Sunday, March 28, 2010

Before and after photos showing my (small) progress in weight loss.

It is not a big difference, but you can tell the difference. The first picture was taken in August of 2009. The other this past Saturday. If I can get a photo from 4 years ago where I was my heaviest, there will be a big difference. I will do that whenever I find that picture..

Week 6 of my weight loss challenge- A new challenge also an Android app review.

I apologize again for posting this a few days late. This Friday I had my monthly reunion with the vocation director in the community. He had a challenge for me. A challenge that involves my religious vocation and my health: When I reach 210 lbs., he will promote me as a pre-novice in the order. At first I was shocked, but later I was actually happy with the challenge. It gives me extra motivation to reach my goal. A mental image I can chase while I exercise and while I'm trying to avoid unhealthy food.

On a different note: I often heard Fr. Roderick and many others recommend the Loseit! app for the iphone/ipod touch. But I don't have an iphone! I used to have an ipod touch but I ended up selling it after the many frustrations I endured with itunes But before selling it I had already tried the Loseit! app. Right now I have an Android phone and I'm very happy with it. Looking for an Android alternative I found a pretty good app called Weight loss trainer. In this app you don't have to count your calories, but it measures up your caloric intake automatically by your weight loss (or gain) for every week or day. You do have to "record" your exercise. You can manually add exercise as in Lose it! or you can record one using GPS and a pedometer. If you are walking, for example, the app records your exercise through GPS, giving you the pace, how many miles you have walked, how many minutes you have walked, and how many calories you are burning. I love it! It's so easy to use and really encourages you to exercise. It's perfect for walking, running, riding a bike and hiking. It also has a worldwide high score, where you can compare your progress with others around the world. It shows you for example, that in the last 7 days you have walked 7 miles and also your corresponding ranking (for example I'm in position 1300 with 7.1 miles walked in the last 7 days, the no.1 position has 99.1 miles!). I personally love this feature, as it gives me a competitive push to record more miles. It only accounts for miles recorded using the GPS, and not for exercise entered manually (as in Loseit!), to avoid people putting extraordinarily figures in order to be in a high-ranking position. Here is the website for the app:

Enough of that. This is my weight in for week 6:

Week 5 weigh in: 309 lbs.
Week 6 weigh in: 308 lbs.
Total weight loss: 8 lbs.

I also changed my profile photo with a more recent photo. In it you can already see a bit of change from the old picture. Maybe I will post a blog with the two pictures for comparison. Thanks for your support. See ya next week!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sometimes I fear losing my father...

Sometimes I feel like I'm not going to have my father for long. Whatever the validity behind the poignant feeling, it is one that leaves me powerless; with little to do but at the same time with a sense of obligation to do something about it. Like me, he is morbidly obese. Unlike me he has done little to change this problem. Don't get me wrong, I still struggle with my weight. I still go back to my bad habits from time to time. Sometimes it feels like I move 2 steps forward one day, and the next I move one step backwards. But the truth is that I'm still moving forward. Painfully slow but forward. The truth is that ever since I was diagnosed with Diabetes a couple of years back, I had lost a total of 46 pounds.

By the time I was diagnosed with Diabetes, my Dad was diagnosed with Pre-Diabetes. Back then, he was starting to gain a lot of weight. He was also starting to fall asleep at times when he shouldn't, for example, when driving. A few months later he was diagnosed with sleep apnea, which the doctor said was reversible if he lost the weight. He changed his eating habits for a few months, lost some considerable amount of weight, and was feeling much better. But he stopped. And gained the weight back, and then some. Much more. Unfortunately, being obese for him has a far greater negative effect than what is the case for me. He falls asleep whenever he is not active. He falls asleep almost everyday while driving to work, while being at mass, while watching t.v.. It is almost impossible for him to finish a movie. It is almost impossible for him to not fall asleep unless he is standing, or worse, eating. I've seen him on his days off work sleeping all day and night, waking up just to eat, then try to watch t.v. for a while, and falling asleep after a few minutes of trying.

He promised he would change all of this for this New Year. He told me not to worry. He even crossed his heart. But we are more than 3 months into the year, and still little to no change. He continues to gain weight. He is having trouble breathing. When he is trying to tie his shoes his breathing problems becomes painfully evident, as you can hear his throat blocking the air. Normally, he breaths as if tired, as if out of breath. I feel like he might not last in this state for long. Maybe I'm overreacting, maybe not. He could fall asleep while driving on the freeway, on his way of work. I have seen him do this, sometimes I had to wake him up while he was driving. I told him he shouldn't drive anymore, but he ignores my pleas. He could get a heart attack. He could develop Atherosclerosis, if he hasn't developed it yet. He is probably Diabetic by now. This afternoon, after a hearty BBQ lunch that we had with my family, we decided to watch a movie. He of course, fell asleep before the previews ended. He woke up looking for ice cream, served himself some and then proceeded to check something on the internet. He finished his ice cream, and fell sleep without finishing whatever he was doing on the internet. How much lower does he needs to go before he finally wakes up? How much longer until he finally listen? I thought all these questions, sad. "Enjoy you dad as long as you have it" said my mom, "There is nothing you can do other than pray to God for him to open his eyes". "Yes I know" I responded. I know because I also didn't want to listen when I was weighing 355 pounds. I didn't want to listen until I decided to listen and make the changes that I'm still struggling to master. What should I do? I honestly don't know what to do, other than watching him slowly deteriorate until, God forbids, he dies pre-maturely.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Week 5 of my weight loss challenge.

