221 Miles by Foot – The John Muir Trail

Bob at 240#

Bob at 240#

I’m at least 50 pounds lighter now, but still have a pair of unmet goals: 1) Drop yet another 20 pounds. 2) Repeat the trek I did in 2000 from Horseshoe Meadows (just south of Lone Pine, CA) to the Yosemite Valley – the John Muir Trail, but in reverse, just shy of 250 miles. Last time I lost some 20 pounds on the trail – then gained all back, and a bit more, after returning to a desk job with no plan to watch my diet.

Why south to north? Well first, I tend to be a contrarian, that, coupled with the “fact” that the trail gets incrementally easier each day when heading north is a significant psychological boost. Knowing each day’s effort may be just a smidgen easier is enough for me. Further, I know, from previous experience that I’ll meet a number of people worth talking with who are travelling in the “correct” direction, and few are heading my way; a solitary hike. 🙂

For now? I’m actively hiking in the local open space and Cal dept. of Forestry lands in and around St. Helena. Today’s plan was 5 miles in under two hours. However, a new blister on my right heel which developed at about 2 miles convinced me to bail at four miles. Tomorrow? Five’s the plan.
Ultimately, my goal is 3 – 4 ten mile practice hikes (with a 35 pound pack) each week, coupled with at least one, if not two 15 mile hikes per month. I know from past experience that to accomplish my goals I need to be able to do at least 15 miles a day, and at altitude, if I have any chance of meeting my goals.

Stay Well!!!

Bob

T Minus 45 and holding…

Bob at 240#

Bob at 240#

Well, if your memory of “T Minus… and Holding” has you recalling NASA’s missions to land a man (uh, person) on the Moon, then you’re likely in my age cohort. If not, well you’re likely a bit younger than I.
Then again, from my current perspective the phrase has nothing to do with Space, NASA, or astronautical adventures. Once again it’s a weight reference. In this moment it’s my hovering around 193 lbs (87.72Kg or 13st 11Lb – I LOVE Scotland and the Scots!!!), which is a couple pounds away from 50 pounds lost. Fifty is neither my goal nor a magic number, but has become significant since I’ve been feeling stuck.

What’s up? Well, I’ve been hovering at that weight for most of the last week. And, “Why stuck?” you ask… Well, I’m struggling to stay on plan; struggling to increase my level of exercise from sedentary to not sedentary. Did I mention struggling to stay on the plan and not exercising enough?

’nuff said. The short, insight-less vision: some weeks are harder than others. This week has been one of the more challenging. In my last group meeting we were all to select a partner we could confide in. While there is an individual I would like to add as an understanding “sponsor,” he’s out of town. Hell, he’s out of country in Patagonia. So, I’m opting to use my other connections as part of my support network. Those would be all of you on FB, Twitter and Linked-in. I appreciate all the wonderful expressions of support I’ve received from all of you. While I may not always adequately acknowledge the support and comments, they are deeply felt and appreciated. Setting out on a more beneficial and insightful path, I have come to realize it’s time to use other additional resources and help. This is not something easily accomplished in state of emotional or social isolation, which is where I tend to go in times of stress.

Thus the work continues. Currently my greatest food/feeding challenge is when I have engagements that have me traveling in the greater Bay Area during business hours. I find I’m near OCD in my newfound desire to eat in places, and have dishes, I don’t normally care much about at all.

Where do these near-overwhelming urges and desire originate? Who knows? Is it just my physiological being, my body, saying, “Eat More! I need FAT! I need SUGAR! Oh, and a bit of protein would be OK too. Then again, is this related to my gut bacteria, my microbiome , calling the shots? Who’s in control, or out of control, here?

Short answer: I don’t know. All I “know” is, at times I am very hungry, and if I’m out and about, the temptation is overwhelming. On the other hand, and perhaps most importantly, I know you are out there on my side; rooting for me; and whether I want it or not, reminding me of the goal.

So, the story, and challenges of my weight loss journey continue, but not without a massive “Thank YOU!!!” to you all. You have no idea of how important and effective your support has been, and will continue to be… 🙂

Stay Well,

NurseBob

42… :)

Bob
42? Why does that get a smiley? Well, ask Douglas Adams, or read his book… According to his fictional characters, 42 is the answer to to life, the universe and everything. If only…

For me it’s a milestone in my quest to return to a smaller, former self. As a result of my medically managed diet, and my adherance to the diet (well, 98% of the time), I’ve now lost 42 pounds. More than halfway to my goal of 70 pounds. If/when I get there, I’ll be back to my high school weight, which is where I was supposed to stop, but didn’t/couldn’t.
Coupled with that happy achievement my wife and I took a Christmas/New Year’s vacation to Santa Fe, NM, whereupon I not only did not gain any weight, but managed to lose a couple more pounds. Not bad for both a vacation and the Holiday Season.
Other benefits: New/Old wardrobe: Clothes I’ve not fit into for years (maybe decades?) now fit. 🙂

Thus, while I did not strictly adhere to my meal replacement diet while out of state – my cousin’s wife’s New Year’s roast beef dinner with poached and caramelized pears for dessert was too inviting to ignore, it did not stop me from returning home lighter than when I left!!! 🙂

Stay Healthy

Medical Weight Management

NurseBob_1

My self-directed and self-managed attempt at a ketogenic diet this time last year was successful until… my wife and I traveled to Santa Fe, NM just after Christmas for just a week.  While on the road I went off my diet after having lost 20 pounds; upon our return home I was unable to resume the resume my plan, and, as happens to many, most? I had a “rebound” experience and gained back the 20, plus 5.  Argh!!!

