I’ve completed the first week of a year-long project involving sharing any and every detail of my attempt to lose weight and improve my overall health.

This week is full of highs and lows as my body adjusts to a sudden increase in activity. As per the advice I’ve received from numerous exercise sites, I’ve been increasing my steps per day gradually and maintaining a 750 calorie buffer between what I burn and what I take in. In some cases, I’ve even exceeded that buffer by an additional 250 calories. Even then, I’ve seen a slight weight gain during the week, which is a surprising and disheartening sign.

So why did I gain weight? I lost two pounds between Sunday and Wednesday only to gain it back by Friday. I ate some unhealthy things (again, another slow transition as per instructions), though my calorie intake has been exactly within the goals of the program.

Week 1 Report
Start – 295.8
Middle – 297.0
End – 294.5
Total Weight Lost – 1.3 Pounds

Can You Gain Weight While Exercising and Dieting?

As it turns out, the early weight gain I experienced is a normal occurrence, and one that often discourages people from continuing their plan. This is due to the body’s natural adjustment period when activity increases and/or your caloric intake changes. I may have also been gaining some amount of muscle weight due to the extra work I’ve been putting on my legs which, themselves, were only used to about half of the steps I’ve been putting them through this week.

So, if these pieces of advice are correct, I should start seeing a lower number on the scale sometime in the next two weeks. Otherwise, I may have to contact a nutritionist to see what I may need to adjust.

Again, I’ve had my bad meals as well as some very good ones. This first week sets the benchmark for what I need to expect of myself moving forward, so everything should be taken in stride.

On the upside, this early weight gain countered itself around Saturday and I ended the week about the same way I began it. The positive takeaway here is that my trend of increasing weight by a pound per week has finally come to an end.

What I’ve Done to Increase Activity This Week

Walking my dogs, Rocky and Apollo, has always been a matter of taking them to the area behind my apartment for a quick doing of their business and allowing them to run around while on a 28′ leash. This isn’t very stressful on me, and requires very little time investment on my part. So this ritual provided the perfect setting for an increase in activity.

At first, I walked my dogs around the apartment complex once during the morning and once at night. This provided me with 1,200 steps per round, which would put me at my usual daily amount. Anything else I did during the day would tip me over where I started before entering in to the exercise program.

After a few days, I began doing more walks around the complex, and my wife and I even attempted to walk to the convenience store a mile and a half down the road, but quickly realized the return trip would probably prove more difficult than we could handle after having already done a speed walk around the complex. So we abandoned that idea about a quarter of the way to the store.

On Friday, I had my best day yet in terms of activity. I figured out that if I zigzag between buildings in my complex, I could achieve double the distance walked without feeling as though I had circled the entire complex multiple times. In one rotation, I managed to grab roughly 3,000 steps. If I do that three times, I could reach my ultimate goal of 10,000 daily steps fairly easily.

Currently, I’m clearing 4,500 – 5,500 steps per day on the regular, which itself is a far cry from the 2,000 steps I was taking on average before this began. The transition was rough for the first couple days, but oddly enough, it quickly became much easier to walk faster across longer distances.

What I Plan to Do Next Week

Next week I should set a goal of 6,000 steps per day with an attempt to introduce stairs and/or some form of timed aerobic or cardiovascular workout. We have a gym in our apartment complex that has some basic workout gear including a treadmill and an orbital machine. I’ll see if I can’t take advantage of this equipment next week as I try to break previous personal records and hit that 1,500 burned calorie goal FitBit Trainer is setting for me.

Swimming may be an option soon, though I’m still finding it difficult to overcome the embarrassment factor of being the largest person at the apartment pool. Even with a shirt on, it’s not my favorite idea on the table. That said, it should be on the table as one important factor in slimming down is elongating the muscles. That’s something swimming is known to do quite well — and with very little physical resistance.

My knees are beginning to feel a bit tight after the first 20 minutes of walking. I may need to invest in a knee brace or wrap to even out some of that pressure. I’m sure I have one around the apartment, but I want to avoid adding too many obstacles to my motivation early on.

The hot Texas summer is about to begin, so I’m taking full advantage of the mild weather we’re experiencing right now as much as I can. The forecast for the next week looks pretty good, but it could reach the 100s sometime in the next few weeks. Once that happens, I’ll need to restrict my outdoor activities to the evening unless I start moving my exercise to the apartment gym.

Question of the Week

This week, I’d like to ask you to share any stories you might have of the first week you started a weight loss plan. Did you experience any early setbacks? How did you overcome them? If you didn’t experience any issues, what did you do that you believe made things smooth sailing for you?

You can join me in my year-long project by commenting in these weekly questions at LockerGnome.net and/or simply responding to others as they continue their own journey to a better life through healthier living.

My full weight loss, activity, eating, and other statistical data is available through my FitBit profile here. FitBit is not paying me for endorsing this project in any way. It just happens to be the best program I have found for tracking every aspect of my physical well-being during this project.

Positive Effects of Extra Activity

It was around Thursday that I realized I could jog a short ways without becoming terribly winded. That may not sound like much, but I’m a near-300 pound guy who hasn’t exercised seriously since I was in high school. I went to the gym a few months before my wedding, but spent the vast majority of my time lifting weights and avoiding all cardio like the plague. Baby steps is what I’m taking here, and it appears to be working.

I found myself smiling uncontrollably after doing a quick jog along a stretch that had me winded chasing my dogs (unsuccessfully) after they got away from me two weeks ago. This extra walking, as simple and easy as it may seem, makes me feel better with each passing day.

My wife has also commented on my face appearing to thin out. I’ve noticed this in the mirror a bit, and after a week, I’m finding myself caring less about the scale and more about this somewhat surprising change in my personal outlook on my health.

While this week may not have been a slam dunk on the scale, it has been no less than a revelation in terms of self-esteem. I feel as though I look better, and that makes me feel more able to get things done.

I haven’t felt this good in a very, very long time.

Here’s to next week, and the many joys it might bring.

Other Folks to Watch Out For

I was surprised to find out just how many people wanted to be a part of this project. It was certainly very unexpected, and a true inspiration to both myself and hopefully many of those that are also in the same pickle I’m in. Two folks in particular have their own blogs documenting their personal weight loss journey, and their own sites are certainly worth mention here.

Natasja is a member of our community and also a blogger. A month ago (before I started my journey) she started a blog with her friend Gina to document their progress as Two Chicks with Two Bikes. It’s a great blog that allows you to follow the journey of two different individuals as they get active and start riding.

Troy Rutter is also a member of our community and a fellow weight loss documentarian. In addition to blogging about his experiences, achievements, and setbacks — he’s also recording videos to update readers on his discoveries along the way. His daily updates are incredibly informational and I recommend anyone interested in adding another bookmark to their browser list take a look at his blog, One Man’s Loss.

Updates

Week 0: Will You Join Me?
Week 1: the Rollercoaster
Week 2: the Burn
Week 3: Slow and Steady
Week 4: Always Be Training
Week 5: Hydration is Key
Week 6: Taking Breaks

Apple And Scale by Anna Langova