I get up this morning, and my weight is, in shorts and socks, 209.9 pounds. I try to recall the last time I weighed so little and I realize that it was the first time I actually gained weight. I moved to Philadelphia to work at the University of Pennsylvania and I went from 180ish to 220ish, a 30something metabolic change that runs in the family. That was 1989-1990. I haven’t been this light in over 20 years.

My wife, once again told me my pants look too large for me so I put on a lower size in Wall Mart, just to see. Relaxed fit jeans, but they largely fit.

I’m having trouble buying belts. It seems I need a belt 2 inches larger than the corresponding pants size to actually fit.

If I make it to 200 my doctor told me I’d be off all diabetes medications, and treating it purely with diet and exercise. Same for the Niaspam I had been taking for cholesterol issues. And perhaps, I lose the Lisinopril as well. At that point, I’d be down to Allopurinol for the gout and a baby aspirin. 180, my ultimate goal, is my high school weight.

I’d been stalled in a series of weight losses for a while, for no particular reason, and then it began again, much like the middle of March.  I’ve been increasing the intensity of my walking, by using inclines, and over the weekend I took the opportunity to walk for longer distances. I’m curious about adding some dumbbell work to the exercises I do.

But the main burden of losing weight has been portion control. My eating is such that if I did no exercise at all, I’d be losing weight. The older you get and the harder it gets to maintain weight, the more seriously the task of losing weight becomes, and the more it shifts to eating the right amount of foods. A food journal is the essential means of achieving sustained weight loss. With a journal, an exchange diet makes it easy to eat the right amounts of food. If my morning weight is sustained, then I’ve lost some 36 pounds since I was hospitalized, and 52 pounds since my peak of last year.

A sample of my food journal

dumbbells

In an article on the site Health Recipes, Tony Venuto suggests eight kinds of lifting exercises that can be done with dumbbells. Since beginners like me wouldn’t even know what he is talking about, I’ve decided to illustrate these exercises with links from the ExRx site, which includes animations of dozens of exercises, showing how they should be done.

Tony Venuto’s beginner’s all dumbbell routine:

My weight loss software, Weight Tracker ODS, says I’m actually losing weight faster in April than I was in March. It’s not as evident because it all didn’t come in one fell swoop. Instead it was gradual, two steps forward, one step back changes. But I’m in the next smaller size of pants (a little snug, but wearable) and my whole wardrobe will need to be replaced shortly if I continue at the same pace (1.9-2.1 pounds a week, or so the spreadsheet says).

I spent a little time in the Snellville Red Lobster, so a review of that restaurant is upcoming.  I’d also like to talk about varieties of canned salmon sometime in the near future, with a focus on good tasting fish to use for lunch.  But for now I need to do some research on the topic ;). Suggestions for resources are welcome.

I checked my scale this morning and I was at the lowest I’ve been since my early February hospitalization, roughly 20 pounds lighter. I have about 60 more pounds to go to be where I wish to be. To lose twenty pounds is very typical of a weight loss program for me. I lose 20 quickly and then I stall. But I can’t stall this time. The stakes are higher.

If, however, I count the weight loss from spring of 2009 and my peak, this is the most long term and extensive weight loss I’ve gone through. From my peak weight in 2009 to now, it’s far closer to 40 pounds lost. This mean, essentially, that I’m breaking old traditions and certainly have nothing to fear from the demons of the past. Though I wouldn’t wish my current health demons on anyone else, this does suggest that food blogging and weight loss are not mutually exclusive.

To start, you do have to have the nerve to set up a food journal. This I think is most important. If you write down what you eat, you’ll have a record of what you did, good or bad, and you can trim out the bad, emphasize the good. Second, find a diet plan and stick to it. The exchange dieting I’m doing is a micromanager’s delight, but very flexible within the bounds it sets.  Once I found myself in the rhythm of this diet, the food choices accessible at times are pretty surprising. If I don’t eat enough on one day, sometimes ways to compensate include chocolate, or maybe a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

20 pounds over 2 months is roughly 2.5 pounds a week. That’s far more weight loss than my calorie intake suggests I should be losing. My exercise has been so modest as to be laughable in some circles, but my weight losses throughout March are correlated with that activity. I’d throw out the idea that systematic activity can increase your basal metabolic rate, because at this point, that’s my only explanation for the rate of weight loss over the last 15-20 days. In February, I’d say some of it was simply eating breakfast, and shifting my eating habits back to a more suitable pattern. The last time I was at this weight and then lost 20 pounds, I also lost 4 inches in waist size.

In terms of articles, last week I went through foot surgery. I’m still in a surgical boot, which leaves the wrapping of the affected area exposed. I can’t get it wet. The wrapping will be removed today, but that means I’ve been on my back, for the most part, for the previous week. I have one article in queue that I haven’t finished yet. That one will have to do until I’m wearing slippers, at least.

And to note: when your limbs are failing you and you need to exercise, there are resources. There is a terrific pamphlet put out by the National Institute of Aging, a 124 page color pamphlet, available as a PDF, that has a lot of neat exercises. And before you sneer at the modest nature of these choices, try say, leg extensions (page 59) and instead of holding your leg out for 1 second, hold it out there between 30 and 60 seconds. Try doing a few minutes of those.