Saturday, June 13, 2009

Losing Some Weight - The Hardest Part

So, now that I've filled your head with numbers and calculations and convinced you how easy it is to lose weight, I thought I would spend today talking about where things go awry for me.

First off, I mentioned yesterday that these number assume current weight, age, and activity level. The first piece is easy to understand, As we lose weight and get older, the number of calories we need to exist goes down. For example, my BMR has gone from 2250 calories when I started (260 lbs 2 years ago) to 1960 now (based on 215 lbs). That's a reduction of 300 calories a day (that's one Krispy Kreme Chocolate covered custard filled donut). Here was my first little toe stub. When I first started losing weight I would "reward" myself and have that Krispy Kreme (well -actually we don't have Krispy Kreme or Dunkin Donuts here in Orange County - but you get the idea). I didn;t understand that that 10 pounds I just lost was more than offset by a donut a couple or three times a week. Just to maintain weight as I get older and trimmer means I have to eat less - or at least be smarter about what I am eating. I would lose weight, and then relax. I would work out a little less and east a little more without understanding that those few extra calories a day was all it was taking to keep me from losing weight. It's not hard to rack up an extra 200 or 300 calories a day.

Second, AKA Alice hit the nail on the head when it comes to what makes calorie tracking difficult for me - estimating portion size. Portion size is the death knell for most people. What is 4 ounces of pasta? Cooked or pre cooked? 1 ounce of chips? That's a 1.3 ounce bag. Etc. Etc. I resorted to having a 1/2 cup measure with me to estimate portion size. Others I know have a postage scale. When I BBQ a burger at home though, I'm still not sure whether that's 4 ounces or 6 ounces or 7.34672 ounces of ground beef. Is that really a tablespoon of mayo? You get the idea. Portion sizing made folks like Jenny Craig very wealthy.

Then, Lindsay hit a home run with my other weakness - logging. To be effective, I need to log my food. Religiously. Lindsay left a comment yesterday - "last night i was tempted to have some more m&m's or sun chips before bed but then i was too lazy to log it so i didn't." Lindsay - I wished I had you will power. If it was my comment, I would be saying "last night i was tempted to have some more m&m's or sun chips before bed but then i was too lazy to log it so i didn't log it." Meh - what's an extra couple hundred calories between friends?

Finally, I love a nice meal out. Last night - for example. It was my wife's birthday, so the family went out to a nice relaxing dinner. How do I log baked truffle scented macaroni and cheese? Or Prime Short Ribs of Beef braised for 30 hours in rum and peppers. Sorry folks - I love good food!

So - how do I deal with these issues? I try. I try real hard. But I also don't stress if I have a few extra calories here and there. Or if I don't lose weight one week. Or put on a pound or two in a month. I know that by following this methodology I've dropped 45 pounds in total. And it's still moving the right direction, so something is working! Maybe slowly, but it's still happening.

On the exercise front, yesterday was a scheduled rest day. I'm hoping that my legs are rested enough to run my scheduled 5K (Magic Shoe 5K) this morning. The race is about a mile away from my house, and I'm tempted to run over to warm up. I'm still feeling fatigued, but not like last weekend before my 10K. I guess I'll find out just how tired I was in a couple of hours!


  1. Glenn... it's the never ending mofo of a struggle, isn't it? I've had a band and it's still a struggle (not quite as big a struggle, but a struggle none the less).

    Something occurred to be today as I was running about doing my errands, trying not to buy a chocolate: staying away from bad foods is an endurance sport all of its own!

    We get up and do our runs religiously, sometimes when we don't want to do it. Why can't we view food as the same thing? Eating small portions as part of our "endurance" training. Staying away from chocolate or donuts or whatever your poison is as "endurance" training.

    I'm going to give it a burl.

    Good luck - it sounds like you have your head in the right place about it all, which is most of the battle won.

  2. haha. some nights i have been craving the food and i'd eat and not log it. that led to a few weeks (months) of not logging/tracking food at all and then what do you know - it went from feb to may and i gained 6 lbs. :( last night's will power is certainly not around most days.

    eating out is sooo hard. portions are always huge and a lot restaurants don't have their nutritional info available. it's definitely a big lifestyle change to focus on one's diet, but the results are worthwhile!

  3. This has been a great series of posts, Glenn. I think what it comes down to, for me at least, is somehow balancing being strict with myself with not being so overly critical that I give up before I even start. Does that makes sense?

    Also, those short ribs sound amazing. Sign me up!

  4. I really believe the not tracking was a big cause of me gaining weight while training for my Olympic Distance tri.

    At first I wasn't eating enough. Then I ate more, but it was crap food. I pretending the potato chip "carbs" I ate were increasing my glycogen (sp) stores.

    I know some of it was muscle, but now I'm out of the pants I used to fit in.

    I also want to kick people who ask me how I can still be overweight and run 1/2 marathons.

  5. I'm catching up and just wanted to say I really enjoy your posts on weight loss. I noticed soon as I hit my 40s that weight gain happened without me changing my diet and exercise. By the time I was ready to do something about it, I was 20 pounds heavier. I'm still struggling weekly, but the food logging and keeping high calorie foods out of the house is key for me. When I do it, it works. And when I don't...well, that I'm still over my ideal weight tells you how often it doesn't work.

    Thanks for reminding us we all struggle with our own food demons, Glenn.

  6. For me it's either I eat too little and lose weight but have dizzy spells and no energy. Or eat to much and just maintain my current weight despite all the running I do. I need to find the right balance. I've managed to keep the 50 pounds I've lost off for almost a year now, but am struggling with the last 10 pounds. I lose 5 and gain it back..I need to break the cycle somehow. Good Luck with your weight loss journey.

  7. One thing I have found that works is not to keep a lot of sweets or snacks in the house. Not to say that I don't have chips or candy every so often (everything in moderation!), but it isn't tempting if it isn't available.

    I think you are on the right track, Glenn. You seem more in tune with your caloric intake than most, so I have no doubt you will be able to figure out a balance of enjoying good food and losing additional weight. All the best!

  8. I am like Lindsey, now that I am logging everything I eat to keep track of my carb intake I wont eat something for snack because then I will have to log it and I dont want to do that or I know that its not good for me!

  9. I love the internet! I'd never thought of carrying a 1/2 cup measuring cup. That's genius!

    I've really enjoyed reading these posts Glenn!