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!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Day #196 - Flipping the Switch

Starting Weight - 347
Weight Last Week - 324
Current Weight - 317
Weight Lost Last Week - 7
Total Weight Lost This Year - 30 lbs

For the first half of the year I only managed to lose 10 lbs.  The best thing I can say about my first six months was that I managed to not gain more weight.  However, in the last 3 weeks I've managed to double up on what I had lost so far adding a surprising 20 lbs to my total.  7 more lbs last week and 20 lbs in 3 weeks, obviously I'm thrilled.

I've been thinking about this post all week, trying to come up with some way of describing how I'm feeling since I totally gave up sugar and started eating a low carb diet.  It's really hard to share because I've never really felt this way before... EVER! 

After the first week of sugar detox it's like a switch flipped inside my head.  A switch that's never been touched before, something that lay dormant inside me with cobwebs all over it.  My appetite... gone.  My cravings for certain foods... gone.  These two things alone are great, but it's even more than that.  My concentration is improved, I'm doing better in my job.  My outlook has improved, I'm not seeing my mood go up and down as much.

To all of you out there who have written about the evils of sugar, let me apologize for how I used to feel.  I used to read those posts and think that it was all wrong... that anything was OK, even sugar, if it was in moderation.  I never realized how sugar had such a hold on me, not just cravings for more sugar, but overall cravings and appetite for even non-sugar foods.

As a testament to how this switch has flipped, let me share with you some information about my last 3 weeks...

In the last 3 weeks I have lost 20 pounds.  I have not felt deprived in any way and have not had a single craving (after sugar detox).  During this time of losing about 1 pound per day I have gone out the eat 3 times...  The first time I went to Chinese buffet.  I ordered water and stuck only to non-breaded items, vegetables, and meat.  Any of the dishes that had a sweet flavor were skipped.  I walked out completely satisfied, not needing dessert.  The second time I went to a burger joint for lunch .  I ordered a big fat juicy burger with bacon and an egg on top, but instead of a bun I got it on a lettuce wrap.  Instead of fries I got a side salad.  The third time I went out, we went to a steakhouse.  My daughter wanted ribs so bad but they don't have them on the kids menu.  I ordered a rack of ribs to split with her and we split the sides; she got the mashed potatoes and I got the side salad, again, picking out the croutons.  Rolls came out early on and it was no issue to watch everyone else have them, I just munched on a few peanuts.  All this and I'm still losing weight week after week.

With each passing week I see just how much food used to consume my thoughts.  When I woke I used to think about getting a nice big breakfast and no sooner than after breakfast was over my thoughts would turn to what I had for snacks or what I wanted to eat for lunch.  I used to think about food all the time.  No so much anymore, food is starting to become an afterthought.  I'm not bored with what I eat, but at the same time, I'm not excited about food either.  My trips out to eat were more enjoyable because of the people I was with and the discussions we had; the food was not the main attraction!

So this is the best I can do to explain where I'm at right now.  I can't promise this approach works for everyone, but it certainly seems like I've found my path.  I still have a long way to go, but my confidence is very strong that I can get there going in the direction I'm going.  After next week I go on vacation and I plan to continue my losing ways right through it.  When I return I will go after my next challenge... getting more exercise. 

Stay Strong!


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Day #189 - Phase I Complete

This morning I stepped on the scale after 13 days of low carb and no sugar...

Starting Weight - 337
Current Weight - 324
Total Weight Loss - 13 pounds
I'm not sure I can describe how I feel right now.  I'm shocked, elated, relieved, cautious, and hopeful all rolled into one!
I have been on a million different diets.  On some of them, I lost a big chunk of weight in the first week, but that was always water weight and the second week usually ended up being a letdown.  Never have I ever lost this much weight over the course of two weeks.
What's more startling to me is that I feel great.  No hunger, no feelings of deprivation, no cravings, no lack of energy; all the telltale signs of a "diet" are missing from the picture.  I feel like I could continue on this path without fear of burnout.
I've read a lot of literature on the evils of sugar.  I've always held the belief that anything is OK as long as it is in moderation.  I'm not so sure about that belief anymore.  Even though I never considered myself a sugar addict, I am now questioning if sugar wasn't the primary source of all my mental woes when it came to overeating.  Did it cause cravings?  Not just cravings for sugar, but cravings for more food.  Did it make me irritable and cranky when I didn't feed the addiction?  I know the first 4 days of no sugar were a nightmare for me, but since then no withdrawal symptoms.
I'm starting to convince myself that no sugar is helping me with the mental aspect of my weight loss while low carb is forcing my body to burn the fat stores I have. Whatever the cause, I can say the effect is that I feel incredible right now!
So what's the next step.  That's easy, I'm going to continue on this same path.  I could continue to stay at 20g of carbs and I think I would be fine.  However, the one thing I feel like I'm missing is fruit.  According to the Atkins program I could now go as high as 60g of carbs and still lose weight, or I can stay at phase I and continue to lose weight faster.  I'm only using Atkins as a guideline so I'm going my own route.  For the next 2 weeks I'm going to target no more than 30g of carbs.  This gives me 10 carbs more than what I'm currently doing which means I can probably have one small piece of fruit each day.  I won't be able to have all fruits, some are very high in carbs, but at least I can get a few.
My goal for the next 2 weeks is to lose 7 more pounds putting me at 20 pounds lost in the first month.  After that I go on vacation in Maine for a week and that will be my first big test of my resolve.  Wish me luck.
Stay Strong! 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Day #182 - A Change in Plans

