Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Day 100 + 4 Months

Happy Canada Day!

Yes, it's a new month and time to weigh in. This past month included a decadent trip to Cancun Mexico, and lots of buffet meals, but I still tried to keep it together. When traveling, I try and get to the exercise room, and ride my exercise bike when I'm at home. In fact, one day I rode my bike in the morning, and went to the exercise room at work during the afternoon. I'm sure I gained 10 lbs of lean muscle that day!

I no longer feel like I'm on a diet. It just feels like living. I used to be very conscious of my food intake, and now I just eat what feels right. Often, that means passing on dessert, or choosing some fruit and yogurt instead of a calorie-rich snack. I really think I could do this forever, and that's a good thing, because forever is as long as I'll need to.

Day 100 + 4 Months
Current Weight: 173
Weight Lost To Date: 33
Post 100 Days Change: -1

It must be incredibly boring reading these reports of how my weight has stayed stable for another month. Kinda like watching paint dry, without the intoxicating aroma. Well, I'm happy you're still reading, and I do feel you out there. It still motivates me, and helps to keep me away from the common statistic of weight loss followed by massive weight gain. Thanks!

I'm down a pound from the end of the 100 days, and half a pound from last month, even with the Mexico trip, so that's pretty good. The other day I left the house wearing my 'typical' shorts, forgetting that 'typical' was a year ago, and I struggled a bit to keep them up. It was a nice reminder of how far I've come. As a tradition, I always take a family picture on Canada Day. Last year's picture had some puffy dough-boy sitting there with the rest of my family. This year's picture will look much nicer! Who is that handsome devil? ;-)


Sunday, June 8, 2008

Day 100 + 3 Months


I'm currently writing this blog from the Mayan Riviera near Cancun Mexico. Hopefully it looks okay to you, as the blogging software was kind enough to recognize my location and give me an entirely Spanish interface. In case there was any doubt, no, I don't speak Spanish. However, I've learned that the breakfast buffet has the same number of calories no matter what language the signs are in. The only difference (as the lovely senorita who cooked my brunch fajita told me this morning), is that "There is no diet here."

But you and I have developed some trust over these past 100 days and 3 months, so I have to be as honest as I can and report to you the real truth, as painful as it might be. It is now June, and you deserve an update. A weigh-in here, without my normal scale, would certainly be like comparing apples and mangoes, so it wouldn't be proper. Luckily, I thought of that in advance and made sure I weighed in (on June 1st), before I left for paradise. I'm only now getting the time to record my results, but the number is still official (and this way I get a few weeks to try and burn off my Mexican feasts before weighing in again....I'm not just good looking, I've got some brains too!)

Day 100 + 3 Months
Current Weight: 173.5
Weight Lost To Date: 32.5
Post 100 Days Change: -0.5

Well, it's not much, but the 0.5 pound loss from last month is definitely a welcome sign. There continues to be a lot of travel in my life, and not much regular exercise, so the combination might have proven deadly. Luckily it hasn't so far.

Strangely enough, I'm starting to feel a bit 'chunky' even though I have no indication that my weight or physical size has changed. In fact, I continue to get very positive comments from people who haven't seen me in a while. I guess it's just a self conscious thing. My diet isn't bad (once I get away from the land of the breakfast burrito at least), but I could sure use more exercise. Hopefully the warm weather will lend itself to some rounds of golf. The walk, combined with all that swinging and swearing, should do me good.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Day 100 + 2 Months

I'm tired of traveling! I'm tired of the lines at the airport. I'm tired of disrobing at security only to have to re-robe on the other side (What do you mean you don't have to totally disrobe?). I'm tired of delayed flights. I'm tired of flying from a warm, sunny location to another warm, sunny location with a stop-over in a city that's in the middle of a snow storm (seriously). I'm tired of hotel rooms with nothing to do but work or watch TV. I'm also tired of trying to balance my meals with limited choices. It's really tough to eat properly when you're dealing with 'Continental breakfasts', catered work lunches, and restaurant business dinners. I'm not in total control, and I end up paying the price. I've been on the road for most of the last three months, and I'm heading out again next week. It's all a bit much.

With all that going on, I guess I'm doing okay. I still 'ride the escalator' to my office. I take my stationary bike for a spin while watching shows like "Biggest Loser" on TV. Although I'm kind of between seasons, I still get as much sports related exercise as I can. My boys like to ride their bikes outside, so I go with them on my roller blades. Fruit and yogurt are still a frequent snack, just as salads are a frequent lunch. I still buy low-fat or fat-free choices when I can. I'm doing okay. I just don't want to let it slip away. You know what I mean?

Day 100 + 2 Months
Current Weight: 174
Weight Lost To Date: 32
Post 100 Days Change: 0

Well, I knew this day would come. This is my first weigh-in that I actually gained weight. Last month I was a slim 173, and now I'm a pudgy 174. Okay, I'm exaggerating a bit here (I was never a slim 173). I shouldn't be bummed by it. I won't go out and drown my sorrows in maple syrup. But there's a part of me that wonders if this is the start of a bad trend. I'm encouraged by the fact that it's not been a typical month. Lots of travel has made it difficult to control my meals properly, but I'm not willing to use that as an excuse.

The good news (and the smart thing about keeping this blog going), is that I have a series of checks and balances here. Just knowing what my weight is doing will help keep it top of mind for me. If I can keep it in sight, I can keep it on the active priority list. Sometimes that's all it needs. Since I have to report the results back to you, it helps even more. The next few months are going to be very telling.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Day 100 + 1 Month

I've been getting significant feedback from people asking for an update on my status now that the 100 days is over. My response of course is "Get a LIFE, people!" :-) Actually, I'm happy that you're still with me and even minutely interested, so here goes....

I felt a little odd when the 100 days ended. How do I approach eating? Is it okay to visit the dessert table again? If I don't push myself, how fast will I re-gain weight, and how much is acceptable? I'm not really sure I know what the answers to these questions should be. All I know is that I need to remain healthy and fit.

I tried to continue to evaluate whether I was eating something for convenience, comfort, or need. I tried to continue to choose the healthy option when faced with a choice. I continue to eat salads, veggies, low-fat or non-fat alternatives whenever possible. I continue to look for opportunities to ride my exercise bike, or put the extra effort into a physical activity. I continue to use the 'escalator' at work (which my loyal readers know means hiking my sorry butt up 142 stairs). It simply has to be the way to live from now on.

So, perhaps nothing has really changed. I don't have the pressure of the 100 Days journey, but the reason why I started it in the first place still exists...I need to remain healthy and fit...FOREVER!

Day 100 + 1 Month
Current Weight: 173
Weight Lost To Date: 33
Post 100 Days Change: -1

I've added a new line to my numbers report above. I want to track my progress since the 100 day journey ended, which I'll report on the "Post 100 Days Change" line. I expected this number to be around +5 pounds. I'm actually quite thrilled to see it negative! This means that I've actually lost weight in the month following the formal end of the 100 days. Statistics show that 95% of people regain the weight they've lost (and more!), sometimes within a few months. Let's aim for the other 5%, shall we. Now if we could only get rid of this snow so Speedo season would arrive!


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Day 100

It’s finally here! Day 100! It’s been both a long and a short journey. At times I thought it would never end, and then when it got nearer, I wished I had more time. But time is something that we don’t have control over, so we’d better learn to make friends with it and take advantage of as much (or as little) of it as we get.

We started this journey 100 days ago (duh!), back in mid-November. I can no longer recall the exact moment or reasoning for it, but after an infrequent THUD onto the bathroom scale, I realized I had hit 206 pounds and counting. If I were 6’ 10” I probably wouldn’t be so concerned, but being a good foot shorter than that, I knew it was not a healthy state. Both the Canadian and U.S. health departments officially classified me as “obese”, and that’s not the best category to be in for a long life. I had to do something about it, and I might as well make it public, since anyone who looked at me knew it anyway. Hence this blog.

The beginning was tough. The ‘comfort food’ was no longer at my disposal. I had to find a way to not just survive, but make it ‘livable’ as well. I also had to increase my exercise level to burn more calories and increase overall fitness. The stationary bike, occasional fitness center, and the stairs to my office (I counted them, and there are 142 by the way) became my prime fitness tools. They were both my nemesis and my friend as I initially struggled, but constantly improved my abilities to conquer them.

