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Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Eight months

Eight months ago, on September 2nd, I changed my life. I'd been frustrated at my lack of progress with losing weight, after more than a year of making some HUGE changes. I'd quit diet soda, and later, all artificial sweeteners. Every workday I had a salad for lunch. I began eating sensible breakfasts, which helped me stay ahead of getting 'hunger-crazy'. I was juicing, eating some organic veggies, and I was reading & learning a ton of great stuff. But after hitting my high weight in April of 2013, it was a struggle to lose & maintain just about a 20lbs loss.

I was desperate.

I knew I was on the right track, and I felt like sooner or later I'd make one more small tweak, and BOOM, it'd just click! After all, the media is full of stories where someone just changes one little thing and six months later they've dropped 200lbs, and they run marathons.

Why was this so hard for ME???

Everyone just said I should eat a bit less & move a bit more - no biggie, that's how THEY did it! But when I'd try to cut back, the hunger and the cravings would haunt me all hours of the day & night. Similar to living with chronic pain, the cravings were ALWAYS there, and I just was not strong enough. I could stand up to the cravings for a time - days, weeks, even months - but eventually they'd win.

I had to find a way out...

I'd tried two different juice fasts, Weight Watchers, NutriSystem, Atkins, South Beach, and Seattle Sutton. I'd read all the great books - Eat Right For Your Type, Body For Life, Sugarbusters, The Zone, and not ONE of them got the 'cravings monkey' off my back.

Until I tried The Whole 30.

My Sister had done it in January of 2014, and I was curious enough to check it out. They sounded legit, but they ALL do, when you're reading the book flap! However, the Whole 30 said to "just do it for 30 days, after all, you can do anything for just a month, right"???

Holy Crap

It worked!

It was tough!

...and within a few weeks, my cravings were totally under control

...and for the first time in more than two decades, I began to feel like I was in control of my own destiny.

Eight months later, I'm down 80lbs, and I hit my two year anniversary of my high point - 100lbs ago!

My new way of eating is now 'habit', and while I may crave the bad stuff, I'm now the one in control.

In the picture, you'll see me wearing a white dress shirt my Dad bought me in '98 (long story). It's falling to pieces, but it's now a touch lose in the neck, and I seriously LOVE the connection!

The yellow rain slicker is a 2XL from The Gap (not known for their Big & Tall selection), which I bought when I moved to San Francisco in '96. Back then it was snug, but now it's also a touch lose!

Have I dialed the clock back to the mid 90's? I don't know about that...back in '08 / '09 I had some success with Atkins. I lost about 80lbs in one year, and at my anniversary date I decided to take a month off - and I lost my shit, and went totally off the rails...

However, I still have the old leather belt I wore back then. As I list weight I kept punching new holes (as I've done this time, with newer belts). My current weight loss is still about 4 inches shy of last time's waist measurement, even though I now weigh less.

What does that mean? I'm not sure, but it feels like THIS time it's 'real', this time it's healthy & sustainable, And dang if it all doesn't add up to feel like a helluva victory!

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Century Mark

Sunday, 4/25/2015, I hit my 100lbs lost. To the day, it was almost exactly two years since my high point of 440lbs, when I went in for knee surgery.

When I started my Whole 30 on September 2nd, I don't know what I weighed. A month later I'd lost enough that my home scale could begin reading me. Based on my rate of weight loss, I estimate I was 420lbs on Sept 2nd. That's 80lbs lost, in not quite 8 months!

That ain't too shabby...

In the beginning I was losing more each month, and it's gradually winding down. I figure that's ok, very likely my body naturally resetting it's self. It'll be interesting to watch how this progresses as Spring turns into Summer & I can be a bit more active.

I also did another large batch of clothes donation! My closets & chest of drawers feel empty, which makes me nervous & excited.

My security blanket of 'just in case' larger sized clothes is totally gone, but that's ok. I'm moving forward, and not looking back!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Damn The Torpedoes

The first bump is the Disney Trip, which was just about one week post A-Fib relapse. The second bump is past week, where my A-Fib got reset.

A-Fib isn't an excuse, or a free pass. It's a serious heart condition with side effects ranging from shortness of breath & exhaustion to blood clots & stroke.

I've experienced everything short of blood clots. It's felt at times like I have an angry fish flopping around inside my chest, and there is NO doubt that exhaustion has played a big part in my recent fitness inconsistency.

...but I kept plugging at it, as best I could...

I stayed on-track with my eating, which continues to be an excellent habit. I have returned to Aqua Fit, but I'm not yet back at the level of multiple visits per week.

This week I intend to pick up with my bodyweight exercises, and begin some light bicycling. I intend to start lightly & work up slowly, both to minimize exhaustion and adding any stress to my system.

Stress is the big issue. First, I believe it was a combination of stress & anger that helped push me back into A-Fib.

