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Thinking like a fit person…

May 11th, 2011 1 comment

image The past couple of weeks I haven’t been thinking like a fit person.  I had met a goal I had been training for since January of running another 5k, I’d trained three-four times a week, and greatly improved my endurance and speed drastically.  I beat my previous 5k time by four minutes.  I should have been very happy.

Truth is, it was in the middle of a stressful time at work, more stresses from home.  During the last few weeks, I didn’t find a good outlet for letting out my frustrations.  I grew increasingly isolated and withdrew into myself. I made some really bad decisions with my time, which only increased the stress I felt, along with guilt and shame.  I should have recognized the signs,  found one of my support friends and worked things out.  Instead I let pride get the better of me (again) and the end result was I regressed.  All of that has nothing to do with dieting, but part of the reason I’m on this journey is to be more fit, and fit isn’t just a physical property, but also a emotional and spiritual component as well.  So this post is the beginning (again) of me trying to think like a fit person, and recommitting myself to the practices I’ve fostered the past couple of years to become the person I want to be.

So… with that as prelude, I’m going to go back to some number crunching. 

Read more…

Categories: Life, Losing It Tags:

Six months of daily weigh-ins

April 18th, 2011 Comments off

Six months (well 180 days) ago I started every morning stepping on the scale, and logging my weight on LoseIt! and The Hacker’s Diet Online.  Here is the result in chart form (click to enbiggen).

HackDiet-6mos

Some meaningful stats that I’ve gleaned for perspective:

  • Days where I recorded a loss: 97
  • Days where there was no gain or no loss: 15
  • Days where I recorded a gain: 68
  • Days above trend: 26
  • Total Trend Loss: 27.6 pounds
  • Total Actual Loss: 29.4

I’m going to continue to log my weight in daily, because I like the motivation I get from the daily accountability to the scale.  I’ve gained understanding that the number is just a snapshot, and going up or down in a day is meaningless without an understanding of the trends in the numbers.  I hope this post encourages other people to not be so dependant on the number on the scale.

If you’re weighing yourself weekly, I’ve done some of the math for that too, including calculating a trend for a ‘weekly weigh in’.  I somewhat cherry-picked the day, since Tuesday seems to be the most consistent down day, but I don’t think it really matters what day is chosen.  Here is the same sort of statistics using the weekly numbers:

  • Weeks where I recorded a loss: 25
  • Weeks where there was no gain or no loss: 0
  • Weeks where I recorded a gain: 16
  • Weeks above trend: 1

So even if your weighing in weekly, determining a trend can help you stay positive even on an “up” week.  The important thing in staying on track and losing weight is being consistent as possible.  Make sure you’re eating close to your calorie goal (I even upped my daily calories in the last two months).  Move more, as you’re able.  Be accountable to yourself and to other people with your goals in becoming more healthy.

Categories: Life, Losing It Tags:

How do you measure a year in the life?

March 23rd, 2011 7 comments

 

I’ll take a stab, how about twenty six thousand and seven hundred and sixty-two grams. (fifty-nine pounds or four point two stones)

According to my logs, today marks the one year anniversary of the first weigh in of my journey to become healthier, primarily by losing weight.  My strategy has been to eat less and move more. Using mobile applications and online tools like Weight Watchers Online and LoseIt! I’ve tracked how much I’ve eaten and adjusted my intake to eat sensibly.  I’ve used iPhone applications and websites like DailyMile and RunKeeper to track my exercises, and making steady progress without major injury.  Finally using social networks like Facebook and Twitter (as well as my LoseIt! friends Holla!)I’ve used the support of many friends (both online and offline) to encourage me on this journey.  I’m not done yet, I still have around 2/3rds, but I’m proud of the steady progress and the 59 pounds I’ve lost so far.

Thank YOU! For all your encouragement and support!

Categories: Life, Losing It Tags:

Diet Hacking and overcoming unrealistic goals

March 15th, 2011 Comments off

Since September I’ve been slowly trying to hack my diet by paying attention to the data, and making decisions going forward based on what the numbers tell me, while also understanding how I’m feeling emotionally, and towards food.

