Sunday, January 14, 2018

Week Two Muddle Through

The Week 2 "Curse"

A spectacle made known through reality T.V.

Anyone who has ever watched "Biggest Loser" has observed the phenomenon known as the "Week 2 Curse". For those who haven't ever watched the show, it refers to the tendency of all of the contestants on the show to not have very good results on during week 2 of their weight loss efforts, despite trying every bit as hard as they did on week 1.  Of course, "not very good results" is relative, on the show, someone losing 5 pounds in a single week was looked at as a failure, while in the eyes of most of us OFF the show, 5 pounds in a week is awesome.

For me, I can't really say I've experienced the week 2 curse in the same way.  Whenever I've tried to lose weight, providing that I stick with my plan, the second week doesn't usually go as well as the first, but I haven't really seen it bring awful results.

I experience the predicament of week 2 differently.

Instead, what I often notice in week 2 of any healthy eating plan, is that I have more of a tendency to delude myself and make excuses to not stay on plan by not keeping track, eating something I know will put me over my calorie limit for the day, or more likely, to do all of both of those things simultaneously.

This week was no exception, twice this week I binged. Both times I failed to track what I was eating while it was happening. Both times I went back and did my best to record the calories after the fact, and I think I came pretty close to accuracy.

Unacknowledged, or unrecognized emotions.

I've done a lot of thinking, and I know exactly why I starting binge eating the first time. Something was troubling me and I didn't acknowledge the feeling or even attempt to deal with it. Instead I just ate. The second time I really don't know what happened, but I also note that the second time was much more controlled than the first, yes, I ate more than I should have, but I did know exactly how much I ate, even though I waited until I was through to record it.  Perhaps the second time can't really be called a binge, but was rather just an incident of overeating.

Anyway, the first time happened after I took my old dog Spunky for a long walk.  I have only recently started walking him again, and he is old and out of shape. He has some arthritis, and a bad knee, but he still enjoys his walks immensely, the problem is that he doesn't always know what is good for him, he will walk a long distance if I let him, and then when we turn around to head home he struggles to make it back.  He really needs me to look out for him in that way, and turn around soon enough to get him home before he is worn out.

Well, that day, I failed him.  I went to far with him.  On the route back he lagged way behind on the end of of his retractable leash, and by the time we got home he was limping, not just on his back leg with the bad knee, but on one of his front legs as well.  I observed all of this, but rather than acknowledge it or deal with how I felt I just sat around feeling vaguely agitated and eventually started eating.  When I had eaten enough that I started to feel not so good physically, I stopped, and it was only after stopping that I finally became aware of what I was actually feeling.  It was these unacknowledged emotions that had driven me to start binge eating.

The first emotion was guilt.  Guilt that I've neglected walking Spunky for so long that he's in such bad shape, guilt that I didn't turn around with him sooner like he needs, but instead kept walking further even though I know he isn't ready for that, and at his age may never be.  The second feeling I felt was worry, worry that with Spunky getting so much older, I know its only a matter of time before I will have to have him put down.  Right now, as long as I am careful not to overdo it with him, and as long as he gets his medication, he is okay and not really in a lot of pain, but he's a 13 year old lab mix, so I know that his time is short, and this is a source of stress to me.  Its not only that I don't want to lose him, its also that I don't want to have to make the decision of when. I have to somehow decide when his life no longer holds enough pleasure to be worth living, and that is really hard. It would be much easier if he were to just pass peacefully in sleep one night, but it looks more and more like I will probably have to make the call, and I am just not sure when that time should be.

The second time I overate was different, I did feel agitation, but I never did put my finger on what was bothering me that time.  I did put the brakes on on sooner, and kept better track of what I ate, but I never did manage to identify exactly what I was feeling, or what it was about. So in this case it was unrecognized emotions that started me going.

Week 2 Stats

Not bad for weight loss.

Week 2 really didn't go too badly as far as weight loss goes.  I started the week at 277 pounds, I ended the week at 272, which is a 5 pound loss for week, a 14.1 pound loss since the beginning of the year, and 19 pounds down from my highest weight.

