About Fogdog's Weight Loss

Don't Focus on the Goal...

If you've followed this blog you know that I've struggled for many years with improving my health. I've finally reached a point where I've managed to maintain a small amount of success. Now it's time to take the next step, but I believe it requires a new way of thinking.

Instead of trying to get healthy, why not shift focus toward learning how to build healthy habits instead. Follow me as I try to teach myself how to Engineer healthy habits that will allow me to take my health to the next level. Let's see where this experiment goes!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Day #116 - All in the Definition

Last night I actually got a good night's sleep.  Of course "good" depends on how I define it.  By good, I mean that I only woke up 3 times throughout the night vs 5-6 times.  I still feel worn out, but last night was a little more mild in terms of pain.  I slept on a different, more firm bed to see if it would help, but it's hard to say if that was the difference or I was just so tired it didn't matter what I slept on.

I'm keeping this post very short as I still need more sleep.

Stay Strong!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Day #115 - Desperate Times

Last night was the worst since my knee has been acting up; I might have gotten 3 hours sleep... maybe.  Clearly whatever is wrong with my knee is not healing on it's own so I'm starting to feel like this is a desperate situation.  I'll have to go back to the doctor again, though given my last visit (no idea, let's take some x-rays) I'm not expecting anything more than just to pay more money for more tests; probably an MRI next.

In the meantime I'm trying to explore other possibilities.  I've noticed my lower back is a little sore on that side, maybe it's a nerve thing?  I've stopped keeping my wallet in my back pocket and tonight I'm sleeping in a different bed just in case my bed (which is old and lumpy) might be causing the problem.  Maybe I should see a chiropractor, but I hate going there because I always feel like they are trying to sell me on regular visits.  What do you think, could my knee pain be coming from my back?

Short post tonight so I can go to bed early; I need 10 hours to get 5 hours of sleep these days. 

Stay Strong!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Day #114 - Saying No

Today was OK.  Not great, just OK.  I got my water in, I ate a healthy breakfast and a healthy dinner.  Notice I missed lunch in my accolades.  My best friend invited me to go out to lunch for Mexican food.  Do you remember yesterday and the lunch fiesta at work?  Suffice it to say, my BFF knows exactly what buttons to push and he pushed the right ones today. 

I don't blame him, that would be an excuse.  I agreed to go; I made the decision.  If no one asked me today I would have been perfectly fine eating the lunch I brought, but I have a hard time saying no, especially to my best friend.

I'm not down on myself for today because, unlike last week, going out to lunch didn't mean the rest of the day was blown and give me an excuse to just toss my plan out the window.  No, I went home and continued on as if I was still on my normal daily routine.

Day #114 is in the books.  I would trade just about anything for one undisrupted night of sleep.  I look in the mirror and I see that same guy I used to see before I got my CPAP; I look tired and run down.  Maybe tonight will be the night.

Stay Strong!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Day #113 - Fighting the Fiesta

Today the facility I work at had a Fiesta celebration for lunch.  Holy Crap Enough Already!  I can't believe it, it's like an endless calendar of work related celebrations.  In the last month there was a cookie celebration, an ice cream social, a breakfast recognition and now a Mexican Fiesta. 

When you are trying to stick to an eating regimen these events are hell. First you have the sights and smells.  That alone is enough to get your mouth watering.  Then you have the people passing by your office with plates of food talking about how good it is.  Great, why don't you just shove some in my mouth and force me to chew.  And then finally there's always at least one or two people that need to know why you aren't participating.  Then you have to explain to them that you brought your lunch and are trying to eat healthy only to get a puzzled look like "Why isn't this food healthy". 

The truth is, you or I could participate in these events if we only knew how to stop.  I could easily get 500 calories of healthy food and skip the dessert, but I don't have control to stop (and I know it).  So instead I have to avoid these things like the plague.

The great news is that I was successful today despite being exhausted (yes I still have considerable knee pain with no signs of improvement).  I ate the lunch Mrs. FogDog packed me and I got all my water in.  No exercise, but plenty of walking around as it was a very busy day.  After the meal there were tons of leftovers just sitting in the cafeteria.  Every time I walked by I thought about just grabbing one cookie.  It took all I had today to stay out of there.  Each time I reminded myself... no more excuses.

Today was a good step back on the path, I hope Day #114 is just as successful.

Stay Strong!

[Photo: Flickr / Horia Varlan]

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Day #112 - Unrestricted vs. Unhealthy

Today was my unrestricted day.  That should not be confused with an unhealthy day.  I started my day with 2 Bagels with some peanut butter.  6 Days a week I eat oatmeal, blueberries, and 2 hard boiled eggs, so I never feel guilty about bagels on Sunday morning. 

From breakfast straight up into the master bath to grout the tile floor.  I'm getting close to done now so I'm motivated to push through to the end.  I worked hard all morning and by 1 PM I had finished grouting and had finished my gallon of water as well, thank you very much.  Lunch was a simple leftover meal with some grilled chicken and rice with some veggies mixed in.  Nothing unhealthy about that. 

After lunch it was a trip into town for more remodel supplies.  We stopped at a store for a couple snacks.  OK I got a root beer to wash down my packet of almonds; probably the worst thing I had all day.

Home for dinner; Mrs. FogDog made pulled pork barbecue and macaroni salad.  I had only one pulled pork sandwich and a bowl of macaroni salad.  It was delicious and I wanted more, but only had a small second helping of the salad.

I probably had less calories today than any other day this week.  I also got plenty of exercise working on the remodel and I got my gallon of water in.  Just because it's an unrestricted day it doesn't mean I have a license to be a pig. 

