My exercise, health, and weight loss posts are generally my most viewed posts, so why would I wait until the middle of November to report on how I did in October? I guess it’s basically because I don’t care that much about what happened. There, I said it, and it feels good. I made my goal weight over the summer. When I sit in those special chairs at the pharmacy that take my pulse, measure my blood pressure, weigh me, and check my Body Mass Index, I no longer get the flashing warning to stand up before I break the chair. I’m now in maintenance mode.
Maintenance mode is not very exciting, and I don’t have much to report. I may have been able to lose more weight in early October as the weather was quite good to start the month. I probably could have left my pool up and swam until mid-October, but I didn’t. I walked and biked as usual, but my steps do show a slight seasonal reduction.
And that is because good mental health is key to good physical health. In the middle of October, the weather took a nasty turn for the worse, as did my mental health. I deal with SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder, so I had to adjust my supplements and start doing this a lot.
I’m very late reporting on my weight loss trials and travails for September. I shouldn’t be late with these weight loss posts as they are my most popular posts on this blog. I think it’s because despite differences in politics, religion, etc., we all share the same struggle with weight control, except for those naturally skinny people with self control who never have to exercise. Oh, I hate them so much. Anyway, here we go, better late than never.
When I last posted about weight, I was 3 lbs below my goal weight at the end of August. Success, right? Well, not exactly. September turned cool, my swimming stopped, and my body started to get ready for a winter hibernation by eating everything in sight. I immediately re-reached my goal weight from the opposite direction and shot up above it by several pounds. That’s just how my body works. It doesn’t matter that my steps were strong again in September.
Geez, wouldn’t you think I would make a little extra effort to average 10K steps? Anyway, my body’s metabolism just slows down in cooler weather, maybe to get ready for my winter hibernation? I would be willing to give hibernation a try as I like long naps. Fortunately, the weather warmed again and some of the weight came off. Right at the end of September, my weight had come down to below my goal weight again, but seemed to be heading up. I waited to see what would happen. Well, here’s what happened.
How many pounds of weight lost is too many? For me, I’m not sure that number exists. If you recall from my post about July weight loss, I had made my original weight loss goal. It took me over a year to lose 20 pounds. I still felt puffy, so I figured I would continue on. But continue what? I’m not on a diet. I just eat right. I had even cut back a bit on exercise from last year, although I still posted a respectable average daily step/bike crank total in August.
After swimming 9 miles in July, I scaled back to 7 miles in August. So how did I lose 3 more pounds in August? I don’t have COVID or any other deadly disease. I’m starting to think it may have to do with one of the two mystery supplements I started taking at the beginning of June. They weren’t a mystery to me, but I have been teasing them a bit in this blog. Well, it’s time for their big reveal.
July was a real up & down month weightwise for me. Up is not the direction I want to go, but 2 personal trips, 1 business trip, and a family birthday party throw my eating and exercise plans off a bit. I was up a couple pounds, down a couple, up, down, up, down, etc. But the final result for July was down 3 lbs, and I made my goal weight set at the beginning of the COVID lockdown.
It wasn’t because of my steps. They were down, under 10,000 per day, but purposely so.
As we traveled last weekend, I made sure I got my laps in at the hotel pool, because as readers know, I am swimming across Lake Michigan. One added benefit is that I made a new friend at the pool. I do consider myself America’s friend and sweetheart. He was an older gentlemen, and we were alone in the pool area, ostensibly to swim laps. But he confronted me with, “Can I ask about your weight?” Uh-oh. I looked for the closest exit in case his next question was an invitation to join him in the hot tub. But it wasn’t. He just had a question about my weight. Then my mind flashed to this tweet I had seen and wondered if his question might go this way.
But our conversation didn’t go that route. I told him that he could ask away, and he asked me this legitimate question.
There are those who experience some weight loss, can’t seem to lose any more, and accept that they may have to be comfortable at that weight. But who has 2 thumbs and won’t accept that?
That’s right. For the second month in a row, I have maintained weight but not lost any.
I know, and I agree. My dreams of losing 10 more pounds by the end of summer are gone. That is just unrealistic now. Maybe if I can try for a pound a month June through September, I can get to a slightly lower weight than at the end of last summer. Would that be cause to celebrate?
