Friday, November 25, 2011

Still Kicking

As you can probably guess, the idea of this blog when I started it was to track my successes and to be able to write about how everything has been great, maybe be able to boast about myself a little, and perhaps to be an inspiration.

Of course, that does not happen very well when I disappear for nearly 6 months. I suppose it doesn't work very well when it's not always about success. While it hasn't been horrible, I have found about 3-4 pounds a month creeping back on. Those are not the kind of results I want to report, are they?

There has been a major change in life for me that has had a tremendous impact on the whole diet and exercise thing. I had been working at Sprint, and while the pay was never tremendous, the commute to work had opened the door to fitting in a regular exercise routine that either involved decent walks to and from the light rail station, or what became a fairly regular routine of riding my bike to work. I do have to say that I liked the look of surprise people would have when I'd say I was doing a 17 mile bike commute.

That did change when I got a job offer to a much better paying job. There is much that I love about the new job, as it has taken be back into the variety that I've enjoyed so much in previous jobs. As a field technician for a telecom company, I get to move around more and not be sitting in one place doing the same thing all day. However, the transitory nature of the job means no longer getting to walk or ride my bike to work as I have to drive to different businesses.

However, there is a clear trade off. While I don't get the exercise of walking or riding to work, I spend the whole day being much more active, especially a lot of days where the work involves a LOT of walking back and forth at a customer site or a lot of climbing latters. I come home sometimes pretty well dead tired, in a good way, from that work. So perhaps in that respect, it's either a net positive change or a pretty even trade off. Of course, I've not really been tracking the actual amount of exercise like before, so I cannot really say for sure.

I think the real difference is what the change has done to my eating habits. With a more stationary job, I found that it was easier to work around my impulses by packing a lunch and not bringing cash with me. Since starting the new job it's been easier to slip into the old habits of going through drive throughs and eating in a much less disciplined manner. In fact I'm sure that has been the difference.

My wife has asked me if I would ever consider going back to consider surgery again. I've always said that if I reached a certain point where I don't think I'd keep the weight off that I'd lost before, I would really need to look at it. Right now the remaining option would be a gastric bypass rather than the lapband, and in my mind I've been incredibly hesitant to consider that, as it is much more permanent. In light of recent gains, maybe permanent isn't a bad thing?

That said, here it is the day after Thanksgiving, and I'm coming to a conclusion that I do need to get back onto the road a bit and at least see what I can do here. I'm still significantly lighter than I was before the surgery... I just don't want that gap closing any more than it has.

So at this point, where I stand is a commitment I've made today to start tracking everything at least for the month to come. Food, exercise, and creating a bit more accountability to myself to start reporting all that again. Just for a month, I think I can commit to that. Longer than that, knowing me, would possibly be setting myself up to fail. Don't think I want to do that to myself right now eh?

Maybe, by doing that, it'll help renew some discipline and passion for keeping healthy that's sort of slipped away the past few months?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Racing Across America

Okay, so this is fun.... Found a great site for tracking workouts, and it looks like a great way to kinda keep some motivation going. It's a virtual race across America. You enter in your walks or runs or rides, and it plots where that workout would have taken you on a trek across the Transcontinental Trail, a system of back roads that is popular for people who do take such journeys across the country. Nice thing is you don't have to quit your job or pay for travel to do it! It tracks your progress, shows you on a map where you would be, and gives you a picture of the view you would be seeing.

I just started, I'm 7.6 miles into it so far. I know, a LOOOONG way to go! Still, looks like a lot of fun.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sprint Get Fit challenge

I was quite tickled to see my employer introduce a fitness challenge.  In it you put together teams and everyone tracks the number of steps, minutes of exercise and percent of weight lost. 

This comes at a really good time for me as it provides a kind of boost to get me going back downward in weight.  I have been sitting on this plateau the past 2 to 3 months.  I mean, its been a decent plateau in that while I haven't lost any weight my afctivity level has definitely improved.  I'm very pleased at how I kept to the training for the 5k and all.  I am getting out and playing tennis with Emily about once a week and I feel like my fitness level is way up from a couple months ago.
Sadly I think I've let the increased activity become an excuse for getting sloppy with my diet.  I haven't been terrible I don't believe but I do think I find myself thinking that okay, I ran 3 miles... its okay to cheat a little. 

So, I'm pretty excited about the program at work because I think it gives me a sense of focus to look again at ALL aspects of my personal fitness.  Week one has just passed and I walked 65,000 steps, exercised about 660 minutes and lost 4 pounds.  Not a bad start but I want to do 70,000 steps a week.