I'm excited for tomorrow morning as it's time to get back on track.  Today was a great start!  112 Days down, plenty more to go, but let's just look towards Day 113.

Stay Strong!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Day #111 - Exceeding the Limits

As I suspected, I got on the Wii scale and it said "You've exceeded the weight limit".  This means that I gained at least 1.5 pounds since last week,  Even though I knew it was coming it still hurt.  As I mentioned yesterday, I won't go weigh myself in the basement again.  If I do, then in my mind I've accepted that I'm not ready to take the next step toward getting under 300.  I am ready, I just hit a bump in the road.  So now I'm motivated to get "it" back this coming week.  By "it" I mean my Wii Scale, My commitment, and My Focus.

I'm always talking about taking it day by day.  Well at least for the next few days I'll actually be taking it meal by meal.  What's interesting about last week was that I ate healthy breakfast everyday of the week and my first snack was healthy too.  What killed me was lunch, I went out for lunch 4 of the 5 workdays.  After lunchtime failures it was that much easier to not do well in the evening because in my mind the day was blown. 

So is the world coming to an end for me?  Hardly! In 8 weeks I've still managed to lose 5% of my bodyweight.  I've also been smoke free for 111 days and have not had a drop of alcohol in over 40 days.  So when you put things in perspective, having 1 week where I gained a little weight pales in comparison to the whole focus on improving my health.

I'm keeping my head up because last week was only one small battle lost.  The war can still be won, but only if I choose to keep fighting.

Stay Strong!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Day #110 - From Complacency to Loss of Focus

I have to get on the scale tomorrow.  What's worse, I suspect that my Wii scale will not allow me back on again.  Sorry, but if that happens I will not be going down into the dungeon; I'll just have to wait until the following week.

There have been a number of things that have happened to me over these last 2 weeks that I could use as excuses.  I could but I won't.  I am owning my poor performance; simply stated, I got complacent after having some success.  That complacency very quickly turned into a loss of focus and once I lost focus I just couldn't seem to get it back.

It's easy for complacency to set in after a short time.  I'm sure you've been there before, everything is humming along just fine so you bend the rules a little.  Nothing happens so you bend them a little more.  The next thing you know, you've completely let things go for "a while".

There's actually a part of me that hopes the Wii scale doesn't work tomorrow because I know I didn't earn a loss this week.  Getting bad results might be just what I need to snap me back into shape.  There's still plenty of fight left in me.  Last night I questioned whether I have really changed.  I know in my heart the answer is yes because if I haven't changed I would have given up by now and I probably wouldn't even have the courage to post.  Time to face the music on Day #111 and regain that focus.

Stay Strong!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Day #109 - More Pain Arrives

It's bad enough that I'm still struggling with pain, but now Mrs. FogDog is right there with me.  Yesterday she rolled her ankle out in the yard and now she can barely walk.  The doctor told her it's just a bad sprain, nothing broken, but she'll be hobbled for the next couple weeks.  As for me, I'm still battling the knee pain at night, but it does appear to be getting better; I only woke up twice last night with knee pain instead of my 4-6 times each night.

Of course this isn't helping us to get the ship righted, we are both still struggling.  I won't say we're doing terrible, but again we're not doing great either.  I would be amazed if either of us lost any weight this week.

This last week really has me beginning to question if I really have changed.  After about 6 weeks of hard work I can now feel my resolve slowly slipping away.  So have I changed or was I just telling myself that in hopes that I could hang on longer before falling on my face?  If I'm serious about my health then I need to put the excuses away and get back to it:

My knee hurts at night - Got it, so why does that keep me from eating healthy during the day?

Because I'm tired all day from not getting good sleep - Ok, that makes it harder, but not eating healthy also makes me tired; maybe that's why I feel tired.

Yeah but I'm also not exercising out of fear that my knee will get worse again - Great, how long are we going to milk that excuse?  I didn't realize that all exercise requires vigorous use of the knees.

Ok, but Mrs. FogDog is hurting now too so we both enable each other to eat junk to feel better - Mrs. FogDog knows just as well as me that eating junk food only makes us feel better for a short moment to then be followed by feeling worse about doing it.

Fine, but we've struggled for almost a week now, one more day won't hurt - Yeah it won't hurt, but it won't help either.  One more hour, one more meal, one more day, one more weekend, one more...

I have to go now,  I need to continue this conversation with myself in private.  Day #109 is in the books; on to 110.

Stay Strong!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Day #108 - Wobbly

There are times when you are just humming along and then there are times when you fall into a ditch and lay there for a while.  I'm in neither of those spots right now.  Instead I'm just wobbling around like a top getting ready to drop.  I start to get back on track and then something small throws me off just a little. 

I've said before that I'm kind of an on or off type of person, I don't do moderation, but yet that's where I am right now.  I got my water in and I ate a healthy breakfast, and a reasonable lunch, but then we had pizza for dinner.  I got plenty of exercise in yesterday cutting wood but today I haven't done anything.  Yesterday I didn't get much accomplished at work, but today I went at it and got a ton accomplished... you see?  Very Wobbly.

I guess it's better than laying in the ditch, if you're wobbly then you still have a chance to straighten it out.  Hopefully I can do it on Day 109.

Stay Strong!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Day #107 - Chainsaw

I wasn't in a particularly good mood today, probably because I'm still not getting very good sleep.  I ended up going out to a free lunch and didn't do nearly as good as I should have with my water.  When I got home I decided the best thing for me was to get outside and wreck some stuff.