Secondly, I 'think' that the week at Disney resulted in a weight bump due to a stress response. My body was already stressed w/ A-Fib, and then adding a ton of exertion probably bumped up my Cortisol level, which is well known to affect blood sugar (which has historically been the root of my weight issue). After all, the proof in the pudding is that the week following Disney I did nearly zero activity & my weight began self-correcting!

THAT may actually be the golden nugget of good news inside this messy 30 day roller-coaster. Being able to self-correct during a recovery period is fantastic news, and that's hopefully where I am now - on the downslope of bump #2, and hopefully back on track with my rock-steady decline in weight.

So, I've got that going for me...

The bummer is that I did not meet my weight loss goal for April Fool's Day. I still lost weight over the last 30 days (HUGE WIN!), but it looks like I'll hit my 100lb halfway mark sometime in the next week or so.

...and that ain't too shabby...


-Lee
-----------------
R. Lee Putman, Jr.

Email:
leeputmanjr@mac.com

Phone / Text: 847.687.7291

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A nice win

Today I took the Spider for a it's first serious spring drive. I put 100 miles on, and it was GREAT for the soul to get some wind in my hair & the smell of Italian exhaust in my clothes!

...but even better? After a long winter in storage, the old car suddenly 'fits' differently! I had to move the seat up several notches, and STILL had to cinch up the seat belt!

I've NEVER fit this well in this car!

Sticking with the basics

My daily walking has been inconsistent, but now that my heart has been rebooted, that will hopefully get back on track quite quickly. Today I went back to Aqua Fit, and I just went half-speed, I don't want to push my heart too-far / too-quickly.

In the meantime, I'm keeping the 'intake' side of the equation on the straight & narrow! I love my egg frittata breakfast muffins, and I genuinely look forward to my daily salad.

I love eating this way, and there just ain't nuthin' gonna sway me from THAT!!!

Turn it off, then back on...

Just like a computer, once in a while my heart needs a reboot. Kind of eye opening to see the before & after shots of my heart rhythm...

Traction Control

It's been tough trying to maintain consistency since my A-Fib kicked in.

Shortness of breath, exhaustion, and heart palpitations (that feel like a fish flopping around in my chest) all conspiring to keep me less active.

You can see the inconsistency in my daily step count, and in my weight graph.

I continue to push, but my heart needs to cooperate...

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A slight bump in the road...

One thing I forgot to mention in my last post - you can see the split picture showing a salad & a declining slope of activity - that was my post-Disney recovery period, and it was GREAT to get back to my daily lunch salads!

Today we're looking at the two yellow graphs. One shows more than six months of rock-steady weight loss. It's an amazingly consistent angle downwards.

The other graph shows the last 30 days, and while it's still generally trending downwards VERY nicely, it shows more variations. The most frustrating one is the 'Disney Bump' at the bottom right. It looked for a few days as if I'd GAINED weight at Disney, regardless of staying on-plan & walking a million miles! Today I'm back down where I expected to be, but it shows the frustration of weighing-in too often.

I need to just relax, and be better about trusting what I'm doing, as long as I follow my plan, my body will continue to catch up.

Onwards...!

The Disney Challenge

My first 120 had two major hurdles (Thanksgiving & Christmas) that showed me I can succeed on this plan through ANY challenge!

I knew my second 120 would also have a very serious challenge, but one of a very different sort:

Disney World.

...during Spring Break, no less! I knew I had to plan ahead, and my success would depend on that.

What I didn't plan on (stupidly?) was the sheer volume of physical activity. The first day, in the Magic Kingdom, I walked 19,000 steps. Other than lunch, I was on my feet ALL day! I swear, standing is tougher for me than walking, and the LINES... oh, my. Then there was nearly two hours playing in the pool afterwards! Guess how well I slept that night...!

Day Two @ Epcot - 16,400
Day Three @ Hollywood - 11,000
Day Four @ Animal Kingdom - 11,600

Each day at a park was followed by at least an hour in the pool! It felt GREAT, and was the perfect way to relax & recover, but MAN, that was one exhausting week!

Big Wins: you'll notice the picture showing my bottle of water, the edge of the airline tray table, and my airplane seatbelt. This picture was a HUGE win for me, in two ways. First, I did NOT have to ask for a seatbelt extender for the first time in at LEAST a decade! Secondly - I was not only able to use my tray table - I had space between it & me!!!

The second really big win was me staying fully 'on plan' the whole week. I took Whole 30 approved snack bars, so I'd have 'emergency rations' in the parks, and almost every breakfast & dinner was cooked in the condo unit. The few meals eaten in the parks really minimized my exposure to off-plan eating, and by utilizing salads, burgers w/out buns, or omelettes, I stayed on the straight & narrow without going crazy, and without impacting those around me...

