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The diet is over but the lifestyle change continues

I don’t know if this will be the last time I write about my change in lifestyle, but I do feel like it’s time for a sort of summing up.

Not my heaviest, but pretty heavy in June 2009For the last two days, I have weighed 179 pounds, which is 101 pounds lighter than I was a little less than five months ago. I didn’t weigh 280 in the picture on the right, which was taken in Nice, France, a little less than a year and a half ago, but I was clearly pretty heavy.

I had never weighed as much as I did earlier this year, and quite frankly, I didn’t know what I could do about it. The last time I had anything resembling a successful diet was nine years ago, when I had gotten my weight down to 199.

The last time I had been as low as 179 was 1989, when I had dieted down from 240 to 159 before I started gaining weight again.

I had weighed about 230 when I got fired in January 2008, and I didn’t handle it well. Over the next two years or so, I put on 50 pounds and couldn’t seem to motivate myself to take it off.

Anyone who reads this blog knows the story of my trip to Texas, but I don’t know if I mentioned that my realistic hope was to get my weight down to 220 or so. I never imagined that Rancho Cortez would enable me to make such significant changes that I could lose all my excess weight before the end of the summer.

The biggest hurdle I had to overcome was the idea of giving up a couple of hours a day — every day — to exercise. Just to show you how successful I have been, I returned home from Texas on July 18th and I have only had two days since then that I didn’t get out and walk.

That has made all the difference in the world, along with the fact that I have stayed under 1,500 calories without fail, even on days when I ate my meals in restaurants.

179 pounds

I weighed 216 when I left Texas, which was already a pretty amazing success, but I have lost another 37 pounds in the two months or so that I’ve been home.

As of today, my diet is over.

I’m not really going to try to lose any more weight.

But that doesn’t mean I’m loading up on Milky Way bars or heading out to eat barbecue. I still plan to eat sensibly in the 1,500 calorie range, and I am absolutely going to keep exercising every day.

You see, the mistake I made before was I looked at my diet as a destination.

Now I know it’s a journey, and it will have to continue as a lifestyle.

A hundred and one pounds.

Damn.

posted by Mike in Happiness,Health and have No Comments

Almost there? Maybe, but not that close yet

I suppose I could say the last pound is the hardest one to lose, but I don’t really think of the 100th as the last one.

The kid at 181

For the last three or four days, I have weighed 181 pounds (except for one day I bounced up to 182). That means I’m down 99 pounds since late April, and the fanciful goal I set for myself of losing a hundred pounds is about as close to being achieved as it can be.

But I never really thought of weighing 180 as the end of this. For one thing, I have made a point to myself of saying that the changes I have made this year are not temporary ones for the sake of losing weight, but permanent ones for the sake of changing my life.

I certainly don’t plan to start eating “normally” again. That’s the mistake I made in past years, and that’s why despite getting down to 159 in both 1985 and 1989, I weighed 280 pounds a little less than five months ago. I made the decision this time that I had eaten the last Milky Way bar of my life, and that fast food was also something of which I wouldn’t be partaking anymore.

I fully intend to count calories — both the ones going in and the ones I’m burning — for the rest of my life, or at least until I know that I won’t relapse and start gaining weight again. I fully intend to step on the scale — and to record the results — every morning for the rest of my life as well.

But 180? Hey, it’s a lot better than 280, but by the weight charts I grew up on, 180 is still overweight. Right now at 181, my Body Mass Index is 25.2. I need to lose three more pounds to have it down to a number that is no longer considered overweight.

Realistically, I need to get my weight down to 170 and work to maintain it there. That means I have lost 99 pounds out of a needed 110, which puts me at the 90 percent mark of the work I need to do.

Ninety percent is pretty good, but it’s the final 10 percent that will really matter.

Tally ho!

posted by Mike in Happiness,Health and have No Comments

Good habits are turning into a good (new) lifestyle

Somehow, I seem to have fallen into a new lifestyle.

I remember hearing that if you do something long enough, it becomes a habit. Then if you have a habit long enough, it becomes your lifestyle.

I think walking every day — walking at least five or six miles — has become my lifestyle.

It was one thing to do it at the fitness ranch in Texas. I was paying a lot of money to learn how to take care of myself there, and I walked nearly every day for 11 weeks. Even at Rancho Cortez, though, I occasionally took days off. I came home 19 days ago, weighing 213 pounds, down from 280 earlier in the spring. I was pleased and I fully intended to continue my weight loss, but it wasn’t easy to figure out how and where I was going to hike.

I started walking through Montrose up to the 210 freeway, but it wasn’t as much fun as it had been walking in the countryside in Texas. But I plugged ahead every day without ever skipping one. Even on the days I was doing other things — like my surfing lesson earlier this week — I still found time before leaving to hike.

A single step

As of today, I have hiked every day of the 19 I have been at home. Today I walked five miles around the Rose Bowl this morning with my friend Mick, and then I went back out and hiked a little more than three miles on my regular route this afternoon.

My weight loss has continued. Today I weighed in at 204, which means I have lost an additional nine pounds since coming home. It also means I’m just five pounds away from being under 200 for the first time in more than nine years.

It’s weird to think I have lost nearly 80 pounds and am still over 200, but there’s no use in being upset about the past. Yes, my weight was worse than ever earlier this year. I was stressed, and in the past, when I was stressed, I ate too much and exercised too little.

But now things are different.

Now I have a new lifestyle.

I love it.

posted by Mike in Happiness,Health and have Comments (2)

Heading for home and the old (new) life

In less than six days, I will pack my car, fill the gas tank and point it west for the three-day return trip to my life in Southern California.

Ready to go home

I’ll be leaving without most of the clothes I brought with me when I came to Texas at the end of April. My plan is that all the XXLs and XLs will be gone from my wardrobe with the exception of a couple of hoodies and jackets that I really like.

I not only got rid of the size 42 jeans I came in, I’ve also given away the 38s I bought after my initial weight loss. I’ll ride home wearing a pair of size 36 Wranglers, jeans I hope will serve me for the next couple of months while my quest to get under 200 pounds continues.

When I weighed in today, as I do every Monday morning here, I was down 55 pounds for the 10 weeks I have been in the program. That’s either 220 pounds dressed or 217 undressed, and while I don’t expect to keep losing 5.5 pounds a week, I do think I’ll be crossing the legendary 200 barrier before the end of the summer.

My goal all along has been to lose 100 pounds, but I honestly don’t know if at age 60, and with the muscle I have added from all my exercising here, if I have another 45 pounds of fat to lose.

I know there’s no hope of enough healthy weight loss to get down to 160, which I did twice in my thirties, and that means I’ll never again wear the 30-inch jeans I last squeezed into in 1989.

That doesn’t really matter, though. For all my optimism then, I suppose I knew deep down that I could never maintain the weight loss back then. This time, I know in my heart that once I am under 200 pounds, I am there to stay. I will never be fat again, because no matter what my body looks like, I no longer have a fat man’s mentality.

I’m a little bit nervous about getting out of the routine here and getting back into my old life, but I know I can handle it.

Things have changed — for the better.

And for good.

posted by Mike in California,Happiness,Health,Texas and have Comment (1)
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