Over Four Years Sober

Four years of sobriety

In July of this year I achieved four years of sobriety.

Honestly, once I got past the first year it wasn’t that difficult. I had one instance where a server gave me an alcoholic drink in 2019. I took a few sips and it just didn’t taste right. It was nasty. Once I realized the mistake there was no temptation for the alcohol at all.

I didn’t freak out on the staff or wonder if I needed to start all over with the sober clock. It was an honest mistake. It didn’t lead me to drinking so I wasn’t going to punish myself emotionally.

The occasion slipped quietly by, but when I realized it, I really did enjoy a quiet smile to myself. It felt good inside.

MyFitnessPal app vs Weight Watchers app

Remember this is a highly subjective personal account related to my experiences and what works for me. I am not paid or compensated by either company or their sponsors.
I’ve tried both apps for at least eighteen months a piece over the past five years. Sometimes I even used both of them as a means of comparison.
I prefer MyFitnessPal hands down. 
Why you ask? MFP is based on the real numbers you can read in any label with no quibbling and no special formulas or calculators. It has a stronger more complete barcode reader built in that is constantly being updated. It has a full community of support with forums and the ability to find others via their social media that may have experiences you can relate too or challenges. It has the ability to be directly linked to lots of other tech, like Fitbit’s and pedometer apps for smart phones. And let’s not forget it’s free.

The Weight Watchers app at the time I experienced, gave everyone a complete pass on fruits and vegetables. Had no link to other tech (for the time I used it). Required a subscription fee. Required me to use their tools to figure out if I was eating properly. Yes, they do have an immense social support community. And I think they have a lot of valuable support, but…. it’s not free and it’s not enough to make me rule differently.


Eating Whatever You Want??

I was out one evening socializing when someone began asking me about my running. I gave them an overview of my running life since high school. Then they asked me something I found very odd. They asked,”Is it true that you can eat anything you want after going running and not gain weight?”

At first I was a little stunned by this. As I got over the odd shock of the question, it occurred to me how little people understand about themselves. And how much people seem to be ingrained with the idea of immediate gratification.

My ultimate answer was “Kinda, sorta, but not really”. Ultimately I replied anecdotally. At one point when younger and pounding out 20 to 30 miles a week, I could consume anything in almost any volume. My favorite was two or three full pizzas during any given week. However, that was at a specific point in time. I’m older with a much more complex and stressful life pumping out half the mileage a week, eating a whole pizza (and yes, it is very tempting) would load me up like lead.

Now, if you’re in the weight loss mode, I would recommend enjoying what you can within the calorie volume you can handle as a treat to yourself. Don’t break your loss routine to engorge yourself.

I know of one person that said they were in a weight loss mode. They fixed all the right things and worked out like a banshee, but when I saw the volume they consumed it was probably 3000 calories for a single meal. They increased their intake before they lost the weight and were too impatient to keep the faith.

There isn’t a silver bullet that provides immediate gratification. Follow simple principles and perseverance.

Weight Control Status

It’s been a few months since I started this weight control journey. It’s been a learning curve in a number of ways.

First and foremost there is no magic bullet. It was really a matter of changing my habits to eat less volume. Eat better choices. Maintain and increase my exercise regimen.

Although unique fad diets can help with results, ultimately do you want to depend on that costly pill, those pre-fab meals, the doctor visits, or the narrow eating habits?

Key principles: 1) Substitute whole grain options for flour products. 2) Read the labels. You’d be amazed how one brands serving of the exact same food may be four times as many calories. 3) Limit your intake and measure it. Saying that your going to only eat 1500 calories in a day without measuring leaves way too much to your mental fudge factor. Even better, write it down. 4) Exercise. Without it, your body will devour the healthy muscle tissue before the fat. I mixed it up between stepping and strength training so I didn’t focus everything in one place.

Yes, I allow myself a splurge once in a while. But when I reach the upper end of my range, I curtail my appetite. But when I’m on the low end, I eat anything although I still avoid excess.

Have I reached “that guy status”? You know like the Bowflex commercial guy? I have to say not quite. It’s a body fat percentage I’m not ready to go for because of the work and time involved.

I’ve lost a couple inches and 15 to 20 pounds. My weight fluctuates from 185 to 189. I weigh myself nearly every day to prevent backsliding. My muffin tops are no longer the ultra grande with a twelve pack bearing down which helps me to look younger than I actually am.

I do receive a lot of compliments and a few “don’t lose any more, you look great”s. I’m even catching women doing the “full body scan”, which i haven’t experienced in a long time. I haven’t been out to the beach since the cool weather is rolling in, but am looking forward to it.

Day 16 – Weight Control – Finding a new intake level

189.2 lbs and 26% BF.

Looking back, with the workouts running 500 calories or more a day and consumption to date at around 1000 calories a day I was losing an average of a pound or two a day.

Today was a difficult day and for the first time I can honestly say I felt the hunger. Rather than allow myself small 100 or so extra calories over the base 1000, I decided to really feast and allow myself a 1500 calorie day. Pyramid.gov indicates an active person like me can lose weight while eating 2600 calories a day, but has to make sure it’s less than 460 calories of junk, sugar or alcohol.

I’m not ready to make that much of an increase in calorie intake.

