PRUNE JOURNEY WEEK 9

It’s hard to  believe, but here we are finishing week nine of our Prune Journey of weight loss.  If you’ve never read any of the previous post rest assured that no real prunes are involved in the journey.  Although I imagine that eating prunes could help move the needle on the scale to a lower reading, and on this journey no food is off-limits.  The desire to eat a prune just hasn’t surfaced during the nine weeks.  PRUNES!!!  Is just an exclamatory that is used to voice frustration at our weight gain over the last fourteen years and we now use it to describe our journey of trying to lose fifty pounds this year, or to be more correct to lose the weight in fifty weeks.  We are now eighteen percent through the journey and have arrived at eighty-seven percent of our goal.

In our ninth week we have lost 3.1 stones or 110.75 KG.  For people like me that equals to just a little over forty-three pounds.  Thursdays is the day we have chosen as our official weighing day and we take the first reading at 6:30 a.m. unless I sleep-in, in which case we weigh immediately after getting out of bed.  We’ve discovered that’s the time of day when our weight is the lowest, and we normally gain 2 to 3 pounds through-out the day.  But we have consistently shown weight loss.  This past week our weight loss was just under a pound at 0.9 lbs., but that was better than week seven were we showed a weight gain of 0.2 lbs.

We wish we could say we’ve discovered some revolutionary new way to lose weight…a magical answer to rid us of those so unhealthy extra pounds.  But like we said in an earlier BLOG there is no magical bullet, one just has to burn more calories than one consumes on a continual basis.  That means either eat less or do more or some combination of those two things, and do it consistently.  It also means one has to educate themselves on how many calories are in the foods they eat and what a correct, satisfying portion of a food is.

In the beginning of the Prune Journey we were quickly shedding pounds and after six weeks there was a drastic drop in the rate of weight loss and week seven showed we had reached a plateau, but by week eight the weight once again started to come off.  The weight loss is now running at the rate we thought we would have from the beginning of a pound a week.  It’s not as exciting to step on the scales as it was in the beginning, but we’re still moving in the right direction and at sixty-nine one should expect to move slowly.

To be honest I’m tired of counting calories, of trying to be exact in that counting; I’m tired of denying myself of seconds on some food that was so very tasty.  But I’m thrilled with what has been accomplished to date and if our goal is to be achieved we must stay the course.

 

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PRUNE’S JOURNEY at two months

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We have now completed eight weeks of our weight-loss journey and have another forty-four to go.  Thursday mornings is the time that we’ve set aside for what we call our official weigh-in, although we monitor our weight and blood pressure every morning.  Some say that isn’t necessary, and I have to admit that it causes some anxiety at times, especially when the numbers seem to be going the wrong way.  But it was intriguing to watch the daily numbers drop so fast in the beginning of the journey, I’ve just stuck with looking at them everyday.

Week eight has been an interesting week, with a blown day of dieting causing a temporary gain of two pounds that took three days to lower back to the weight shown on day prior to blowing the diet.  Sunday we attended a cook-out in honor of our grandson’s graduation from college and the food proved too big a temptation and ended up eating over 3,200 calories for the day and even had seconds. And this broke two of the foundational pillars of our diet.  Wish I could say I’m sorry, but I’m not.  But I knew we had to get back on the horse and stick with the diet.  We successfully adjusted our eating for the remainder of the week and ended with an average of 1580 calories per day.  This resulted in a three pound loss for the week.

The results from week seven showed we had hit a plateau with a slight weight gain, but now it seems we’ve started to climb again toward our goal of fifty pounds.  In case you’re wondering we are now at forty-three pounds total weight-loss.  I guess the big lesson to take from week eight is “a temporary set-back is just that, a temporary set-back”.

PRUNES- THE JOURNEY making do

 

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Well it would seem we’ve completed six weeks of the Prune Journey, the journey to lose 50 lbs.  It would be very easy to prop the old size 14’s up and declare success with what has been accomplished to date.  But if you remember we said this was a one year journey and we don’t desire to quit just yet.  Besides, I still have ten pounds to lose before I’ve reached the goal of fifty pounds.

