Sunday, December 21, 2008

I've Plateaued

I'm stuck at 230, and that's not a bad thing. It's not great, but it isn't bad either. I'll keep answering the questions and the emails, but I won't be posting here anymore.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Backsliding: 231! AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!

Weighed myself at the Gym last night and wasn't laughing. Overall I've gained back 5 pounds over the last couple of months. Last time I weighed myself, at Thanksgiving, the scale said 226, so I was feeling good. Then I learned from a gym staffer Monday night they just had all the scales calibrated for accuracy. So who knows where I really was.

I had picked up my old bad habit of drinking beer before bed again, but I stopped after Thanksgiving, and haven't purchased any since I ran out. So I haven't had a beer for at least ten days. I'm going to take it easy over the Holidays, and not deny myself anything, but.....
come January I'm going to go low carb again. It's not hard to do, and I'll recommit myself at the gym. A half hour on the Elliptical is too easy, might be time to step it up and double it, as long as no one else is waiting to use a machine.

Apologies for forgetting to publish this sooner, I put it in draft and forgot about it, until I received an email asking why I wasn't posting.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

228? Egads!

So I step on the scale and see I gained back a couple of pounds.

It's not the end of the World.

I haven't been pitting as much effort into my diet and exercise recently. I've been doing a lot of extra curricular activity, such as mowing the cemetery, and chopping down trees, so when I get to the gym, after already working 8 hours, then doing yard/ volunteer work, I've been cutting my workouts short. Some days I only swim for a half hour, then I hit the Jacuzzi.

I really don't want to risk another back/hip/hamstring injury, which would cause me to cease exercising altogether. As we head into the holiday season of temptation, I will keep my conscious effort up of trying to watch what I eat, it's not like I can over eat.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


So today I go to the Surgeon's office for a follow up. It will be 9 months as of Thursday since my surgery. When I was in the office last, back in April, I weighed 261. Today I step on the scale, and...... I weigh 227!

So I'm down to size 36 waist, and I'm used to to the change in lifestyle. Hurray!
I promise to get caught up on the emails before the weekend. everybody gets an answer, I promise!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

228 1/2

Well this was a surprise. I'm 8 and 1/2 pounds from my original goal. I want to get there, but I'm in no hurry. I've been doing a great deal of outdoors work, and sweating my tail off. I apologize for being tardy in answering the email, so let's get right to it.

I do have problems eating greasy foods. I had some stomach discomfort this past Sunday, and ended up vomiting. It had been quite a while, but sometimes it happens. You have to be vigilant on what you eat, and sometimes, even if you are, circumstances happen that make you sick.

Greasy foods also seem to give me obnoxious gas. There's a reason I enjoy so much soup when I eat out. One, it's filling. Two, it's nutritious, but three, and most importantly, Soup never causes me any digestive or other issues.

It also allows me to enjoy a modest dessert on occasion, such as a slice of Blueberry pie. I usually can't finish an entire piece, but I do enjoy what I do eat.
Eating to live, not living to eat, what a difference it's made in my life.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

229 and holding

And that's okay, because I have a deep purplish bruise on the inside of my right leg above my knee, that I believe is a muscle injury. I have stayed off the elliptical the past couple of weeks, and cut my swims back to 12 laps (600 yard) on each visit to the gym. Then I spend 20 minutes in the jacuzzi and 5 in the sauna. It's not like I'm not getting any exercise, I have taken on more handyman work in the late afternoon/evenings and increased the time I spend on Tuesdays at Fairview Cemetery maintaining grave sites.

The big news is I went out to the Wrangler Store at the Reading Outlets and purrchased 4 pairs of Jeans. Size 36 Jeans! Yeah, that's right! They are a bit snug, but they aren't baggy in the ass and legs like my size 38 are!

It's going to be tough to lose another 30 pounds, and another waist size, but I'm going to try and be patient and keep working at it, one pound at a time. The victories are small, but they are victories. Boolyah!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

229 3/4!

Hurray! I finally cracked the 230 level, and I didn't expect it! Especially after a weekend in Boston that saw me enjoy some Sam Adams beer at a Wedding celebration.
So I go to the gym last night and step on the scale for the first time in a while, and I get a pleasant surprise.
The size 38 pants that I first purchased when I hit the mid 250's are now baggy. It might be time to go to the Reading Outlets and get some size 36 pants! I'm never going to get out of the XL shirts, I'm too broad in the Shoulders, but I'm feeling so much better self image wise. I do read every one's emails, and I plan to catch up on answering all of them before Friday the 15th.

