Fat Charlie the Archangel files for divorce
He says, “Well, this will eat up a year of my life
And then there’s all that weight to be lost”
– Paul Simon (Crazy Love, Vol. II)
I must have heard this song a thousand times or more… I am one of the biggest Paul Simon fans of my generation, and the first album of his that I bought was Graceland. I don’t know why I never paid attention to the lyrics, but sometime in the last year I heard and listened to this line for the very first time. I was walking through the woods of Joshua Creek in Oakville, and there it was. I smirked and moved on.
I was once a very active person… If you have been reading my main blog (www.garvis.ca) then you know that I am a martial artist, and that I love going for long walks. However I used to be a soldier… a basketball player, a cyclist, a jogger, and so much more. I want to be very active again. I have a four-year old son… I want to be able to be able to chase him down and play with him.
Okay, there are a lot of reasons why I want to lose weight, and no single reason is simple enough. There’s my health, my looks, my activities (not the least of which is my Tae Kwon Do). The problem is, how does one go about losing weight?
If I had to lose twenty pounds or so I would go on a diet, watch what I eat, and over six or eight or ten weeks I would gradually lose the weight. The problem is I don’t have to lose 20 pounds or even 50… I have to lose well over 100 lbs – and that requires more than willpower (although that is part of it).
I spoke with my family physician in the summer of 2013; he referred me to a medical weight management clinic in Burlington, Ontario. I went and heard what they had to say, and agreed to their terms. They are not about the diet, they are about changing habits and education. They gave me a bunch of material to read, and meal tracker forms to keep track of what I eat, including calories, protein, carbs, and so on.
Fast forward to March… to be fair, I started a lot of this in August, but stopped when I was in Japan because a lot of the tools didn’t work in Japan… and then I had a really lousy January and February back in Canada (which I will not go into).
Being that this is the 21st century, and that I am a huge geek, I decided to look at technological tools that would help. I settled on three of them:
•I already had my Fitbit, and I would start using it again. The fact that I was now using an iPhone meant that I could even synchronize on my mobile. Cool. I would go back to walking and tracking my steps (although being the absolute coldest winter in the history of Oakville, I couldn’t really do a lot of that until the end of the month). A few years ago it was my colleague Karen Lopez who introduced me to this tool, and I have thanked her for that!
•I like being able to track where I have walked (and eventually jogged). As such I went back to using a tool that my friend and colleague Ruth Morton introduced me to called Endomondo. It is another app for the smart phone, and works with the GPS in the device to actually track on a map not only how far I walk, but it also tells me my lap time every kilometer, and how far I have walked in how long. It lets me listen to my music on the smart phone and works with that. Once I finish my walk the app automatically synchronizes to my own page on http://www.endomondo.com, and shows me on a map exactly where I walked (as well as a ton of other stats such as temperature and altitude and such).
•The clinic wanted me to continue tracking my meals, which is one of the things that helps me the most. However walking around with photocopied log sheets wasn’t quite my style. Enter http://www.MyFitnessPal.com, and its app for the smart phone that allows me to enter my six meals (breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, evening snack). The site maintains the most comprehensive database of foods and their nutritional information that I have ever seen, and the app even allows you to scan a food’s barcode and looks it up. Amazing.
•The Fitbit company released a wi-fi scale called Aria, and I picked one up last autumn. Unfortunately its maximum weight is 350 lbs, so it will take a little while to be able to use it properly. That being said, it will come in handy once I am stably below that threshold.
The best part about these three products is that they all work together. I don’t have to re-enter information once it’s in one. Cool.
On August 30th I weighed 367.9lbs. At the beginning of March I was scarcely down 10 lbs. However that is when I started to get back to my weight loss plans… and this time I am serious, and I am NOT going to stop.
In the last month I have slipped… occasionally, a little. Overall I have been good, but I admit that when I was sick a couple of weeks ago in a hotel I did sneak a few plates of buffalo wings… my kryptonite. The occasional cheat is not going to be my downfall… stopping my routines and my tracking would be. So I had a bad week, I got back on the horse and this week I have been better… mostly.
It is going to be a long ride… I am going to slip and fall, but I am going to get back up again. I am going to try to be honest and post my thoughts and progress here. I named the blog Losing a Part of Me because I want to lose the fat… I am inspired by my old friend Bill Sparks who did it a couple of years ago. Now it is my turn. I’m not doing it for my parents or for you… I am doing it for me…
…and I won’t let me down again.