November was a month where I figured out a few things, December I made good progress until the later part of the month when I went on vacation, and the holidays, but it was still a good month.  January I got serious. 

The deal with hacking your numbers has to do with a few fairly accepted equations.  The math starts out with some variables.  I had to figure out my Basal Metabolic Rate, which is determined by understanding Physical Activity Level and multiplying that by a Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), in other words how many calories it takes to keep me at my current weight, doing the things I normally do.

There are calorie calculators on the web that do a fair job of estimating a RMR, and while they are statistical models they are accurate enough to get you in the ballpark.  This is exactly what LoseIt! does so if you want to take a shortcut, just use LoseIt

The next part of the equation is to figure out how fast I want to lose weight.  This begins with a constant: 3500 calories = 1 pound.  So to determine a plan we have to figure out how many pounds I want to lose in a week, the most ambitious plan on LoseIt! is 2 pounds per week, that equates to 7000 calories, or subtracting 1000 calories from my RMR.

That’s the theory, and that’s what I hung my hat on.  Only issue was I never consistently lost 2 pounds per week.  There is part of me that just wants to finish faster, and so it’s easy to get a little greedy, and start subtracting a little more calories a day, trying to lose a little more faster.  In January I did that, subtracting 200 more calories a day from my budget.  First week I had great success, the following weeks, I had increased hunger, increased irritability, and some cravings that just wouldn’t go away. The problem, I figured was I didn’t realize that I was only starving myself faster.  Add to that adding more exercise, longer runs, more stress, it’s not surprising that I wanted more of the easy junk that would satisfy my cravings.

So I switched back to a normal routine, and the spikey weigh-ins stopped, steady progress returned, and my hunger, grumpy, cravings went away.  Then I tried the alternative, instead of trying, in vain, to lose 2 pounds per week, why not make a more attainable goal.  I changed my goal to 1 and a half pounds per week, which gives me about 250 more calories a day.  I also started looking at where my calories came from, but that’s a different post.  The results since returning my goals to sanity.  Steady losses, no spikes in weight or cravings, and better performance in my running.  Hindsight being 20/20 says, it’s because I’m giving my body the fuel it needs rather than depriving it.

There is a chart from my Hacker’s Diet data of the last three months of my weigh-ins.  The spikey time of extreme calorie restriction is shown in the middle (and it also contained Super Bowl and Valentines Day… which while I ate junk, I didn’t exceed my reduced calorie goals.)  All in all I’m very pleased with 2011.  I’m learning more about how my body responds, and regaining the energy that slowly crept away the past 10 years.

 2011Q1 DietHack

Categories: Life, Losing It Tags:

Fine tuning…

February 1st, 2011 Comments off

imageCelebrated the one-third mark of my journey this past weekend.  I’ve lost 50 pounds, or roughly a small 2nd grader.  This past week was one of my best weeks on LoseIt! as far as consistency, with the month of January matching my best loss in a month, ten pounds.  The last time I lost 10 pounds in a month was my last month on Weight Watchers. 

In July I started using LoseIt! as my food journal, and continued to log my meals and stay under calories.  The biggest difference between WW and LoseIt! tactically is what Weight Watchers calls Weekly Points.  These are points above your daily point target that can be used as you see fit, use them on a splurge day, add a bit each day, or don’t use them at all and speed up your weight loss.  I tried to keep a weekly points balance most of the time which really helped me lose 25 pounds in the first 3 months on this journey.

With LoseIt! you have a daily budget of calories, not points, and there isn’t really a concept of a weekly buffer as far as extra calories you can consume, unless you exercise, then eat your activity calories.  This was a question that played on my mind through the summer and fall, how to handle the lack of the weekly points, and what to do with my activity calories.  Frankly I was busy with work and travel, and I was happy to just keep logging and get in my exercise goals.

