Trimming Down Part 1: Introduction

Editorial: I was going to save all of this content for when I was “finished” losing weight. As it turns out, it would have been way too long for one blog post, and I want to do a better job of chronicling my experiences along the way, instead of just one big bang reveal at the end. I also covered some of this introductory material in my November 2015 post on sleep.

I’ve struggled with my weight for most of my life. It took a tool on my social life growing up. It also started affecting my health in my late 30s, in minor but important ways.

In this series, I’m going to tell you exactly how I have (so far) lost forty (40) pounds, well on my way to achieving my fitness goals. When I made the commitment to do this, I put some ground rules in place:

  • no prescription drugs, i.e. appetite suppressants or stimulants
  • no supplement programs, i.e. Herbalife, Plexus
  • no meal programs, i.e. Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem
  • no bariatric surgery

I also challenged myself to change my habits permanently, instead of resorting to temporary measures to achieve temporary results.

Ironically, the first part of this process didn’t start with food or exercise at all. Instead, I learned the importance of having foundational support in my everyday life, and what it meant if that foundation was weak or absent.

Over the past few years, I’d been exhausted. Every day. I occasionally measured the amount of sleep I was getting, and quantity was rarely the problem. Despite this, many days I would have to catnap in my car during my lunch break to stay functional during the workday. I used to think this kind of thing was par for the course as I headed toward 40.

Also, my wife had been nagging that I was snoring. I knew this was a problem for a long time, since I would get “the nudge” multiple times a night. What she said that scared me though, is that she claimed I stopped breathing during the night.

At my wife’s insistence, I went to an ENT last Summer. One sleep study later, in August of 2015 I was diagnosed with a moderate case of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).

I was prescribed a CPAP, which is basically machine that blows air up your nose while you sleep to keep your nose and throat from collapsing in on itself. Like many, I was embarrassed and resistant to the thought of using the CPAP. But, after the 2nd night, I was hooked. I didn’t know that the sleep I had been getting in recent years was so bad, and what it would feel like to get good sleep again.

Getting better sleep alone did not make me start dropping pounds. However, the foundation of good sleep proved to be the flywheel that set it motion what was yet to come.

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