So, there's something to shoot for next week eh?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My first 5k

I made it!  L

Sunday was the Cherry Creek sneak and the one I targeted to be my first official distance run...  And I was able to run the whole thing.

Granted, the word "run" is pretty much relative, there were probably people who walked it faster than I ran it.  A few weeks ago Janiece and I were running at a park and a lady passed us walking.  But that's okay.

My last training run I ran in just over 46 minutes though I walked the first half k.  So, I thought 45 would be a reasonable goal.  I was thrilled to come in at 42:13. 

When Janiece and I met she was training for her second half marathon.  When we'd go out together, me for a walk and her for a run I remember being so wistful and more than a little envious as she'd run on ahead.  Because of the knee problems I'd had in the past I figured those days were gone for me for good.

Needless to say I'm just a little psyched!

Now the question is what next? Focus on 5k's and on getting my times down?  Work up to 10k's (our longer)?  Duathlons?

Maybe all of the above...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Half mile, and I did it twice

Week 5, day 2 of the couch 2 5k. Two 8 minute runs with a 5 minute recovery walk in between. The course I ran was around Kendrick Lake, a nice little 1 mile path around the lake that has these posts every quarter mile, and I could guage by those I was doing more than a half mile on each of the 8 minute splits. According to my little GPS tracking thing I did 1.5 miles in the 21 minutes total, so with the walking and running that's about a 14 minute per mile pace.

My little armband tells me I've burned 2500 calories so far today. I know that's kind of the difficult thing right now is I'm staying very active. About every other day I'm doing my training runs, most days I'm either biking or walking several miles, and it appears I'm burning about 4000 calories a day. And yet my weight is hanging pretty much about the same spot.

Several years ago when I lost a bunch of weight on the Atkins diet, I got to about 300 pounds and just leveled out. I was working out at the gym like crazy and doing all sorts of stuff, and.... just kinda there. I'll admit that the current plateau makes me wonder if I'm back to that point, you know? It's like here I am again... and what do I do to start losing that weight again?

Okay, I know one thing I do... I've gotten a bit lax around my eating habits. Not real lax like constantly stuffing my face, and for the most part I'm choosing pretty good foods. But yeah, it's still a bit too easy to snack.

So I guess I know what the answer is to the question. With that little band around my stomach it was definitely easier to keep to that answer. Now though, I've got to get back at it.

The one thing I have going for me right now is knowing that not all that long ago I was doing it just fine without the lap band. I lost 20 pounds leading to the surgery. Granted, it's easier to lose 20 pounds at 372 than at sub-300, but still, I was able to do it then. Now it's just getting back into that mode again.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Couch 2 5k training update

Today was the start of week 5 in the training routine for the May 1 Cherry Creek Sneak 5k run.

I am quite happy to proclaim I am still alive and breathing. 

Week 5 starts out with a 5 minute warmup walk then has three splits of 5 minute runs separated by 3 minute walks with a cooldown 5 minute walk.  This routine will be repeated Wednesday and then Friday it jumps right into a straight 20 minute jog.  Yikes!

So far actually it's not been too bad.  Keep in mind you're reading from a guy who not all that long ago could not get himself to run through a heavy downpour to his car parked 50 feet from the store entrance but would have to simply walk and get that much more drenched.  So it's pretty exciting to be able to say I could run these 1/3 mile splits and to actually feel like I could keep going.  I can actually run around the "lake"at the park near my home.  I never used to think I'd see that day.

Friday of course is a different challenge.  20 minutes straight...  Good thing is that's not quite as intimidating as five minutes once seemed.  Even still, that's more than a mile of straight running (well, shuffle jogging anyway).  That's still intimidating.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Slow Starts

This afternoon I decided to ride my bike in to class tonight, a 10 mile ride but fairly easy as it is mostly on a bike path. My daughter was teasing me because I was taking a long time getting started. I didn't explain exactly why it was taking so long because, well.... she would have teased me even more.

On the left of this blog is a Map My Run widget that shows some of my recent runs/walks/rides. Way back when I found an application for my phone that would track my runs, and I could import that data into the website, and once it's there it will automatically update on the blog. I had to pay for that application back a couple years ago, and now with my new phone, I now have a wide variety of similar applications that do most of the same thing. One of those is related to the mapmyrun site, which I appreciate because now I don't have to import. Only problem with that is, the app doesn't work real well at times.

So anyway, I've found 5 good applications so far, and I'm sure there are others, but these are probably the best known 5. (Note I said probably) The question is, which one is really the best. I'm sure you're asking, who really cares? I've found one I like, called Cardiotrainer, but I've had suggestions from some others about some to look into. So, for a week I'm doing a sort of trial: I've loaded all 5 apps onto my phone, and when I go out, I'm running all 5.