Good progress on blood pressure

For the first time in a very long time my blood pressure is in the "normal" range. This morning was 121/83, at one point this week it was 117/79. Its finally out of the "hypertension" range, and is into the normal range, or sometimes just barely above it. 

Daily Log

Monday, January 8th

Calories Consumed: 1905
Active calorie burn: 444
Net Calories: 1461  (41 net calories over goal, but not too bad)
Exercise: Walking about 125 minutes,  about 5.14 miles

Tuesday, January 9th

Calories Consumed: 1602
Active calorie burn: 299
Net Calories: 1303
Exercise: Walking about 60 minutes, about 2.33 miles

Wednesday, January 10th

Calories Consumed: 3,202
Active Calorie Burn: 330
Net Calories: 2,872
Exercise: Walking about 93 minutes, about 3.77 miles

Thursday January 11th

Calories Consumed: 1507
Active Calorie burn: 321
Net Calories: 1186
Exercise: Walking about 88 minutes, about 3.85 miles

Friday January 12th

Calories Consumed: 2515
Active Calorie burn: 331
Net Calories: 2184
Exercise: Walking about 71 minutes, about 3.06 miles

Saturday, January 13th

Calories Consumed: 1545
Active Calorie Burn: 298
Net Calories: 1247
Exercise: Walking about 96 minutes, about 3.69 miles.

Sunday, January 14th

Calories Consumed: 1723
Active Calorie Burn: 303
Net Calories: 1420
Exercise: Walking about 85 minutes, about 3.43 miles.


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Monday, January 8, 2018

Awesome Health Headway in One Week

Fast Results in Week One

Significant weight loss.

I started out this year at 286.1 pounds.
This morning I weighed in at 277 pounds.  
That's 9.1 pounds gone in one week!
I think that's a significant amount of weight for that amount of time.

Improved blood pressure

Also, my blood pressure has dropped, on January 1st it ranged from 159/96 to 161/108.  Today it is 127/95.

What I did

A summary of week one.

So what did I do in the past week? 

In summary I kept my Net Calories at 1420 or lower all except for one day, and I walked a minimum of 30 minutes each day, some quite a bit more.  A more detailed report follows.

Detailed Report

January 1

Calories Consumed: 1582Active Calorie Burn: 486
Net Calories: 1096Exercise: 38 minute walk.
Steps Logged all day: 7,058

January 2nd

Calories Consumed:  1460
Active Calorie Burn: 510
Net Calories: 950
Exercise: 35 minute walk
Steps logged all day: 7,050

January 3rd

Calories Consumed: 1744
Active Calorie Burn: 788
Net Calories: 956
Exercise: 60 minutes walking.
Steps logged all day: 9,826

January 4th

Calories Consumed: 1868
Active Calorie Burn: 276
Net Calories: 1592
Exercise: 30 minute indoor walking routine (basically marching in place while waving my arms about)
Steps logged all day: 8,115

January 5th

Calories Consumed: 1493
Active Calorie Burn: 980
Net Calories: 513
Exercise: walked 73 minutes. 
Steps logged all day: 12,574

January 6th

Calories Consumed:1698
Active Calorie Burn: 314
Net Calories: 1,384
Exercise: Walked 84 minutes
Steps logged all day:10,318

January 7th

Calories Consumed: 1505
Active Calorie burn: 168
Net Calories: 1,337
Exercise: Walked 35 minutes
Steps logged all day: 6,641


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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Revitalizing My Blog Look, (along with myself)

Revamping my blog look for today's internet user

New header photo

Back when I first started this blog, (which was back in 2009 or 2010 though I've since deleted all old posts), most people read blogs on their desktop computers.  Now days most people are using their phones, tablets, or laptops.  I looked at my blog the other day on my phone, and it displayed just fine, however I noticed that on my laptop my header photo took up the whole screen, so that I didn't even see the first post title without scrolling down. 

I decided that if someone landed on my blog by chance, I really wanted them to be able to at least see my most recent post headline, to give them some reason for scrolling down.  So I spent yesterday's blogging time revamping my blog's appearance, starting with a new header photo courtesy of TeroVesaleinen on Pixabay, but with some of my own editing to personalize it for my blog.

