Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The "Gub-ment" and Other Stuff

Quick weight-loss update: I'm at 35 pounds, which may not seem great since the last update, but which is pretty great considering I sort of kind of threw caution to the wind partially over my birthday.  I'm down more than I was earlier in the month, so I'm thrilled with it.  We're now in the last full week of our weight loss challenge at work, so I'm back to the diet full-on in an attempt to drop a few more pounds which will hopefully be the difference over the current leader.  What can I say?  I love a competition.

I had a unique experience last week to testify in front of the Washington House Finance Committee in opposition to a bill that would have some serious consequences for the direct sales industry, which is the industry in which I work as a corporate attorney.  I was able to meet up and testify with our industry trade group lobbyist, as well as a local retailers' lobbyist, so it was quite an experience.  We were only given two minutes for each of our statements, so there's not a whole lot you can say in that time.  I followed the other two guys, so it was our "strategy" to just have me get down real specific to the impacts that such a bill would have on our state, since we're based here.  You can check out the link here, which is edited down to just my appearance, so it's not too long.  I put on Facebook that the camera apparently adds 200 pounds and thins your hair, since I still look pretty big on the video.  But, it's better than I looked eight or so weeks ago, so I'll take it.  I just didn't want my old friends from Pennsylvania to be astounded at the change since I was in high school.  But, that was a LONG time ago.  I shouldn't feel too bad.

Other than that, not much to add, except for the aforesaid birthday which took place last week.  I was really bummed at not getting my whole three-day Presidents' Day/birthday weekend since I had to testify on Presidents' Day (apparently not a state holiday in Washington??), but still had a nice time, as Laura took me to Red Lobster (the in-laws sent along a gift certificate to help) and Best Buy (gift certificate from my parents) and then gave me a couple of Lego sets I really wanted to help fill out my city block.  Yes, I enjoy Lego sets, but just the complex ones.  The city block buildings are pretty cool...I love just building them from the ground up and watching the details emerge.  I've almost got the most recent building I've started done, so I plan on taking some pictures just for the heck of it soon.  It's a pretty impressive sight with all the buildings connected together (which they're designed to do).  I spent yesterday as a make-up day for Presidents' Day just building Legos and catching up on sleep, so it was a refreshing start to the week.

We did put on a Pinewood Derby on Saturday for our Cub Scout Packs (we're over three combined units, with a count of 42 kids right now).  It was a big production, requiring lots of track transport, set-up, and time, so I'm glad it went off well.  I'll put some pictures down below, which also include some of Kyle, who somehow smoked his entire den and didn't lose a single race on his way to the den championship.  I have no idea what we did with the car that made it faster than the others, but needless to say Kyle had a great time and enjoyed winning a cool ribbon and pocketknife.  Pretty nice feeling for a dad, too, who doesn't have much skill in that arena.  We'll take it!!

 Kyle's car mid-race.  The light blue blur.
 Kyle during the races. This look says, "Hmm...we might actually do well!!"
 The Three Amigos watching the races (center).

Friday, February 8, 2013

Weight loss is tricky...

OK, so now I'm one month and one day into my serious diet (more serious than the rest I've done, at least), and there have been VERY positive results.  And, a few negative ones resulting from those positive ones.  First, the positives:
  • I'm down somewhere in the neighborhood of 32 pounds from where I was when I started this on January 7.
  • I'm not in new clothes yet, but have had to notch my belt up a couple of holes to keep me pants up (yes, "me" was correctly typed--I'm sure it sounds better read out loud).
  • I can get my wedding ring off my finger if it's sufficiently cold.  That puppy hadn't seen the light of day for at least a year and a half, if not more.  The wife questions why I'd want to take it off, but it's only to demonstrate to myself that I don't have fat fingers.  I also like reading the inscription inside the ring...I mean, I know what it says, but it's nice to see it and reflect on how sweet the wife is.  Ahhhhhh, how sweet!!!.....
  • It isn't yet official, but I've probably won this month's work weight loss contest.  OK, so that's really just selfish, but I'm kind of competitive when I want to be, and the contest has been a fair motivator.
But, the negatives are starting to come to light:
  • I'm so low on energy, it's driving me crazy (and my family).  To be expected when your daily caloric intake has been so severely restricted.
[OK, time for a caveat here...I know that severely-reduced calorie diets like the one I'm currently on are not recommended for most people due to the side effects I'm in the middle of describing.  I have fully accepted the risks that are contained therein.  (Man, this lawyer thing just permeates EVERYTHING, doesn't it?)  Please don't take the opportunity to tell me how stupid this is...I'm doing this for a variety of reasons, even though I know it's not necessarily what most credible experts preach.  I am doing this only temporarily, to give myself a fighting chance at starting over at a more healthy weight, and I even don't recommend this for everyone.  Consult a physician (like I've done).]
  • I've hit a fairly moderate plateau...I've only lost a pound in the last week and a half.  This is distressing, as it's tough to want to stick with the diet when it looks like it ain't working.  This led to...
  • Last night, when I experienced some moderate internal distress as well as some of the worst malaise I've yet gone through.  I swore I couldn't eat another vegetable that night, so the wife (bless her heart) made me some ham sandwiches on whole wheat bread with a minimum of mayonnaise.  This is contrary to the diet, as carbs like grains are pretty much forbidden if they're not already incorporated into the provided meal packets.  After gorging on two sandwiches, I couldn't help it and ate two 100-calorie granola bars as well as two snack bars that are part of the diet system (and which are restricted to two a week).  The internal distress is still with me this afternoon, but emotionally I'm feeling much better...I think the "gorge" (and I say this in quotes, as my gorge was an exceptionally healthy one, by most standards) helped a lot.
Going forward, I still will be extremely careful.  But, everything I'm reading right now (by more generally accepted standards) a plateau can be an indicator of the body starving (especially after extremely quick weight loss, as I've experienced).  The solution is counter-intuitive, and involves actually eating closer to normal for a little while to convince the body that it won't starve, then reducing calories again.  The trainer here at work, who is very skilled, also indicated that a couple weeks "off" would be advantageous, if for nothing else than my mental outlook and mood.  So, I think I've resolved to temporarily eat a little closer to normal, although I'm still going to avoid sugary foods like the plague.  I'm sort of afraid this will screw me up going into the last month of our little contest, especially when I'm not in first place overall yet, but long-term weight loss is what's important, so I need to set myself up for success that way more than I need to worry about winning a little contest, which probably should be set for more than 3 months to encourage a more healthy approach for everyone.

So, I actually ordered a sandwich from Subway today.  On wheat bread, of course.  I feel a little better, for sure.  I still had a Coke Zero instead of a full-on non-diet soda, and had the usual cookies (they're to die for at Subway, if you've never had them) replaced by a yogurt.  I think I can live like this, at least for now.  Since I still have a lot more weight I'd like to drop (close to 70 pounds yet), this will only last a little while, but should be more representative of my approach after the diet has ended.  Good to get used to it now, especially when I'm afraid I may just binge my way around all the fast-food places in town I've missed during my diet after it's all over.  This is a mental game like I've never played before.  Throw in some real body changes, both positive and negative, and it's a real personal battle.  But, right now, I think I'm winning.  I've had so much support from loved ones and co-workers, and it's so helpful.  I really hope I continue to succeed, because I want to look better--but most importantly, I want to FEEL better.  I'm on the right track, I think.  It does feel good to have accomplished something this hard.  Just gotta keep it up, and not beat myself up if I slip.