So before I head out, I have to make sure all 5 are tracking, so there's a bit of a routine involved. I launch all 5 applications and get them to the point of being ready to start, designating the kind of workout involved, etc. I make sure there's a lock on the GPS satellite and the programs recognize that. Then in order I start tracking with one app, wait 10 seconds, start the second, wait ten more, till all 5 are started, THEN get started. When I get done, I shut them off in the same order, 10 seconds between.

So yeah, if my daughter knew the reason it was taking so long to get started was I'm starting 5 different programs to all track the same workout, she'd probably be looking for ways to get me committed.

But, that's the geek in me I guess. I'm having fun with it, but looking forward to when it's all said and done and have gone back to just one program...

And by the way, the bike ride went pretty well. It was along the Platte River, and going upstream, but nice thing about the ride is there's not the huge hills. Having said that I will say that since I'm bike riding, climbing hills is much easier now... something about lugging 70-80 pounds less around probably has something to do with that eh? I think also the additional runnign and walking have me more fit, so I'm better equipped to handle the effort?

That said, my butt still hurts after going that far.

There's some before and after pictures a few posts before, taken right before surgery #2. I was right around 300 pounds at the time then, and I found myself curious as to whether it would fit now. It does, sortta, still too tight to wear in public, but anyway, it was from an MS-150 bike ride I went on about 12-13 years ago. I was able to ride about 135 of the miles over 2 days - the ride got cut short due to tornado warnings (though we won't tell anyone I'd already gotten on the sag wagon before that happened as the hills were killing me...) Anyway, at this moment I find myself wondering how I rode that far, even with a comfortable bike seat... did I mention my butt hurts?

And here I am planning on riding back. Am I nuts?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Week 3 Begins

Yesterday I started week 3 on the couch to 5K program. After a 5 minute warm up walk, it's 90 seconds walking, 90 seconds running, 3 minutes running, 3 minutes walking, and then repeat the whole cycle again. I was a little intimidated by the 3 minutes running, which really speaks to how out of shape I was where I was a bit unsure whether I'd be able to run 3 minutes straight. Or shuffle/jog as it were.

It actually went pretty well, even the second stint of 3 minutes, though I do have to admit I was checking on how soon the 3 minutes was comeing up the second time around.

I guess there's two ways to look at it. One could be that I could think about how pathetic it is I'm nervous about being able to run for 3 minutes. Or I could remember the times where I'd come out of a store and it's pouring buckets of rain and I walk to my car because I just can't run. Looking at it in that perspective, I feel pretty good about it all, you know?

And if I want to be intimidated, next week goes to 5 minutes running, with only 2.5 minutes walking in between for 'recovery' time. At least I get two more runs like this one before then. Regardless, I'm committed now to the Cherry Creek Sneak on May 1, a 5K run. Entry fees are paid for Janiece and I. I can do the 5K no problem, in fact looking at the times I could walk most of it and still end up somewhere in the middle of the pack for times, but having said that I want to be where I can shuffle jog the whole thing. Yeah, maybe that's my new term now for jogging, at least where I'm concerned.... certainly can't call it a run jsut yet.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Just can't blog enough

Lately I've been a little better keeping up with this blog.  A little.  Like any blog I've done however it's pretty much feast or famine for me.  I'll do great awhile then go weeks or more neglecting it.

So what do I do?  Start another blog.  This one isn't so public as just available at work.  Sprint has a sort of employee blog where people can post about life our work our whatever. Some post about gaming, some get into work issues, and I decided to start posting on weight loss stuff.  But theres a bit of a slant as I want to focus on how the very technology we are providing can make an impact.

I will say that from a business and marketing sense I've been really impressed with the direction sprint is taking.  More than just focusing on the "we have the best 4g debates they've built some great relationships that focus on using the technology beyond gadgets and phones.

One example is the Bodymedia armband.  They have another relationship with a medical monitoring company that uses wireless technology to keep doctors up to date on a patients progress.  It's pretty impressive stuff.

On tp of all that are the applications available that can really make a difference.  It's stuff like this I want to focus on.  I'm hoping to be able to integrate some of the posts into here as there are some pretty cool things out there, some I just recently learned about through comments made on the two posts I've made. And it would be pretty c ool if I could do  that without having to post in two coherent places eh?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Back in the saddle again

I'm back to biking again. It feels good, being on a bike for the first time since my bike was stolen about a year or so ago. I was able to do some extra work this past month, and decided to earmark some funds for a bike. Okay, let me just say, bike shopping can be... a pain? Some places want to push you right up into a thousand dollar bike, and I hate that kind of pressure. When it was all said and done I found a nice Specialized, bright red (Go Huskers!) that I was pretty happy with. It's a mountain bike kind of hybrid, meaning it's got the mountain bike frame but smoother tires for roads and trails. I'd thought I'd get a road bike this time around, but decided that for the hills here, weight, and price, not to mention a bit of comfort, this would work out pretty nicely.

