me--I'm a retired Air Force pilot who now flies for a major US airline.  When I graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1987, I weighed 185 pounds.  I spent the next 24 years yo-yoing my weight, finally reaching 2010 at a less-than-impressive 270 (OK, 274) pounds.  Since I consider 200 to be my "ideal" weight, that puts me at about 30% above my desired weight--quite a way to go, I know.  But it's doable...

Why do this blog?  Partly to keep me focused, but also to share what works, what doesn't work, and what I learn along the way.  So I hope you find this informative, interesting, and worth your time.

I have a long way to go, but it's not hopeless.  As recently as 10 years ago, I weighed only 200.  That was after I had trained for several months for a week long, cross-state bicycle ride, and I was in about the best shape of my adult life.  When I started getting in shape for THAT, I weighed 238.  That was 38 pounds, and I did it in 4 months.  If  I were to be just as successful now, I would expect it to take at least 8 months to get back to 200 pounds again.  So I hope you're ready for a long ride...