Category: dieting

Requisite Weight Check In

We’re on the other side of another holiday season, and it helps me to check in with you lovely people periodically to tell you how I’m doing in my Quest to Not Get Fat. (Not sure how else to phrase it, so I just keep it simple.)

When I last checked in, it was to let you know my plan of switching to a system where I eat the same thing every single day. Some of you thought I was a bit crazy for doing it, and my wife certainly shared the concern. How did it go?

Well, over the holidays I didn’t really stick to it at all, though I was pretty faithful through the first half of December or so. I made that decision to go with the oatmeal diet back at the beginning of October, when I was 190.6. Here I am, three months later, post-Christmas, and where am I?

183.6

So seven pounds lost, and in the middle of December I was down under 180 for a few days as well. All told, I’d say the diet definitely works. The biggest reason is likely because it’s not really much of a diet anymore. It’s just the new way I eat.

I’m not saying that I’m planning on only eating oatmeal and peanut butter sandwiches for the rest of my life. Rather, that I’m getting more and more used to not eating that much when I do eat. I still pig out occasionally, but my body can (still) stand a bit of pigging out now and then. What does me in is the steady, continual overeating that just makes me balloon up.

I can definitely tell when I’m not eating the way I should. I feel worse. Sick t my stomach. More tired. I generally feel better, physically and mentally, when I’m hungry, which is an odd statement to make, but a true one. I feel more alert and focused. And avoiding sugar is still one of the best decisions I made.

So I plan to be on the “eat the same thing every day” routine for a while longer, though I do expect I’ll take pauses from it now and then for dinners I really like. Will I come off it? Yes. Once I’m safely below my weight threshold again, I will. Though it’s nice to have a system in place I can start on if and when I inch over that line again.

Anyway. Thanks for listening and the words of encouragement. Being public about all of this isn’t really a way for me to brag about losing weight. Rather, it’s one of the main motivating factors that keeps me honest.

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Putting My Personal Superpower to Work

Everybody seems to be following different diet plans. There’s the all meat diet. The gluten free diet. The keto diet. Paleo diet. I can’t keep track of them all. I’ve always stuck with the calorie counting diet in the past. It’s been reliable for me, and I’ve always been able to lose weight before. (Why am I writing about diets, you might ask? Europe and my birthday and MLA Annual Conference have put me 10 pounds over my “line in the sand” where I’m supposed to start seriously dieting, that’s why.)

The one problem with the calorie counting diet is that you have to actually count stuff. This is not something I enjoy doing. I really don’t like sitting down to a good meal and having to weigh it all out and do calculus to figure out how much of that great meal I can eat.

However.

One strength of mine is basic immunity to repetition. It’s kind of like a superpower, I’ve decided. (Even if I haven’t figured out how to take over the world with it just yet.) I can wear the same thing every day, and I don’t care at all. I can eat the same thing for breakfast for months at a time, and I still enjoy it. I just don’t care that I had it yesterday. I’m immune to the feeling of “I need to do something different this time.” (This, sadly, does not extend into my work routine. I do like to mix things up when it comes to what I do each day. But for the little things like food and clothing? Who cares? I’m hungry. I eat. Now I’m not. Problem solved.)

This is not to say I don’t enjoy different foods. Obviously I do. And when Denisa’s here making delicious food, I eat it. Because why not?

Each day, I always eat the same breakfast (oatmeal), snack (banana at 11am), and lunch (peanut butter sandwich at noon). Typically I then mix things up for dinner. While Denisa was away over the summer, however, I discovered that I can eat the same thing for dinner as well. In fact, I can eat the same thing I ate for breakfast: cold, raw oatmeal with cold milk. To treat myself, I put in chocolate chips instead of raisins. (What can I say? I’m good to me.) Then for a snack at night, I have my peanut butter, cocoa, banana, and milk smoothie.

I lost  6 pounds in about 1.5 weeks with that approach.

Now that I found myself so high above my goal weight, I finally decided to bring down the diet hammer again. And this time, I was done with counting calories. I told Denisa that I’m not going to be eating anything with the rest of the family until I’m back under my goal weight. It’s just going to be oatmeal, sandwiches, and smoothies every day. I’ve already lost 4 pounds. (6 to go, though I might try to ride it all the way down to 175 this time.)

This is just the natural extension of something I’ve always told people: find out what you’re good at, and do that. Find out what works for you. Will the oatmeal diet work for any of you? Doubtful. I’d imagine most people would get sick of it. But for me? I can do it without breaking a sweat. When I’m hungry, I just realize that I’ll be eating something at my prescribed time later on, and that’s enough to keep me going.

What’s your superpower?

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve been posting my book ICHABOD in installments, as well as chapters from UTOPIA. Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

On Passing Arbitrary Benchmarks

In theory, I know that passing a certain line in the sand doesn’t necessarily carry any special meaning. The line could have been anywhere else just as easily. When you have a birthday, you’re just a day older than you were the day before, but passing that mark still seems to mean something. It comes with a sense of accomplishment (or dread, I suppose.)

I’ve been losing weight for a while now. It’s had ups and downs. The heaviest I’ve been was 240, around 15 years ago. (Give or take a few years.) And each time I lose a bit of weight, it’s just another tiny chunk in the grand scheme of things, no more or less important than any other.

All of that said, when I got on the scale this morning and saw the number (179.6), I couldn’t help but do a happy dance inside, because seeing that second digit turn into a 7 for the first time (in . . . 25 years? Something like that) really felt like an accomplishment. Like a sign that what I was doing was working.

