January 2020 weight loss report: Down 0.7 pounds

It’s a new year and time for new fat! Well, hopefully not.

First, a review of last year. I started the year at 167.5 pounds, 17.5 pounds from my target of 150. I ended the year at 171.8, up 4.3 pounds. As weight loss plans go, this was not exactly the ideal. The only positive is that I got through the month of December without gaining (or losing weight), a somewhat impressive feat given how much candy and treats one gets plied with over the holidays.

I start this year at 171.1 pounds, which is down for the month of January. I had dipped even lower thanks to the flu, but some last minute indulgences pushed me back over 170 pounds. I used food as comfort again, which was bad and I feel bad. But it was yummy. But still, bad.

So here I am 21.1 pounds away from my goal. I am almost recovered from the flu and will start running again. I have managed to keep the snacking under control lately, so who knows, maybe this will bee the year I actually dip below 160 again.

January 1: 171.8 pounds
January 31: 171.1 pounds (down 0.7 pounds)

Year to date: From 171.8 to 171.1 pounds (down 0.7 pounds)

And the body fat:

January 1: 21% (36.1 pounds of fat)
January 31:
21.6% (36.9 pounds of fat) (up 0.8 pounds)

The final flu weight loss tally is…5.4 pounds

Of which I gained back 1.8 pounds overnight, after eating the world’s most calorie-rich homemade French onion soup (it was very tasty, however).

Here’s the final chart showing the max just before the flu hits and the bottom where I still had very little appetite. As of this morning, post-soup, I am 169.7, so already I am perilously close to edging above 170 pounds again, which is BAD.

The secret to the weight loss was not actually getting sick, of course, it was not eating. Having no appetite due to the ravages of the flu (P.S. get your flu shot) just expedites the process.

The tricky part starts now, as my appetite returns to normal. For the last week I have not done much of any snacking because the idea of snacks has been grossbuckets. Now, though, food can once again return to something I find comforting, reassuring–a welcome distraction from whatever is happening. And therein lies the return to the fat.

But I’m going to try. I really want to stay under 170 for the rest of the month and build on that. I have five days to go and snacks in the pantry.

We’ll see what happens.

November 2019 weight loss report: Up 2 pounds

This post is brought to you by spin. When you have bad news to present, spin spin spin!

There is not much to spin but here is what I have: my weight gain slowed for the month. Last month I picked up a cement bag-like 4.1 pounds. I still marvel at that (in horror). This month, though, I only gained two pounds!

But I am still up and that’s where the spin ends. The rest of the news is fat and bad.

On November 12 the Fitbit app officially declared me overweight with a BMI of 25. I lucked into normal on November 27 when a rounding error declared the BMI to be 24.9, but was otherwise deemed overweight for the month of November. Yes, I’m aware BMI is a controversial measurement. But my waistline is non-controversially more expansive than it was a month ago. I am gaining weight and as the stats below reveal, it ain’t muscle.

A couple of things have contributed to the weight gain:

  • Yeah, that whole putting food into the mouth thing. Especially snack food. All attempts to curb this failed, with one notable exception: I promised myself a last oatmeal fudge bar from Starbucks yesterday, walked to the store, then turned around and left, a rare moment of impulse control.
  • Along with the food-in-mouth problem, I didn’t run much. This was due to a couple of things, like the usual “too dark after work” issue that plagues me during late fall through early spring. I also managed to pull a muscle in my lower back, then a week later pulled another muscle in my upper thigh. The latter was especially vexing. I was given opiates for pain! I did not become addicted. When I did finally run again, I was very slow, but I was also carrying 170+ pounds by that point.

My burdensome current weight reminded me of when I was at my most svelte. This was back in the summer of 2012 when I was running 10Ks three times a week (and walking 4 km to and from the lake each time). I recently found some shots from the MyFitnessPal app I took on my iPhone at the time that showed my current weight. This one is from July 29, 2012:

Yes, I was 144.8 pounds. That seems surreal now. It was also 27 pounds ago. Even the starting point of 159.8 (I apparently can never shed that last 0.8 pounds) is still 12 pounds lighter than I am today.

But there is hope ahead, even as we head into December, the snackiest seasons of the year:

  • As mentioned above, I’m off the oat fudge bars
  • I’m still off donuts
  • I swear no shortbread this year. The shortbread most readily available at nearby stores is covered with sprinkles and crap, so I’m unlikely to be tempted
  • Still running on weekends
  • And the one new change: I’m getting a treadmill. Woo! It’s actually commercial grade and honking big. I’ll be able to use it for my weekday runs when it’s too dark/snowy/scary. And then I’ll be able to use it any other time, too. In other words, I’ll be exercising regularly again, which is also what I was doing in 2012 when I was impossibly thin.