When October came, I really wanted to figure out how to fine tune LoseIt! to allow me to meet my stated goals of losing 2 pounds per week.  You can see in my graph the imageslowing down that was frustrating me, I was thinking it was just a plateau, and tried just giving it time, I decided to really analyze what was working, and what wasn’t.  I started weighing in daily to get more data about how my weight fluctuates.  I started noticing a correlation between some up days and my caloric intake when I ate my activity calories my weight loss stalled.  In December I tried to not eat my exercise calories and had a really great first half of the month.  Mid-month I met my first goal of losing 42 pounds, and my first weigh-in under 300.  That was a relief, because I thought that goal was in reach but it always seemed to move, first by Halloween, then Thanksgiving, then by Christmas. 

I started planning the next phase of my journey, knowing that reachable goals would be easier than seeing a big 100 pounds on the graph, so I made a series of small goals that I’d set after I achieved the next goal.  The first was 4, then 8, then 15, 16, 23, 42.  Also known as the LOST numbers which added a bit of fun to the goal setting chore.  So far, I’ve met the 4 pounds and almost to the eight pound goal. 

The next adjustment I made was to reduce my daily calories in LoseIt! by 200 calories per day.  The reason I chose that number is because that is about what a light workout on the Wii or a circuit training at the gym would burn.  This limits my calories a little bit, but allows me to eat back some exercise calories for days that I have a long run, and still hit my goal of losing 2lb/day.  I’m only about 10 days into that experiment and had a really good week, so I’ll keep tracking and see how that works out long term.

With LoseIt! I enjoy there is enough data in the system that I can make an informed decision about what I want to do.  I’d recommend that people talk with their doctor if they have questions about how much they should eat. 

What tweaks have you made to your system to help you reach your goals?

Categories: /dev/null Tags:

The pride cometh…

January 21st, 2011 8 comments

before the slight uptick in the generally downward trend of my scale weights.

Remember that post about running?  I have a case of shin splints now, and can’t run.  Remember that post about trends and trend lines, and how little gains don’t matter.  This morning I got smacked in the face with a 1.2 pound gain.

Intellectually, I know it’s a hiccup, a bump, a bit of extra water and fiber.

Emotionally, it’s not that simple.  I spent this mornings hour long commute (5 mile drive, but first two laps to three different schools) mulling over that silly 1.2 pounds that still left me 1.2 pounds below my trend.

Some of the conversation:

Me: Meh, I was due for a bump.

Me: It’s that time of month.

Me: Do dudes have a time of month?

Me: That was the oatmeal at 11:30 last night.

Me: Nah, oatmeal is good for you this was the Baskin-Robbins from two nights ago.

Me: Right, karma sucks.

Me: You’re being silly, you’ve had blips like this before.

Me: You’re right, I need to drink more water.

Me: You’re hitting your water targets, and your hitting your calories, this is just normal, stop being a jerk and worrying about it.

Me: Well I did eat into my exercise calories a bit earlier this week, maybe…

Me: STFU, I’m not talking to you anymore.  Go cry in the corner, wimp!

image My LoseIt! friends are all on the side of the sane side of that conversation, and really they are all right.  Looking back doesn’t do me any favors, make good choices today.  Work out and exercise, drink water.  Not a time to panic or fret and only make the stress of that worse.  So I’m blogging my pain, allowing a bit of catharsis to occur from connecting with my emotions, then I’m gonna indulge in Free Bagel Friday (which is totally within my budget! woot!) and enjoy my Friday.

Enjoy yours too!

Running the race…

January 20th, 2011 2 comments

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead – Philippians 3:13

Running and I have a very mixed relationship.  When I was a kid I wasn’t very fast, my Dad made the comment that I spent too much time running in one place.  Which is probably a fair assessment of my form and technique at age 10.  When I got to middle school and high school I dreaded the running segment of P.E. class, though I eventually learned to run, I never got any real training on form or technique.  Running to me was just put in the time, and I hated it.  I preferred riding my bicycle, and through high-school that was my preferred way to work out aerobically.  When I started college I kept in shape playing basketball with friends, walking the golf course, riding a bike to and from work.  In my senior year I bought a car, and slowly stopped being active.