I found the food that was healthy for me and also somewhat palatable. I had to stay conscious of what, when, and how much I ate, but that’s not a bad thing anyway. I love the nutrition labels on foods and have become quite good at spotting the pot holes (Make sure to look at the top where it tells you the portion size the rest of the label is based on. Often comparing two foods I couldn’t simply compare the main numbers without converting portions to an equivalent amount. Something with two-thirds the calories isn’t very good if the portion size is half the other one). Foods like diet pop, non-fat cheese, fat-free pudding, fruit, etc. became a key part of my diet. Even vegetables (yes, I actually said it) became much more appealing when I knew they would fill me up with healthy goodness and less calories. Salads are now considered a staple to me.

My clothes started getting larger (or at least it felt that way). My belt went through several modifications. My face and hands seemed less bloated. My energy level started going up. I was transforming.

Sharing my transformation through this blog was a bit of a kick. We even got a few award nominations, which was just gravy (mmmm….gravy). But by FAR the coolest part about the blog was your participation. I received some VERY encouraging feedback and I truly thank you for it. I even received a ‘spam’ comment (that I deleted), which just goes to show what happens when something on the Internet gets a bit popular. By the way, when I type “100 days to fitness” into Google, I get 602 hits. That’s pretty cool! Thanks for making this a fun ride.

Now…..(drumroll please)….on to the numbers!

Day 100
Current Weight: 174
Weight Lost To Date: 32

He shoots....he SCORES! Well, what do you know, we actually did it! I had no idea that hitting my goal weight of 175 in 100 days was attainable, I really just pulled it out of a hat, but I’m thrilled to have made it. The last few days were filled with a bit of anxiety as I gave extra-special-close attention to everything I did and ate. On Saturday (Day 99), I even got up an hour before I had to in order to get an extra bike riding session in. I wasn’t going to cheat at the end, but I was certainly going to make sure I did whatever I could before the big weigh-in.

This morning I woke up at the usual weigh-in time, had my usual pre-weigh-in ‘preparation’, closed my eyes, and stepped on the scale. When I opened my eyes, it certainly was a nice sight to behold. So, how did I celebrate? I had some low-cal oatmeal with fruit for breakfast, and for lunch I went out to eat with one of my sons, and had a salad and some diet pop. And I LOVED it! I even popped by my office for a few minutes....and took the stairs. Maybe the maintenance thing isn’t going to be so tough after all.

So, where do we go from here? I think, if you’re willing, we should touch base now and then to make sure everything is still okay. I don’t want to be another statistic about dieters who lose weight and then re-gain it all (and more). I’m going to suggest a ‘monthly’ report that updates you on my status. What do you think? Are you willing to check in on me every month and keep me honest? At least it would force me to continue to think about my weight and not let it get ahead of me again.

Before I sign off today, I really need to thank some people. First of all, I’d like to thank the makers of Aspartame and other sugar substitutes. You ROCK! Of course, my family has played an indispensable part in this journey. My kids have followed my progress, and hopefully it’s taught them a thing or two about commitment and doing what’s right. They knew that today was "Daddy's special day", and were anxious to celebrate with me. My wife has made every effort to support my dietary and exercise needs, even though it meant she suffered along with me when our meal choices were significantly reduced. It’s been a very healthy atmosphere to be in during such a journey, and I couldn't have done it without them.

And finally, I’d like to thank YOU, for your kind words and constant support. To BC, Caroline, Mom, Slim, Mark M, DM, Zeppelin, Stephan, Raw Food, and various Anonymous posters (some of which I know personally, others just passed by and left their comments for us), you all helped fuel me when calories couldn’t, and I salute you.

As it says on a mug I was given this week..."What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?" Reach for the stars, and know that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Day 96

What's that ribbon stretched across our path up ahead? Is that the finish line? It's so close I can almost smell it (and it smells like apple pie and ice cream! ...just kidding...) I've been thinking about what life is going to be like in a few days. I must admit I'm a little nervous about transitioning out of this special 100 day journey, and back into normal life. The difference between losing a few pounds a week, and maintaining weight can be fairly significant. I often wonder if I kept eating and exercising exactly the way I do now, where would I land? I wouldn't keep losing forever, eventually I would reach equilibrium where the calories required to sustain my life at a certain weight would exactly equal the calories I was taking in. I wonder where that equilibrium point would be? 170? 160? 150? I suppose I could calculate it, but it seems like too much math to be bothered. The real task next week will be to start finding the right mix to keep me in the zone that I am in right now, without moving back up the charts again. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. It's not over until the less-slim-than-me lady sings.

Day 96
Current Weight: 176.5
Weight Lost To Date: 29.5

Our goal weight is 175. I have 1.5 pounds to go in 4 days. The number seems small, but it's getting harder all the time. I promised you I wouldn't do anything rash at the end, and I'm going to stick to that promise. No starvation diet for the final days. No dehydration tricks before the weigh-in. No lopping off a leg to try and drastically lighten the load before stepping (hopping?) onto the scales the last day. I'll stick to the same technique...diet...exercise...sucking in my gut and admiring myself in the mirror...

Every dramatic finish ends with the cheering crowd providing moral support to the exhausted athlete as he crosses the finish line victorious. YOU are my cheering crowd (okay, maybe not cheering, but breathing loudly at least). YOU are my inspiration. YOU are my reason to... (enough with the sappy cliche's already, you get the picture). Stay with me. Let me know you're out there. It would be easy to come up just short of the goal, except I really can't let you down now. One final push, and it will all be worth it. Let's finish it together!


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Day 92

I'm back! Yes, my two week travel-fest is finally over. I survived cancelled flights (don't ask, it's too painful), airplane food, business dinners, and lack of normal exercise. The operative word, is "survived". Actually, I was pretty pumped this week when the Customs Official looked at me....and then my passport....then me....then my passport, and said "You look very different from your picture." At first I was a little shocked, then I smiled and said "I've lost over 25 pounds recently." He smiled back and said "I can tell." YES! It was a nice way to begin the trip.

Figuring I would counter the potentially crazy travel diet with as much exercise as I could manage, I packed my workout clothes and planned to hit the hotel's fitness room. My previous hotel fitness room experience (open 24-hours, machines with personal TVs, apples, etc.) was to my absolute shock, entirely replicated again. I had no idea that there was some unwritten rule for hotels that said they must supply me with everything possible to remove travel as an excuse for not exercising. I was thrilled to learn that no matter how late I got back from my meetings, I could head to the fitness center for a little mind-numbing television, and some sweaty fat-burning exercise. I had several machines to choose from, and tended to move around a bit to give different muscles a chance to ache for a while. I even tried some Nautilus systems (gotta work on those pecs you know). I like the machines that display how many calories you burn as you use them, as it translates very nicely into pounds lost (3,500 calories = 1 pound). The apples were much appreciated, as they served to put nutrients back into my system, and I usually took an extra one to have for breakfast the following day.

There's no need for travel to be tougher on your diet and exercise routine than is absolutely necessary. I still have to skip the alcohol, the fatty desserts, and the constant snacking, but it's part of life, so just deal with it!

Day 92
Current Weight: 177.5
Weight Lost To Date: 28.5

I guess we can officially say were heading into the home stretch. With only 8 days to go, we're right on schedule, and I hope that being back at home base will give me better control of things. My family is giving me every opportunity to succeed, and I'm grateful for that. I'm also grateful for your kind words of encouragement. Let's get this thing accomplished!


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Day 86

Travel, travel, travel.... I'm currently in the middle of two weeks of traveling across the continent. While that sounds like it should provide lots of exercise, I usually do it inside a plane rather than on foot, so there really isn't much benefit I get out of it health-wise. In fact, it creates all sorts of problems for me in trying to manage my meals. It also keeps me away from my usual exercise routine, and forces me to work additional exercise into my schedule.

Last week, my plan was to take advantage of any exercise facilities at my hotel. Luckily, I was in San Diego where the 'gods of winter snow' seem to have totally forgotten them, so I could do things outside without the threat of frostbite. My hotel was actually beside a golf course, so I asked the pro shop to loan me a few clubs, and I bought a bucket of balls for the driving range. It was great to swing the clubs again! Hitting balls isn't the optimum way to burn fat, but any exercise is good. On my way back I noticed the outdoor swimming pool. It was totally empty (possibly a little too cool for the typical Californian), but the slight breeze in the air didn't deter me a bit. I went to my room to change, and quickly dove in for a few laps.

