Friday, August 28, 2009

Aaron's Diet, Part 1*

I hit the scale a little over a week before I went to Cooperstown and showed up 1.5 pounds above the weight I have long said I never wanted to exceed. I have several reasons for why I set that weight limit, but the basic reasons are tied to my health, most significantly that my bad back doesn't need to have additional strains placed on it by having to support a large gut on the opposite side.

Given that a beerfest weekend is completely antithethical to a diet, and to give me a target start date, I didn't start dieting until I got back from there. So essentially, my diet began on Monday August 3.

Goal: Lose 20 pounds from that peak, pre-Cooperstown weight, by the end of October. In truth I'm ok with being a couple of pounds more than that, but because I expect to put a couple of pounds on once I stop dieting, I've set my target accordingly.

My diet rules:
  1. Severe curtailing of alcohol consumption. In the time I've been dieting, I've had one evening when I went drinking (4 beers), and a total of 1.5 beers otherwise. I've had no other alcohol.
  2. Don't impose my diet on the people around me. Kathy wasn't happy about her weight at the start of her pregnancy, but that doesn't mean she should be losing any weight now. It's not up to Kathy to change the foods that she and Emelia want to eat, it's up to me. As such, I'm the one who needs to have willpower. Essentially then, on the food side of things, I'm eating what Kathy is eating, but I'm taking significantly smaller portions than I was previously, and I'm doing my best to limit snacks. What that means, for example, is that we've still ordered pizza, and all that's different is that I try to have fewer slices than I ordinarily would. Also, we went out for Mexican and although I had a full entree of fajitas, I successfully resisted eating any chips and salsa.
  3. Accept that I'm going to be hungry. I've read about dozens of diets (without even looking for them) and in selling themselves, each tries to say it's easy. I don't know if they're correct, but my "eating less" diet isn't easy for me -- I'm hungry most of the time. To prevent eating every time I feel hungry, I remind myself of what I'm doing and why I'm doing it. Most of the time, that does the trick.
  4. It's not cheating to have limited indulgences. This is a key to me. I don't think it's constructive for me to feel like I'm failing when I give in to the hunger, indulge a sweet tooth or actually consume a beer. The bottom line is that I'm taking in far fewer calories even if I have those "lapses," so I treat the occasional treat as part of the diet, not a break from it.
  5. Exercise. I don't burn many calories going on the walk-jogs I've been doing roughly every other morning since the first Wednesday of the diet (currently about 1 3/4 miles jogging, and 1 mile total of warm-up/cool-down walking), but I am improving my conditioning, and of course that's something that's important for my general health. The key question is whether my back and other aches will interfere -- currently I feel much more sore on my jogs than I did at the start of my regimen. Jogging is hard on the joints and frame, but I don't need any special equipment or to go somewhere to jog -- I can just roll out of bed and go. Hopefully, I'll be able to keep it up.
Status: As of August 27, I've lost seven pounds, so I'm roughly one-third of the way to my goal. I have travel and other events that may make it difficult to keep going as well as I have so far, but I accept that I may have a rough week or two (see Rule #4).

* - Disclaimer: I'm blogging about this primarily because it's a big thing in my life at present, but also to put pressure on myself to reach my goal by making it public. It is not to brag about my limited success, to suggest to others that they need to diet, or how anyone else should diet. Ok, maybe I'm bragging a little too, though I have no idea why I should be over seven frickin' pounds.