About Fogdog's Weight Loss

STARTING OVER (AGAIN)...

Through failure we learn to succeed! This is a blog about fighting back. It's about picking yourself up off the floor, dusting yourself off, and getting right back in there. It's about holding yourself accountable, having the right mindset, and learning to live a healthy lifestyle.

I have failed more times than I can count. I've reached a point in my life where I've decided that giving up is no longer an option. I've decided to devote 360 days toward my health and well being in the hopes that I can turn my life around.

Join me as I take the journey and try to stay on the path. Learn from me through my successes and failures, and help me learn from you. As one blog I am weak, but as a community we are very strong. Let's Succeed Together!

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Search for Automatic Weight Loss

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I have spent more time “thinking” during this weight loss adventure than I have on any other previous attempt at losing weight. When I started over, I told myself that I knew exactly how to lose weight, so now I needed to figure out why I don’t. If you know how to do something, but choose not to, it does no good to re-teach yourself how to do it. Instead you have to focus on why you choose not to do it.

Self-reflection can be difficult. It’s sometimes hard to pull yourself out of your normal way of thinking and explore questions that might fly in the face of what you know in your mind to be true. This morning I’ve been sitting at my desk at work reflecting on my life and my situations. As I was doing this I came across a thought that related to weight loss…

“I’m wasting more time and energy trying to automate my life than I’m spending actually living it!”

What does that mean?

I’m an engineer through and through. I love data and systems and tools that are designed to help you get the most efficiency out of anything you are doing. I spend my days trying to automate just about everything.

At work I’ve setup my job so that I can automatically collect the data I need to make decisions. I’ve spent hours and hours setting up spreadsheets so that 3 pieces of information can be entered each month and instantly create 15 different metrics that can be used the track the state of my department.

At home I’ve automated my system for selecting stocks to invest in. I spent MONTHS building a spreadsheet that allows me to enter a stock symbol, click a button, and then it automatically collects 20 years of data, sorts through it, and gives me a score AND a buy and sell price.

What does that have to do with losing weight?

Everything I do is with automation and efficiency in mind… that includes weight loss! If I had a way to track every calorie that went into my mouth while simultaneously tracking every calorie that I expended throughout the day, I would be in heaven. In my mind, if I know exactly what I need to eat, when I need to eat it, and how much I need to move around in order to have my metabolism fire at its most efficient rate, then I have created the most efficient weight loss program possible.

Here’s the problem… I’m trying to build an automatic weight loss system, one that I don’t have to think about what I need to do each day because it’s already been calculated out for me. Does anyone think that really exists? I’m spending so much time focusing on how to make things most efficient (how to lose the most weight with the least amount of effort). Doesn’t that defeat the purpose? Why am I trying to be so efficient about my weight loss? Does it matter if I only lose 2 pounds when I could have lost 3? Does it matter if I choose to work out at a time that not optimal for burning calories? Do I really need to know that I should be eating 2200 calories per day instead of 2300? What is any of the data I’m collecting tell me that I don’t already know?

When it comes down to it, the only equation I need to worry about is this:

Eat Less + Move More = Lose Weight

At the end of the day I should be asking myself 2 questions:

  1. Did I take steps today to try to eat a healthy, reasonable amount of food?
  2. Did I take steps today to try to get more physical activity?
All the energy I spend with spreadsheets and scouring the Internet for that next little piece of information that might make my diet more efficient could be instead be spent running around outside with my kids or teaching myself to prepare a great meal that’s both satisfying to my appetite and tastes great.
Sometimes I get so hung up on the metrics I’m tracking that I forget what it actually is I’m trying to do. I want to be healthy, that’s the ultimate goal. It doesn’t matter what my weight or measurements are, how many calories I’m eating, or how many minutes I spent with my heart rate at a certain level. Yes, those numbers are a good way to measure progress, but they are outputs and shouldn’t drive behavior. Maybe if I stop focusing on the wrong things, the right thing will actually happen!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Day 70 - Weight Loss Results

Starting Weight – 330
Day 60 Weight – 319.8
Current Weight – 319.0

Period Weight Loss – 0.8 Pounds
Overall Weight Loss – 11 Pounds

Finally!  After 2 weeks of weight gains I finally posted a loss.  It might be a small one, but a loss is a loss and right now I just really needed to see it.  It's been a rough 30 days for me, but it feels good knowing that I'm starting to get back on track

What Went Well

Not a lot of areas that I can say went well these last 10 days except that I was definitely more active.  the weather has finally gotten better (at least here in VA) and I am taking full advantage.  Soccer season has finally started and I am the coach of my daughter's youth soccer team.  I love to coach, it's great to get out there and run around with a bunch of little kids. 

I've also started playing basketball with my kids.  I have 3 girls so we play 2 on 2.  I take the youngest on my team and we play in our driveway.  I was skeptical at first that I would actually get any exercise since my kids are 6,8, and 9, but I've been amazed at how winded I get even after about 15 minutes.  The bonus is that I get exercise while spending time playing with the kids and they just love it!

Areas to Improve

Still quite a bit of eating out (though not nearly as much as the 20 days before).  I've also struggled with drinking water.  It's strange, it's not like I've been drinking soda or any other bad drink, I'm just not drinking at all.

Moving Forward

Today starts a new chapter for me!  I didn't realize it until I got into work this morning, but today marks 99 days without smoking!  That's a significant accomplishment for me.  For those of you who haven't seen my earlier posts, smoking was the first bad habit I needed to break, losing weight has been my my second priority and I am happy that I've managed to take 11 pounds off while quitting smoking.  At this point I'm ready to declare victory on the smoking, put more attention towards eating right, and really start to give more thought on getting more exercise.

Goals for this week (Next 10 Days):

Shooting the moon these next 10 days, I'm going for 10 pounds (yes, that's 1 pound each day).  In order to be successful, I will need to execute perfectly every single day:
  1. Calories under 2500 every day
  2. 100oz Water or more every day
  3. Exercise every day
  4. Maintain a positive attitude!
I'm also setting a goal to post 2 blog articles and visit 10 of my friend's blogs before my next weigh-in.  I apologize I've been absent as of late, both in writing articles and also in visiting my friend's sites.  I hope you are all still doing well.

Anyway, wish me luck.  Stay Strong!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dining Out... Why?