When I'm swimming, it's usually more like flopping and playing. I'm not a lap swimmer, but I enjoy the feeling of near weightlessness, so I don't normally care how big the pool is. In this case, the pool was very long (perfect for laps), and empty, so I thought I'd give it a try. How many laps should I swim? I thought about stopping after 1, but I realized that was setting the bar a bit too low, so I chose 26. I had lost 26 pounds on this journey, and thought I would reflect about each pound as I swam the laps (pretty melodramatic eh?). I chose the breast stroke as I thought it would give me a good overall workout, and because I might drown if I tried to swim any other way (remember I said I wasn't a lap swimmer). The first 10 laps were quite nice. The next 10 started to burn my arms and chest. The last 6 were going to be the test. By the time I had reached 26 I figured I might as well push myself and go for the entire 31 (just like my 31 pound goal on this diet). Again, it was a bit melodramatic, but there was a significance to the number and I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. Once I completed the 31 laps, I headed to the whirlpool for a soak. And yes, my body didn't like me very much the next day.

After my meetings, I checked out the fitness facility. I was pleasantly surprised to find out it was open 24-hours. Not only that, but each machine (bike, elliptical, treadmill, etc.) had its own TV with headphones. This is my kind of place! I like to workout watching TV, so I spent the next hour or more trying various machines and watching a few shows. When I was done, I noticed a basket of apples, so I took one for my dessert, and one for my breakfast the following day.

Dinner was room service, and I stuck with the salad and chicken. Not too bad. For the most part, my meals were with business colleagues, so it made life a bit tough. I stayed away from alcohol and even got the chef to create me a plate of fruit for my dessert so I didn't have to eat a bowl of too-rich calories. It never hurts to ask.

Day 86
Current Weight: 179
Weight Lost To Date: 27

It's been a week since my last weigh-in. The travel life has taken its toll on my momentum, nearly halting it in its tracks, but it's just something I'll have to work through. Today I head back out of town, and I've already made sure my hotel has 24-hour fitness facilities, which I intend to take advantage of.

It's nice to be in the 170's, but I know that I'm finding each pound more and more of a struggle. The good news is that I'm obviously reaching a more appropriate weight, which is why it's more difficult to lose now. I also had a very positive experience today as I cut another two inches off my belt, so I could reclaim some of the holes that I'd left behind weeks ago. My wife is currently hemming my new pants, so hopefully we'll lose some of the baggy look as well.

The home stretch is going to be a challenge, and I'll need your support. I'm just about exactly on track given my goal and my time remaining, which means that I've lost the edge I had built up in the first 80 days or so. I can't afford to let it slip now. Stay with me......


Sunday, February 3, 2008

Day 79

It's hard to keep to a diet and exercise schedule during hectic times. It's easy to say "Cut me some slack, I'm too busy right now!". But we all know that busy is just the way life is. Life expands to fill the space, and when it does, we have no time left to twiddle our thumbs, so we say we're busy. I don't mean to sound deep, but I've noticed lately that I've had to counsciously think about my journey and make sure it gets the appropriate attention. The Christmas holidays were busy enough, but lately we've had family birthdays, kids sporting events, and major activities at work. Tomorrow I'll be heading across the country on a business trip. In a week, I'll be doing it again. How does diet and exercise have a chance when you can barely get the rest of your life in order?

For me, it requires a bit of planning, and a bit of re-prioritization. In the suitcase beside me is not only my work clothes, but some workout attire, some running shoes, and even some swim trunks. I'm planning to fit in some walking or swimming or working out at the hotel's weight room. At the very least, I could do a few situps in my room (maybe I should leave the TV remote on the TV). I'm sure I can spare the time to do some sort of exercise somehow. I've just got to do it. And you know, I'm actually looking forward to it as I've started to find exercise a good source of stress relief from the day's business.

Day 79
Current Weight: 180
Weight Lost To Date: 26

Getting closer. The 170's are just around the corner, and so is my home stretch. It's too early to sprint for the finish line, but I'm getting close enough I can smell it (at least I hope it's the finish line I smell. I took a shower this morning).

Speaking of sprinting....The other day I found myself sprinting up the stairs to my office. Don't ask me where I got this crazy idea, I just looked down and saw my feet bouncing up the stairs! It was almost as if walking wasn't satisfying my hunger for some exercise, so my legs took over and solved the problem. Hopefully a long cross-country flight, sitting stationary in my seat, will teach my legs a lesson, and they won't rebel against my body again. Although, it was kinda cool.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Day 75

I can hardly believe I've been at this for 75 days already! It sounded like such a long journey when I started, and I'm already at the three-quarter mark. A lot has changed in 75 days.

When I began, I wasn't sure where I'd end up. All I knew was that I was committed to trying my best. I knew that if I lost even a little bit of weight, it would make a difference. Today I got another one of those "Have you lost weight?" comments (I get a few a week now), and it felt great! Even I can see the difference. My face is thinner (I have a few less chins). My pants are starting to look a bit too baggy and clown-like. Strangely enough, I even notice it in my hands. When I interlock my fingers, they feel more like bones, and less like sausage links (mmmm.....sausage).

But we started out trying to increase fitness as well, and I think we're succeeding. I'm not bounding up the eight flights of stairs to my office just yet, but it's much less of a task these days. You'd be surprised at the interesting people you meet in the stairwell. It's like a hidden city of 'mole people' that avoid contact with normal humans...weird. I also notice that I have lots more energy. It seems odd that the more energy I have, the more I want to do physical activities, which only gives me more energy. And scientists say there is no such thing as a perpetual motion machine.

Of course much of the success goes to my support system. My family at home, and my 'family' of supporters here on the blog. Your comments make a difference every day, and I'm very thankful for your kind words of encouragement. Does anyone have a tissue, I think I'm tearing up.

Day 75
Current Weight: 181
Weight Lost To Date: 25

Yes! I hit another milestone. 25 pounds is a nice number. There should be some sort of 'badge' or 'certificate' for reaching the 25 pound mark, don't you think? At the very least, a congratulatory call from Richard Simmons. Actually, if you have any connections in Hollywood, I would prefer a call from Jenny Criag spokesperson, and one of my all-time favourite hotties, Valerie Bertinelli!

But our goal isn't 25, it's 31, and we've only got 25 more days to do it in. So let's keep focused and stick with the program for the stretch run. I'll be back on the bike in the morning trying to sweat off a few. Care to join me?


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Day 72

My daily diet is certainly more restricted than it was before my journey began. However, with a bit of effort, I've managed to find good substitute foods that do the trick for me.

For breakfast, instant porridge (with water, not milk) does the trick pretty well. So does yogurt and fresh fruit. Even turkey bacon tastes quite different, but has a lot less calories than the regular kind. Just don't skip breakfast (especially if you're exercising), as it really is an important start to the day, and your Mom would be angry if you skipped it.

For lunch, I often have soup with a salad or sandwich. Soup tends to have a lot of water, and I usually get one with veggies as well. Salad is a staple for dieters (although I wouldn't recommend adding staples to your salad). I feel I can add almost anything to my salad, so it's usually chock full of veggies and fixins. I stick with low-cal and fat-free dressings to keep under budget. If I have a sandwich, I don't use butter or margarine, I just spread some mustard on it. For meat, it's either low-fat ham or turkey, although stay away from turkey salad, or chicken salad, because it's loaded with fatty mayonnaise! I like my cheese (okay, I LOVE my cheese), so my sandwich has cheese on it. If I pack my lunch at home, I'll add a slice of fat-free cheese as the flavour is still pretty good, and it's much easier on the calories.

For supper, I usually have whatever the family wants. I don't eat celery sticks for supper while the family digs into a pizza. I'll have a few pieces (far fewer than I used to), and call it quits. Portion control is your friend here. They say your brain doesn't get the 'stomach full' signal until long after your stomach is actually full. Anticipate that signal, and remember to ask your stomach if it's full (although it's not polite to carry on a conversation with your stomach at the table, so be subtle about it). Of course, I'll try and save a few calories wherever I can. Cooking with Pam is a whole let healthier than with butter, and I'll just have to live with the tiny hole in the ozone for now. Perhaps I'd look better with tan anyway.

Desserts are a killer! A few pie-and-ice-cream nights and the spare tire starts to bulge again! I try to stick to fruit, yogurt, or fat-free pudding or Jello. It's not really a problem as I think these things are yummy anyway. Drinks are easy for me. I don't believe I've had any alcohol during the 72 days so far, and I really haven't missed it. Diet drinks are a good substitute for me (it helps that I have the unsophisticated palate of a 9-year old). For breakfast I sometimes mix some juice (vitamins and all that goodness) with Diet 7-Up (no calories). For lunch it's usually Diet Pepsi or similar. For dinner, usually some 2% milk, but not too much. In the evening, it's back to diet pop again. If I need a snack (and who doesn't occasionally?), I'll head for dried fruit, or popcorn (without the butter).