Like the Count on Sesame Street counting is the basis for the entire journey and yes, it’s tiresome to keep track of every calorie that’s taken into the body.  Especially when there is so little agreement with how many calories are in a specific food.  And that doesn’t even cover the so many different ways in which we can prepare it for consumption.  It would be so easy to let that counting slide, but it’s the foundation for our weight loss.

Last week for two days our blood pressure readings became seriously low.  We’re talking the mid 40’s for the diastolic and the low 60’s to the high 50’s for the systolic readings.  What to do?  We did what any normal person would do…we googled the readings to see if there was a real problem.  We didn’t like the information gleaned from the google searches, so we contacted our doctor.  He suggested halving our medication.  That seems to have taken care of the issue; all of the readings after that have been in the normal range.  In case you are wondering, low blood pressure made me feel extremely tired and lethargic, but there are several other signs for hypotension (low blood pressure) that include dizziness, blurred vision, confusion, nausea, and fainting.   The big deal with hypotension is your body’s organs aren’t receiving the correct amounts of oxygen and that could lead to shock,  We were shocked by how serious this could have been, and relieved how easy for us to fix the issue.  Looking back over the episode I think we should have contacted the doctor before googling, but I thought it was coming from my dieting and I could just adjust what I was doing.

Indirectly the low blood pressure was a result of my dieting at the time of the episode we had lost thirty-seven pounds and were in the latter part of  week six of our diet.  I was taking too large a dosage of medication and simply needed an adjustment to a lower dosage.  To my mind that’s a good thing.  Maybe it does make good sense to bring your doctor into your plans on losing weight.  In my defense I really didn’t think I was going to lose as much weight as fast as I did.

It is discouraging after losing so many pounds so quickly that my body has now adjusted to what I’ve been doing to it and my weight loss has slowed to a trickle.  The first two weeks our losses were in the double digits, the following two weeks in the high single digits, and now we are barely moving the scale.  The bloom of excitement over losing some weight has expired and the exhaustion  of following the easy parameters of my diet is weighing heavy on my being.  The temptation to let go and eat my fill of whatever, the siren’s call of heavenly gluttony beckons.  Now the battle of will and desire is fully joined.

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Even the knowledge that I feel better and that I’m healthier by losing the weight doesn’t remove the desire to go back to eating like I did before.  I guess that even a seventy year old man still has to battle the selfish child that is in all of us.  But man, a banana split with syrupy walnuts and whipped cream would be mighty good right now.

WHAT PRICE

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Thirty coins or pieces of silver, every Christian believer probably has that committed to memory…the price Judas received to betray our Lord.  Since that betrayal Judas has been vilified as the ultimate traitor who received his just reward by his death.  I don’t wish to defend him, but I do want to ask one of my dumb questions.

What price do we put on our betrayal of the Lord?  Is our price more than Judas’?  Adam and Eve betrayed the Lord for the whopping price of a bite of an Apple, and in so doing betrayed all of their following generations.  Granted the priest haven’t come to us with an offer, nor has the serpent tempt us with an apple, but aren’t we all guilty of greed and arrogance at some point in our lives?

Each Easter Sunday we of my local church stand before the cross and we each place thirty coins at its foot.  It isn’t to mock Judas, nor to simply commemorate some historical fact, but to create a moment of reflection that Jesus went to that cross for… ME.  We can try to shift the responsibility for His death on the ancient Romans or the Jewish priests of that time, or the uneducated folk of His generation, but the simple truth is my sins sent him to the cross.  Those thirty coins in my hand represent my complicity in His death.