I was over at Candi’s Blog reading about how she has a problem with going out to eat and her story really struck a chord with me. As you all know I’ve been struggling over the last 20 or so days and one thing I will say is that I’ve started going out to eat pretty regularly again. Surprisingly, I never really thought about “why” until today. To give you some perspective on how addicted I am to dining out, last year I spent roughly $8000 on dining out. That’s a little more than $150 each and every week. Last year was the first year my wife and I started tracking that information and the final number actually made me sick to my stomach.

For years I’ve been telling myself that taking my wife and kids out to eat was a great way to give my wife (stay-at-home mom) a break from her daily grind. After giving it some thought, I now believe that to just be an excuse to go out, the real reason is just a little bit less altruistic…

Like Candi, I was part of a single parent family that did not have much money. When I went to college it took me 6 years to get my engineering degree because I had to work nearly full time to pay my way through. When I got my first job, it was like hitting the lottery! As you can expect, Engineers make pretty good money and I was not prepared to handle my new salary. For 2 years my wife and I went on a spending spree buying anything and everything that represented the “status” of having money. I wanted to show the world that I was not poor even if it meant spending more than I made. We bought new “loaded” cars and clothes and expensive furniture. After the first year we moved to Greensboro NC and that just opened up the door to even more spending on a fancy apartment in a gated community, big screen TVs, trips, and yes, going out to all the restaurants the south has to offer.

Now fortunately for me, this story doesn’t end with me going bankrupt. After those first few years, my wife and I both realized that money and status weren’t really making us happy and instead we chose to start living a life within our means and stopped worrying about what everyone else thought. 3 years later we had paid off our debts and were in the process of starting our wonderful family.

So what does this all have to do with going out to eat you might ask? Well to be honest, living a life where you truly don’t care what others think is much easier to say than to do. I’m starting to believe that my dining out is still my way of showing my family, friends, and complete strangers, that I can afford to do so. I think it’s a status thing for me; why cook my own food when I can pay someone else to do it for me and my family. As I write this it sounds absolutely terrible to me, but at the same time it feels true.

There have been times when I have taken my family out to eat for every single meal through the weekend! I’m not exaggerating, we’ve done this multiple times. What’s amazing is that there have been times when nothing sounds appealing to go out for and so we just drive around until we come across a restaurant that we are “willing” to go into. Chinese? No, had that yesterday. Mexican? not really feeling it. Burgers? Well I guess so since nothing else sounds appealing. Does this sound like the behavior of a normal person?

Dining out should be a special event, not a normal way of life and if I’m not going for the food but rather to show people that “I can”, then what’s the point? What’s even more ironic is that you would expect that if I’m going out to eat all the time because of status that I would be going to only the “expensive” places. You would be wrong… with 3 kids in tow we actually end up at a lot of the “Kid Friendly” places that typically have mediocre food at reasonable prices. How’s that for status?

I don’t have the solution to my problem, this is one of those self-realization posts where you don’t really fix anything, you just realize you are doing something wrong. I’m open to any comments about this or if anyone has a similar experience I would love to hear about it.

Oh yeah, and thanks to Candi for getting me thinking about this! Go check out her blog HERE.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Day 60 - Weight Loss Results

Starting Weight – 330

Day 50 Weight – 316.8
Current Weight – 319.8

Period Weight Loss – +3 Pounds
Overall Weight Loss – 10.2 Pounds

10 more days and 3 more pounds gained.  It's strange, I'm really struggling, but I'm not really frustrated about it.  Being sick the week before didn't help matters, but I didn't have the same excuse this time, I just simply didn't eat well.

What Went Well

The only thing I can say is going well at the moment is that I'm hanging on and not completely blowing it.  Yes, I've gained weight over the last 2 weigh-ins, but believe me, it doesn't seem like that much compared to how I've felt.  There's a lot of stress in my life right now and I'm really just trying to keep the ship afloat.

Areas to Improve

The weather is finally getting better, I really need to be more active.  I also need to stop going out to eat, both for my health and for my wallet!  Fianlly, I need to get back to drinking water.  That should be an easy no-brainer way to help keep the weight off.

Moving Forward

No changes in daily calories or water consumption goal. No new adjustments to my plan, I just need to get back on it!

Goals for this week (Next 10 Days):

No weight goal for this next period, instead my goal is to get back at it and lose SOMETHING at the next weigh-in. Also, I need to start blogging a little more; I feel like I've lost a little of that momentum (afterall this weigh-in happened last Friday!) Wish me luck; Stay Strong!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Day 50 - Weight Loss Results

Starting Weight – 330

Day 40 Weight – 314.8

Current Weight – 316.8
Period Weight Loss – +2 Pounds

Overall Weight Loss – 13.2 Pounds


Clearly not a great week.  Not that I want to make excuses, but I've actually been quite sick for the last 10 days.  That's why I haven't been posting, and I knew that my results would not be good.  The good news is that as of this morning I'm finally starting to feel a little better and I am ready to get right back to it.

What Went Well

Despite being incredibly sick for most of the last 10 days, I did do surprisingly well with maintaining my diet.  On the worst days of my illness, I did succumb to eating some "comfort foods", but for the most part I really ate pretty well.

Areas to Improve

Obviously being sick, I didn't get any exercise in.  I made a conscious choice to try to get as much rest as possible so as to not stay sick for too long.  I also didn't do well with drinking water; though I drank plenty of Ginger Ale. 

Moving Forward

No changes in daily calories or water consumption (both seem to be working fine). No new adjustments to my plan.

Goals for this week (Next 10 Days):

I highly suspect that the 2 pounds I gained are really nothing more than water retention from being sick.  Because of that, I'm going to shoot for 6 pounds in the next 10 days. Wish me luck; Stay Strong!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Weight Loss Failure Analysis Using the “5-Why” Process

Things go wrong and failures happen.  This is part of life and will never change.  If you are embarking on a weight loss journey, you can expect to have failures all along the way.  In fact, I’m so sure this will happen that I’ve included “Expect to Fail” into my own weight loss plan.

I coach youth soccer in our community.  When we lose a game, I tell our kids that failure to meet our goals is an opportunity for improvement, but only if we learn from what went wrong.  At that point we have a discussion about what went wrong in the last game and then we focus our practice on improving those things that we identified.