I can't say that I'll stick with this meal plan after the 100 days is up. I'll likely broaden it to add things that aren't on the menu at the moment, but I won't be trying to lose weight quite the same. Still, since I enjoy what I eat, I can easily keep most of these things in the rotation and avoid stuffing my face with all the bad stuff. I feel much less guilty wolfing down a bowl of popcorn than a bowl of potato chips, so in some way I enjoy it better. Who knew?

Day 72
Current Weight: 182.5
Weight Lost To Date: 23.5

I'm still avoiding any major plateaus. It's hard to imagine that a few months ago I was a chunky 206 (instead of a slightly less chunky 182.5)! My energy level is notably higher as I chase the kids around the place. My stair climb isn't as arduous anymore, and I can tell the difference every time I reach the top. I'm setting new personal best times on the stationary bike with regularity, so I know I'm getting stronger. Let's hope we can keep it together for the next four weeks.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Day 68

It was an honour just to be nominated. No, this blog didn't win any Canadian Blog Awards, but I'd like to thank my loyal supporters for their votes anyway. Of course, I have no idea if you actually voted, or if you voted for the competition instead, but I trust you and I'm prepared to always think the best of you. Nuff said.

The last few days have been an odd combination of family illness and a very busy schedule. I'm not sure where the time has gone, but I know I've kept things pretty much on track from a diet perspective. I guess it's a good sign that life continues to happen and I don't have to struggle too much to keep the diet going. I used to think/plan/dream about that next yummy meal. Now I just deal with it as it comes.

On the milestone side, my belt made it to the next (and last!) hole this week. Luckily, the belt was designed to be made smaller, so if I need more holes, I can simply cut the leather and shrink the entire belt, allowing me to reuse the same holes again. That's another incentive not to gain weight, as I can't make the belt larger again.

Day 68
Current Weight: 183.5
Weight Lost To Date: 22.5

We've passed the two-thirds mark, and are still doing okay. 68% of the time has elapsed, and we're 72.5% of the way to our goal weight. Time's getting a little tight, but there's no need to panic yet. I have no intention of switching to an all-celery diet, so I'd better just keep up the exercise in order to lose at my current rate. It's clear to me that I have more energy in the sports I play, so the fitness improvement is happening as planned. I'll have to start thinking about which Olympic medal I plan to win later this year, as I'll likely have my choice. Weight lifting? Diving (there's that Speedo theme again)? Maybe I'll just concentrate on doing what I'm doing. At least until "Web surfing" becomes an Olympic sport.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Day 62

Mmmmmmm.....New York cheesecake!......

This week I went to The Big Apple on business. Funnily enough, I saw lots of food, but very few apples of any size. I think they should re-brand the city The Big Deli Sandwich. They basically put a slice of bread on either side of a full-sized cow and call it a sandwich. They almost dare you to eat it, and no doubt enjoy the painful look on your face as you try to dislocate your jaw to expand it wide enough to take a bite. They could also re-brand the city The Awesome Tasting Cheesecake, which could be a problem for me....

Business trips will always be a challenge. Not only do you have less control over meals, but they also become much more tempting as you have access to all sorts of exotic tastes. For me, a trip through the room service menu is like walking through the Garden of Eden, so beautiful, yet so many snakes ready to tempt me.

The first night I kept it under control. I ordered the chicken and vegetables, with a salad and two Diet Pepsi's. No dessert. I even avoided the complementary chocolates they had left on my pillow, and brought them home for my boys. Round One goes to....ME!

The second night, I knew I was going to a group dinner that was all pre-ordered. The appetizer was salad. No problems there. The main course was steak, potatoes, and veggies. Steak and I get along just fine. I made sure to eat all my veggies, and just to show off, I left some of my steak uneaten on my plate. To drink, I avoided the wine and stuck with Diet Pepsi and water. So far, so good, but I knew they were saving their best for last. I knew that if I was going to claim victory I'd have to take on their Top Gun....their Head Honcho...their Big Cheese...or should I say, their Big Cheesecake!

They placed it in front of me. There it sat, boldly defying me. It wasn't the least bit scared. It knew it had me in its clutches. All 4 million-trillion-billion-zillion calories of it. I picked up my fork. It was just me against the cheesecake. I needed more weaponry, so I picked up my knife. Then I did something the cheesecake hadn't expected. I cut two thirds of the cheesecake, pushed the large portion to the edge of my plate, and calmly ate the remaining third. It was sweet, rich, and yummy! I enjoyed it very much, and only had to pay the penalty of one third the usual calories. It was a good compromise, and I felt I had earned at least a draw with the cheesecake that night. I think I earned its respect too.

You have to be able to treat yourself once in a while. If this healthy lifestyle is going to last beyond 100 days, it has to fit my lifestyle. It has to be able to support me living my life in an enjoyable and healthy way. There's nothing wrong with the occasional indulgence. Don't feel guilty for it, just don't let it get the better of you. And yes, I skipped the pre-arranged transportation back to the hotel and walked (with a satisfied tummy, and a smile on my face).

Day 62
Current Weight: 185
Weight Lost To Date: 21

I survived the business trip, and even dropped a pound! I'm now 10 pounds from my goal weight, and looking forward to the final stretch. I'm going to need your help getting there, but I feel you behind me. It's SOOOO nice to get comments on the blog, and I read every one. In fact, I have it setup so I get an email when a comment is posted, so I never miss one. Thanks again for your support.

If you were curious about a recent comment (from DM) saying they found this blog from the Canadian Blog Awards site, it's because we've been nominated! In fact, we've been nominated in several categories (Best Blog, Best New Blog, Best Personal Blog, Best Humour Blog). If you'd like to show your support, and throw me a vote, please feel free. You can vote (once per category) at http://cdnba.wordpress.com/vote/round-1/. I promised not to commercialize this blog, but I thought the nominations were kinda cool, so don't sweat it if you don't wish to vote. As long as you keep coming back HERE, I'll still like you. :-)


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Day 58

Today I woke up early and jumped on the bike. Sometimes I go for speed and try and set a personal best (usually targeting a distance of 15km). Other times I go a bit slower, but a bit farther, and go for endurance. Today, I decided my exercise needed taking up a notch, and went for both. Not only did I set a PB for the first 15km, but I hung with it for a while longer until I was sure my legs would fall off (or at least refuse to hold me when I stood). I'm happy to report that my legs decided not to fall off after all, and I felt good about my effort.

I received a nice comment from "Mark M", who wondered (quite rightly) how come I never seem to gain any weight during this ordeal. As many of you have experienced, your weight often bounces up and down like the stock market, hopefully with at least a slight trend in the desired direction. I'm really no different, however I make a special effort to attempt to get consistency with my weigh-ins. I always weigh myself at the same point in the day, with the same attire, and as many other similarities as I can think of (I don't have to say it do I?.....Okay, I'm talking about toilet stuff. You figure it out).

There is no magic in how much you weigh, or how much it changes from day to day. It's all very scientific. If you burned off more calories than you took in since the last weigh-in, AND you are not carrying a different amount of water or undigested food, your weight is pretty predictable. I once weighed myself after a workout, and found I'd lost an additional 2 pounds. Similarly, if I weigh myself after a meal, I could be a few pounds heavier. If my weight goes down, it's usually a good reflection of my recent diet and exercise.

My exercise routine is not designed to build muscle (although I will likely do this a bit), it's designed to burn calories. I would love to say that any weight gain is due to my enormous guns and that benching 500 pounds tends to put on a bit more muscle, and everyone knows that muscle weighs more than fat, so...... However, in my case, it's simply not true. I do my best to burn the weight off, and figure my guns will just have to impress the ladies as they are.

The other thing that makes my weight loss look more consistent is the fact that I don't weigh myself every day, and I certainly don't get the chance to blog about it every day either. Taking a few days between postings has the tendency to flatten out the peaks and valleys a bit and give a smoother trend line. Maybe that's a good strategy. Avoid weighing yourself too frequently, and you'll avoid a bit of the stress that goes along with it.

Day 58
Current Weight: 186
Weight Lost To Date: 20

Yay, I finally hit the 20 pound mark! It's been a bit slow lately, but I knew it would get harder down the stretch. My BMR (the calories I burn just hauling my fat butt around this world all day long) is getting less as I get lighter, so I'm having to compensate with less calories or more exercise to keep up the pace. As a result, the pace is slowing a bit, but I'm still confident I can keep going strong enough.