So I grabbed my chainsaw and went into the and and just started cutting things down.  It was kind of therapeutic and I actually feel a little better now.  Tomorrow is another day, today wasn't so good.

Stay Strong!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Day #106 - Fighting the Temptations

Today was all about fighting temptations.  The facility I work at had a celebration breakfast for everyone.  I showed up at work to all sorts of delicious breakfast food setup in the break room.  I Love breakfast food!  Sausage, bagels, omelets loaded with cheese and meat, I love them all.  It was very tempting to get something, but I managed to pass on all the food.

Unfortunately that was not the end of my temptations today.  After the breakfast celebration the catering group left behind all the food that wasn't eaten.  That included a big tray of bagels, muffins, and another whole tray of sausages.  I can tell you that every time I walked past that break room I thought about getting me something... just a little something. 

I made it through the whole day and got home to hear Mrs. FogDog talking about her cravings for chocolate... specifically German chocolate cake!  Fortunately there isn't a store around here that makes a real good German chocolate cake, so we shrugged our shoulders and moved on.

I got my water in and stuck to my plan all day long.  At dinner we had ham and cabbage and I probably ate a little more than I should.  Who am I kidding?  I ate my normal serving and then had a second helping.  If that's the worst thing that happens to me this week I'll consider it a good one.

Day 106 done... on to day 107.

Stay Strong!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Day #105 - Great Falls

Kids at Great Falls
Did you go to a park today?  For those of you in the USA, did you know that this was opening weekend for National Park Week and that park entry was free?  I love to hike and you would think that I would encourage anything that promotes hiking and parks, but you would be wrong.

You see, I like to hike because a lot of people don't.  I love to get outdoors into nature and take it all in.  I love to spend time with the family but I also enjoy the peace and quiet.  I enjoy being able to let my dog roam (mostly) free because there's no one around to worry about.  I enjoy that most parks are empty when we visit them and those that are there are hikers and nature lovers like us that understand the rules 

Today we went to Great Falls National Park on the border of Maryland and Virginia.  It is fairly close to Washington DC so it's not very far from a lot of population.  The combination of the great weather, the proximity to DC, and the no fee weekend made this trip less than desirable.

When we arrived mid morning it was all we could do to find a place to park.  I have never seen so many people at a park before, people were literally driving around the parking lot searching for spaces like it was the local Walmart.  The trails were also packed with mostly people that don't get trail etiquette.  I kept my dog close to me, but couldn't begin to count how many kids passed by and just reached out to pet my dog (good thing she's friendly.  I also spent plenty of time weaving in and out of other trail-goers who decided to stop and talk with someone and chose to just let their dog run out to the end of their 30 foot retractable leash.  Yes, it was a frustrating time.

We only hiked about 2.5 miles before I decided to give up.  We left at around 1:30PM; as soon as we approached our vehicle we saw another vehicle impatiently waiting for us to vacate our parking spot with their blinker on.  When I see that my instinct is to wave at them and then sit there in the parking spot until they give up and drive away, but my wife wasn't in the mood for me being a jerk so we just pulled out.  On the way past the entry gate I counted 40 more vehicles lined up just waiting to get in, what a madhouse!

Anyway, I'm glad these free activities only happen occasionally.  Next weekend we'll go to a park and probably have the whole place to ourselves. 

It was a very mild unrestricted day, I ate well and got some decent exercise in to boot.  105 Days in the books, on to a new week and Day 106.

Stay Strong!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Day #104 - Escape From the Dungeon

Last week I mentioned that I was pretty close to being able to get back to using my Wii Fit scale.  This is significant to me because I have to go down into my basement to weigh in on a scale that I specifically had to buy because I went past 330 pounds.  Today I deleted my old profile on the Wii and setup a new one.  I stepped on the scale not sure if it would tell me that I exceeded the scale's limits.  I'm happy to report that the scale read 328.5.  That would be a weekly loss of 3 more pounds!

Hold on a second, before celebrating I decided I would make one more trip to the dungeon to compare.  As I suspected, the scales are off a little, it turns out I actually didn't lose any weight this week.  However, I didn't gain any weight either and I'm happy that I don't need to go into the dungeon anymore.  For me this is what I consider to be my first weight loss milestone.

The happy morning news was enough to pull me out of my doldrums and I'm happy to report I was right back on track following my plan today.  I also got a lot of exercise in as I was laying floor tile in my bathroom.  It was important for me to get back on track today; tomorrow is my unrestricted day and if I went into it with 4 straight days of poor eating, who knows how bad Sunday would have been.  Now I'm excited about tomorrow as we have a hike planned and I can enjoy my unrestricted day without the guilt of being off track.

So now that I hit my first milestone, what's next?  That's easy, if you remember when I hit day 90 I said I'm trying to get under 300 by day 180.  Well that's my next milestone; I need to get under 300, preferably by day 180.  That gives me 75 more days to drop 28 pounds.  One milestone down, on to the next but only one day at a time.

Stay Strong!

[Photo: Flickr / Emma Jane Hogbin Westby]

Friday, April 17, 2015

Day #103 - Exhale

My mind hasn't been on dieting these last 3 days.  It feels kind of like a short pause or maybe that point when you exhale before taking another deep breath.  I'm not perfect and that's OK.  I'm not going to feel guilty about not being perfect either.  If I need a moment to exhale then I need a moment to exhale.

