Open Source Weight Loss Week 2: the Burn

Open Source Weight Loss Week 2: the BurnIt’s been over a week since I set out to change my life through diet and exercise while documenting the entire experience for everyone who cared to read and, perhaps, join in on the momentum by sharing their stories, successes, and pitfalls along the way.

The comments I’ve seen over the past two weeks have been outstanding, and I thought I might share some of these inspirational stories and suggestions from the community. In addition, the past week has been full of its own ups and downs, though I’m happy to say that things are down on the scale.

My goal for the next two weeks is to be in better shape than I was when I visited Seattle last November. I am attending a tech conference in Las Vegas in early June, and would really like to be able to not only fit comfortably in the plane’s tiny seat, but to have the ability to walk the entire conference floor without feeling that tell-tale back and knee pain I’ve been feeling for the past two years.

Week 2 Report
Start — 294.5
Middle — 294.0
End — 292.3
Total Weight Lost (Full Program) — 3.5 Pounds

Feeling the Burn, Buying Clothes, and Texas Heat

I started the week off feeling pretty good, having lost some weight the week before. I adjusted my weekly step goal to 5,500 as I had been exceeding 5,000 steps on a daily basis. This adjustment meant having to remember to take extra laps around my apartment complex, and deal with the increased amount of heat the summer months bring.

Buying Clothes
In addition to the burn of the Texas sun, I’ve been struggling with finding the right clothes to fit the needs of a hefty fellow doing a lot of walking. For some unknown reason, stores that carry clothing sizes up to XXXL only stock athletic clothing for folks up to a size XL. Yes, I’m sure not many of my fellow big folks get out to the gym very often, but the need for clothing that separates certain things is far greater among big folk than small folk.

So I’m stuck either buying my workout clothes online or heading to the overpriced big and tall stores, which don’t stock much athletic clothing either. This, coupled with the complete lack of size standardization, makes buying clothes very difficult. Am I the only one who experiences this?

Increasing the Intensity of the Workout
As noted in previous entries to this series, I’m gradually increasing the distance and intensity of my walking workouts. Instead of doing 100% of my steps in a calm walk, I’ve started doing 15 minutes of it on a treadmill with varying incline. This allows me to get a good jog going without risking heat exhaustion early in the workout.

In addition to adding steps gradually, I’ve been increasing the pace of my walks to include some light jogging. This would have been absolutely impossible for me two weeks ago as I would be utterly out of breath and worn out in a very short period of time. Due to the gradual increase in activity, I haven’t felt very much of this at all except in cases where I’m really pushing myself up a steep hill.

Dealing with Spring/Summer Heat
It’s really hot here in Texas, and with temperatures already hitting the mid 90s, I’m beginning to consider how and when my workouts will be timed. As of this week, I’ve been holding out until the sun goes down to good advantage. My workouts can go on longer, and I can cover more distance without overheating or feeling otherwise overexerted due to the environment.

Another trick I’ve been told about is heading to nature trails as opposed to exposed jogging trails to take advantage of the shade. Nature trails can be found all over the Austin area, and some of them are quite easy to navigate. I’m sure that, when the summer heat really kicks in, this tip will certainly come in handy.

Geocaching is a great activity to take part in to help you keep your mind off the discomfort of working out in the summer. When you’re trekking through the wilderness in search of something, you tend to trick your mind into pushing past the boredom point that can end a workout rather quickly. Walking around, even with music in your ears, gets boring after a while. Having an activity like geocaching or an audiobook going on during the workout can keep things interesting and focus your mind past the workout itself.

Words of Advice and Encouragement from the Community

Troy Rutter said on LockerGnome.net:

The first three weeks were the toughest. In addition to walking more, I also decided to cut out potato chips and soda from my consumption entirely. I really like the cool, fizzy refreshment of soda, so that was a big deal. I had to make conscious choices and have mental battles with myself just to avoid the temptation.

