Spring Challenge Begins Now

Happy Spring Equinox!

Today is the day when James and I reset our Weight Loss Challenge. Since both of us did relatively well in January, then started to slack in February and March, James came up with the idea of having a do-over starting the first day of Spring. And here we are:

(I know my feet look grotesquely veined and aikido-scarred in this light. So be it.)

James has informed me that he’s going to win before I leave to go on vacation on May 7th, so I guess I’d better step it up. I’ll have to lose just under two pounds a week to hit my goal of 194.5 in time to maintain it for a week before leaving for Hawaii. For those of you keeping score, 194.5 will be a recent record low for me; I think my record is 195, actually, and I only saw that for a day or two several years ago.

So, how am I going to do it? Well, I figure that doing what I was doing back in January would be a good start, since I lost an average of just under two pounds per week through January and into February. My plans would therefore include a.) attending Aikido regularly; b.) planning my meals in advance (sometimes making a week’s worth of lunches on Sunday night); and c.) practicing restraint and portion-control on weekends. My general guide will be the Reasonable Diet’s “I-Week Diet,” at least in the beginning: fruits, veggies, lean meats, whole grains, and no sweets (although that’s a terrible oversimplification). As for calorie breakdowns, I’m planning to keep it reminiscent of the Zone Diet: 40% carbohydrate, 30% protein, and 30% calories from fat. That seems to work well for me.

As usual, I’ll be tracking my food with my DietOrganizer Palm OS app, which totally rules. It’s actually a big part of my strategy, as I can see my calorie percentages as they readjust during the day. The only thing it doesn’t do that I wish it did is sync to my computer so I can see the graphs and manipulate the data on a larger scale. I also bought myself a fancy pedometer that I’m going to calibrate tonight and start wearing tomorrow. It came with tracking software, too, so I can sync it up to my PC and track how far I’ve walked over time.

Something else that’s going to be important is sleep. Yes, sleep. I’ve read about enough studies that link changes in sleep with changes in weight, so I’m going to make a concerted effort to get a minimum of 8 hours a night. I usually only get around seven hours during the week, if that; I tend to sleep in on the weekends, though, usually getting about ten hours, and sometimes twelve if I’m feeling especially lazy/snuggly. My plan is not to expect too much of myself during the evenings, as far as productivity goes, and to turn off my computer by 9:30pm. (So, if you see me on Google Talk or AIM after 10pm on a weeknight, tell me to wrap things up and go to bed already!) 🙂

I’ve lost 7½ pounds so far this year. (More than that, actually, but I gained back a few and re-lost them.) I’m back to where I felt stable and quasi-comfortable last year. Now it’s time to step it up and get down to where I’ll start to actually feel good again.

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