 I mentioned yesterday that I'm not going to let this pain keep me from doing what I need to do and I meant it.  Tomorrow I weigh in just like I do every Saturday morning.  I might not have lost the weight I wanted to in the last week, but I'm guessing that I still came out OK.  I'm really hoping that I'll be able to weigh in upstairs on the Wii scale in the morning.

I've been on my pain medication now for 1.5 days.  I hope that it actually helps me to get to sleep because right now I would do just a bout anything for just 8 hours.  Going to bed early on a Friday night; I think this is weekend #5 without alcohol.  Sorry for the short post... on to Day #104.

Stay Strong!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Day #102 - That's All I Can Stand

I reached the tipping point with my knee last night.  I have gone 3 weeks now with very little restful sleep.  I couldn't take it any longer; I've tried everything I can think of to help with this pain.  I asked my wife to find me a doctor and make me an appointment as quickly as possible.  To my surprise she found one that had an opening today so I went to see the doctor about my knee.

Actually I saw a PA, but that's fine I knew where I was going to end up regardless... getting an x-ray.  The PA said she has never heard of knee pain that only comes at night and then goes right away in the morning.  However, she said everything else I described pointed toward a possible torn meniscus.  She prescribed a stronger pain reliever that I'll be on for the next 2 weeks and then she sent me to get an x-ray (told you).

I still refuse to let this be the source of an excuse to give up.  My depression has returned a little in these last 2 days but I think I'm just really tired and need some rest.  102 days down and I'm in a rough patch; here's to better days ahead.  I will survive this and hopefully I can get a good night's sleep.

Before I leave for the night, I wanted to take a moment to say Happy Birthday to my sister Mindy.  Growing up I never let my sister out from under my shadow; I'm pretty competitive so I had to beat her in everything and for the most part I took the limelight from her any chance I could.  However, recently Mindy turned the tables... Over the last few years she's made an effort to lose weight and to date she's dropped more than 80 pounds!  That's an incredible feat and I am extremely proud of her especially since she's a single mom to boot.

So Happy Birthday "little" sister.  Enjoy the limelight for a while, but you better not let up because here I come.

Stay Strong!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Day #101 - Go To Your Room and Think About What You've Done

Today was probably the worst day I've had in quite a while.  I drank my water and had a healthy breakfast, but that's about it.  My boss took me out to lunch; I ordered water to drink, but ate more than I really needed to.  At dinner time Mrs. FogDog was not with it either, so we decided to get pizza.  I had 3 slices.   

When you were a kid did you ever get sent to your room to "think about what you've done"?  That happened to me quite a bit.  After dinner I was feeling kind of lazy, so I sent myself up to my room to think about what I did today.  Of course anyone who has been following me for a while knows that my room is a construction zone right now.  I had to apply leveling compound to my bathroom floor so I spent some time up there working and thinking about my day.

What's strange is that I really can't think of a reason why I did what I did today.  I'm not tired, I'm not in a bad mood, there was nothing that made the day more stressful than yesterday.  For some reason today I just caved in and didn't follow my plan.  I finished my work upstairs and felt a little better but walked away still not knowing what caused me to fail today.

I don't feel guilty and there are no excuses.  Today just simply happened.  Thankfully it's almost over and I can get right back at it tomorrow.

Stay Strong!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Day #100 - Even When You Don't Want To

Has it really been 100 days?  If you had told me 100 days ago that I would be where I'm at today and still going strong I probably would've bet 5 to 1 odds against making it this far.  But here I stand and still going strong I might add.  I was thinking today how I've managed to find a way to force myself to do stuff.  No, I don't twist my own arm and it doesn't involve punching myself in the face.  What I mean is that I find myself doing things even when I don't want to.

There are times when I just don't feel like posting a blog.  I'm tired and I just want to go to bed.  But for some reason I go over to the computer and I bang out a post.  I do it because I said I would. 

Tonight was another example; I got home and all I wanted to do was lay on the couch.  It was a long and stressful day and I didn't feel like doing anything.  However, I told myself that every time I take a night off from doing anything then I'm just getting that much closer to going back to being like I was 100 days ago.  Instead I went upstairs and did a little work on the bathroom remodel.  It was only an hour but it was an hour doing something instead of watching something.

Another strong day in the books and the end of my first 100 days.  On to 101.

Stay Strong!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Day #99 - Finding Balance

This marks my 4th very strong Monday in a row.  I'm actually starting to look forward to Mondays, after having an unrestricted day on Sunday, Monday kind of feels like a reset for the rest of the week.  I kept to my eating plan and got my gallon of water in.  No exercise, I'm still trying to rest that knee in hopes that the night pain will go away.

I can't believe tomorrow will mark 100 days of healthy living.  Over the weekend I had real good balance with everything.  I spent some time remodeling my bathroom, working on getting my lawnmowers ready for the season, spending time doing things with the family, and simply just relaxing to a good movie Saturday night.  I had balance between eating healthy and indulging myself as well.  It just felt like a really balanced weekend. 

As I thought about my weekend it hit me that balance is something in my life that I've always struggled with.  I don't have a "moderate" setting, I either go all in or I don't play.  I'll get on to something and it just consumes me until I'm sick of it and then I stop completely.  Eventually I'll go back to it, but not after something else caught my attention for a while.

I've written a lot about consistency here in this blog and I've also written a lot about making excuses.  I think my third big discovery on this journey has to be about seeking and maintaining balance.  Right now I feel really balanced between work, family, and my own personal development.  I think that's what's affecting my mood more than the recent success I've had with improving my health.  I also think the balance is what's helping me to sustain my health journey.  Again, in the past I would've gone hardcore and tried to fix all my problems at once.  I would've done fine for 2, 3 or maybe 4 weeks and then I would have been so burned out my focus would shift to something else.