Bobby on LockerGnome.com commented:

I just want to wish you the best of luck and let you know about a little trick that helped me lose weight. what I did was eat as healthy as possible six days out of the week and on Sunday, for dinner, I could eat whatever I wanted; doing this gave me something to look forward to and helped get me off processed food.

D.J. Moore said on LockerGnome.com:

I am going to officially participate! I am only 25-26 in July, and I’m hovering around 250-260 on average. I’ve been walking constantly with a blend of bike riding to break up the monotony. I am joining now. To progress!

Charity Histle offered her advice on last week’s update:

You should consume half your body weight (in ounces). For example, if you weigh 300 pounds, you need to be drinking 150 ounces of water a day. It’s a lot, but your body will retain water if you don’t drink it. At first, you may gain a little until your body realizes it’s okay to let go of the fluid. I don’t consume any calories in my drinking — only water.

Derek Thorson advised:

I lost about 90 pounds (from 273 to 183 pounds) doing pretty much what you’re doing… only I slacked off and gained about 50 back. So now I’m in it to lose it again. I know I can do it because I did it before… it just takes willpower and a little work.

Early setbacks are common… your body adjusts initially by saying “tough times ahead!” and does what it can to store up reserves for the expected energy burn in the future. Don’t let it phase you. Just push through it and keep at it.

Slowandgo from LockerGnome.net added:

Here is my story. I am a disabled Vietnam veteran. My weight has blown up to 280 lbs., so my doctors at the VA started pushing me to lose weight. So in December of 2009, I bought my first gaming system (I initially refused due to all the computers that I have). I bought a Wii Fit Plus hardware/software. I started using it and I saw a dramatic loss of weight. In October of 2010, I had lost about 50 lbs., but then I broke my ankle, which set me back three months. I then got lazy about my exercise program and my weight went up to 260 lbs. So in December of 2011, I started to push myself again, and I lost approximately 30 lbs. I had to stop for a couple of weeks due to minor surgery on my back, but I am back on it again. I exercise 4-5 times a week for approximately two and half hours and I burn around 900 calories each time. So I hope to be under 200 lbs. by the end of the year. I am 61 years old and I am giving it all, so anyone can do it. Watch your diet (small portions) and commit to an exercise program.

Question of the Week

This week’s question, as well as the ones from weeks prior, is posted on LockerGnome.net, where we are continuing the ongoing conversation and helping each other reach our ultimate weight goals.

What is your favorite exercise? Do you enjoy swimming, jogging, weight lifting, or some other (appropriate) activity to help you stay in shape?

Final Thoughts

For me, and many others out there, dropping the weight means more than looking better at the pool. It means being able to participate in more things. Tech conferences, travel, playing with my nephew(s), and possibly even raising some kids of my own will come much easier in a lighter body. These are the things that torture heavy folks every day. Being out of breath after just tying your shoes, having to consider just how sweaty and tired a single flight of stairs will make you, and not being able to do things that our thinner friends take for granted are huge, depressing factors in every big person’s life. Depression can lead someone to overeat, and therein lies the vicious cycle that so many people have a hard time grasping. People don’t overeat because they’re happy. They overeat because they want control over something in their lives. Even if that something is slowly killing them.

Updates

Week 0: Will You Join Me?
Week 1: the Rollercoaster
Week 2: the Burn
Week 3: Slow and Steady
Week 4: Always Be Training
Week 5: Hydration is Key
Week 6: Taking Breaks

Photo By: Angela Espinoza Pierson

25 comments On Open Source Weight Loss Week 2: the Burn

  • I started this last april. I weighed 270 lbs i am now down to 164lbs. I attribute it to totally cutting out soda, processed sugar, and exercising everyday. At least walking. I now run 3 miles a day and i went from a 44 inch waist to 33 inch waist. Id be happy to discuss further.

  • I started this last april. I weighed 270 lbs i am now down to 164lbs. I attribute it to totally cutting out soda, processed sugar, and exercising everyday. At least walking. I now run 3 miles a day and i went from a 44 inch waist to 33 inch waist. Id be happy to discuss further.