I’ve been staying up late too much and lacked the energy to work out today. I’ve also decided to slow down my blogging on this subject. I’ll do summaries every so often from now on.

And I have difficulties ahead. I’ll be sailing on Fashas Dream for three days. I won’t have my laptop to accurately mark things down. I won’t have access to MyPyramid.gov for guidance. I’ll have to write things down and figure out the calories later.

Day 15 Weight Control – I’m Already There!!!!

189 lbs
26% BF

Okay, the whole reason I set out on this journey was to stay within standards. Today a new message came out restating the same thing.

Only after I reviewed more closely did I realize I had been mis-reading the information. What did it mean? For some reason I mis-read 70” thinking it meant 6 feet. Only after this second message did I look at it in detail to realize my mistake.

There was a 10 pound difference between 5’10” and 6”. I was at the top end of my allowable weight with 201 lbs, which is where I started. Well, that means that although my heart was in the right place and my principles and dieting were correct (ensuring I met the allowable range and beat it by 5 pounds) I’ve actually EXCEEDED my goal by 6 pounds. WAHOO!

What’s next? Find the plateau. Find the calorie intake that I can tolerate and maintain a steady weight around my current 189/190 range or slightly lower. Continue the work outs to increase body tone. There is always the idea of making it to “that guy” status. Yah, okay, it’s a dream alright!

Day 8 – Weight Control – Progress

192.8 lbs & 26% body fat.

Wow. So the mid-day weigh in yesterday actually was an indicator of my next weigh in. I’m only two pounds away from the top end of my goal and only seven pounds away from my buffer goal.

In recognition of this, I’m changing my calorie intake to 1100 to slow down the rate of weight loss. Once I start hitting the 180’s weight range I’ll increase it more to determine my plateau calorie intake.

I am still having the tinnitus even without the caffeine this morning. Hmmm… it is a little annoying. I’ll have to work on what the cause might be or how to make it go away.

Mid-day weight was 192. That’s .8 lbs lighter than wake up weigh in.

Okay, considering the primary goal is near completion, I need to consider the next goal. I do want to go lower for a couple reasons. I need to insure enough room for weight flux and differing scales since they all vary. And secondly, maybe I can be “that guy”.

You know, six pack, low body fat, like the “Bow Flex” commercial.

Finished the day with 1155 calories.

Day 7 Weight Control

194.6 & 27% body fat when I first got up.

Better than expected after a filling meal the previous night.

30 minutes Stepping for appx (forgot to get actual) 500 cal burned.

Post work out weigh in: 192.8. Wow, is 191 achievable that quick? Like the diving of the Dow recently, so is my average daily interval weight declines, I’m hopeful since it’s all pointing down.

A 1.8 pound swing between wake up and 3pm following a work out. This is obviously an indication that my daily fluctuation weight is going down.

** Time for a reality check for those reading this. This is obviously a dehydrated and hungry weigh in and is not a solid achievement. But it is a sign of positive progress and there is a possibility of making 191 pounds in the next few weeks. My hope is to hit 191 (another 5 pounds) by 26 October, which gives me another 19 days to reach the goal for an early a.m. weigh in.

How do I feel? Let’s see, I’m not ravenous. When I do get hungry, I do eat, but I’m very selective so I get fewer calories for feeling sustained. I am experiencing some tinnitus, maybe from the full strength black coffee (no cream) this morning which is normal for me. I’ve definitely lost some belly bulk since my pants are noticeably looser. I should get a tape measure to check my waist. Shame that just a month ago, I threw out a bunch of skinny pants I’d been hanging onto. I do feel thirsty, but that’s to be expected with the doubled up work outs.
What’s going well: The “MyPyramid” planner has been awesome. It’s helped me to choose the right things in my calorie counts and balance the different food types between grains, veggies, meats, and fruits. The doubled up work outs so far have been good in more ways than one. I’m continuing to be conservative meaning injury free and enjoying the side benefits of feeling more energetic and feeling mentally focused.

What might I change: I’m going to add some frozen dinners of the diet variety into the mix. With picking the appropriate diet ones and reading the labels clearly I should find a variety at around 300 calories. I’ll probably make a habit of cooking some foods like chicken and rice or other things at the beginning of the week to make quick food preps during meals faster. I’ll continue to do homework with the planner so that I can budget some more food favorites into the mix. I’m also planning to work in some other types of work outs.

Today’s summary: 30 minutes stepping & Workout for about 600 calories burned. 939 total calories.

Day 5 – Back on the Path

195.8 pounds and 27% body fat. My weight is slightly higher by four tenths of a pound. Hmmmm. Obviously that’s an immediate by-product of not working out yesterday and over indulging by 400 calories with the large portion of junk.

My initial success at weight loss for three days isn’t enough to allow for back sliding on the diet discipline. The corn bread yesterday was not a good choice.

I’m realizing that the purpose for the planner is to PLAN. In my house of two teens and me, we like to use Sunday evening to enjoy a good meal. Before this diet of mine it was anything goes. 1lb steaks, lasagna, casseroles, real beef burgers, you name it. Now, I’m gonna have to get creative to keep things interesting.

Baked marinated chicken will do it. I found an excellent A-1 brand teriyaki marinade. That on a chicken breast, brown rice, and corn and the world was a happy place.