Yeah, I think I need to ponder balance a little more, maybe I'm on to something.  99 Days down, on to the big 100.

Stay Strong!
[Photo: Flickr / Jasen Miller]

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Day #98 - 2 Week Old Cake

I'm having a piece of chocolate cake tonight.  Sorry to Richard who has recruited many on a quest to slay the mighty white sugar beast, but some of us have a different path to follow.  It's my unrestricted day so it's OK.  I don't deserve it (I've stopped thinking that way), I'm just choosing to have a piece of cake tonight.  One thing that makes this cake special is that it is 2 weeks old.  That might not seem like such a big deal in your world, but in my world such a thing does not exist.

Under the old regime... 2 Layer German Chocolate Cake and Vanilla Ice Cream are bought.  Usually at least 3/4 of the cake is gone after just one sitting (2 adults and 3 kids).  I myself usually take a slice equal to 1/4 of the whole cake.  The next day war breaks out to determine who gets the last of the cake; the losers get only ice cream.  By the end of day #2 all sweets have been devoured.

This is not an exaggeration.  For as long as I can remember, no cake has ever lasted in my house past day #2.  Worse, we ate a lot of cake!  I bet we probably averaged at least 1 cake each month for the last few years.  That's a lot of cake and yet it still vanished almost as fast as it could be bought. 

Now maybe you understand why this seems like such a big deal to me; it is simply just unheard of.  My wife bought this cake 2 weekends ago on our unrestricted day.  Instead of eating it like we usually do, she instead cut it in half and froze on of the halves.  We ate the rest of the cake and that was that. 

Here we are now 2 weeks later and the cake has been defrosted for another night.  I'm impressed that it has remain so long undisturbed in the freezer, especially since Mrs. FogDog is a choco-holic.  Anyway this is just another example of how my world is changing.  Eating cake may not be the best thing to do when you are trying to lose weight, but showing yourself you can have restraint over something that used to be impossible to avoid is definitely a step in the right direction.

Another day in the books, sorry if I tempted anyone here talking about cake.  On to day #99

Stay Strong!
[Photo: Flickr / Kimberly Vardeman]

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Day #97 - Satisfaction

I knew that last week I did really well despite being sick.  I knew that when I stepped on the scale and it showed I gained 1 pound that it wasn't a true reflection of my performance.  I knew that in order to prove it, I would need to put the gain out of my head and stick with my normal consistent behavior for another week.  Today I stepped on the scale and confirmed what I already knew.

Last week I weighed 338, today I weighed 331.4 for a loss of 6.6 pounds!

I'm obviously thrilled with the results.  Take away that pound I gained last week and I still lost 5.6 pounds over the last 2 weeks.  Those are pretty good numbers.  In fact this marks the 6th week of focusing on losing weight.  So far I've lost a total of 16.4 pounds or roughly 2.7 pounds per week.

I also have the opportunity to get out of the dungeon... I've always weighed in a Wii Fit scale, but it only goes to 330 so I had to go out and buy a scale that went to 400 pounds.  There's no good place to put it as my bathroom is being remodeled, so I ended up putting it in the basement.  Every Saturday morning I have to go down there to weigh in.  Next week I will weigh in on the Wii Fit scale.

I can't tell you how many times I let a bad reading on the scale derail me the following week.  These last two weeks have taught me that I just have to be patient; remain consistent and the weight will come off.  My plan is working well and I don't feel like I'm suffering in the process.  I haven't been perfect by any stretch but when I trip up, I get back up as quickly as I can.

Another day in the books, on to week #7 and more consistency.

Stay Strong!

[Photo: Flickr / One Way Stock]

Friday, April 10, 2015

Day #96 - Blogging Between Coats

This isn't going to be a very long post.  I'm in the process of putting primer on my bathroom walls; I just finished one coat and now I need to wait 20 minutes before putting another coat on.  It's amazing what you can accomplish on a Friday night when alcohol isn't involved. 

Anyway I'm feeling a little better and I finally got a pretty decent night's sleep.  I only woke up one time with knee pain so I'll take that as a positive sign.  Thanks to all the well wishers who sent me positive vibes!

Tomorrow I get on the scale again.  If you remember last week I gained a pound but said that I thought that wasn't real and that maybe I was retaining water because of being sick.  I remind everyone of that because tomorrow I need to see my theory validated.  Oh how many times I've made an excuse for not losing during a certain week only to forget about it the following week.  How easy it becomes...

"I lost 5 pounds this week (forgetting that I gained 6 the week before).  Since I did so well I'm going to celebrate by going to an all-you-can-eat buffet.  After all I deserve it!"   

That was old thinking.  Today I'm thinking that I've been losing about 1.5-2 pounds each week.  Since I gained a pound last week (that I suspect was just water retention) I should see a 4-5 pound loss this week.  That would put my average for the 2 weeks right on track and validate my theory.

Of course if it doesn't happen then it doesn't happen.  The world won't come to an end but I'll probably be a little disappointed.  Remember last week was about proving I could push through even while ill.  I really want that confirmation. 

Stay Strong!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Day #95 - Trying to Keep that Chin Up

I can't remember the last time I felt this exhausted.  It brings me back to the days before my CPAP when I didn't know I had sleep apnea and needed a coffee and 2 large Monster energy drinks every day just to keep me going.  Last night it wasn't knee pain that kept me up but rather insomnia.  You ever have one of those nights where you felt so exhausted... too exhausted to go to sleep?  I had one of those last night, it was like my mind was racing all over the place and I just couldn't fall asleep.  The more you toss and turn, the more annoyed you get and the more you can't fall asleep.  I remember seeing 3AM and thinking I might as well get up and go into work early...and then I fell asleep for 3 hours!

