Posted by: leebase | August 3, 2013

What’s New Round 2

No bun or fries needed :)

No bun or fries needed:)

So…I gained 10lbs and have gone back to tracking what I eat via MyFitnessPal. End of my first week back on track and I lost 5.8lbs! Now, I realize I didn’t lose that much fat, most of that will have been water weight. So what? I’m still happy about it. I have made a couple adjustments into how I’m approaching things this time around.

First I set my weight loss goal from 2lbs a week to 1. When I was 309lbs, it was fairly easy to lose 2-3lbs a week. At 230, my daily calorie goal was 1500 if I aimed to lose 2lbs. That’s way to few to live on without going crazy with hunger. I adjusted by ensuring I exercised every day for at least 500 calories worth. Still, it’s an unstable system for me. I began to see exercise as a way to eat more food. And when winter came and my exercise slowed down…my eating did not. Ergo, weight gain.

Right now MyFitnessPal says I can eat 2200 calories a day, not exercise, and lose 1lb a week. That’s an amount that I can live with. No, it’s not a generous amount that lets me snack morning, noon and night. But snacking like that is how I started gaining weight again.

I’m still exercising most every day. Lately I’ve been walking 2 hours a day (an hour in the morning and again in the evening). I like my walks. I record my exercise at the end of the day so I don’t see the “calories earned”. No matter how much or how little I exercise, my eating is to remain steady. The exercise helps make up for any mistakes or misestimates in recording what I eat, and of course, for more rapid weight loss. But now my exercise is focused on it’s health effects. It doesn’t allow me to eat more.

No more walking for an hour and then eating a NuttyBar because I “earned it”. I may eat a treat from time to time. But a “treat” is not something I do every day, and certainly not between every meal and before bed. That’s how Fat Lee got fat in the first place.

I don’t just walk. I have a 4 mile trail I walk that has three hills. I sprint up the hills. I stop at the half way mark where there are some tables and I do incline pushups (have to work back up to the regular ones).

After such a big loss, I’m not expecting much for this week. But I have eaten within my plan for two weeks now. Tomorrow I’ll see the results.

ps: I do not subscribe to “a calorie is a calorie”…I strive to eat real foods, not processed foods. I aim to cut way back on sugars and grains. But there simply is a big convenience to being able to have a number that lets you know “eat this much and no more”. Unlike some folks, I really can eat too much protein and fat. Tracking what I eat, whether paying attention to calories or not, helps me be mindful.

Posted by: leebase | July 27, 2013

10lbs More of Lee – Back to Tracking

Getting Back on TrackI finished off my one year of tracking…whether it was via Weight Watchers, or MyFitnessPal last April 13th. Tracking what I eat had been the biggest success factor in my having lost 80lbs…going from 309 to 228. The last two months I had been merely going through the motions anyway with regard to tracking. Entering my food at the end of the day, or even the next day.

Time for something different. Surely after a year of tracking everything I eat…I knew what to eat and what not to eat. I was also planning on going strict “No Sugar, No Grains”…as well as changing my workout from P90 to bodyweight training.

Those were my intentions, but the reality is that I gave up tracking and got more into snacking. Doritos went from an occasional treat to a regular thing. And the weight started coming back on. I walked and ran an hour, often two hours a day. Even so, the weight was slowly creeping back on. Well, not that slowly frankly.

This past Sunday I hit 237.6lbs. I had set 10lbs as my “if I gain 10lbs, I’ll go back to tracking” limit. I also struck up a conversation with a friend who I had seen lose a lot of weight as well, but had gained it all back. I had been wanting to talk to him about it for some time but didn’t want to be rude.

His message to me was “get on it now…don’t let it all come back on”. So with his admonition and my own “set limit”, I am back to using MyFitnessPal to track what I eat.

I’ve also reset my starting weight to the present. No more basking in the glow of 70-80lbs lost. That’s the past. I actually lost all of that weight by last November. So now I’m starting at zero and pressing on to the goal of 194 and no longer being over weight.

Posted by: leebase | April 14, 2013

One Year and 80lbs Less of Lee

Lee and Daughters“Ok…I’m publicly committing.  Today I start my journey of becoming less.” I wrote those words one year ago.  I was 47yrs old and 309lbs…morbidly obese.  Today, at 229 lbs, I am no longer obese.  It’s been a terrific year.

More important than how many pounds and inches I’ve lost are the health benefits.  I no longer take anxiety meds, antacids or blood pressure medicine.  I feel great.  I don’t break out into a sweat just bending over to plug my computer in.  My feet, knees and lower back are not permanently in pain.

