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You are listening to ‘300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz,’ and this is episode number 106, “Weight off my shoulders, my stomach, my legs, and so on” so let the 300 Seconds begin!
I like to joke that going to the doctor feels like going to confession, because in both instances you have to own up to your sins. Actually, seeing the doctor is worse, because the doctor knows what you did or didn’t do. After all, the numbers on the scale and on your lab results don’t lie. Thus, all you can do is suck it up and own to all the sins that you have committed towards yourself since your previous visit. Penance is optional, but there is no absolution to be found until you get your act together.
After my latest less-than-pleasant checkup, I finally decided to get more serious about losing more weight. For years my weight had hovered around two hundred and seventy-five pounds, topping out at two hundred and eighty a few years back. Thanks to a change in medication, I’d gotten it down to two hundred and forty five, but clearly, we still had more work to do.
I used to be a programmer and I’m a numbers guy, so I decided to go all in and use the FitBit app to keep track of everything. First my activity, or lack thereof: I’d been using a FitBit for a while to track my steps, trying my best to get 8,000 steps a day. Yes, I know that should be ten thousand but I do computer nerd things for a living, so come on, man.
I had been concentrating on the number of steps; doing a twenty minute walk in the morning around my apartment complex and maybe a lap or two in the evening if I was short of my step goal. I decided that counting steps was not enough and that I needed to do a sustained workout. I started doing a half hour walk around the neighborhood every morning. In addition to the increased distance, the roads had some ups and downs which required a little more effort than the relatively flat apartment roads. Suddenly, reaching my step goal didn’t require too much additional effort.
Next was weight, so I bought a smart scale. It’s one of those fancy ones that also estimates your body fat percentage. I was already in the habit of weighing myself every morning, but syncing the scale with the app required less effort than typing everything into Excel and it also made it easier to see patterns. Also, I hate Excel, but that’s a topic for another time. Of course, that first weigh-in was pretty eye-opening; while I wasn’t overly surprised by how much I weighed, the body fat percentage was definitely an unpleasant surprise.
Finally, and most importantly, my diet. I set up a weight loss goal using the FitBit app and picked up a kitchen scale so that I could start practicing some portion control. As I’m sure most of y’all can relate to; this was the hardest part.
I don’t know what it’s called, but I’m sure there’s a name for the psychological thing where you delude yourself into thinking “Oh, I’m not doing that bad” when in fact you are doing AWFUL. Once I actually saw how many calories the things that I loved to eat contained, my first thought was: GEEZ, NO WONDER I CAN’T LOSE ANY WEIGHT. I then started weighing my portions and thinking really hard about where and what I would eat on those now-fewer occasions when I would order take-out.
Armed with all the data I that needed, all I had to do now was execute my plan, and I won’t lie, it wasn’t easy at the start. Living in South Texas meant waking up early to avoid the summer heat, and it was a struggle during that first week, especially since I’ve been out of work these last few months. The walk itself isn’t too bad, and I even went as far as to lengthen it by taking a lap around the apartment complex to start off. So I don’t get burned out, I take it easy on the weekends by walking just around the apartment complex like I used to.
Now getting a handle on my eating was definitely hard. What I’m eating hasn’t really changed a whole lot, but what has changed is how much. With a few exceptions, if I want to get take-out now, I have to adjust my diet for the rest of the day so I don’t completely destroy my calorie goal. Because the FitBit app sets a goal based on your activity level, that goal fluctuates throughout the day. The app also tries to guess how many calories you’re burning when you aren’t exercising, but I think it overestimates that part. Either way, I’m learning to adjust as time goes on now that I’m armed with all the information.
It has been a month and change since I started this plan and so far I have lost over ten pounds. I’ve also been feeling better overall. Things being what they are right now in the time of coronavirus, I am fortunate to be able to devote the time to exercise and measure what I eat and so on and so forth. I’m pretty happy with how things are going right now. The next challenge is going to be maintaining these good habits once life inevitably returns to something resembling normal.
You know, I think I might actually be looking forward to my next trip to confession!
This has been 300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz, the next episode will be posted after I think really hard about what I’m going to have for dinner. For more podcasts, check out my website at Eduardo Soliz dot com, and I thank you for listening. Be good, take care and God Bless.