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Saturday, February 11, 2012

February 11th, 2012 - Reflecting on the year that was

Well, it's hard to believe that it's been a year since I first started on my diet and weight loss journey. There's been a lot of hard work that's been put in, and also a lot of no work too. While waiting yesterday for the battery to arrive for my scale, I used a significant portion of that time to reflect on the past year.

I started this diet, and this blog, with some mighty big aspirations and goals. I wanted to cycle this diet with a couple buffer days between cycles, but one of the things I learned early was (at the time) financially it wasn't quite possible. Also, life gets in the way sometimes. Poor timing also affects things, such as being on banana and milk day on Easter, or attending a Timbers match during the cycle and having people offer me beer when I can't enjoy it.

One of the major things I learned though, after the rapid-fire (by comparison) pace at which the first several week cycles were completed was that while each cycle added to the weight loss total, each cycle produced less and less weight loss overall. A side affect was that my body started to become unbalanced nutrition-wise, and in the end if I kept up that pace it would cause more harm than good if I continued. Speaking with people with a bit more medical and physiological knowledge than myself, I found that I was throwing off my body chemistry, and that if I dialed back the amount of cycles in a given period, I would allow my body to re-adjust after a cycle, get back into balance. I've since completed two cycles, and am at the beginning of a third. The spacing of these cycles is something I am continuing to work on, and hope to get a better idea of how often my body will allow me to go through them.

As of this morning's weigh in, my total reported weight loss stands at 5.9 lbs. For as much as I've done in the past year, it doesn't seem like much. Some people lose that in a month. But any loss is a positive, and for the first time, probably in my entire life, I haven't gained any weight in a year. This is encouraging, to be sure. I have looked back over the past year and looked at my eating habits, which have changed quite a bit. I still have junk food from time to time, but I eat a lot of salads and veggies. I have drastically reduced the amount of soda I drink (which wasn't much to begin with) and alcoholic beverages as well (this despite discovering the local soccer team and the fans, as well as beginning homebrewing). I wasn't drinking a lot of alcohol before, but I definitely cut down off of that volume as well.

Other things that have contributed to that total of weight loss include gym time. I haven't been doing a lot of cardio (a goal of mine for year #2), but I have primarily been lifting weights. Several trainers over the years have told me that by adding more muscle I would burn more fat, and I've been working on building and toning my muscles, and I can tell a big difference over the past year. I noticed that my endurance has improved quite a bit, both running and biking. I'm also playing soccer now, indoor currently but will be moving to outdoor soon. I play keeper for indoor, and despite the fact I'm not running around a lot, I do use a lot of energy and get a great sweat going.

The weather is starting to improve (but then again, around here, it can change at the drop of a hat), and once it warms a bit I can start riding my bike more. During some of the hotter days of summer this past year I didn't ride when I could/should have, to avoid heat stroke (which I did suffer on one occasion), but hopefully nobody will blame me for that. I'm also doing a lot of walking, and as my cardio improves I'm hoping to do some light running as well.

Some hard facts about my weight loss:

  1. I dropped a pant size over the last year, possibly two. My old jeans were getting quite snug before I started my diet, and since then I dropped to the next size down.
  2. My shirts are fitting a bit more loosely. I have noticed that a couple of shirts that I bought new (and were quite snug at the time) are fitting more comfortably now. My custom Seahawks jersey, for example, now fits better than it did when I bought it in Dec. 2010. My Blazers "Rip City" hoodie fits more loosely than when I bought it. Several dress shirts that I have bought or been given now fit more loosely as well than when they were first worn (early 2010/fall 2010).
These two, alone, are enough to make me very happy. While I will never know the exact amount of my weight loss (thanks dead scale), I know that I've lost more than just 5.9 lbs in the last year, probably closer to 20, and that's great news. I'm really looking forward to seeing what I can do to improve on that this year.

Finally, I want to thank each and every one of you who reads this blog. I know over the past several months I haven't kept up on it like I want to or should, but people continue to ask me about my diet regularly. I know some people have thought I have given up at times, but this is not true. I am figuring this out as I go along, and I appreciate everyone's encouragement and support throughout the journey to date, and I will continue to appreciate the same moving forward.

This past year really flew past, and not just in the diet sense. I really look forward to the year that's underway, and hope to have some more great reflections come next February.

Thank you again for all your support. I couldn't do this nearly as well without it.


1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you haven't gained this year and have started to be more physically active. The weight struggle (not 20 pounds here and there, but REAL weight) is so hard. I've dealt with it since I was 12 and even after duodenal switch 10 years ago I have to constantly find a balance in my emotional life, food and excercise. It's a very hard thing to live with and you are doing a great inspiring job!!