Monday, February 22, 2016

The experts seem to be correct

I've been reading about weight loss and fitness for several years now. I have been, like many people, looking for the secret, the magic bullet as it were of weight loss. I was seriously hoping there was some small change that would let the weight melt away while letting  me eat what and as much as I want. Well, the is no such thing. So then I thought that maybe if I just exercised more, maybe that would do it.  I then worked out that I don't have the 5 or 6 hours each day to make up for poor diet. So that means that I just need to eat right.

Now, the question is what does that mean, 'I just need to eat right'?  What does eating right entail?  Is it merely watching a total caloric intake number and making sure I stay within it?  Does it mean I have to only eat certain foods?  For me, it seems that it means to set a fairly aggressive calorie target fr each day and to follow, what amounts to, a sensible diet.  Now for me, and I certainly can't speak for ANYONE else, that means I am targeting to eat 1800 calories per day.  Those calories are coming from mostly natural foods like fruits and vegetables and meats with very little dairy and no refined grains or sugars.

I have also been taking an EGCG supplement and an enzyme supplement every morning.  I don't know if these are making much, if any difference, since I started the clean eating of the paleo diet at the same time.  What I do know if that over the last 2 weeks, since I started my latest round of weight loss, I have lost 15 lbs.   I am astounded.  This is working better than it ever has.  The exciting thing is that I'm not really hungry and craving foods, like I have in the past when I've been on diets.  I really haven't increased my daily activity, either.   Sure I've gotten on my bike a few times, bu it's nothing consistent.

I am extremely happy with the progress I've made so far and I am excited that I will make my 80 lb. goal by August.  I am well on my way, for sure.

One other thing I want to note is that I will be captaining my organizations team for the Biggest winner competition in the Corporate Challenge.   The initial weigh in is on March second.  We then have until  May 9th to lose as much weight as we can.  Last year I lost 28 lbs.  As a team we lost 81 lbs. which got us the bronze medal.  I am excited that we may actually have a chance at the gold.  

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


It's been eight days since I restarted my weight loss journey and I'm happy to see my dedication paying off on the scale. Eight days ago my weight was 458 lbs. This morning the scale read 450 lbs. That is a loss of 8 lbs. in 8 days. It shows that my clean eating, following the Paleo diet and resisting all of the temptations of the weekend is worth it.

I'm sure that actual exercise, like getting back on my bike for a couple of short rides, hasn't hurt either. Sure, I've been tracking my steps and getting in a low number but its been usually many short little trips and no longer walks. Usually I would walk maybe 100-200 steps at a time and no more.  Sure I would do this many times a day, but I don't think it is as effective as a longer walk to get the same number of steps.

As a means of testing my theory, I set out to walk about 2,000 steps in one, single go.  Now, I wasn't going to leave the house to accomplish this.  You see, if I walk from the sliding door to the front door and back it is about 50 steps.  OK, depending on my stride and which foot I pivot on it is between 47 and 50.  Anyway, I determined to walk this 40 times in a row. Now that may not sound like much to a lot of people, but remember, The longest I have been walking is from my car to my desk at work, maybe 750 steps.

I do have to say that there is a difference.  I could definitely feel it in my legs and my back as I got past 20 trips.  I persevered and made it to 40, though.  When I looked at my FitBit once i was done, I saw that I had actually logged 1946 steps during the 15 minutes or so it took me to complete this.  I certainly felt it.  I was breathing harder than normal and there was a bit of burn in my legs.  Now, in the past if I had accomplished the same roughly 2000 steps, it would have been in at least 10 separate little walks and I would not have felt it like I did, so obviously intensity and duration are key.

OK, I know there are some people who are like 'DUH!', but this is something I had to once again experience for my self to get it more than intellectually.  Truthfully I knew this, but had forgotten it.  The interesting thing is that since I never left the house yesterday, I didn't hit my step target but I feel I got better exercise than if I had with all of the short trips.

So, it's a new week, or at least a new work week, and I am happy with my progress so far.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Starting is the hardest part

Finally got my butt back on the bike today and 3 things were immediately obvious to me:

1.  Not riding a bike for 8 months greatly reduces one's capacity to participate in this activity.

2.  There are no flat roads in my neighborhood.

3.  Riding my bike is fun and I need to do more of it.

Now the first point was actually something I knew intellectually.  It was the wheezing, lung burning, struggle to move that brought the true reality of this statement home.  I survived the ride but it was more work than it should have been.