In my last couple of posts I talked about a major mental shift where I wanted to stop focusing on diet and instead focus more on just living a healthy lifestyle.  I could almost feel the eye rolling from the blogging world as I published that post.  Well here I am a few weeks later and I'm happy to say that those weeks were not a disaster.  I stuck to my new plan and truly enjoyed it.

I've been doing well, eating reasonably healthy with a few splurges here and there.  My mental state has been strong.  I didn't get that job in Wilmington and I actually felt a little relieved that we didn't have to move again so quickly.  All in all it was a pretty good 3 weeks.  The only problem... I didn't lose any weight.

I knew that going away from dieting and instead just trying to be mindful and make good choices would slow my weight loss down.  I kind of thought that maybe I would lose about 0.5 pounds each week and it would slowly creep down over the next couple years, but after a month, I went from 337 to 337, exactly 0 pounds lost. 

Not losing any weight was a little surprising, but that alone wouldn't be enough to get me to change my mind, I'm as happy now as I've been in a long time so what if I'm not losing weight.  However, a trip to my new doctor helped me change my mind...

2 weeks ago I went for my first physical in this new area.  I found a great doctor to be my physician and when we met, I also found out he specializes in bariatric medicine.  I got my cursory physical, but we really spent a lot of time talking about the history of my weight.  I told him everything about my successes and failures all the way up to my current mode of just trying to be healthy and keeping a strong mental focus and awareness.  Although he didn't really roll his eyes, I could tell by the look on his face that he wanted to.

The doctor told me that he likes someone that's a little overweight to lose weight slowly over time in order to reduce the risk of just putting it back on.  It made sense to me.  "However", he continued, "you are not just a little overweight, you are SEVERELY overweight."  He told me that I needed to start seriously dropping pounds and he was giving me 6 months to show some serious progress.  He told me that my best approach would be an Atkins style of eating; no sugar and highly restrictive on carbs.  After that, if I didn't get anywhere he said the next step would be to talk about weight loss medications, and failing that, we would next discuss weight loss surgery options.  It was a little dis-heartening to have someone shoot down your plan, but I pride myself on not dismissing other people's opinions just because they are different from mine.

I went home and spent the next couple days thinking about what the doctor had said.  Atkins? That is one diet that I never tried.  Back in the 90's I remember a guy at work who was doing Atkins and I can remember him sitting down at break end just eating nothing but 10 slices of bacon.  I remember telling myself that Atkins had to be the most unhealthy diets in the world and that I would never do that.  It's funny how certain events can mold your perception because up until now I've never really considered Atkins to be a healthy choice for weight loss.

I thought about my current plan and situation more, and then it came to me... There's nothing wrong with my mindset, it's just the timing is off.  The mindset I've been carrying around for a while now is the mindset I will need to have AFTER I lose all this weight.  Once the weight is gone I need to practice mindful eating and won't need to weigh myself all the time.  After I lose the weight I need to stop worrying about counting things and instead just focus on being healthy.  My current mode is that of someone who is on a maintenance plan!

So I got the Atkins book out at the library.  I don't particularly like the book, but the science behind it seems reasonable, so 6 days ago Mrs. FogDog and I started the Atkins Phase I plan.  This first week was brutal, I had headaches, I was tired, and at times felt a little nauseous from cutting sugar and carbs from my diet.  Fortunately, and as the book promised, that has now gone away and I feel much better.  Tomorrow is my first weigh-in and I am hoping to see a really good number.

So now my plans have changed and I find myself back at putting a serious focus on dropping pounds.  At the start of the year I made a goal to drop 100 pounds.  That's probably not going to happen given that it is now July, but my goal is to go back to the doctor in 6 months 50 pounds lighter. 

I'll keep blogging periodically to show my progress; wish me luck.

Stay Strong!