The Math of Weight Loss…

The Math of Weight Loss… May 3, 2015

… I know I promised not to turn this into a diet blog, but it just so happened this week I’d been too busy to sit down and write anything else. So you get two diet posts in a row following last week’s theme.

Things I’ve Learned

– What the difference between being satisfied, full, and stuffed feels like.
That one pound of weight lost relieves 4 pounds of pressure off the knees.
– You sleep better after getting exercise and fresh air, even just a little.
Planks are hard. Like really freaking hard.
– It’s OK to snack, as long as you pick healthy snacks.
– The notion of 3 square meals a day is outdated and can lead to over eating.
– Just exactly how much money I was wasting on fast food a month.

put_it_all_in_my_face

Seriously. It’s almost embarrassing to share this with you but when I sat down with my bank statement and did the math I was truly flabbergasted. If health doesn’t make you want to never eat drive thru again than perhaps financially I can convince you.

I went over 3 individual months and added up every fast food purchase then compared that total to this past month where I stopped eating fast food 3 weeks ago.

January 2015 = $434.12
December 2014 = $413.98
November 2014 = $419.64

versus

April 2015 = $27.14

That’s a little over a $100 a week. $1,266.00 over three months, almost $5,064.00 a year. Over the course of a decade (how long I’ve been working at my sedentary office job) I would have over $50K – a down payment on a house!

The math simply blew my mind. $5 bucks here, $10 bucks there. It’s a slow trickle that you never notice until you step back and put it in perspective.

You want some more math. How about this? When I started my job ten years ago I weighed about 180. Still fat, but now what I wouldn’t give to be that weight again. In ten years I’ve gained 100 lbs.

That’s 10 lbs a year, .0833 lbs a month. And when you look at it .0833 pounds seems like nothing to gain. But if you gain that much one month and then the next, never losing only gaining, before you know it you’re 100 lbs overweight. Again with the slow deceptive incremental numbers that are so easy to ignore and overlook.

Inspirational

– From my online friends who are encouraging me daily
– From people who’ve reached out to me to share their own struggles with weight.
– My son, who has taken to exercising with me
Arthur’s story.

I love how he says that just because he can’t do something today doesn’t mean he’ll never be able to.

NSV

– The biggest NSV this week was realizing that my knees have stopped hurting.
– I also walked my first mile since I had a heart attack 4 years ago.
– And I survived this last week before a paycheck with $50 to my name and I didn’t have to resort cheap, processed foods to stretch my dollar.

In the past, this is where I consistently failed. With my final few dollars between pay periods I would typically buy a lot of mac’n’cheese, and hot dogs. That week looked something liked this…

Day 1 – hot dogs with mac’n’cheese
Day 2 – hot dogs mixed in the mac’n’chese
Day 3 – Hamburger and mac’n’cheese
Day 4 – Hamburger mixed in the mac’n’cheese, throw in some ketchup and you got hamburger helper for less than .50¢ a person. Yay poverty!

Determined not to fall into old patterns I bought bananas, a bag of apples, milk, eggs, wheat bread, baby spinach, a head of lettuce, and a big pack of chicken breast. I spent about $35.00 and planned frugally with things we already had in the pantry and freezer.

Day 1 – grilled chicken, frozen vegetables, side salad
Day 2 – left over grilled chicken used to make grilled chicken salad for dinner
Day 3 – Shredded chicken in crock pot to make shredded chicken tacos
Day 4 – Shredded chicken leftover used for stir fried frozen veggies.

The milk, bread, apples etc was used for breakfast and lunch sandwiches and snacks.

General Thoughts

I’ve had to try and completely change my attitude not only regarding food but about myself. In the past a failure would have been perceived as validation to those negative “you’re worthless” thoughts. Now, a failure is a lesson learned and a chance to evaluate what went wrong so I can avoid it in the future.

Previously I would have eaten a candy bar and beaten myself up over it. It would have opened the floodgates to all sorts of self loathing, “you’re weak and lack self control”, “greedy pig”, “why stop at one candy bar, you’ve already failed. Eat three more, fatso.”

When I gave in to a candy bar last week I thought “oops, oh well” and proceeded to enjoy it. Than I made a note that for the 250 calories in the chocolate bar I would have to spend 45 minutes of moderate paced walking to burn it off. Also for 250 calories I could have had tuna on wheat pita with some greens and a peanut butter and banana snack which would have been infinitely more filling and satisfied my salty/sweet tooth craving.

Now I know.

It took me ten years to gain all this weight. I have to keep reminding myself every time I look in the mirror that it’s not going to disappear overnight. I can’t think about how much weight I want to lose or I get daunted. Tell someone to lose 150 lbs and it sounds impossible. Tell someone to lose a single pound or two a week, or even a month, sounds so totally possible.

I also can’t think about how long this is going to take me. I can only think about today and what I am going to do today about my health. Today I am going to eat well and go for a walk. In the same way I can’t think too far ahead in the future, I also can’t dwell on the past. I messed up, I let myself go. Yeah and? I can’t go back in time so dwelling on it is pointless.

The only time I let myself think about the future is to remind myself that if I don’t do what I need to do to make it through today in ten more years I will weigh 385. Doing nothing is not an option.

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