As I mark the completion of one year I am marking a new beginning.  No longer am I going to think in terms of pounds lost.  Yes, 80lbs lost is very nice.  So is 75.  So would be 50.  For the last 4 months I’ve been gaining and losing the same 5lbs…and always able to say “I’m down 75-80lbs”.  So now I look forward to the goal and think in terms of “I have 35lbs to go”.

It’s also time for a change up in strategy.  Time to let go of the counting of calories.  Not because it’s wrong or bad, but because I’m trained enough now.  I know what I need to be eating, and I can’t see myself eating much less than I currently do.  I’ve been slowly moving toward “no sugar, no grains” since last summer.  Time to go whole hog and rely on WHAT I eat, and not merely “how much”.  

I’m also going to rely on strength training to build up my muscles and benefit from the “all day advantage” that having more muscles gives in terms of raising one’s metabolism.  I’ll still be watching the scale weekly…but I won’t be aiming for 2lbs loss per week.  I’m more at peace with the size I am and am finally prepared to accept a much slower approach to goal.  

This time next year I hope to be able to say I am at my healthy weight.  I hope to be living my personal aphorism:  The Real Lee is a hit, he’s at a healthy weight and is fit.

Posted by: leebase | March 29, 2013

Accepting Lee

Accepting LeeThis has been the longest gap between blog posts. There has been little to report other than going up and down the same five pounds for the last four months. I’m at 229 as of this morning. I first hit this weight last November. Even lower, I’ve been as low as 225. Christmas season came, along with the treats and temptations…and enjoyment. No worries that I gained 5lbs. Surely I’ll take that right back off. And I did. And then I regained it again, and so on for four months now.

The bright spot has been the progress I’ve made with my fitness. I started P90 and followed it vigorously for a January and February. I’ve gone from not being able to do a single pushup last fall, to doing 20 pushups with my feet up on a chair (makes it harder). Alas, the long winter in Chicago has really taken a toll on my desire to exercise. I miss being able to just go outside for a walk or run. I’ve been getting walks in here and there, and doing the occasional workout…but I’ve just been holding on through the month of March.

A funny thing happened along the way of this frustrating plateau. I have come to actually like where I’m at. It’s not that I don’t intend to reach my goal of not being over weight…but I’m liking the guy I see in the mirror. My blood pressure remains at a good level. Nothing in my body hurts unless I’ve just worked out. I’ve bought a wardrobe of clothes for this size that are on the snug end…but I don’t see myself changing that much other than switching from a fat gut to more muscles. I think I’m going to be this size for the duration. And I’m ok with that.

Finally, I’m ready to be where Weight Watchers wanted me all along. I’m ready for small improvements and a long slope downward. I’m no longer the morbidly obese man topping 300lbs on the scale having to shop at the big and fat stores. Losing 2lbs a month instead of 10 is fine by me now. Of course, I must make changes from the last 4 months or I won’t lose even that.

My journey is not over. I haven’t arrived. I certainly can’t “go back” to how I used to eat and live before. I’m simply ready to enter a new phase of the journey.

Posted by: leebase | February 2, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me – Gave Myself the Gift of Health

Before and After 2012Happy Birthday to me. Today I turn 48. When I turned 47, I weighed approximately 315lbs with a 55” belly. I was morbidly obese. I was on meds for high blood pressure. I took Tums and Pepcids constantly. My feet hurt. I couldn’t buckle the seat belt on an airplane. I couldn’t do a single pushup, not even the girl kind. I couldn’t run a block let alone a mile. I had undiagnosed sleep apnea. I was taking anti-anxiety sleep meds because I would wake up in the middle of the night with panic attacks. Bending over to plug my computer in would cause me to break out in a sweat. Climbing the minimal stairs in our house would get me breathing heavy. I was wearing XXL-Tall shirts and size 48 waist pants.

That was then, this is now. A couple months after last year’s birthday, I started giving myself the gift of health. Unlike a one time a year birthday gift, I had to give myself health every day. Every day I gave myself better eating. I tracked what I ate first with WW Online, then with the free MyFitnessPal. I tracked every day. I didn’t eat perfectly, but I ate better and better and better still as the days wore on.

I wasn’t fit enough to exercise much. So I walked. Every day. A little faster, and a little longer. Day in and day out, I walked. And then in the fall I began to run. A little bit. And then more. And now I run the distance of 5K a couple times a week.

I did pushups against a wall. And then gave up. And then started back up in the fall with pushups on the stairs. I tried to “work out” in the summer and couldn’t make it through the warm up. I started P90 at the very end of the year and now I can make it through the complete workout and am pushing myself harder.

