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Health Goal Update for April 6, 2009

I ended this past week at 198.0 pounds.  The scale is just not moving in the direction I want it to.  Something must be done.  I was feeling a little discouraged this morning, but when I start to feel discouraged I have the tendency to throw in the towel and go unconscious with my eating.  Since that never leads to anything good, I had to make a conscious decision not to be discouraged.  It wasn’t easy, but I finally found a way to frame my situation in a manner in which I didn’t feel discouraged.  I’ve decided that “I’ve almost got this figured out.”  This is what Steve refers to as Creative Observation, and I highly recommend it when you’re trying to achieve a goal, yet the evidence suggests you’re not.

First let’s go over what’s working.  Exercise.  I had to ditch my P90X cardio workouts because they were hurting my feet and knees so badly that I would get sidelined for 3-4 days, unable to exercise, or even walk comfortably until the pain subsided.  Clearly, I am not in good enough shape to be doing this extra intensive workout.  So back to the gym I went, but this time when I got on my elliptical machine I cranked up the resistance to a point where I could achieve my target heart rate, which for me is 140-150bpm.  In the past, I was lucky to get to 120, so this was a big improvement.  Once I got to my target heart range, I wanted to keep it there for 30 minutes.  I have achieved this.  I am now able to exercise on the elliptical machine for 30 minutes in my target heart range.  I’m burning 300 calories per workout if the machine is accurate.  This is definite progress for me.

Weight-lifting.  I continue to lift weights and am making progress in this area as well.  It feels so good.  I had to take a break from the thigh and calf workout, though, because the pain in my knees was too intense.  But I’ll get back to that muscle group as soon as I can. 

So exercise is going well for me, and I am going to keep doing what I’m doing for a while.  It’s time for me to focus on diet.

Protein.  I’ve been eating foods really high in protein because I wanted to see what effect it would have on my energy, weight, and blood sugar.  I’m getting probably 70-90 grams of protein each day.  This is definitely more than I used to get by a long shot.  When I eat foods high in protein I am noticing two great effects.  First, I don’t get hungry for hours.  Second, my blood sugar remains stable.  In fact, all of my blood sugar readings have been in the excellent range.  100 in the morning, and less than 140 two hours after a meal, and often they are like 118 just one hour after a meal which is a miracle for me.  I just feel better when I eat higher protein.  So I want to continue with that practice.

The problem area in my diet has to be when I satisfy my craving for French fries.  They’re my kryptonite.  It might seem obvious that if one is trying to lose weight that one should just skip the French fries.  Try telling that to the pleasure center of my brain!  I am at the mercy of these deep-fried little buggers.  I’m not eating French fries every day, but I would say that 2-3 times a week I find myself driving through a fast food restaurant and eating them in the car while I drive to my next destination.  I think they’re hard-wired into my brain or something.  As a kid, I literally ate French fries 6 or 7 days per week.  Sometimes twice a day.  My mom used to tell me I couldn’t just order French fries when we went out to dinner, so I’d order some chicken, which came with fries, and just leave the chicken on my plate untouched.  My father used to call me a French-Fry-Fessor and told me one day I’d grow up to look like a French fry.  So I’m confessing here in public that even though I know fries are bad for me, I still eat them sometimes. 

I confessed my sin to Steve and we had a long talk about it.  He suggested I just make French fries at home.  Never thought of that, ever!  So I got out two potatoes, peeled em, sliced them into a fry shape, stuck em in a bag with a little bit of oil, and baked them on a cookie sheet.  I shared them with the kids.  They were awesome.  Better than the fast food restaurants, and they were not deep-fried and there was no trans fat.  I know that’s progress, and I feel better mentally about my French fry habit.  In fact, for the last 6 days I haven’t had any fast food French fries.  That has to be a record for me!

But it’s not only the French fries that are doing me in.  I must be eating too much of something because I’m gaining weight, not losing, and I feel that my exercise is good, so it’s gotta be my diet.  The only times in my life that I’ve had success with dieting were when I counted calories, or was on Weight Watchers, or was otherwise monitoring and recording what I ate.  So I’m going to go back to doing just that.  I think for starters, I’ll just monitor calories and fat and see what I can see.  I intend to shoot for 1200 calories per day, but I may go up to 1500.  Not sure yet.  I need to experiment. Expect a report on that next week. 

It was an odd week to be sure.  But I’m still going.  I will figure this out and get this fat off my body.

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