Oh man

Man, I’ve been a bad boy.

Nothing like having your failure in front of the world, huh?  It’s not really the best thing to start a weight loss blog and end up gaining weight over the course of a couple of years!  Was hoping hot to reach 250, but there I am. 🙁

Weight gain brings other problems, too.  It’s probably aggravated my sleep apnea, and I’m on constant positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy.  I guess if I give that a little bit of time, it may help to break into a cycle of tiredness and weight gain, because lack of sleep and obesity tend to reinforce one another.

Don’t really know what to say, except “it’s time to start over … again?!”

Eleven times

That’s the number of days over the past three months I’ve exercised 30 minutes or more, according to my records at Joe’s Goals.

Ouch.

Like most every great plan at the beginning of the year, this one fizzled.

It takes a lot of discipline to be the one out of twenty that will lose a substantial amount of weight and keep it off for life.  (That’s one doctor’s estimate on another site I frequent.)  The other nineteen die young and are miserable for a good part of their shortened lives.  I fear it might take diabetes to get me to change, but I hope not.

Oh well, have a great week everyone! 🙂

Well, Wii Fit didn’t keel over from shock

It had been a while since I logged any time on Wii Fit.  Bad me.  It teases me a little when I miss a few days.  The animated Balance Board was happy as always to see me again, and I put in 30 minutes for the first time in about a month without keeling over myself.

I guess there are bound to be a few false starts with any habit-changing endeavors like weight loss.  And this particular one is really tough to overcome:  It’s estimated that only 5% of people who lose 10% of their body weight will keep it off for five years or more.  That’s twenty-to-one odds.  Even worse odds than staying married.

One thing that has been really throwing a wrench in the gears has been my sleep schedule.  Many people have commented that I’ve been staying up, and getting up, way too late.  I’ve come to realize that this ripples through the rest of my life and backs everything up against a wall.  I’ve kinda-sorta gotten away with being an ultra-night-owl for quite a while, but it’s catching up to me, and calling attention to things that aren’t really too complimentary.  People at work notice that I roll in pretty late (even though we have flexible hours), and getting up early for church on Sunday is always a challenge.  Throwing off my sleep schedule so often affects how well I sleep, so my desire to exercise goes down, which decreases my productivity and how well I sleep.  That’s a bad cycle to get into.

Anyway, I’m trying to address my sleep schedule and re-commit myself to exercise.  Thanks for sticking around as I figure this out.  I appreciate it!

I hate fundraisers

Well, maybe I should be a little more specific:  I hate fundraisers at work where they just leave a box of candy bars and an envelope in a high-traffic area.

I fell off the wagon over the past week or so and became a really, really good customer of this particular fundraiser.  As in I bought a couple dozen candy bars and practically bought the whole softball team new uniforms.

Food, food, food.  Buy some food.  It’s for the kids.  BAH!  "Apply directly to hips" is more like it.

I pray that I can resist temptation for sweets more.  It’s something I know that I won’t be able to do with my own power.  A 5% success rate for keeping weight off five years or more says that it’s difficult even with His help.

Here’s a question for you folks who aren’t as tempted by sweets:  How do you say no when your taste buds are screaming yes?

Slim down, or pay the piper

The State of Alabama isn’t taking its workers’ obesity lying down.  The state’s 37,000 employees have been given an ultimatum:  Slim down, or pay an extra $300 per year.

Obesity has become a bit of an oversized target for cost-shifting.  With over 30% of the state’s residents obese, Alabama will be the first state to assess a fat tax on its workers.

Increased health insurance premiums are but one way that being fat costs money, but typically this has largely been an issue with self-employed people.  Group health insurance policies even the playing field, and the healthier, often slimmer members of the group subsidize the premiums paid by, or on behalf of, the less healthy members.  Since obesity leads to many health issues, it makes budgetary sense to charge the people who contribute most to the rising costs of health insurance.  Smokers have already been taxes in some places.  Now apparently fat people are on the chopping block.

This will be a permanent money-maker for the state.  Many people won’t take off the weight, and only a small fraction (about 5%) will keep it off for five years or more.

But there’s always that 5% that will win!

It’s my own fault that I’m fat

A report issued this past Tuesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America’s Health blamed a bunch of things for the rising obesity rate in thirty-seven states, including:

  • Federal, state, and local governments
  • School cafeteria meal planners
  • Long commutes
  • Longer work hours
  • Exclusion of obesity treatment from health coverage
  • High cost of health club memberships
  • Lack of grocery stores in lower-income areas
  • Sedentary entertainment
  • Stress
  • "Relentless advertising" of unhealthy foods
  • Shortage of safe walking routes to school
  • Mochas with steamed milk and syrup
  • Sedentary desk jobs
  • Lack of bike racks and showers
  • Lack of employer support for employees’ exercise time
  • Weak top-level leadership at the state legislature level
  • Lack of legislation requiring restaurants to provide nutrition information on menu boards

Wow!  I sure am glad it’s not my fault!