So here’s to December being the month the weight starts dropping again, instead of continuing to pack on like it’s being fed through a particle accelerator.

The fatty stats:

November 1: 169.8 pounds
November 30: 171.8 pounds (up 2 pounds)

Year to date: From 167.5 to 171.8 pounds (up 4.3 pounds)

And the body fat, now fatter than ever:

November 1: 18.3% (31.1 pounds of fat)
November 30:
20% (34.3 pounds of fat) (up 3.2 pounds)

October 2019 weight loss report: Up 4.1 pounds

Yes, it’s fair to say that October was more like Fatober, as I took up eating as a full-time hobby, while at the same time running less due to it getting dark by the time I got home from work and lacking super-spiffy night vision to allow me to run in the dark like a bat. If bats ran. Also, I think they use radar or something, anyway.

So yes, this past month was a disaster for weight loss, even allowing for the start of the month being unusually high, which should have given me an advantage. It did not.

In November I’m hoping we finish converting the spare bedroom into a combo computer/workout room with a treadmill. This will not only allow me to keep running through the winter, it will allow me to run any time at all, which might possibly encourage me to run a bit more. It could happen!

Also, I’m going to try a variation on the no-snacking rule: I can snack all I want on any given day, as long as I burn the same or greater amount of calories through exercise (not everyday activity, actual recorded exercise). We’ll see how well this goes come Fatvember. Er, November.

The lard-filled stats:

October 1: 165 pounds
October 31: 169.1 pounds (up 4.1 pounds) (note: ay caramba)

Year to date: From 167.5 to 169.1 pounds (up 1.6 pounds)

And the body fat:

October 1: 18.4% (30.3 pounds of fat)
October 31:
18.5% (31.2 pounds of fat) (up 0.9 pounds)

Fat is back

I don’t mean that plus-sizes are suddenly in vogue again (or if they ever were in vogue–I don’t really keep up on fashion trends, as anyone observing how I dress can see), what I mean is that last month when I was hitting 162 pounds and trending downward, I am now, in October, trending upward. Fatward.

This is likely related to a combination of running a bit less for various reasons (though I am doing 10K runs again, yay), along with no change in diet. The two in concert tend to lead to weight gain. A symphony of cellulose.

Upon stepping on the scale this morning, I got the weight equivalent of sticker shock. I was up, which is not uncommon after a run day. But I was up 1.3 pounds, to 167.5 pounds, which is the first time I’ve been over 167 pounds this year. Weight gain is not a good way to lose weight. I don’t recommend it.

More depressing still, I was recently looking for some old images on my backup drive and found a couple of screen caps from my iPhone 4 from July 2012. The caps were from the MyFitnessPal app, showing the tracking for my weight loss at the time.

On the day in question my weight was 144.8 pounds. That was 22.7 pounds ago.

Depressing.

To battle the depression I had a chocolate chunk cookie at Starbucks. Probably not the best plan.

Still, with our spare room cleaned up, we are that much closer to getting a treadmill, after which getting in a workout will be as easy as walking into the room and jumping on. I just need to make it past the couch.

So here’s hoping history doesn’t repeat itself, because this is pretty much exactly what happened at this time last year: the days get shorter, I exercise less, eat the same, and bloat up like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade balloon. Maybe this time–we are only halfway through October, after all–I can reverse the trend and get back to svelte.

September 2019 weight loss report: Up 1.8 pounds

September started off with an unusual and dramatic weight drop down to 162.5 right on the first day of the month. This lead me to believe I would break below 160 pounds for the first time this year before the month was out.

I was wrong.

And fat.

Well, fatter…a little.

I was actually doing quite well for the first half of the month, dropping further to 162, but then the weight started to see-saw up and down and by the third week I was peaking at a devilish 166.6 pounds. Not good. Evil, one might say.

In the final week the trend resumed heading downward, but not in time to undo all the damage, so I ended the month at 164.3 pounds, up 1.8 on the month, but still down overall on the year to date.

Body fat remained virtually unchanged, so that’s good. Maybe I was just adding muscle thanks to all the running. Yeah, that seems plausible, sort of.

Given that I’ve only lost 3.2 pounds since January, I’m not going to venture a prediction for October, but I’m still shooting for sub-160. My goal of hitting 150 pounds seems unlikely to happen unless I get super-strict with my diet and keep exercising a whole bunch. This could happen, but so could world peace.