In the meantime, I re injured the muscle in my right leg, the same one I aggravated back in February, and it is very achy today. I am going to fore go seeing the Sports Doctor, I'm going to do what I did last time, take two weeks off from my regimen and slowly work my way back. I'll still be going to the gym, but I will cut back sharply on the elliptical and bike like I did last time, to give it a chance to heal.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

232 1/4

I went to the Mens Wearhouse on Monday night with my wife, and purchased a new suit. I hadn't done that since I was in High School. The Army issued me a set custom cut Dress Greens but that was more than 25 years ago. Damn, I have to say I looked good in that mirror. No big belly sticking out there anymore.

It's not just about losing the weight, it's also about changing self image. I see myself as a regular sized guy now, no longer as a lovable, oversized oaf.
Putting on that suit and seeing the guy who has lived in this body with all the extra weight, and now doesn't is really reinforcing for me. I don't think I will have a good self image, I see it first hand in the mirror.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


I really didn't think I would lose any weight this past week, but I do like surprises. There is a reason I only weigh myself once a week, and that's because I was told during my surgery preparation not to weigh myself everyday, that it was a self defeating act.
I bring this up in reply to some of my emails, asking why I don't post a daily weight.
I am considering going to a bi-weekly weigh in, because I'm not losing at the rate I was immediately after my surgery, and I want to set an example for those of you who faithfully read my posts for encouragement.

I'm not discouraged at all by the slowing pace. I was adequately prepared for it, and I accept it. No one can keep losing weight at the pace I was for an extended period of time, our bodies just won't do it.

The most important variable to my lifestyle change is exercise. I can't stress enough that the commitment to exercise regularly is the one thing I know I have to maintain. Exercise helps drive our metabolism, and regulates our hunger. You don't worry as much about impulsive eating, or "Living To Eat" compared to "Eating to Live", when the hunger pangs aren't there, or don't persist, and are easily sated.

You don't have to run 5 miles, or swim 1000 meters everyday, but you do have to get up and move, you have to do Something, even if it is only taking a walk for a half hour.

I find that exercise actually deters me from eating. I am always hungry after swimming, but I don't eat as much if I eat after exercise. a paradox I didn't expect, but considering that we always had breakfast AFTER Physical Training in the Army, way back when, it sort of makes sense.

I do try to eat something before exercise though, because if I don't, I really feel it during exercise. Please remember I am doing some serious workouts, however.
I'm doing at least 35 minutes on the elliptical and swimming 800 meters every visit to the gym. That's a good 75 minutes right there. If I decide to do 30 minutes on a bike, with a resistance program, which I do once or twice a week, or sprinkle in some other activities for a change of pace, I'm upping my activity level and burning more calories. If I don't eat before exercising, I find it harder to finish a routine, and my metabolism will slow down, which is not what I want. I want it to keep burning at a higher rate, and excising the extra pounds from my body.

When I started, I set a goal of 220 pounds. I think I can make 210, maybe 205. I'm only 13 pounds from my original goal, and I'm not worried that I won't make it. I accept that it is going to be very hard. I only have to stay focused and keep pushing on. I'm too close to stop and be satisfied with where I have made it to now.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

234 1/2!

Somehow I lost a pound last week. Hurray! My swim times keep getting better. Tonight I did 16 laps (800 meters)in 35 minutes and 28 seconds. When I started doing laps, doing 3 of them after all the other stuff was tough. But now I can do 35 minutes, or 3+ miles on the elliptical trainer, and go do an 800 meter swim a few minutes after. I'm doing this a minimum of 4 times a week, and it's really starting to show in my arms and legs, they are getting lean, at least what passes for lean on a 5'11' 234 pound guy!
Now it would be easy to say that I'm a slow swimmer, but you have to remember some things. First, I am doing the Breast stroke, because Free style is really hard on my shoulder, and the constant kicking hard on my knees and hip. The Breast stroke is a good stroke for me, and I have found I do laps faster that way than with the freestyle, it is more "ergonomic" for me, and I get a better, more lasting physical workout. All those summers in morning swim club back in the late 60's and early 70's were worth it! I hated it then for taking me away from baseball, but I'm glad I did it now.

Okay, I keep getting questions about how losing weight has had any effect on my libido. That's why I do private emails, because some questions are TMI (Too much INFORMATION!) I empathize with the curiosity, but I'm not going there publicly, people, only privately.
Do I get urges to overeat, or ever find myself eating just to eat?
I get full so quickly when I do eat, I think I honestly can't answer that question. As I've written before, my problem has now become one that I don't eat often enough. I have to make a conscious effort to eat protein first thing every day. Other wise, when I do eat, I get filled up before I get enough, and I feel strung out at times. The only way to cope is to eat small meals every couple of hours.
I have 4 to 5 60 calorie yogurts and 4 to 6 90 calorie Kellogg breakfast bars between 6 AM and 3 PM, and sometimes I go to a nearby Bennigans on 309, or Zoto's diner across the highway for a bowl of soup. I have to watch the salt intake, on days I have soup and check my Blood pressure, it is always up 5 to 10 points.