The second point I sort of knew from driving through the area, but when experienced from the seat of a bike it is much more readily apparent.  Now Strava and Garmin say I only experienced 71 and 72 feet of elevation gain respectively over the ride, but it certainly felt like a whole lot more!

The last point is one I know and one I am reminded of every time I swing my leg over the bike and propel myself along.  I've said it before and I will certainly say it again - I would rather bike 5 times a distance than walk any day.

One other thing I noted on the ride, as I was huffing and puffing my way uphill on Gowan, was that there are other cyclists in the area.  I call them cyclists because they were decked out in matching jersey and riding not inexpensive bikes.  2 of the 3 riders, however were just.  Not a 'hello' or 'on you left' as they rode by me.  Sure I was on my hybrid, in jersey shorts and a t-shirt and I even went heltmetless, but I said hi to them between gasps as they passed.

Anyway this was my first ride of many to come and I enjoyed it.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Paleo Diet Food List

I was doing some research online about what I can and cannot eat as I am trying to follow a Paleo diet. I came across this list as part of a post over on

Paleo Diet Food List

  • Protein

    • Red Meat and PorkBeef, veal, lamb, bison, ostrich, sheep, caribou, goat, venison (deer), pork. Try to get grass-fed and organic if possible.
    • Cage-free Poultry: Chicken, duck, quail, goose, pheasant, pigeon, eggs from any of the birds just mentioned.
    • Wild Fish and Seafood: Salmon, tunatilapia, anchovy, herring, yellowtail, mahi-mahi (dorado), trout, bass, halibut, sole, haddock, turbot, walleye, cod, flatfish, grouper, mackerel, white fish, shrimp, oysters, clams, mussels, sea urchin, lobster, scallops, crab.
    • Nuts: Cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds (Pepita), pecans, walnuts, pine nuts, macadamia nuts, chestnuts, cashews, almonds, coconuts. Note: Peanut is not a nut, it’s a legume, thus it isn’t allowed on the Paleo diet.
  • Fat

    • Cooking Oil
      • Extra-virgin coconut oil: You never want to burn your oil when you cook and since coconut oil has a high heat index (making it harder to burn), it is the oil I recommend for cooking for most meals.
      • Bacon Fat (lard): Bacon fat can be used as a cooking oil. It’s delicious (who doesn’t bacon?) and can be easily harvested from the grease of rendered bacon fat.
      • Beef TallowTallow, much like bacon fat, is a rendered form of beef fat. I usually get my beef tallow from the fat that floats on top of my beef bone broth which I make once a week.
    • Salad Oil
      • Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO): This is my oil of choice for most of my salads. EVOO is high in polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) so it’s very unstable under high heat and sun light, so I don’t recommend cooking with it and don’t leave it in direct sun light or storing it in a clear bottle. Keep it in a dark place and use a bottle that is tinted (similar to red wine bottles).
      • Sesame seed oil: Adds a great Asian flavor to any salad, I recommend only a teaspoon per salad.
    • Food with Good Fat: Avocados, butter (if you can eat diary), ghee (clarified butter), pork, beef, duck, veal, lamb, cold water fishes (sardines, mackerel, salmon, anchovies), walnuts, pistachios, pecans, Brazil nuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds (Pepita), pecans, pine nuts, macadamia nuts, chestnuts, chia seeds, cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, coconuts.
  • Carbohydrates

    • Starchy Roots: Sweet potatoes, yams, cassava, potatoes, purple yams, sweet yams.
    • Nuts: Cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds (Pepita), pecans, walnuts, pine nuts, macadamia nuts, chestnuts, cashews, almonds, coconuts. Note: Peanut is not a nut, it’s a legume, thus it isn’t allowed on the Paleo diet.
  • Sugars

  • Alcohols

    • None
  • Vegetables

    • Lettuce, butter lettuce, carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips, rutabaga, radish, artichokes, arugula, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, romaine lettuce, watercrest, onions, shallots, button mushroom, portabello, oyster mushroom, shiitake. Pretty much any green leafy vegetable. I also included mushrooms under vegetables even though it’s classified as a fungus, but most people usually cook mushrooms as if they were vegetables.
  • Spices and Herbs

    • Onions, garlic, parsley, cilantro (coriander), thyme, lavender, mint, basil, rosemary, chives, tarragon, oregano, sage, dill, bay leaves, curry powder, all spice, five spice, paprika, chili powder, salt, pepper, cinnamon, vanilla extract (make sure it’s 100% pure), cloves, nutmeg, star anise, mustard seeds, cumin.
  • Fruit

    • Apples, grapefruit, pomelos, oranges, pear, acorn squash, buttercup squash, butternut squash, pumpkin, spaghetti squash, yellow summer squash, zucchini,bananas, strawberries, raspberries, goji, cocoa, lemon, lime, tangerines, lychee, rumbatan, mangoes, grapes, papaya, plums, peaches, nectarines, blackberries, pineapples, pomegranates, cantaloupes, cherries, apricots, watermelon, honeydew.