I came to the conclusion that I could not do this on my own, and that my best bet was to enroll in a medical weight management program.  Last week I started in earnest with a Kaiser-based program. The program has demonstrated good results in the past, and I know from a personal contact who successfully did, and remains on, the program (officially 82 weeks, but apparently, a life membership for support meetings), that long term success is possible. Though a KP member, this program is outside of the KP benefits, so it’s out of pocket, about $800/month for the first four months, which includes weekly meal replacements.  After that initial period the cost drops significantly, but having not reached that point, I’ll hold off on any cost estimate for now.

My long term goal is to lose about 70 pounds. I have, in the first week, dropped 12 pounds.  Now, much of this is likely to be water, so I expect this weekly number to drop pretty rapidly to a more realistic 1-2 pounds per week.
Since weight loss tends to be physiologically sexist, I do expect to experience a more rapid rate of loss than most of the women in my cohort.  For now my diet is 960 calories daily, with a less than wonderful menu of two shakes, two soups and two nutrient bars per day.  To the credit of those at KP who designed the program I’ve not been starving, just had moments of elevated hunger.  I know that to get to sleep I need to have that last nutrient bar in the last hour before bed.

I will see if I can manage a weekly update on both the experiences and, I hope, successes of the experience.

The numbers:
Height: 5-10 – Hoping/expecting this won’t change over time… 🙂
Starting weight: 241 lbs
This week: 229 lbs
Goal: 170

Stay Well!

Bob

20 down, 40 to go

It’s been about six weeks since I decided a major lifestyle change was in order.  I mentioned that over the years my weight had increased by some 60 pounds over what matches my height and frame.

SOAPBOX ON
I’m not a fan of “fad” diets.  I’m careful to explore the basis for lifestyle changes, and especially in regard to diet.  There is such an overwhelming abundance of dietary advice and products, which in my view are mostly focused on generating profits for companies preying on the ill-informed, desperate, and unhappy segments of our population, which is a very, very sizable percentage.  Sadly, sound evidence-based, scientifically valid information is pretty much overwhelmed by the noise created by these unscrupulous purveyors of pseudo-scientific or mystical solutions to the real problems affecting many of us.  Further, on a similarly sad note, the level of education in this country leaves much of the population unable to see through these scams.
SOAPBOX OFF

However, someone I know and trust had recently experienced great success with a medically supervised Very Low Carbohydrate Ketogenic Diet (VLCKD).  Not only in successfully losing some 80 pounds, but also managing to make a lifestyle change in terms of diet for the long term which should aid in keeping those excess pounds off.

Given that, I decided to explore a similar diet.  Mine was started after an email consultation with my MD, and some six weeks ago I cut out all refined sugar, processed foods, and starches.  My goal:  under 20 grams of carbohydrates per day, and a target of 1000 – 1100 calories.  I’m basically on a moderate protein, higher fat and near zero carbohydrate diet.

The results so far: I’ve been steadily losing weight; I’m now 20 pounds lighter than when I began.  While I’m only about 1/3 of the way to my target of 160 – 170, I’m feeling pretty successful.

The experience:  To my surprise, and in truth, wonder.  I’ve rarely felt excessively hungry.  I do try to have a bite of something satisfying every 4 – 5 hours to forestall any sense of extreme appetite, but interestingly I’ve not had cravings for what I have cut out of my diet. And, believe me, I did like a lot of sugar in my coffee and cream, loved breads, chips, tortillas, pasta, etc.
Further, I’ve been sleeping better, have generally been in a better mood, and seem to be more stable in regards to mood swings (not that I experienced extremes)

Finally, I have a reasonable wardrobe which I’ve not been able to wear for the last several years.  I’m looking forward to having a “what’s old is new again” moment as I am once again able to pull some of those items from the closet, and hang them on me instead.

So, the experiment continues. As of this morning I’m on the cusp of transitioning from “Obese” to “Overweight” in the BMI table.  More in the future as I have more experience, and as I delve further into the physiology of this all.

Stay Well.

Bob

Other interesting resources:

Low Carb Dietitian:
Lipid Changes on a Very-Low-Carb Ketogenic Diet: My Own Experience

My Thoughts on Low-Carbohydrate Ketogenic Diets

My Thoughts on Low-Carbohydrate Ketogenic Diets, Part 2

Heart Disease Risk – What? Me Worry???

NurseBob

Bob

I’ve been talking about heart attacks, what the symptoms are, how the symptoms may differ between men and women, what they actually are, what causes them, and what may happen as a result.  Now it’s time to talk about risk factors for developing heart disease. Continue reading