So, today was my first time using the bike to any extent at all. I rode it to the light rail, about a 4 mile ride, and then from light rail into work and back, as well as about 3-4 miles otherwise. Part of that 4 miles was because I'd missed the bus off the light rail and decided to take off chasing it to see if I could catch it. Fortunately the bus had to take a detour because of a closed street but I could get on teh bike path along the street and keep going, so I was able to pretty much catch up about 2 miles down the road.

Okay, so I have to say being 80 pounds lighter than last time I rode a bike, you can REALLY feel the difference. Hills are not nearly so killer. That feels good.

It is good that I'm keeping my activity up. Right now I'm holding steady weight wise... I'm still not as disciplined there as I need to be, it's REALLY hard to do that. My armband tells me I'm averaging 9000 to 10,000 steps a day and more than 4,000 calories a day. I'm still supposedly burning more calories than I'm eating, but I"m not losing weight as I should if that's the case, which tells me that maybe the whole MET thing that measures calories burned isn't necessarilly accurate. After all, I could stay in bed all day and still burn 2500 calories, that just doesn't seem to be right, you know?

I'm having fun with some new apps on the phone and checking all those out. I'll have to follow up with some reports on some of them... there's some pretty amazing stuff out there. But, for now, I'm a sleepy guy, so... off I go.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Yay! Mobile posting

Just yesterday my phone had a fairly major update which is a good thing, however it defaulted everything which means ask my applications were wiped out.  Not really a big deal since I can reload everything pretty easily, just takes time.  Nice thing about it is surfing through android amarket I found some nice new applications and in the process found the blogger app so now I can post more easily from my phone.  That means there will likely be shorter posts but more frequent ones, probably both good things.

I found another cool free app as well called the instant heart rate monitor.  It uses the camera of all things.  It's a lot like how an oximeter works.  It says your finger slightly changes color with each heartbeat so you put your finger over the camera lens and out notices the changes this measuring your heart rate.  Pretty clever eh?  And it beats the heck out of paying 50 to a hundred bucks on another piece of equipment

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Couch 2 5K

This morning I finished week 1 of the couch to 5K program. The idea is to work up to being able to run a full 5K in about 8-10 weeks. You do it by walking/running in intervals, gradually working up the amount of time that you are running, with 3 workouts a week.

The first week, you start out with 5 minute warmup walking, then for twenty minutes you run for 60 second intervals and walk 90 second intervals, then finish with a 30 minute cool down. Monday I go to week 2 which is 90 second runs, 2 minute walks, then the next week it becomes 90 seconds running 90 seconds walking, 3 minutes running, 3 minutes walking, and then repeat that cycle once. So it gradually works up.

So far it's gone pretty good. I get a bit winded which is good for me I'm sure. And so far, no problems with knees hurting or anything, that's important and definitely something to monitor.

I mentioned getting the armband. Here's a bit of a snapshot of what it measures. Essentially it will track your activity, so it will show things like how many minutes you're active, it will count your steps, tell you how many calories you burn, etc.
So for example this one shows the calories burned through the day, so you can see what was happening during my run/walk. Now of course the one thing missing is calories consumed, as I haven't entered my meals. But it's a pretty neat tool as I can see the balance between what I've consumed and what I've burned.

And right now, being sans lap band, the key for me is to really ramp up the activity end of things. Of course somewhere along the line I have to get figured out how to handle the consumption part of things, I've been in kind of this freestyle pattern since the surgery without a plan. Hope that changes soon eh?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Can I say I'm scared?

I'm incredibly amazed at my recovery. I can pretty much eat normally now. All the plumbing is working, I can eat, and drink, all in normal volumes.

And it scares me a little.

I've come so far, and now here I am on my own and... I'm just so afraid right now of falling back to old patterns.

Okay, so... resolve! Not gonna happen. I'm never going back. NEVER!

On to another subject.... I've decided to take up the running after all. I have been saying wait til I'm under 280, well... I'm there. Two days ago I started the first day of the Couch25K program and it felt really, really good. So.... that's one way to keep the momentum going.

I got my bodymedia armband. I'll have to go into more detail on it, got a great little deal going through work that lets me play with it, and I'm quite pleased with it. It definitely provides some interesting data, so sometime I'll get into that some.

Remember, I'm not going back!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sleep is good

It felt good to sleep through the night! First time in awhile I could sleep that long without being awakened by reflux. Woohoo!