Today I bought my sons an ice cream as a treat. One of them had "Raspberry Cranberry Duet". The other had "NY Cherry Cheesecake". Of course they both asked me if I wanted some, and of course I politely declined. However, I remembered that I'm off to NY myself tomorrow....and they do make some wicked cheesecake.... We'll see if I can resist!


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Day 53

It's back to work, and reuniting with my old friend "Mr. Eight-Flights-Of-Stairs". It's been a few weeks, so the legs are a bit rubbery, but I'm a few pounds lighter than I was at the end of last year, so it's not too bad. It would be nice to be able to climb the stairs, while carrying all my bags, and whistling a happy tune, without so much as pausing to breathe.....but it just isn't happening yet. Maybe before we're through.

Speaking of climbing...I climbed a rock wall yesterday! You know, one of those artificial climbing walls that the kids seem to fly up, and sane adults stay away from? A few months ago I wouldn't have thought it was possible ("Look out! The wall's gonna come down!"), but yesterday I flew up the wall like Spiderman. Okay, I struggled up the wall like Spiderman's uncle, but I got to the top, and it felt great.

Day 53
Current Weight: 187
Weight Lost To Date: 19

This week I've already had two people (who didn't know anything about my quest), ask me if I'd lost weight, and said that I looked better. That's a really nice feeling! It's interesting that they seem a little tentative at first, as they delicately ask me if it was intentional or not, but when they find out I'm just doing it for myself instead of under doctor's orders, they think it's great. Hopefully I'll be all buffed and ready when Speedo season begins! On second thought.....


Saturday, January 5, 2008

Day 50

Well, we finally made it half way! It's starting to feel like we've been at this for a while, and being in the first half was a bit depressing, but now I can look forward to the finish line. We all know that there really isn't a 'finish line' when it comes to fitness, but we set out to do 100 days, so it will be nice when we've finally reach it.

The other night, Mom looked after the boys so my wife and I could go out for dinner. Eating out is a tough thing on a diet, but a few smart choices make all the difference in the world. For example, we usually share one of our favourite desserts (deep-fried ice cream). This time, even though there were two spoons, my wife 'took one for the team' and ate it all herself. It didn't tempt me. It didn't bother me. It didn't make me salivate. I didn't have to look away. It was a great feeling to know that I could sit there and talk with her while she ate it, and not be the least bit affected by it. The fact was, I didn't want it. There's a big difference between "I can't have it", and "I don't want it". If you still want it, but are simply depriving yourself of it, I believe you're bound to succumb to the temptation as soon as the diet is over. If you truly don't desire it, you've made the free willed choice regarding what's important to you, and realized it doesn't have to be food. My money says that choice will get you a lot farther in the post-diet era.

It also seems like I've survived the holiday season. Tomorrow is the last day of vacation. Mom leaves as well. Things go back to normal. I continued to lose during the season. Life is good. As a final hurrah for the gift-giving season, I received a nice set of containers filled with healthy dried foods and a diet guide from BC (Anybody for a dried apricot? I'm having one now). It's great when your friends support what you're doing. Thanks BC! If anyone else would like to send me a gift, please feel free, although a nice comment on the blog would be every bit as appreciated.

Time for some half-way numbers.......

Day 50
Current Weight: 188
Weight Lost To Date: 18

Doing the math, it's clear to see we're still ahead of our average for a 31 pound goal (to weigh 175 pounds by the end). I'm still not celebrating yet, but I'm happy to take a bow at the half way point for a job well done so far. I might even touch my toes while I'm down there.


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Day 46

Happy New Year!

It's time to welcome the start of a new year with the time honoured tradition of the New Year's Resolution. Besides 'world peace', 'being kind to animals', and other Miss America style answers, I would hazard a guess that the most popular resolution for most adults is to lose weight. Since I'm already committed to that one, I'll skip it and set probably the most meaningful resolution that I can...to not gain weight. The sad fact is that over 90% of dieters put back on the pounds (and a little bit more) as soon as their diet has ended. I was watching a show on TV this week, and the woman lost 30 pounds in one year, and took all of two weeks to put it back on! Scary. So what do you say we meet back here next year and see how much we've kept off? Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint, so keep thinking healthy thoughts, eating healthy food, exercising, and take the opportunity to hop onto the bathroom scale on a regular basis just to check on things.

Yesterday I woke up feeling lousy. A cold had taken over my body and left me achy, stuffed up, and feeling like there was a New Year's Eve party taking place inside me head (Who keeps blowing that damn noise-maker?!). A lesser man would have crumbled (okay, maybe not crumbled, but at least backed off a notch). I jumped on my exercise bike and did 50 minutes in front of the television. I didn't set any records, but I was glad I gave it a shot.

Given my physical state, and my commitment to the diet, there was no champagne at midnight. No cocktail wienies, cheese, and crackers. No 'Happy 2008' cake and ice cream. It was a pretty normal day, and I feel much better about my choices (now I just need to get rid of this darn cold).

Day 46
Current Weight: 189
Weight Lost To Date: 17

I finally made it into the 180s, and it feels good. My wife even bought me some new jeans that are 2 inches smaller around the waist, as my old jeans were getting a bit bloated for me (I can pull them on and off without undoing them). I've been plotting my progress on a graph, and it continues to look fairly linear, so I haven't hit any drastic decrease in momentum yet. I'm still a long way from my target, but I remain positive.

To everyone out there, please have a happy and safe 2008. Remember your family, and don't take them for granted. Remember your health, and do what you can to keep strong. And, while you're at it, remember the 'world peace' and 'be kind to animals' bits as well. It couldn't hurt.

Thanks for all your support in 2007. I still need you in 2008, so please keep the comments coming.


Saturday, December 29, 2007

Day 43

There's a big difference between "tastes good" and "tastes good enough". I think that's where many people encounter problems in the post-diet period. It's very rare to find anything "fat free" or "calorie reduced" that is as tasty as the original version (although I find diet pop an exception). When given the choice of eating something purely for the flavour, most people would go with the full calorie version every time. Everything's different when dieting. When you're dieting, you are sooooo happy to have something even remotely tasty that you'll gladly take the low cal version rather than do without. A piece of fat-free cheese is still cheese, so it will do. When that magic time comes that you've graduated from 'having to eat the low cal stuff' to 'having the option to choose either low cal or high flavour yet more fattening stuff', try and remember those fat days when you wondered why there was a kind of exploding sound every time you unbuttoned your jeans, and choose the low cal option at least some of the time.

Day 43
Current Weight: 190
Weight Lost To Date: 16

Well, I don't want to jinx myself, but I'm clearly on the brink of a new milestone.... the 180-somethings! I'm also on the brink of a much more exciting milestone....the "Have you lost weight?" comments! BC said it in a recent comment on this blog. My wife says it when she hugs me. It's starting to show, and it feels GREAT! The best form of encouragement is positive reinforcement, so when it comes genuinely, it puts fuel in the tank for the next stretch. Thanks to my support team!

Feeling a bit under-exercised during the holiday season, I was back on the bike this morning and set a new PB (that's hip talk for "Personal Best". You're welcome.) I've never been an outdoor biking kind of person, but riding the stationary bike in front of the television seems to work wonders for me. I can get lost in the program while the miles roll by, or I can close my eyes and gun it during the commercials without fear of hitting a wayward skateboarder or the back bumper of a not-gunning-it-as-fast-as-me Ferrari. And best of all, when I get too tired to continue, I'm already home!


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Day 40

Merry Christmas!

The definition of "brave" includes phrases like "...possessing or displaying courage; able to face and deal with danger or fear without flinching...". To me, the definition of "brave" is stepping on the scale the day after Christmas! I'm not sure about the "without flinching" part, but I did my best.

This year's Christmas meal was pretty traditional. Turkey, stuffing, gravy, potatoes, vegetables, dessert, eggnog, etc. But it was not without its differences. For example, I loaded up on the veggies (green beans and carrots....not 'green' carrots, orange carrots....duh!). I also stuck to the white meat (which I like the best anyway). My wife made the gravy by adding water to a package, rather than using the fatty drippings from the turkey. It tastes different, but a good quality gravy still tastes great, and there is a HUGE difference in the calorie count when you make it this way. The eggnog was non-fat, and the dessert was a masterpiece of low-cal jello, fruit, and non-fat pudding. The entire family loved it, and it will definitely make its way into the rotation from now on. As a matter of fact, the Jello non-fat pudding packages are FABULOUS! They only have about 25 calories per portion plus whatever calories you get from the milk you add. You don't bake it, or boil it, or otherwise destroy the milk value, so it's a good way of getting your required dairy anyway, and except for a bit of stirring, it's a breeze to make. Of course, the less fat milk you use the better. 2% is my favourite. It's not skim, but it's much better than homogenized. Anyway, the entire meal was wonderful and I didn't feel the least bit cheated.