Let me ask you a couple questions…Have you ever applied this philosophy in your weight loss?  How many times have you failed?  How many times have you learned from those failures?  This article is all about offering a simple tool that you can use to help identify the reasons behind a failure including a failure to lose weight.  The process is called the “5-Whys”

The 5 Why process is quite simple; you continue to ask yourself “Why?” over and over again until you get to the root of the problem.  It’s called the “5-Whys” because typically you can get to the root of most problems if you at least go through the process 5 times, but there is nothing magical about that number.  You simply keep asking why until you can’t ask it anymore.   
Now it might sound simple, but it can sometimes to be tough to do.  First of all, you sometime can have multiple answers or "roots" to a question.  When that happens you have to explore each root individually.  Also, it can sometimes be difficult to know when you really have reached the root cause simply because you can alway keep asking why.  Stop asking when the answer doesn't make sense or doesn't pertain to the problem you are trying to solve. 
The best way to illustrate this technique is with an example.  Fortunately for me, I fail quite a bit, so I figured I would use one of my recent failures as an example.  Below you find my 5-Why analysis, for my recent failure to lose any weight between my Day 20 and Day 30 Weigh-ins:


Failure To Be Analyzed - I didn’t lose any weight in the last 10 days

Why didn’t I lose any weight?

(Root 1) I went out to eat several times during the week and as a result went over my calorie limit significantly multiple times

          Why did I go out to eat?
          I went out to eat because I was stressed out from work

                     Why does stress trigger a need to go out to eat?

                     Because I don’t have a good/healthy way to deal with stress

                              Why don’t I have a good/healthy way to deal with stress?

                              Good Question (root cause #1)



(Root 2) I ended up cheating several times on the weekend including nachos and several desserts on Sunday

          Why did I cheat on the weekend?
          Because the SuperBowl was on

                    Why did the SuperBowl cause me to cheat?
                    Because the Superbowl is a special event

                             
                              Why do I cheat on special events

                              It gives me a good excuse to cheat

                                        Why do I need an excuse?
                                        Good Question (root cause #2)                         


(Root 3) I didn’t exercise at all

          Why didn’t I exercise
          Because I had a busy, stressfull week

                    Why does a busy, stressfull week keep me from exercising?
                    Because I can’t fit it into my schedule

                              Why can’t I find time to fit exercise into my schedule?
                              Because it takes me an hour every day (in my mind)

                                       Why does it have to take an hour every day?
                                       It doesn’t (root Cause #3)

 Based on this simple analysis, I was able to come up with 3 main causes for my failure:

  1. I don’t have a good/healthy way to deal with stress, so when I’m stressed out I tend to use food to comfort me
  2. I have a tendency to use special events or changes in my normal routine as a reason to be unhealthy
  3. When it comes to exercise, I have an outdated view of what exercise looks like and that view is not conducive with my busy life
At this point, please note that doing the failure analysis helps you find the root cause(s) of you failure, but it doesn’t find the solutions.  I’m still trying to figure out a good/healthy way to deal with my stress.  However, sometimes just being aware of the causes can help you to be ready for them.  For instance, since I know that special events are a weakness for me, I might try to do something to prepare for the next one (one of my daughters has a birthday coming up).

I want to finish this post with just a few tips should you decide to try to do this type of analysis:

  1. Don’t get hung up on coming up with exactly 5 whys.  The purpose of the 5 is to try to get you to dig deeper into the “surface” reasons.  Dig as far as you can go, but don’t overdo it
  2. Don’t get stuck on the word “Why”.  Feel free to substitute “Who”, “What”, “Where”, and “When” into the questioning sentence
  3. If you have multiple answers to a question, pick one and take it all the way through to the root cause before going back to a different answer.  Also be ready, sometimes multiple roots will take you to the same root cause
  4. Focus on the process more than the final results.  The whole point of this process is to get you to really think through to possible causes of the failure.  I spent over an hour on the very simple analysis above and I had all sorts of other thoughts before I got to the roots above.
Have you ever performed an analysis like this before?  How about with weight loss?  Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.  Oh and by the way, if you have a solution for how I can deal with stress in a healthy way, I’d love to hear about it! Stay Strong!
 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Day 40 - Weight Loss Results


Starting Weight – 330
Day 30 Weight – 319.2

Current Weight – 314.8
Period Weight Loss – 4.4 Pounds

Overall Weight Loss – 15.2 Pounds

4.4 pounds... A great recovery from the previous 10 days!  Though 0.6 pounds short of my goal, I'm absolutely thrilled that I was able to turn it around from the last weigh-in.  I have always been haunted by letting one bad week turn into several so I was determined to not let that happen this week.

What Went Well
  1. Great Job sticking to my plan (calories, water, and exercise)
  2. Did well finding opportunities to get some exercise in.  While I was reloading my PC (see my last post), I would jump on the elliptical trainer while software was loading.  I ended up with 53 minutes of exercise instead of just sitting in front of a PC while software was installing.
  3. I DID NOT SMOKE! Last weekend was my first big test in terms of smoking cigarettes.  My best friend came to visit for the first time since I quit and we went out to a friend's house for a poker game.  He's a smoker and the two of us tend to be enablers for each other's bad habits.  Not only did I refrain from smoking, but I was also reasonable with the amount of food and beer I had at the poker game.  Definitely a good sign that my habits are changing!
Areas to Improve
  1. I still need to be more active.  I reached my exercise goal, but I'm still doing the bare minimum.  I want to get more exercise, but more importantly, I want to be more active every day.  I still feel like I'm not moving around as much as I should be; I'm hoping the weather will improve soon so I can get outside more.
Moving Forward

No changes in daily calories or water consumption (both seem to be working fine).  No new adjustments to my plan.  Goals for this week (Next 10 Days):
  1. I'm going to shoot for another 5 pounds.  I'm beginning to discover that I do better when I challenge myself to goals that are very hard to hit.
  2. I want to make a conscious effort to be considerably more active over the next 10 days.  This is going to be tough for me as I have a lot going on at work right now and I am expecting to put in some long hours at the office next week.
I hope you all are enjoying a good weigh-in as well.  Thanks for all the support.  Stay Strong!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I'm Down... But Not Out!

I just wanted to drop this post in to let everyone know that I'm still around.  Shortly after I posted my Day 30 Results, I discovered that my PC had contracted the dreaded "Google Redirect Virus".  If you have ever had this problem on your PC (which is not actually a virus), you know that it can be very difficult to remove and also has the potential to open your PC up to other more nasty exploits.

