Greight Loss: the two week start

Weigh-in update. Monday, June 3, the scale was unkind, showing a three pound gain, from 235 to 238. Surely, this was water weight. On June 10, it was gone, plus a few more. I was pleased to see 232. I am now down 28 pounds from February.

Years ago, I noticed something, and what I noticed has proven to be true in both losing weight and exercising/running. For years, I didn’t run in the winter. Michigan, with its combination of cold and snow, kept me indoors from late in the year until spring. While I used either a treadmill or an elliptical in the winter, they work the body differently. When I resumed running in the spring, my muscles were sore.

I eventually noted that two weeks into running I could tell that I was already stronger. I then paid attention to that and, sure enough, year after year it was the case.

This turned out to be important for those first days of resuming jogging, especially as I aged and it got harder to increase my miles and quicken my pace. I had to learn patience, that I couldn’t be running five miles after only a week. It would have been easy to give up.

But, knowing how much improvement I would see in only two weeks was a motivator. Trusting that I would feel the strength returning to my legs helped me stick with it. And, I could remember how good that always made me feel, and the overall benefits I would receive from being stronger, such as with mowing the lawn and doing garden work, not to mention the emotional boost.

When working to lose weight, I found the two week start also to apply. We all know that restricting calories—which typically means also avoiding a host of favorite foods—is both physically and mentally challenging.

Raise your hand if you’ve given up on the chore after one or two days. For many, striving to eat less is as successful as New Year’s resolutions are.

Altering eating patterns and amounts are hard habits to change. And that mouthy stomach growls louder than some of the dogs that go berserk when I jog past their houses. So, to know that in a mere two weeks you will see positive signs, well, that’s huge.

I’ve always dropped a nice number of pounds in the first weeks. It was true this time, too. Sadly, I didn’t weigh myself the day I began, so I don’t know what I lost the first five days. I had been 260 in February. I was 252 on April 22. On April 29, I was 249. Today, I am 232.

I recall April 16, the day I decided to resume 1,800 calories a day. I knew it would be a challenge. I also knew my history of losing weight fast. I added to my thinking how much running I was doing. I was confident the weight would come off. I entered my Greight Loss period with confidence.

I have been blown away by my success.

And good begets good. Being nearly thirty pounds lighter than in the winter, and running five or six days a week, my running keeps improving. I now have days where I am running six miles. The day of my 232 weigh-in, June 10, I ran six miles and had my best time of the year, beating my previous best by 23 seconds per mile.

If you are contemplating losing weight or beginning exercising—whether it’s walking or running, or weight training or spinning, or swimming or you name it—be encouraged. Set your sights on week two. Trust that it will only take that long before you feel and see the first results.

It will feel so good! You will be on your way!

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Greight Loss: May 27 weigh-in

I had another excellent week, losing five more pounds.

I now weigh 235. In February, I topped out at 260.

“Julie, I did it! I moved up a notch on my belt! Please, take a picture for me to post on my blog!”

I was hopeful the scale would reflect another good week of loss. When I got dressed for church on Sunday, I needed to move my belt to the next hole. That’s always one of the fun things about trimming up, a tangible way to measure progress. Soon, I hope, I will need to dig into my basement tubs of clothes in search of pants in a smaller size.

Last week, I ran or speed-walked six straight days. It was the first time this year that I was able to get out six times in a week—with the weather now more reliable, I hope to achieve that a lot more often. I put in 31.8 miles. My best run was 5.73 miles.

Because I ran so much—not to mention calories burned mowing the lawn and working in the garden—I allowed myself to be lax a few days with my 1,800 calorie goal. On no day did I go crazy—-for me, that would be second helpings of supper’s main dish that are just as large as the first plate—so that my intake didn’t climb very far into the 2,000s.

May 29 marks six weeks since I began my 1,800 calorie daily goal. I continue to feel good about it, steadfast in my desire. Attitude is just as important as one’s plan. Here, in short, is mine:

Greight Loss: the first month

Greight = Greg + weight. It rhymes with eight, but think of it as great!

The Greight Loss Plan is my method for successfully and wisely shedding pounds.

If you read my first post, you’ll recall that I deliberately put on weight in 2018 because of my now too-large breasts, and that I topped out at 260 pounds early in 2019. When on April 17 I began consuming 1,800 calories per day, I had not weighed myself since February, so disgusted with myself I had become that I couldn’t bear to approach the scale.

I weigh each Monday, first thing in the day, with my regular clothes on. When I resumed hitting the scale, I might already have lost a few pounds as I have been running regularly and had a bit of success consuming fewer calories. Based on my first weigh-in, which was only five days after beginning my Greight Loss Plan, it sure seemed I had to be under 260 because I couldn’t imagine losing eight pounds in five days.

April 22: 252 pounds.

I was elated! This initial success was a huge motivation to remaining steadfast with my 1,800 calories per day.

I had wondered how successful I would be. I’m twelve years older than when I did this in 2007, and now I’m over age sixty. After sixty, we lose muscle. Muscle and metabolism are linked, so the less muscle one has the slower is one’s metabolism. Each pound of muscle burns six calories per day, while each pound of fat only burns two calories. All of this conspires against an older person trying to lose weight.

In 2007, at age 50, I averaged 2.5 pounds lost per week. And was it ever consistent. I rarely lost under two pounds a week or more than three.