I actually gained 10 pounds. Granted, I miss seeing that 6 being the second digit, but still, that's actually a good thing. I was seriously that dehydrated. After so many IV's and now being able to actually drink, I'm getting replenished now. Fill 'er up!

I'm trying not to dwell on how much harder it will be to keep this all off now that the band's gone. That's a bit of reality starting to sink in. =( But I've got to take the attitude instead to run (maybe even literally?) with where I am and take advantage of all this momentum!

Ohhhh, and now for some pic's. First, front shot, before my initial surgery and before I went in Thursday:

And now for the side shots.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Home and feeling better

Do you have any idea how wonderful it is to be able to drink a full glass of water?

I'm back from surgery feeling a thousand times better. Okay, still a bit tired, some obviously from the surgery and some I'm guessing from not sleeping much in the days leading up to surgery.

All went well. Ive felt good from the moment I woke up from the surgery, with 5 more little incisions in my stomach. In fact I've not been on any pain medication since coming out, and haven't really felt the need for it. Yeah, the incisions are a bit sore but not too terrible. The staff at St. Joseph hospital is pretty amazing, care was top notch. They did want to keep me over for observation due to all the nausea and vomiting I've had, but there were no problems or issues and I'm so thankful to be feeling so well.

In the end, the doctor ended up removing the band. I guess there was a fair bit of scarring on the stomach from it's little journey through the band, and that coupled with it's previous escape attempt in the form of a hiatal hernia did not really leave a good spot for the doctor to try to re-attach the band. He told me this morning that for me the lap band has run its course. If it seems necessary in the future they can always look at the other styles, either the bypass or a gastric sleeve. My hope however is to keep up with the momentum I've got going and pray I can make it a lifetime change.

I will say that there's some disappointment. Actually the disappointment's not as strong right now as it's tempered by just feeling so much better. I think I found myself feeling pretty ecstatic about feeling better and that's still there. There's tremendous anticipation to being able to get back on track with exercise and all. So all that is tempering the disappointment, but I'll have to admit that deep down there's a little apprehension, as the purpose of the band isn't all about the weight loss, but for the long term maintenance as well. All I know is, I don't ever want to go back. Ever. That will end up ahving to be my motivation for keeping the momentum going eh?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Back to square 1, but not really

So starting today, I get to go back to the whole liquid diet routine, then soft food diet, slowly working back to a regular diet. I go in at 10:30, surgery at 12:30.

This past week has been incredibly challenging. With the slippage, the exit was pretty well blocked off. Food and water in my stomach had nowhere to go. Okay, it had one place to go and that's what the challenging part of it was. Basically the last few days has been liquids only but even those could not go anywhere. The problem with that is that my body would be secreting a bunch of fluids and bile into the stomach, which led to incredibly frequent and rather forceful vomiting. On average it was probably hourly. Now when you're taking in 2-3 ounces and throwing up 16 ounces, you can imagine what it does to one's hydration level. I ended up going in last night to get an IV, they actually gave me two bags of fluid.

It is an amazing thing to watch your fingers and your face shrivel up as the fluid has been sucked out of your body, and pretty incredible how quickly they come back to normal with an IV. That was incredibly revitalizing.

Let me say this, ice chips are a good thing. Drinking much of anything would encourage more frequent vomiting, so last night after getting back I spent the night just sucking down ice chips one at a time. Having said that you have no idea how badly I'd love to gulp down a tall glass of cold water, an ice tea, or a glass of milk. Amazing how much you can miss something like that. Especially now when I'm even off ice chips, gotta stay liquid free prior to surgery. Dang how I'd love a drink!

Hard to imagine anticipating surgery, but... I really am! Getting back to a semblence of normalcy is something I so look forward to. I know some that are worried, but it's really something pretty simple. If the stomach is in a condition to allow him to do it, the doctor will move the band back to the proper position and secure it a little better. If not he'll simply remove it. I'm at peace with it either way. I'd rather have it left on, for all the reasons I had it put on. But even if it has to come off... I'm at 265 pounds! That's huge! Okay, that's less huge.... MUCH less huge. Which is HUGE. I'm 40 pounds from my goal, and that has me at a point where, it's far easier to get active, which I've been pretty active all along, but... where I've talked about maybe getting to running when I get to a safer weight for that.... I'm at a safer weight. Still not sure about running, but whatever it is, I'm so much better able to do it. So even if it has to come out... I'm okay because I know I'll be okay.

Dang I'm thirsty!

And the answer to Janiece's question... still remains an unshakable and unqualified heck yeah, I would do it again if I knew about all this misery of the past week.

