This is not a story about Linux, BeOS, Windows, Yahoo, Slashdot, or for that matter any specific Tecnology. This is just me re-capping a measure of my own success at losing weight.
When I returned from Saudi Arabia after Desert Storm, I weighed in at a decent 180#. As I had been activated for DS/S, I was actually in a lot better shape than before I had been activated. Active duty for combat is a study in contrasts between absolute excitement/action and absolute boredom. I can credit my loss in weight, and improvement in shape to the boredom part. When there is nothing to do, you find things to do. It doesn't cost as much money to walk and jog around the compound as it does to go shopping, or on tours of the city.
My active duty time can be broken down into four blocks. Active/pre-deployment, deployment-action, post-action in-country, and post-action return. Of these, the smallest block was deployment-action. Active/pre-deployment and post-action return amount to less than two months in the US. About two months were spent in Saudi Arabia at the in/famous Kobar Towers.
My workout there was to jog around the coumpound in the morning and the evening. The perimiter was approximately a mile, and I would jog anywhere from 1 to 5 times around.
That however was over ten years ago. Things have picked up a bit since then, including my weight. As of the middle of last year, I was about 70#s heavier than when I returned from DS/S. While my family was aware of the fact that I had gained weight, most of the people I dealt with on a day to day basis did not believe me when I indicated how much I weighed. Even so, I knew that what I weighed was not good for me.
Last September I made a commitment to get my weight down to a healthy level. Most of the online resources can only work with the reference called the Body Mass Index. While I do not have a table in front of me, for my height, the best weight range for me is between 160 and 180 lb. That matches my own experience as well, and I believe is a good range to get in to.
That said, I decided on three sets of goals. The long term goal is to get down to 160, and stay within 10 lb of that. The second goal was a mid term weight of 180. Lastly was a set of short term goals of loosing 10 lb. at a time. I did not set any time constraints on the 10 lb at a time goal, however I did set rewards for them. Every time I crossed a 10 lb mark, (meaning 250, 240, 230,...) I would reward myself with a dinner at one of my favorite resturants.
As I started this in September, I figured a good rate of loss would be the number of lb per year that I had gained, lost per month. That ment that my interim goal of 180 would be 9-10 months later, or the end of May.
As my true long term goal is to get down to 160, and stay there, I realized that I would need to find a way to "soft land" at that weight. Maintenance of weight is not the same as loosing weight. To stay at a specific weight, I will need to have a lifestyle and set of diet habits that will keep me there. I won't gain those habits by dropping directly to that weight, I will need some time to figure out what is working, and what doesn't.
Unfortunately I will not make that interim weight of 180 by the end of May. May ends in two days, and I have 10 lb to go. I am not complaining, there were a couple of mitigating factors involved. Things like the fact that between September and December I did not loose any weight, in fact I gained 5 lb. In short, I have lost 65 lb, but only 60 from my starting weight. Even so, that is a great start.
So, how did I do it? Several things in combination. The most important part was setting the goals in the first place. Next was to take a look at what I had done in the past and what worked vs. what didn't work. I also decided that I would try augmenting diet changes and exercise plans with over the counter diet aids. Specifically I started taking Xenadrine.
Things that I have tried in the past that did not work out, and I ruled out for this plan, include a food diary, walks around my block with my dogs, bicycling to and from work, calorie counting, weight training, etc. I am not saying that these are not effective for other people, just that my temperment and schedules did not work well for me in the past.
My full regime
- 2 pills first thing in the morning
- 2 pills mid afternoon
- Breakfast - no significant change
- Lunch - frozen vegtable meals from Green Giant - canned fruit - prepared and frozen meals from home
- Dinner - varies from none on some days, to one or two slices of pizza on others, generally half or less of what I ate before.
- desert - didn't really exist before
- snacks - pretty much eliminated chips and popcorn
- water - lots added, upwards of a gallon of water a day
- Exercise - walking four days a week
- starting at less than half a mile the first day up to just over a mile the first week
- moved up to just over 2 miles the second week steady through the first month
- moved up to a little over three miles the next month.
- moved up to about four miles, where I stayed through to today.
Technology that has helped
- My.Yahoo.com - I tracked my weight progress here
- Tivo - gave me the freedom to do my exercises after work, without forcing me to pick what show I wanted to watch, or tempting me to skip an exercise walk to watch some specific show.
While the real start of my weight loss, and added exercise regime co-incided with New Year, it was not a "New Years Resolution". My commitment to the process began back in September.
There are some things that I will be doing as part of my ongoing process, to drop an aditional 10 lb to get to my interim goal, and as part of my final 20 lb, as well as periodically thereafter. Since I will be maintaining my weight, rather than loosing weight, I will drop back to two miles, four days a week from my 4 miles 4 days a week rate. I may add bicycling into the mix on non-walk days, or in substitute of some of the walk days.
Once a month, to once a quarter, I will be maintaining a food diary for one week. The idea being that the disruption of maintaing such a diary for one week out of four, or one week out of 12 is significantly less than continuous tracking. There are people who advocate continuous tracking. There are also people who have their entire lives planned out. I am not one of these people, and some would say that it shows.
The reality is that even with a long term goal of getting down to 160 over a two year period, two years is not a significantly long period of time. The real long term goal is to keep that weight for the tens of years that I have left in this life.