What I've Learned Losing Weight - So Far

The losing weight thing is going pretty well. So far I'm down 23 pounds and weigh less than Wifey has ever known me. Haven't been this little since my senior year in college, which was...um...crap, 13 years ago? When did THAT happen?!

I have about 20 pounds or so left to go, which if I reach that point I'll weigh what I did when I graduated from high school - 165 pounds. According to the brilliant measurement of BMI that's where I need to be to not be considered "overweight." Then again, I feel any measurement which does not take into account muscle mass is a bunch of crap, but that's a personal opinion.

Over the course of the past couple months I've learned some things about myself and my body. Some of these things are not flattering and really piss me off. You've been warned.

Losing weight is expensive. I'm not talking about spending the money for better food or anything like that; I'm talking about the results. This is a crappy thing to complain about (and really, it's not a complaint), but I have to go shopping now. My pants are falling off me and my belts are too loose to do anything about it. My button down shirts look like they belong to my big brother who plays offensive line. Even my T-shirts are baggy. I've been wearing XL tees since midway through high school, first for style and then because that felt the most comfortable, but now it's back to Ls for me. Like I said, it's been 13 years since I weighed this amount, so I don't exactly have some clothes to go back to, ones that used to fit.

Plus, right now I'm at an odd, in-between size. All of my clothes are clearly too big, but I'm not close enough to my goal to justify a new wardrobe. I have to decide how much I really should spend for clothes that, if all goes well, will become too big in a couple months.

I see a trip to the Woodburn Factory Stores in my future. Nike, Under Armour, The North Face, Calvin Klein...I need some of everything. And a belt.

And not just clothes. You know what else happens when you get skinnier? Your fingers get thinner. That wedding ring you got seven years ago when you were at 205? Well, it doesn't fit on your hand the same way at 184. I've caught myself almost losing the ring in the sink a couple of times already now, plus a few other times had it almost fall off. I guess I'll have to get it re-sized, which will probably cost me money.

Speaking of designer labels... I used to be adamant brands like Calvin Klein simply didn't make clothes that fit my body style - specifically my legs. They were, I would argue, too thick, muscular. Simply put I was fooling myself with a pile of bullshit. It's amazing how losing a few pounds suddenly gives you more clothing options.

Eat soup! Soup really is the perfect meal. It almost always has vegetables in it and if it's broth-based the calories are likely to be low. But, stay away from the crap in the cans. That's full of sodium, plus it usually tastes like, well, crap. Both of the grocery stores we frequent, New Seasons and Whole Foods, have a pretty good selection of fresh soups that don't have preservatives. Add a slice of toast or some crackers and it's a complete meal. The creamy soups, like a clam chowder, are higher in fats and calories, but still - relatively speaking - not bad for you. This has been my lunch for the past month during the week and the variety of soups keeps it from getting boring. I do wish there was a great soup restaurant in Portland where I could grab quarts to go.

I'm cold. I have no idea if this is directly related to having less padding on my body or what, but I've been freezing the past month, ever since I dropped under 200. I'm cold at work, cold in the car, and cold at home. Nothing with the temperature in those places has changed nor have I changed what I'm wearing. The only thing I can point to is there being less of me. I used to think it was odd people were cold when I thought it was still plenty warm, but now I get it. I wasn't hot - I was fat.

Use a food scale. Buy one. Use it. Measure servings. Those numbers on the side of the package? They mean something.

Keep the food journal. I can't say enough about how using the MyFitnessPal app on my phone has helped me on this journey. I resisted it for so long because of the work involved in tracking everything, but the app made it easy, especially since my phone is always on me anyway. And holy shit is it eye-opening. It becames apparent very quickly where you have been going wrong when you see exactly what you get for 400 calories. Or how much a simple cheeseburger can cost you. When you are targeting to net about 1,500 calories on the day it's simply not worth spending 800-1000 on the burger.

Sidenote: We have this Tanita scale that tells all sorts of fun little tidbits about your body that it can apparently measure simply by you standing on it (I have no idea how this voodoo works). One of the things it tells you is an estimate of how many calories you must consume on a daily basis to maintain your weight. It routinely would give me a number north of 3,500 and I would routinely think, "No way I eat that much food." Well, guess what? I kept gaining weight, so apparently I was fooling myself. Again. Maybe, just maybe, if a scale is telling you that you need to eat 3,500 calories to maintain your weight, and you know you are overweight, and then you keep gaining...maybe you're doing something wrong. Just saying.

And no, I won't lie - I still eat it. Occasionally. I still have a beer - once a week. I still eat chocolate - a couple times a week. I've eaten cheesecake and some other things that aren't "diet" food. But you know what? I planned for it and worked out the rest of my calories for the day in advance. I'm figuring out how to have treats and still stay on target. If I can't do that, then this will never work.

It's really all about the excuses. This sounds cheesy, but it's just like this year's season of the Biggest Loser: No Excuses. We've watched every season and many of the things they show or talk about on there we've learned along with the contestants plus gone and done our own research. But still, I was way too heavy. All those excuses I've had before...it's all bullshit. There is literally no excuse for not doing this. It's not rocket science, it's not difficult, it's not a quick fix - it's just get over yourself and do what you need to do.

At the same time you can't do it if you don't want to do it. You can't help someone, even yourself, that doesn't want to be helped. It has to become a priority, otherwise it won't happen. And to make it a priority, maybe you have to give up something else.

I'm rambling now, so perhaps it's time to end this...for now. I'm sure there is more learning in my future.

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