Did I mentione I'm thirsty? One big difference about the previous surgery and this one: I did go into it then not looking at all forward to the liquid diet to follow. Today I'm relishing the prospect. Let's face it, I've already been on the liquid diet and to be honest not eating foods has not been a bother, fortunately. But... getting to drink liquids, some jello, some soup stock, milk... WATER!!!... and have them stay down and go where they're supposed to go again... I'm so looking forward to that.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Runaway Tummy

Okay, so let's play a game of name Ron's tummy. So far the nominees are:

Logan. Okay, this one really dates me, the old movie and eventually TV series, Logan's Run.

Richard Kimble. Okay, my choice to pick David Jannsen instead of Harrison Ford also dates me, doesn't it? But, here's one for more contemporary readers:

Micheal Schofield. From the tv series Prison Break.

Cast your votes and you get to be an amazing part of this blog!

So now I'll give you the scoop. As I mentioned I'm losing weight much too quickly and feeling a bit icky lately. You can now take off "a bit." I'm just plain icky. And weight loss? I'm at 272 this morning. That's like 21 pounds in 12 days.... wayyyyy too fast.

After a weekend of generally not keeping any food down at all and throwing up wayyyyy too much Janiece took me into the emergency room this morning. We were concerned about dehydration. They ended up doing an upper GI as part of it all (finally!) and we discovered a nice little slippage. Okay, a big slippage. It appears my stomach has migrated most of the way up through the lap band. Nothing's getting through the band now which is not a good thing. But you know, there's at least some relief knowing what it is. So we're looking at going back in for a followup surgery to fix the thing ASAP.

Now this isn't the first time the little bugger has tried something like this. A substantial portion of my stomach had tried escaping out the diaphragm in the past (thus the hiatal hernia I think I've mentioned before)... I guess the poor guy figures he's been through hell and he just wants out or something.

So.... not necessarily looking forward to another surgery but... really looking forward to getting everything feeling better.

Janiece asked, knowing what I know now, would I have done this all over again? Absolutely. (unless there's more to know about later that I really, really don't like, but I don't expect that to be the case....)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Speeding along

It's been a week. And here I am 7 pounds less already.

Not sure that's as good a thing though. I mean hey, I'll take every pound, that part I'm okay with. But this time it's a bit different, with my stomach still feeling a bit.... funny? Over all it's felt a lot better, I do think there was probably a bug going on at the same time that didn't help how I was feeling. I've been on some Prilosec but the reflux hasn't totally gone away. Now it's like an every other night kind of thing. Now maybe it's just that it keeps me up one night, so the next night I'm so tired that not even the reflux wakes me up. But the thing about it is there are days where it's just hard putting down any food because I'm not sure how it's going to end up feeling. So my weight loss is now really more about not eating much, and I have to really watch myself to make sure I'm getting enough protein and such. In about 2 weeks I'm scheduled for an upper GI where they will take a look and see if anything has changed, either that my lap band has slipped or if the old hiatal hernia is trying to reassert itself. I'll be glad to be back to feeling a bit more normal.

Having said that.... know how good it feels to be in the 280's? Wow, that's one I'm not sure I ever thoguht I'd get to. It's funny, 290's didn't seem so out of reach, so why would one more digit down make a difference? I think it's because I made the 290's before, and then stalled. But 280's, that's a totally different story. I know I've said this before, but... I haven't been here in ages. Okay, I won't beat that dead horse, but... wow. So even though the stomach is feeling different, it's definitely a different feeling.

It seems like it's been just the past couple weeks that all of a sudden everything looks different. Maybe it's a psychological thing because after all now I've crossed these milestones and I'm where I've not been in a long, long time, but... suddenly I notice the look more. Yeah, you can still see the overweight aspect of things, but... there's no longer the big gut. I don't look skinny, but... it doesn't feel like I look fat any more either, if that makes sense. And my wife can wrap her arms all the way around me... that's pretty cool stuff there.

I keep wondering whether to start trying running now, as I'm getting where I felt I needed to be before starting. That's probably one for more discussion later... but the thought is definitely playing with me.... guess we shall see eh?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Milestones reached

Okay, so here it is: I've reached a few big milestones now.

Milestone 1: I'm OBESE! Ummm, yeah, nothing new there. But as I mentioned before, there's nothing in front of it. Not morbidly, not severely, just, merely, simply... obese. Never thought I could be so happy to say obese. Okay, there's a caviat there. That's simply obese based on BMI of 34.7, but that's based on a height of 6'5 which I've always maintained I've been. However, at a doctor's visit last week they measured me at 6'4. That would put me at 35.6. I'll stick with the 6'5 for now thank you very much. Don't want to face the potential that all that weight for all those years has managed to compact my frame a bit and caused me to shrink an inch, eh?