Tonight my BP was 125 over 72, and my resting pulse was 63, before I worked out.

Back to the food issue. Everything I listed above, barely breaks 1200 calories, in a worst case scenario. that's why I try to have protein as soon as I get home around 4 PM, before I go to the gym, as well as when I get home, after 7. Tonight I made an omelet with some Better n'Eggs and added some sliced Pepperoni. I threw a slice of Colby jack cheese on top too. Still i don't know if I made 2000 calories for the day, and I need to eat more to rev up my metabolism, and keep burning off the excess fat. Otherwise, my body will slow down to protect itself. that's the trap of it. That's why my weight has stabilized where it has. i was told this would happen, and sooner or later, my body will shift gears again, and I will start another descent, as long as I follow the game plan.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Six months after surgery, at 235 1/2

On the Morning of January 9th, depending on whose scale you used, at 5 AM I weighed somewhere between 323 and 332 pounds. On April 8th I weighed, depending on whose scale you used, somewhere between 261 and 258 pounds. Tonight, Thursday July 10th, 180 days removed from surgery, according to the scale at the Human Performance Center, I weigh either 235 1/4 or 235 1/2. I'll live with the half. The long term goal is/was 220. I think I will eventually surpass it, as it is I'm way ahead of my expectations, I though I wouldn't get this far until at least Christmas. Tonight I did 35 minutes on the elliptical, then I went and swam 20 laps in the 25 meter pool, which took an hour. I'm not the fastest swimmer, and I am doing the breast stroke, but it's a really good workout. I didn't go to the gym on either Tuesday or Wednesday, letting my muscles rest, while I caught up on some much needed to be done home maintenance.
I couldn't accurately weigh myself before Thanksgiving in 2007, because the scale only went to 350. It is probably, in all likelihood, accurate to say that I have lost at least 120 pounds, or one third of the weight I was carrying around 8 months ago. I find that amazing, and staggering to consider. I am one lucky guy, but I still have a lot of work to do. I have to continue to practice healthy habits. i have no one to blame but myself if I fail. Thank God i have such a great and supportive spouse. I couldn't have done it without her!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Holding at 236

I've been doing a great deal of swimming. Today I swam 20 laps in the 25 meter pool, which is the most I have ever done. I am seriously considering trying a mini-triathlon next year. That's an 800 meter swim, 26.2 bike ride, and a 10 K run. I can do the first two, but that third, with my knees and hip, I don't know.
Anyway, I emailed most of you that I'm taking the format into that of a weekly email. Blogger lets me email my post to up to 100 people, there are currently 34 on the list. if you want to be on the list and receive updates, and answers to your personal questions, please email me at Once I add you to the list, we can correspond more easily, and no one else will see your questions. I'm not going to allow comments here anymore. none of you deserve the nasty comments that some heartless people make, and I won't publish them.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


The descent continues! But at a very slow pace. I went on vacation, and went a week without visiting the gym and working out. I did a great deal of walking in and around Boston, something I could never have done at last year's weight. I really was exhausted in Washington last May at the end of the day. this year I am at least a hundred pounds lighter and I really felt it as I moved through the city. I stopped to rest all the time down in DC, but in Boston I was always on the move. I can't believe the number of emails, at least 30! You guys (and gals) really missed me! I get busy writing my journal and a couple of other inspirations, but I won't let you down!
Give me a chnace to read through them and I will do a second post this week answering a question I haven't taken on yet. As Always, I will reply to everybody. Keep them coming, it shouldn't take me more than a couple of hours in one night to get caught up.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

239 Boolyah!

Goodbye, 240! I rewarded myself tonight after my gym workout, by having an ice cream sundae at Red Robin. I took Mrs C there for her Birthday, because that's where she wanted to go. Tomorrow night we are doing an Iron Pigs game, once again with Club seats. I know how to treat my lady!
I still think I'm about to plateau, and I am prepared for it. Tonight I swam 8 laps in 17 minutes, that's 400 meters. I do that after 35 minutes on the elliptical, and now I'm powering out 3.15 miles in that session, and spend more than 29 minutes of the session achieving my target heart rate of 130. I averaged 127 for the 35 minutes on it. My resting pulse is down to 65.
It was as low as 59 during my Army days, and my blood pressure? Before and after readings were all in the 120 over 75 range. I think swimming the 15 or more minutes continually is really helping my metabolism and will help replace lost fat with muscle. I expect weight loss to slow because of it eventually, but until then, I'll take it as it goes. I will be visiting my younger sister and brother next week, and they haven't seen me in a while. Boy are they going to be surprised!
I'm weighing in on Monday next week, so see you then. A Berks County reader asked for advice on how I stay motivated to keep exercising, so I'll have some thoughts for him, and the rest of my loyal fans. Email me at

