I’ve lost over 100 pounds… and got quite a shock at the doctor’s office.

Not my actual feet... or weight.

Not my actual feet… or weight.

Yesterday was a bit crazy.  I went to the doctor for an annual check up, I was actually looking forward to going as I’d lost 78 lbs (or so I thought) and she’d urged me in the past to lose weight.  Since she hadn’t seen me in a year it would be a pretty noticeable change.  Cool.

The last time I saw her was September 2011.  The nurse checked me in and went through the typical stuff – blood pressure, pulse check, any meds, weighing me… uh oh, they want me to step on a scale.  So I step up, wait a second and look at the digital display, it read [ — ].  Over the limit.  Damn.  I didn’t even look at the weight limit on the scale, I just stepped off and moved on, the nurse asked me how much I weighed and I gave her my guesstimate.  She looked at me a bit funny and I figured my guesstimate must have been less than the scale’s limit, however I didn’t ask and she didn’t question my answer.  I didn’t know for sure my starting weight, I didn’t buy a scale until I knew I’d lost a good bit, then I weighed and took a guess at how much I thought I’d loss.  I’ve never been very good at estimating weight, obviously.

Now it’s October 2012 and time for my follow-up visit.  The nurse greets me and we head to the scale.  I step on an it pops up 393, which is 7 lbs more than my scale at home but I’m fully clothed so I’m guessing we’re pretty close.  This time I decided to check the limit on the scale, I was shocked when I saw that it was 500 lbs.  What?!  Did I read that right?  Maximum weight 500 lbs.  I was shocked.  Now I see why she looked at me oddly when I guesstimated my weight at 465 the previous year.  I can’t believe I weighed over 500 lbs at my heaviest.  It’s hard to admit, it’s embarrassing.  I actually think that scale did me a favor last year by not registering my actual weight, not sure I could have handled it at the time.  I go in the exam room and wait on the doctor.  When she walked in the firs thing she said was, “You’ve lost weight.”  Nice.  She commented that she could really see it in my face.    Just to make sure I wasn’t going crazy about the scale I asked her if I read the max weight correctly at 500 lbs, she said I had.  I asked her if they’d replaced the scale since last year, they hadn’t.  My 1/4 ton+ starting weight was confirmed – and I didn’t like it one bit.

However, on the bright side of things I’ve actually lost 107+ lbs and I am damn proud of that.  I will do everything within my power to never see a 4 as the first digit in my weight again and I sure as hell am not going to see a 5… and not just because the scale won’t read that high. ;-)  That visit in 2011 was my first step to getting my life on track, taking control of some things that had gotten out of control.  I’m proud to say a year later I have made major, major changes in my life.  I’ve changed what I eat, how much I eat, my physical activity and my sleep patterns and the sum total of these actions means I’ve lost 107 pounds in the last year and on my way to even more.  As shocked as I was to find out my true starting weight it will also be a huge motivator to never go back there again.  I’ve made permanent changes in my life, I can’t wait to see where I am a year from now.

Firefly Run Atlanta – My first 5K

Crossing the Finish Line at my First 5K

I took a break in my weekend hiking to take part in my first 5K, the Firefly Run Atlanta.   Now, I didn’t say I ran my first 5K… but I did complete it.  Maybe next year I’ll be able to run it.  It was a blast and I had some great friends that went along with me for the adventure.

If you’re not familiar with the Firefly Run it’s a nighttime 5K.  Everyone gets these blinking armbands and most people load up with glow sticks, glow necklaces, glow bracelets, glow sunglasses… you get the point.  I saw one couple that had LED lights on their hat, glasses, clothes and even blinking mouthpieces.  I’m not sure how many people usually participate in these races but there were thousands of people at this one, runners as far as you can see.   The race was through midtown Atlanta and the Start / Finish lines were in Piedmont Park.  The participants were awesome, the race was a lot of fun and even the spectators got into it.  People would cheer and honk their horns as we ran (errr, walked) by and one guy had the Rocky them blaring as the crowd came by.