I normally like to wait a day or two after the end of the month to announce my weight loss for the month. I check my weight for several days in a row before and after the last day of the month to verify that I actually did lose weight that month. But here we are a week into May, and I’m still not sure. My weight bounced around like a ping pong ball at a college fraternity beer pong tournament. Up several pounds one day and down a pound the next. A week into May, and about the only statement I am comfortable making is that I didn’t lose any weight. I’m still staring at losing 10 pounds by the end of warm weather in the fall.
My weight loss plan was at a serious disadvantage in April with Easter coming early in the month. My plan to deal with all the chocolate in the house at Easter was to eat it all as quickly as possible. Success!
Easter was quickly followed two days later by the local election that I lost but still won. Yes, third runner-up was enough to be elected. I felt like a kid at a rec league soccer tournament where everyone gets a trophy. But I think it’s official now that this came in the mail …
When I posted my last weight loss goal a month ago, I really had hoped to ramp up my steps outside in March to drop some of the weight I gained over winter. That did not happen to the magnitude I had hoped. Take a look at this modest increase in steposity.
Yawn. Big deal, right? This local election I’m in kept me behind my computer screen a bit too much, and my exercise activity became very sporadic and erractic. But take a look at this new high water mark in stepitude for me.
And it didn’t, but I still succeeded … sort of. As I have explained in prior posts, I was pretty sure I would gain weight over the winter. The key for me was to try and limit that weight gain. By late summer of 2020, I had lost 17 pounds through spring and summer. As soon as cooler weather in early fall arrived and I took our pool down, I almost immediately added back 2 pounds. I went into the winter months of December through February hoping to minimize my weight gain. I wanted to show some progress from 2020 to 2021. It didn’t help that I could not bring myself to go to the health club all winter while a pandemic raged out of control in the US.
I was limited to walking outside, our treadmill, and our elliptical machine. I never got around to setting up a bike on a stationary trainer like I wanted. Mild winter weather allowed me to still walk outside in December and most of January, but then winter hit here with a vengance in February. We had about 3 weeks straight of incessant snow and frigid temps. I was relegated to shoveling/snowblowing outdoors when necessary (which seemed to be daily) and walking/ellipsing indoors. Take a look at how my steps in February shrank for the third month in a row …
When we last left our plucky dieter (me!), my diet plan for January & February was for me to gain 2 pounds each month in order to lose weight. You can read and try and make sense of that logic in the complete post HERE, but the gist is that it is inevitable that I will gain weight in the winter, so I need to control my weight gain, unlike in years past when I have inflated like a balloon at a kid’s birthday party by the end of winter.
That is me after most winters. Oh, but not this one. I planned to limit my weight gain which would allow me to start Spring weighing less than a year ago. After only gaining a pound in December, I planned to add 2 pounds each month in January and February. Then I could start March at 9 pounds less than last year. I lost 17 pounds in 2020 before the cold weather hit, so if I could lose just 15 additional pounds this year, I would be very happy at being down 24 total pounds from my peak in early 2020. Whew, I did not realize there would be math required with this post.
So, what did I do to only gain 2 pounds in January? Well, I exercised less. Take a look …
Happy New Year to you all as I wrap up my Twelve Days of Blogging. When last I checked my weight in an act of public self-shaming, I had gained 2 pounds back from my summer & fall 17 pound weight loss. I hatched a crazy plan to gain less than 5 pounds per month during the 3 winter months, and I would then start Spring 2021 weighing less than last year. Even nuttier is that’s the plan I’ve decided to follow – weight gain. It’s the only plan I have. Winter weight gain is inevitable for me. The best I can do is minimize it.
I knew December would be hard. By the end of the month, my diet had turned almost exclusively to a focus on the 4 holiday food groups of cookies, chocolate, caramel, and eggnog. My workouts had faded as Christmas activities and a bathroom renovation took precedence over self-care. Unfortunately, the numbers don’t lie …
The last time I updated you on my efforts to reach my weight loss goal of 20 pounds (for those of you still living in medieval times, that comes out to 1.43 stones), I had fallen short in September. I was stuck at 17 pounds at the end of September after really working out hard that month. With cooler weather coming, I faced the prospect of no more swimming workouts in the convenience of our backyard pool. I am simply not up for a nice winter swim as some are.
Canadians, eh? And I cannot handle this exercise below freezing …
I had slipped into a summer exercise routine that felt as comfortable as my fat pants with the stretch waistband after about 20 wearings without a washing. I would get up early and take a long solo walk or bike ride. Most days I would stop at one of the many wild berry patches I had scouted and pick fresh mulberries, raspberries, or blackberries for my consumption that day. After work, I would walk the dog and swim some laps in our little pool. Then the weather started to change. We had a stretch of rain and cold. No cycling for a week. I took down the pool before it turned into an above ground ice skating rink. So much for my swimming workouts. I immediately started to gain back the weight I had lost. My quest for a 20 lb. weight loss seemed unattainable.