Now, at least on my laptop, I am able to see the start of my blog posts without scrolling down, plus I think I like the general appearance of the new header better than the old one anyway.

New theme

Along with the new header photo, I've also chosen a new theme that better matches the new photo.  I guess since I am beginning my health journey all over from scratch, I wanted my blog to really a get fresh new start as well.

Working on better headlines

Along with a new header photo, I'm going to be thinking more carefully about titles and headlines for my blog posts, trying to be concise and attention grabbing.

Revamping myself

Of course, more important than revamping my blog is what I am doing to revitalize myself, which is the main topic of this blog for the near future.  

image courtesy of GDJ

Fitness stats this year so far

I started this year at this point:

Weight 286.1
Body Fat Percentage 48.5
Body Mass Index 45
Waist: 46.25 inches
Neck circumference: 17 inches
Hips: 54.2

January 1st stats were as follows:

Weight: 284.6
Morning Blood Pressure: 159/96
Morning Heart Rate: 72 bmp 

Calories Consumed: 1582
Calories Burned through activities and exercise: 486
Net Calories: 1096
Today's exercise: 38 minute walk.
Water consumed: 64 oz

Evening Weight: 286
Evening Blood Pressure: 161/108
Evening Heart Rate: 77

January 2nd stats:

Weight: 279.6
Morning Blood Pressure: 164/103
Morning Heart Rate: 73 bpm
Exercise: Walked about 1.3 miles, 35 minutes.
Total Calories: 1460
Active calorie burn: 510
Net Calories: 950

No evening stats for this day

January 3rd stats:

Weight: 278
Morning Blood Pressure: 141/103
Morning Heart Rate: 80
Exercise: Walked about 2.15 miles, about 60 minutes.
Total Calories: 1744
Active calorie burn: 788
Net Calories: 956

Today's stats so far (Jan 4th)

Weight: 280.2
Morning Blood Pressure: 158/100
Morning Heart Rate: 75 bpm (irregular heartbeat noted)
Exercise: 30 minutes indoor walking routine
Total Calories: 1868
Active calorie burn: 290
Net Calories: 1578
Evening Blood Pressure: 146/102
Evening Heart Rate: 69
Note: This evening I began taking the blood pressure medication Losartin, previously I had been taking lisinopril, but I was experiencing side affects, so I stopped while waiting for my doctor to prescribe an alternative.

At the time of this posting, I haven't yet done my exercise, but I will come back and edit the post later when I have.


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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Thinking about Labels

Labels, Not Only Used On Products

I've been thinking about labels today. Not the labels you see in stores, not the ones you look at to determine the nutrient content of your food.  No, I'm talking about a different kind of label, the kind that gets used on people. 

People bear labels too.

We all have bore various labels in our lifetime.  Some, we probably didn't mind, some we probably hated, and some may not have brought about any emotional response at all, but just seemed like a statement of fact.  Some of the following labels might be familiar to you; smart, funny, pretty, ugly, fat, healthy, skinny, stupid, sickly, gifted, challenged, disabled, dyslexic, autistic, disturbed, talented, musical, creative... the list could go on of course.

Labels I've had.

I've had many labels in my lifetime.  I remember one teacher who labeled me slow, and requested that I be sent for testing, the testing gave me a new label of gifted. Kids labeled me as weird.  Psychiatrists labeled me as troubled. At least one school developmental psychiatrist thought I had some form of autism spectrum disorder, though further evaluation never happened, let alone any kind of treatment. 

Later in life I had a psychologist or psychiatrist label me with social anxiety, low self esteem, and, after more sessions, with PTSD.  

The label I didn't believe.

Most of the labels I've been given by "experts" I've pretty much accepted. When a person tells you you have social anxiety and you know that it is true, why argue the point?  Or when someone tells you that you might have some form of high functioning autism or Asperger's syndrome, and it makes sense to you because you've always felt different, its easy to accept.  And when a teacher says you're gifted, but that you learn differently than most, its so much better than being called stupid that you just accept what they say.

