Tuesday, October 23, 2012

All Quiet on the Home Front / Further Progress Report

Not much going on here at Ye Olde Journal lately.

Several mundane reasons for this, I suppose, but it's mostly because I'm still rather absorbed in the whole post-surgery weight loss thing (and there's not much to write about in that case). On my work days, weather willing, I try to devote an hour in the morning and an hour in the late afternoon to walking. Some of this is simply a desire to move more, now that I have many fewer aches and pains and movement is a good deal easier than before. And some of it is a probably-misguided effort to keep my metabolism from shutting down.

There must inevitably be trauma for one's metabolism to go literally overnight from a life of substantial overeating to one of not getting enough to hold station. The body goes into a kind of starvation mode, and there's not much to be done about it. This is the new normal. I used to think I might exercise more, but the more I read the more I'm convinced that exercise just burns more calories without changing the metabolism per se. So long as we consume too-few calories, the body is unhappy to give up its fat stores and it will stay that way. And that's one of the chief take-aways from this process--something I've suspected from past diets: a fat person losing weight will have a permanently slowed metabolism relative to a person who is naturally thinner. I knew from the start that I would never again be able to eat as I have been accustomed, but this is still a daily learning process.

In concrete terms, probably the core change I'm having to undergo after surgery is to re-calibrate what constitutes a meal in my brain. I have decades of experience of eating 500 or 750 or 1000 calories at every sitting, and now I'm having to accept that maybe 200 calories is all I get. It's not what my food brain wants--it never had a problem with the thousand-calorie meals--but it's what the body will now tolerate. And my success in establishing this as my new normal will determine my success in keeping weight off in the long haul.

So, the progress report:

Starting weight: 280
Current weight: 206

I've established an easy routine with food for my days at home, having 4-6 little meals and a snack or two during the day, and I've learned to improvise on my topsy-turvy workdays. From decades of never failing to clean my plate, I'm now unable to eat at a restaurant without taking 1/2 or 2/3 of what I ordered home with me. So leftovers have become my friend, and I try to choose foods that will taste OK the second time around. I travel with a few protein shakes and protein bars in my bag, and I have an upcoming 11-day trip thru Asia that will really challenge my meal planning.

Clothing-wise, I've purged myself of every stitch of clothing I owned except socks and shoes (even some of my HATS have become loose! How fat do you have to be to make your SKULL fat?!) and have replaced everything with a series of Goodwill purchases (thrifty clothes shopping is a whole new kind of addiction). And some of those acquisitions are already back on the Goodwill pile as the weight continues to drop. I began wearing a tight 44" waist pants (and Carhartts at that, which are notorious for being roomy) and am now down to 35-36". Shirts have gone from XXLs to L. Add in the changing seasons, and I've gone through several sizes of shorts and shirts and pants and I'm now looking for sweatshirts and sweaters in ever-diminishing sizes.

I've even begun to run again for the first time in a dozen years. After deliberating, I decided that calories burned in running are no different from calories burned in walking, but it just takes considerably less time. The idea that running hurts the joints just doesn't find much support in my online investigations.

It's hard for me to know where my weight should ultimately end up. If my weight loss should suddenly stop where I'm at now, I would consider the surgery to have been a complete success. My blood chemistry is much happier, and physically I feel 10-15 years younger. But if my weight loss has slowed since my surgery it's not by much. I've begun experiencing the occasional mini-stall, with my weight holding steady for a week or so before dropping 3-4 lbs. in a couple days. My average weekly loss since my surgery (minus the first week) has been 4.2 lbs., and these little stalls seem not to have affected that overall pace, at least not for now. And while I think I look much less rotund than I did, I still have plenty of obvious fat stores that could disappear without hurting my feelings. So I'm still aiming at 170 as a target weight, and it's not hard to see where that weight might come from. That's 36 lbs. to go.

Some photos (with my best serial killer scowl):


CyberKitten said...


dbackdad said...

Yes, the scowl is quite impressive. :-)

But, seriously, you look great.

wunelle said...

Well, "great" is perhaps stretching things a bit; but "better"--I can go with you there! ;-)

Vancouver Voyeur said...

Wow is right and so is impressive! You look great! This is such a big undertaking, so much to go through. I'm glad you're findig success. How is this affecting your wife? I'm thinking meals together, do she eat smaller meals more frequently to support your effort or so you don't have to eat alone?

wunelle said...

Thanks! Susan has her own struggle with weight, but not at all to the degree that I do. So my new eating habits at least keep from pressuring her to make all the wrong choices! We do eat together, me taking everything beyond Bite #4 home with me cans I eat half me meals--the extra ones--on my own. But a meal is now so quick for me that it's become a minor deal.

Malaise Inc said...

Good job!

wunelle said...


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slkeena said...

that is amazing! you are looking great!