Thursday, June 5, 2008

241 1/4

I feel a plateau coming on. This happened when I hit the 280 level, and I stayed with my program, and it passed. It is unreasonable to think I will keep losing weight at the rate I have been, and I realize that.
I've been trading emails with some of you about my experiences as my metabolism changed after surgery, and I've decided to try and answer some of the repeat questions I get here in the blog.
Today I'm writing about a change in Bowel habits. Yes, I know the subject is mortifying to some, but hey, like the kids book says, "Everybody Poops."

If you are used to going everyday, and lets face it, those of us who were consuming 6000+ calories everyday were going everyday, if you cut your intake down under 2000 calories, then you aren't going to have to go as frequently. It's not that you are constipated, it is that your engine isn't processing as much as it was before, so there isn't as much for your body to out process.
For the first week or so after your surgery, you are on a liquid diet, for all intents and purposes. Don't expect to have to go, and don't get worried when you don't, unless you start getting unexplained pains, then immediately call the doctor. Always ask the Doctor if you have questions or concerns, they will be there for you. I asked my Doctor about the lack of bowel movements, and it was explained to me as I explained it to you. Not as much going in, so there's not as much going in, and that is logical, isn't it?

My biggest problem after surgery was making sure I ate enough, and got the minimum nutrition I needed. I still take my Multivitamin everyday, but just getting up and walking and staying busy helped my metabolism, and kept any hunger and psychological triggers to eat at a minimum. I'll glean through the next batch of emails for a question to answer in my post for next week, so keep the inquiries coming. Email me at:

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

242 1/4

It must have been the bike rides from Cape May Point into Cape May everyday. Maybe it was the diet that was almost exclusively seafood, or possibly a combination of both, but I lost 2 1/2 pounds last week. I last went to the gym on Thursday, and didn't get back there until Tuesday night. Usually I don't lose much weight during weeks that I miss my gym nights, but I rode my bike all weekend, only using the car for runs to the market.

So what is this weeks topic? I received an email asking what I felt like right after my surgery, so I will relate that experience.
I was sore, I had an IV, and I was not hungry at all. My Mouth was dry, and all I was allowed was some Ice chips. I had my surgery on Thursday Morning, and I was discharged Friday evening at 5 PM. On Friday Morning, 24 hours after my surgery, I was taken by wheelchair down to radiology and given an approximately 4 ounce "milkshake" that I can best describe as strawberry flavored battery acid. I sipped this nasty tasting concoction through a straw, and then pictures were taken to see if any of the sutures in my newly realigned stomach were leaking. They weren't, but I was able to look up at the screen and see just how small my stomach now was, the beverage I had ingested made it glow and easily visible. After that, I was allowed my first true liquids, and encouraged to get dressed and walk around, which I did. Later Dr Boorse came into my room, checked me out, and then released me.

He instructed me to stop all my medications, as my post operative blood work that Morning had shown my insulin levels had already decreased from the mid 200s to under 150. I'll talk about all those changes more in depth in another post soon. That's pretty much a recap of my immediate post operative experience, and that I exclusively ate 10 calorie sugar free popsicles to sate my appetite between my meals of soup broth and all liquids the first ten to fourteen days.
That pretty much describes my first days after surgery. I sat in on a panel to answer questions for people preparing for gastric surgery at LVH tonight, to help support others who have either had the surgery, are preparing for it, or are considering it. that's a whole separate post for next time.
I've been receiving emails from those who know to click on my picture, but for new visitors, you can email me at and I will gladly try and answer your questions privately and anonymously.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

244 7/8

I started Swimming laps a few weeks ago, and now my eyes are suffering. The Chlorine really bothers my eyes, so I guess I'm going to have to invest in a pair of goggles. I recently invested in headphones so I could listen to the NBC10 news at 4 while I worked out at the gym.
It has been a while since I really swam, and I was hitting the pool after doing a 35 minute elliptical program, and then 30 minutes of either stair stepping or stationary bike, or some combination thereof.
So I was already tired getting in the pool, and swimming a single lap was exhausting. I tried to go to fast, my form wasn't that great, and I wasn't timing my breathing correctly.
But practice makes perfect, and now, at the end of the month, I can swim 5 laps in about 12 minutes, pacing myself and keeping a steady rhythm.
After that I climb out, catch my breath, and do 15 minutes sitting in the jacuzzi and 10 in the sauna, before hitting the showers.