After multiple days of trying to fix this problem, I finally decided the best course of action was to wipe my hard drive completely and reload my PC.  Currently I have completed my backups and have formatted the hard drive; tonight I will begin the reload process.

So my PC is down, but I'm here to say I'm not out!  In fact I am excited to see the results of these last 10 days.  Even though I haven't posted it yet, I have completed my failure analysis that led up to my poor weigh-in last period.  I could probably be exercising a little more as this computer problem is eating up my time, but I have done extremely well with my diet, water, and my mental state as well.  The entire time I've been fighting my PC, I've been telling myself that it's not a reason to give in to temptation and so far I've managed to stay strong.  Even though I could probably be exercising more, I have managed to squeeze it in as much as possible.  This is something I've struggled with in the past; I'm used to abandoning exercise altogether when I get too busy.  I'm considering it a small victory that I managed to get something in. 

I really think I have a good chance of hitting my short term goal of 5 pounds.  I will be weighing in on Friday morning, which is actually 1 day early.  My daughter's birthday is this weekend and we have a lot going on so I thought it best to just weigh-in on Friday instead of Saturday.   

Once I get my PC back up and running (hopefully this weekend) I'll be back to blogging.  For now, I hope everyone enjoys their Valentine's Day.  Stay Strong!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Day 30 - Weight Loss Results

Starting Weight – 330
Day 20 Weight – 319

Current Weight – 319
Period Weight Loss – 0 Pounds

Overall Weight Loss – 11 Pounds

Clearly 0 pounds was not what I was hoping for to end my first 30 days. Obviously I didn’t meet the 4 pound short term goal I mentioned in my Day-20 Weigh-in Post, but I did meet my monthly goal of 10 pounds in the first thirty days. I’m posting my results and I’ll discuss what went well and what didn’t go so well, but you can expect to see more details in my next post when I perform a failure analysis on this last week.

What Went Well
  1. I stuck to the morning routine (for the most part)
  2. Almost everyday I hit my water target
  3. I maintained a positive attitude (even with a tough week)
Areas to Improve
  1. I didn't get any exercise at all
  2. I Stopped tracking my daily progress about 5 days in
  3. I had several high calorie meals and snacks starting on Thursday last week and moving right through the weekend
Moving Forward

Part of my original plan included “being prepared for failure”. As this week unfolded, I knew that it wasn’t going to end well. I started to put together an analysis of where I went wrong along with some changes that I can try to make. I’ll post that analysis in the days to come but for now, here’s my path forward:
  • Short Term Goal – 5 pounds in the next 10 days (this is a big stretch, but I feel like I need a strong follow-up to a poor performance)
  • Mid Term Goal – 10 pounds in the next 30 days
  • Calorie and Water Targets to stay the same (2500 calories, and 100 oz water)
  • Begin new exercise plan and evaluate after 30 days
  • Update tracking information and develop plan for reviewing results (more on this when I post my failure analysis)
You might expect me to be bummed out right now, but actually it’s quite the opposite. 60 Days ago I decided I was going to change my life. The first thing I did was quit smoking and drinking alcohol in excess. As of today, I have managed to keep to those changes for 60 days. 30 Days ago I decided to change my eating habits and lose weight. In 30 days I’ve lost 11 pounds by eating right and I haven’t even incorporated exercise into my life yet (the next 30 days). What in the world should I have to be unhappy about?

Don't get me wrong, I know I stumbled a little, but the important thing was that I was ready for it. Yes the weekend was not good for me, but I could have just as easily decided to continue my slide and stay unhealthy right up until the Wednesday morning weigh-in. Instead I did what I said I would do, I analyzed the failure and most importantly, got right back on track as quickly as possible. If you can’t pick yourself up when you stumble, then you will never be able to lose weight over the long term because it is almost a certainty that you will stumble from time to time.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

I Hate 'The Biggest Loser'

I have a confession to make.  I am one of those few overweight people who absolutely hates 'The Biggest Loser'!  I hate it, but I still watch it... sort of.  With the wonders of DVR I never watch on the night it airs, but rather I record it and watch the full 2 hours in about 30 minutes skipping through a lot of it to get to the things I actually care about (I like to watch the challenges, the results, and the 'where are they now?' at the very end.  Now I know a lot of people would disagree with me on this topic and they see the show as a source of inspiration, but if you indulge me for a moment let me share with you the top 5 reasons why I hate 'The Biggest Loser':

Reason #5 - The Shameless Plugs

It's hard to watch the show and not know who their biggest sponsors are by the shameless plugs the contestants are forced to do.  Whether it's deli meat, gum, or even sandwich baggies, these folks aren't afraid to ask those contestants to participate in their little "live commercials".  It's like that website you go to that's just plastered with ads all over it, too much turns people off.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not against advertising completely, you will find some right here on my blog, but it's the amount of advertising that I struggle with.  That's what commercials are for on TV; I don't expect to get a second dose during the show I'm watching.  Besides, when they use the contestants and the trainers (who are not professional actors), the whole thing comes off as so cheesy.

Reason #4 - In one word... Jillian!

Not for the reasons you think though.  I like Jillian's in-your-face style and she was impressive early on with the results of her teams.  What I don't like is the way she started slapping her name on anything and everything that had to do with weight loss once the show started to get popular.  From Wii games to books to exercise gadgets, it seemed like everywhere you looked she was endorsing something new.  Can anyone name a product that has her name on that you actually liked?  I can't.

Now just to be fair, I will say that I own Bob Harper's 'Inside Out Method' workout DVDs.  I own 5 different DVDs and think they are absolutely outstanding!  I bought them several years ago and still use them as part of my workout rotations.  They are tough if you are extremely overweight, but not impossible and no matter what your fitness level, you will sweat!  I never realized just how hard Yoga could be!  You can get the DVDs below (my own shameless plug)


   

Reason #3 - Exploitation of Overweight People

Actually my reason #3 is more about why I hate almost every reality show out there; the industry is exploiting people for personal gain. Think about this for a moment... Imagine that you are selected to be a contestant. What do you think? Do you imagine yourself getting the help you need to change your life? Do you think about at least getting to the makeover? My guess is that you don't think about how the producers might make you out as the drama queen or the quitter. Remember, only a small handful of contestants make it through to the end. Don't forget about all those folks that only made it a couple of weeks and have to go home and tell everyone they didn't make it. Also, how many villains can you remember from the show? How many crazies? How many game players? The show doesn't succeed if there isn't a little controversy going on and you are crazy if you think that the controversy being generated is "all natural".

