I started this blog a little over a year ago, after several months of successfully participating in the University of Kansas Weight Loss Program. When I last posted updates here early this year, I had lost over 70 pounds and was starting the weight loss maintenance part of the program. I'm happy to say that I've managed to maintain that weight loss over the past year. Right now I'm a few pounds under my transition weight. My weight this year has stayed within a range of ten pounds, so there were no serious backward steps up the weight mountain.
One of my goals this year beyond maintaining the weight loss was losing another 10 pounds, putting me in the 180 lb weight range. I was making slow progress towards that goal over the summer. but with the onset of cooler weather and the holidays, my weight has gone up slightly. I'm hoping to get to my 180 range goal within the next two months, even if that means serious self-restraint at holiday events.
Let me share some observations about my efforts this year to maintain the weight loss and adhere to a healthy, mostly plant-based diet.
Goals Not Achieved
- 188 lbs or lower
- Increase in aerobic exercise, including more rigorous activities like cycling
- Weight lifting and strength training at a gym on a regular basis
- More cooking from recipes
- Improving kitchen equipment situation
- Weight level maintained
- Regular daily walking
- Healthy plant-based diet
- Get off prescription drugs
- Stay clear of the "cheat day" mindset
One of the most significant achievements of all this has been going off prescription drugs. In May, after visiting with my doctor, I went off my blood pressure and pre-diabetes prescriptions. Haven't experienced any subsequent problems or even warning signs. Another health thing worth mentioning is that I haven't had a cold or flu in over a year and a half.
My dietary goal when I started the K.U. program was to eventually go on a plant-based daily diet during the maintenance phase (and long term). During the program, I adhered to the vegetarian options, although this included lots of dairy. The maintenance part of the program involves more freedom to vary your diet, within guidelines, while still consuming some of the diet program meals and shakes (and common grocery store frozen analogs).
This phase was supposed to last three months, but I went off of it around April, Mostly because I got tired of the crappy frozen vegetarian entrees from the store. I also stopped doing the shakes, which were my main way of getting fruit daily. I plan to resume the shakes in 2019 as a supplement. So when I dropped out of the recommended diet foods, I went to making my own food.
Ironically, switching to making my own food for most meals ended up making my daily diet plant-based and near vegan. For most of 2018, my dairy and egg consumption dramatically reduced. I do eat seafood once in a while, but usually no more than once a month.
My dietary weaknesses turn out to be chips and salsa at restaurants and cookies. The maintenance phase is pretty forgiving if you are doing the daily exercise and sticking to the diet most of the time. But yes, those pizza slices will put on the pounds quickly. That kind of eating is a rarity for me and frankly I don't miss it.
One thing I discovered is that your body tells you quickly when you've eaten even a little more than usual. If you have seconds of a main dish, you feel full pretty quickly, so these days I'm trying harder to stick with smaller portion sizes at most meals.
One critical thing that helps you stay on maintenance is developing regular routines. This is what the K.U. program focuses on. Exercise is one obvious routine. My breakfast may be the same every day, but it's a health routine that I don't get tired of. Oatmeal and fruit. That's even what most health conscious physicians and nutritionists eat daily.
Challenges and Obstacles
- Friends and family who think I can go back to old ways of eating
- Holiday meals
- Restaurant meals and portion sizes
- Inconsistent access to fresh fruits and vegetables
It's no surprise that family events and holidays are the biggest minefield for healthy eating. The K.U. program spends a lot of time providing tips for managing these situations. Their advice to people in the middle of Phase 1, where you stick to prescribed entrees and shakes, to skip holiday meals, is smart advice. It's really worth skipping holiday meals so you can be lighter a year later and enjoy the holidays in moderation. For me, the overeating focus of these holidays is a bigger challenge than dealing with daily or weekly cravings for snacks and junk food.
Oh, it's also important to make sure that junk food never enters the house. While I may sometimes keep snacks and sweets around for guests, anything left over goes in the trash as soon as the social event is over.
There will be more regular updates to this blog in the future. There weren't as many updates in 2018 as I had hoped, but a goal for 2019 is to write more for this blog.
via the K.U. Weight Loss Program