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EAT TO LIVE NOT LIVE TO EAT
Weight loss journey began on July 17, 2011. At the time I was 53 years old, weighed 340 lbs, could barely walk around a shopping mall, was on three diabetes medications, two for high blood pressure and one for high cholesterol.
Choice was simple -- lose or die soon.
I have struggled with weight my entire life. Even when the Doc told me 10 years ago that I was in danger of coming down with diabetes, I still could not control my weight and actually continued to slowly gain. Even when I was told 5 years ago that I was Type 2 diabetic and was put on medications, I still could not control my weight and - yes - I continued to get fatter.
This is last chance to get the weight down the old fashioned way. Otherwise I will need surgery.
I gave myself 1 year to get the weight under control.
Week 52 Update -- July 14, 2012. One year. Lost 153 lbs. Now weigh 187 lbs after starting at 340. I now weigh less than the day I graduated from high school more than 36 years ago. More important - I am off all diabetes medicines AND the blood pressure medicine AND the cholesterol medicine. I now eat a diet healthier than I ever thought that I could eat for any extended period of time. I have been exercising routinely and vigorously for the last 9 months.
My life has been saved and I now look forward to living 10 or more years more than I would have a year ago.
It could not have been done without the unbelievable support and sacrifice of the incredible woman that I was lucky enough to marry. The people on this site have provided me with ongoing support, encouragement, inspiration and ideas. I thank you all and wish you success in your health efforts.
So here is the "tale of the tape", comparing 7/17/11 to 7/14/12:
Weight: 340 lbs. to 187 lbs.
BMI: 40.1 to 25.4 (determined to get under 25)
Waist Size: 52 in to 36 in
Neck Size: 20 in to 16.5 in
T-shirt size: 4XL to L
# meds/day: 7 to 1
I have begun to transition into a maintenance mode and have begun to increase my calorie intake. However, I still have a bit more weight to lose -- 5 to 10 lbs -- to put my BMI under 25, which is classified as a "healthy weight" -- something that I have not been at since about the third or fourth grade. I NEED to complete the journey by arriving at "healthy" to complete the journey that began at "morbidly obese" (pushing close to super obese) and have moved down through obese, very overweight, overweight, moderately overweight to mildly overweight. It may take me several weeks to get there, but I'll get there.
I am not going anywhere even when I hit that target. My plan all along has been one year of weight loss and another full year of careful maintenance and monitoring. After that I may begin to feel like I have this demon under control. But I expect there to be a battle for the rest of my life.
How did I get here? No one is more surprised than me. How can I have gotten this done after so many years of obesity and trying to get it under control? I believe the short answer is -- routine. I have settled into a very routine diet with some variety, but within a pretty narrow range. I need to get my body moving several times a week. Some may hear that and say "BORING!" OK. I can see that. However, I still enjoy and look forward to eating. I really love the foods that I am eating PLUS I can walk away from the table without feeling guilty because of what I ate. Instead I walk away satisfied with the meal AND happy that I have helped, not hurt, my body.
Besides, "boring", really? Here are some of the things that I found boring -- waking up every morning and not finding clothes in my closet that fit me right OR that I really wanted to wear. Or, how about just shopping for clothes to buy? THAT was boring. Boring? How about avoiding activities and events because my size prevented me or from plain embarrassment? Boring is walking down the aisle of an airplane and everyone thinking "please don't sit next to me!". How about dreading the doctor visits because I know what the main topic of conversation will be. Boring? Seeing the concern and anguish in the faces of my family because the fear that they could lose me at any moment is something that can get pretty old in a hurry.
Is it worth trading all those boring feelings for a little less variety in my diet? After all, we are just talking about food, right?
A single year has passed -- but one of the most meaningful and important ones of my life. But that year is done an so I am on to the next phase.
I will keep you all up to date. Do I think need to change my name to "shrunkenmike"? Nah! That could be bad luck.
Now, where did I put that speedo?
Week 46 Update -- June 2, 2012. 46 weeks in and only 6 weeks to go to complete one year. Down 143 lbs and now weigh 197; a weight that I have not been since I was a teenager. My loss has been remarkable steady since the beginning, averaging slightly more than 3 lbs per week. I have expected the rate to slow but it has actually accelerated over the last four weeks, averaged 3.5 lbs/wk during that time. I am a bit concerned about the rate but I eat when I am hungry and am not starving myself.
