Let's recap: On June 12, I began a 20-week plan to lose as much weight as possible before a scheduled trip to Central Asia. No reinforcing the stereotype of "the fat American" for me! I weighed 250 pounds, and decided I would like to eventually lose 85 pounds. To hit that target would mean losing 4.25 pounds per week, which seemed like pure fantasy at first, but actually began to look achievable when my chosen diet (a strict low-calorie, low-carbohydrate plan) started off in high gear.
Fast forward to the half-way point on the calendar, ten weeks later, August 21. On that day, I weighed in at 204, 46 pounds lighter than when I'd started, and slightly ahead of schedule. Some weeks have been slower and some faster, and I realized far too late that I should have taken size measurements at the beginning, but I sometimes wonder if I might hit the 85 pound goal after all! Weight loss slows dramatically as time passes, for many reasons, and those last few pounds are always the hardest, but my wife has begun to express fears that I'll look emaciated by November!
If you've been following along since the beginning, you'll know that I started by changing my diet alone, because I didn't feel I could handle sustained exercise at my starting weight. It didn't take much physical exertion to make me out of breath and I tired easily. After losing a few pounds, I reasoned, I'll be able to exercise more easily. That approach worked for me. Once I lost the first twenty pounds I began to walk everywhere, and after another ten pounds, I joined a gym. I started with cardio exercises, spending a lot of time on an elliptical machine and a little on a stair-master. Then I added resistance training.
From a purely weight-loss perspective, resistance training is a mistake, at least in the short term. Overall, it is the right thing to do, and it will even help with weight loss in the long term. Here I am, though, reporting progress weekly, and the weeks in which I lose "only" two pounds are actually embarrassing. At one point I actually thought of it as a question of character: would I do what was right, even though the numbers look bad? Or would I defer the long-term benefits in order to chase an arbitrarily-chosen goal?