One of the key elements of the AIM Institute of Lifestyle Medicine program I have been on for almost ten months is measurement. We began with a battery of tests – you can read about them in my earliest blogs, if you missed those bits. They established a base line through blood work, cardio-respiratory testing, ultrasounds, x-ray and other measurements.
As you know, the results were not good; the only two positive things were: a) I didn’t have any debilitating or terminal diseases and b) now we knew how much we had to do.
Those tests get repeated from time to time. The blood work has been done once, since September – with great results, as I reported at the time. The cardio-respiratory work has been repeated; the bod pod body fat measurements more frequently; and so on.
But I like to test myself much more often than that. However, I don’t have an at-home cholesterol kit (and would not be taking my own blood if I did, no thank you), and I suspect a bod pod is prohibitively expensive. Although it would look cool, in the corner of the living room.
This leaves me with two ways I can measure what I am accomplishing, both inadequate in the big picture, but both helpful and – to me, anyway – interesting.
One is, the heart rate monitor I bought from AIM. I strap it on when I walk, when I do resistance exercise and – lately – when I cut the grass. Turns out, pushing the mower at a reasonable rate keeps me right in my fat-burning heart rate zone for 50 to 55 minutes. Pretty good results.
I use the monitor to check that I am not dropping below or kicking up out of that zone when I walk. The latter is easy to do, especially up hills, but I still have a lot of excess weight (although 54 pounds fewer than when I started), so I am focused on that goal., and my walks are as close to my fat burning zone as possible.
The second measurement is related to the weight loss. I know that Dr. Mike, Zach and the team will insist – quite rightly – that this is not only about weight loss. I know. I am healthier in every way – just check out my blood work results!
But weight is important, we all know that. And my particular personality (if one can call it that) reacts well to lots of information as motivation.
So I weigh myself every day.
My wife thinks I’m nuts; she weighs herself every five days or so.
There are downsides to weighing in every morning. Some days, depending on sodium content of what I ate the day before, or the kind of exercise I did, or how hot the weather is, my weight will go up a pound or two. Those are bad days. I could avoid them, I suppose, if I weighed myself less frequently.
But most days – I’d say 80 per cent or more of the days since Sept. 28, 2011 – I weigh the same or less than I did the day before. As I write this, that is 287 days; I have lost 54 pounds. That means a lot of really good mornings.
I find, personally, that weighing myself daily has the same result, whether I gain or lose: if I lose, I’m motivated to keep going; if I gain, I am motivated to counter whatever evil force has crept inside my body… or, more to the point, I am motivated to be very sure I am following nutritionist Stephanie Clairmont’s tips, to the letter.
It has all worked out really well. I will probably weigh myself every day for the rest of my life. Am I recommending this to you? Not necessarily. I do recommend that you get healthy, and that you find whatever it is that motivates you to do so.
The folks at AIM, by the way, are terrific motivators.