  • I started trying to lose weight in December of 2011.  Remember to set realistic goals and you should do great and try not to be too hard on yourself if you don’t do as well for the week.  I found that when I said I wanted to lose 100 lbs; I failed miserably because it put me under to much pressure.  I am setting goals of 20 lbs at a time and have almost lost 60 lbs already.  You’ll get there just don’t rush it.

  • I wish him all the luck. I should probably start following this guy since I’m about 6 lbs heavier than he is.

  • Way to go, keep up the good work. I’m in Pflugerville, we have some great walking trails here, too. I try to get up and walk early here in the summer since it’s so freaking hot. I have a pool so I’m hoping to start swimming every day soon.

  • I’m in Dallas and I’m starting my weight loss program called ViSalus. I’m excited.

    • Interesting. What does the program involve?

      • Hate to be a downer but ViSalus is a pyramid scheme to get you to buy nutritional supplements, doesn’t teach you how to eat.  Better off with weight watchers.  Case and point, they offer trips and prizes for referring other people and losing weight using their supplements. Why would they have to if their stuff worked?  They wouldn’t.  Hope it pushes you in the right direction though.

  • Congrats on the progress, I hope you continue to have success. I do remember trying to find activewear when I started my diet/workout routine and stores were trying to sell basic solid color 5XL t-shirts for $36 – $40. It was completely ridiculous, but not entirely shocking as I was all to familiar with the horrendous big and tall mark ups.

  • 64 year 300 # your dIary is very encouraging. Best of luck to you. Keep it up

  • You know you’re overweight when you find yourself wishing you could be like the “before” person in a weight loss advert 

  • Congratulations! Minus another 3 lbs. for me! I plateaued last week – that seems to happen to me about every 3-4 weeks. I wanted to test a theory that perhaps my body is storing fat because I’m on such a low-cal intake. So, I ate more calories than usual (usual is 1000) while I was on a business trip last week to “reset my metabolism” and IT WORKED! Keep in mind, I’m still off soda and that has been my MOST difficult challenge. 
    6 weeks = -17 lbs!

  • What I found after several bouts of losing and gaining is that you have to find athletic ways to have fun, that’s right fun.  I see you’ve been ramping up your efforts and increasing the intensity of your workout which is great.  You should also find ways to have fun that involve physical activity like biking or playing b-ball or swimming or just grab a tennis racket an dhit the handball courts for as long as you can stand the heat.  You’ll find that you want to get out there and do all this fun stuff and that this stuff is also helping you to lose weight.  Get out there and have fun!  (oh and portion control doesn’t hurt – lol).

  • Nicholas Graham

    I started 

  • I started my own (anonymous) program last week – just discovered this blog.
    Week 1 Report:
    Start — 244
    End — 238  

    I’m calling my plan the “Shut your pie hole and get off your ass”

  • Good luck with the weight loss.  I am having the same dilemma and just can’t find anything I really enjoy doing.  Not only that, the weather here is either below zero in the winter or, like today, completely rainy all day – so I am stuck inside.  I admire your stick-to-it-iveness 🙂  Keep at it.  

  • Good luck with all your efforts! Your doing a great thing and it’s only better of for you in the long run. Though I’m not one who’s in need of a diet and weight loss (that’s being 5″8″ and 151 lbs) but upon reading your story and other influences in my life I started trying to loss weight myself. Around 2 months ago I was at my all time high weight of 168 lbs and I wasn’t to happy with myself health wise and spiritually, but it just so happened that my mother and my sister were starting to go on healthy living and we just decided as a family to see it though (though I would of hoped my father would of jumped on the bandwagon). But due to this as a family we started eating more healthy and started to improve upon our portion intake. My mother and sister started going to the gym, and so did I as well that being playing interactive video games like Dance Dance Revolution, In the Groove and Pump it up. Before I knew it I shaved off 17 lbs in 2-3 months time and have been feeling a lot better about myself. I just wanted to say that having the help from family and friends goes a long way in achieving any goals you set for yourself. I’m glad to see that you are sticking to your goals and hope you attain the goals you set out for yourself, and I’ll be sure to follow your progress and cheer you on!

