So far so good. Two and a half weeks in and the weight seems to be coming off on this program. Not as quickly as doing a fast but to be honest I’ve managed to crack my nemesis (290) barrier for the first time in years and am on my way down to my next set point which is around 270.
So far I’ve reduced my weight from 310 to 286 lbs (not accounting for water weight) which is something I haven’t seen for years.
Since my last post we have subsequently had two group sessions: one on goal setting and the other on activity.
There was nothing really shocking here.
Emphasis was on setting SMART goals.
It was interesting to get a refresher on the difference between a lapse (temporary deviation from a SMART goal) and a relapse (complete abandonment of a SMART goal).
The instructor tried to impress upon us the idea that lapses happen and to be able to forgive yourself when they occur. Get back on the horse and continue riding, so to speak.
There was an element here I feel was missing as this idea of forgiveness is extremely important. This is a very tough road to travel. Unless you have experienced a psychological trauma that severs your root belief system with a past behavior, for the majority of people this type of realization comes over time.
It also needs to be emphasized that forgiveness is not a excuse for abdicating accountability. You should be able to find it within yourself to forgive lapses. You shouldn’t use that as a crutch to blind yourself to what is truly a relapse.
This session was the more interesting of the two. I’ll be doing a few different specific blogs on this topic. The general gist of things however wasn’t to delve too deeply into activity theory but to encourage people to start being more active prior our gym sessions in a few weeks.
In general, there were four guidelines that were reinforced during this session
1) A minimum target of 180 minutes per week of activity (25-30 minutes per day) is needed for those with a high BMI in order to lower the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, etc. in bouts of no less than 10 minute intervals.
2) Not all sedentary activity is equal. People who break up their sedentary periods frequently are more likely to benefit from activity even if doing the same amount each week (i.e. don’t do your activity all at once – spread it out).
3) Using the Perceived Exertion Scale, the level of effort should be perceived as being between level 3 (I’m still comfortable, but am breathing a bit harder) and level 5 (I’m just above comfortable, am sweating more and can still talk easily)
4) While 30 minutes per day of activity is good, that is still a minimum target. For optimal health you should be looking more towards 60 minutes per day of activity.
Albeit if you haven’t done any type of exercise in some time, then this is not where you want to start out at. Pick a SMART goal and then work up to it.
My Status on the Program
I have found a few different things at this point in the program
The first is that the first week is the roughest. Although to be fair having done a few different fasts I sort of had an idea of what to expect. Physical hunger pains from time to time were the worst of it for me, but some tea or broth usually calmed those down.
The second is food cravings. For some really strange reason I’ve been craving and dreaming about different foods which didn’t really happen when I was doing the fast back in June. Specifically pizza and nachos … which is in part really weird as I haven’t had pizza for almost two years now and really hadn’t had a burning desire for it previously.
Regardless – this is now 18 days on the Optifast shakes with a lot more days in front of me than behind. With the exception of the odd pickle and some ginger to get rid of the sweet taste of the shakes, I’ve been pretty much sticking to the regime and hopefully will see continuing benefits through to the end of it.