Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tips for losing weight? Here you go.

So I keep getting asked for tips on how to lose weight.  So far, I've not had any takers on the advice.  So I've started thinking what has helped me. So here's a new list.

1.) Eat Breakfast. You can Google it: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Most heavy people I know, including myself until 6 months ago, don't eat breakfast.  Terrible habit that you should overcome. Get up in time to eat a decent breakfast.

2.) Get a good night's sleep. If you're trying to get by on 5 hours of sleep a night (like I used to,) then you can forget trying to lose weight.  Being tired makes us eat. Which leads me to:

3.) Find a way to get off caffeine. I never used to believe this, but I believe it now.  I believe caffeine is an unhealthy stimulant that causes overeating in some people (including me.) This isn't scientific evidence, just my own observations. Either quit cold turkey or slowly withdrawal. Find a way to get off of it. Your body will thank you.

4.) Eat early and often. I eat 6 meals a day. Spread it out.  Figure out what works for you. I'm finding success with many small meals throughout the day. It's all about managing that hunger.

5.) Try not to obsess over the scale. I weigh at the doctor.  If you take in less calories than you burn, you will lose weight.  Achieving a healthy weight is something you do over time.  I've found that at least for me, weighing constantly is going to only increase the disappointment.

6.) Don't be afraid to fail! You will have to figure out what works for you.  You will struggle.  Some days will be better than others.  If you eat one way and you're starving all the time. try something else.

As always, before starting any weight loss program, consult your doctor and a dietitian/nutritionist. Listen to the experts. I did.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Goals for 2011

With 6 months of all this weight loss business under my belt, it's time to switch some things up for 2011.  Here are the goals that I have for Christmas:

1.) Change what I eat.  I've been eating the same thing for 6 months. It's time to try new things in the new year, new cooking methods, etc.

2.) Lose enough weight to ride a bicycle. More than anything, the one thing I miss is riding a bicycle. It's been 11 years since I've been able to ride one, and I crave it daily. The more bike riding I'm able to do, the more successful I will be at keeping this weight off.

3.) Train for the bridge run on April 2, 2011.  Every year, Charleston holds the Cooper River bridge Run...and this year, I am participating. I can't wait, but I've got to be ready.

4.) Start shopping at thrift stores.  Buying new clothes is getting expensive and is a waste of money, considering I will only wear them a couple months.

5.) Ramp up the physical fitness. I've started weight training, now it's time to take it to another level.  But not too much...I don't want to burn out.

6.) And finally, I want to get off the Coumadin.  The anti-coagulant ("blood thinner") medication I take daily has a list of side effects as long as the US Constitution.  It has saved my life, but I'm ready to stop taking it.

Hope you're able to meet some of your goals for 2011.  I hope everyone has a happy and healthy New Year!

Monday, December 20, 2010

The 6-month mark, giving thanks

So it's been 6 months since I went to the emergency room and was admitted with a pulmonary embolism. 

I thought I would take the time to give thanks to some of the people that helped me:

My family, Jayne and Stephanie Lindsey, everyone that visited me in the hospital and all of the nurses and doctors at Trident Medical Center in Charleston. Also, the following doctors:

Erica Gunnells, my primary care physician and her nurse, Carol.
Dr. Scott Miller, Lowcountry Lung & Critical Care
Dr. David F. Murray, Internal Medicine, Coastal Inpatient Physicians
Dr. Christopher McCarty, Cardiologist

Sarah Lyn Tuten, Registered Dietitian
Kristen, Dietitian at Trident

That's the short list of people that saved my life, 6 months ago today. Thank You.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Why not have weight loss surgery?

I often get the question asking me why I didn't or don't have weight loss surgery.  It's a simple question with a complex answer.

First of all, there is nothing wrong with having gastric bypass surgery.  For many people, that is their last option. And many people do have tremendous success and results with the surgery.

Why didn't I have the surgery?  I could have.  I've worked 3 places in the last 10 years that would've paid for the surgery.  The reason I never did it was because I always knew that I could do it myself if I just put out the effort.

I also knew that if I wasn't committed to losing weight the regular way, I wouldn't be committed to it with the gastric bypass.

After I wound up in the hospital with the pulmonary embolism last summer, I got very tired of being in the hospital. That was one long week.  So, I decided before I went with the gastric bypass, I would try one last time.

That was 6 months ago.

But I take nothing away from people that have the gastric bypass surgery.  There are risks, complications and it is a lot of long, hard work to lose weight.  They are doing what's right for them. If the result is a longer, healthier, happier life, then how you got there doesn't matter.

Being overweight is being on the wrong end of a math problem.  More energy is being consumed than is being expended. Whatever you have to do to restore that balance is key.  

2011....and beyond.