Anyway I pushed through another day and managed to stay on plan.  I decided to take my strength training rest day today, but I got my gallon of water in by 2PM and stuck to what I brought for food.  I need a really good night's sleep tonight, for now I'm just trying to hold my chin up.  Everything annoys me right now and I'm just trying not to blow up at anyone; today I just shut my office door and worked on paperwork all day... I still didn't get out of the paperwork hole I'm in.

Better days are coming, if you don't have a few tough ones here and there then you wouldn't appreciate the good ones.  Another day in the books, one more and then I weigh in.  I'm kind of excited to see how I've done.

Stay Strong!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Day #94 - Rough Night, Strong Day

Last night was another rough night with knee pain.  It has got to be the most frustrating thing to wake up every 1-2 hours because of a nagging pain.  It wakes me up, I get up and walk around, the pain goes away, and I lay down and go back to sleep.  I bet in the last 2 nights I've only gotten about 6 hours of sleep total.

However, I got up this morning determined that I'm not going to let this stop me from being healthy; it will NOT become another excuse.  I might be tired, but I had another very strong day eating well, getting my water in, and of course my 10 minutes of strength training.  No walking (it was raining and cold today anyway) and I wore a knee brace all day even though my knee doesn't hurt during the day.  I'm trying to do all I can to keep as much weight off my knee is possible.

Short post tonight, eventually I'll just sleep through the night out of sheer exhaustion.  Another day is in the books, here's to day #95.

Stay Strong!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Day #93 - A Tough Decision

I'm giving up walking!  No, not permanently, but for at least a week.  In fact I'm also going to stay off my elliptical trainer as well.  I made this decision today after another miserable night's sleep.  About 15 days ago I talked about having some pain in my left knee.  It only comes at night when I'm sleeping, the rest of the day I'm fine, but it wakes me up and I can't afford to disrupt my sleep.

I think I strained it while I was remodeling the bathroom.  During that week I carried a lot of heavy things up and down stairs and that's when it started hurting.  For the last 15 days I was hoping it would start to improve but it hasn't.  I didn't want it to be an excuse to not exercise, but after 15 days and no improvement, it's time to try something different.

I have noticed that it hurts more on the days that I walk more.  Yesterday I walked about 2.5 miles plus did a mile on the elliptical and I was in agony all night long, waking about every hour to put some Icy Hot on for temporary relief.  I'm going to try to rest it for a week and just see if it improves.  If not I may have to go to a doctor. 

However, I have not forgotten my commitment from yesterday.  I'm not going to walk but I can still get at least 10 minutes of exercise every day.  I'm not going to be able to do cardio as I only have an elliptical and treadmill and both require knee movement.  Instead I will just focus on strength training with nothing that requires loading my knee (like squats or lunges).  Today I did my 10 minutes; I picked 4 weight exercises and did each one for a minute.  I did all 4 in a circuit and then took a 1 minute rest.  2 circuits and my 10 minutes were done.  The nice thing about this mthod is that I can do 3 or 4 circuits when I have more time and don't have to change anything.

This situation is not ideal, but I would rather miss my walk for a week than I would continue on waking up each night with knee pain.  Hopefully this will work.  Unfortunately my rest begins tomorrow; I didn't make this decision until my walk at lunchtime.  On to Day #94.

Stay Strong!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Day #92 - Just 10 Minutes

Recently I mentioned that it was time to add some cardio and strength training.  I know that I need to step it up if I really want to drop 100 pounds by the end of the year.  Today when I was walking at lunchtime (I got in 2 miles) I started to think through it.  How will I fit it in with everything else I've got going on?  Should I try again in the morning?  No, I've been down that road before.  I'm not a morning person and I just can't get myself out of bed to do it. 

Instead I decided to go with a plan I call "Just 10 Minutes.  The idea is that no matter how busy my day, I should at least strive to get in 10 minutes of rigorous exercise.  Here are the basics:

  • I'm committed to getting at least 10 minutes of either cardio or strength training in a day.  This is in addition to any walking I might do at lunchtime or any other activities I do that could be used as an excuse to not do these 10 minutes
  • I will alternate between cardio and strength training each day
  • I will have 1 day each week for rest
That's it, simple huh?  Everyone can spare 10 minutes each day.  I get home from work and I'm usually waiting 30 minutes just for dinner to be done.  When it's done it's usually another 10 minutes just listening to the kids fight over who's going to set the table.  Even on soccer practice days I can find 10 minutes to do something.

The point is, when I'm feeling good and I have the time I can do more, but at the very least I can do 10 minutes.  That's 10 minutes more than I'm used to doing.  Maybe in the near future I'll bump it up but for now it starts the habit for me.


Another great Monday (used to be my worst day of the week).  I kept to my eating plan, got in my gallon of water, walked 2 miles at lunch, and even got my 10 minutes in on the elliptical machine.  Actually it was closer to 12 minutes as I set the machine for 1 mile.  I feel like all the pieces are now in place, I just need to keep executing.  Another day done, on to Day #93.

Stay Strong!

[Photo: Flickr / Jurgen Leckie]

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Day #91 - Another Candy Holiday

Happy Easter to all!  Another holiday filled with tons of delicious candy.  So how did you do?  Did you restrain yourself or did you call it a "special occasion" and then let loose gobbling up jelly beans and Cadbury cream eggs? 

