[10-10-2014] This report covers the first few months on my “fitness at last.” journey. It begins in April 2014 and ends near the beginning of October.
There is no sugar coating, just plain facts. I’m not out to impress anyone, only to deal with reality and to correct my course for the next few months. Overall my progress has been slower than I would like, but it is in the right direction.
In the Beginning
The most important thing I did was to start! For years I kept saying to myself that I just had to get into shape. I knew I was spending too much time sitting in front of my computer and not enough time doing anything active. I knew I had developed poor eating habits, not that I disliked or did not eat good food at meals so much but that I did a lot of snacking.
Because I regularly nibbled away on a sack of Doritos, Peanut M&M’s, cashews or other such junk food while working at the computer and did little to work off calories, my weight bloated up to 255 pounds, mostly around my waistline—the worst place health wise. But I only thought about doing something significant to change my situation; I never got around to doing anything for years.
It is hard to say what brought me to that day when I actually decided to start taking action toward getting some weight off. It may have been the stomach pain I experienced every time I had to change my socks! But I have to say that finding the motivation required was the most crucial, and most difficult, step toward getting started.
Weight Loss Achieved
The good news is that over the past few months I have lost a significant amount of weight. The bad news, to a degree, is that I have not lost as much as I hoped. But that may be good news in a way as well because I would never have considered doing this site otherwise.
Here is a chart showing my progress during the last few months. It begins around my birthday in April and extends through today in early October. My top weight was initially 255 pounds. Now I am down to just over 229 pounds.
Looking at the graph, you may notice that weight loss progressed a little more quickly at the beginning but slowed up a bit later, especially through September. This raises several issues that I want to explore in more detail later.
The weight loss achieved during this time was almost totally due to diet. I made some serious changes here that will be discussed more completely in separate posts (the how as well as the what and why), but the most essential points are that I was able to eliminate almost all snacking and ate a controlled, appropriate amount of food at meals so that my calorie intake was seriously reduced.
Exercise, Or Not
Although I started to initiate a limited exercise program during the last part of this time period, little happened on this front. I am a bit disappointed by this but the reasons for it were somewhat beyond my control.
During the first months I purposely focused on my diet. There are benefits of doing both at the same time, but I decided that for me it was important to concentrate fully on my eating habits first because I had such bad ones that absolutely had to be changed if I had any hope for success.
Early in September I began to slowly initiate some exercise but I soon ran into two problems. First an old back injury that flares up about once or twice a year hit (unrelated to my exercise). Then, somehow I managed to strain my left arm so that it became painful to lift any significant weight.
Neither of these injuries remain significant. They are both fading the last few days and I expect I will be able to get started by next Monday (this is Friday) on a new schedule. I will write a post soon outlining my exercise plans.
Fitness Progress—Lessons Learned
First, and perhaps most important, I learned that my approach to breaking my snacking habits and cutting calories worked well. At least to date I have not slipped back into any bad habits at all. I certainly do not want to get overconfident, but so far so good.
Second, I have learned one thing that is not at all surprising but nothing I am happy to be reminded of either. Even though I have been fairly low in my calorie intake during this time, I have not lost weight at anything near the rate I was able to do by dieting when I was younger. Whether it is lower metabolism due to age, less normal activity, or whatever, there seems to be no question that generally at least it is indeed harder to lose weight as you get older, as I have often heard from others.
“Most of the meals most people eat most of the time are unhealthy, primarily or at least importantly, as a result of the calories they contain.”
Third, I would mention here a final issue that I see as a long term problem and will require a good bit of work over time. As I worked on my diet choices it became clear that most of the meals most people eat most of the time are unhealthy, primarily or at least importantly, as a result of the calories they contain. Often this is a result of the way they are prepared, but in any case it is essential to think as much about how one will eat after their weight is at a reasonable level as about how to eat while you are losing weight.
There are other lessons to be learned from these last few months, but these are some of the primary ones that will deserve some attention in future weeks and months.
Getting fit is more that losing excess weight but it cannot be achieved without it when you start from where I did! I feel pretty good about my start, but I know how easy it is to do well when enjoying the fervor of a new project like this. My mind is focused on long term success. This first report is promising; I hope to see many more showing just as good or better results.