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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Successful weight loss methods

Elk Meadow Evergreen Colorado
This morning I weighed in at 364.8. That is a full 45 pounds lost in the month of August. I feel great. While the lap band surgery has helped thousands reclaim their healthy selves, I believe my results are atypical.

My extreme weight loss is due to a variety of tools that I don't believe most bariatric patients employ. First, let me say that I have not missed a single meal; albeit small meals. I think my meals edge more towards 1/3 cup rather than 1/4 cup of food. I'm probably eating 3-4 oz and I am supposed to be eating 2oz. I should get a portable scale and keep a fold up 1/4 cup in my pocket when we go out and I do challenge myself by going out with my wife and friends as often as possible. It's like a test of my will and so far I have been resoundingly successful. I have also gone out for drinks at which time I have been quite satisfied with pineapple juice. Obviously with my stage four liver disease, drinking is off the board anyway.

August 20, 2011 380 pounds
I have also been taking all of my vitamins and supplements as well as my bipolar meds. I was worried that I would have to adjust or split or crush my meds, but it hasn't been an issue. That is one of reason's that I had the lap band rather than gastric bypass. I was afraid my bipolar meds wouldn't absorb well, but, since my meds still go through the same gastronomic system, that hasn't been a problem at all. Maybe it will be more significant after I get my next band inflation on September 9th.

So why do I think I have been more successful than most? Because I prepared for the surgery since last November when I started going to weight related therapy and hypnotherapy to peel apart the layers of emotional crap that was partially responsible for my weight gain. In therapy, I found out that the sins of my past and the numerous suicides in my family had a greater effect on my psyche than I thought. The hypnosis helped me break my addiction to food. Mentally, I was ready for this opportunity.

Elk Meadow
I also worked on calibrating my bipolar meds so I would be able to manage, with the supervision of my psychiatrist, a steady course with the caveat that they may need to be adjusted as I lose weight. So far so good. I've felt somewhat in control of my symptoms. That doesn't mean that I don't float up and down or have anxiety attacks, but the frequency hasn't changed with the weight loss yet. I thought my body was purging fat stored Seroquel and it may have been, but I have recently stabilized and restored my normal prescribed dosages. It's important to emphasize the need for a healthy mind because, in the past, I ate to sooth emotional pain or reward myself with treats.

In addition, sleep is incredibly important and that is still a challenge for me. I can only sleep with heavy medication support. I recognize the importance of sleep and will continue to work on it. Last week was real bad and I have just regained control over my hypo-mania... I think.

Elk Meadow
Possibly the biggest contributor to my rapid weight loss has been exercise. Much like I was in 2009 as a vegan fighting to lose weight, I have been in the gym five days a week and I have been hiking on very challenging Rocky Mountain paths on the weekends with my thin and fast walking wife. I just try to keep up. It's important to note that exercise alone doesn't really effect weight loss directly, but it does make you feel stronger, lighter, and more healthy which only encourages you to stick to the diet. I love exercise. I love feeling fit. Even at my weight, people are amazed at my success with physical challenges. I am a lot faster with far more endurance than you could imagine.

My workouts always begin with 20 minutes on the treadmill. I don't just walk, I walk so fast that I just have to adjust the speed to send me into a fast jog (a run as far as I am concerned). This is a technique that I picked up from a exercise guru. Walk fast then run as fast as you can to trick your body into thinking you are running from life threatening threats. It's about working on your animal instincts. Your body says run and it automatically goes into a weight loss mode to try to protect you from said threat. Believe me it works.

Elk Meadow
The method I use is to walk fast for two or three minutes and then run like hell for a full minute and then go back to walking fast. When I am ready, I run for a minute again. Overall, I "run" for at least five times during the 20 minute treadmill. Two weeks ago when I returned to the gym after surgery, I could only go about a mile in 20 minutes, but now I am going 1.25 miles in 20 minutes and it gets a little better everyday.

After I am completed with the 20 minute "warm up" in which I become a sweaty mess, I work on the weights to keep my muscle tone. I don't want my weight loss to come from muscle breakdown. Besides, I want to look and feel big and strong. I naturally have huge arms and a wide chest so I look more like a body builder than an out of shape fat man. At least I like to think so. That is part of the reason I want to eventually be 190 to 200 pounds because I used to be more muscular than thin even when I was thin. One time I lost weight for modeling and I felt horrible. 200 is good for me.

Finally, if time permits, I shoot basketball hoops and go through drills for at least an additional 20 minutes or more. My entire workout can last 20 minutes when I don't have time to an hour and a half to two hours when I have the time.

Colorado trail 2009 at 350 pounds
I really didn't think I would lose 45 pounds in my first month, but I did and I fully intend on keeping the pace. If I do, then I should lose another 25 pounds in September and October and November thus making my weight around 275 when I have to start traveling again. There's nothing worse than not fitting into air plane seats on an overseas flight. 275 pounds?? No, that's insane. If I'm anywhere near 300 I will be ecstatic.

Regardless of the insane goals, I will continue to fight because the Obesity Warrior is back baby. The very best part of the lap band opportunity is that I won't ever gain the weight back. That is if I don't screw it up, but I doubt that I will. I need to be slimmer as fast as possible in case my liver and kidneys decide to fail. I become a better candidate for a transplant if I am thinner. I don't know the exact cutoff, but I imagine if I am 250 or so, then my weight should no longer be an issue. Tick tock.

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