The Hungry Man Eats

Tag Archives: Weight Loss

Now 59.7%

It’s been way too long since I posted last, but the only thing less interesting than seeing no new posts in over half a year is talking about why you haven’t been posting in over half a year.

The good news is that contrary to what happens with most blogs where somebody talks about losing weight and then goes silent for a while is that I have still been losing weight, 20 more pounds down since last November which puts me over halfway to my goal of losing 67 pounds to get down to 200.

What’s been working for me?

  • Decreased appetite, I can thank the Wellbutrin for this mostly, but I believe that I have a better control now over my cravings and find it easier to make better choices and eat less.
  • Fewer carbs, I have made a concerted effort to reduce carbs from my diet. I used to have pasta and rice based meals several times a week usually with other somewhat unhealthy things piled on top. I have swapped out the pasta from those meals for bases of zucchini/squash and/or kale, and made healthy switches to what I put on top, usually using tilapia or chicken with tomatoes, peppers, olives and other healthier yet savory toppings. As for pasta, I limit it to one night a week, usually on a Friday if I am around at home. I will make a generous size meal of pasta with spaghetti sauce and Italian sausage and enjoy it guilt free as I know that was my carb bomb for the week.
  • More fruits and vegetables, see above about the veggies, also I have more dinners now where I make a meal size salad and it is the main course. Regarding the fruit, I try to resort to using it as my main snack between meals, no particular fruit, just whatever I have around.
  • A better default “I’m not that hungry but it’s time for dinner default meal”. It is bulky, healthy and not at all exciting, but tastes good(must like canned fish though). I slice up a raw zucchini/squash or cucumber and put it in a bowl, I pour in some cider vinegar and a touch of olive oil, add some salt and pepper and then dump a tin of sardines over the top of it. Even if you use a large zucchini, that plus a tin of sardines is under 300 calories for a very filling dish, just make sure you use a light amount of olive oil to keep the calorie count down(still around just 400 calories though).

Will have to keep plugging away, but with some extra effort and even smarter meal choices, I think I have a shot at reaching my goal before the end of the year.

 

29.85%

Scale with big numbers

What does that number even mean and why is it the title of my entry today?

 

I was looking at my folder of completed blog entries on my laptop and noticed that the last time I mentioned anything about my weight loss efforts was back in May, and I wasn’t too enthused with my progress. Recently though I hit a new low weight of 247 pounds, my goal is 200 pounds and I started this whole affair at 267 pounds, so 20 pounds lost is 29.85% of my goal accomplished.

 

I can take some of the credit for the effort I have put in, but most of it I can credit to the drugs. Specifically the doubling of my daily dose of Wellbutrin and starting Ambien at the same time back in early September.

 

What are they doing well for me?

 

Ambien:

  • I actually fall asleep quick now, even with a CPAP machine
  • It seems easier to get going in the morning
  • Ambien works more quickly and effectively if you haven’t had a big dinner, so I find I eat less at dinner now

Wellbutrin:

  • More energy
  • More willpower (which has helped in making smarter choices for eating)
  • Slightly diminished appetite (this seems to help with blunting cravings which have led to eating way too much at some meals)

 

There are some drawbacks:

 

Ambien:

  • Take it too late and it is hard to get going in the morning
  • A big dinner too late will cause it to take effect too slowly and will make you more tired feeling in the morning
  • My memory seems less sharp

Wellbutrin:

  • That added energy is sometimes rather hard to focus, making me more restless and nervous at times
  • Warm temperatures and exertion make me sweat more
  • It makes me get irritated about things more easily (which is better than apathy though)

 

All that said, the initial burst of energy and feeling good with these medications wore off after a few weeks, so it’s now on me to keep things moving forwards since the drugs have held up their end of the bargain. They can’t do everything, I need to apply the stronger willpower and energy to reaching my goals, and for losing weight I am 29.85% of the way there.

Protein Powder: Not Just For Building Muscle

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For a change, I have something positive to report. I have managed to lose about 5 pounds since my last post. Still a long ways to go, nearly 60 pounds still to go.