However, the PTSD label I didn't believe at the time it was given to me.  That is because in my mind I saw PTSD as a crazed soldier who still thinks he is the middle of battle years later, in spite of the fact that all around him is ample evidence that he is home.  That really was all I knew about PTSD, the most extreme example of a flashback, complete with a total loss of any grip on reality.  I'm pretty sure TV was to blame for my impression of it.  Anyway, since I'd never been to war, and didn't experience flashbacks of that magnitude, I really didn't give much credit to the idea that I might actually be suffering from it.


In recent years though I've become much more accepting of the idea that this doctor I saw years ago was right.  In fact I now feel that I know he was.

This realization, or acceptance came primarily through learning more about the disorder itself.  Perhaps this learning took place just because I'm older, or perhaps because recent wars have caused many to become more aware of  PTSD, or perhaps its both of those, plus undergoing quite a bit of healing myself, that I'm now able to look back and see clearly how I suffered from this condition in the past. 

That's not to say I am "all better" or no longer have it.  I'm pretty sure some elements of it will be with me all my life, but I've learned to cope with it better, part of that healing came through talking about the traumatic events I endured as a child and teen, part of that healing has been through learning how to not dwell on events I can't change, part of its been through forgiving those who wronged me, and a large part of it was the divine work of God, that I can't really explain.

I don't want to get into the trauma in this post, I will say that some of the worse events happened to me when I was very young, before first grade, and that I used to flash back to those events in a way. Not that I was unaware of my actual surroundings or believed the events to be happening again, but just that in my mind they would play out in vivid detail, and I would once again feel all shame, hurt, self-loathing, and defilement... just as if the things were happening in the present.  For the most part now, that doesn't happen, I mean it still can if I let it, but I've learned how to stop reliving it.  I've learned how to reconnect with the present and turn my thoughts towards things that are true now.

I'm not really sure why I am writing this today, except perhaps that I let my guard down today and started to relive all of those feelings again, and then I realized what was happening and put a stop to it. 

Living up to the labels

I realize that a lot of my past self destructive behavior was an attempt to at times numb these feelings, and at other times to make the way the way this made me feel about myself make sense.  What I mean by that is this, the trauma left me feeling defiled, unworthy, ashamed, and unloveable, and I see now that a lot of my past self-destructive behavior amounted to making those things "true" about me.  As if I was subconsciously saying, "Well, I feel defiled and unworthy, so I might as well deserve those feelings.  I feel ashamed, so I might as well do things worth being ashamed of, I feel unloveable, so I might as well push all love far away from me.

This resulted in a lot of behaviors over the years, in my teen years it was shown through drug and alcohol abuse and promiscuity, as a young adult through sabotaging relationships before they could really start, and later through being overly conservative, restrained, and traditional, almost to point of legalism, through most of my adult years I also sought to literally stuff my feelings down with food, and insulate myself through a layer of fat.

Getting past the labels.

So yes, many labels can describe me, but I am coming to understand that none of them should or can define me. There is so much more to me and to what God wants for me than what any label can define. 

Today's Stats

Weight: 279.6
Morning Blood Pressure: 164/103
Morning Heart Rate: 73 bpm
Exercise: Walked about 1.3 miles, 35 minutes.

The rest of stats won't be determined for a while, I'll be babysitting my grandkids until close to midnight, and I want to publish this before then, so won't be listing  my total calories and all that today.  However, I am tracking on MFP, and I will include all of the days stats in my weekly summary post.

All images and photos used  above in this post are free images courtesy of


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Monday, January 1, 2018

Every Journey Begins with a Single Step

Today Was Step One

Every journey starts with a single step, and the journey to health is not different.  Today is step one, and today went pretty well for step one. Now, if I can only take 364 more steps like that I'll hit the bulls-eye I wrote about yesterday.  However, first I want to take note of where I am starting from, so that I'll be able to compare at various points in my journey, and see how far I've come.

Beginning 2018 Body Measurements 

Weight 286.1
Body Fat Percentage 48.5
Body Mass Index 45
Waist: 46.25 inches
Neck circumference: 17 inches
Hips: 54.2

So that is my starting point. 

Now I'll share some mini-goals to help me on my journey. 

