Open Source Weight Loss Week 2: the BurnIt’s been over a week since I set out to change my life through diet and exercise while documenting the entire experience for everyone who cared to read and, perhaps, join in on the momentum by sharing their stories, successes, and pitfalls along the way.

The comments I’ve seen over the past two weeks have been outstanding, and I thought I might share some of these inspirational stories and suggestions from the community. In addition, the past week has been full of its own ups and downs, though I’m happy to say that things are down on the scale.

My goal for the next two weeks is to be in better shape than I was when I visited Seattle last November. I am attending a tech conference in Las Vegas in early June, and would really like to be able to not only fit comfortably in the plane’s tiny seat, but to have the ability to walk the entire conference floor without feeling that tell-tale back and knee pain I’ve been feeling for the past two years.

Week 2 Report
Start — 294.5
Middle — 294.0
End — 292.3
Total Weight Lost (Full Program) — 3.5 Pounds

Feeling the Burn, Buying Clothes, and Texas Heat

I started the week off feeling pretty good, having lost some weight the week before. I adjusted my weekly step goal to 5,500 as I had been exceeding 5,000 steps on a daily basis. This adjustment meant having to remember to take extra laps around my apartment complex, and deal with the increased amount of heat the summer months bring.

Buying Clothes
In addition to the burn of the Texas sun, I’ve been struggling with finding the right clothes to fit the needs of a hefty fellow doing a lot of walking. For some unknown reason, stores that carry clothing sizes up to XXXL only stock athletic clothing for folks up to a size XL. Yes, I’m sure not many of my fellow big folks get out to the gym very often, but the need for clothing that separates certain things is far greater among big folk than small folk.

So I’m stuck either buying my workout clothes online or heading to the overpriced big and tall stores, which don’t stock much athletic clothing either. This, coupled with the complete lack of size standardization, makes buying clothes very difficult. Am I the only one who experiences this?

Increasing the Intensity of the Workout
As noted in previous entries to this series, I’m gradually increasing the distance and intensity of my walking workouts. Instead of doing 100% of my steps in a calm walk, I’ve started doing 15 minutes of it on a treadmill with varying incline. This allows me to get a good jog going without risking heat exhaustion early in the workout.

In addition to adding steps gradually, I’ve been increasing the pace of my walks to include some light jogging. This would have been absolutely impossible for me two weeks ago as I would be utterly out of breath and worn out in a very short period of time. Due to the gradual increase in activity, I haven’t felt very much of this at all except in cases where I’m really pushing myself up a steep hill.

Dealing with Spring/Summer Heat
It’s really hot here in Texas, and with temperatures already hitting the mid 90s, I’m beginning to consider how and when my workouts will be timed. As of this week, I’ve been holding out until the sun goes down to good advantage. My workouts can go on longer, and I can cover more distance without overheating or feeling otherwise overexerted due to the environment.

Another trick I’ve been told about is heading to nature trails as opposed to exposed jogging trails to take advantage of the shade. Nature trails can be found all over the Austin area, and some of them are quite easy to navigate. I’m sure that, when the summer heat really kicks in, this tip will certainly come in handy.

Geocaching is a great activity to take part in to help you keep your mind off the discomfort of working out in the summer. When you’re trekking through the wilderness in search of something, you tend to trick your mind into pushing past the boredom point that can end a workout rather quickly. Walking around, even with music in your ears, gets boring after a while. Having an activity like geocaching or an audiobook going on during the workout can keep things interesting and focus your mind past the workout itself.

Words of Advice and Encouragement from the Community

Troy Rutter said on LockerGnome.net:

The first three weeks were the toughest. In addition to walking more, I also decided to cut out potato chips and soda from my consumption entirely. I really like the cool, fizzy refreshment of soda, so that was a big deal. I had to make conscious choices and have mental battles with myself just to avoid the temptation.

Bobby on LockerGnome.com commented:

I just want to wish you the best of luck and let you know about a little trick that helped me lose weight. what I did was eat as healthy as possible six days out of the week and on Sunday, for dinner, I could eat whatever I wanted; doing this gave me something to look forward to and helped get me off processed food.

D.J. Moore said on LockerGnome.com:

I am going to officially participate! I am only 25-26 in July, and I’m hovering around 250-260 on average. I’ve been walking constantly with a blend of bike riding to break up the monotony. I am joining now. To progress!

Charity Histle offered her advice on last week’s update:

You should consume half your body weight (in ounces). For example, if you weigh 300 pounds, you need to be drinking 150 ounces of water a day. It’s a lot, but your body will retain water if you don’t drink it. At first, you may gain a little until your body realizes it’s okay to let go of the fluid. I don’t consume any calories in my drinking — only water.

Derek Thorson advised:

I lost about 90 pounds (from 273 to 183 pounds) doing pretty much what you’re doing… only I slacked off and gained about 50 back. So now I’m in it to lose it again. I know I can do it because I did it before… it just takes willpower and a little work.

Early setbacks are common… your body adjusts initially by saying “tough times ahead!” and does what it can to store up reserves for the expected energy burn in the future. Don’t let it phase you. Just push through it and keep at it.

Slowandgo from LockerGnome.net added:

Here is my story. I am a disabled Vietnam veteran. My weight has blown up to 280 lbs., so my doctors at the VA started pushing me to lose weight. So in December of 2009, I bought my first gaming system (I initially refused due to all the computers that I have). I bought a Wii Fit Plus hardware/software. I started using it and I saw a dramatic loss of weight. In October of 2010, I had lost about 50 lbs., but then I broke my ankle, which set me back three months. I then got lazy about my exercise program and my weight went up to 260 lbs. So in December of 2011, I started to push myself again, and I lost approximately 30 lbs. I had to stop for a couple of weeks due to minor surgery on my back, but I am back on it again. I exercise 4-5 times a week for approximately two and half hours and I burn around 900 calories each time. So I hope to be under 200 lbs. by the end of the year. I am 61 years old and I am giving it all, so anyone can do it. Watch your diet (small portions) and commit to an exercise program.

Question of the Week

This week’s question, as well as the ones from weeks prior, is posted on LockerGnome.net, where we are continuing the ongoing conversation and helping each other reach our ultimate weight goals.

What is your favorite exercise? Do you enjoy swimming, jogging, weight lifting, or some other (appropriate) activity to help you stay in shape?

Final Thoughts

For me, and many others out there, dropping the weight means more than looking better at the pool. It means being able to participate in more things. Tech conferences, travel, playing with my nephew(s), and possibly even raising some kids of my own will come much easier in a lighter body. These are the things that torture heavy folks every day. Being out of breath after just tying your shoes, having to consider just how sweaty and tired a single flight of stairs will make you, and not being able to do things that our thinner friends take for granted are huge, depressing factors in every big person’s life. Depression can lead someone to overeat, and therein lies the vicious cycle that so many people have a hard time grasping. People don’t overeat because they’re happy. They overeat because they want control over something in their lives. Even if that something is slowly killing them.

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

Photo By: Angela Espinoza Pierson