Changing your habits

IMG_5810

The first photo was taken in my house in Feb. 2017.  The second one was taken in the same spot 13 months and minus 35 pounds later.

Since I started this blog, I’ve had a few people get in touch with me about my recent 35-pound weight loss journey and ask me what was my secret for success.  My answer is that you have to have a commitment to long term success.

If you believe that all you have to do is buy in for six weeks just to lose ten pounds, it’s not going to work for you.  You’ll gain it back in no time flat.  I needed structure, support, and a willingness to change my habits.  Everyone is different, so I can’t tell you how to do that, but for me, Weight Watchers provided that structure and support.  After getting used to the Weight Watchers method, then my habits changed.  Plus going public with my story motivated me as well.

So, the thing is, this process works for anything–not just weight loss.  If you want to change your life, you’ve got to imagine what life will be like in a year, keep your eyes on the prize, and slowly work your way to that end game.

Let me illustrate that process, with my weight loss as the example, with all of my weekly Facebook posts that show you all the ups and downs my journey took me on to see that this is not easy, but worth it in the end.

Feb. 19, 2017

Studies have shown that if one chooses to make a lifestyle change, it helps to make it public in order to help that person with accountability.

During my physical last week, my doctor showed me how I’ve gained 60 pounds since I started seeing him almost 20 years ago. Much of that has occurred in the last five years. I knew I wasn’t as healthy as I once was, but seeing the numbers was a bit of ashock. I knew I needed to do something, but I sat on that information for a week in order to not make any impulsive decisions.

This morning, I went to a Weight Watchers meeting. I weighed in at 214.6 pounds–the heaviest I’ve ever been. Five years ago, I did WW to help with my sleep apnea and got down to 175, so I know I can do it.

My doctor wants to see me again in 6 months (mid-August) for a status report. So, it would be great to be able to show him that I got back down to near 175 again. That would be a 40-ish pound drop in 6 months–about 2 pounds per week. That seems doable.

So, I’m making this public. In addition to the Murphy updates, jokes, and one liners I put on Facebook, you’ll see an occasional Weight Watchers update also.

Many people tell me that I look fine or that I don’t need to lose weight. But it’s so much more about putting myself through the mental challenge of self-discipline than anything else–setting a goal and making it happen. In addition to my physical health, I believe that this change in mindset will help challenge me in other areas of my life where I feel like I’ve stagnated.

There will be good days and bad days that I will post. And if my public struggle motivates you to take on a challenge (even if it’s not weight-related) that’s been gnawing at you for awhile, let me know. That’s also part of the reason I’m doing this.

So, to my doctor, game on! See you in August.

Feb. 26, 2017

WEIGHT WATCHERS UPDATE
CURRENT WEIGHT: 210.2 pounds
THIS WEEK’S LOSS: 4.4 pounds
TOTAL LOSS: 4.4 pounds (after 1 week)

LESSONS LEARNED THIS WEEK:
1. Trust the process. It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Easier said than done. The focus can’t be on the pounds, it’s on the daily tasks of analyzing what I actually eat and thinking about the success or consequence of those choices. String enough good choices together and that leads to weight loss. Then, it gets to be a habit, and you don’t have to do as much thinking. String enough weeks of weight loss together and that leads to long term lifestyle change, which ultimately is the final goal.
2. We’re human beings, and that’s ok. I stayed within my points all week except for going out to eat on Friday night. I ended up gaining a pound back because of it. Rather than be disappointed by that, I realized that part of the aforementioned process is that I can’t deny myself to have some fun once in awhile and to embrace that. If I completely cut myself off from enjoying myself every so often, then I wouldn’t have as much fun and hate the process. Studies have shown that rigid adherence with no wiggle room inevitably leads to quitting the process. So, it’s ok to be a human being and to stay within the framework of knowing where this will end up in the long term.

March 5, 2017

WEIGHT WATCHERS UPDATE
CURRENT WEIGHT: 205.3 pounds
THIS WEEK’S LOSS: 4.9 pounds
TOTAL LOSS: 9.3 pounds (after 2 weeks)

THOUGHTS THIS WEEK:
1. Yeah, I know…this amount of weight loss in only two weeks is not healthy or sustainable. However, the last time did WW, this same thing happened. Each portion of food is assigned a certain amount of points, and you have to stay within a point limit forthe day and week. Going from an ungodly amount of points per day (before WW) down to the proper and reasonable amount of points shed a ton of weight right off the bat. What I learned from previous experience is that the first 10 pounds isn’t hard, it’s the next 10 that will get more difficult.
2. Many people have asked me what I’m doing for cardio, and the answer is NOTHING so far! I figured that I needed to get a handle on my eating first, before I start working out. The working out will help me as I transition into the next 10 pounds of weight loss.
3. Thank you for the encouragement! It helps a lot!
4. There have been two other guys that have reached out to me and are also now doing Weight Watchers! One of them is actually in town, so we may try to go to a meeting together. So, again, if there’s anything I can do to help you with a challenge (doesn’t have to be weight loss) that you’re trying to overcome, let me know!

