Sunday, August 10, 2008

30x40: Week of 8/4/08 Progress

ANOTHER SUNDAY, ANOTHER SUMMATION OF my progress toward not having my heart explode like the Death Star before I hit 50 by losing 30 pounds by the time I hit 40. I've been on this plan for a full month. From a 7/7/08 peak of 232.5 lb., I lost 9.5 lbs. by the 30-day mark. Despite a little backtracking in the last and previous weeks, I continued to visit the gym 6 or 7 days out of 7, and fought off a cold before it got any worse. Saturday's weigh-in showed 221, 3.5 lb. less than my goal of 224.5, for a total loss of 11.5 lb.

I've learned a fair amount about what food, weight training, aerobic exercise, and sleep will do for me in the right combination. I'm still figuring that exact mix out, but I'm very proud of sustaining more good habits than bad through this period. It was important to launch this program positively and successfully, and to develop the way of living that will keep me alive and viable into my old age.

Not to sound too serious about this, but I've lived in a state of ill physical fitness and health (for obesity is a disease) for all of my adult life. I don't want to rely on pills, joint replacement, and home health aides to be able to survive into my retirement years, to say nothing of enjoying them. I've already wound the odometer forward on my joints and cardiovascular system by retaining so much weight for so long. The plan is not merely to arrest that degeneration, but to reverse it as much as possible.

Staying flexible in the very short term, but on programs that carry one from week to week, seems to be working. Some of the short-term choices I've made have illustrated how much I've moved away from my older ways of eating and living: Chik-Fil-A and Johnny Rockets can safely be considered emergency dining choices in the future, especially on weekdays. But if I am invited out to a cookout over the weekend, or to my parents' for dinner one weeknight, I can exercise control over the preceding day and eat wisely when I do arrive there. Given, of course, that I've met my daily committment to the gym schedule. Flexibility and accountability.

Regarding what I eat, I have hit a wall or two. I'm sick of one of my lunch choices, and I'm trying to get more veggies into my evening mix for fiber, nutrition, and fullness. I'll need to find ways to change things up, both there and at the gym, to keep things from becoming stale. Because no matter how close to my year's goal of a 30-lb. deficit, I'm going to have to live like this for the rest of my days. I've noticed that if I do slip back into some of the older ways, like the fast food I've mentioned, I regain the weight quickly. These aren't merely aspects of my life that are being put on hold. They must be gone forever. What indulgences I accept, at least for the short term, will be on weekends, amid otherwise healthful eating patterns and exercise, must be the rare exception. So I need to find variety among the good meals I eat during the mass of the week.

As I said, this is week to week, and here's what I did with last week's goals:
  • 8 hours sleep/night
  • 8/5: Waist measure
  • More veggies in afternoon and with dinner
  • Portion control: 1900 calories, 40/40/30 nutrients [protein/carbs/fat]
  • Solid gym attendance
8 hours sleep/night: I was about 50/50 here. Note that this applies to weekends as well, as I've been trying to vist the gym earlier on weekend days, preferably at the open. The Sunday time may shift as the regular football season begins, because I like to watch the 1:00 game from the back of some aerobic device. But I can still do better on this goal.

Waist measurement: Dropped ¾" since the previous Monday. Unlike my weight, I'm not setting goals here; it's a complementary datum that will help me understand whether the number on the scale represents actual fat loss.

Veggies and portion control: Made some errors last week: frozen pizza and nachos for two dinners, mall food for a third. Easy to eliminate if I cue up good food earlier; I didn't have any plans by the end of those two particular days, so older habits crept in and I reached for something easier. There are easy choices that are a lot more healthful if I take some time, either over the weekends or over a little extra time each night, to prepare something that will do me some good. I'm out of chili now, so I need to make a new batch of that, which will also help make some of my lunches far better.

Solid gym attendance: Six out of seven days over the past week, including all four weight-training days. Monday was the loser again. This time, if a late dinner at the parents' leads to an even later bedtime, I'll wake up an hour later, make a cardio visit to the gym, maybe reward myself with a steam, and then do the two-day lifting split on Tuesday and Wednesday instead of Monday and Tuesday. Had I done this last and the previous Monday, I think I'd be juuuuust a little thinner. We'll see.

I'm going to retain this same set of goals, and make my weight-loss target an even 224, down one half-pound. For the past few weeks, I've overshot the goal, but I believe this has been due to poor protein and sleep follow-up reversing some of my weightlifting progress. I've got big expectations for this week, as it'll be the last complete week in New Jersey before I spend two-plus days in Central City for work. Between the indigenous cuisine, and the fun of spending a few hours in airports, I need to charge into that trip in top form.

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