During the last couple of months my nutrition and exercise have really reached levels that I did not consider possible for me. I am doing a solid hour of cardio work four or five times per week. I am hitting all my nutrition target just about every day. Lately, I have really concentrated on reducing the sodium and cholesterol in my diet. I believe those changes has resulted in body saying "we really don't need this extra fat -- let's use it up." I am due to see the doctor this month and will see if there are any concerns with the rate of loss.
I am sooo thrilled to see my healthy weight in sight and less than 15 lbs away. I know I will get there by my one year target. But for the next six weeks I will be raging down the homestretch and will successfully complete this phase of my health transformation. I will begin planning the next phase after that.
Can't wait to get there!
Update 5/12/12. 43 weeks in. Today I reached 208 lbs. That is the weight I was the day my wife and I married on May 28, 1988. Last July, when I decided to change my eating, health and life, I thought "wouldn't it be wonderful if I could somehow get down to the weight I was when I got married." It was a long shot -- losing 132 lbs. - but decided to use that as a long-range goal. Well, here I am. I am surprised, grateful to many and overwhelmed by my results and success. But I am also not satisfied. I want to get to my so-called "ideal" weight according to the medical charts. That would be 185 lbs. So, that's 132 down and only 23 to go!
I can never say "thank you" enough to all my Calorie Count friends, supporters and kindred spirits. The tools on this site, and all the wonderful people that use it, have been the rock-solid foundation for my life change.
Here's to seeing less of all of you. There is not a happier bunch of losers anywhere and I am so proud to be a part of it!
Week 39 Update-- April 15, 2012. Nine months in and down 120 lb to 220. Nobody is more surprised by these results than me. Now off blood pressure meds. Doc took me off diabetes medicines five months ago. I was completely inactive. If there was a category below sedentary, it would have had my picture under the definition. I now push myself in vigorous exercise several times a week. I have moved form morbidly obese, to obese ton where I am now - overweight but with healthy weight in my sights for the first time since I was in second or third grade. I started with a waist line of 52 inches. As I write this, I am wearing size 38 pants.
How the heck did I get here after sooo many years? I have been asked that a lot and I think that these are keys:
On to the next phase. Would like to get down to 185 by my 12 month update. But if it takes me another month, or two, or three, it's no biggie. I have just completed the healthiest nine months of my life since Gerald Ford was president. Today is truly the first day of the rest of my healthy life.
As always --
-- Eat to live instead of living to eat.
-- If I can do it, you can do it.
Week 32 Update - Feb. 25, 2012 - MAJOR MILESTONE - Tomorrow I complete 32 weeks and I have now lost 100 lbs! I look at my profile pictures and cannot believe how far I have come since July 2011. It is a bit fast, but my weekly average loss is just slightly more than 3 lbs. That seems pretty safe and has slowed in recent weeks. I expect the loss to continue to slow to around 1 or 2 lbs per week.
Good nutrition, sticking to my daily targets and routine exercise are giving me fantastic results. I cannot believe that it is me that has been doing this! I NEVER thought that I could get this far.
OK. That's my pat on the back but now is not the time to get comfortable.
I gave myself a year to get the weight under control and I still have 20 weeks to go. According the BMI tables, I am still classified as obese and need to lose another 15 or 20 lbs just to be considered overweight instead of obese. So that is my next short term goal -- get out of the big "O" category. I have a lot more weight to lose and then the rest of my life to eat and live healthy.
I am eternally grateful to my wife. Not only is she a great source of encouragement, but she has done a lot of the "heavy lifting" -- shopping for the foods I need and preparing meals. She gets up before 5 am and makes my breakfast so that I can eat before I leave for the gym by 6 am. Her place in heaven is reserved.
My family and co-workers have all been great.
But a very special thanks to all my friends here on Calorie Count. This site, and the people that use it, have been the foundation of my success!
On to the next phase!
Please remember everyone, I am very serious when I say "if I can do it, anyone can do it"!
Six Month Update- January 15, 2012. 26 weeks in, 26 weeks to go. Could not be happier with results. Down to 257 lbs -- 83 less than when I started! Planning, focus, balanced nutrition and beginning to excercise routinely.
No special diet or secrets. Log all my food, evaluate results constantly, plan my food, I know what is bad and just stay away from it. I keep telling myself that there will be time to enjoy the "bad" food, in moderation, once I have gotten through the year. Nothing tases better than being healthy.
More importantly, in November, I was able to stop taking the diabetes medication. Just shows how weight and diabetes are related. Just moderate loss makes a big difference.
Hope the next 26 weeks are as successful as the last.
Here's to seeing less of everyone!
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Greek Yogurt or Regular Yogurt?
Losing 100 pounds!!