This was another busy week. But I cannot continue on with this excuse anymore. It is true that I have been busy, but it's also true that it was possible for me to find a time to exercise more. As the old saying goes, when there is a will, there is a way. It's not that I didn't exercise for this week , but I didn't exercise enough.

So here is the results for Week 5:

Week 4 weigh in: 309.
Week 5 weigh in: 309.

My exact weigh in this morning was 308.8 lbs. Rounding up the number it gives me 309. If I lost weight this week, it was probably minimum. Needless to say I am disappointed. If I have to look this from a positive angle, I could say that at least I didn't gain any weight, but that's simply not good enough if you weight 309 lbs. Of course I won't give up and continue my challenge. I had made important changes in my life that I hope will be beneficial in the long run. Thanks for the support and comments, and see ya next week!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Week 4 of my weight loss challenge.

It's been a busy week. I had my time clogged with midterms and papers for my college. Exercising has been a little difficult, but doable. Stress is mounting, but I'm finally seeing a relief starting with this week. I apologize for not posting my weight loss on Thursday. But I did weight myself this past Thursday, and after getting back from a visit to my parents, I think it's about time for me to post this.

Week 3 weigh in: 310.
Week 4 weigh in: 309.
Pounds lost this week: 1.
Total pounds lost: 7.

So yeah, I was mildly disappointed with this result, but at the same time I was glad I lost a pound, since I didn't have much time to exercise as much as I would like to. On a more positive note: this past weekend I visited my old parish church, and I saw many of my friends who I haven't seen for 3 months. They had very positive comments on how I looked. They said I looked more thin, and much more healthy. The parish pastor even joked about it, saying, "they aren't feeding you well in San Francisco". See ya all soon for week 5! Thanks for the support!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Week 3 of my weight loss challenge.

After the fall of week 2, I decided it was time for me to take this seriously, and with the help and support of the community, I was able to step it up this week. And boy did it pay off! Again, I reduced my portions. I walked almost everyday, trying to walk 30 minutes a day or even more. One day I even jogged, which felt surprisingly good. So here is the result of this morning weight in:

Previous weight: 316.
Current weight: 310.
Total pounds lost: 6.

So there it is! I'll see you next week, hopefully a few pounds lighter.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What happened to Week 2 of my weight loss challenge?

First of all, I want to apologize for not posting Week 2 of my weight loss challenge. My commitment to weight loss still remains, but now I know it will require more effort than initially thought of. Let me explain. Week 2 was a rough week. Succumbed a couple of days to my old habits, overeating on those days. If that wasn't enough, I cut down on my exercise. This is the worst formula for losing weight. As a result, I didn't lose weight. I was afraid of weighing myself. And when I did, I got 316, which, unfortunately, was my starting weight on Week 1. My first thought was of hiding away, make the best effort for week 3, and post the results for that week , ignoring week 2 completely. Bury my mistakes away, pretending it never happened, and maybe my mind will somehow overcome by sheer necessity. This is a mistake I had made in the past, where procrastination plays a big role in it. When a change is in need, I always procrastinate, waiting for the "right" opportunity in an uncertain future, effectively ignoring my responsibilities at the most important moment, indeed the only moment we have: the present.

I will give one personal example of this: Before moving into the Augustinian community, there were (and still are) some habits that I knew I needed to change. I thought "Oh, moving into the community will be the perfect opportunity to change this, I will simply step it up, and pretend I never had the habit(s)". One of these bad habits is that I am a very disorganized person. My room is almost always a mess. I knew that keeping my room clean was important when living in community, but I never made any efforts to completely eradicate the bad habit. I thought "Oh, I'll simply start cleaning my room once I move in, and all this bad habit will be forgotten in the past". I convinced myself and fantasized that the simple act of moving in will have an almost magical effect of changing my persona, reborn in a new person, where the old habits were not overcome, but forgotten, and somehow eradicated in the process. But your habits follow you whenever you go. They move with you whenever you are. This old baggage we cannot leave hidden in our old house, hoping that it would never resurface in our new house. The only way of breaking this old baggage is by replacing it with something new, something better. And that's creating a new habit to replace the old. And this takes time and effort. Making the long story short, I cleaned my room for the first two week, but then stopped doing it. I didn't replace the old habit by creating a new one.

Disappointed, I shared my struggle with my brother Frank in the community. He used to be fat, and was showing me pictures as proof that he was. He encouraged me to keep forward in my plans. He told me that he wanted to lose a few pounds as well, just enough to reach his ideal weight. He proposed that we work together in this, and I agreed. He quickly drew up a chart, with my name to the left, his to the right. In it included my weight for that night, (he weighed himself as well), and the dates for the future weeks and space to put our weight for those weeks. We posted the chart in the main bathroom of the house, for all to see. That was last Thursday. Since then, I had greatly improved my eating habits, and exercised a lot more. I expect weight loss for this week, the weight in being tomorrow (Thursday). So yeah, my weight ins are changed from Monday to Thursday. And tomorrow I will post the results for week 3.

In the end I decided not to shy away from my mistakes and share this with all of you. Instead of ignoring week 2 completely and post the results for week 3, I thought that this can only help us to learn from my mistakes. It is better to share our struggles, instead of screaming on the mountains our achievements. If all of you know my struggles, my human brokenness, then we can all better enjoy our achievements, when we finally meet our goals. This goes not only to weight loss, but more importantly, in our lives with Christ. Amen.