Health Journey

Another facet of my life is weight control and loss. From late-2015 until mid-2017 I was able to lose 117 pounds reducing my trouser size from a 42 to 34. I have since put some back on, and have just recently begun the process of turning the ship around and getting back on the right side of my wardrobe. So, as of today (8/28/19), I'm down 54.7 pounds from my original weight.

The journey I took really came down to several key ingredients that I used to make everything work. Follow the "Healthy Steps" blog here to see how I essentially do it again. Then, I'll transition to a maintenance plan to ensure the changes stay.

Riding in Alaska during the winter can produce interesting protection models.

One of the greatest tools I found to assist in my transition was the measuring of food intake. A realization that America has lost its understanding of what serving sizes are, I found myself struggling to keep a balanced diet. As everything boils down to "more out than in", a substantial obstacle that needed to be overcome was understanding the daily caloric intake. The best tool I found for tracking the intake was myfitnesspal by Under Armor, which is an app that runs on my smartphone. The app allows me to scan in barcodes that represent a food item. In addition, many of the cookbook recipes were listed, so I could quickly determine the number of calories. It totaled up the daily calories and could be set up with a physical exercise app Endomondo that would calculate the benefit of daily exercise. Ultimately, these two displayed my daily +/- that I could see clearly. Recently I have included the UnderArmor app "Map My Ride" to the arsenal of tools.

More to come on this, however, I'll try to pick up and post it here on my blog here.

A map for my daily ride, covering 3.3 miles, following along bike paths and bike-friendly streets.
Finding bike paths in Anchorage isn't too hard, hoping that the city decides to keep the sidewalks and bike paths clear are the challenge.

Transportation

My Mongoose 26.5" Fat Tire Bike is the transportation of choice here in Anchorage, where snow and ice are part of the ride for 5 - 6 months of the year.
My Mongoose 26.5" Fat Tire Bike is the transportation of choice here in Anchorage, where snow and ice are part of the ride for 5 - 6 months of the year.

My Quasi- Program

  1. Ice Hockey games (49 - 75 minutes) 1 or 2 times per week
  2. Speed walking (3.5 miles) 4 or 5 times per week

Phased Approach to return to previous levels

Phase One

  1. Add Cycling (Mountain Biking (Fat Tire Biking when snow arrives))

Phase Two

  1. Stationary machine (will post upon return)

Phase Three (upon reaching 249 pounds)

  1. Add running 3.5 miles three times per week (without snow - Otherwise increasing the walking and fat-tire cycling)

All the while, I will be tightly controlling my diet, maintaining a daily caloric intake of fewer than 1600 calories (with exercise adjustments).

Weight Loss Progress

Pounds to Go

73


My Blog Posts

  • Staying the course

    During my last journey, I remember where I walked through snow, rain, and bitter cold to burn the needed calories for that day. I didn’t let anything come between me and my required exercise. It was what made that journey as successful as it was. Ultimately arriving at running three miles a night, and walking for two nights. Week after week.

  • You have to walk before you run.

    Starting the weight loss challenge can be daunting, the trick is to start where you are. Start slow and small and build it until you have success. Please continue to follow me as I recreate my process to successful weight loss.

  • The path forward.

    In my quest to lose and maintain my weight, I have had to make several adjustments to my normal life. While none of them are truly “fun”, the understanding that they are necessary is the underlying motivation. These tasks, while some may consider them bothersome, have had to become an engrained part of my new lifestyle.

  • The struggle is unrelenting.

    For those of us who struggle to lose, or maintain our weight, every day is a struggle to monitor and maintain daily calories. While the focus of reducing input calories is fairly easy, the “back-lash” of the mind can be as powerful as any drug addiction. If our mind believes that we are “shorting” ourselves, or taking something away, our minds may create an incredibly powerful desire to balance things out. This desire will be unrelenting. How do we combat this unrelenting desire to ingest more calories? Ultimately, there are two methods that I have found some level of success with. The first is to use rational thought. This is where I convince myself that the recognized imbalance is necessary to reduce my body weight or be more healthy. I find that this method of mental control is subject to other senses (smelling something tasty, boredom begat mindless munching). Another point here is that this method only works for a shorter time period, one can not “sit around” for long periods of time.The second is the “distraction” method. This is where I fully engage myself in other activities to preoccupy my mind. The more completely I focus my mind on other tasks the easier it is to avoid. Optimally, when I distract my mind from eating, I physically remove myself from the temptation by being further away. As an example, if I am out in the back yard getting chores done, I am further away from the food sources and the temptation. The byproduct of this method is that by exercising (moving around) I am actually burning additional calories, which, in turn, burns more fat. By implementing different methods at different times, I find that I can enjoy a little more success in maintaining a caloric intake value that is more conducive of success. However, in some cases these defined methods lead to my next obstacle, serving size. This is where I, and most Americans, run into a serious obstacle for maintaining our weight. I would say (without too much reservation) that 90% of Americans have never read the nutrition labels on the products they eat, and more dangerously, eat out at restaurants more frequently where the nutrition information is not readily available. This is a HUGE obstacle in the fight to maintain, or lose weight. How can we average folks conquer this obstacle? I chose to measure my servings. This is accomplished by first, determining what a serving size is, then using a measuring device (measuring cups, spoons, or a scale) I ensure that I measure each food type at least once. After performing an initial measurement, I then use the old “Kentucky windage” method afterward. This ensures that at least, I have a good understanding of how much I have been served. While these suggestions are not the entirety of the needs to lose weight, they will put us on the right track for success. The major assistance we can hope to acquire is the inclusion of a level of physical exercise. While the exercise does not have to include a gym membership or running a 5K, the amount of weight loss from simply walking will amaze you. The idea is to include some level of movement.

  • Turning on the healthy choices.

    Well, here we go again. Today I began to reintroduce exercise into my normal routines. Starting with three days a week, the goal will be to walk away about 30 pounds, so I can implement a jog. So, as I said we are back underway to weight loss.

  • Kick Save Episode 2

    Mark discusses some of the tips and traps that he’s discovered as he gets going on his third weight loss adventure.

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