In Matthew 27 we read that Judas upon hearing of Jesus’s conviction and execution tried to return the price of his betrayal, but it wasn’t accepted by the priest.  He threw the money at their feet, ran out and committed suicide.  In the end the priest used the funds for a potter’s field to bury the indigent.   Coins won’t buy forgiveness, won’t buy restoration; only the love that caused our Lord to bleed and die can do that.  So every Easter I place thirty pieces of silver at the foot of the cross with a broken heart that so little bought so much and when I look up it’s with a restored grateful heart, a sinner redeemed, not by my actions, but by His.

The story doesn’t end at the Cross, it doesn’t end at the tomb; the story doesn’t end because Christ is eternal.  He conquered death and sin, he purchased me with His act of love and freely shares life to all who believe.  We at my small church embrace that love.  and we desire for others to know His love and share His life, so we take those coins of our admission of complicity and apply them toward mission projects.  Giving money doesn’t lessen our complicity or buys us favor with the Lord, but it does allow the Story of His Love to be spread to others who need to hear.

PRUNES THE JOURNEY

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Well it’s the end of our fifth week of dieting.  My son says to not use that term.  He said to use the term fifth week of “life style change”.  He has always liked playing games with words or had his own unique way of seeing things.  He’s probably right on this one.  As stated before after beginning this weight-loss journey if things didn’t change to keep the weight off the whole exercise is an act of futility.

A lot has taken place over the past five weeks. some good, some different, some easy, and some quite difficult.  In other words life continues even while walking this “Prune’s Journey”.  This is the second time in my life were I’ve deliberately attempted to lose weight.  The first time, fourteen years ago, was a challenge made by employer which resulted in a thirty-seven pound reduction over a period of several months.  My employer set-up a program that I followed, but I knew that at some point I was going to stop and be re-introduced to my own personal lifestyle; and that’s what happened (the no caffeine rule got me).  This “Prunes” journey began because my own personal lifestyle had led to a sixty-three pound weight gain and seeing the number 280 on my bathroom scale.  Just in case you’re wondering no prunes have been devoured during the past five weeks, remember “Prunes” is my innocent exclamatory from my high school days.

The “Prune’s” journey is a path of seven simple rules that I believe are plain common sense.  If excess calories creates weight gain, the reduction of intake of calories should cause weight loss.  To get to something or somewhere you must have object or destination (goal).  I pulled the number 50 out of the air as my destination and 2,000 as my means to get there.  Having dieted before I thought it would take months to reach the goal of a 50 pound loss, therefore I gave myself a year to get there, with a reasonable expectation of a pound a week loss.  In my ignorance, I accepted 2,000 daily calories as my ceiling of calorie intake…later modified to 14,000 a week (just in case I over did it one day).  I decided no food was forbidden, I could eat cake, candy, drink coffee, soft drinks, I just had to stay under the 2,000/14,000 rule.  Of course I’m probably doing a game with this one, they’re certain foods and drinks that just aren’t worth the calorie intake, so I’m not eating them.  I haven’t had a soda since March 13.  To help me stay under the calorie ceiling I plate my meals before coming to the table, and this helps with another of my rules…no seconds.  I have three meals a day and try to eat at regular times with no in between meal snacks.  I’ve chosen to not consume empty calories by drinking soft drinks or drinks with sugar substitutes (sounds contrary to there is no forbidden food, but the calorie intake just isn’t worth it) and lastly I’ve increased my walking.  These seven rules have helped me to achieve in five weeks what took me several months fourteen years ago.

On day 35 of the “Prune’s” journey I’ve lost 37.6 pounds and have 12.4 more pounds to go to reach the declared goal of 50.  Those are just numbers and have no real meaning unless this journey does create permanent “lifestyle” changes. I won’t feel that I’ve successfully finished the “Prune’s” journey unless I’m still at or under the 230 pound mark on March 14, 2020.

