My Weight Loss Journey [Phase 2 of ?]

Today marks the one-year anniversary since I started my crazy diet.

Starting weight: 223.2
Today’s weight:  181.8
Total Loss:       41.4 pounds

Screenshot of Graph

You can see the major drop starting in August of 2012. I hit my goal weight in October of 2012 and have been maintaining ever since then. My lowest weight was about 169 and I hit that shortly before Thanksgiving. Since then I’ve been hanging steady from 175-185.

Ideally I would like to lose about 15 pounds of fat and gain 15 pounds of muscle. Let’s see…that would put me at 181.8 pounds :-p

It’s been amazing how much better I feel physically and how much more energy I have. I pray that God will use my new body in awesome ways for His glory!

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My Weight Loss Journey [Phase 1 of ?]


August 12, 2012: The day I decided my life needed a big change.

I came home from the beach on August 11th and I had just lived through a week of not feeling comfortable with my own body. I was surrounded by pools and the ocean but I never felt like I could take my shirt off and relax. So I didn’t. I kept my shirt on the whole time along with my goofy hat under the guise of not wanting to get a sunburn. I’m sure most people saw right through that nonsense.

Earlier in the summer, my church had a study for women based on the book from Lysa TerKeurst called Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food. I really wanted to take the study, but it wasn’t offered at a time that worked for me. So I went ahead and bought the book with the hope of reading it right then, but ended up forgetting about it.

The week before I left for the beach, there was an article on Lifehacker about a dude that had struggled with being overweight his whole life and had ended up losing 100 pounds. His tale fascinated me and I took several golden nuggets from his advice:

  • Motivation: without it, you will fail in the long-run.
  • Processed food: stop eating it. Seriously.
  • Exercise: he said it was not helpful for him. That’s fine and all, but the pure math behind a pound of fat being 3500 calories and exercise burning more calories than if you were not exercising kind of makes his point irrelevant. So needless to say, I have been exercising.
  • Portion control: by itself you are doomed to plateau.
  • Lower carb diet: only works long-term if you cut out things like bread, pasta, and sugar.
  • Eat to Live (the diet, not the mindset): no dairy, no sugar.

When I started my diet on Monday, August 13, 2012 at a weight of 223.2 pounds, I kept those nuggets in mind and also determined to read a chapter of the Made to Crave book each day. Based on the advice from the book and the article, I crafted a diet that I felt would work well and I would be able to stick to. Here’s what I came up with:

The “No” list.

  • No dairy
  • No added sugars of any kind other than honey
  • No grains (wheat, rice, oats, etc.)
  • No preservatives
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • No potatoes
  • Nothing heavily processed (if I can’t easily make it at home, I’m not eating it)

The “Yes” list.

  • Meats
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables (except potatoes)
  • Nuts/Seeds
  • Vegetable Oil

In retrospect, I ate a few things that did not strictly meet the above guidelines, but for the most part (like 99% most part) I stuck to it pretty well.

But dieting is only one-third of the equation.

Exercise

As I mentioned earlier, my takeaway from the Lifehacker article about the guy not exercising was that I totally disagree that it would not have helped him. Exercise is essential for making and keeping your body healthy. Even if you don’t need to lose any weight, if you’re not exercising at all, you’re probably in pretty bad shape.

One of Lysa’s success strategies involved her running 4 miles every morning to start the day. If she didn’t feel like running, she had a friend that would motivate her and vice versa. I am not quite that good at running yet, but I have been trying to run at least one 5k per week in addition to tennis at least once a week. This past week has been filled with two 5ks, tennis five times, and some weight lifting. I’m pretty exhausted…

And speaking of weight lifting, I got a membership to the YMCA. So I’ve been trying to go at least three times per week, but I think the most I’ve made it there is twice in a week so far because work is so hectic.

Part Three of the Equation

Earlier I mentioned that there are three parts to long-term weight loss.

  1. Dieting
  2. Exercise
  3. ???

So what’s the rest of the equation? To answer that question, we have to dive in to the true motivation behind me wanting to lose weight in the first place.

As a Christian, I was bought with a price: the Blood of Jesus. And therefore my body is not my own. But I had been living as if it was. I was worshipping food instead of God. I was living to eat instead of eating to live. My body was headed down a path of physical destruction, much like my own dad’s body, who passed away at age 56 from complications after his quintuple-bypass heart surgery. If I am to do everything I do for the glory of the One who made me, then I must also treat my body as a temple of the Holy Spirit.