But then, one man inspired and motivated me to try and make that weight loss happen. Who, you ask? I’m pretty sure I heard someone ask. Come on, raise your hand if it was you asking. Nobody, huh? Regardless, that man is …
One week ago, I was on the brink of having lost 19 pounds toward my goal of 20. And then, the weather turned ugly along with my disposition. Unseasonably cooler temperatures moved in along with rain every single day of the week. Literally overnight, I gained 2 pounds. My body reacts to the cold by packing on winter weight, possibly so I can live off my blubber in case I am ever lost in the Arctic or Chicago in January. I’m not sure which is colder. I fought back by getting depressed and eating everything in sight. Turns out, that didn’t help. I gained another pound.
I could no longer get in a daily swim since the pool was overflowing with cold water. I could no longer get in a daily bike ride due to all the rain. I changed my tack and established an indoor routine of daily walking on the treadmill, elliptical work, and some interval training including crunches (not Nestle’s, although that would be my preference), push-ups, and light weight work.
Success! I’ve banished 1 of the 3 pounds I added. I was even able to get back in the pool yesterday as warmer temps have returned for a few days. We’ll see how sunny and warm these next couple days get as we are now experiencing a smoky haze from the west coast of the USA that is burning out of control. I always thought California would fall into the Pacific due to an earthquake. I never expected it would burn into oblivion.
The bottom line for me is that we are halfway through the month, and I still have 3 pounds to lose to reach 20. I am not confident, but I will try like hell to get there by the end of September. I know October will bring colder weather and that means a fatter, but not jollier, Jim.
Back when I started my career, I worked for a company that ran a “Go For 10!” promotion. They were a smaller company in their industry, and they wanted to push sales to get into the top 10. So, Go For 10! They failed. In fact, they may have fallen further down the ranks, and I was a part of it. Great story, right?
But I do have a chance to lose 20 pounds! I’m going for 20 pounds lost! By the end of August, I had officially lost 17 pounds of winter tubbiness and am currently trending toward 18 lost pounds of lard. How? COVID lead to underemployment which lead to less money which lead to me to walking and biking while contemplating my dilemma which lead me to notice things growing which lead me to eating those growing things. Here’s my harvest of European plums today …
They kind of look like sweet, juicy red seedless grapes. They’re not. NOT AT ALL. They taste nothing like grapes. They are edible but tart. I will eat them, but it’s not like there’s a chance I’m going to overeat. The real key to the weight loss has been in taking steps to better health, literally. Take a look at this pic.
I was unsure of whether I would be able to walk again, let alone feed, bathe, or clothe myself. That’s right, I recently had a sore, swollen knee. Spare me your pity, but monetary contributions are always welcome. It was only through sheer will, grit, determination, and my wife’s nagging that I found I could walk again, if you can call what I do walking. And it was my dog, yes, my dog, that got me to use my treadmill again.
It’s a great treadmill that was sitting idle while I writhed in pain as I ate ice cream and my family urged me to “get off my fat ass and do something for God’s sake” or some encouraging words to that effect. Even the treadmill taunted me regarding my potentially burgeoning weight without activity.
But it wasn’t my family’s “encouragement” that got me to use the treadmill again. It was my faithful dog and her chunky vomit that got me to use the treadmill again. I’ll explain.
I was at an industry trade show yesterday and got in well more than the recommended 10,000 steps in one day.
In addition, I really didn’t eat much yesterday. I was busy. And yet, when I stepped on the scale this morning, I had gained weight. I’m not sure I want to live in a world where I gain weight after walking over 5 miles. I want to live in a world where I can eat a spaghetti sundae after walking 5 miles and lose weight.
Well, now that it has been oppressively hot for a couple weeks, my excess winter weight of about 5 pounds has melted away. Now all that’s left to lose is my normal winter weight gain of another 5 pounds. Assuming I can lose that, I will then be at a weight where I consider myself 10 pounds overweight. Is that so bad? Who among us is not 10 pounds overweight?
Liars! All of you! But wait, maybe that 10 extra pounds is actually muscle and not fat.
Okay, okay. 5 down and 5 to go before I am still 10 pounds overweight. A guy’s got to have goals.