Milestone 2: I've lost 100 pounds since the start of the blog. I'm now at 292.4 pounds. No caviats there. That's a lot of weight gone. I think I said this before but it's hard to fathom constantly lugging around 100 pounds. I do have to say I'm amazed at the human body's capacity to do something like that. So, woohoo.

Milestone 3: Okay, this one's not as wonderful but it's there... if you can call it a milestone. It's a first anyway -- first time I've had any issues since the surgery. For the last week or so I've had a lot of acid reflux at night and have felt like food was getting caught up somewhere along the way. It can be a pretty miserable feeling when you just really don't want to eat. I think it got compounded by getting a bit of a bug at the same time. Honestly I don't know which it was more, a stomach related to the lapband thing or a bug thing, i think the two together make things a bit more miserable. Good news is I'm feeling better than a couple days ago and am more prone to actually eating and stomach isn't as sour now. There's still some reflux but not as much (but that's partly because I'm not eating after 6 now). I think the doctor's going to put me on some medicine and see if that takes care of things. There's a restricted feeling which could be swelling from all the irritation from the reflux, or it could be something more serious like slippage of the band or the old hiatal hernia trying to reassert itself. But, I feel like it's getting better, so I'll hold out hope it's jsut a temporary thing. Will keep you posted...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Intriguing: BodyMedia Fit

I think I've mentioned some android apps before, but I found something that is quite definitely intriguing that goes beyond just a phone application.

I have a Samsung Epic for a phone, quite possibly the best phone ever made. (Okay, it's that or the Evo.) What I love about it when it comes to weight loss is that as it uses the Android operating system, there are a ton of applications that are pretty cool (and more amazing is how many of them are free). There are applications for tracking what you eat, your activities, etc. I use the Cardio Tracker app a lot to track certain activities such as walking, and that will post the activities to my facebook page. Now I'll have to admit that I'm probably at a point where I may quit posting all that stuff just because I hate seeing everyone else's Farmville posts, and my friends may get tired of seeing all the posts that say Ron walked 3.2 miles in 58 minutes and burned 479 calories. There is definitely an accountability thing there that is good but I can see the annoying factor as well.

I digress. Sorry.

Anyway, Sprint just announced a collaboration with Bodymedia that integrates a nifty little device called the BodyMedia Fit. (I probably should put little trademark thingies next to these, shouldn't I?) The device is a little armband that you wear pretty much all the time but it tracks what's going on in your body. It counts your steps, it calculates how many calories you're burning and when you are involved in moderate or more strenuous activity, etc. I'm guessing it figures those things based on heart rate combined with whatever movement it senses. It also measures how efficiently you are sleeping. All pretty interesting stuff.

Earlier versions of the device required you either connect it to a computer to download the information it tracks or you get a little display device that it communicates with. Now they've come up with an integration that allows it to communicate with your phone and let it pull the information and provide the reports.

Below is one of their Youtube video:

At the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month they had an intern from Sprint who wore the device through the week and tracked his activity on his phone while doing things like skydiving, running half marathons, etc. Probably a bit more than I would ever do, but it's interesting stuff considering how much I like using the apps I have already to keep track of stuff. It definitely presents an added level of accountability. I think it's pretty close to the same thing as the Bodybug marketed by the Biggest Loser show/franchise, which to my understanding is made by the same people. Anyway, like I said, intriguing stuff.... really thinking that perhaps this is a good 300 pound reward item. Okay, that or the bike.... both would be nice really but there are budget considerations.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

1 Big benchmark down, some immediately ahead

Gotta say, still on cloud 9 over the breaking 300 thing. Definitely a good thing. My wife's been saying I need to do a reward of some kind, and I'm not sure yet just what that should be. Funny though, isn't it, that food always seems to come to the top of one's mind when thinking of rewards? She is thinking clothes would be a good idea, though I'm thinking clothes will be a necessity anyway so it won't feel so much like a reward. One thing that's come to mind is a new bike, but this time a road bike. I've always had to get a mountain bike type before because that was the only kind to be able to hold my weight well. But the road bikes work well for 300 pounds and under and guess what! I'm under!!!

(See picture from previous post... snoopy dance!)

So yeah, that's one big benchmark gone. There are a couple more that are very very close, and could be hit this month still.