March 12, 2017

WEIGHT WATCHERS UPDATE
CURRENT WEIGHT: 201.8 pounds
THIS WEEK’S LOSS: 3.5 pounds
TOTAL LOSS: 12.8 pounds (after 3 weeks)

THOUGHTS THIS WEEK:
1. The topic of this week’s meeting was surrounding yourself with supportive people as you go through your weight loss journey. Putting your personal business out here on Facebook makes you pretty vulnerable, so I’m thankful that all of you in cyberspace have been very supportive and it motivates me to keep going.
2. The weight loss has been unhealthy and too easy so far, as I’ve previously mentioned, so it should level off pretty shortly. That’s when it will get tough mentally. So, any loss (even if it’s less than a pound) will be considered a step forward in the grand scheme of things. I will need to remind myself of that in the future.
3. It’s Selection Sunday! No matter what happens with my weight this week, the NCAA Tournament will make me happy!!

March 19, 2017

WEIGHT WATCHERS UPDATE
CURRENT WEIGHT: 200.0 pounds
THIS WEEK’S LOSS: 1.8 pounds
TOTAL LOSS: 14.6 pounds (after 4 weeks)

THOUGHTS THIS WEEK:
1. I’m shocked that I lost any weight at all this week! I went out to eat a couple of nights, and I’m in Washington, DC right now. The odds are supposed to be against me in that situation. So, I guess that must mean I’m seeing a shift in habits and lifestyle, I hope. Either that or the 29,000 steps I took yesterday walking around town helped a lot! We’ll see if the trend continues next week.
2. I purposefully went out of my way to find a Weight Watchers store here in DC to get an official weigh in this week. I need to continue to hold myself accountable, even when I’m out of town. Plus, I met some more like-minded people with whom to share ideas!
3. A couple more people have contacted me saying that they are going to get on the WW train, and somebody else got in touch with me to talk about overcoming a struggle that’s not related to weight. If you need motivation to hurdle an obstacle of any kind, let me know!

March 27, 2017

WEIGHT WATCHERS UPDATE
CURRENT WEIGHT: 201.9 pounds
THIS WEEK’S GAIN: 1.9 pounds
TOTAL LOSS: 12.7 pounds (after 5 weeks)
THOUGHTS THIS WEEK:
1. My first setback…gained a couple pounds from traveling to Washington, DC. I can’t dwell on it, though. This is a marathon, not a sprint. I have to allow myself to have some fun sometimes, or else I will let the intensity and laser-like focus of staying on track consume me. I need to be ok with having a week like this every so often as long as it’s an isolated incident.
2. Gaining a couple of pounds paled in comparison to the knowledge I gained being in our nation’s capital for a few days. I feel like I’m a better overall person because of the trip–isn’t that truly what life is all about? Continual improvement!

April 2, 2017

WEIGHT WATCHERS UPDATE
CURRENT WEIGHT: 197.8 pounds
THIS WEEK’S LOSS: 4.1 pounds
TOTAL LOSS: 16.8 pounds (after 6 weeks)

Screen Shot 2018-06-11 at 9.23.53 AM
THOUGHTS THIS WEEK:
1. It’s a milestone week, as I’m under 200 pounds for the first time in a few years! The attached photo is a collage acting as a visual to my weight loss journey. The top one is from 2/19/17, the day I started WW at 214.6 pounds. The bottom left is from 3/12/17 at 201.8 pounds. The third one is today at 197.8. Maybe I’m being too hard on myself, but I’m not sure if I can tell much of a difference yet–other than I’m mustering more of a smile and my hair is apparently getting perkier. 😃 I can tell a difference in my clothes, though, along with feeling a little less strain on my back and that’s pretty cool.
2. This week, I made up for my 2 pound weight gain last week and then some! I am surprised that I lost as much as I did this week because I did go out to eat a couple of times. But, as I’ve said before, this is a long term proposition. I’m not going to deny myself opportunities for some fun nights out as long as I don’t do that a majority of the time.
3. I’ve been going to the WW meetings, and it’s comforting to hear stories from other members going through the same ups and downs as I have. It’s easy to forget in today’s ultra-hyper paced, independent world, that community is still a necessity to living a well-rounded life.
4. Again, let me know if you’re struggling with something (even it’s not weight-related) and maybe I can help out! I’ve had a few people take me up on that offer, and it’s been great…remember, it’s all about community. We need each other to survive this crazy world!

April 10, 2017

WEIGHT WATCHERS UPDATE
CURRENT WEIGHT: 197.8 pounds
THIS WEEK’S LOSS: 0.0 pounds
TOTAL LOSS: 16.8 pounds (after 7 weeks)
THOUGHTS THIS WEEK:
1. I didn’t lose any weight this week. But, I didn’t gain any either!
2. I knew that the first 15 pounds would be easier to lose that the next 15 pounds, so it remains to be seen if I have stagnated. If so, then Phase II (working out) will have to come into play to work on the remaining weight.
3. I saw a number of people this weekend officiating at a volleyball tournament who gave me compliments and motivating statements saying that they have noticed a difference. Very encouraging!
4. Again, let me know if I can help you through any struggles you may be having!