What really has me nervous is how the show has to keep ramping things up in order to keep getting ratings. Remember when they kept getting larger and larger contestants every season?  Thankfully they reigned that in a little.  Now it seems like they are pushing the contestants harder and harder. Have you noticed the number of contestants sitting out of challenges has risen due to injuries?

Reason #2 - Oh the Drama!

Really... 2 hours per episode?  What do you need all that time for?  In a nutshell: you need room for the shameless plugs (see reason #5) and for all the drama!  The next time you watch the show, take out a pencil and paper and count how many times you see contestants cry.  Count all the magical "breakthrough" moments that are followed by inspirational music and an inevitable huge loss at the weigh-in (the only thing that would make it cheesier is if the inspirational music was the theme from Rocky).  You can almost predict the results based on what you see early on in the show.  Is someone having a tough week?  You can bet they will be a highlight at the weigh-in either positive or negative depending on how they were portrayed through the rest of the episode.

This season it would appear that they've got Jillian in their sights as well, portraying her as being "too tough" and subsequently knocking all of her team out of the show.  It has been fun for me to watch (see reason #4), but I have no doubt the producers have something up their sleeve that will make Jillian look like a hero again (don't be surprised if her one remaining contestant makes it all the way to the end).  By the way, do you think it was a coincidence that Jillian ended up with a bunch of contestants that really didn't respond well to her type of training?  Don't think for a second that it was a coincidence, those producers know exactly how to maximize the drama and as a result some players that might have fared better under someone else ended up going home in the interest of getting more drama (see reason #3).

Reason #1 - Setting False Expectations

The most unfortunate part about this show is that it changes people's expectations when it comes to losing weight on their own.  These contestants post huge numbers week after week and even the at-home players end up posting big losses at the finale.  Because of all these big numbers and incredible transformations, viewers begin to see small losses as "unacceptable" for weight loss and in our 'instant gratification' society it only amplifies the problems around making this a journey instead of a sprint. 

Your average person starts to think there is something wrong with them because they haven't had their "Breakthrough Moment" yet.  Breakthroughs are not usually monumental and aren't followed with everything automatically working out in the end.  Weight loss is tough no matter how you want to look at it!

So there it is; my top 5 reasons for hating 'The Biggest Loser'.  I'll leave you with one more thing to consider when you think about the show.  As an engineer I'm always looking for patterns or lack thereof.  If you go back and look at all the seasons past and the finales, you might be surprised at a pattern that you don't see.  When you look at all the contestants that didn't make it all the way to the end, you would expect that those that made it the farthest on the show would have performed the best at the final weigh-in (the at-home challenge).  Surprisingly many of the people that got knocked out the earliest have put up some of the most impressive numbers.  In fact, there have been several seasons where the person with the highest percent weight loss overall wasn't even in the finals, but rather someone that finished their journey at home! When you think about this last paragraph, it makes you question what's so magical about "The Weight Loss Ranch"?  In my opinion, the answer is "nothing". 

Let me know what you think; feel free to leave me a comment.  Stay Strong!


[Photo: Flickr / Sarah-Rose]

Thursday, January 31, 2013

My New "Radical" Exercise Plan

Ok, maybe radical is too strong of a word choice.  For me it’s radical because of how I’m wired, but to most, it’s really just a little different.  In my last weigh-in I made some remarks about needing to focus on exercise more.  I left it with a comment that I wasn’t going to worry about it just yet, but that I would need to do something about it soon.  I made that comment because I wanted to take some time to visit some of my perceptions about exercise and see if there were some things I need to re-think. 

Self-reflection is an amazing thing.  I know some of you will read my current perceptions and think that I can’t possibly believe some of these things or that maybe I’m just plain nuts.  I am a highly intelligent engineer that believes in research and data; how could I possibly hold these perceptions as truth?  In reality I know all of these views are flawed, but that’s the problem with perception; quite often it becomes reality without you even knowing it.  You know that you are not supposed to speed on the highway, but you have a perception that it is really OK as long as you are keeping up with traffic.

Like it or not, this is how my brain works and I don’t think I’ll be getting a new one anytime soon.  However you would not believe how beneficial it feels just for me to put these thoughts out there.  Whenever I sit down to create an exercise routin (I have dozens of them), those perceptions are there affecting the way I create my plan.  Now that they are in front of me I can challenge each one and create a new plan that might be more successful for me.  Granted it’s easy to say what you are going to do and difficult to do what you say, I need to try something different as establishing a successful exercise habit has always eluded me.

What follows are some of the questions I pondered since my last weigh-in.  You’ll see what my current perception is along with how I would like to change it.  After I went through this exercise I started to create my new exercise plan.

What is Exercise? 

Current Perception:

In my world, exercise is defined as “Something I do solely for the purpose of improving my health”.  In other words, coaching my daughter’s soccer team and running around on the field with the team is NOT exercise.  Playing basketball with my other daughter is NOT exercise.  Going bowling or doing “Just Dance” on the Wii is NOT exercise.  It’s only exercise if I did it for my health, not some other reason (I told you that you would think I was nuts).

How I would Like to Change my View:
 
Anything I do that gets me moving around should be considered exercise.  This should include all the activities listed above and anything else that gets me moving around.  Why does exercise have to be something done specifically for the health benefits?  Not only that, but I probably shouldn’t even be focusing on exercise, but rather I should be focusing on being more active all the time.

Why Should I Exercise?

Current Perception:

You cannot lose weight if you don’t exercise regularly.  More accurately if I want to maximize my weight loss, then I need to get on a hardcore program and stick to it all the time.

How I would Like to Change my View:

If it’s really impossible to lose weight without a hardcore exercise program, then how did the early settlers get by without an elliptical and a P90X DVD?  Maybe you don’t need a hardcore program and you should just try to get exercise in when you can.

How Should I Exercise?

Current Perception:

In my book exercise is something that is scheduled and part of a routine.  I am an extremely organized person so workouts should all be scheduled in advance and should all be of the same duration of time.  Further, I should have pre-defined strength training workouts that are the same each week so I can measure my progress.  Also everything has to fit the week correctly; If I’m doing both strength training and cardio, then I need to do alternating Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for Strength and Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays for cardio.  Sunday doesn’t fit the pattern so it becomes a “rest” day.