Yeah right.  Just like nobody cares for my finances as much as I do, nobody cares about my health as much as I do.  Everyone else cares (a) about making money off of me, (b) expending as little as possible to get me to continue expending energy to benefit their own interests, or (c) making money off of other people by not impeding their ability to make money off of me.  If I’m fat, it’s because I didn’t care about my health as much as I should, and nothing else.

I know that I can be normal weight; I’ve done it before.  To do that, I have to overcome odds stacked against me.  I have to exercise on my own time, without my employer’s financial assistance.  I have to pony up for a gym membership (which I did) or find cheaper ways to exercise.  I have to resist heavily-advertised fast foods.  I have to pay for my own obesity treatments out of pocket.

If I don’t, nobody else will care, I’ll still be fat, and it will still be my fault.  It’s my problem to fix.

Seven things I’ve already noticed since I began exercising again

I’m very thankful that the positive feedback that comes from beginning an exercise program comes quickly. Here are seven little things that my wife, myself, and others have noticed already about me since I began exercising again:

  • I feel better. This happened almost immediately. Just the act of finally doing something about my weight made me feel better. Overall, I don’t ache as much, and I have more energy.
  • My wife used to only be able to hook two fingers behind my back when she was hugging me. Now she can grab her wrists.
  • I can wrap a towel around myself without worrying that it will fall off.
  • My mother-in-law says that I’m walking straighter
  • My triceps are getting a little bit of definition with the push-up routine.
  • I can see a hint of my cheek bones again.
  • My wife says I have more “sparkle.” I’m losing the glumpy caveman look, and I seem to care more and be happier.

If you’ve lost some weight, what were some of the first things you or your spouse noticed about you?

One ounce at a time

Someone passed on a copy of Fred Brooks’ software classic The Mythical Man-Month to me. The introductory page to the chapter on progress tracking has this question and answer:

Question: How does a large software project get to be one year late?
Answer: One day at a time.

Small slippages here and there add up, and if left unchecked, they add up a lot.

But this is a weight loss blog, not a programming blog, so:

Question: How does a large guy get to be one hundred pounds overweight?
Answer: One ounce at a time.

I weighed 140 pounds at one point of my adult life, in my first year of graduate school. Through the next few years I put on some weight, had an operation to fix the effects of Crohn’s disease, and subsequently went up to about 180 pounds. I worked off 30 pounds of that over the next year or so just doing a lot of cardiovascular workouts. Then I started writing my thesis and that took precedence. Then I moved to my current location. Then I got married. A year after I was married I was 210. Five years after that I’d crept up to 240. That’s up 100 pounds.

One pound is 3,500 Calories. One pound is sixteen ounces, so one ounce is 219 Calories.

Each day that I consumed a can of soda, a beer, or a candy bar more than I burned off, I put on an ounce. One day doing this, and one day exercising a little harder or one day pushing that soda away, evens out. But when those offsetting days aren’t there, that’s when the weight creep shows up, one ounce at a time, and it adds up.

I gained this weight one ounce at a time. I have to take it off one ounce at a time, too.

What is the body mass index?

Each time I do a Body Test on Wii Fit my body mass index (BMI) is computed and displayed for by viewing (dis)pleasure. Mine hovers in the 36-37 range, which is off-the-scale obese.

My ideal BMI according to Wii Fit is 22, which would put me at a sleek 140 pounds.

But how the heck is this calculated? The original BMI was developed in the mid-19th century by Adolphe Quetelet and is simply the ratio of a person’s mass to the square of his height. So if I express my mass in kilograms and my height in meters, then

BMI = mass in kg / (height in m)2

Or, if I don’t want to convert to the units that the rest of the world uses, I can just use pounds and inches, and multiply by 703:

BMI = 703 (weight in lbs) / (height in inches)2

(To see why 703 works, substitute 2.2026 lbs for 1 kg and 39.37 inches for 1 m. Now, 2.2026 / (39.37)2 is 0.001421, or 1/703.7.)

BMI is most useful on populations (i.e. large-number statistics) and there may be other reasons why a healthy person could have a high BMI. (I don’t think this applies to me. I’m just fat.) But clinically obese people like myself do run a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other problems.

BMI is a measure that does carry some weight (!) but it’s possible that a BMI higher than 22 is just fine for some people. But again, it probably has to be quite a bit less than 37. 😉 )

Hundred Pushups, Week 1, Day 3

Done with Week 1! I got through the first week’s workout on Column 2. Here it is:

Date Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Maximum Total
06/21/08 7 7 5 4 12 35
06/23/08 9 8 6 5 10 38
06/25/08 10 8 8 5 11 42


Oh, I’ve created a worksheet so that you can easily log your progress on the Hundred Pushups Challenge! It’s a free download, and you can share it with as many people as you like!

Download the Hundred Pushups Challenge Worksheet