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PLATEAU

 

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Well we have seemingly arrived at that level on our weight-loss journey known as a plateau.  We warned by more experienced dieters that the day would come were the rapid weight loss would come to a halt.  They did tell us that weight gain while following the same regiment could also take place.   Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi on Pexels.com

Ok, I realize the photo isn’t of a plateau, but of a terrace.  Maybe it speaks more elegantly to what is really taking place in our weight-loss journey than a plateau.  There are going to be many different levels in this battle to conquer the weight mountain.  It would seem we have come to the conclusion of our first level in the climb…Rapid loss.  It was great while it lasted.  The losing of over a pound a day for the first four weeks of this journey was an unbelievable boost in our dieting.

But boost are just that an extra kick that gets you started in some cases or helps you to get over the finish line in others.  In our case it is a start, and a great one too.  The goal of a fifty pound loss doesn’t seem as daunting as when we first started, but the past four days have been disappointing.  Since last Thursday the new scales have slowed in her reduction march and as even taken a step in the wrong direction.  We’ve gained 1 1/2 pounds, back to 247.2 pounds.  While it’s nothing to get overly excited about, it does make one wonder if following our reduced calorie intake is worth it.  Of course it is!

Our blood pressure is holding its gains, we’re sleeping better, our stomach is behaving, and we just generally feel better.  All are worth while accomplishments, and quite impressive ones to have after only four weeks of dieting.  So while we stand on this terrace level taking stock of where we were a month ago and how far we’ve climbed toward better health and healthy eating habits, let’s not shirk from the next level, after all we have only 17 more pounds to go to reach our stated loss goal, and forty-seven weeks to get there.

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breakfast this morning 2 egg sandwich 330 calories. yes!! I took a break and ate like a horse for lunch two hot dogs 560, air fried squash 119, salad 250. NOT SORRY and I still have 741 to go before reaching 2,000.

 

OBSESSED

One of the problems with dieting is the fact it’s easy to become obsessed with the entire process.  I know that four decades ago when I smoked I hated being around someone who had successfully quit.  I was neither overjoyed or bummed out because they had quit, just annoyed that they preached at me the need to stop smoking.  They had become obsessed with the need for everyone to stop.  Part of me sees that same issue with dieting.  I am trying to not be judgmental toward others or their food choices and while I am honestly proud of the amount of weight I’ve loss, I try not to talk about it to complete strangers.  Of course if you ask about what I’m doing I’ll fill your ears.

My accountability for sticking with this diet may have been unfairly pushed on you readers of this blog and my FB friends.  You guys have no real idea how much it has helped me stay with it by posting about what my plans were and are.  Putting up those pictures of my meals with their calorie count help make sure that I’m looking up those calories that I’m consuming. You guy are the unsung heroes of my weight loss.

All that being said I want to make something clear, I like me.  This weight loss journey isn’t about body image, it’s about health.  I have high blood pressure that is controlled with medication, acid reflux that is controlled by a daily pill, and arthritis in several joints, but especially the knees that excess weight is putting unnecessary pressure on.  I have also become more susceptible to gout.  All of these health issues are weight related.  I’m well aware that as a man of my age I have very few things to complain about and I’m for the most part happy and grateful for the body God has given me; I just think it was time I started taking better care of His gift.  Don’t get me wrong losing the weight is helping with the self-image thing, but it really isn’t the reason I’m doing this dieting.  I’d like to see if I can wean myself off all medications.  Who knows, maybe I can prevent or at least delay having to take others.

Now back to the actual dieting.  It is one of the unspoken goals of my dieting that I will embrace healthier life styles of eating.  That I will control my desire to over eat and become more in tune with my body’s actual needs.  Five weeks ago I would have scoffed at tonight’s supper of a 3 oz. piece of salmon, two pieces of toast, and a bowl of thinly sliced cabbage dressed with a drizzle of light soy sauce.  But tonight I enjoyed my meal, and it satisfied me.  DSC_0086[1]

The idea of the raw cabbage came from a PBS program I watched on Japanese cuisine.  I like the taste and it doesn’t give me the urge to blow Gabriel’s horn.

Well I certainly hope that my obsession with this diet isn’t over annoying to you, because I am committed to losing those fifty pounds.