How I would Like to Change my View:

I should exercise any way and anywhere I can!  Forget about schedules and charts and progress, If all I can get is 10 minutes, then that’s 10 minutes.  If I feel like playing basketball instead of hitting the elliptical, then do it.  Look for fun ways to keep moving.  Also, why measure progress in each exercise? Why not find a way to measure overall progress.

When Should I Exercise?

Current Perception:

The most efficient time for me to exercise would be in the morning as I have too many other commitments in the evening.  I wouldn’t be able to maintain a regular schedule (see how should I exercise?) in the evenings and I don’t want to have to squeeze it in during lunch.  Even though I am clearly not a morning person I need to get up 30 minutes earlier and get this done.  It’s like a chore, better to just get it over with first thing in the morning.

How I would Like to Change my View:

Again, why do I need a firm schedule?  There are plenty of busier people in the world, how do they do it?  I need to exercise whenever I can.  I also need to forget about trying to workout in the mornings, it’s probably never going to happen (I am truly not a morning person).  Instead of feeling like a failure every morning that I don’t workout, I need to focus on doing what I can when I can.  If I have to work late, then exercise after dinner.  Again forget all about schedules, they don’t have to dictate everything I do.

What Types of Exercise Should I Do?

Current Perception:

Stick to the tried-but-true plan; 3 days of strength training with 3 days of cardio in between to get the weight loss benefits both have to offer.  Strength training should be standard 3 sets of 12 reps of each exercise at the highest weight I can do and cardio should be interval training on the elliptical with 60 seconds hard and 60 seconds moderate.  Also, since I am extremely overweight, there are certain exercises that I cannot do such as pushups, squat thrusts (burpees), or any yoga pose whatsoever.

How I would Like to Change my View:

I need some new routines.  The old ones are OK once in a while, but I get bored after just a couple weeks.  Try some High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or do circuit strength training instead of standard strength training.  I can also incorporate cardio in with strength training, why does it have to be separate.  Take it outside, vary intensity, and most importantly, go after those exercises I can’t do real well because those are the areas where I am the weakest.

How does one become addicted to exercise?

Current Perception:

It’s not possible!  Only people that are truly crazy and obsessive compulsive about their weight are addicted to exercise.  Like household chores, there are only a rare few that truly enjoy doing it, everyone else just does what they need to in order to get by.

How I would Like to Change my View:

Stop focusing so much on “exercise” and start focusing on being “more active” and you might just like it.  The purpose of exercise should not just be for the result (weight loss), but rather for the enjoyment of moving around.  The alternative (sitting on the couch and doing nothing) isn’t all that appealing.

As I said earlier, it’s great that I want to change my views; but it’s another thing to actually pull it off.  Hopefully my new exercise plan will help drive the change:

OK so here’s my new “radical” plan:

  • Instead of measuring progress on each individual exercise, I’m going to take a different approach.  I’m going to develop a fitness test that I will perform when I start this program.  Every 30 days I will take the test again to see how my overall fitness is improving.
  • I’m going to put together a list of all the different activities that I could be doing each day.  I already have multiple weight workouts designed plus multiple workout DVDs and my kids love to play outdoors.  Each day I will try to pick something from the list or create something new to add to it.
    • The only rule about activities – No heavy weight lifting on consecutive days (muscles need rest time after a heavy weight workout).  
  • I’m going to bucket all “exercise” into 1 of 3 buckets: Low Intensity, Medium Intensity, and High Intensity
    • Low Intensity – Any exercise that I do that doesn’t significantly elevate my heart rate.  Examples include walking, casual bike riding with kids, push mowing the lawn, etc.
    • Medium Intensity – Any exercise that gets my heart rate up occasionally, but is followed by longer periods of low intensity.  Examples would include playing basketball with the kids, Playing Wii games, Regular Weight Lifting
    • High Intensity – any exercise that keeps my heart rate up regularly.  Examples would include running, Elliptical, and Circuit strength training.
  • Everyday I’m going to record and score my exercise
    • Low Intensity = Number of Minutes
    • Medium Intensity = Number of Minutes x 2
    • High Intensity = Number of Minutes x 3
  • I will establish point goals to ensure I’m getting enough high intensity exercise and that I’m getting enough total exercise.
That’s it!  It doesn’t get much simpler than that.  Here are the goals (at least for now, I will adjust as needed)
  1. At least 120 Points (60 minutes) of high intensity every week
  2. At least 400 Points per weigh-in Period (10 days)
I didn’t mention anything about where I will try to get my exercise.  Fortunately for me I have an elliptical machine and a full set of dumbbells so I’ll be doing most of my exercise at home.  I also have a mountain bike, a dog that loves hiking, three very energetic little girls, and I live right next to a high school that has a running track and football training gear (hmmm, maybe I’ll go flip some big tires or hit those tackling dummies!).

I want to start this when I hit day 30 and that’s not too far off.  Hopefully I’ll be able to post my fitness test before then.  I’m sure this style isn’t for everyone, in fact, I’m not even sure if it will work for me.  What’s the worst that can happen?  It won’t work and I’ll try something else.  In the meantime at least I’ll get a little more exercise than what I’m currently doing (almost nothing).

Let me know what you think!  Leave me a comment and let me know if you think this is crazy or do you think I might be on to something?  Stay Strong!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Losing Weight in February

How many of you out there have done something similar to this…

December rolls around and you begin to see the New Year on the horizon.  You start to reflect… another year gone by and you’re still struggling to lose weight.  You ask yourself “How did this happen?” and “Why can’t I accomplish this one goal?”.  Then, after beating yourself up for a while you say “This year is going to be different!  I’m going to take control of my life and lose this weight once and for all!”

Next you set up your plan.  You dust off all the old spreadsheets and workout videos or you get online and lookup Weight Watchers and you begin to put together a “can’t lose” plan that you will be following all year long.  You start to think about your goal and then you divide that goal by 52 and you say “If I can just lose X pounds every week, then I can reach my goal by the end of the year”.  The excitement builds as you start to envision yourself at your new goal weight. 