I didn't mention it yesterday, but I actually gained a pound last week.  Mrs. FogDog proved that her week before was an abnormality as she dropped 2 pounds this week (Bravo!).  I'm not all too worried about the gain because I know how well I did last week; my best guess is that I'm retaining water probably due to being sick.  Time will tell as I'll be back on the scale again next Saturday.  The good news is that I woke this morning completely congestion free; my illness is over.

My gain on Saturday annoyed me at first, but it also gave me resolve.  Resolve to stick with it this week to see the results I deserve.  The answer to my questions above about candy?  On Saturday night I ate 2 Hershey kisses and on Sunday each of my kids gave me a miniature chocolate egg (the size of Hershey kisses).  5 Small pieces of chocolate total, not bad at all.

I will also have a small piece of the cake above tonight (today is my unrestricted day).  My 11 year old daughter made it so I have to try it because she said it "might not taste good but it's made with love".  She also told me that the one bunny "fell in the mud" while the other "lost it's ear after being attacked by a fox".  After that comment I didn't dare ask where all the babies came from.

I hope everyone had a great Easter! Another day done, on to day #91.

Stay Strong!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Day #90 - A Brief Look Back (and Ahead)

I can't believe it's been 3 months since I started this journey!  I can still remember the first day thinking about how long a road I had laying in front of me.  Now here I am already one quarter of the way through.

Overall it's been a real good quarter.  I set out with my 3 goals; Quit Smoking, Stay Sober, and Lose 100 Pounds.  Here's how I've done so far...

From the smoking perspective, outstanding is the only word that I can think of to describe my performance.  On day 1 I literally just stopped smoking.  No nicotine patches or gum, I just quit cold turkey.  90 days later and I don't even think about smoking.  I am absolutely thrilled to have this monkey off my back!

Alcohol was a bit more of a struggle.  Without smoking to deal with stress in January I turned to drinking more alcohol on the weekends.  Originally I planned to give up alcohol in February, but weeks just kept going by and I just kept drinking until the next thing you know it was March.  I did finally get control though, and now it's been 21 consecutive days of sobriety.

The weight loss was the last focus.  Over the first couple months my weight was all over the place.  With so many changes going on in my body it's no wonder.  By March I really started to get control and so far I'm about 10 pounds down from where I started.

So a quick recap, in the first 90 days:
  1. 100% Smoke Free
  2. 21 consecutive days of sobriety
  3. 10 pounds lost
OK so now what?  Simple, just keep pushing forward one day at a time.  I feel like my first 2 goals are kind of on autopilot now; I just need to watch out for those rare impulse moments that can cause you to temporarily lose your mind.  So now I want to shift my focus hard toward the weight loss.  I'm setting myself a mini goal for these next 90 days.  I'm currently at 338 pounds, so my 90 day goal is to get under 300 pounds.  That will not be easy, but it is definitely achievable if I put my mind to it. 

With my added focus on weight loss I think now is also the time to get back into working out.  Walking has been great, but it's time to step it up a notch, so I'm going to start thinking about some cardio as well as some strength training.

I went back and read my Day #1 post and I can still remember how I felt that day.  I remember how the not smoking had me simply exhausted and I can remember just getting home and crashing on the couch.  Fast forward to today and I'm not the same person.  I can't believe how far I've come in just 90 days.  I can feel the changes and my mood is better than it's been in years.  I truly am getting excited about what the future holds.  I'm on a roll and I don't want to stop!

But let's not get too far ahead of myself, this journey is still going to take one day at a time.  90 days are now in the books; On to day #91.

Stay Strong!

[Photo: Flickr / Alberto Otero García   ]

Friday, April 3, 2015

Day #89 - Who Am I?

Maybe it was the extra hour of sleep I got because I had the day off.  Or maybe it was the fact that when I woke I could tell that my sickness is starting to fade.  I'm not sure what it was but today I awoke and did not feel like my normal self.  Instead I felt fantastic!

Anyone who knows me knows I'm not a morning person.  Usually I'm not feeling awake until I've been up for several hours and have had my large morning coffee.  Not today though, I got up ready to take on the world.  I ate my normal healthy breakfast, and I was off to the bathroom (to remodel it, that is).  I worked hard and fast today, getting in a good sweat as I tackled all sorts of small tasks that I have to do to get this bathroom finished. 

By 2PM I had done all I could do in the bathroom, things needed to dry!  I couldn't believe how much I accomplished and I wished I could do more.  So I did, I loaded up the van with all sorts of junk we needed to throw out and went off to the dump.  When I got home I took a shower and it was still only 4PM so now what?  How about a walk?  Even the kids couldn't keep up with me, I was in a zone as I walked; I was busy thinking about just how great this week went.  I walked 3.2 miles in exactly 1 hour, incredibly fast (for me).

It was a great week!  Regardless of what the scale tells me tomorrow, this very well may have been my best week so far.  For starters I proved to myself that being sick doesn't have to become an excuse to slack off.  I've been sick all week long and I never let it slow me down.  I also think that staying sober is starting to have an effect.  Today is my 20th day without a drink and I'm starting to look back at all those wasted nights in disgust.

Tomorrow is Day #90.  1/4 of my 360 day commitment is almost over.  I'll reflect in tomorrow's post just how far I've come so far, but maybe that's part of why I'm feeling like I am today.  I guess I really don't know why I feel like I do, and I'm not really sure that it matters.  What I do know though, is that I don't feel like me anymore.  That's BOTH exciting and scary at the same time!  Day #89 in the books, on to the 3 month mark.