With that revelation in place, and a genuine desire to please God through the transformation of my body, the only thing left to do was pray:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Please transform my body into a worthy temple for Your Holy Spirit.
Please make me eat to live instead of living to eat.
Please make me to worship You instead of food.
Please guide me to make eating choices today that will glorify Your Name.
Please motivate me to exercise that I may lose weight so my body will be better able to serve You, O God.

In Jesus’ Name,
Amen!

Today Is a Wonderful Day!

Today, October 13, 2012, I am excited to announce that I have surpassed my goal weight of 185 with a weigh-in of 183.6 pounds! It has been exactly two months since I started my diet, and I have lost 39.6 pounds so far!

What’s next?

I decided that once I dropped below 185, I would reincorporate dairy into my diet. So this morning, I had a Raspberry Chobani Greek yogurt. It was quite delicious and has 28% of your daily protein. I ate yummy chili today and I was able to add a little bit of cheese and sour cream to that which was also really good.

Once I drop below 180, I will attempt to slowly reincorporate grains. And once I drop below 175, I will add very limited quantities of sugar. So my plan is to have that tiered structure in place so that if my weight starts to rise again (aside from muscle-building), I simply remove sugar if I go above 175, grains if I go above 180, and dairy if I go above 185. I hope that will mitigate any reversal of the progress I’ve made so far.

Thank You!

I want to give a big shout-out to my friends and family that have been so patient with me as I have been super-picky about where we can go to eat. Thank you for bearing with me!

Thanks to my lunch buddies at work (Derek, Patrick, Joe, Pete, Sean, and Dustin), my family who visited in the midst of phase 1 of my diet, and everyone who reads this.

A special thanks to God for opening my eyes to the damage I was doing to my body and for reversing it and giving me a new mindset:

  • Eat to live. Don’t live to eat.
  • Don’t eat until you’re full. Eat until you’re not hungry.

Do you have any weight-loss tips that you think would help me stay the course? Please share them in the comments.

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Caching With Zend Framework Using Zend_Cache

Cheeks Blowing

Today I taught myself how to use Zend_Cache and implemented it within 20 minutes. It’s super easy and very effective. Take a look at the code sample below and you’ll be up and running in no time.

 

Step 1: Setup the Cache
{code type=php}
$frontendOptions = array(
‘lifetime’ => 180, // Cache for 3 minutes
‘automatic_serialization’ => true
);

$backendOptions = array(‘cache_dir’ => dirname(__FILE__) . ‘/cache/’);

$cache = Zend_Cache::factory(
‘Core’,
‘File’,
$frontendOptions,
$backendOptions);
{/code}

Step 2: Use the Cache
{code type=php}
$data = null;
if(!$data = $cache->load(‘data’))
{
$service = new Service(API_KEY);
$result = $service->generateReport();
$data = $service->getReport();
$cache->save($data, ‘data’);
}
else
{
print(“Cache Hit!”);
}
{/code}

The page load time went from about 9 seconds to 0.5 seconds! 18x faster and it only took a few lines of code. Awesome.

My main motivation for caching the data ($data in the code example) was actually to reduce the load on the web service which provides the data. We have a good relationship with the company providing the service but there’s a good chance they would become annoyed if we hammered their system to get the exact same data over and over. The load time improvement was a good side effect, though!

For more information on Zend_Cache which comes with the Zend Framework, check out the reference guide and API documentation.

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It pays to be pink. At least Garmin thinks so.

For my mother’s birthday I purchased a TomTom One 130. The updated maps had the other half of my road, so I was happy it could navigate more efficiently. Tonight I stumbled across a new site called DealWaiter. I plugged in “Garmin Nuvi” and it had a few results but also had a link to buy it immediately on Amazon.com. I’m sure that link is purely platonic, right? Hah! It turns out the Garmin Nuvi 250 comes in two colors: pink and silver.

I was blown away by the price difference:

Amazon.com - Garmin Nuvi 250 - Price comparison between silver and pink versions
Amazon.com - Garmin Nuvi 250 - Price comparison between silver and pink versions

Silver: $109.99
Pink: $471.99
——————–
Difference: $362.00

The difference alone could purchase
3.3 units of the silver model!

Garmin isn’t the only company who discriminates based on color. Want a black Mac? Better have some “I’m rich!” money laying around. Apple used to have both black and white MacBooks and the typical difference was $100+.

What ridiculous discrepancies have you found?

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How do you watch your television shows?

Old TV Set

Midway through Heroes: Season 3 I realized how quickly video streaming technology has evolved in the last few years. Think about the multitude of ways you can now get your fix.

EDIT:
Loren brought to my attention another category which I left off entirely, which is software/hardware combos for consuming the aforementioned services:

Just 15 years ago that list was a lot smaller: TV, video rental stores, VCR.

What’s your favorite viewing service?

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