First is the 35 BMI benchmark. At 6'5 that comes out to 295 pounds. This to me is maybe as significant as breaking 300 because of the classifications. At 352 (time of surgery) I was at 41.7 BMI, considered morbidly obese (above 40). When I started this blog at 393 I was at 46.6 (I don't think there's a term for above 45, but.... super morbid?). And I'll tell you what, if there's anything that really makes you feel good it's being classified morbidly obese. Mmm hmmm! So severe obesity (35-40 BMI) doesn't sound quite so bad now, does it? So at 295 there's going to be a bit of celebration because there's no attachment, no additional term that adds an emphatic exclamation point to my obesity. Just simply obese. I know, even obese doesn't sound great, does it? But when you've been morbid in the past, just plain obese sounds pretty good.

That's one benchmark. The other has more to do with the start of this blog. That's at 293 pounds. Starting at 393, that makes a nice, even, cool 100 pounds gone since it all started. THAT is a party in and of itself.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snoopy Dance Time!

Dave Ramsey calls it the Snoopy Dance. "Feet flying, nose up in the air." Okay, it looks awkward when I try it and my kids think I'm weird, but... today I dance the Snoopy Dance.

I guess it can't look any weirder than when I try the hula hoop on the Wii fit. I try to do that when no one is around to see it, could be bad for their psyche.

Anyway, there's good reason....

No, that's not 662. My weight starts with a 2 for the first time in more than 7 years. It's pretty darn close to being the least I've weighed in nearly 19 years. I'm thinking I went over 300 probably about 1992 when I was driving a taxi in Omaha....

The cool thing is being able to actually dance the Snoopy Dance and not be totally out of breath. Yeah, clumsy and bumbling but... not out of breath. I love it!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What to say to people considering surgery

One of the things that made a big impact when I attended the seminar back in March about weight loss surgery was the panel of patients that was there. Here were people who had been through the surgery and you could see the difference being made in their lives.

So now here I am on the other side and I've been asked to be on the panel at the next surgery. I know that it's a marketing thing, obviously, and as a result the people up there are going to be the ones who've done really well, not the ones who've really struggled afterwards. But then, I wonder what the numbers really are, how many have done well compared to who has struggled? And maybe they ask everyone and I'm just one of the few to say, okay. All that said, I'm honored to have been asked.

Of course I wonder what all I would say... There hasn't been any briefing or anything like that. I may be just one of those who says I lost this much, yada yada yada. So if given liberty to say anything I wanted, what would I say? Good question.

One thing I could do is point out the perils of the aftermath of surgery. It can be stressful on a marriage. What I mean is, any more I can barely keep my ring on my finger, the finger's just too skinny! I can't count the number of times it's dropped off. Another issue is clothes. There's a definite hesitance to buy clothes right now because in a matter of months they'll be too large. And the ones I have are pretty baggy. Fortunately there's been a reprieve of sorts, in that most of my slacks used to fit up under my belly around my hips. Now they fit around my belly. Of course there's a problem with that, in that now that they fit properly I'm able to wear them up where they should be, but that means that.... now I have a problem with my slacks being high water.... not to mention even now getting baggy....

Granted... these are nice problems to have.

The other approach I would take is to just give some suggestions from my own experience. What advice would the me today tell the me in March... actually I think it was February... ?

One of the things that I remember is being a little disappointed it would take so long to get an appointment. Keeping in mind all that I went through from insurance, one thing I would say is this: It may be a couple of months before you can get in for your first appointment. Don't wait. Start today. Get an appointment today with your doctor or nutritionist. Get started right now on a medically supervised diet. So many times insurance is going to require 6 months. For me that was a killer to even think of that possibility. But you could be half way along by the time you have your initial appointment, and even if your insurance does not have such a requirement, you've got momentum going.

That's the other thing I'd say is, get some momentum. I think that's something that has made a huge difference for me. Between the time of the seminar and the date of the surgery I lost at least 20 pounds. There's something about that because when the times come that say yeah, it's only because of the surgery that I'm losing this weight, I know that it's more than just that. The surgery has definitely made a difference, but it means so much to be able to say that I've worked pretty hard at this myself alongside the surgery, and I have that momentum to point to as evidence.

I know, it sounds hard when you're at a point where you're actually forced to start thinking about surgery, there's almost a hopelessness that makes any thought of momentum go in one ear and out the other. But realizing what this would be all about added a new sense of purpose for me. All of a sudden I wasn't thinking in terms of this being another short term solution but instead it became a thought that I was starting something that... I had some real hope that it could be permanent. There was a new sense of purpose in it. And by the time of surgery I was already losing weight, I was already getting more and more active, and it just made it easier to carry on the momentum.

So those are the main things I would want to communicate.

By the way.... 302.4 pounds was the latest weigh in. More than 90 pounds since starting this blog. More than 70 since considering surgery, and just under 50 since the surgery itself...

So yeah... I'd definitely be able to stand up there and mean it when I tell people that it's worth it.