This weekend I will be in Cape May Point, and there's a lot of odd jobs to be taken care of down there for my Father in Law, but I'm taking my Bike, and I plan to ride as many miles as I can each day, because there is no gym handy!

Next Wednesday the 28th I will be answering questions for new participants in the Weight Management Program at Lehigh Valley Hospital on Cedar Crest.
I'm looking forward to sharing my experiences with others, and offer my support to them, as it was offered to me last year. I have lost over 100lbs since Thanksgiving, and over 80 since the Surgery. I am so grateful to all the Health Professionals who have helped me get my life back. I would encourage anyone with years of obesity issues to give the program a call, and visit their presentations. It has really changed my quality of life, and I am grateful for it.

P.S. I apologize for not posting this sooner. I received an email from a faithful reader asking why I hadn't posted. I had saved the time and post but not scheduled it. Here it is Sunday evening! Sorry gang!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Aah, I see the distance between 250 starting to grow. It is a fond goodbye. On Wednesday the 28th I will get the opportunity to speak to people who are considering embarking on a journey similar to mine. I'm going to share with them many of the experiences I have had on my journey. It might be good for me to see people who are where I was, and help me put my current pace of weight loss in perspective. I have come a long way, and helping those about to begin the Journey will probably help me in reinforcing my commitment to my own. I have banged my right knee up pretty well, and keeping to my exercise regimen is proving difficult, but I have. weight loss of 1 1/2 to 2 lbs a week is pretty good, I have to remember that.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

249 1/4

When I consider how I had to limit my workouts because of knee joint pain, that's not half bad progress. Instead of hitting the gym Tuesday and Wednesday, I took advantage of the beautiful weather to get some yard work done. There is a great sense of accomplishment in staring at the scale and setting the lower counterbalance at 200 pounds, and moving the upper one leftward from 50 pounds. So now I move on to my next goal, getting the scale under 200 lbs. I went from the 300 level to 250 in about 110 days. Getting to 200 might be tougher, but that's where I'm headed. I started out with a goal to get down to 220, but I'm aiming lower.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

251 -

One of my friends saw me going full throttle on the Elliptical Trainer tonight, and let me know that he could tell I was really busting it out compared to only two months ago. I have started swimming laps now. After doing the Elliptical for 32 minutes, and then 8 miles on the bike in 30 minutes, I can barely make it through two laps, but I push myself. I try to rotate things around, alternating the stair stepper for 30 minutes, and work on all the muscle groups.

I expect my weight to plateau somewhat for a while, especially after I had a few beers in the last week. They were small bottles of Rolling Rock, and I never have more than one in a night, but I consider them a luxury item I have earned. It took me two weeks to dispose of the 8 pack, but now that they are gone, I'm back to normal diet. Tomorrow I see my Primary Care Physician for a check up, and official weigh in. I can't weight!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

252 7/8

Well, I'm motoring along on the weight loss train, and this Sunday saw a major step wardrobe wise.

I went to the Levi's Vanity Fair outlet in Reading, and purchased three pairs of jeans and two belts. I had visited Casual Male on Saturday, and purchased the only 2 XL shirts they had in stock, a navy blue and a dark gray. Yes, you read that right. XL. So on Sunday I'm thinking I can try a 40 inch waist. I've been wearing a bunch of old 42 and 44's I had stashed from years ago, but I had added 3 notches to my belt to get it tight enough to hold them up. (Hence the need for a new belt) Looks like the days of shopping at Casual Male are over. I like the feel of their clothes, but they are just too baggy. I never thought I'd see this day. I will actually find clothes to fit me in Target, Sears, and J C Penney.

My wife had other ideas though, and suggested I try the 38 inch waist. So I did, and was shocked to find they fit. Snugly, but they fit. She has been complaining about my baggy ass, and was pleased that in 38's, it wasn't baggy anymore.

This past Thanksgiving, I made the scales creak at more than 350 lbs. I think next week I can pronounce myself as having lost 100lbs since then. I'm almost there. see you next week!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

255 -

As I sink ever closer to the 250 lb plateau, I find my ability to exercise increasing in proportion as the burden my body carries lessens. 32 minutes on the elliptical is easy. I've increased the resistance, but my artificial hip only lets me go so fast. I do have physiological limits at 46 years of age.