After joining the Navy, I started getting more an more sedentary, when it came time for the semi-annual fitness test, I’d go out and run a few times then pass the test, I wasn’t looking to improve my times and it slowly started to show.  My waist-line grew and my run times lengthened, and I started to panic during the training that I wouldn’t ever be fast enough.  My knees hurt from pounding on steel decks and steel ladders, and when I started post-graduate school in Monterey I was close to getting discharged or failing to meet physical standards.

Monterey was a time to get back in shape.  First thing I did was rest, get my knees to stop aching at any opportunity.  Then I started a mandatory step aerobics class and that strengthened my knees, we also got one of imagethose Health-Rider that Covert Bailey was hawking back in the mid-nineties on late-night infomercials.  I passed the next fitness test, but wasn’t confident in my running technique and my knees ached terribly after the test.  So I knew I need to learn how to run. 

About that time, Oprah (don’t judge, a good husband has interests in what his wife is interested in!) was showing how she finally got into shape the right way, with good diet and lots of exercise.  So using that as a method I started  a 30 day walk to run plan (what has become known as a Couch to 5k plan) and enlisted a good friend to hit it with me three times a week.  imageSo for the next month, we worked the program running along Monterey Bay which if you have the means I highly recommend you do that.  And thirty days later I was running 30 minutes without stopping, and easily passed the next few fitness tests. 

I hit department head school in probably the best shape of my Navy career.  My next command was in Ingleside and our ship started a physical fitness program where non-duty personnel mustered at the gym and so my fitness stayed about the same, but it was still the cloud of my past readiness test failures that hung over my head as a cloud, I didn’t work out because I wanted to improve I worked out because I didn’t want to fail.

I separated from the Navy in 1999 and moved to Plano. Without the specter of the readiness test hanging over my head, I vowed to never worry about running again. I stayed in a semblance of shape, playing softball and sports with my church.  Then one night, playing volleyball in the gym, I stepped wrong and severely twisted my knee.  I thought I’d require surgery but through an intensive treatment with a chiropractor I was able to align my knee and strengthen the support muscles enough to not require treatment.

[Sponge Bob Announcer Voice] 8 years later

I woke up out of depression and issues to a body I didn’t recognize.  Three-hundred and forty-two pounds on my frame suddenly seemed alien to me, though I’d been there the whole time it slowly grew. Pushing my waistline out, and raising the edge of my shirts up.  With the prompting of my wife, I started on Weight Watchers with her. I also knew, that I needed to exercise, and that I’d gotten in shape before with running.  I decided that would be my first choice in starting on the long road back into shape.

The tools have changed since the mid-nineties, I had gotten my first iPhone about a year earlier and had taken a very short walk to test it, then let it lay dormant in my app-stack for a good long while.  In my social media feeds I asked questions from people that I’d seen were runners, and asked them their advice, read about couch to 5k programs and remembered my success with the walk-to-run program back in Monterey.  I had my starting place.

image RunKeeper has been my consistent companion, logging in all my walks, I took it slower than back in Monterey. Listening to my body, if I hurt I rested, if I felt it was too hard to do the next week, I’d go back and do the same week again.  I wasn’t in a hurry, but I wanted to learn how to run correctly.  I signed up to participate in a 5k for the Corporate Challenge my company competes in each year.  So I had a plan and a goal to complete a 5k.  My first walk/run was April 13, 2010 in a loop around my office building. My speed wasn’t very fast, (3 mph) but I did all of the intervals.  Three days later I did day 2 on a treadmill, and logged the time in RunKeeper a little bit further, a little bit faster.  Same with the third day, I gained confidence that I could work the program.

image The next week, I posted a picture of myself after the work out on facebook.  I captioned the photo “before” which really was a step of faith that an “after” was going to follow at some point. My head and heart were in the game, and the long slow race was begun. I haven’t completed an entire C25K plan, and I’m currently running with a friend that’s given me a different plan.  I ran the first 5k in September, and at that point I had progressed to running more than walking, and started categorizing all my run-training (regardless of intervals) as runs.  I changed my description on dailymile from “Walker” to “Runner”, and have slowly replaced my walking routines with almost all run training.  Using walking and running I’m about to go over 300 miles in total training mileage, and I feel so much more confident about my training and my life. 

image I completed a second 5k a couple weeks ago, didn’t train or it, just went and ran it, 5 minutes of running 2 minutes of walking.  Bested my previoius time by a minute, and now I’m training for race number three.  I have some goals for this race, but regardless it won’t be my last.  I never have called myself a Runner, but I’m slowly changing into one. All it takes is a little bit each day, slow progress each week.  If I can do it, anyone can do it, including you.

