Thursday, February 21, 2019

??? - Five days of Whole30 so far

One of the tenets of the Whole30 diet is that your weight losses don't matter (as much as other health improvements, anyway) and that you shouldn't weigh yourself during the first 30 days. That's really difficult for me to do since I'm usually so obsessed with "knowing my numbers". Instead, I have to rely on signs like how tight or loose my clothing feels and how tightly I do up my belt. Based on that alone, I feel like I've neither lost much nor gained anything during the first five days of my Whole30 diet.

Here's what I've noticed about my own journey. I've eaten more fruit in the last week than I have in the past. I had previously been avoiding a lot of fruit because of the fructose in it. So many other things are verbotten that being able to snack on a clementine or a banana or some berries is quick and easy.

I've been eating a lot more avocados than usual, which is not a problem for me because I love them. I've also made more snacks with celery and crunchy almond butter than I ever used to in the past. Surprisingly (to me) my consumption of eggs hasn't increased (although, to be fair, it was already quite high compared to other people). And the amount of meat that I've eaten is slightly higher than on my former "diet".

Preparing meals (using wholesome, fresh ingredients) takes longer when you take away the convenience of packaged (albeit minimally processed) foods. And some of the "alternatives" (sugar- and nitrate-free bacon, for example) are more expensive than their conventional counterparts.

The thing I miss most is definitely cheese! Drinking coffee unsweetened (not even with stevia) is not as much fun as it is with a dash of dairy creamer or the luxury of hot frothy, whipped (or steamed) milk.

It's still too early to tell if there have been any other significant changes such as tiredness or energy levels. At this time I'd have to say that I'm glad it's only for 30 days. It might be good to do for a "reset" from time to time, but it's not the kind of diet I could happily follow for a sustained period of time.

Monday, February 11, 2019

251 - Trying the Whole30 diet for... 30 days

After a long period of radio silence, I'm back.

251 lbs (113.8 kg)
The yo-yo weight bouncing up and down continues, only lately I've been able to bounce down a lot faster than before. It used to be true that a single "bad" day (of eating too much of the wrong thing) would take a solid six days to make up for. These days I can get back to where I was, weightwise, within just three or four days.

A new incentive is my new lady friend. My other close friends already know about this development, but it's very exciting for me. I feel like she is someone I can truly and happily spend the rest of my life with.

The other significant development is not quite so welcome. Keeping the story short, it's finally time for me to get some treatment for my varicose veins. A diagnostic ultrasound and first consultation with a vascular surgeon has been scheduled for early March. I'm expecting the outcome to be that my legs will not be tired at the end of my work shift, and that any sores on my legs will heal quicker than the ones I currently have. They've interfered with my mobility slightly.

Still, I'm looking forward to the spring and summer. Once my health issues are sorted out I'll be changing jobs for something with better hours. It'll be "hasta luego" to the chaos of a badly organized workplace and hello to a new career path in the (non-profit) voluntary sector. But I digress...

The other new news is that I'm going to give the Whole30 diet a go. Together with my beloved, Pam, we will start on Saturday, Feb 16th, and for thirty days we'll avoid all traces of dairy, grains (including all corn, rice, quinoa, wheat, etc.). No alcohol, no legumes, no soy, no processed foods, no junk food and definitely no added sugar. Instead, we'll be eating plenty of fresh vegetables, some fruit, unprocessed meats (no sugar or nitrates), seafood, eggs, nuts and seeds. (So, Monday, March 18th  will be a bacchanalian orgy of wine and cheese and dark chocolate). We've started experimenting with some recipes already (a really good sweet and sour chicken, and today's dinner was coconut battered shrimp). More details next time.

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

257 - "Be Ferocious" and a great start to the new year

The chart below gives you an idea of my overall weight loss progress since mid-2015. After losing about 180 lbs in 18 months, I spent a year away from my spiritual home and regained 40 pounds. I've slowly lost some of that since I've been back in Missoula.

At the beginning of 2018, I tipped the scales at 282 lbs. This morning I was down to 257 pounds, a net loss of 25 lbs over the past year.

2019 is going to be another year of fantastic changes and many advances. Friends who know me will know of my "pursuit of sustainable happiness" objective. As I seek to become integrated within the weird and wonderful Zootown community, and develop networks of new contacts and new friends, I'll be adding a new mantra or motto: "Be Ferocious!" Not in a wild and savage sense, but in the sense of chasing objectives with extreme intensity.

More soon ...

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

259 - Five stalled months are over

258.6 lbs (117.3 kg)
I haven't been under 260 pounds since the end of April! The momentum is with me now. With some extra hard work and dedication, I can do this!

You can tell which two days I had off
As I am about to head to work today, I am aware that I'll probably walk well over 12,000 steps before the end of the night. If this graph is anything to go by, I can usually reach 18,000 steps these days. Obviously, in this particular week, I was off work on Monday and Thursday since I did less than 6,000 steps.

It makes a difference, too, that I'm now regularly lifting heavy boxes of groceries and moving huge pallets of freight three nights a week.

As the colder weather takes over, in this first week of fall (autumn), I've started to cook meals at home a bit more too. Yesterday's creation was a cabbage soup, with:
  • Yellow onion
  • White cabbage (chopped)
  • Carrots
  • Celery (diced)
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • Green bell pepper (diced)
  • Vegetable, chicken or beef bouillon
  • Garlic
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Black pepper and salt
Like I did, you can easily substitute, add or remove ingredients. I left out the oregano and basil but added diced rutabaga (swede) for extra flavor. You could easily add barley, or any kind of meat, if you like. 

