How Much Effort To Save Your Life?

When presented with a sudden, clear danger, most people will take immediate action.  It may mean swerving in the car to avoid an accident.  It might mean jumping back from a loud sound.

When presented with a clear, but not as sudden danger, such as getting stranded in the desert with no water, a reasonable person will start thinking of ways to get out of the predicament safely.

Why is it we, as a species, are almost completely blind to long-term health problems and how they will affect our longevity, and standard of life?

I was certainly in denial about my obesity for quite some time, but even when I came to grips with the fact that I was “The Fat Guy”, it still took a few years for me to take action.

Not Taking Responsibility?
It’s easy to blame your health problems on circumstances out of your control.  Genetics, bad luck, too stressed out, and other excuses cause us to not bother making a change, because “it’s not our fault”.

Another “fat guy” I talked to has an elliptical and other exercise equipment at home.  It’s not for him, it’s for his wife.  It’s bought and paid for, he might as well use it. It’s easy to be lazy.  I’m an expert at it.  Making lifestyle changes is hard work, but it’s completely worth the effort.

After years of being obese, I chose to change it.  If you need to lose weight, quit smoking, eat healthier, or develop some muscle tone, please do.  It will not only prolong your life, but make more of your life happier.

Things That Have Helped Me

As of this morning I’m down over 77 lbs.  I’ve still got weight to lose, but I will reach my goal.  I am offering a few things I have done that worked for me.  These ideas aren’t the only way to lose weight, but I’m offering in the hope they will work for you.

Calorie Spreadsheet

I track everything I eat in a spreadsheet, and total up the calories.  This allows me to eat what I want (within reason), and analyze it later to determine what I could have done better.  Early on, I had decided I didn’t need to do this anymore and my weight loss faltered, so I went back to doing it.

Deal with Depression

I’ve suffered from depression my entire life.  It is partly to blame for my weight gain to begin with.  I truly believe my depression is caused by a combination of genetics and dietary deficiencies.  There isn’t much that can be done about genetics (pick new parents?), but I started taking general vitamin supplement and fish oil pills months before my weight loss attempt, and it eased the depression substantially.

Buy a Scale

Small changes in weight add up.  It’s hard to determine what direction the change is going unless you have an objective way to measure it.  You don’t need a fancy scale that calculates BMI (I don’t have one), but you will need something that will handle your weight.  Many top out at 300 lbs, I found one that goes to 330, and that’s what I bought.  I believe it was less than $20.

Quit Drinking Soda and Beer

There is some evidence that artificial sweeteners aren’t good for weight loss.  Play it safe and give up regular and diet soda.  Beer has quite a few empty calories also.  Although I haven’t had a beer in a while, I still haven’t managed to completely give it up.

Eat Breakfast

Having a good breakfast means you need less food throughout the rest of the day.  I don’t follow a low-carb diet, so I have a high-fiber, high-carb, high-protein breakfast cereal (Kashi GoLean Crunch).  Choose whatever works for you, but high-fiber has heart-health benefits.


Yum – Bananas.  They are high in potassium, and are good.  They are a great snack when you would otherwise eat something less healthy.  I usually eat two a day.


Calcium, vitamins, low-carb, great for digestion.  Once my diet became high-fiber and had yogurt, I had way fewer issues with, ummm, bathroom stuff.

Air-Popped Popcorn

Air-popped popcorn is another high-fiber snack.  This one does have carbs, but not too many.  Don’t use microwave popcorn or add anything too it.  If you don’t like the taste, keep with it.  You may find many of your tastes changing.


Yeah, this is obvious.  Pick something you enjoy, and won’t hurt you too bad.  If you are over 300 lbs, running probably shouldn’t be your first choice.  Lose some weight before doing anything hard on the knees.

I started with an elliptical, which is easy on the knees and back, but I found it extremely boring.  Then I bought a bicycle.  I fell in love with bicycling, but I initially found the saddle uncomfortable, so I bought a recumbent.  I’ve now learned that with the proper saddle, and upright bike can be fine on the rear-end.  You’ll still have more pressure on your back and hands though.