It was a great time, and once again I proved to myself that I can be successful through a 'health-adverse' situation!

...and no more airline seatbelt extenders!!!! :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Not backing down

In the picture above, let's look at a few things:

Top left is a split frame of me NOW, and in April of 2012. Can you see a difference?

I'm still quite the 'Fat Bastard', but that picture shows a solid 90lb weight loss.

The picture below has two heart rhythms. Notice how the lower one is much more regular, symmetrical, the top one more erratic? Those were taken 24 hours apart, and show the difference that is A-Fib. A-Fib really sucks, but I guess that within the scope of heart issues - this is the end of the spectrum where you want to be! Look back up at my Fat Ass in 2012, and tell me I'm not damn lucky to have MUCH worse heart issues!!!

So, looking at those two pictures on the left - they represent what I'm thinking today - I've come WAY too damn far in my health & fitness journey to let this damn A-Fib derail me.

The pictures on the right show just some of what I'm committed to - eating right, and hitting my 10,000 steps a day. I will also continue with my Aqua Fit, my bodyweight exercises, and riding my bike.

Today was 'Weigh-in Tuesday', and I'm 10.1lbs less than I was exactly a month ago. I'm just 11lbs from an exact 100lb weight loss, which will be my halfway point on this health & fitness odyssey.

I've had too much success, and learned WAY too much to allow myself to spin-out and self-destruct.

Nope. Not gonna happen.

I'm continuing onwards, and while I may be slow, I am undeterred.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Good News / Bad News

Well, they say you can't have the sweet without the sour. This was proven to me Friday morning when my heart went back into A-Fib.

I always knew I'd not have a totally smooth road all the way through my whole health & fitness recovery. I'd thought about what those potholes could be & how I'd not let them derail my progress, but I wasn't expecting THIS!!!

Stupid A-Fib.

It's not life threatening, and it's very manageable.

Yay...great...

:(

Two years ago I had knee surgery & A-Fib - and after spending 4 days in the cardiac wing, these were the root-cause of my motivation that has gotten me HERE, today, as I was not prepared at this (relatively) young stage of life to face being on prescriptions for the rest of my life.

(Yes, these help my heart, but they all have side effects & unknown downstream issues when one looks at 20 or 30 years on these drugs)

Never mind how they make me FEEL.

Ugh.

Thursday night I was feeling better than I'd felt in 20 years. Seriously. I felt physically strong, mentally clear, vibrant, and downright sprightly. I really cannot overstate how freakin GREAT I'd been feeling these last few weeks!

Aqua Fit was going very well, my 10,000 steps a day was rockin', and I'd added a daily routine of 6 bodyweight exercises that felt GREAT and were showing tremendous progress.

The weight was melting away...

What I forgot was that a key contributor to A-Fib is STRESS. I'd been majorly stressed for WEEKS about the mess at work, getting my vacation covered, and finding out I'd have to work nightly while on vacation. My upwards reporting chain seemed to not give a damn, and I had to figure it all out myself, and in the end I was able to mitigate the risk to Baxter, but I'd have to work nightly on vacation. I was PISSED, but I need to be the 'go-to-guy' so that this damn job will pick me up full time.

Big 'ole pile of Stress!

Then Thursday I got even more pissed when I (felt) I got ripped off at the car stereo shop. Maybe it was a musunderstanding and I should have asked more questions, but I was PISSED.

Angry. Stompy-stompy.

...and then via text conversation later Thursday night, with follow-up on Friday morning - I was insulted beyond belief by someone who should be my biggest advocate. "Insulted" isn't even remotely strong enough - I felt I'd taken a spear to the chest.

Which, literally, I did. While sitting there Friday morning & getting text confirmation that they weren't trying to be funny, they were 'totally serious', I felt my chest tighten & my heart began to run away...

...right into A-Fib...

I felt like freaking out & crying all at the same time. Within a few hours I'd spoken to my Cardiologist & was back on my awful old meds.

I'm constantly out of breath & sweating. Bounding up the stairs in my sprightly manner will now take me down at the knees when my breath can't catch up.

I'm so very, very upset...

I was doing SO well, and feeling SO great!

At this point I'm now wearing 2xl clothes, and no longer tied to the awful Big & Tall stores. (I'd hit 5x in 2013)

In the included pictures you can see me wearing a green coat this morning. I stole this from my Father in '96, and it's not fit this well since then.

I have a beautiful new bike I want to ride this Spring, but yesterday when I rode it the first time, it felt like I just couldn't get my lungs to keep up, but I know it's the damn A-Fib.

I'm just 11lbs away from my 'century' loss, and halfway point. I should be celebrating, but I'm terrified, pissed, angry, and upset.

...but I'm determined to keep eating correctly & walking my 10,000 steps each day. I just might be slower & more out of breath, but dammit, I'm not giving up...