My official time was 57:19.67 and my goal for this year was to finish under an hour – mission accomplished.  I’m already looking forward to see how much I can improve by next year’s race.  I’ve already framed and hung up my bib, this is a milestone for me and having it on the wall will remind me how far I’ve come in a relatively short time and keep me pushing on to lose weight and get in better shape.  I’ll definitely do the Firefly Run again and might even jump in a few other 5K’s.

Next weekend I’m back to hiking, weather permitting I’m heading up to the GA/NC state line to Brasstown Bald to view the fall foliage.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Calorie and Activity Tracking

One thing I’m doing differently this time around with my weight loss is tracking what I eat as well as my activity, it’s been a HUGE help to me.  I was always hesitant to track my food before because I thought it would be a pain to log everything that I eat, and not too long ago it would have been a pain.  But with all these internets we’ve got around us as well as iPads, iPhones and Androids it’s a lot easier to do these days.

I found out that by tracking what I eat it not only keeps me on track for the day but also educates me on what the impact is on certain foods.  You may not realize how much fat, sugar and overall calories are packed in certain foods.  With a good tracking app you can not only find out what’s bad for you but see alternatives to the “bad” foods.  By tracking my exercise I can see the benefits of being active and how many calories I burn with my activities.  Many sites now add a social aspect to your fitness goals, it’s great to have friends join you for support and encouragement… plus a little friendly competition is fun, too.

Here are the sites that I use to track my fitness goals:

reddit.com/r/loseit – If you’re not familiar with Reddit you should check it out.  There are “subreddits” for most interests.  r/loseit is a great forum where people share their successes and challenges, post progress pictures and generally just encourage each other, it’s a very friendly community.  If you head over to Reddit also check out r/fitmeal and r/fitness.

MyFitnessPal.com – Referred to simply as MFP by it’s users.  A great site to track your calorie intake and expenditure each day.  Enter your personal info (age, height, weight, sex, goals) and it will help you target a calorie plan to reach those goals over a set amount of time.  Also gives you charts to show your weight progress (gain or loss) over time.  The site has discussion forums as well.  One of the greatest features of the site is the food database, many common foods are already listed and there is a page to enter your own recipes for future use.  If you use the app on your iPhone you can also simply scan a barcode and enter the serving numbers to track calories.  MFP allows you to have a friends list on the site to share information.

Fitocracy.com – “Fito” is my latest discovery, it’s a very fun site.  Their focus is strictly on the activity side of things, not in calorie tracking.   The format is similar to Twitter with you having an activity feed on your home page but they also incorporate groups and friends to look at special interests.  When you track an activity you get points and you can “Level Up” as you reach certain goals.  Fitocracy also has quests, achievements, challenges and duels to compete with others.  The combination of encouragement from others as well as the competition and the rewards system make this site very addictive, I find myself pushing a bit harder at a workout just to get a few more points to level up or to beat a friend in a duel.

Runkeeper.com – Runkeeper allows you to use your smartphone as a GPS tracker to measure your time, speed and distance when you walk, run, hike or bike.  In addition you can manually enter exercise if you’re inside, like a stationary bike ride.  For GPS-tracked activities it will show you a map of where you traveled as well as the time you were traveling, your pace, distance and total time.  You can view charts on the site to track your progress over time.

These are the sites I use however there are many others that do have similar functions, some even more.  Garmin makes devices that link with their own site to track you much like Runkeeper with your iPhone. Nike+ also has hardware you can purchase as does Fitbit.  Endomondo is another popular fitness tracking site.  If none of these work out for you a bit of searching on Google should find one that suits your needs.

One more note, invest in a good heart rate monitor to help with your tracking.  You’ll be able to get a more true sense of your activity and calories burned per workout.  Polar makes some very highly recommended monitors in a variety of styles.

Please consult with your physician before starting any diet or exercise routine.