Friday, February 29, 2008

Runnin' Down a Dream

OK I had to use a song title... I wasn't running on empty, at least not until the very end. So tonight I exceeded my earlier in the week run of 1.6 miles, with a decent run of 2.24 miles. Woo hoo. Oh, for the days when I was a 225 lb. 22 year-old running a 5k or 8k, but I digress.

Tonight I went around the outside of the neighborhood. There was a pretty stiff head wind as I ran around the main streets where there were no homes to shield the effects. It really was a big difference once I turned back into the neighborhood. There was not a lot of muscular pain, and aerobically, I felt good. The main factor causing me to stop was fatigue - and of course, boredom. But my endurance is certainly building up.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I Think Alli Works!

I have noted already that this was going to be a pretty well documented diet. I'm keeping score pretty closely using those little index cards I keep in the bathroom drawer.

Today marks Day 50 of the Diet of 2008. So far I am down 21 pounds, and over half way to my goal of losing 40 before July 4! Being over the top in nerdness, I have graphed my 2008 data (cyan) with data from my diets of 2002 (dark blue), 2004 (magenta), and 2006 (yellow). The red line is the straight line goal from 0 to minus 40 in 180 days, so I am well on track there.

In general, this diet is not much different than previous diets, in that I can pretty easily eat well and exercise for 3-4 months, and knock off 20-30 pounds. I don't think I've eaten any better or exercised more on this diet than some of these previous ones.

What I have done differently is try a new product called Alli™. Alli (pronounced al-eye) is a GlaxoSmithKline product, and is the only FDA approved over the counter "weight loss aid." Alli prevents your body from absorbing about a quarter of the fat you eat. Supposedly, you can lose 50% more weight if you take Alli while on a diet. You have to be on a diet for this to work, as there are very nasty "treatement effects" if you aren't. I have been using this since about week 2 of this diet and have noticed NO side effects at all. So after 50 days, I think the data shows... this stuff must actually work!!! The bad thing about Alli is it is quite expensive - about $2 per day for the 3 pills required (one for each meal).

In the first 50 days of my previous 3 diets, I averaged 1.8 pounds lost per week in 2002, 1.7 in 2004, and 1.7 in 2006. Pretty consistent. For the Diet of 2008, I have averaged 3.0 pounds per week! Without doing the math behind it, I think that is statistically significant. Pretty cool, huh? So anyway, I'm about out of my most recent refill, so it's time to head to the drug store for a refill!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Happy Heart Day + 2

This past Thursday, Valentine's Day, was my followup checkpoint 6 weeks after the physical I had back at the new year when my doctor told me my cholesterol was 248. That was a new record for me, that I was none too pleased with. So I was happy that the 6 weeks later number was an amazing 140. Yes, 140. I wish I could say it was all my diligent dieting and exercise, but my doctor had also given me sample packs of Vytorin to take. So what ever it was... It worked. So I got more samples and will hopefully maintain the dieting and exercise.

Speaking of... I just don't understand diet & exercise science. I work out daily and eat well for like 7 days straight, and my weight fluctuates plus or minus a few pounds, but basically, at the end of the week, I've not gone into any new territory. THEN, I have a hectic schedule for 2 days, miss working out for 3 days straight, celebrate my low cholesterol with a sausage and cheese croissant from Burger King, go out to eat Japanese food Thursday night, and end the week at El Dorado, where a basket of chips and fresh salsa await me, followed by The Michael Jordan - aka combination dinner #23 - One taco, One burrito, rice and beans. Then this morning, the scales surprise me. Down to a new low, surpassing the new low from 8 days ago by 1.5 pounds. I guess that salsa had a lot of water in it. It's as if my body was like - "OH NO - The diet is over! Here comes the food! Make room!"