I am just tearing along on the stationary bike. I can do 9 miles in 35 minutes now, and I'm working on getting that up to ten miles. If I pace myself right, I can see myself doing it by Memorial Day.

I'm still hitting the stepper too. Last night I ripped out 3ooo steps in 16 minutes. I'd usually go to 5000 steps or 30 minutes, depending on how my legs feel, and last night my right thigh was burning, so I cut it short, and hit the therapy pool, before 15 minutes in the jacuzzi.

So I am very steady in hitting the gym at least 4 times a week, every Monday Wednesday and Friday, around 5 to 7PM, and Sundays from 1 to 3 PM after church/lunch. I do about 75 to 90 minutes of workout each time, with cool off time in the therapy pool/jacuzzi/ sauna before a quick shower. All told, I spend about 2 1/12 hours at the gym, before going home and doing whatever husbandly/man task needs doing. Some nights like tonight I relax when I write my blog, and some nights I play the Bowling game on my Wii. But I'm always in bed by 9PM, because the 4:30 am wake up is there every morning.
I'm working most days 6 AM to 2:30 PM, and I have after work responsibilities to take care of on the home front.

When I get below 250lbs I'm having some cake! I won't be having any KFC biscuits though. I tried one this week, and that was a bad move, we won't make that mistake again. The same for the greasy hamburger. Can't reheat and eat that. UGH! Not pretty. Stop by next Wednesday.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

258 1/4

Had my final covered 90 day window visit to the Surgeons office on day 89. I weighed 261 on Tuesday, but that was wearing all my clothes, everything except shoes. Wednesday night after working out at the gym, wearing nothing but skivvies, I came in at 258 1/4. I am anticipating the elation I will feel when I no longer slide the "250" bar in to place and work the smaller slide counterbalance down to the appropriate single digit number. That's what happened as I approached the 300 level in the first 3 weeks after surgery. It was such positive reinforcement when I stopped using the 300 bar, and banishing the 250 bar to history will feel just as good. I'm shooting for Mother's day to break that barrier for good.

This past weekend, I heard a conversation at the gym, that made me speak up and offer encouragement. I heard an older man and his middle aged (35 ish) son talking, and the son suggested his Dad weigh himself at the gym while no one was around, because the scale at home didn't go high enough. The scale at the gym goes to 400. He was about to get on the scale, when he saw me down the aisle. He started to back off, but I spoke up, and said go ahead. I told him I had been where he was, I know what it's like. I didn't look to see what he weighed, but later, I saw him trudging on the treadmill, and I started a conversation with him. He had just joined the gym with his family, and was going to give it a try. I wished him the best, and told him to talk to me anytime.

When I started Weight management, my Body Mass Index, (BMI) was 48. Even after losing almost 100 pounds, it is still 38.5 Anything over 20 is considered obese, over 30 morbidly obese.
I have a long way to go for a five foot ten inch tall guy.

BTW: Everybody else I know has been changing their templates and looks, so I decided to give a few a try.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

261 -

It's back to a more realistic rate of weight loss this week. I have scaled back my elliptical training, and increased my time in the jacuzzi. My right thigh and knee have ached quite a bit, and I'm trying to avoid aggravating what has become a nagging injury. The stationary bike is where I'm putting in the effort, as it doesn't cause the joint stress that the elliptical does. I'm up to 8 miles + in 35 minutes, and getting a pretty good sweat out of it. I ran laps for twenty minutes in the exercise pool, and my lungs really felt it, which is a good sign.
I was busy with along interview Tuesday night, and have been late getting home from work every day, so while I started this post on Wednesday, here it is Sunday night that I am putting it up. I have a long and busy week ahead, including a visit to my gastric bypass surgeon for a check up Tuesday. I will get an official weigh in then, on the 89th day after surgery.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

263 1/2

I was surprised at first, to think I had dropped almost 5 pounds this week. I ate more than usual at our family Easter meal this weekend, if you consider two small scoops of red potatoes and two slices of ham a big meal, but considering I had two bites of pecan pie (A big Sugar rush!)
a small square of carrot cake, and the smallest piece of a birthday cake that I could get, I thought for sure I wouldn't lose any weight this week.

But to put it in perspective, I ate my food properly, chewing it thoroughly, and I consumed those portions gradually, over the space of two hours. I also did quite a bit of walking, in and around Cape May, and Cape May Point. I even walked the sandy beach by the Light House out to the old Army Bunker, which had several hundred yards of beach replenished in recent years, and is no longer buried by the tide. So I guess I shouldn't be surprised that my metabolism stayed geared up with all that exercise.