Today was another Christmas Feast. This time, at my in-laws. Normally, this is another gigantic meal, so some careful preparation was necessary. We brought some Diet Pepsi for me to drink, as well as the low-cal pudding which I made when we got there. My wife even went out to get 2% milk for me. There were a ton of high-calorie munchies/sweets/chocolates out all day, but I stuck to the carrot sticks and celery. My mother-in-law even put out a bowl of low-cal dressing for me to use as dip. I stuck to small portions of the main meal, and water to drink. The kids had a fruit and chocolate fondue for dessert, so I had some of the sliced fruit with my pudding. Again, it was a delicious meal, and I didn't have to worry about ruining my diet.

Day 40
Current Weight: 191
Weight Lost To Date: 15

I'm 40% through the 100 days, and almost half way to my goal. So far, so good. The hard part this week is actually the exercise part. I'm going to have to ride my stationary bike a bit more this week, as I don't have my own sports to keep me active. I also don't have my personal escalator (a.k.a. "the stairs") at work to challenge me. I'm sure BC would let me shovel her backyard, clean the snow off her roof, and wash her windows if I asked her. [Note to self: Avoid BC for the rest of the week.]


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Day 37

Mother Nature is supporting me on my quest. Yes, just when you thought I'd be doing this on my own, Mother Nature steps in to kick it up a notch.

I live in the North, where ice is outside, not just in a glass. Last year, the snow didn't land until Boxing Day. This year, there is so much snow that I doubt we'll be able to leave the garage to hunt for Boxing Day sales. Anyway, you get the picture....there's lots of snow!

Each year, I like to build a skating rink in the backyard for the kids (and me :-) to play on. It's a decent size (46' x 26'). With all the snow that's fallen in the last several weeks, the rink is way behind schedule. The other night, my wife got the bright idea that it was time to carve out the rink, so we bundled up warm and ventured out. It was hilarious when we actually stepped into the backyard and almost disappeared in a snowbank! Drifts of snow were up to our waist, and it was clear that shovelling a rink in this stuff was going to be hard work. To her credit, my wife stayed at it for almost 2 hours, until she finally gave up and left the rest for me to finish. When I was done, I had a nicely defined rink area and a body full of sore muscles. Since I had my measuring tape with me to plot out the rink, I decided to measure the average depth. It was a full 2' deep. Doing the math (we LOVE math by now, don't we?), 46 * 26 * 2 = 2,392 cubic feet of snow that we shovelled that night. I'm sure I dropped a few pounds from the exercise.

Mother Nature wasn't finished yet. Today she jacked up the temperature and dumped a ton of rain on us. Unfortunately, the rain turned my driveway into a slushy/icy mess, and I got stuck just trying to drive into my garage. Before my wife got home from shopping (for my Christmas presents I hope!), I had to remove all the slush from the driveway and salt it down. I live in the country and have a rather large driveway (at least that's what I tell all the ladies ;-) so it took quite the effort to get it clear. Mission accomplished, as we were able to get my wife's car safely into the garage. Tonight, there is a 'flash freeze' warning, so the cars might be staying in the garage for a while.

All in all, some good outdoor exercise does wonders for overall fitness, so I kept thinking on the bright side as I slogged snow and slush for hours on end.

Day 37
Current Weight: 191.5
Weight Lost To Date: 14.5

I've been asked why I record everything in "Pounds", and it's simply because my bathroom scaled only shows it that way. However, I'm happy to report that 14.5 Pounds is just over 1 "Stone" for my UK readers. It also equals 6.57708 Kilograms, 32,915 Carats, 403 Ticals, 176 Mommes, 101,578 Grains, etc. Most importantly, it equals 37 days of diet and exercise, which is all I really care about at the moment.

The Christmas season is upon us, with Santa's big night just around the corner. I intend to plow through the pending food-fest as best I can. Turkey is good for me anyway. No, I won't be taking a break during the holidays (I can't believe you even considered it, Caroline!), but it will certainly be a bit more difficult than it's been so far. Keep sending me your words of encouragement, and I'll keep fighting the good fight.

Happy Holidays!


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Day 32

When you look at it, it's really just a numbers game. (calories in) - (calories expended) = (calorie differential). There are approximately 3,500 calories in 1 pound of body weight. If you take in 3,500 calories more than you burn, you gain a pound. If you burn more than you take in, you lose (er... I mean WIN). Obviously, since both food intake and exercise affect these numbers, you have 2 methods of attack. You also get some FREE calories expended on your behalf (Who said there was no such thing as a free lunch?.....Did someone say lunch!?) Just to keep your body alive (breathing, heart pumping, etc.) burns calories. You could stay in bed all day and burn calories if you chose to (although you'd have to watch a lot of Seinfeld reruns). This is called your "Basal Metabolic Rate" or BMR. This number depends on various personal factors (height, weight, age, gender). For me, I started out with a BMR of 1,926. I'm now at 1,842. As it turns out, my height and gender have both remained fairly stable during this process (whew!). My age is also pretty similar between now and when I started my program. For me, BMR is being affected mostly by my weight loss. By the time I hit my 175 goal, I'll be at a BMR of 1,733 or nearly 200 calories less than when I started. This sucks! It means that I'll get 200 less free calories per day. This is part of the reason that diets get harder as you get lighter.

There are other ways to play with the system and reduce intake or expend more energy. For example, I drink my soft drinks as cold as I can get them. With lunch, I'll have a big cup of diet cola with ice. The liquid is very cold in my system and my body has to actually expend energy to warm it up. I wouldn't suggest going on an 'ice diet', but it's all part of the little tricks that are available to you if you want to use them. Just remember, we agreed that 'weight' would be our measure, but 'fitness' is our goal, so eat healthy!

Day 32
Current Weight: 192.5
Weight Lost To Date: 13.5

The scale is still my friend, and gives me little bits of good news every few days. The numbers say I'm 32% to my end date, and 43% to my goal weight. I'm trying hard to keep the numbers in this order, but I know it gets harder and harder. If my confidence stays high, and my Mom doesn't bake me goodies over the holidays when she comes to visit, I'll keep it going. Keep cheering for me please!


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Day 28

Dieting has its benefits.

I've noticed that while I'm on this 100 day journey, it has really taken center stage in my daily life. I used to spend much of the day thinking about and planning what I could make for dinner, or what delectable dessert might await me at the end of a meal. Now, there's less joy in eating, so there's less reason to waste my time planning. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy eating, and in some ways I probably appreciate eating even more now. I just don't let it elevate to a very significant part of my life. However (and here's the beneficial part), because I'm "suffering through a diet", my wife has taken the chains off the grocery list, and lets me buy whatever I want....and here's the best part...even if it's not on sale! You don't realize how nice it is to experiment with new low-cal offerings to keep things interesting for my palette. Fat-free puddings and 100-calorie snack packs can be had at any grocery store, they just never migrated to my shopping cart before. Now, they're all part of the plan. If only they made a low-cal plasma television, I'd have 7 of them by now! By the way, in case it's not clear, I appreciate the support, and it does make a big difference. Ya gotta have some variety when your normal menu has been slashed more times than the unfortunate teenage babysitter during the late night horror flick.

Remember I talked about eating salads and basically being able to put whatever you wanted into it because it was still healthier than a burger? Well, I know that most of the bad stuff in salads from McDonald's, for instance, are in the dressing. It really adds to the flavour, but also to the calorie count. Well, today the family went to Wendy's for lunch and I had a Chicken BLT salad. But I'd read on the Web somewhere that you could ask for 'reduced fat' dressing, so I thought I'd give it a try. Sure enough, it was listed on the board (in fine print), and they didn't look sideways at me when I asked for it. The salad itself is pretty hefty, and the Reduced Fat Creamy Ranch dressing (90 Cal) was so yummy that I didn't miss whatever extra calories the regular (200 Cal) dressing adds. I wholeheartedly recommend it!

Day 28
Current Weight: 194
Weight Lost To Date: 12

I'm now on the low side of the 190's, and starting to look forward (downward?) to the 180's. I'm also starting to look down at the scale rather than at my bellybutton. The scale is much less hairy by the way.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Day 25

In horse racing, the quarter pole marks the spot 1/4 into a mile long race. Today (Day 25) is my quarter pole. Time for a little analysis on progress so far.