 
I have been trying assorted things, some of which seem to be working better than others and a number of which I think will require some modification as I continue to lose weight.

 
Now the idea that I will go into detail about today I have no idea how useful it may actually be or whether it is even scientifically sound or not, but so far I appear to be getting some benefit from it.

 
To step back briefly, I was seeing a nutritionist, or several of them to be precise. Not all at the same time, but one after the other. The place I was going to was having a challenging time keeping nutritionists in house, so I saw three different ones over the course of almost a year. I received a lot of useful advice that would be even more useful if I acted on it with any consistency. At this point I think I will get more mileage out of using all the advice received from my committee of former nutritionists than seeing nutritionist number four.

 
To get back on track here, nutritionist number three had the recommendation of “Eat more protein and fewer carbs!” So I got myself a cookbook or two that had high protein low cab recipes, one of which had some excellent advice along with the recipes. One of the things I started doing was removing the carb side I would often include with some of my dinners (rice, potatoes, pasta or bread) and replacing it with an additional vegetable or a side of cottage cheese. Ok great, that’s a good thing to do for a full-fledged dinner. But what about the other meals? Or the times when you need to eat but are too tired/depressed/lazy to whip up something formal?

 
Protein powder to the rescue!

 
I had been aware of protein powder for quite some time, from hearing about it being used as a supplement to a smoothie to give it some added protein to those people who drink lots of the stuff mixed up in things to add bulk. Me, I just wanted more protein in my diet.

 
So how am I using it? I will add some to a smoothie when I actually make one, but I generally use it as a meal replacement beverage, but only on those days where I am feeling too lazy or down to have a real meal, and never ever in place of dinner.

 
My preparation is almost too simple. I have a cup that can hold around 18 ounces of liquid, so I add 2 ½ scoops of powder (using the scoop they supply), I add hot water to the cup (enough to try to mix the powder up so that it can dissolve) and then whole milk for the rest of the cup (leaving enough room for some ice cubes to help it chill). They recommend blending or shaking the drink so that it mixes well, but because I can be lazy about it and really just don’t care, I just stir the thing to death. Even if you do that, you will still get protein powder clumps in your beverage, so be it.

 
I did come up with a clever variation to this, instead of water, brew up a cup of coffee and use it in place of the water for a nice jolt of caffeine. Protein and energy all in one place! Or, if you are lazy, use regular instant coffee, it still is better than no coffee.

 
So far, I have only used the stuff shown in the picture at the top so I can’t compare it to anything else for how good it actually is. I got mine on Amazon for $17.97 for a two pound container, and it seems like a pretty good deal for two pounds of it.

 
Anyhow, that’s one of the things I have been working on for trying to lose weight, give it a try if you want…

Calories Consumed < Calories Burned = Weight Loss

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How simple is that?

 

Given the obesity epidemic in America, and really the world, not simple at all.

 

The problem is primarily on the consumption side of the matter, it seems like everything in the world is aligned so that you are going to take in more calories than you burn off, I can’t do justice to that topic here, so I will talk about that in greater depth some other time.

 

Funny to say, but it has never been a better time to be overweight and obese and wanting to lose weight. Why? We are currently in a golden age for fitness tracking and monitoring what we eat thanks to all of the apps and personal fitness wearables that didn’t even exist ten years ago. It took serious effort to track what you ate, the calories and nutrients you consumed with said meals and the calories you burned off by exercising.

 

I use the Lose It! App to track my food and it syncs up with other apps and my Fitbit to track things like sleep and exercise. It bases your daily calorie allotment on the weight you are currently at, your goal weight and how many pounds per week you want to lose. As things stand right now my numbers are as follows: I started tracking my weight at 267 pounds, I am currently 264 pounds. My goal weight is 195 pounds and I want to lose 2 pounds a week. To do this, my app says I need to be eating 2137 calories per day at this weight to lose 2 pounds a week. To keep up that pace of weight loss as you lose weight, your calorie allotment will go down accordingly. 2137 calories is a lot of calories, I looked it up and to maintain my current weight I would need to eat 2836 calories a day, that is an awful lot of calories per day on average that I am apparently consuming. Those 3 pounds lost? That is over a 13 month period, so that speaks volumes to the effort, or apparent lack of it that I have put in.