Part of the list that felt even more important than what I can't eat, is what I can't eat.  It is a much shorter list and easier to remember, I think:

Food NOT allowed on the Paleo Diet

  • Refined carbohydrates: White bread, white flour
  • Grains: Wheat, oat, rye
  • Refined sugars: White table sugar, candy of all types,
  • Legumes: Soybean, pinto beans, peas, fava beans, black eyed peas, lima beans, peanuts.
  • Dairy: This is a point of controversy, as some people will say dairy is OK on the Paleo diet, while Paleo diet purist will argue otherwise. I say if you’re not lactose intolerant then eat dairy. But if you’re strict Paleo then stay away from the stuff! Dairy products: Cheese, milk, yogurt, butter, milk chocolate. Note: Ghee, clarified butter does not contain lactose nor casein, the proteins in dairy that causes harm to people who are intolerant to dairy. So enjoy ghee if you can afford it.
  • Processed food: Anything that is in a can or bag and doesn’t spoil for months or years. You can bet it contains preservatives.
  • All junk food: Chips, sweets, candy
  • Hydrogenated Oils and Trans Fat: Vegetable oil, vegetable shortening, hydrogenated soybean oil, hydrogenated corn oil, margarine, shortening.
  • Excitotoxins: Mono sodium-glutemate

Monday, February 8, 2016

Too much time gone by - time to start again...

I have been hemming and hawing around about what to post on here for quite some time.  This is, after all, supposed to be a blog about my journey to getting fit and healthy.  Unfortunately that has not been where I have been heading over the past several months Actually closer to a year.

When I finished the Biggest Winner competition last May, my ending weight was 423 lbs. As I stated then, that was a 28 lb. loss for the competition and should have been the beginning of a continued weight loss.  Well that didn't happen and by the end of August I was up to 455 lbs.  The next time I weighed in towards the middle of September I was up another 3 lbs. to 458.  I didn't step on the scale again until a couple of weeks ago when I was at 455 again.

The reason I bring this up is that I need to get my weight under control and I know the largest component of that is to watch my eating.  I need to stop just eating everything in sight and not eat for enjoyment.  I need to understand, fundamentally that fuel is fuel for my body and I only need a certain amount for it, not to over fuel it because that excess needs to go somewhere and it is going to fat.  I need to really get a handle on my eating.  If I do this, then I know I can get to where I need to be, where I can do the things I want to do and my weight is not holding me back.

My wife and daughter watch a TV show called My 600 lb. life.  It follows individuals who go to talk with a doctor in Texas and have gastric bypass surgery.  It shows their transformation over the course of a year or so.  These people are losing a good deal of weight.  I would say that on average about 200 lbs. over that year.  They have both been saying that I need to get that surgery.

This has been an eye opener for me - they are worried about me and are pushing me to get surgery because of their worry.  While I don't doubt that the surgery is an effective way to lose weight, I have seen the stories where over time, people who have ad the surgery have managed to expand their new, small stomachs and have gained back the weight in 3 to 5 years after losing it.  What I see is that there needs to be a fundamental shift in their relationship with food in order to become healthy and maintain the weight loss.

Yes, I understand that this can be a trigger to make the changes one needs to become healthy, but I think if I can make the changes myself, then I will be in a better position and not have to risk going through surgery.  Let's face it, while it is a lot safer than it used to be, anytime someone is put under anesthetic and surgery is performed there is risk.  That risk is increased for someone of my size.

So, what I have proposed to Michele, is that I will take the next 6 months to get my mind right and get moving towards a healthier, lighter me.  I have pledged that if I do not lose at least 80 lbs. over the next 6 months, then I will call the doctor and make an appointment to talk about the surgery. Towards that end, I got on the scale last night and it read 458 lbs.  That means by August 7 I need to weigh less than 378.  I know I can do this.  I need to focus on eating the right things in the right quantities and getting my butt moving more than it has been.

I plan on riding my bike and walking more than I have.  I plan on eating the right whole, natural foods, primarily following the Paleo Diet as it seems to be a good choice for me.  I will post updates of my progress at least weekly on here so that you can hold me accountable and follow my journey.

Here is to another new beginning, this time I am planning on making a significant, permanent change.