I’ve given myself good running shoes. I’ve given myself a set of Bodylastics resistance bands. I’ve given myself numerous fitness apps. I’ve just today given myself a heart rate monitor that works with my phone. Gadgets and toys are great, but what I gave myself most importantly is daily attentiveness to diet and exercise.

At 48 on my birthday, I weigh 227lbs, have a 43.5” belly. I wear large shirts and size 36 pants. I have normal blood pressure without meds. I no longer wake up in panic attacks, nor do I stop breathing in the night. My feet no longer hurt. I can buckle the airplane seat belt and even have to cinch it in. I no longer have heart burn. I do pushups and have touched my toes. I have run a mile in 9:30 and 5K in 35minutes. I work out an hour a day. It’s a victory not just that I _do_ work out but that I _can_. I am no longer obese.

I did not win the lottery. I did not make it onto The Biggest Loser. I could not buy what has happened. I had to give myself health by making choices and actions every day. And I’m continuing in my journey. I have a long way to go to realize my personal affirmation: The real Lee is a hit, he’s at a healthy weight and is fit. By my next birthday, I aim for that affirmation to be true. And then I must continue to give myself health for the rest of my life.

Give yourself the gift of health. Everything that is currently coming first in your life instead of your health — your kids, your wife, your carer, your church…all will be served better by a healthy you. It is so worth the effort. It seemed such a daunting task that for years I never even started. You are worth the time and the effort it takes to give yourself better health. I feel so much better. If I could have really understood that my own good health was largely in my own hands…I’d have started sooner. Don’t wait. It’s the best give you could receive and only you can give it to yourself.

Posted by: leebase | January 26, 2013

Keeping The Faith In the Face of a Plateau

plateauI am coming up on two months at the same weight, the first serious plateau in my journey to health. I was 231.8 last November 30, and I weighed in at 231.6 this
past Sunday, January 20. That included the holidays where I gained 5lbs. No mystery about that. I enjoyed time with my family and ate a lot of holiday treats.

Still, it’s been a month since the holidays and I haven’t even lost those 5lbs completely yet. I have been eating on plan. I have been exercising. More than just exercising, I started the Power 90 program more than three weeks ago. Strength training one day, cardio the next…6 days a week, one day of “rest”. More than that, I do the P90 in the morning and some other exercise at night (swim, elliptical, treadmill, walk). I’ve been doing 2 a day work outs since just past Christmas.

I’ve finished the book “Lose It Fast, Lose It Forever” by Pete Thomas, winner of the at home prize for season 2 of the Biggest Loser. All his excellent advice, most of which I’d already been doing, is pretty normal fare for how to lose weight. The “Lose It Fast” is about having intense exercise above and beyond the norm. So it’s not fad starvation diet advice (not that I’ve been doing that anyway). It helped inspire me to up my game in the exercise department.

But still, the scale taunts me. It is water? Has my exercise put on 10lbs of muscle in a month (my missing weight loss)? Who knows. What I do know is that I’ve been eating very well. Sticking mostly to real foods (not processed, not fast foods). Tracking with MyFitnessPal, I _know_ I should be losing weight. What to do?

Well, pretty much, I will keep doing what I’ve been doing. I know that eating right and exercising is the key to good health. Sometimes you have to just keep on keeping on. Have faith. Soldier on. You don’t just throw in the towel and quit. You don’t quickly jump to the conclusion that your plan isn’t working. Plateaus happen. I’ve heard about them from most anyone who’s had success in losing weight. I had assumed that folks simply ate too much or didn’t work out enough during those times. Well, I can testify that I’ve tracked what I’ve eaten and how I’ve exercised…and cannot explain this plateau in simple calories in vs. calories out.

Before the “No Sure, No Grains” crowed starts to gloat…I’ve not been eating TOO much of those kinds of foods either. Too much to be in ketosis, for sure. But my carbs are 100g a day range. And I’ve lost 80lbs since starting this journey so it’s not like I haven’t _some_ idea of what to do. I’m eating better than at any time before, even if not perfect. I’m working out MUCH harder than I ever have.

There has been marked improvement, just not the type shown on the scale. I just ran the mile in 9:38 this morning during the first leg of my 5K. I couldn’t run a single mile…at all…just a couple months ago. I run 5k’s several times a week now. I’ve gone from just trying to make it through the P90 exercise routines to pushing myself harder, using stronger resistance bands, etc. I’ve gone from not being able to do a girl pushup, to doing the first 2 rounds of 8 with regular pushups, then 21 girl pushups in the third round of P90 sculpting. I’m making terrific progress in my level of fitness.
In time the scale WILL move. No, I do not think “extra muscle mass” explains the amount of “missing weight loss”, though surely I am putting on some muscle. My measurements haven’t changed either (neck, belly, waist).