Don’t Give Up When You Screw Up

I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve screwed up.  Ate too much at Asian Buffett?  Don’t worry, unless you keep eating too much on a regular basis it won’t matter.  Didn’t exercise for a week?  Don’t worry, just get back into it.  You have the rest of your life to get it right.

Be Careful of Your Social Activities

If everytime you are around family or friends, you eating and/or drinking, maybe you should consider new social activities.  I’m still struggling with this one, as it’s pretty ingrained in our culture.  It is possible to go out to eat, and still eat well, but it is difficult.

Set Goals, and Don’t be Afraid to Adjust Them

Without goals, you don’t know where you are going.  You can set weight goals, calorie goals, exercise goals, or all of them.  However, be sure to revisit them occasionally, and adjust as necessary.

This is for Life

This isn’t a “diet”.  It isn’t a way to look better for hanging out a the beach.  This is a way to change the way that you live.  It will affect your life in many positive ways.  It will take time, and the changes will be gradual.  In November of 2007, I was writing about how difficult it was to tie my shoes.  Now, I can ride my 33-mile round-trip commute to work and back on my bike.  Compared to now, I was an invalid.

Don’t Make it a New’s Years Resolution

Those always seem doomed to fail.  Just do it.  Now.  I started near the end of 2007.  I didn’t have a New Years Resolution.  Just Do It (says the guy with no Nike products).

Remember, the stuff above was just my suggestions.  If low-carb is you way, so be it.  If you’re going to drink diet soda, well, others have managed.  There is no one-size-fits-all plan.  Change your life for the better, and it’ll eventually fall into place.

Weekly Average Weight for December 20, 2008

My average weight for the week ending 12/20/2008:
221.7 lbs

Down from last week:
3.9 lbs

Down since I started on 10/31/2007:
74.7 lbs

My average loss per 30 days since 10/31/2007:
5.39 lbs

Weight until goal:
46.7 lbs

This feels great.  I no longer have doubts about reaching my goal weight.

I’ve ridden my bike less than two miles over the past five days, but by controlling my diet carefully, I’m still losing weight.  I’m not giving up on the bike.  I actually feel the need to get back on it.

One of the issues I’ve run into in the past is that all of my social activities involved food.  I’m trying to change that.  I also seem to have given up beer without even noticing.  I just told myself I’d rather lose weight that buy beer, and after enough times of thinking that, I no longer found myself wanting  beer.  I’m not going too far that direction either.  I’ll still drink for special occasions.

I’m going to restart my push-up plan on Monday.  I did the “test” last night and manged 15 push-ups, which is better than before.  I don’t just want to be thin.  I want to be toned, strong, and healthy.

Just for fun, I’m including a picture of me and my daughter from May of 1995.  I was overweight then, but I certainly wasn’t morbidly obese.  I don’t know what I weighed, but I wish I had never gotten bigger than that.  I was 24 in that picture, my daughter was three.

A Week Off?

My last post made me think more about what I’m doing.  I was considering riding tomorrow, although there is a chance of ice on the roads.  I’ve decided to give up riding for a week.

Once I’m through this winter, I will revisit my decision to not buy studded tires for the bike.  Next winter I may be ready.  🙂

I haven’t had a week without riding since I started tracking my mileage in June.  My average weekly mileage in November and December was 54.  My average weekly mileage for August through October was 91.

I haven’t done any exercise this week.  I feel lazy.  I’ve been considering starting back on my push-up plan, but can’t seem to motivate myself.  I bought a pilates video months ago, and haven’t used it.

However, my weight is doing just fine.  I’m still eating well, and haven’t had beer in weeks.  I’ve been out to eat a few times, and was pretty proud that I didn’t over-indulge.  I will probably be solidly under 220 lbs before the year is over.

Coming Down Off of the Plateau

I’ve moaned a bit recently that my weight seems to have plateaued just under 230 lbs.  I appear to be past that now.  Over the last few days, it’s been dropping nicely.  My weight this morning was 224.2 lbs.  My (unofficial) weight this afternoon was 222.4 lbs.  I have less than 50 lbs to go!

This comes in the midst of me not riding enough.  My weekly mileage is down.  I rode a partial commute on Monday, and the full commute today.  So, I’ve ridden roughly 50 miles all week.