At the same time that you are putting together your master plan, you are simultaneously gorging yourself on every treat that you know will be “forbidden” once you get started.  The thought process… once you get started these items won’t be available so you might as well enjoy it before you start.  Quite possibly if you doing this weight loss journey with a friend, the two of you will arrange to have a “last meal” together where you will take a lost opportunity to shovel your favorite unhealthy foods into your system.  Through this process you actually add another 10 pounds to your starting weight.

Then the New Year Hits!

January comes and week #1 is underway.  The excitement is still there and you follow every element of your plan perfectly.  You step on the scale and are rewarded with a very large number.  You begin to think “I can do this, look at how well I did in just the first week!”  At this point you might even start thinking that you’ll hit your goal sooner.  After all, if you can just lose X (your first week’s loss) every week, then you’ll reach your goal in half the time! Of course the thought that you gained 10 pounds before you even started never enters your mind.

Week #2 comes and you are ready.  You do nearly as well as you did in the first week, but occasionally you have a few small slips.  You hit the scales and are shocked to see a number much smaller than the first week. What happened?  Your brush it off and remind yourself that a loss is a loss no matter how small, but deep down you are disappointed.  You begin to question in your mind whether or not all the hard work you are doing is worth such a small result.

The remaining 2 weeks of the month are spent struggling.  You might still be posting small losses, but during this time you probably took a “day off”.  What once seemed like an easy time now feels like an impossible journey.  By the time February rolls around your plan is on life support and you can’t image how you will make it through the month, never mind the next year.

Now the details might be slightly different and maybe it wasn’t the new year, but I’ll bet you a large majority of people who struggle with weight have a story to tell that is eerily similar to what I just wrote.  I call it the weight loss trap; you assume that a new mindset will be enough to get you results, but as the mindset begins to fade, the results fade until you feel like giving up.

Whether you are currently going through something similar to what I just described or you are holding steady,  here are few things you can do to help stay on track in February:


Ask What’s Different?
Ask yourself “What’s different this time from my previous failed attempts”.  If the only answer you can give is “I have more willpower” or “I am more committed than ever”, then you are most likely full of it!  You psyched yourself up, told yourself what you needed to hear to get started, and then you will leave yourself lying in a ditch once it starts to get really hard. 

My point here is that you can’t expect a different result if you are doing the same old thing. If you are struggling, think about how you might do things differently.  Maybe instead of weighing yourself every week, you could try every 2 weeks.  Or how about changing the time of day you plan on working out or maybe even change your workout.  Maybe you could search the blogosphere for something that you don’t believe works… and then try it for a week.  Even a few small changes can end up completely changing your path.

Re-assess Last Month but don’t obsess
When you re-assess, you can sometimes pick up on patterns that emerge that you might be able to address.  For example, maybe you notice that for whatever reason, your worst day is always on Monday.  Why not shift your weigh-in to Tuesday (I know I always do well on the day before I weigh-in).  Sometimes just being aware of the patterns or trends can help you to overcome them.  For instance, I know that weekends are the toughest on me and because I am now aware of it, I believe I have actually done better because I can quickly recognize when the “excuses” start to show up. 

Take a long look at January and don’t be afraid to change it up to breathe new life into your effort.  On the flip side, don’t obsess over last month’s performance whether it’s good or bad.  Don’t get caught up with all the things you should have done, instead focus on what you can do better next month.  The past is the past and nothing more.  Learn from it what you can and then move on

Seek the “Right” Support
What do I mean about the “right” support?  What I mean is you need the support of people who are not afraid to tell you like it is.  You want people that are willing to give you honest feedback, not just tell you what you want to hear.  You want people that will challenge your assumptions and offer suggestions for improvements.  You also want people who will call you out (politely) when you are making excuses.  The blogosphere is full of people that will encourage you to get back up when you fall, but very few will actually offer their opinion as to why you fell and what they think you should do in order to be able to get back up.  You might not like to hear it a times, but consider yourself lucky if you have supporters that don’t sugar-coat the truth.

Have a Long Term Focus
Sometimes we focus so much on our recent results that we lose sight of the bigger picture.  If you lost 8, 2, +1, 1 pounds in your first 4 weeks, it’s easier to remember that you haven’t lost any weight in the last 2 weeks than it is to notice you lost 10 pounds in the month!  There’s actually a term for this; it’s called recency bias; Make sure you look at the whole picture and don’t just include weight.  Did you feel better?  Get out more?

We are a society that constantly seeks instant gratification.  It’s what got you into this mess in the first place and it’s making your path towards healthy living that much more difficult.  We don’t want to see 100 pounds lost in 2 years, we want to see 5 pounds lost this week!  There are people out there that weigh themselves every single day.  Some (not all) of these people do it because they need that instant gratification from the work they did the day before.  Too many days with no results and they begin to feel that it’s not worth the effort. 

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s good to establish you progress periodically, but if you have a long term focus, the only reason for getting on the scale is to verify your plan is working and make adjustments if necessary.  If you are weighing yourself because you feel it will make you feel better and help with your resolve, then you are seeking instant gratification.  Remember why you are doing what you are doing,  remember how long it took to get here, and most importantly, remember that it will not change overnight.

Summary
Whether you are struggling or sailing along just fine, February can be a tough month for losing weight.  There’s data that shows that most resolutions never even make it to February so if you’ve made it this far congratulations.  The road is long and changes will be required.  Be prepared to adapt and overcome and hopefully next January you won’t be starting up your next weight loss trap.
 

So what do you think?  Are you struggling as February approaches or are you more prepared than ever to take it head on?  Are you making some adjustments or are you happy with your plan as it is?  Tell me what you think and don’t be afraid to be honest (I’m a big boy).  Stay Strong!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Day 20 - Weight Loss Results


Starting Weight – 330

Day 10 Weight – 322

Current Weight – 319

Period Weight Loss – 3 Pounds

Overall Weight Loss – 11 Pounds

3 More pounds!  I'm happy, though I had set the period goal at 4 pounds and didn't quite get there.  One thing I forgot about, since I'm weighing in every 10 days instead of every week there will be some periods where I will go through 2 weekends between weigh-ins.  I've said before that weekends are my toughest time, and I probably should have taken that into account this time.  Regardless, I have lots of good things going on right now and there's still lots of opportunity as well.

What went well

My first highlight of the period has to be my performance on the Friday (1/18) right after my last weigh-in.  On the day before (The day I posted my last results), Virginia had a pretty severe snowstorm.  Well, not actually severe in my book (I lived in Maine for a while), but definitely enough to wreak havoc in the area.  No kidding, I had literally just posted my 10 day results and was getting ready to go read some of the blogs I'm following when the power went out at my house.  I live in a rural area and given the magnitude of the wet, heavy snow, I figured we might be getting ready to see an extended power outage.

