Friday, August 10, 2007

Off Topic: My Goal: 155 or Bust!

OK, here's the personal announcement that I alluded to two weeks ago:

For those of you who have met me in real life, you know that I am not a skinny person. On the contrary, I'm rather overweight.

Furthermore, for those of you who know me, I wasn't always this way. About three years ago, I weighed in at 247 pounds. At that point, I didn't like the way I looked, I was always feeling run down and, in general, wasn't as happy as I felt I could be.

So, I trudged myself down to the local Weight Watchers center and bought their plan lock, stock and barrel. I stuck to it faithfully for eleven months, and in June of 2005, I was down to 152 pounds -- a total loss of 95 pounds. People told me that I was half the man I used to be, although, in reality, I was about 62% of the person I was.

What I liked about the WW program was that it didn't restrict the foods you could eat (like the Atkins diet). Instead, it focused on teaching you to eat properly. You learn how to make intelligent food decisions -- how to properly plan portion sizes, how to allocate your food budget over the course of the day, and how to make trade-offs for the foods that you want to eat. I liked the fact that if I wanted to have ice cream, I could... I just had to allocate enough points* for it.

Independently of WW, I also began to realize that there were certain behaviors that were causing me to gain weight. I found that whenever I sat down to watch TV, I had to have food. Even if I wasn't hungry, I'd find myself in the kitchen rummaging around for something to eat while watching that Simpsons episode. If I was reading, I would often need to be stuffing my face at the same time as well... and I read a lot. If there was food on my plate, I would be terribly disturbed by the thought of wasting it, so I ate it... even if I wasn't hungry. By recognizing these behaviors, I was able to learn to change them, so that I wouldn't have to have the bag of chips just to watch television. I learned that it's OK if I don't eat every last bit of food on my plate.

Sadly, over the course of the last two years, it seems that I've unlearned these things. I once again find myself going to the pantry just to watch TV. I find myself feeling that I have to finish everything on my plate. I find myself eating even when I'm not hungry. And, I have stopped keeping track of what I am eating. Sadly, as a result, I've put back almost all of the weight that I worked so hard to lose. I don't think I'm back up to 247 yet, but I'm pretty sure that I'm in the 240 range.

Of course, there are other options. Skipper had the stomach band surgery a while back. A brother-in-law of mine had it done as well. My aunt and stepmother had the bypass surgery. But I'm not going to go either of these routes for several reasons:

1. For starters, I'm pretty confident that I can lose the weight again through diet and exercise.
2. I see the adjustments that Skipper and others have to make in their lives for this surgery. The changes to their eating habits are far more extreme than any changes that I made when I lost the weight three years ago.
3. I am one of those odd people who (thank God) has never broken a bone, never had an operation and never needed stitches. I'd like to keep it that way.

So, I'm off. After Shabbos, I'm going to step on the scale and I'll know my starting point. I'll probably put a ticker on the top of this blog so that people can see, at a glance where I'm holding. In addition, I set up another blog (no reason to bore everyone here about my weight loss unless they want to read about it) where I'll provide notes on my progress, on things that I learn (or re-learn) and hopefully give advice to others who ask.

Here's looking forward to the journey: 155 or bust!

The Wolf

* Under the Weight Watchers system, each food is assigned a point value based on the calories, fat and dietary fiber in the food. Each person is allocated a certain number of points that they can eat during the day.


Anonymous said...

I'm not suggesting you get the surgery, but while you may be sure that you can get down to 155, you need to be sure that you stay there. It is TREMENDOUSLY unhealthy to fluctuate in weight like that back and forth. You'd probably be better off staying at 240 then you would be going form 240 to 150 to 240 to get the point. Getting to 155 shouldn't be the goal - staying at 155 should be.

BrooklynWolf said...

Of course. I didn't plan on going back to this weight... I just didn't keep up with the program. I certainly plan to stay at my reduced weight.

The Wolf

Anonymous said...

A few quick things.

1) Consumer Reports recently did a review of diets and WW came out on top.

2) You might also look into Tops. My wife has had much better luck with them in the way they motivate, plus it is very inexpensive (she has actually MADE money as small monetary rewards for weight loss can more than make up for the nominal fees.)

3) More important than losing weight is regular exercise. You CAN be both overweight and fit!

Lion of Zion said...

i think your attitude to the surgery is correct. when we studied weight loss in school this past year the teacher stressed that this was a last resort for when all else failed. you've already demonstrated that you can lose weight without the surgery.

i've never been really overweight, but i have made an effort to eat healthy over the past few years. it was much easier than i thought. i find exercise, the other half of the deal, MUCH harder. in addition to fortitude and motivation, it requires something i don't have: time. (and it is so boring.)

good luck.

Ezzie said...

Wow, good luck. I don't know how tall you are (you were sitting at the Slifkin thing where I think I saw you once), but 155-240 *is* a big spread. Maybe the ideal weight isn't quite that low, and would therefore be easier to maintain?

Anyway, please keep us posted; I'm also holding at 240 or so now when I should be around 190-195, and while I'm sure eating habits play a role, I think it's a lack of exercise that's the bigger one. Either way, I'm curious to hear how you do it. :)

BrooklynWolf said...

i find exercise, the other half of the deal, MUCH harder.

Indeed. A pound of fat is the equivelant of 3500 calories. It is far easier to simply not ingest them to begin with than to burn them off through exercise.

(That's not to say that exercise isn't necessary, of course. Nonetheless, simply not eating as much to begin with is far less... painful than the exercise necessary to get rid of it.)

The Wolf

BrooklynWolf said...

Anyway, please keep us posted

I will. I'll post occasional updates (as well as a ticker) on this blog, but I'll post far more about it on the other blog (since it's not really a Jewish issue).

The Wolf

BrooklynWolf said...

Oh, and I'm 5'8".

The Wolf

DAG said...

Im down 29 LBS this summer :-)

Anonymous said...

"It is TREMENDOUSLY unhealthy to fluctuate in weight like that back and forth. You'd probably be better off staying at 240 then you would be going form 240 to 150 to 240 to 150"

Common misconception. Weight fluctuations are not as harmful as staying at an unhealthy weight.

Miriam said...

Go Wolf Go!!! You can do it!!!!

Miriam said...

by the way, do you have a plan on how to stay at the weight you want once you get there?

Anonymous said...

Wolf, I am rooting for you! You can do it!

Big-S Skeptic said...

Rock it, man! (I'm at 220 myself, so let me know how it goes...)

Hila said...


i borrowed your idea and added my own ticker on my blog. i too have done WW and had success, though not to the great degree that you did. my mom has been doing WW for a year or so now and has lost 55 lbs, whereas i only did it for a few months, lost 15 lbs, then proceeded to re-gain that and then some. when i graduated from high school in 2003 i weighed 99 lbs, which, in retrospect, was far too little for me (i'm 5'5). that being said, the 192 i got up to by this past may was waaaaay too heavy. i've looked at several charts for BMI, body frame/type, and have concluded that i'd be within the "healthy range" at about 135 but i think 125 would be perfect.

ok, enough of my rambling. anyway, good luck, wolf!

oh, are you planning on setting any kind of reward or deadline for yourself? my parents have promised me a cruise with two of my best friends to greece if i meet my weight goal by next june, plus one of those friends just got engaged and as it will be a goyish wedding, i'll be a bridesmaid and that's definitely motivation to look my best!

lots of luck,


Ookamikun said...

Join Tora Dojo Karate. Losing weight is one thing, turning it into muscle, quiet another. We're now on Ocean Ave and L. Gonna be on Coney Island and I for next 3 months. 7:30PM-9PM