I will keep the faith. I will keep eating as I have: proteins (steak, chicken, pork, fish) and non-starchy vegetables will be the main part of my diet. Nuts and fruits will be eaten in moderation. Sugary snacks and chips will be occasional treats. I will exercise and keep pushing harder. The more fit I get, the harder I am able to work out.

In time, the scale WILL move.

Posted by: leebase | January 15, 2013

Tell The World

JellyFishFramedA wise, successful and experienced person recently encouraged folks starting WW to keep it to themselves. Don’t tell anyone. All kinds of folks will start discouraging you and giving you all manner of nonsense dietary and health advice. Makes sense. Who am I to disagree with someone who has not only lost their weight, but kept it off for years?

Well, I gotta be me. I have not lost all my weight yet, but I have lost 80lbs and kept at it for nine months and counting. Even so, it is not my own success I’m going to draw on in order to encourage _some_ folks to take the opposite approach. Tell the world. But first, a bit of my story.

You can refer to the first post in my blog to learn why I finally started on my journey to health and fitness. Consider, though, that I started this blog, wrote the first post, and told all my family, friends, co-workers that I was embarking on this journey. Day one…before having lost a pound. I posted on Facebook, and I posted on my company’s internal “everyone can read it” site.

I did this for selfish reasons. I had gone on diets before, even lost a decent amount of weight…20 or 30lbs. Yet each time I would fail to stick with it and eventually would go on to regain the weight plus a good deal more. Announcing publicly was my tool to pressure myself to stick with it this time.

Something strange and wonderful happened along the way.

First, I got a terrific amount of support and encouragement. It’s not like my size was a secret. The embarrassing thing was getting fat…not working to do something about it. Each week I put up my progress. I wrote my blog posts detailing the journey and what I was learning…and my disappointments, set backs and progress. Played out weekly for all to see.

Here is the part that I absolutely did not foresee. Some of my friends and coworkers took inspiration from me and started their own journeys. A good number of them. More still are being inspired and it’s simmering in their hearts and minds…percolating toward a future start date for them.

One such friend, Steve, was a former coworker. Years ago he had lost a great amount of weight. At the time, I wasn’t ready. He even remembered a conversation where I said “that’s why I have life insurance” as a retort to his encouragement that losing weight would extend my life. He had since regained his weight and gotten larger still…a very common thing. He was inspired that I was FINALLY doing something about my weight and he joined me. More than joined, we became support and coaches to each other, talking weekly (sometimes daily). He’s now lost over 80lbs himself.

Another friend of mine, also named Steve, had moved away a few years ago. He’s now a Facebook friend. I see his status updates and he see’s mine. Imagine my delight when one day his status was thanking me for inspiring him to start his journey and that he’d already lost 24lbs.

I could go on. My friend at church who has now lost 20lbs. The numerous messages from friends thanking me, rooting me on, and telling me that I’m inspiring them. Best of all, my wife started in with me on day one and has lost 50lbs herself.

Why tell the world? Who lights a candle and hides it under a bushel? I’m no diet guru. I have no secret to success. My friends aren’t even going about things the way I am. It’s that we are all in this together. Struggling with weight is common, it’s almost the norm. There is no shame to be had in tackling the difficult challenges in your life. Lets do this together. Be an inspiration. Receive the support and encouragement others would love to give you.

There is amazing power in a changing life. Progress, not perfection is what inspires people. Real people, the friend THEY know…reaches people in a way that the Jillian Micheals of the world can’t. You can do it. And you can inspire others to improve their own lives as well. Maybe this isn’t the plan for everybody….but I sure am glad I went about it this way.

As for my weekly progress. I was up a half pound even though I had two a day workouts and ate well. I haven’t lost all of my holiday weight yet.

Posted by: leebase | January 1, 2013

Less of and Fitter Lee in 2013 – Resolutions

LeeJanetbTime for New Year’s Resolutions. I admit, I love to make NYR. Sometimes I’ve kept them and made fantastic life changes. Most times not. I kind of missed the opportunity last year to say “this year I’m going to lose 80lbs, 11” off my belly, go from XXL-Tall to Large, run over 3 miles at a shot, touch my toes and start doing pushups”. Even I would never have believed any of those resolutions…but they all came to pass.