Mini goals for January 2018

1. Weigh myself at least every Monday, and record that weight publicly here. I may report my weight more often, but I'll do it at least that often. I know a lot of people don't think weighing yourself often is good, but for me it seems like when I weigh myself regularly, I stay on track better. 

2. Walk or do some other form of mild cardio for 30 minutes or more every day this month.

3. Record my calories on My Fitness Pal, and share the totals for each day on here, along with how I did in general that day.

4. Do my very best to keep my NET* calories at 1420 or less each day, which is what My Fitness Pal says I need to do in order to reach my goal for the year.  (Actually, according to My Fitness Pal, if I stick to that as my net calories, I should surpass my goal for 2018, because my goal is to lose 96.1 pounds this year, which breaks down to 1.85 pounds per week, that net calorie goal will supposedly result a 2 pound per week loss.  However, I know that sometimes there can be miscalculations, or the occasional day where I don't stay in my range for whatever reason, so I figured that the difference might be kind of a "cushion" to help during those time.)

*Net calories are the calories consumed, minus the calories burned off through exercise.  For me I am letting my vivofit tracker determine how many calories I've burned, it subtracts all active calories, not just those burned through an actual workout, so lets say my workout is a 30 minute walk, but I was also very active working that day, the vivofit figures out what I've burned beyond my resting calorie burn, and subtracts that from my total calories to arrive at my net calories.

5. Pray and read my Bible every day. Perhaps this should have been goal #1, but I'm not really listing them in order of importance.

6. Post here at least twice a week to report how I'm doing.

7. Reassess on that last Monday of this  month, and adjust goals, or set new mini-goals for February. 

So those are my goals for January. Now here are my stats for day one.

Day 1 Stats

Weight: 284.6
Morning Blood Pressure: 159/96
Morning Heart Rate: 72 bmp 

Calories Consumed: 1582
Calories Burned through activities and exercise: 486
Net Calories: 1096
Today's exercise: 38 minute walk.
Water consumed: 64 oz

Evening Weight: 286
Evening Blood Pressure: 161/108
Evening Heart Rate: 77

Bible passages read: Genesis 1-3, Matthew 1


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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Tomorrow Begins a New Year

New Year, New Start

Tomorrow begins a New Year, and I'm going to begin my journey to health anew.

A Goal to Aim For

In the past I've said I don't make New Year's resolutions, because of how often they are broken, but today at church my pastor said something that stuck with me, now he said it about daily Bible reading and prayer in the new year, and no doubt it applies to that, but really it applies to anything one needs to accomplish.

What he said was this, he compared setting a goal to playing darts.  There is the dart board, the target, and of course the bulls-eye is what you are aiming for, worth 10 points, or 100%.  Maybe as you aim for the bulls-eye, you don't hit it, maybe you hit the ring around the bulls-eye instead, and that ring isn't a perfect 10, but its worth 9 points, or 90%, and that's okay. Or maybe you don't even make that ring, maybe you only hit the ring worth 8 points,  or 5 points, still 80% or 50% of the goal is better than nothing.

One thing is for sure he said, if, rather than aiming at the bulls-eye, you don't even aim at the board, you aren't going to to hit the board.  Another way to put it, he said, is that if you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time.

Perfection isn't necessary.

With that in mind, I am setting goals.  I am aiming for the bulls-eye of getting down to 190 by the end of the year.  I may hit that goal, or I may not, but I am sure that I will come closer to it by aiming for it than I will if I aim at nothing.

Tomorrow, I will go into more details about the steps I plan to take to aim for that bulls-eye. I think I should list mini-goals at the start of every week, and at the end of the week report how I did.

For now though, here are my starting stats:

Highest Weight ever was 291 on May 5, 2017
Weight right now: 286.1
Tomorrow I will also list my blood pressure and body fat percentage, but for now I think this is enough.

Oh, and by the way, I also plan to apply the pastors advice to Bible reading and prayer, with a goal to read the Bible and pray every day in 2018. Will I hit the bulls-eye and read every single day perfectly?  Maybe. Maybe I'll only read 90% of the days, or 80%, but surely I'll read more of the word and spend more time in prayer if I am trying for every day, than I would if I didn't have a goal at all.


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