Why I weigh-in daily

January 19th, 2011 Comments off

Seems like it’s a popular topic on the LoseIt! forums, so here’s my chance to tell my story.  I started losing in April, on weight-watchers and used the scale at the gym to record my weights because I was too heavy for our old scale in the bathroom and it wasn’t reliable at all. 

The gym scale worked great, and I had great success.  Usually tried for the same day of the week, but the time would vary, morning to mid-afternoon as my schedule changed.  But it was in convenient, and after moving to LoseIt! in June my rate slowed dramatically.  I thought it was the normal plateau so I kept doing what I was doing and making small adjustments here, a bit more running there.  Travelled a lot in the Summer which I justified some of the slowness in just the environment of flying, staying in a hotel, and the stress of being away from home.

image In October I expressed frustration that my weight-loss rate was really slowing down, and I wanted to mix it up a bit.  We bought a new scale at Wal-mart and I started a month long experiment on daily weigh-ins.  This chart shows the raw data of the daily weigh-ins since I started.  Noisy is the word for that data, and imagine how I felt emotionally each morning. Up = Bad mood.  Down = Euphoria. Same = Grumpy.  It’s crazy to look at that data as a snap shot.  Our bodies take in a lot of ‘stuff’ over the day, The Hacker’s Diet uses the figure of 14 pounds of ‘stuff’ goes through our system daily.  So a snap-shot scale weight is almost meaningless without context.

Which is why I don’t really care about those numbers.  Well I do care, but only as they relate to the over all trend.  You’ll notice the fits and starts at the beginning of the dailys, I’ll give you a hint, the first spike was Halloween, the second Thanksgiving weekend, and the third smaller spike, right after the new year.  But the spikes, over time have gotten less volatile, and I think that’s the discipline of looking at my daily weight as it relates to the trend. 

image

Here’s the same data with a 10 day moving average trend line overlaid in red.  Not near as manic as the daily weigh-in, and some early warnings become apparent in the data points (I didn’t start using a trend until after Thanksgiving the tall spike in the middle).  Armed with the trend-line early warning system (above trend weigh-in check out routines, and re-evaluate habits) I got through a 15 day vacation at the end of the year without a major plateau and buckling down when the work/school routine started put me right back on track.  So if you’re going to weigh in daily, use a trend of some kind to relate to your data, and don’t ride the emotional roller coaster of daily weigh-ins.

I also noticed that my Monday’s were almost always up, and my Tuesday’s were almost always down.  So I thought to myself, what if I changed to only recording my weight on Tuesdays. image I’ve gone back and made a chart of the Tuesday weigh-ins along with the trend points for those days.  The blue lines show the Tuesday weigh-ins for the same intervals as above.  The red-lines show the trend values from the daily-weigh-in (they’d be different if applied to only the weekly data).  The point I’d like to make here, is that for me I’m not sure I’d have really gotten the feedback that’s been valuable in finding and changing small habits if I’d only looked once a week.  As I noticed back around Thanksgiving, high-sodium and not enough water will spike me in the wrong direction.  On  this chart it just looks like a small little uptick, and I wouldn’t have really thought about the bad habit, and the rest of the graph might be a lot flatter if I didn’t make that connection.

The changing of my lifestyle isn’t a one thing, one time event, it’s lots of little changes, realizing portion size, the importance of water, the effect of junk food on my plan, emotional eating, etc.  Each of those came at a different time, and only when I had the data-points that gave me more direct feedback on the results of those choices.  If your reading this, your body is different, my results are NOT typical, so you need to do the work of checking in regularly to your patterns, finding your triggers and then finding solutions to change the way you react to your environment.  That might mean weighing in daily, or weekly.  That might mean just logging your foods for now, trying to just eat your maintenance amount of calories.  You’re in charge, and you can do anything you set your mind to.

iPhone apps that keep me on track!