Dieting isn’t fun, but the last time I was overweight for any real length of time was April 2016. We’re coming up on two years of being at a “normal” body weight. And this latest round has gotten me almost to where I think I really want to end up. (175)

I know that I’m feeling much better because of the better way I’m treating my body. Regular sleep, better food, regular exercise, cutting down on sugar, and having a daily multivitamin make a huge difference. I know that, because just last month I didn’t exercise as much, and I ate way too much, and I gorged myself on sugar. I didn’t feel good. So I’m glad to have made these changes, and I’m really thankful to the people who help me stick with it.

Anyway. That’s all I’ve got for you today. Just wanted to share.

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The First Month of the Weight Loss Group

I blogged a month ago about a new approach I was taking to weight maintenance. Four friends and I made a pact: lose 5 pounds every month (or have reached our weight goal and maintained that weight) or else we have to pay $50, split between all the people who managed to meet their goal.

It was interesting watching how it played out over the course of the month. I thought I wouldn’t have any problem losing the weight. I was a pro at this, right? Except the first two weeks involved a couple of conferences and a vacation trip, and halfway to the finish line, I hadn’t just not lost weight. I’d gained 2.2 pounds. So now I had two weeks to lose 7.2 pounds, which sounded a whole lot worse than 4 weeks to lose 5.

Friends, I have never been more motivated to lose weight in my entire life. My natural inclinations to win any game I play and to be a tightwad came together perfectly. I watched each calorie like a hawk. Hunger was just a reminder that I had to win. I lost the weight and saved the money.

For the most part, it seems like this was reflected in the other participants. Well, except for one, who somehow managed to lose 12 pounds and never looked back once. For the rest of us mortals, things seemed iffy toward the middle, but in the end 4 out of the 5 participants managed to lose the 5 pounds. So the one who didn’t pays us each $12.50.

I count this as a success, and I’m excited for the next month. If I reach the goal of 5 pounds lost this time, then it will officially be the lowest I have weighed since high school. I don’t have that much left to lose 10 pounds or so, total. So if this gets me there, that’s great. More importantly, I hope it keeps me there.

Some people have said we’re basically betting, but I want to stress that I don’t view this as a bet. It’s a weight loss program with a $50/month fee that you don’t have to pay if you manage to meet your goal. Weight Watchers costs $20-$55 each month, depending on how much coaching you get. Would a program like that be willing to refund your money if you’re successful? I think not.

Though really, this only works if all of us in the group are doing it. If we start bailing, then suddenly the outside motivation can evaporate. So I’m glad to see that it’s worked well so far. And the one who didn’t make weight is now highly motivated to correct that this month. (I think.)

Of course, this month also has Thanksgiving. We’ve moved the weigh-in date to Thanksgiving morning. My goal is to lose extra weight before I head down to Pennsylvania, because I know I’ll want to eat extra while I’m down there. We’ll see how it goes.

In any case, so far, so good. I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

Crossing the Weight Line

Sigh. I got on the scale this morning and read the result: 196.8. That’s the first time in over a year I’ve been overweight again. It’s 13.8 pounds heavier than my lowest weight, and if I don’t get back under 195 by Sunday morning, then I’ll break my perfect string of being normal weight at the beginning of each month, as well.

I’m not too worried about getting under 195 by Sunday. I just got back from a conference, and then I had pizza last night. I already know from experience that equates to a bump in weight, but any which way you slice it, I have most definitely been cheating on my diet regime more and more since July.

The thing is, when I’m cheating on my diet, I almost always have a “good reason.” Lots of stuff is happening in my life. I’m stressed. I don’t have time to worry about little things like my health, right? Of course, that’s typically when I ought to be paying the most attention to what I’m eating.

The biggest problem is that even after a year of eating healthy, I still fall back on bad eating habits in times of stress. It’s my way of coping with having too much to do, and I have years of experience using it that way. I know that unless I do something about it, I will slip back up to 215 or so, and then I’ll be right back in the same mess I started in. I knew there would come a time when I would go over 195 again. Now’s the time to get serious about things once more.

And I’ve come up with a new plan.

In conjunction with a group of friends, I’ve started a weight loss group on Facebook. It’s small (just 5 of us), and the rules are simple. We each have a goal weight we’d like to get to. One we set on our own. And each month, we’ve promised each other to lose 5 pounds. We’ll keep that up until we reach the goal weight, at which point we’ll shift to maintaining that goal weight. Seems pretty straightforward, right?

But there’s the incentive.

Each of us has agreed to chip in $50 each month we fail to lose the 5 pounds or maintain our goal weight. The ones of us who have managed to lose the weight or keep it off get to split that $50. So in other words, as long as I always keep the weight off or keep losing weight, I don’t have to pay a single cent. And if I stay on track, I might even get some money (though I really hope none of us has to pay out ever.)

My starting weight was 192.6. So at this point, I need to lose 9.2 pounds to avoid paying the penalty. I have until the morning of October 25th. I certainly would have made things easier on myself if I’d watched what I ate while I was away, but water. bridge.

Ultimately, I’d like to get to 175, and then stay around there, with 180 being my new “line in the sand” weight. The good news is that I really don’t feel like I’m dieting anymore. I do believe I have a new approach to eating, and I just have to stick to it instead of cheating on it.

Wish me luck. (I don’t want to have to pay $50!)

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