Here's the thing, I regularly eat two 60 calorie Dannon Light yogurts around 5;15 AM for breakfast, and that fills me up. I'll have a couple of Sugar Free 60 Calorie Jello Puddings around 9:30, and I usually have two more yogurts around Noon. That's only 360 Calories, and that is why I take a multivitamin. I try to eat protein around 5 when I get home from work, and again a small serving before I go to bed. I find my biggest challenge right now is getting ENOUGH to eat. I'm just not hungry. I am lax in mixing vegetables in later in the day (I love green beans and peas, but don't get enough of them) and that is where I need to improve my diet.

I do have one weakness: I still hit the Dunkin Donuts drive thru for a decaf coffee with 2 Splenda and low fat milk. I confess I still need that Morning Cup of' Joe.
My wife told me she saw me on "Business Matters" on WFMZ and that it is really evident I have lost a great deal of weight. I love her, and here I thought the camera always added 10 pounds!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

268 1/4

I was stuck at a plateau for a couple of weeks, but in the last two the weight loss pace has picked up again. The torn muscle in my thigh has healed pretty much, and I am back to doing the 33 minute workout on the elliptical trainer a minimum of 4 times a week. That's the one that really gets my body going. I can do 7+ miles on the bike in 35 minutes pretty easily now, and 5000 steps in under a half hour is a norm, but nothing gets me breaking a sweat like the elliptical trainer. The first time I tried one, back in the fall, I only went 3 minutes before I had to stop, the joint pain and my heart rate were through the roof. Not now, it's amazing what the combination of dedicated exercise and surgically mandated diet restrictions can do!

I am wearing 2XL shirts now, and they aren't tight, and in some instances, they are a little droopy. I'm thinking that somewhere around 220 I can try an XL, but because of my shoulders, it might still be a little tight in the chest. We will see!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

275 3/8

I've picked up my pace on the elliptical trainer. I used to do what measured as 1.80 miles in 32 minutes, now I'm doing 2.12 in that same amount of time. When I first started out on the stepper, I was proud to do 3000 steps in 30 minutes. Now I can do 5000 in that time. On the Stationary bike, I started out doing 8 minute miles, now I can do 5 miles in under 30 minutes.
A lot can change in 2 months. Today I am eight weeks removed from my gastric bypass, and I bet I haven't had my weight this low in 9 years. Yeah, 275 3/8 is low! For me at least.

I had some issues this past week, as I had a little bit of mashed potatoes, with some gravy, and that gravy did not sit well with my stomach. I have avoided the unpleasant regurgitation experience for the most part that some bypass patients have, but that gravy might have been a bit greasy, and that caused an issue, as did a small portion of fried rice.

On Sunday my wife treated me to Carabba's, where I had a cup of sausage Lentil soup and a serving of 2 crab cakes (Unbreaded) for my meal. It completely sated me, in stark contrast to my past visits, where I would have devoured an appetizer, an entire bowl of bread, an entree, and still had room for dessert.

As I look back, I am amazed at how much we Americans tend to overeat. I suppose when we were a country of hard laborers, it was easy to burn it off, back in the days before all the processed food and chemical additives. Now that we are a sedentary society, we need to learn to discipline ourselves better in our nutritional choices. I'm no expert there, I will leave those comments to the pros.
I heard a comedian on XM radio this week, talking about a morbidly obese guy standing on a corner, holding a sign saying, "Will Work for food." The Comedian remarked that the guy had to weigh over 400 pounds, so he rolled down his window and shouted: "Hey buddy, you might want to take a day off!"

That's really mean, but I found myself laughing. It's not something I would do, I've been ridiculed for my size a few times. I want to be healthy again, but I won't forget how being morbidly obese feels, both physically and emotionally.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Last night's Weight? 278

I did my weigh in at the Human Performance Center last night after my workout, and was presently surprised. I haven't used the elliptical trainer since last Monday, because Tuesday I was diagnosed with a muscle tear in my right thigh. So I've only been doing a leisurely 5 miles on the exercise bike, 2 miles on the treadmill, and a few laps in the pool. It's enough to get the metabolism going, but not enough to strain the leg injury. A 32 minute workout on the elliptical breaks me into a full sweat, but it also works that thigh muscle pretty hard. The Doctor who treated me suggested I do a better job of stretching before I work out, and the staff at the gym were very helpful in showing me some easy ones to do before I hit the equipment.

Today's topic is my bad eating habits. How did I get them, and what I am doing about it.