Inspired, and feeling rewarded for my early-week patience, I bypassed the homemade Belgian waffles Lori was making for the kids, and went out for a "run" also known as "a fat guy appearing to jog through invisible Jell-o." I have been working my way up through the stages of running, starting about 2 weeks ago. Run pain walk run pain walk walk walk run pain rest run run walk. Followed by walk run run pain walk run run run walk. And today... walk run run run run slow finally at top of hill run run run pain run pain run walk walk walk. So getting more used to it. It was difficult, but today I was able to get a self photo of my legs as I was running (see left). It's good to get back into good leg shape.

So while I'm running, I get these great ideas like "I should enter a 5k race sometime this spring, and that would motivate me to continue this madness." It's a nice thought, I guess. I really do hate running.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Diet of 2008

The Diet of 2008, like any of the 13 prior diets I've been on, started out with an index card. The index card is where I write down my daily weight, sometimes erasing and rewriting it if my weight drops a fraction of a pound further during the day. This is different than The Diet of 2002 when I only wrote down my weight when it went down. I should probably have stuck with the 2002 method... That year I lost 29 lbs over 234 days. For the Diet of 2008, henceforth known as D'08, I have to lose 29 pounds just to get to the point when I usually start a diet.

There are other differences in this diet and previous ones. I have a motivational slogan this time, whereas previously I did not. I'm going to lose "40 by the 4th." For D'02, there was no slogan, just bad food and a lot of water.

To me, diets are like relationships. That's why I'm so reluctant to start each diet. Why start this new diet, when the last one just didn't work out? I really thought the previous diet would be my last. I invested time into it. I loved and cared for it. I had the right intentions. But then, I fell out of diet-love. Me and the diet went our separate ways. Perhaps I made some mistakes, but the diet did too. Will this new diet be "true diet", or just a "rebound diet" started too soon after the last diet ended, and after one feel-good night of better eating and a little casual exercise? Indeed, diets are like relationships.

For prior diets, I went into them with high expectations. Like when I did D'04, I was going to forever change the way I ate... I would change my lifestyle. I'm going into D'08 with a different perspective. I plan to lose my weight and then go to Taco Bell and gorge myself on all that which I desire. At least I'm honest with myself.

To more efficiently expedite this diet, I'm also working out about 5 days a week now. Working out is such an appropriate phrase.

"Working" - doing something you don't want to in order to receive some reward that is barely a fair exchange for the effort and time required to accomplish the aforementioned work.

"Out" - not in.

So not only am I doing something I don't want to do, I'm doing it somewhere I don't want to do it. Working out is the dieting trajectory accelerator that can be sustained or squashed depending on which of these 3 variables trumps the other first.
  1. Endorphin rush... Endorphins are endogenous opioid biochemical compounds, which is a fancy chemical way to say "runner's high." The runner's high is the good feeling you get when working out, to the point where you crave the feeling, and in my case, even get irritable if I go through withdrawals for a few days. Endorphins are obviously a workout sustainer if you can get into that zone. The brainiacs at my alma mater Georgia Tech likened the runner's high to marijuana. I do know that there is a lot of inhaling when I work out, so maybe there's some truth to that theory.

  2. Skipportunity... A skipportunity is a one-time opportunity, usually inadvertently offered by the non-dieting friend or spouse of the dieter, which ultimately leads to the dieter skipping an already planned work out, and all future workouts for that matter. For example, "Honey, I'm going to work out while you're relaxing there watching Oprah." Then Honey says, "Oh, I didn't realize you were going to work out again this weekend." Which really means, "You never spend any time with me anymore," which is a skipportunity, and the beginning of the end of the diet.

  3. Injury... Nothing kills a working-out-filled diet like a real injury. Fortunately, this is a real excuse, and sometimes a badge of honor. In fact, if not for the "Running Injury of 1986," D'85 would have been my first, last and only diet.

So here I am, blogging about my stupid diet - The Diet of 08. Again, I'm trying to do this one differently. Not differently in a way that Dr. Phil or Weight Watchers would endorse. But just trying to mix it up a little bit. In all of my prior diets, I did NOT blog about them at all. So, I am on Day 34, and I've lost 15 lbs. Hang on, let me go re-weigh and see if that has changed any since this morning.