  • Good luck with all your efforts! Your doing a great thing and it’s only better of for you in the long run. Though I’m not one who’s in need of a diet and weight loss (that’s being 5″8″ and 151 lbs) but upon reading your story and other influences in my life I started trying to loss weight myself. Around 2 months ago I was at my all time high weight of 168 lbs and I wasn’t to happy with myself health wise and spiritually, but it just so happened that my mother and my sister were starting to go on healthy living and we just decided as a family to see it though (though I would of hoped my father would of jumped on the bandwagon). But due to this as a family we started eating more healthy and started to improve upon our portion intake. My mother and sister started going to the gym, and so did I as well that being playing interactive video games like Dance Dance Revolution, In the Groove and Pump it up. Before I knew it I shaved off 17 lbs in 2-3 months time and have been feeling a lot better about myself. I just wanted to say that having the help from family and friends goes a long way in achieving any goals you set for yourself. I’m glad to see that you are sticking to your goals and hope you attain the goals you set out for yourself, and I’ll be sure to follow your progress and cheer you on!

  • I found success with looking at the problem in a bit of a ‘technical’ way (I have an engineering/systems programmer background).  One pound of fat is approximately 3500 calories (of course there are components to one’s weight other than just fat such as water, muscle, etc.  But, I look at those as ‘peripheral’).  So, to lose one pound of fat per week, one must experience a deficit of 500 calories per day… 1000 calories to lose 2 pound per week.  It’s difficult to really know how many calories one actually burns and consumes per day, so I look at it that if I lose a pound, I must have had that deficit of 3500 calories and work towards that life style.  I did some research and figured, with my basic activity level, I probably burned an average of around 1800 calories per day.  That meant I had to consume just 1300 calories for my 500/day deficit (it didn’t seem realistic to consume 800/day for a 1000/day deficit).  Then, I started keeping track of calories (what a chore!).  I bought a kitchen scale and weighed and logged everything which was quite a revelation.  I used the various web sites to find calories/ounce and started keeping a log of the things I tended to eat.  Pretty soon I was getting a pretty good feeling for calories in various foods.  A pound of butter is almost all fat, so 3500 calories or 220 calories/ounce.  Green beans (which I happen to like) about 10 calories/ounce (160 calories/pound), so I learned I could eat over a pound of green beans in comparison to an ounce of butter (or most any oil/fat).  I was really surprised that strawberries are only 9 calories/ounce (see http://nutritiondata.self.com/)!  I used one of those spiral bound steno pads to keep track of calories of the foods I ate and pretty soon I wasn’t having to look everything up so often… just look in my own log… and soon I was learning things in general (vegetables 10-20 calories per ounce (peas 14/ounce, corn 22/ounce which makes sense as they are heavier in carbohydrates… corn a little more fat).  I had heard a nutritionist say that the secret to healthy eating and weight control is “Fruits, vegetable, whole grains, and beans” and I now try to live by that as much as possible (still have the other things, but nowhere as much).  I started weighing myself every day right after my shower and recorded that every day on a large post-it on the back of the linen closet door in the bathroom.  I learned from that that ones weight can vary day to day by as much as a couple pounds, which makes sense because of things like water (and even, shall I say ‘intestinal waste’?).  That told me that I couldn’t use day to day weights to mark my progress (if I weighed 185 one day and 183 the next, it was impossible that I had a 7000 calorie deficit in just that one day!)  I kept another post-it that had just Saturday readings and those I started charting on a piece of graph paper.  After a few months, I could then start to see trend lines to see general and more realistic progress.  