Monday, September 24, 2018

261 - A quick recap for new readers

When my journey began, in June 2015, I weighed 405 pounds (183.7 kg). I was physically unable to walk more than a mile. Stairs were practically impossible. I was a wreck! I changed my domestic circumstances, became more active, and adopted a low-carb diet. For the next 18 months, I consistently lost 10 pounds a month. By the end of 2016, I was down to 243 pounds.

Caption
During 2017, I slowly started to regain some of the weight I'd lost. At my highest that year I tipped the scales at 288 lbs. Then I got back on the wagon and for three or four months lost the same 10 pounds a month again. Then I reached a plateau for a few months. Finally, in September 2018, things in my life changed again and I've started to lose weight again.

Since the middle of 2015, I've moved house five times and had five different jobs in four different cities. Now, I'm settled in the place that I belong. I can sense that there will be a few more job changes in the coming years but they will all be in Missoula. The low-carb diet, which I know works for me, will continue. The increased activity level will continue as I find a greater range of fun things to do.

I still have some big long-term goals to work on, and some smaller ones along the way. My ultimate target is to reach 178 pounds, and be fit and healthy. Along the way, I want to encourage others who have struggled with being overweight. If I can do it, so can you! Hopefully, you can learn from my mistakes and hasten your own success. I wish you well!

Monday, September 17, 2018

265 - The downward journey continues

Pretty much as expected, I've lost a few pounds in the past few days:
265 lbs (120.2 kg) today

With a new job (a promotion) that is a little more physically demanding than my previous one, and slightly longer hours at work, the temptation to eat a fourth meal when I get home after midnight has gone, and with it the extra unwanted calories and carbs. The swimming (part of the therapy for my once-broken arm) also helps.

I can also tell that I'm losing weight and inches again because my clothing is fitting better. I'm a little sad that the colder, darker days are rapidly approaching and will limit some of my outdoor adventures. It'll soon be time to start compiling a list of places to go snowshoeing during the winter.

Monday, September 10, 2018

270 - Am I bovvered? Only slightly...

In the immortal words of comedian Catherine Tate on the news that I'm back up to 270 lbs, "Am I bovvered?" Only slightly, because I know it's only a temporary condition. Apparently, my weight has fluctuated between 260 and 270 pounds for the past four or five months now and it's currently at the crest of one of those small waves. It'll come down again soon as the effects of my new swimming regimen take shape. And, literally, they are taking shape as I seem to be able to more easily fit into clothing and my face is looking slightly thinner despite the scales saying that I'm gaining weight.

Since my last blog post, there have been a few developments. My fractured humerus (broken left arm) has almost completely healed. I've been able to safely ride my motorcycle again since the end of July. I can tie my own apron strings behind my back with a little extra effort. I can drink from a cup with my left hand normally now. I can scratch the top of my head with my left hand now - even if I can't put that hand all the way down to my shoulder blades like I can with my right hand (almost, but not quite). Importantly, I've been able to sleep on my left side for a few weeks now, which is SO much better than before. I've even had a few nights of sleep in my hammock without any arm discomfort.

The most significant thing that is left, in respect of my arm, is that the range of motion isn't what it once was. Evidently, there is some scar tissue that is affecting the tendons of the rotator cuff. It's still getting better. I'm only about 10% "disabled" in my left arm now compared to the right, and that percentage is getting smaller all the time. To give myself the best chance of returning to normal, I've started swimming regularly again, which has already helped me - even in just the two weeks that I've been going. The trouble is that I prefer to go early in the morning, while most people are still asleep in their beds, but I'm still in a job (at the moment) where I work until midnight or later. So my sleep schedule is a little disrupted.

The scorching hot summer has been and gone, and the inevitable forest fires are dying out now. I've been on a few hikes recently, including to the summit of Mount Helena again:
At the summit of Mount Helena last Friday

As Google Photos reminded me this morning, it was two years ago today that I was last up there. I've been to Polebridge, next to Glacier National Park, recently. Last month I was in northern Wyoming and south-central Montana. At the end of July, I returned to Blodgett Canyon to hike all the way to the waterfall (five miles there and five miles back). While the weather remains favorable, I really want to make the most of these last few days of summer (the fall equinox is on September 22nd).

I hinted at "priorities for the next two or three years" in my last blog post but didn't have time to elaborate. I had been having a dilemma between my desire to achieve the big, hairy goals (PCT hike to Crater Lake, 600-mile bicycle ride, and climbing Mount Hood) and my desire to settle down a bit and become an integral part of my home community in the wonderful city of Missoula. The clarity came when I decided that - after a couple of tumultuous years of change - I really need to settle down and become part of the community that I am living in. A second "lightbulb moment" 💡 came this week when I finally figured out that I'll be happiest working in the voluntary sector. Having been in the public and private sectors for most of my adult life, I believe I'll find the greatest satisfaction helping and benefiting the public without thinking about making a profit from it. Now I have to position myself so that I can achieve that goal in the next five years.

I've also been thinking about this blog and the website. I've been wanting to incorporate more recipes and more photographs. I also want to freshen up the links to low-carb resources (the "Eat Right" part of this site's name) and to good exercise tips (the "Get Out Of Breath" part). Watch this space!