The stats:

September 1: 162.5 pounds
September 30: 164.3 pounds (up 1.8 pounds)

Year to date: From 167.5 to 164.3 pounds (down 3.2 pounds)

And the body fat:

September 1: 18.3% (29.7 pounds of fat)
September 30:
18.3% (30.1 pounds of fat) (down 1.0 pound)

Setting the bar high by going low

I started the month with higher-then-expected weight loss, bringing me down to 162.5 pounds, my lowest weight of the year. This is good. Today I maintained that weight, also good.

But this now means I need to keep losing and hitting new lows for the year in order to progress for the month. In other words, starting the month off with some unplanned weight gain gives me wiggle room to still lose weight but not have to lose as much to show progress over the 30 or 31 days.

This is silly, of course. I’m mostly surprised to be down so much. It’s nice, though. I could conceivably break below 160 pounds in September and enter into the home stretch of my seemingly epic-length quest to get to 150 pounds (again).

Here’s to no donuts for the next 28 days.

Weight loss report, August 2019: Down 2.1 pounds

Something strange happened in August.

As I continued to run and walk and curb my snacking, I also…began to lose weight! So maybe not so weird.

Some last minute indulgences (due to extenuating circumstances and not part of a new, disturbing “Must eat all the donuts!” meltdown) pushed my weight up a bit, but it was not enough to reverse the month-long trend downward.

This means I dipped as low as 163.1 pounds, tantalizingly close to finally slipping back under 160. I don’t know if I can do this in September, but it’s definitely in the realm of possibility. I had been avoiding wearing my size 30 shorts because they were a bit snug (I have another that are size 31) but now they actually fit fine, so my shorts selection has now expanded, just in time for fall. Yay! Hopefully fall will be nice.

Runs have generally gone well, with improved times as my stamina strengthens. Snacking has been under control, though could always be better. I think I’m going to return to the “No snacks after x time” thing and make the cut-off either 7 or 8 p.m. before eventually moving to “nothing after dinner unless it’s a special occasion.” And then be careful to not define special occasions as things like “any day ending in ‘day’.”

Weight for the month was down a solid 2.1 pounds, and body fat also dropped a full pound after barely bulging (!) last month. I’m down 3.6 pounds for the year, which shows just how much improvement August saw. I’ll take it.

The stats:

August 1: 166 pounds
August 31: 163.9 pounds (down 2.1 pounds)

Year to date: From 167.5 to 163.9 pounds (down 3.6 pounds)

And the body fat:

August 1: 18.6% (30.8 pounds of fat)
August 31:
18.2% (29.8 pounds of fat) (down 1.0 pound)

Weight loss report, July 2019: Down 0.6 pounds

Despite going up on the last day of the month (I hate when that happens), I managed to defy the odds and come out with my weight down for the month, marking the fifth month my weight has either declined or at least stayed the same (I was up in February and May).

And yet for the year to date, I am still down less than a pound, so what’s going on? How can I keep losing weight and not really lose weight?

I think there are a few factors at play:

  1. I am exercising more. Specifically, I am running more often, back to my normal three times per week, and regular exercise is a good way to help control weight–but not lose weight.
  2. I have cut down on snacking, but my total calorie intake has not shifted dramatically.

These two factors combined mean a couple of things will happen:

  1. I will lose weight, but slowly.
  2. The slowness is partly due to a change in body composition. As I run more, I burn fat and replace it with hunky, sexy muscle. But hunky, sexy muscle is denser than fat and weighs more.

My theory is that my body fat should be down over the year to date, even if it it is essentially unchanged this month. Let’s see if it is!

January 1, 2019 body fat: 32.2 pounds, 19.2%
July 31, 2019 body fat: 30.9 pounds, 18.6%

Although still not dramatic, there is more change here, as I’ve shed 1.3 pounds of fat, but only dropped 0.8 pounds in actual weight. So this is good news, albeit not exactly the blistering pace of weight loss/fast loss I was hoping for. But if I keep running regularly (we’re tentatively planning on getting a treadmill for the spare bedroom, so running will be easy ‘n convenient, even when the weather is bad or it’s dark out and you might run into a werewolf) and do a bit better on snacking (it’s getting there), I should see more rapid declines. I’m trending in the right direction, at least, so I’ll take it.

Also, I managed to lose weight during vacation, something that is the opposite for most people, so I offer some self-kudos for that. Woo, I say.

