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Thursday, November 10, 2011

If Oprah Can't Do It - It Can't Be Done

Here is Oprah after losing 67 pounds of fat. There is 67 pounds of fat in that wagon.

Oprah could not even lift 67 pounds of fat.

Oprah gained back all that weight. Will Harry?

When Oprah retired - Lulu lost one of her best friends. Next to "All My Children" - which was cancelled - I think Lulu watched more Oprah than anything. To prove it - we have a DVR full of missed episodes that she guards with her life.

I only remember one Oprah show distinctly - and according to the surveys taken - it has been ranked as the top Oprah show of all time.

Simply put - Oprah goes on a diet. She hires all the best cooks and trainers that money could buy and she loses 67 pounds - yes - 67 pounds. After all that fanfare - she gains the weight back. Whenever weight gain comes up - I would use my old worn out quote, "If Oprah can't do it - it can't be done." With all the queens horses and all the queens men - she couldn't stop turning to Humpty again. Like all of us - Oprah is a product of her genes. She was just destined to be fat.

On my all-time favorite episode - Oprah comes on stage in a tight black pair of jeans - she looks fantastic. Then she pulls out a red Radio Flyer wagon with a giant bag of fat on it! The bag is huge. Oprah tries to lift it up and can't do it. To think she had been walking around with that much fat wrapped around her waist is truly amazing.

When I retired in 2003 - I weighed 223 pounds. After 33 years of having two ice cream cones for lunch a day - I had a big pot belly. My logic was - my Dad had a big belly - my Mom was heavy - even my sons were showing signs of the same Everhart disease. Since Oprah could not beat the disease with all her money - how could I possibly succeed on a teacher's pension.

Last year - my friend and neighbor Shirley Wiegand retired. Shirley - from Wisconsin - loves all the great food that state has to offer. She has a wine cellar - and if you want a really good party - you invite Shirley. She will bring a case of "the finest stuff." She won't be miffed if I say she was portly.

When Shirley retired from being a law professor - she was worried that she would have a hard time filling her life with something meaningful. According to the Oprah rule - we never expected her to do what she did. In a matter of a year - she lost 70 pounds. Now Shirley is not a tall woman - so this is an extremely great accomplishment. She did not join a gym and she certainly had a lot more time to eat. But here she is looking fantastic.

By now I weighed 217 pounds. Yes - it was less than the 223 pounds I weighed when I retired - but those 6 pounds were probably lost because of living in a hot climate and wearing less clothes - or a bad scale :-)

I talked to my doctor - and he said - "Harry - if you eat less than 2000 calories a day - you will lose a pound a week." I told him that I do not eat much - he repeated "a pound a week."
Some people say "before" and "after" pictures do not look like the same person. You are not supposed to look like the same person. This picture is Shirley zip lining in Costa Rica last year.

This is Shirley now. The pictures show her being active. She and Wayne love to hike.

So I asked Shirley what was her secret. She said there is no secret - you must eat less and exercise more. She told me how she cut down on food and drink and how she walked a lot. But then - she said something - "Tap and Track."

Shirley - Lulu - and I are iPhone junkies. We carry our Apple iPhones everywhere - and use them for everything except maybe toilet paper.

"Tap and Track" is an iPhone app - or program. It costs $4.00 - and one of the biggest bargains since the $15 marriage license I bought 40 years ago. It is simply a "balance sheet" for a "food budget." When I say food budget - I mean how much food and exercise you put into your body.

You start by entering your height - weight and age. Then you enter your degree of activity - in my case "lightly active." It then told me - you are obese. I was 5'11" - 217 pounds - 63 years old - retired - and obese. It simply said - if you eat under 2000 calories a day - you will lose a pound a week.

"Tap and Track" has a database of almost every food ever devoured. As you eat something you tap and track it into your food budget. Then it tells you how much you ate and how much you have left for the day. But what is even neater - it has a list of every activities. When you do one of the exercises - you get extra calories to eat that day. An example - if I walk 40 minutes - I burn 300 calories. That is equivalent to two McDonald's ice cream cones.

On days when I want a big meal - or get invited out to eat - I take on some extra exercise to balance the food budget. As long as I keep my budget balanced - I will lose a pound a week - my doctor promised that - and Tap and Track verified it. If you fall off the wagon one day - there is always another day tomorrow.

The Results.

On September 21st - I started using Tap and Track. Every time I ate something - I put it into the iPhone. When Lulu is on the road or at work - I would lilt around town checking out the over 300 restaurants we have in Tallahassee. My first surprise was Kentucky Fried Chicken for lunch. I ordered a chicken breast - my weakness. Tap and track said KFC breast = 585 calories! Yikes - with mashed potatoes - gravy - corn on the cob - rolls - I hot 1200 calories for one lunch. Wow - I thought this was going to be impossible.

This is the main screen from Tap and Track. This was after breakfast today

Slow but surely - the weight is coming down.

Examples of some exercises - tap one and it take calories away.

Type in a food - and it finds the food in the database - even from restaurant menus.

Here is an example of some of the stuff I ate that day.

I weigh myself every morning when I wake up.

So with the help of Tap and Track - I kept eating my favorites - but less of them. With the Tap and Track as constant encouragement - I ate less. I saved my calories for supper and evening snacks. It felt great to be knowing that I had extra calories left. I knew I would lose a pound a week and still have that midnight snack.

It is as simple as that. I went from 217 to 199 in 6 weeks. After about 2 weeks - Lulu noticed the difference in me. So she started. Girls get cheated - they can't eat as much as men without gaining weight. Tap and Track gave her 1300 calories a day to lose a pound a week.

After a year of traveling - visiting 35 states in 35 weeks - plus Germany - England - France - Brazil - Australia - New Zealand - she gained 20 pounds. She felt terrible and as hopeless as I had felt. But in 4 weeks she has lost 12 pounds - yes - 3 pounds a week.

It is not how much you lose that is important. It is the downward trend that matters. We both weigh ourselves every morning when we wake up (we weigh less then because of breathing out water all night.) Yes - it goes up and down - depending on the last time you went to the bathroom - but the trend is in the right direction.

I did not want to announce this at the beginning of my quest because if I failed - I would look hopeless. But this morning I broke 200 - and that is a mile stone. I have not weighed under 200 pounds in 25 years. I went from a 38 inch waist to a 34 inch waist. Losing 17 pounds is like carrying around a bowling ball all day.

My energy level has gone off the chart. No - I have not taken any drugs. No I have not had any liposuction. That comes later :-) Yes - in some areas - your skin gets loose and you do not look like a teenager - but you get tons of compliments.

Yesterday - I did 4 hours of yard work - non-stop. I could not do that before. Imagine my surprise when Tap and Track said I could eat 2400 extra calories if I wanted because of that work! I didn't do that - but had an extra slice of pizza - 200 calories - for supper.

I am now halfway to my goal. Once you reach your goal - you get more calories to maintain it. When I get there - and I guarantee you I will - the Oprah hard part comes along. Keeping your weight down - requires a lifestyle change. I can honestly tell you that I am not hungry. I can also tell you that my exercise routine has not changed much - maybe 4 walks of 40 minutes a week. What will help me sustain my weight is how darn good I feel. I can bend over better - my balance is much better - my stamina is great. The other day a lady complimented me for running up the steps at the stadium. It is always a great to get compliments from the ladies :-)

Stayed tuned for naked pictures - when I reach 180 pounds :-)

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