January 13th, 2011 Comments off

Photo Jan 11, 4 06 11 PMHit my mini-goal of 4 pounds today, moving to next mini goal of 8.  Will try to hit that by Valentine’s Day.  I’m trying to put a blog up regularly to keep my writing skills finely tuned should I ever need to write a novel, or a short story.  Because, you should never start a sentence with because, nor do you know when you might by held hostage until a good work of fiction is done!  There, paragraph down and haven’t even mentioned the subject I want to write about. Take that! productivity!

Hey, look at my iphone, look at my Mii, now back to my iPhone, and back to Mii.  Sadly you aren’t Mii. right… on topic!

Ahem.

This is a special page of iPhone apps that I use regularly.  My essentials are along the home row and I use them everyday.  The others are used less often but still good resources to tracking my diet, hydration and exercise.  This post I’ll just highlight the essentials.

image

Lose It!: This is my main app to keep me honest.  It is my food diary so I’ll open it at least 4-6 times a day to record my meals and snacks.  The simple functions are easy, a comprehensive food database that include many brand name foods along with a good sampling of many restaurants and even fast food joints.  The database made it easy to start off and as I went I added foods that weren’t in the database.  Once a food is added, you can use it again and again.  The Lose It! plan for losing weight is to figure out your basic metabolism by using your height and weight, adding to that an activity level score to get a baseline for how many calories should keep you at your present weight.  Then you pick a planned amount of weight to lose in half pound increments.  The math works out that if you want to lose 2 pounds a week (7000 calories) your calorie goal will be 1000 calories less a day.  Everybody is different so there might be slight adjustment per person, but that is the basics.  The application is joined by a top-notch web application that syncs with your on phone log and gives you a plethora or reports to obsess over.  Recently, the site has added an awesome social networking layer so you can meet other losers and encourage one another. It’s a free app, and worth every penny!

image

RunKeeper Pro! (RunKeeper Free):  This, like Lose It! was on my phone for about a year before I started using it regularly.  Since I’ve used it regularly, it has been three-four times a week app.  It’s core is a GPS tracking application that tracks your route live while you run, along with speed, elevation and all the other stuff that comes with GPS location services.  Much like Lose It!, RunKeeper syncs your runs that you enter on the iPhone with it’s website which provides additional tools to look at your history.  You can enter manual entries from the gym when your on stationary machines.  RunKeeper has a free app, but to get the most from the application, it’s a good investment to get the Pro version ($9.99).  Right now RunKeeper is running a promotion, you can download RunKeeper Pro for free through January.  Even if your not ready to start walking or running immediately it’s a good idea to grab the Pro app now, to avoid the normal fee.  RunKeeper has some additional add-ons, an Elite account ($9.95) will get you additional reports and the ability to track your runs live which is a neat feature when you’re running a race, or a long run to keep your loved ones informed on your location.  They also have Fitness Classes (different fee for each) that downloads a schedule and run intervals to help you train for a fitness goal.  They just pushed out active heart-rate monitoring this past week, or with select Polar devices you can upload your HRM data to the web-site post-run.   Great application, continuing to deliver new features and a good social networking layer to collect Street Teams to keep you motivated.

image

Water (Water Your Body): this is currently a $0.99 app (limited promotion, that’s been running since November), and it’s a really nifty application to help ensure your drinking enough water.  It also has some in application awards and badges to encourage you to hydrate.  The app has a reminder badge on the icon to remind you (after you log your first drink of the day, how many more drinks you need to take to reach your goal.  No social networking layer with this application, but it doesn’t need it, it does the one thing it advertises very well.  Good visual representation of the water your drinking, and has a load of factoids about water that was interesting to read through.  There is a free application with advertising by Brita floating around, so if the buck gives you pause, grab the free one.