If you remember our initial goals, we said we'd use weight as a proxy for fitness, and hoped to reduce one while we increased the other (provided we didn't get the two mixed up). Well, it looks like we're right on track. As the scale shows the weight coming down, it's also clear to me that my fitness level is improving. My hikes up the stairs are still a journey, but I seem to get to higher floors before the puffing and panting starts. Yesterday after lunch, I climbed the stairs to my office only to have Caroline send me back down to the mail room on the ground floor. You can't imagine how [insert sarcastic tone of voice here] pleased I was when I got there only to find the package was actually for her! Back up the stairs I went. The good news, is that I can do it now, and I probably would have died a few weeks ago.

The food part is going okay as well. We still have lots of Halloween candies and chocolates in the house, and I haven't been tempted to eat any. It's simply not worth the calories. I know I can treat myself once in a while, but it's nice to know I don't have to. The most noticeable change for me is that I seem to get full quicker, or at least I'm conscious of it, and am willing to stop eating when that happens. This is a good sign that change is taking place. Even after the 100 days, I will need to continue this technique.

Another milestone happened today. I got tired of constantly pulling up my pants, as they seemed to be sliding dangerously low at times. So, I made that transition to a new hole in my belt. This is a fairly new belt, and I'd never used that hole before. I hope to get at least one more hole tighter before this is over.

And the numbers at the quarter pole are.....[drum roll please]....

Day 25
Current Weight: 195
Weight Lost To Date: 11

So, 11 pounds down and 20 to go. That sounds about right since I know the rest of the journey gets tougher and tougher. I'm pleased to see the numbers consistently coming down, so I'm not going to change anything at this point.

This is a marathon, not a sprint, but at the 25 day mark, the race is still mine to win.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Day 24

So far things are holding up pretty well. I've been spending some time on the (stationary) bike and feel like I can work harder without being as winded. I guess the fitness part is progressing as well as the weight loss part. I had to bring my kids to work for a bit last week, and they were not pleased with the fact that Daddy dragged them up the stairs. I think they might have a new respect for what I'm up to.

The diet part is okay too, although sometimes I need a little Divine intervention. We were Christmas shopping late this weekend, and decided to go to the food court at the mall and dig in. The family decided on a "Family Meal" at one of the popular fast-food chains. I knew this wasn't going to be good for me. I placed my order and was informed that part of the normal meal wasn't available, so I wouldn't have much variety. Then I waited. And waited. And waited. Eventually my meal came, and I noticed that another item had been removed and substituted as well. I talked to them about it, and found out they had simply run out of choices. The manager thought there might be some in storage, so they left my food on the counter (getting cold) while they went looking. Ten minutes later, I finally told them I had waited long enough, and just wanted my money back. They were happy to give it, except the manager was the only person who could give the refund, and she was in the storage room. I waited some more. Finally the manager came out and I informed her that I didn't want my cold food (without two of the items they advertised), and that I just wanted my money back. The entire ordeal took over 30 minutes (it's timestamped on the receipt). We went home and had something more reasonable. The family wasn't pleased, but it probably did wonders for my diet!

Day 24
Current Weight: 195.5
Weight Lost To Date: 10.5

I'm over the 10 pound hurdle and moving on! It's nice to see a little distance between me and the terrible "2". I'm going to need whatever momentum I can get going into the crazy Christmas season.

Thanks again to everyone that post comments on the blog. I REALLY appreciate it. And thanks to my first truly anonymous poster (whoever you are). You're welcome here. Thanks for the encouragement!


Thursday, December 6, 2007

Day 20

Looks like I survived my first encounter with 'room service'. I ordered a Caesar salad (it actually had very little dressing), some pasta (gnocchi), and Diet Coke. No dessert. I even ate the multi-grain roll instead of the white one. And guess what....I left some of the gnocchi on my plate, because I was full! Cool!

I'm still taking the stairs, and going to the exercise room whenever I can. I often ride my stationary bike at home, and I'm feeling more fit and more capable already. The other day in the madness that is pre-Christmas shopping, I parked my car at one end of the mall (even though I knew the store I needed to go to was at the other end), and walked from one end of the mall to the other and back, purely for exercise. I'm either getting healthier, or becoming mildly insane.

The food variety part is a bit of a challenge. It's hard to find great tasting food that's also low in calories, or (better yet), good for you. For those people that salivate over a juicy celery stick, I salute you. Stuff mine with Cheese Whiz and we'll talk. For me, there are few 'magic' foods, so I'm usually sacrificing something. One magic food for me is diet pop. I know water is better for you, but it also tastes bland, like...well...water. You can keep the caffeine too, as that doesn't affect me. Something with zero calories and zero fat, but lots of taste. Yumm! Pretty much any diet drink works for me, but I tend to gravitate to Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi, or Coke Zero. I'll even mix some juice with Diet Sprite to get a different flavour. I also like fruit, and will basically substitute sweets (chocolate, cookies, etc.) with some grapes or a pear or an apple or a banana etc. I'm worried about getting sick of salads, but I'm okay right now. I also tend to go for soups as they have mostly water. My Mom would say they're mostly salt with a bit of water, but I still think they're okay for now. I even bought Fig Newtons as they are fat free and have fewer calories than cookies when I want something cookie-ish.

Day 20
Current Weight: 197
Weight Lost To Date: 9

I'm now 20% of the way through my time period (I knew using 100 days would be easy on the math), and 29% of the way to my goal weight (which was a more difficult calculation unfortunately). As long as I keep losing at a greater rate than the days are going by, I will make my goal on time. If not, it really won't save me anything, as I've committed to lose 31 pounds (getting down to 175), or continue for 100 days, whichever takes longest. If it takes me 300 days, then I'll keep dieting until I get there (although I'll have to consider renaming the blog). If I make the 175 before 100 days pass, I'll continue for the rest of the time period, but probably concentrate more on muscle tone (I have no desire to keep losing weight until I'm 112 pounds. [insert inappropriate Karen Carpenter joke here]).


Monday, December 3, 2007

Day 17

Well, I survived the Christmas party. The food was okay for me (salad, soup, chicken, veggies). Only the dessert was a no-no, so I took a bite, played with it for a bit, and left it on my plate. Dancing with my wife was fun! Lots of good exercise (if you do more than simply shuffle your feet). As Caroline reported, I was out there quite a bit, and seemed to have enough energy to keep up. By the way, did you ever notice those dudes who have absolutely no rhythm? I tried once, and couldn't get my body to miss the beat like they can. Don't get me wrong, I won't win "So You Think You Can Dance" or anything, but being that far off the beat is tough!

Parties are also traditionally over-populated with alcohol. Not for me. As George Costanza once said in an episode of Seinfeld, "There's no way wine is better than Pepsi". I stuck to Pepsi (Diet), and water.

Today was another challenge. An out-of-town business meeting. In preparation for the likelihood of eating too much, I started the day by shovelling the snow off my driveway. Not really my choice, but I'll take credit for it. On the flight, I made sure to skip the breakfast which was undoubtedly some fatty danish or something. In fact, I wouldn't even look at it. Okay, so I fell asleep, kill me!

At the meeting, I had a glass of juice and a low-fat muffin (made out of low-fat cardboard) while I listened to the speaker. At lunch, we were taken into the main dining room, and let loose to attack the buffet. Yes, an all-you-can-eat buffet! This was my chance to shine...

I took a salad plate and dug into the salad side of the buffet, filling quite a bit of my plate. Then I went to the veggie section, and loaded up some more. By the time I got to the fattening part, there was very little room on my plate. You see, I used my salad plate for my entire meal. There were huge dinner plates as well, but I figured if my plate filled up, I would trick myself into feeling satisfied with the amount of food I had. Brains AND good looks. Now, there's a winning combination!

When it came to dessert (and I LOVE desserts!), there was an entire table filled with cakes, pudding, tarts, cookies, etc. I found the section with rich, fattening, chocolate sauce and fruit for dipping into it. Yes, you guessed it, I loaded up on the fruit and skipped the sauce. I did, however, treat myself to a single cookie as well.

On the flight home, they served a boxed meal that contained a bun sandwich, cheese, and a cookie. I took the ham out of the bun, and wrapped it around the cheese and ate that (one of my rules is that EVERY sandwich has cheese). Then I put the cookie into my pocket to bring home for one of my boys.

All in all, a pretty good trip. Tomorrow I head out again, so we'll see how creative I can be with room service....