By morning, my concerns appeared to be coming to reality as we still didn't have power and it was pretty cold in the house.  I had to go to work so I took a shower in the dark with what was going to be the last of the hot water.  It's funny, I didn't even think about healthy eating until after my shower when I suddenly realized that I couldn't cook my oatmeal and didn't dare open the refrigerator to get out some hard boiled eggs.  Not only that, but I didn't have any snacks or a lunch to bring either.

Now folks, let me tell you that these types of events in my life are exactly what I use as an excuse to stop eating healthy.  When I look back at my past failures, you can definitely see a pattern of me utilizing changes in my routine (vacation, special events, new job, etc) as a great excuse to stop living a healthy lifestyle.  What has me so proud is that this time I recognized it and told myself that I was going to have to find a way to deal with it.

I stopped at the local Sheetz for breakfast.  I was thrilled to discover they sold oatmeal at their deli; I got 1/2 cup of oatmeal with dried fruit, a small veggie breakfast wrap, and a cup of coffee.  For lunch it was back to Sheetz for a roast beef wrap, an apple, and a banana (I never even realized they sold fresh fruit!).  At dinner time I took the family to Red Robin and I had a plain burger with lettuce and tomato and a side salad instead of fries.



Fortunately, by the time we got home that evening the power had been restored!  I didn't even try to estimate the calories, but I suspect that If I did go over my 2500 calorie limit, it wasn't by much.  I might not have hit my calorie target and I certainly didn't get to spread my calories out over 4-6 meals, but this was a small battle that I won that could have had huge consequences if I had made different (poor) choices.

Although overshadowed by the power event, another aspect that went well for me was the beginning of establishing my morning routine.  I know I said I was going to write it out and put it on my bathroom mirror, but I didn't.  However I did see progress and I believe that by the end of the first 30 days I will be well on my way to following my morning routine every single day.  In fact, I actually got up this morning (on a Sunday) at my normal work week time and followed my morning routine.

Areas to Improve

As I said above, there is still plenty of room for improvement.  For starters, my water intake slipped a little.  I missed my water target 5 of the last 10 days, but what was more troubling to me was that I missed it for 3 consecutive days during the week.  I know my body and I know that the weight does not come off that well if I don't get my water in each day.  I actually believe I would've lost another pound and hit my target for the period if I had done better with my water consumption.

The other area that needs improvement is exercise.  Daily exercise is not a full blown habit for me just yet.  To be honest, I believe I only exercised on 4 of the 10 days this period.  As I lose more and more weight, it will get much harder to keep moving forward if  don't establish daily exercise as a habit.  However, I am far from beating myself up over this.  50 days ago I quit smoking!  20 days ago I started eating healthy!  I know I can't be perfect and change everything at once and I already have a lot of change going on right now.  At the moment my philosophy is this: Any exercise I do each day is better than what I used to do.  Some day soon I will need to work on this, but that day is not today.

Moving Forward

Like last time, I don't see the need to make any changes to my plan just yet, but their may be some small tweaks on the horizon (after my first 30 days).  I did hit my target for sticking to plan; I stuck to all the individual elements of my plan 76% of the time.  This was a little less than last period, and was mainly due to exercise (40%) and water (50%).

I'm setting this period goal at 4 pounds again.  I'm actually excited to get through these next 10 days; if I can lose the 4 pounds I will have lost 15 pound in my first 30 days. Not too shabby, in fact I only managed to lose 17 pounds during a 30 day weight loss challenge and I was starving myself and miserable the whole time. This time I'm much happier and so far (knock on wood) the change hasn't been too difficult.  Good luck to everyone out there!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Lose Weight, Be Happy... or is it Be Happy, Lose Weight?

When you picture yourself as a thin person, what do you see?  If you’re like me you are probably doing something cool like kayaking down a river or barreling down a mountain on a bike.  Regardless of what you see yourself doing, I’ll bet you anything that vision of the new, thin you includes being happier than you are now.  I often wonder if that’s true; will becoming thin actually make you happier?  To be honest I wonder if we have it backwards.  Maybe becoming happier will actually make you thin!

Think about it for a moment; how many times have you told yourself you would be so much happier if you could just lose the weight.  If that’s true, if you truly believe that in your heart, then why don’t you just do it?  We all want to be as happy as can be so why wouldn’t we just eat right and exercise and watch the weight fall off?  There are only 2 possible reasons: We either don’t know how to or we don’t really want to!  I’ll leave it up to each person to decide which answer fits them, but I’m pretty sure I know how to lose weight and my guess is that you do too.


By this point you may have already dismissed this article as craziness, but if not, let’s keep going.  Let’s assume for a second that I’m right and you don’t lose weight because you really don’t want to.  My next questions would be… “Why don’t you want to lose the weight”?  Maybe, just maybe the real reason is because deep down inside you know that the original source of your unhappiness still exists and if you lose the weight you will be left to deal with it?  In other words, you think you want to lose weight, but your subconscious doesn’t want to deal with the real problem so you actually sabotage yourself.  Crazy, isn’t it?

Think about it, the formula for losing weight isn’t really that hard… but life is.  Like alcohol and tobacco, maybe eating has become a coping mechanism for other issues in your life.  It becomes a comfortable and convenient excuse; you’re not happy because you’re overweight, but you will never lose the weight because you’re so unhappy.  It becomes a vicious circle from which you can’t escape.    

Now I’m not suggesting that if you somehow found a way to be happier now, that the weight would just magically fall from your body.  It’s still going to take hard work and determination, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to be happier while you do it.  I can’t speak for anyone else, but I know that I get more accomplished when I’m in a good mood.  What if that good mood stuck around longer?  Wouldn’t it be easier to lose weight?

I’m sure not everyone follows this pattern, but I bet you that there are quite a few people out there that do.  Spend a little time thinking about it; is there something in your life that’s making you unhappy?  Maybe you could work on that while you try to lose weight.  What do you have to lose; if I’m wrong but you try anyway, the worst that happens is that you are a little happier while still struggling to lose weight.  However, if you don’t try and I’m right you could very well end up right where you started, still unhappy and overweight!