The revelation was that my weight was not going down as much as all my ‘calculations’ said that it should (about half, or a net calculated deficit of 250 calories/day)!  So, my calorie expenditures assumptions or my calorie intake measurements (or, probably, both) were not correct.  However, I did now have a sort of ‘base line’.  I now had a choice to either cut my intake calories (as I was ‘measuring’ them) more or increase my calorie expenditure.  That, roughly, 1300 calorie per day diet was pretty tough so I decided to add more exercise.  I found web sites that list estimated calorie burns per activity (here’s one: http://calorielab.com/burned/) and started running.  Running 5 mph (12 min/mile) for one hour burns 476 calories in an hour.  Run 1 mile in 12 minutes equals about 100 calories.  Knowledge of calorie burn per activity really puts this whole thing into perspective!!!  One traditional Oreo cookie contains about 80 calories (search web shows answers from 55 to 100… most about 80) so offsetting that one cookie requires running (5mph) almost a full mile!  As an aside, I’ve read of the cookie as an example of how insidious weight gain over time can be.  Just one little cookie per day (80 calories) = 29,200 calories per year (80 x 365) or 8.34 pounds per year!  It’s easy to see how these little things add up over the years.  I worked up to running about 2.5 miles every day which should have given me an additional 250 calorie expenditure per day.  And, that did get my trend line on my graph on track to my 1 pound loss per week (keeping my diet program the same… my ‘calculated’ 1300/day).  Another aside, I found I had to make myself do my half hour runs every morning before the start of my day… it just became impossible to fit it into the end of the day.  And, I kind of ‘got into’ my running and enjoyed doing quite a bit more.  Up to 6 miles and pushing down to 10 minute miles… eventually even did 3 marathons.  That’s another interesting piece of math; 26 miles at 5mph = 2600 calories… only 3/4 pound of fat ‘burned’!!!  When I lookup your 5000 steps, I find that is about 2 miles.  Walking 3mph (moderate on a firm surface… 20min mile) is about 150 calories/hour or about 50 calories per mile and 100 calories for your 5000 steps.  I don’t want to discourage you, but that is the ‘math’ of it.  I’ve seen a couple episodes of ‘Biggest Loser’ and it makes me realize just how hard those people had to ‘work’ and sweat to lose those kinds of weights.  I read once that an old time lumber jack (like, saws and axes, before power tools) would burn 9000 calories per day!  No wonder they ate (and drank) like they did!  Have you ever read how much the Chicago Bears William Perry, The Fridge, ate per day?  Oh, I just realized those ‘burn rates’ were for a 150 pound person.  At a weight of 295 pounds, the 3mph walking expenditure is 308/hr instead of 150/hr so more like 200 calories for your 5000 steps… a little more encouraging, eh!  Well, enough of this ‘rambling on’… this worked for me.  I got down from my 185lb weight to 165lb.  I don’t really ‘count calories’ anymore, but I really changed the way I eat and am much more cognizant of how I eat (try to stick to the “Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans” thing… still have ‘pleasure’ foods, but nowhere nearly as often, but conscious of what I’m doing and they are much more of a ‘treat’).  I’ve had to stop running because of bad knees, but am ‘religious’ about daily brisk (15min/mi) walks… I like to ‘brag’ that I’m into my 17th year and have only missed 6 days!  I’m at 172 pounds right now and feel badly about that as I definitely have more of a ‘belly’ than I should.  It just really is terribly difficult!  We are genetically ‘programmed’ to this way… our ancestors who put on that fat were the ones who survived a tough winter to pass on the ‘fat genes’ to the next generation.  Well, thanks for letting me share my experiences and the very best of luck (and determination) to you… it really is very difficule but worth it!  Jack

  • I lost 50 lbs by cutting the carbs, avoiding gluten and cooking at home.  I also got rid of my diabetes. Keep up the good work and keep moving

  • Was 220 now 205 >>> 75 years old …… Walking a mile a day …… Pumpin some Iron….. DO Not Eat any WHEAT!!! Most important >>>>> Go to it boy you are doing good >>>>>>> Old John from Canada 

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