And now I’ve had great success, but I’ve not reached my goal. I have a new personal statement “The Real Lee is a hit, he’s at a healthy weight and is fit”. This year I resolve to make this statement a reality. Specifically I resolve to:
– Get down to 184lbs
+ 194 is the “not over weight” point, and then I want a 10lb buffer
– Get my belly down below 40”, perhaps to be smaller than my waist.
+ 40” and over is a major health risk
– Actually run a 5K race
– Train for 10K
– Complete the P90 work out
– Complete the P90X work out (or equivalent, something more stringent than P90)
– End the year at a healthy weight and fit

Goals without action plans are but mere wishes. However, I’ve been living my action plan for 8 months now. I just need to keep doing what I’ve been doing. I use MyFitnessPal to track my eating. I’m striving to eat more “real foods” and less “processed foods”. Cutting down on the sugars and grains. I used an app to train from coach to 5K, and for doing 100 pushups. Now I’m following the P90 plan.

I keep my mind engaged by reading health and fitness books and blogs and listening to podcasts. I keep journaling via this blog and creating my own podcasts.

My method is to make small changes and keep building upon those changes. Just because I couldn’t really “work out” and I certainly couldn’t run in the beginning did not mean I’d never be able to do so. I just had to do what I could. I walked, then walked faster, then walked longer, then started running. I cut back on portion sizes and counted my calories. Then I started working on WHAT I was eating, not just how much.

To meet my goals for this year I just need to continue the path I started on last year. Just improve on what I’ve already been doing. Eat better. Exercise harder. Nothing drastic, just constant progress.

Posted by: leebase | December 31, 2012

The Year That Was 2012 In Fitness

RandLWalkI had no New Year’s resolutions for fitness when 2012 started. I had no notion that I was going to embark on my journey to be Less of Lee. I was 309lbs with a 55” waist and climbing a flight of stairs would make me short of breath. Bending down under my desk to plug in my computer would cause me to break out in a sweat.

When I started my journey to health I threw in “and fitness”….you know…because you are supposed to. I could not run. I could not touch my toes. I could not do a single pushup. I got one of those “resistance bands” and tried to do something like P90…but I couldn’t make it through the warm up of the video on the first day.

So I walked. Then walked faster. Then walked longer. I walked and I walked and I walked. I walked when young fit people jogged by me. I walked as a lady my age blew by me. I walked as an old granny passed me by on the trails.

Eventually I started a “Couch 2 5K” training program. I just got back from running 5k (3.1miles) outside on those same trails where grannies ran past me this spring. For the first time (outside), I ran for 3.1 miles, no stopping, no walking.

I’ve been working on my pushups. I started with pushups against a wall, then on the stairs, then on the lower stairs. I can now do 5 “real” pushups….or 50 pushups on the second to the bottom stair.

To top it off, I touched my toes for the first time that I can remember. Bending over, not bending my knees…and actually touching my toes!

2012 has been a remarkable turn around in fitness for me. I look forward to even better in the coming year.

Posted by: leebase | December 31, 2012

Holiday Food – 5lbs of Lessons Learned

holidayBulbIt was time to view the butcher’s bill after a week of unrestrained holiday food eating. There are now 5lbs more of Lee.

Lesson 1 – once again – the scale must be a liar…or rather the body is far more complex than simple calories account for. If 3500 calories equal a pound of fat…then it takes overeating by 17,500 calories in a week to gain 5lbs of fat. I know I over ate, but I know it was not by anything close to that amount. I also know that the scale doesn’t measure fat, it measures “all of Lee”. I’m thinking (hoping/praying) there’s a fair amount of extra water represented in that number.

Lesson 2 – my favorite foods still taste good but now I understand how they make me feel bad. I felt bloated, upset stomach, and generally “icky” after eating so much chips, cookies, pies, breads. Not “I over ate to the point of sickness”. Because I didn’t. It’s just that now I don’t feel that way and I USED to feel that way all the time. My new way of eating (proteins and vegetables, cut WAY back on grains and sugars) leads to feeling better. It’s not just about losing weight. This was a good experience to understand that sugar (whether bread/chips or desserts) just doesn’t feel that good.

Lesson 3 – I am not cured. It was no problem going back to my old way of eating. It’s very easy to just eat all day long. Eat whatever I see. Eat because food tastes good even when I’m already full.

Lesson 4 – Sugar makes me hungry. Just like bars put out free salty peanuts/pretzels and popcorn because salt makes folks drink more…sugar makes you eat more. Even though I ate a lot more, I was not more satisfied.

Back to my new way of eating. Those 5lbs will be gone in a couple weeks. Onward and downward.

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