image

True Weight: Another $0.99 cent application and I think this is only really required if you weigh yourself everyday.  A weekly weigh-in over time will show you the progress from sticking to your plan and meeting your goals.  However, if you’re like me and impatient and want to see the numbers everyday, then give your mind and worries a break and lay down the buck for this app.  Our bodies are wonderful machines, but we take in and push out over 14 pounds of “stuff” a day, so our weight is bound to fluctuate day to day.  By recording your weight in this application everyday, it calculates a moving average.  This is great if you’ve noticed a one day jump of a pound and start to worry, and realize it’s still a half pound below your average.  Good for piece of mind for the scale OCD types like me.  Nice graphical interface, and a 1 to 3 month chart keeps me motivated to stay on track.  You can even use the graphs as an instant brag page to friends over coffee.  What’s not to like about bragging.

So there is my essential iPhone app review for weight loss.  You can get in the game for $2 through the month of January, or wait until February and shell out 11.99.  Either way, it’s a bargain for how you’ll feel after shedding that holiday excess (or in my case … YEARS of holiday excess).

Who’s in your cheering section?

January 12th, 2011 2 comments

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with endurance the race set out for us…
Hebrews 12.1 (NET)

I’ve had enough number crunching posts that I’ve bored one of my most favorite readers, and I can’t afford to lose her and cut my numbers in half!  So I’m going to write on something else that has been extremely helpful to my race. A cheering section.

Admittedly, there is one person I credit towards getting me off the starting line, my wife Angie.  Last year she started WeightWatchers, and she needed my support.  She told me if she was going to be successful, she needed to know that I was in it with her.  I joined WeightWatchers and started logging my points and began to see progress without much of a feeling of starvation.

But there are several others that had an influence in me as I started down the track.  I am an avid consumer of the social media, at present I have connections to my family, high school friends, church family and a great host of online friends that share my passion for LOST and other quality television shows.  Some of those friends had shared their successes and challenges with getting in shape and losing weight with their community of friends, and I was blessed to be a witness to some very encouraging stories.

Social Network Connections
Facebook 570
Twitter 1552
Lose It 109

The table to the right shows my connections to date, and I do not post those to brag, but as a reminder and encouragement to myself that I have a great number of friends that are watching and encouraging me in my race.  I also use two other sites, RunKeeper and DailyMile to track my exercise and have found more friends and partners on those sites.

Their commitment and motivation to their races, only fuels my motivation to keep on trucking in my race. It always so encouraging and humbling when I have a good day, or good weigh-in to have many of my friends comment and congratulate my progress.  It’s heartening and welcome to get friendly reminders from my contacts when I struggle or have an off day.  Their mere presence sometimes makes me want to shed the “stuff” that can easily clog my mind and thoughts and let them drop aside as I continue my progress.

image There is a chapter in the Lose It! book entitled Do These Friends Make Me Look Fat? that examines the importance of the social network around us.  It cites studies that show a correlation between our relationships and our waistline. That doesn’t mean I need to drop all my fat friends and go find some healthy thin friends.  The encouragement is this: When you start to lose weight, and share it with your friends, they start to examine themselves and they start to change.  By taking control of our lives, and sharing it openly, a butterfly effect kicks off with those around us, and we might not even consciously know it.

Online social media sites are so prevalent and such a interesting tool to use, so I’ve begun to remind my self that even though I might think that I’m insignificant (self-worth is one of those things I struggle with) I have a lot of people watching me.  I’m thankful to all my friends (online and offline) that share their interests in music, movies, pop-culture, religion, faith, nutrition, exercise and a genuine joi de vive! that I only hope I can influence them a fraction of the impact they had on me.

So, the weight-loss key for today, and the challenge to you, is to share.  Share where you are now, and share where you want to be.  Whether it is your neighbor, a relative, or just randomly tweet it or facebook post it.  Share your goals, and then start working to make them a reality.

For me, I still have a ways to go, so this is my reminder.  One-hundred and five pounds left to go!  Thanks for giving me the daily pushes I need to know that isn’t impossible.