And the stats:

July 1: 166.9 pounds
July 31: 166.3 pounds (down 0.6 pounds)

Year to date: From 167.5 to 166.3 pounds (down 0.8 pounds)

And the body fat:

July 1: 18.4% (30.8 pounds of fat)
July 31:
18.6% (30.9 pounds of fat) (up 0.1 pounds)

Weight loss report, June 2019: No weight loss

The seemingly bad news of not losing any weight is a bit deceptive. While it’s true that my weight was exactly the same on both June 1 and June 30, suggesting no progress in weight loss, there was, in fact, progress!

First, the year to date figure has me down 0.6 pounds. A trivial amount, sure, but still in the right direction.

The telling stat, however, is body fat. Over the course of the month it went from 19.8% to 18.5%, a dip of 2.2 pounds. This is a very good sign, and it reflects how I began to curb my snacking and exercise more in the latter half of the month.

Just in the past week I did my first set of three weekly runs in a long time and, despite eyeing it covetously, I passed on a free Boston Cream donut.

So while more actual weight loss would have been nice, I’m pleased with how things went for the month. Here’s to continuing the trend in July, but with more actual weight loss mixed in.

The stats:

June 1: 166.9 pounds
June 30: 166.9 pounds (no change)

Year to date: From 167.5 to 166.9 pounds (down 0.6 pounds)

And the body fat:

June 1: 19.8% (33.1 pounds of fat)
June 30:
18.5% (30.9 pounds of fat) (down 2.2 pounds)

Weight loss report, May 2019: Up 0.9 pounds

Let’s start with the bad news: I was up 0.9 pounds for the month, due to an uptick in my weight over the last week. I was sick with The World’s Worst Cold to start the month, but took to the “feed a cold” school of self-medication, so didn’t shed the pounds as often happens when an illness strikes.

On the plus side, my trend for the month was generally downward. Snacking was down, activity was marginally up (I actually went for a run) and the plan for June is regular outdoor activity, weather-permitting (save for running, which I will do regardless of the weather, unless the weather includes forest fires, bears or hail).

I remained donut-free again.

I didn’t buy another one of those Starbucks cookies that apparently has 570 (!) calories. I have erased from my mind how yummy they are. Mostly.

Perhaps best of all, my body fat seems to be under control again, meaning my diet has probably improved, even if only by a smidgen.

I am going to predict actual weight loss again for June and not be discouraged, just like I’m going to wear sleeveless shirts and not get sunburnt.

We’ll see how skinny/tanned I am in a month.

The stats:

May 1: 167.8 pounds
May 31: 168.7 pounds (down 0.5 pounds)

Year to date: From 167.5 to 168.7 pounds (up 1.2 pounds)

And the body fat:

May 1: 19.7% (33.1 pounds of fat)
May 31:
19.7% (33 pounds of fat) (down 0.1 pounds)

Hello, May!

It’s sunny and pleasant out and Alexa just told me there are only 52 days until summer and I can put on my bikini again*.

I am also home because I have the flu or something flu-like. It’s funny how there’s no real way to know for sure. Look it up, everything has the same symptoms. But I have NyQuil and that’s all that matters. And also a small bottle of Robitussin extra strength cough syrup in case the cough starts up again (it’s been mostly fine today). I deliberately bought a small bottle because there is no way to go through an entire normal-sized bottle of cough medicine before it expires. I know this from the two bottles of cough medicine in our medicine cabinet that expired in 2015. If you cough long enough to use a full bottle before it expires, you probably have some fatal cough-related illness.

So on the one hand, hooray for May and getting another day closer to summer, the best season ever made, but boo to starting the month with the flu or something flu-like. I want to run through fields of tall grass, not feel like I’m incubating a baby alien in my chest. I want to feel the warmth of the sun on my skin, not constantly fight the urge to nap wherever I happen to be. But time heals all wounds (well, most of them) and it works decently for the flu, too. I have my Vitamin C and my NyQuil, I have soup and a bed ready to accommodate napping with no notice, so it could be worse.

NOTE: I am not suggesting that I would like to be worse as a comparison. Repeat, DO NOT WANT.

I did indulge slightly and I will share here to help keep myself from sinning again:

I bought and ate an apple strudel. They come in packages of six, so there are five more to tempt me (that’s 1440 calories for all six). I sometimes do this when I am unwell, using the logic that I am not unwell often enough for the occasional indulgence to put me on a course to being the largest guy ever who is 5’10¾” tall. So far this has held true. Also, the apple strudel was way sweeter than expected. It was almost kind of gross.

I still want another one. But one per day, that’s the rule.

Here’s to a warm, sunny month, a speedy recovery, some weight loss, better control over snacking (ignore everything I wrote above about apple strudel) and more running, walking and all that good stuff.

Oh, and writing, too.