Last year I was able to schedule a Moose hunt in Ontario. The weather was great, the scenery was wonderful, and the fishing good but the Moose would not cooperate. That however, was not my biggest concern. I was way out of shape! We worked hard all week trying to coax a bull moose into shooting distance, but my conditioning did not allow me to work as hard as I wanted to and really needed to. I was so overweight that I needed help getting out of a canoe! My knees, and particularly my right knee, was constantly in pain and limited my agility. And climbing the modest hills was an effort that took every ounce of my reserves. I told my huntin’ buddy that I wasn’t sure I would be able to do another hunt like that. Am I just getting too old or just out of shape?
Well, this fall I am taking a trip to Colorado for the elusive elk. And this won’t be at a comfortable altitude of 1500 feet, it will be more like 10,000 feet where the elk suck up all the oxygen and leave only the oxygen crumbs for hunters like me. I needed to do something about my weight and condition.
I am 65 years old and not getting any younger, but I have decided that I CAN do something that will allow me to continue to enjoy bow hunting big game, and not just sitting in a blind. This is not a new concept for me. Every year in the spring I work up an idea to lose some weight and get in shape, but most years that never really translates into any effective activity until it is too late to really benefit from it. But this year was different!
The last week in April I started a hormone supported diet plan that a couple of people had referred me to. It started off a bit extreme and is not for the faint of heart and probably shouldn’t be tried without talking to your doctor first. I did talk to my doctor, who is a bow hunter, and he encouraged me to lose the weight. Five hundred calories is not much food to eat in a day, but it sure jump started my weight loss. In 21 days I lost 20 pounds.
I found a calorie counting app for my phone called Fat Secret. I used it every day and tracked every single item I put in my mouth! My average calorie count for those three weeks was about 470 calories a day. After the first couple of days, I found I was not extremely hungry. I was always looking forward to the next meal, but I wasn’t feeling famished. This app will also track my exercise as well.
For the next 13 weeks, through the first week in August, my goal was to stay between 800 and 1200 calories per day. I was always very conscious of my calorie intake, and actually did better than I expected by keeping my average daily intake to just under 800 calories. During that 13 weeks, I lost an additional 15 pounds, just over one pound a week!
After those first 21 days, where I had very little energy to do any serious exercise, I started walking or biking an hour a day. My goal was to do these six days a week and never fewer than 4 days a week. I raised my calorie intake as well. I’ll share more about my workout plans in my next article.
What really made the difference for me this time was really, I mean really, being honest with myself about what I was eating. If I grabbed a handful of pecan nuts, I counted them out and calculated their calories before I ate them. I can’t tell you I never went over my 1200 calorie goal, but when I did, I made up for it the next day or two.
Although I used a hormone supplement I am really convinced that it was really just the total number of calories consumed. My family practice doctor and my cardiologist both re-enforced that view. Eat fewer calories than I burn and I will lose weight.
As I finish this article up, the night before my trip to Colorado, I have lost a total of 41 pounds. I have shed almost six inches at my waist and my clothes are beginning to make me look like a homeless guy! Throughout this summer my daily average calorie has been right around 1000 per day.
I am not entirely sure what will happen over the next couple of weeks. I will certainly be burning significantly more calories, and I don’t want to try to stay at 1000 calories. However, I do plan to continue to count my calories and I think I will shoot for not more than 2000 calories a day. I’ll let you know how it works out!