Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Guest Post - Chip
Today I'd like to welcome Chip as our guest blogger this week. Chip's going to share his diet experience and tomorrow share some techniques and an Excel program that he created.
Would you care to share your first name and age?
My name is Chip, and I am 58 years old.
How long have you been overweight?
I was a thin kid, and I maintained a healthy weight until I was in my forties without doing anything special. After that, I have had several episodes of being overweight, losing weight, and regaining the weight.
What was your highest weight and what is your goal weight?
My highest weight was 192, which was considerably overweight for my 5’ 7” height. At 145 to 147 lbs, I am probably fairly close to my goal weight, but I would like to reduce my body fat percentage, which is now about 16%, to between 12% and 13%, and that is proving to be more difficult. That is why I was looking for a more carefully planned approach to nutrition and fitness, and that is how I discovered this blog site and why I am finding it to be so helpful.
Before beginning your new diet program, what do you feel contributed to you being overweight?
I worked for over 32 years in a large city for a Federal regulatory agency, first as an investigator and then as a supervisor and a manager. I was passionate about my job, but I worked mostly sitting at a desk in my office, and the work was so fast-paced that I felt that I had very little time to eat healthy foods or to get exercise during the day. I would get my breakfast, two donuts or a coffee cake and coffee, from the gas station or convenience store on my way to the commuter train, and I would eat on the train as I worked at my laptop. For lunch, I would usually just go outside of the office building to a hot dog vendor to buy two hot dogs on white-bread buns, a package of cookies, and a bottle of soda, and then eat at my desk while I continued working in order to meet a deadline. I drank coffee all day, to the point where I needed it constantly to avoid headaches. My meals at night and on weekends were healthier, because I ate what my wife and son ate. But I didn’t make time for exercise, and I never passed up the sweets and salty snacks.
How active were you?
I didn’t play a lot of organized sports as a kid, but I learned how to swim, and I was a lifeguard when I was in high school and a swimming instructor from the time I was in college until my late twenties. I swam before or after lifeguarding or giving swimming lessons. Since then, I have walked, swam laps, and run, but not regularly enough to really benefit me.
Currently, I am just doing mat exercises, some of them with a 15-pound dumbbell to add resistance. I have known that resting muscle tissue burns more calories than resting fat tissue, so I have tried to increase my muscle mass in order to speed up my weight loss. I have focused on my core abdominal muscles, because I can do ab exercises at home, at whatever time of day I can fit it in. But, having recently found your blog, I am learning about the benefits of weight training, and I am planning on beginning a more well-rounded fitness routine that includes weights and light cardiovascular exercise.
Do you count calories, fats, carbs? Describe a typical day’s menu now.
No, I don’t count calories, fats, or carbs. But after reading your blog, I realize that I need to do all of those things to reach my fitness goals. That is one of the reasons why I find your blog to be so helpful. You cover topics that relate to me and, in one place, you provide information and resources that have made me want to do this the right way.
Right now, I eat a bowl of whole grain cereal with about 15 blueberries or a whole wheat thin-bagel with peanut butter or almond butter in the morning. For lunch, I eat a piece of chicken breast, turkey breast, or fish on a salad, and I eat a piece of chicken breast, turkey breast or fish with green vegetables for dinner. At night, I may have some fruit or a fruit smoothie.
Why do you feel your prior diets failed and what are you doing differently so far this time?
I have lost weight in the past, only to regain it. That was because my past diets were fairly extreme, and I couldn’t maintain them as a lifestyle. Once I reached my weight goal, I allowed myself to return to the habits that had gotten me overweight in the first place.
What is the most difficult thing for you to give up or stay away from?
Soda, for sure. Regular soda has too many calories, so I have been drinking diet soda, sometimes with an ounce or two of fruit juice or some blueberries or raspberries. I know that water would be a lot healthier for me, but I just don’t like drinking it. Maybe you or one of your readers can suggest a way for me to enjoy water.
What is your main motivation this time?
It’s funny that I read a recent guest blogger on your site say that at his age, 31, it would the last time he would be able to make healthy changes to his nutrition and fitness. I know that it would have been better for me if I had made those healthy changes at age 31 like he did, instead of at age 58. But I still want to do all I can to live as long as possible, and to continue to be in good health for my family. That is what motivates me.
Have you told anyone close to you about your diet goals or have you kept them to yourself?
Other than my wife, I have kept my goals to myself. But most people who know me realize that I am being careful about what and how much I eat. For example, when I go out to eat, people see me ordering salad dressing on the side, and occasionally dipping the end of my fork into the dressing before I put the fork in the salad, instead of pouring it all over my salad before I eat it.
It sounds like Chip has a pretty good handle on what he's doing. He made some valid points when he mentioned that resting muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue. That's a great tip to remember.
As far as ideas for drinking water - my mom drinks her water with lemon slices in it quite often. When she wants to change it up, she slices up a fresh mango, freezes the pieces and then tosses a few frozen slices of mango and a few thin slices of fresh ginger in her water. Some people like to add fresh mint as well. Give it a try.
Come back tomorrow for part 2 of Chips post and find out about his Excel worksheet.