My goals for 2011 are to keep doing what I'm doing.  I'm not changing a thing. If I continue at the current rate of 12 pounds a month, it will take approximately another 20 months to get to my goal weight.

Over time, I will lose more, sometimes less. As I get lighter, I expect to be able to get stronger and be able to exert myself more.

What I really want to do is ride a bicycle again. But that's several months away. It won't be long, though.

The "secrets" of weight loss

People have started to ask me what my secret is.  "How do I lose weight like you do?"

As near as I can tell, here are the "secrets."

1.) Motivation.  You either have this or you don't. You either want to lose weight, or you don't. That's something that comes from within, you can't make yourself lose weight. You have to want to do it.

2.) Avoid getting hungry and eat early and often.  I eat 6 meals a day and about 2,400 calories a day. That's actually a fair amount of food.  If you portion your food, measure it and keep a food diary, you will be able to eat all day.

3.) Eat breakfast.  A nurse in the hospital told me that all the heavy people she knew didn't eat breakfast.  When you don't eat breakfast, you start out the day starving. Bad idea. The hunger builds throughout the day and by the nighttime, you've not eaten much all day and start binging. At least that's what I used to do.

4.) Pay attention to what you eat and what's in it. You can really eat just have to realize what you're eating.

5.) Don't go to extremes. Don't starve yourself. Don't work out like a maniac. All you're doing is setting yourself up for failure. You can't push a button and drop 100 pounds.  However, if you do have a button like that, send me an e-mail.

6.) Weight is lost at the dinner table more than it is in the gym. I don't work out, I just walk a couple times a week and take the stairs.

So there you have it: my weight loss secrets. Boring, huh? Sorry.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The 6 Month Mark...129 down, 248 to go.

Breaking all of the rules

I've noticed in my reading that there are several weight-loss "rules" that I am breaking on a daily basis.  For your reading enjoyment, here are some of them:

#1: Don't eat in front of the TV.  Sorry, I do it every day. I've lost 129 pounds eating in front of the TV.  If you're carefully measuring your portions and know what you're eating, who cares where you eat it?

#2: Don't eat in front of the computer.  See #1.

#3: Don't eat within _____ hours of going to sleep.  Sorry, sometimes I eat and go right to sleep.  Hasn't hurt me one bit.  At the end of the day, if the amount of food you're eating every day is the right amount, you're going to lose weight.

#4: Don't eat too many carbs.  Nonsense.  You can eat anything you want.  It's all about the calories, not the carbs. I eat bread, potatoes, spaghetti and other assorted carbs. If you're diabetic, you have to count your carbs.  Otherwise, that's nonsense.

#5.  You need to eat special foods to lose weight.  More nonsense.  Everything you need is at a regular grocery store.  You don't need to blow your whole paycheck at Whole Foods like I do to lose weight.

#6.  You have to work out like a maniac to lose weight.  More nonsense.  Just walk.  Walking outside is so much better than being stuck in some gym on a treadmill.  I'm not a hamster, I don't run in a wheel.

#7.  You need special pills or a patch to lose weight.  More nonsense.  The only way the weight-loss patch works is if you put it over your mouth.

That's my 2 cents!

Happy Birthday To Me

Tomorrow I'm going to be 38.  Here's a breakdown of where we are to this point:

Yesterday at the doctor, I weighed 448.  So far, I'm down 129 pounds from the high of 577.

Earlier this week, they drew 5 large vials of blood and did numerous tests on everything from PT/INR, Glucose, Kidney, Liver, Potassium, Cholesterol, etc. Some of the highlights:

PT/INR: 2.3. The goal is between 2 and 3 and I shot it right down the middle. This takes a lot of work. I eat roughly the same thing every day, avoiding any vegetables or foods high in Vitamin K. I got in trouble last month with the Green apple peels. Now I'm right back where I need to be.

Blood Sugar: 93. Comfortably under 100.  I was absolutely ecstatic to hear this. It had been 104, which is considered "pre-diabetic."  If I wasn't losing this weight, Type 2 Diabetes would be in my future. It runs in my family.  This is a miracle.

Potassium is within normal range. This is also a victory. I eat a potato a day and 2 or 3 bananas a day to make sure I get enough potassium.

My total cholesterol was 128.  This is fantastic, as anything below 200 is considered good. Actually, my "Good" cholesterol was a little low. So I have to explore getting that up by incorporating healthy oils and nuts into my diet.

I'm very happy with where I am right now.  I could lose the weight faster, but with the concerns about the blood clots coming back, I am only approved for light exercise. So I'm careful not to over-do it.  I'm also still quite heavy, so I have to be sure I don't injure myself.

All in all, not bad for the last 6 months. Bring on 2011!