April 16, 2017

WEIGHT WATCHERS UPDATE
CURRENT WEIGHT: 194.2 pounds
THIS WEEK’S LOSS: 3.6 pounds
TOTAL LOSS: 20.4 pounds (after 8 weeks)

THOUGHTS THIS WEEK:
1. Happy Easter to all of you and your families!
2. I made it to 20 pounds! That’s kind of a big milestone. Things are just becoming a habit now. Clothes fit better. I just feel better. It’s pretty exciting, frankly.
3. I appreciate all the support and encouragement I continue to get from all of you. That was the whole point with making this public–accountability. So, thank you.
4. Again, let me know if I can help you through any struggles you may be having!

April 22, 2017

WEIGHT WATCHERS UPDATE
CURRENT WEIGHT: 193.6 pounds
THIS WEEK’S LOSS: 0.6 pounds
TOTAL LOSS: 21.0 pounds (after 9 weeks)

THOUGHTS THIS WEEK:
1. I usually weigh in on Sundays, but I had to go to a Saturday meeting this week instead because I won’t be able to be there tomorrow.
2. It was a struggle this week because I was under the weather for most of it. I was up as much as three pounds mid-week from eating comfort food and just feeling lethargic. To actually have lost weight overall for the week seems like a minor miracle.
3. From this week’s experience, I learned that staying the course is very important. Don’t let setbacks distract you from the bigger picture. I like where I’m at, so I am now addicted to keeping that mentality going so that I can keep improving upon what I’ve already accomplished.
4. Again, let me know if I can help you through any struggles you may be having!

April 30, 2017

WEIGHT WATCHERS UPDATE
CURRENT WEIGHT: 193.4 pounds
THIS WEEK’S LOSS: 0.2 pounds
TOTAL LOSS: 21.2 pounds (after 10 weeks)

THOUGHTS THIS WEEK:
1. It was only a 0.2 pound weight loss this week, but it got me to a significant milestone in the Weight Watchers world. They reward you for every 5 pounds lost or for a percentage lost of your original weight when you started. Well, I have now lost 10% of my original weight. That seems pretty weird that there is 10% of me not here anymore that was here in February. Hopefully, along with that 10% physically gone are the mental parts of me that house self-doubt or anything else that would be a negative influence in my life!
2. Again, let me know if I can help you through any struggles you may be having!

May 14, 2017

WEIGHT WATCHERS UPDATE
CURRENT WEIGHT: 193.0 pounds
THIS WEEK’S LOSS: 0.4 pounds (over the last 2 weeks)
TOTAL LOSS: 21.6 pounds (after 12 weeks)
THOUGHTS THIS WEEK:
1. I was out of town last weekend, so I didn’t get an official weigh-in–but unofficially, I probably gained over 3 pounds just from eating out each night out of town and also a couple of nights when I got back in town. However, I’ve always said that I wouldn’t let this weight loss journey prevent me from having some fun every so often. I’m amazed that I was able to lose 0.4 pounds overall in the last two weeks, so I must have rallied after I got back in town!
2. Again, let me know if I can help you through any struggles you may be having!

May 21, 2017

I’ve been doing these Weight Watchers updates for three months now, and I’ve gotten great support from many of you. I appreciate it more than you’ll ever know. I needed the accountability to get the ball rolling on a more healthy lifestyle.

Now that I believe I’ve established some good eating habits and somewhat have plateaued on my weight loss, I’m ready for the harder part: Phase II where I add a regular cardiovascular workout to take my weight loss and fitness to the next level.

So, I’m not going to abandon these updates, but they will probably be more sporadic as various milestones that I have set for myself get reached.

So, as usual, if there’s anything I can do for you, please let me know! Thank all of you again!!!

August 6, 2017

Well, my 6-month doctor checkup (referred to in the attached Facebook post) happened last week, and my doctor was impressed. On his scale, my weight loss totaled 25 pounds. Watching my eating and portion sizes were a huge piece where Weight Watchers helped me greatly.

There have been ups and downs, good days and bad days, but I’m not done yet. With my body type, my doctor thinks another 10-15 pounds lost would be my ideal weight–about 180. Thanks to Jeff Green and Sarah Susan Green, I now have an ellipsis machine in my garage to work on my cardio and hopefully drop some more weight.

No matter what, this last six months has been a life changer. I just feel better, look better, am more mentally disciplined, and believe that I can accomplish even greater things in other areas of my life. It’s been quite a journey. Thanks to all of you who held my feet to the fire, and for those of you who are on the journey with me. You all continue to inspire me!

April 4, 2018

And then, I established a good workout to my routine.

Today

So, here I am, over a year later, 35 pounds lighter, I still workout daily first thing in the morning, and track my points.  I have now reached Lifetime status with Weight Watchers, which means that since I achieved my overall healthy weight loss goal (as defined by my doctor), I get WW for free as long as I stay within two pounds of my goal weight and weigh in at least once a month.

So, it’s been quite a journey.  Remember, the key to any change in your life is to commit for the long term.  Give yourself a year.  Celebrate the successes.  Roll with the punches when things don’t go your way.  Just don’t take your eyes off the end game.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s