Stay Strong!

[Photo: Flickr / Paul Downey]

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Day #88 - Rolling Into the Weekend

Another good day.  Not great, I ended up out for lunch since my best friend came back from vacation, but the rest of the day was rock solid and I hit my water goal.  I have tomorrow off so I plan to have a real productive day working on my bathroom and then hopefully go on a hike in the afternoon since it's supposed to be in the 70's.  This will be my third consecutive weekend without alcohol and I already know I'm ready for it.  Short post tonight, I'm still fighting off the cold and want to get some sleep, but I'm definitely over the hump. 

Stay Strong!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Day #87 - My "Cheat Day" Perspective

Today I read a great blog post from Richard over at "Health Journey" (You can go see the actual  post HERE).   Richard indicated that he has a hard time with “cheat days” as well as comments people make about “being too hard on yourself”. 

I agree with Richard in one of those areas, sometimes I think people are quick to say “Don’t beat yourself up too much” to others.  If we are talking about someone who’s going on and on because they gave in and ate 1 Hershey Kiss at lunch time, then yes that person probably shouldn’t be beating themselves up.  But if you decided to eat half a pig because the moon was full then you should probably beat yourself up a little.  Accept responsibility, learn from it, and move forward.  It doesn’t mean you have to flog yourself for two weeks, but you should probably feel a little shame.  Hold yourself accountable at an appropriate level to the infraction.

Now on the “cheat days” I disagree (sort of).  For starters I hate the term “cheat day” because it automatically denotes doing something you shouldn’t do.  I use the term “unrestricted day”.  Call it what you want, what we’re talking about here is a day where you can eat whatever you want.  I’m a big fan of the unrestricted day and I have one every week.

One of the biggest struggles people have with losing weight is the feeling or restriction.  Right or wrong we have foods that we simply love to eat.  When you restrict your diet to lose weight there are some things that you simply will not be able to eat on a regular basis.  Cut them out forever and you begin to feel deprived.  Feel deprived of something and now you just want it more!  The only way to prevent that feeling is to allow that food in moderation. 

Most of us trying to lose weight suck at moderation (duh) so having a rule that helps with moderation only makes sense.  I absolutely love a toasted everything bagel with peanut butter.  I eat two on every one of my unrestricted days and because of that I’m perfectly fine eating oatmeal and hard boiled eggs the other six days of the week.  Does that sound like a reasonable compromise to you?

Now having said all that I do think the devil is in the details.  If Richard is referring to people who just announce “I decided to have a cheat day because I was totally stressed out and deserved a treat” then I agree with him that cheat days aren’t helping that person get healthy.  However , with just a few simple rules to govern the day, you can turn it into something that’s quite helpful.  Here are my rules about “unrestricted days”:

  1. I choose the day ahead of time; it does not choose me.  Most of the time I have my unrestricted day on Sunday.  We tend to do a lot of hiking or going on family trips so often we’ll end up packing sandwiches (I don’t eat processed grains during the week) or go out at lunch or dinner time.  On occasion we will proactively move it to Saturday if we’ve got a good reason (Child’s birthday party, Travel day, Visitors).  The most important point though is that we never change on the day.  If I’m driving by 5 Guys on Thursday and feeling like a big burger with fries; I can’t simply call it my cheat day and stop in.
  2. It is not a reward for “good” behavior.  I get my unrestricted day regardless of how I did the rest of the week.  It is not a reward for good behavior and it cannot be taken away for bad behavior either.  Don’t reward or deny yourself with food.  My unrestricted day is not a reward, it is a choice that’s part of my overall weight loss plan.
  3. Unrestricted does not equal “guilt free”; I’m still accountable for the choices I make.  During the week my choices are restricted somewhat.  On my unrestricted day my choices are not restricted but I’m still accountable for what I do.  If I treat it like a “get out of jail free” card, then am I really committed to my plan?  Having this day doesn’t allow me to shed my responsibilities to myself it just gives me some freedom around the choices I make
Now I’m not going to lie and say that none of my unrestricted days ever went too far.  I’ve had a few free-for-alls that would rival anyone else’s binge stories.  But I’ve also fallen off the wagon on my other “normal” days.  A failure is a failure regardless of what day it happened on; the unrestricted day didn’t cause that failure, I did.  I’ve also had unrestricted days were I had less calories than a “normal” day; most of the time I still just have normal meals, but usually they contain things that might otherwise be out of bounds.  I usually have a dessert as well; my oldest daughter loves to bake so she usually makes us a special treat for that day. 

The unrestricted day is not a license to eat, but rather a tool to help you eat in moderation.  It has worked wonders for me, especially with deferring gratification (another problem we fat people sometimes have).  If I’m craving a big ole Sausage sandwich with peppers and onions I’ll tell myself that If I’m still craving it at the end of the week I’ll have it then.  A lot of times that craving goes away and by the time Sunday rolls around I don’t even care about it anymore.

This is just my opinion and maybe this process doesn’t work for everyone, but my most successful attempts have allowed for this type of weekly deviation.  Just like every other part of your healthy living journey, your plan has to be something you can live with.  If you are someone who constantly pigs out on your cheat day or you have multiple cheat days then maybe this doesn’t work for you.

Lastly, I want to say thanks to Richard for bringing up this topic and I encourage others to submit a post about it on their blogs.  It’s nice that we can share multiple points of view on a topic; that’s what makes this community strong.  What do you think?

Stay Strong!

[Photo: Flickr / trec_lit   ]