Day 17
Current Weight: 198
Weight Lost To Date: 8

The scale is still my friend. I don't expect much, but the fact that it's still slowly displaying lower numbers is very comforting. I'm sure I'll hit some plateaus, and even some hills, but I think I'm on the right track.

For those of you kind enough to leave your thoughts/comments/advice, I thank you! It really does make a difference. For those that haven't, it's really quite simple. Just click the "comments" link at the end of the blog entry you want to comment on, and type your message in the edit box. Then, unless you have a Google Account, simply select the radio button beside "nickname" and give yourself a name (although your parents might be sad if you don't use your real one, since they gave it to you and I'm sure they thought very deeply about it). If you're really shy, just click the "anonymous" option. This would also work if your real name happens to be "anonymous", but then I'll have to take back the part I wrote about your parents thinking deeply about naming you. Then post it. It's that simple.


Saturday, December 1, 2007

Day 15

I've shared this blog with a few people, and woohoo, I've got my first and second comments (thanks Caroline and BC)! I hope you (and others) return often and comment as much as you'd like. I'll certainly try eating more veggies, and making the hamburger recipe as you suggested.

Today I ate lunch at Boston Pizza with my boys. I could eat just about anything on the menu and enjoy it. This is my kinda restaurant! But, we've got to stick to the program and think healthy thoughts, so I ended up with a salad. Now, I've got to admit, this was a really good, really filling salad! My philosophy is that if you're making the switch from fettucini to salad, you should be able to put some fun stuff in it. Remember, even though the dressing and fixin's likely have their share of calories, it's still a much healthier choice. I done good!

Last night's dinner was the "Festive Special" at Swiss Chalet. I substituted fries for a baked potato, gave my chicken skin to one of my boys, and passed on the Lindor chocolates for dessert. Getting smarter...

Day 15
Current Weight: 198.5
Weight Lost To Date: 7.5

I'm not setting any weight loss records here, and certainly am not expecting to. In fact, I'm happy to see the numbers changing at all. Even half a pound is very much appreciated and encouraging. It's starting to make a bit of a difference. The belt is a little looser. The energy level is increasing. Small but important changes.

Tonight I'm off to a Christmas party. The meal will be a challenge, as I won't be able to control what it is. But whatever extra calories I intake, I hope to burn off on the dance floor. Look at those Happy Feet!


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Day 13

My office building is blessed with a decent exercise facility (which I pay to use anyway), so I thought it might be a good idea to see what it looks like from the inside. I took my workout clothes to the change room and psyched myself up. When I went to enter the room, my access card wouldn't work. I checked with the administrator and she told me they had problems with card access....(wait for it)....back in March! BUSTED! She very quickly realized that I hadn't been in the facility for a while. Luckily she welcomed me back and was just happy I was making the effort.

The exercise facility also has a room for group classes. My friend and colleague, Caroline, is a certified yoga instructor (mmmmmm, yogurt!) and maybe some day I'll be ready to sit in on one of her classes (or should I say "lotus" in on one of her classes). For now, I'll stick to (hopefully not literally) the bikes, treadmill, elliptical, and the occasional Nautilus machine. Caroline books time in my calendar to catch up on my reading, so I take documents and other materials with me. It helps pass the time, gets work done, and removes another excuse for why I can't afford the time to work out. A word of advice..... If you plan to read a document while using the elliptical, print it out a few font sizes bigger. Those suckers are bouncy!

Day 13
Current Weight: 199
Weight Lost To Date: 7

Woohoo! I can now say I weigh "one hundred and something". I'm on the good side of 200, and plan to stay that way. When the 100 days is over, I plan to continue to check my weight on at least a monthly basis. I've vowed to NEVER come close to that 200 pounds again. Of course, plans are just an expression of desire, so we'll see how that plan holds up when put into action. Stay tuned...


Day 10

Today is a big day! Day 10 means we're (...[calculating]...) 10% through the full 100 days (see, I told you that using 100 days would make the math easier). The weight's not pouring off, but I'm doing okay. We all know that the 'gods of weight loss' always smile on you in the beginning before ripping your heart out towards the end. We've still got a long way to go.

Day 10
Current Weight: 200
Weight Lost To Date: 6

We're just about to cross the magic 200 mark! Take a good look at that "2", because we hope to NEVER see it again (except at 192, 182, .... you know what I meant)!


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Day 7

Has it been a week already? Man, I'd better get moving! Speaking of which, I work on the 8th floor of an office building and today started (occasionally) using the stairs instead of the elevator. Walking up 8 flights (since it goes from 'G' to '2', you might say it's only 7 flights, but the first flight is bigger, so I'm rounding UP), is actually quite taxing. I walk up and then try and note where my breathing starts sounding like I'm trying to huff and puff and blow the little pigs' house down. The sad part is that it tends to happen about floor number 3. By the time I get to 8 I'm ready for a short nap and a respirator.

Day 7
Current Weight: 201.5
Weight Lost To Date: 4.5

I'm not experiencing the dramatic drop that I had hoped for. By the end of the first week I hoped to be rounding the 20-pound mark, but 4.5 is a start.


Day 3

Okay, I'm starting to cook now! Actually, I'm not cooking as much any more, but you know what I meant. Meals need to change...habits need to change. I really LIKE to eat! I don't have a very sophisticated palette, but I enjoy the taste of food. I know there's good tasting alternatives that are better for me, and I just have to find them. I can handle fruits and diet pop, but please don't make me eat a ton of veggies and rice cakes that taste like cardboard. Yuck!

Day 3
Current Weight: 203.5
Weight Lost To Date: 2.5

By the way, my bathroom scale works in half-pounds, so you won't see 9 decimal places of accuracy, but half a pound is an accomplishment and I want credit for it!


Day 0

Okay, it's time to get this fitness show on the road! (Actually, if you want to be really picky, I started several days ago, on Nov 16 2007, but I kept an accurate record of the details and I'll post a few days of them until I catch up).

Step on the scale....Hey! Where did the scale go?...Hold your stomach in so you can actually see the scale...Wait for the scale to get over the shock....Drumroll please....

Day 0
Current Weight: 206
Weight Lost To Date: 0

Yes, if you read my Welcome post you already know that 206 was my starting weight, but you could at least fake being surprised! Every time I post my weight I'll use the above format, so you can skip all this wordy nonsense and jump right to the details. It doesn't look very impressive yet, but once the number starts changing, you'll barely be able to contain yourselves!



Welcome to "100 Days To Fitness"! This blog is intended to map out my progress as I spend 100 days of diet and exercise in order to improve my health and overall fitness. (Really, it's just a public humiliation to ensure I don't cheat or chicken out!)

I'm not going to kid myself and tell you that I'll be the perfect dieter. I don't know enough about diet and nutrition to be an expert on the subject, so I'll make lots of dumb mistakes on my journey. But I'm going to plod along anyway.

The goal of 'health and fitness' is too fuzzy to attain, so I'm measuring my progress in the old fashioned way...with my bathroom scale. While weight isn't the perfect measure of fitness, I'm pretty convinced that if I drop a few pounds I'll feel better and be healthier than if I gained a few pounds.

A bit about my goals....

I'd like to be about 175lbs, so that translates into 31 pounds of weight loss (since I started at 206 and haven't forgotten my basic math skills). That should take me down a few inches on my waist as well, so that'll work. The blog is called "100 Days To Fitness" because I plan to reach my goal weight in 100 days. That's the tricky part! I don't know how long it will actually take me, but I figured if I said I would diet and exercise until I lost 31 pounds, it would take the pressure off of me and I might be a year or two (or three) before I finally made it or simply gave up. Besides, calling the blog "An Indeterminate Number Of Days To Fitness" just sounds dumb. 100 days is a good number and makes calculating percentages REALLY easy! :-)

Since weight will be my prime measurement, calorie intake will be a major focus. I'll update you on other things as well, like the sudden appearance of my toes when I look down. I won't be counting every calorie (I can't count that high!), but I'll certainly substitute low-cal snacks for my typical 'bucket of lard' munchies. Again, I know it's not the only or best method, but it's simple enough and there is a wonderful simplicity to the 'calories consumed - calories burned' methodology. Exercise will also sneak its way into the program, so be prepared for lengthy stories of how I set a new 'personal best' on the treadmill. The first such personal best will begin with me actually standing on one.

I'm sharing this journey with whoever wants to follow it ("Hi Mom!"). I'm not sure what point there would be in me writing all this stuff and not sharing it....I already know how I'm doing. Please feel free to post your comments, words of encouragement, low-cal recipes, or lottery winning numbers. I'll try and keep this blog active, so return often.

Wish me luck!