What I have been doing better this week is watching what I eat.  I have went out to eat several times for social occasions, but I found myself ordering water to drink, and eating a salad, or a vegetarian pasta dish.

The bike riding and other exercise is important to my long-term mental and physical health, but the eating habits are more important for the weight control.  That will continue to be true after I have reached my goal weight, and simply need to maintain it.

I tried out the shower at the new job today after riding into work with temperatures in the low 20s.  Apparently they only turn on the hot water heater when there is an event going on, so I got an ice cold shower.  It did still help rinse the road grime off.

What Happened to My Push-Up Plan?

I had started out doing the one-hundred push-up plan.  I kept falling behind in the days due to other obligations and laziness.

I now feel I’ll fallen far enough behind, that I can’t continue it.  I will begin it again in a week or two when things calm down.

On the bright side, I rode my bike part of the way to work today, and my weight seems to be trending downward again.

Push-Ups: Week 2, Day 3

Time for another day of my one-hundred push-ups plan. I just did day two yesterday, but I’m trying to get back on schedule.

Push Ups:
Set 1: 5
Set 2: 7
Set 3: 5
Set 4: 5
Set 5: max (did 10)

Arm curls – 20 lb dumbbells:
1 set of 15


I also rode my bike a short distance for a grocery run.  A pretty weak day, but I did just do this yesterday.

I’m supposed to do a test for the push-ups to see what my progress is.  My arms are burned out from the exercise, so I’ll take the test tomorrow.

Push-Ups: Week 2, Day 1

Time for another day of my one-hundred push-ups plan. I was supposed to do this yesterday, but Friday’s session got bumped until Sunday.

Push Ups:
Set 1: 4
Set 2: 6
Set 3: 4
Set 4: 4
Set 5: max (did 10)

Arm curls – 20 lb dumbbells:
2 sets of 15

None – not bothering with sit-ups today.

I managed more curls, but I was weak on the push-ups.

Push-Ups: Week 1, Day 2

Today is day 2 of my one-hundred push-ups plan.  I’ve decided to do all my other exercises (other than biking) on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays along with my push-up schedule.  The days are flexible, but I do want to do it three days a week.

Push Ups:
Set 1: 3
Set 2: 4
Set 3: 2
Set 4: 3
Set 5: max (did 10)

Arm curls – 20 lb dumbbells:
2 sets of 10


I feel weak with the curls and sit-ups.  I’ve done more than that fairly recently, but that’s all I could do tonight.  I’ll give it another go on Friday.

Sit-up, Push-ups, and Dumbbells

I found the site One Hundred Push-ups that is a six-week program to be able to do one hundred push-ups.  The first part is a test to find out what you can do now.  I did five.  I was humbled by the pushup.

Anyway, I plan on working on the push-up on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  I also did arm-curls with a 20 lb dumbbell (two sets of 15 per arm), and sit-ups (25 before I gave up).  I haven’t yet made a plan for the other exercises, but I’ll squeeze them in on the same three days, and have four days of rest.

I get plenty of leg exercise and cardio from the bicycles.

I started my weight-loss for health reasons.  Building muscle will help with my health, and with burning fat by keeping my metabolism ticking along nicely.  Also, burning the fat from behind the skin, will allow what little loose skin I develop to begin to shrink back closer to normal.

Also, being able to “drop and give 100” sounds cool.  🙂

Some Change, and More Focus

I have been slacking off recently.  I need more focus.  Today, I got back on the elliptical, and I did a fair amount of weight lifting (with 20lb dumbbells).

I haven’t really been tracking my calories for the last week.  I’m not going to.  I’m still eating well, and losing weight.  I think I’ve got most of my dietary habits in control, so I’m going to focus more on the workouts.  I have removed the daily calorie intake page from this site.

In addition to this blog, I was using Traineo to help track weight, workouts, and diet.  However, that was yet another place to keep updated, and it had become a fair amount of work.  Also, their servers have become slow recently, so I decided to drop it.

I hadn’t weighed for a week, and I was worried that I had gained weight.  However, I was pleasantly surprised to be down to 267.6, the lowest weight since I started this.

I’m also going to focus on blogging everyday again.  I find it useful to help me focus on my goals.  I have more to talk about, but I’ll wait so I have something to write about tomorrow 🙂