 

Thing is, I know from what I have been eating that my good days are close to (but above usually) that calorie goal. The problem is that I may have five good days in a typical week, but the bad days undo anything positive from those good days, so the week is a wash, or perhaps even a caloric surplus.

 

Solution: Make the good days better and eliminate those regular bad days.

 

Now I have oversimplified this a bit to make a point. There is a bit more to it than calories in being less than calories out. I haven’t touched on things like exercise, the quality and types of calories you are consuming such as carbs vs protein vs fat based calories. These things can make a difference in how quick and sustainable your weight loss can be. As long as you are consuming fewer calories than you are expending, you will lose weight and good things will happen.

 

What’s that? Starvation mode you say? We will talk about that sometime in the not too distant future in greater detail, but for now I will say about it: It is real, but the drop in metabolism is not significant enough to interfere with your weight loss goals.

 

So many things that I can talk about but so little time, of course I will have even more to talk about once I actually start to lose weight on a consistent basis.

Let’s Ketchup!!!

Lets Ketchup

It’s time to pick up the posting pace, the Hungry Man has fancy plans, and pants to match. I had a follow up visit with my nutritionist just the other day (June 3rd) and I had gained 1.5 pounds since my last visit. This drops my total weight loss since March 10th to only 2 pounds, which is really nothing to brag about as I have been attempting to follow my nutritionist’s advice for nearly three months now.

So what gives with that? Remember a few posts back how I mentioned that I was depressed and was seeing a therapist about it? Therapy alone was just not cutting the mustard, so she recommended a psychiatrist who I now also see who has prescribed medication for the depression. Unfortunately the depression has grown markedly worse over the past 4-6 weeks and I would probably be a good bit worse off but for the medication and therapy that I am already on. Trying to lose weight is challenging enough under regular circumstances, add depression to the mix and I should be ecstatic that I am still down 2 pounds since March 10th. But since I am depressed I am not ecstatic, I am kicking myself for not doing a better job.

This makes an interesting variety of things that I can discuss here in assorted combinations:

  • Food – the usual Hungry Man blog fare
  • Food and losing weight – my attempts to lose weight and the eating/recipes/choices that go along with weight loss
  • Food and depression – how does feeling down all the time affect what I eat, and how do I eat well when I feel down all the time?
  • Weight loss and depression – Now that is a challenge there, how the hell do you successfully eat well, lose weight and be depressed at the same time (especially while I am really struggling with the depression part)?

The unfortunate thing with attempting to lose weight is that people fail more often then they succeed. With weight loss, people who become overweight in the first place have a harder time maintaining a healthy weight after losing the weight than people who are at a healthy weight have to work to maintain their healthy weight.

Not too long ago, I was puttering around the web looking as some assorted weight loss blogs, and one in particular caught my attention. She lost as many as 55 pounds and was about 20-25 pounds away from her goal when things got off track. The next to last post was back in January and she had regained all but 9 of the pounds he had lost. Her last post was January 29th. I am sure her story is continuing to unfold out there in the real world, but the story presented thus far is only one of a failed attempt.

With depression, it can often be a lifelong battle to maintain the upper hand against it through therapy, medication and other measures. I have also seen a number of blogs that detail the ongoing battles that people have had fighting depression and most people never fully recover, they manage their depression and it can flare up or go away for a while, but rarely does it ever go away for good. I thought mine had, I stopped taking medication some time in 1998 or 1999 and seemed to be fine till around 2010 or so, that’s nearly a dozen years that I thought I was in the clear.

So long story short, I have two big challenges in front of me, neither of which has a guarantee of success, but it is better to try and fail than to never try at all.

Till next time, stay hungry my friends…

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