I've always been a bigger guy, athletically active, but I am broad in the chest and back, and fairly muscular. I dropped a bit of weight when I joined the Army back in the early 1980's, but the trade off was a method of eating that was detrimental in the long run. In basic training, you are processed through your meals, and given 5 minutes or less to eat. That's how I ate all my meals, as fast as I could. Now when you get up at 5:30 AM everyday and do calisthenics and run several miles, your metabolism adjusts and keeping your weight down, isn't a problem. But after I was discharged, and a civilian, I started adding 10 or 15 pounds a week each year. The gain is just gradual enough that you don't take note of it until the cumulative effects start to show on your joints and in your overall health, with high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and joint pain becoming the driving forces in my daily life in the early 2000s.

Once I got married, in 1996, and the pace of my life picked up, I ate more and more prepared food, but my weight wasn't bad, because I had a physical job, and I played sports at night. Then I hurt my back in early 1998, and as the pain gradually increased, I stopped Bowling, playing basketball, and even taking walks. And the weight piled on. Even if I watched what I ate, the diminished physical activity had my metabolism in a permanent lull, and short of starving myself, I couldn't lose weight permanently. All losses were short term.

Having the joint of my degenerating right hip replaced helped, but my metabolism was like a computer that needed to be shut off and rebooted to function correctly, and that is what the gastric bypass operation seems to have accomplished. That's enough for now, I'll have another entry next week,

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

How I got here

My weight was slowly killing me. I probably wouldn't have lived to see 60 years of age. I couldn't do anything i enjoyed without great physical pain. 350 pounds is a lot to carry on a 5" 10" frame. I've been bigger, but in the last couple of years, I'd managed to keep it under 350, and in the 330's for the most part.
In 2006, I had a complete right hip replacement. I had to use a CPap (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) to keep breathing when I slept, and I was borderline type II diabetic. Throw in the medication for high Blood Pressure, and I was a bomb waiting to drop dead.

I tried every diet imaginable, and no matter how disciplined, or how much effort I put into that and the accompanying exercise program, I saw little progress. In November 2006, I joined a gym, set a program, and after 6 months of dutifully sticking to the training, had a net gain of 4 pounds. It was brutally discouraging. So in May 2007, I asked my doctor for other options, and he pointed me to the Weight Management Center at Lehigh Valley Hospital. It was a 6 month program to educate and prepare people like myself for potential weight loss surgery. Not everyone who enters the program eventually has surgery. There are a lot of criteria to be met, and mandatory counseling and educational sessions to attend. You also have to have a BMI (Body mass Index) of more than 40, and be considered morbidly obese. They use a special scale to weigh you, and the first time I weighed in, I weighed 334, with a BMI of 48. Approximately 180 lbs of me was muscle and bone, the rest was fat.
In future posts, I will detail the process I went through including my own evaluation of my poor eating habits, and why I ate the way I did.

I had a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass on Wednesday January 9th, and was discharged from the hospital the next day. I weighed myself at the gym on Tuesday night before my surgery, and the scale read 332. As of today, Wednesday February 20th, 6 weeks later, I weigh 280.
That is 1 pound a day. The change in my waistline has been drastic. I'm wearing pants that I had packed up 5 years ago and stored away. My knees and hips feel better, and don't throb achingly after working out at the gym.
My blood sugar has dropped from the mid 200s to 107. I'm sleeping better at night, and yesterday my Blood pressure was 112 over 70. I am taking NO medications for anything.

My goal is 210 pounds, and I know if I continue to dedicate myself to the lifestyle change that I have started, I will be successful. I was looking at an 18 month timeline after the surgery, and am confident I can do it. My wife is ecstatic, because the happy, active, fun guy she married has returned. All my 3XXXL shirts from Casual Male are excessively baggy, and I am switching over to 2XXL. I have started wearing pants with a 42 inch waist, I packed all the baggy 46-48 inch size up for Goodwill.

To anyone considering weight loss surgery, I have to say that it is not a cure all. The most important part of the process is a willingness to change your habits. Having my stomach reduced in size from a football to that of a large Egg limits my intake for me. In the process of exploring gastric bypass surgery, I searched out and talked to people for whom it has not been quite as successful. One thing they all had in common was an inability to change their eating habits. A diet of ice cream and candy will not let you lose weight. Most of them tried to keep eating as they had before. It just won't work. They also didn't apply themselves to any kind of physical activity. You don't have to be as active as I am, all you have to do is get out and walk each and every day, but they don't, instead choosing to maintain a sedentary lifestyle.

This is a good first entry, to get things started. Every Tuesday night I will weigh myself at the gym, and on Wednesday do a post. Next week I will write about weight loss support groups, and what I learned from the dietician.