On July first of this year I decided to do something about my weight. By way of some history, I weighed ten pounds at birth and never looked back. I was raised in the south by an overweight mother who came from a lineage of overweight people. Virtually everything I ate as a youngster was fried in pork fat. Even the few vegetables I ate were seasoned with bacon grease. I have been heavy most of my life. So as you can see, I have had every excuse to live my life as a fat man. It is my genetic propensity you see. While all of this is true, I still have been less than careful with my diet as an adult. I have been very lax in exercise. It has only gotten worse after retirement.
I have tried all the easy diets. Carbs, grapefruit, you name it, I’ve tried it. For me they don’t work.
My first problem is that I don’t like diet foods. I like fried foods. I like desserts. I like potatoes especially with gravy. So how on earth was I going to pull this off? By the way my Dr. told me that if I didn’t lose some weight I was going to have to go on diabetes medicine. At the time my blood sugar was 128. She also told me that my condition could be solved with just weight loss.
The following is my regimen beginning July 1st.
First I decided to consume no more that 1500 calories a day for two weeks and then to reexamine how I was doing. I also decided to write down everything I ate or drank and to be brutally honest with myself. Further I asked my lovely wife, Linda, not to help. I had to do this myself. Any suggestions from her would probably be interpreted by my fat side as nagging. She agreed to stay out of it.
After the first two weeks, I decided that it was doable at least for a while longer. I used Pam spray instead of added fats. I measured my drinks at cocktail hour and cut back almost half. I reduced my portion size by about half. I ate slower. Still I was able to eat my normal foods. I stayed away from diet foods.
My first official weigh-in was scheduled for August 13 at the VA so I decided to stay with it at least until that date. I started at gulp 360 pounds. At the weigh-in I topped the scales at 326 pounds. My blood pressure reduced so much that the Dr. cut my meds in half. My blood sugar reduced by over 20 points. My total cholesterol dropped to 123. My reaction was “wow”, and at the same time “whew”. The Dr. said I was losing too fast and to increase my calorie intake. What???
I am now over three months into this project. My average daily calorie intake for July was 1398, August 1539, and September 1578. My highest on any day during each month was, 1631 for July, 1805 for August and 1826 for September.
I have learned some things that I wish to share. If you weigh 320 pounds, you need 3200 daily calories to maintain that weight. If instead you consume 2000 calories, you will lose one pound in three days. Each 3500 calories represents one pound of gain or loss. A great web site is www.thecaloriecounter.com. It has the count of virtually anything you can imagine.
With the above formula, one should be able to track one’s success or failure based entirely on your intake. Exercise of course helps but the real weight loser is calorie awareness. Linda or I prepare most of what we eat from scratch and we therefore know the ingredients. I can make shrimp alfredo with cream sauce and have a good sized portion and stay under 350 calories. The same is true for spaghetti and meatballs. The key is to know what goes in it and to keep portion size down. Also stay away from bread.
My normal breakfast has been two eggs, two pieces of bacon, one piece of ten grain toast with one teaspoon of butter and six ounces of tomato juice. That folks is 406 calories. Lunch usually consists of a salad which includes a ½ cup of leftover meat from dinner and Caesar dressing (two tablespoons). Cardinis is 80 calories per tablespoon. Most salad greens are negligible in calories. I charge myself about 350 calories for lunch. Cocktail hour is usually 350 calories. If I keep dinner under 500, then I’m there. I do not snack between meals and I try to eat slowly. As you can see, it isn’t brain surgery. My next weigh in is October 10 and I will report to this writing my result.
Well today is October 10 and I just returned from the VA. If my formula was correct, I should have weighed 310 pounds. That is precisely what I weighed. All the blood numbers were in line. There was a problem however. The Doctor again said that I was losing too fast and that I had to increase my calorie intake. At this point he doesn’t want me to lose more than twenty pounds in the next year. There are apparently almost as many problems with fast weight loss as there are with being overweight. I am now reconsidering my diet and trying to decide how I will do this. I intend to continue losing and posting my results. If this helps anybody out there, great. Next week, to celebrate my birthday, I am going to have a pizza.
Ron Scarbro October 10, 2008
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