Besides eating the same number of calories per day, I’m running about the same amount as in 2007. I can’t run as fast as then—and I now have to mix in walking some days, and take break days where I speed walk five miles because it serves as a bit of a rest for my muscles—but being retired allows me to run more often, usually one or two more days a week than when I was working. Thus, the calories I burn from running are comparable enough to 2007.

Holding onto my pleasant surprise from April 22, I was curious how weigh-in number two would go.

April 29: 249.

There it was: three pounds lost. Right where I want to be.

I had a third successful week of eating 1,800 calories per day—I had not yet given myself a break day, where I ate as many calories as I wanted. I even kept to my calories on pizza day!—so I hoped for another two or three pounds lost.

May 6: 244.

Yahoo!

I now was on a roll. After another seven straight days of 1,800-calorie-diligence, and plenty of running, I eagerly got onto the scale for weigh-in number four.

May 13: 249.

What??? I gained five pounds???

This was not the first time I experienced such a horror. In 2007, I weighed myself every day. Sometimes, I weighed three to five pounds more than the day before. Complaining about it to Julie, she had surmised that it likely was water, that perhaps what I had eaten had me holding onto excess liquid baggage. She assured me that I soon would be pleased with the number I saw on the scale. Indeed, within a day or two the blip had blopped.

With that in mind, I didn’t let that 249 get me down. I knew I had not gained weight. My belt told me so. The day before, getting dressed for church, I found myself nearly ready to move to the next notch. I remained in good spirits.

I weighed myself only four days later, because May 17 marked one month on the Greight Loss Plan. Whew, the extra weight was gone. Onto my next regular weigh-in.

May 20: 240.

Woo hoo! Fewer than five weeks into counting calories I was down twenty pounds from my winter weight!

I can’t predict that I will continue to lose weight at my 2007 pace, but the good start has me optimistic. What I’m doing works, so I’ll keep at it.

Losing weight is way more than eating less. To succeed, one needs a wise strategy. Mine works for me. Next time, I’ll share it with you.

The Greight Loss Plan

That big, red 1,800 represents how many calories per day I have been eating since April 17. I am pleased to report that the weight is falling off me as leaves drop from trees on windy October days.

In 2007, after receiving stents to open two blockages in my heart, I needed to lose weight. Though I was a runner, I gradually added a few pounds a year. Having reached age fifty, I didn’t burn calories as efficiently. I ate too much. You know how it goes.

I decided I would count my daily calorie intake and keep it at 1,800, which would be well under what I would burn in a day even without jogging. I love statistics, keeping track of things, and competition. By counting every calorie, I hoped the three things—statistics, keeping track, and competing with myself—would result in success.

Boy, did it.

I ate 1,800 calories a day, usually six days a week. I gave myself a rest day mostly each Friday. Yes, that’s pizza day at our house. I jogged four to six times a week, usually five miles per run.

I lost an average of 2.5 pounds a week, ten per month, for seven months. From June to January, I went from 268 pounds to 198. It was the first time I was under 200 pounds since I was in my early twenties.

(If you’re curious, at my 6’2″ height, the government says I should have weighed no more than 190. Now, I’m 6’1″, so…)

I didn’t maintain the 198. I stopped counting calories. Until last year, my weight fluctuated between the 210s and 240s.

When I decided to transition, I wanted to look my best as a woman. I worked on losing weight. I did okay with it, but couldn’t hold it. I didn’t return to counting calories.

Last year, when I resumed living as a guy, I had to deal with a holdover from my transition: breasts that are too large for a man. That created a unique challenge.

So that I could be in public without feeling that folks were noticing my too-large breasts, I did something I had never done: I deliberately put on weight. I wanted to be fat, so that it appeared I had man boobs. In 2018, I gained twenty-five pounds.

The man-boob part of the plan worked pretty well. The other part didn’t. I hated being fat. When I had my yearly visit with my cardiologist in December, he noted my bulk. I explained it. He wasn’t pleased, but thankfully my blood pressure and cholesterol were good, and he was impressed with how much I run, so he didn’t press me to lose weight.

But I got tired of being fat. I longed to be in good shape. I want to be healthy for myself and for my family. I want to be here for Julie, and for my kids and grandchildren. It’s long been my goal to keep jogging to my eightieth birthday, and that won’t happen if I’m carrying bulk. I don’t want to have a heart attack. Or get diabetes. Or have high blood pressure.

This spring, I tried to use portion control to harness my calorie intake. I did okay, but was not consistent. Thankfully, I’m not a snacker—I rarely have anything outside of breakfast, lunch, and supper—but, when I do eat, I keep going till I’ve had plenty. And I love sweets, so I was eating too much dessert.

Finally, in mid-April, I found the resolve to count my calories, and to return to the 1,800 per day of 2007’s successful run.

May 17 marked one month on the plan. I am pleased to report that my efforts have exceeded my expectations. I’d like to tell you exactly how many pounds I’ve lost, but I made a mistake at the beginning: I didn’t weigh myself!

I had been so disgusted with my weight that I stopped my Monday get-on-the-scale routine in February. The last couple of times I dared to check, I clocked in around 260, the most I have weighed since 2007’s peak. Thus, I don’t know what I weighed the day I began this plan.

Next time, I’ll tell you what my weigh-ins have been since I resumed mounting the scale on April 22. And I’ll begin telling you my approach to consuming 1,800 calories per day.

Since this is my plan to lose pounds—Greg’s weight loss plan—a mash-up of the first two words provides a nifty name: Greight.

Greg + weight.

Rhymes with great

Thus, you have the Greight Loss Plan!