What and how you eat
    The Food Pyramid
    Counting calories: a key to diet literacy
    Your activity level
    The best form of exercise
    Chart your weight
    Sustainable agriculture
    Medical condition
    On hunger
    On eating out
    On cooking
    On addiction
    Food as love
    Spiritual Vegetarianism
    On temptation and resolve
    Six months report
    Dieting as meditation
 Grapevine Revisited
 Christmas Letter

This website is now published on my mobileme account. Any opinions expressed, however, are totally my responsibility.

The original website was published through the courtesy of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Jim Andris, Sept. 17, 2003.

Six Months Report

Now that I have successfully maintained "Jim Andris' Diet" for six months, as of July 1, 2004, perhaps it is time to reflect on what I have learned from all of this.

First, the actual facts

Lest you think I am stretching the truth about the success of this diet, I have updated the actual weight data for you to see. I had a more or less steady weight loss of 20 pounds over a period of six months. That averages out to about one pound a week, which I understand from various sources is about the most you really should try to loose steadily over an extended period.

My general pattern for the first six months was that my actual evening weight always stayed below my projected morning weight. I was, in effect, ahead of the diet. Then in March, I had a little blip of weight gain due to a weekend of celebrating out of town with friends. However, as you can see, and by dint of extra care immediately upon return, I brought the diet back on course until the first part of May.

After that, we see at least three undulations, where my actual evening weight creeps above my projected morning weight, but then drops steadily to well below the projected morning weight over a period of a week. There's no great mystery here. I am feeling my way towards better control of my weight. The steep downward curves correspond to strict periods of dieting: no cheating, counting calories, weighing every day, keeping up my exercise, saying no to spouse and friends about extra calories. Let's face it folks, here is where you learn whether or not you have will power. But I was never miserable; I just had to refocus on my priorities.

Starvation diets or binge dieting followed by binge eating are extremely hard on your body and can eventually destroy your health. I don't believe that these last three cycles are quite that bad. I never starved myself, but I did yield to eating more calories than was optimal.

I plan to continue on this diet, as agreed previously with my physician, until 3 more months have elapsed, and then convert to a maintenance weight program. That will be a whole new experience, and I look forward to sharing it with you.

My general physical and mental condition now

Almost all of the time, I feel strong and healthy. I've had no colds or major new illnesses in six months. I am taking group courses both Tai Chi and Hatha Yoga once a week and trying to carry some of that into my daily life. I have noticed that it is not wise to combine the Yoga with a strict dieting day. I regularly look for periods of activity, such as walking, gardening, climbing stairs, house cleaning. I now see extra physical work as a bonus, but on the other hand, am still mindful of not overworking.

It's worth noting my medical condition. My almost lifelong gouty condition is so controlled that, on the concurrence of my physician, I have dropped the allopurinol therapy. Also as Dr. Wessling predicted, this weight loss has more or less corrected my dependence on the acid pump blocker, Prevacid. Since this is quite an expensive drug, I'm sure my insurance company will like this. However, I have not tampered with the other two medications, which were prescribed by a specialist to control moderate pulmonary hypertension leading to a disfunctional tricuspid valve in my heard. These were the calcium channel blocker nifedipene, 60 mg/day, and the beta blocker atenolol, 50 mg/day. I will go back to the specialist in August for a one year follow up on this condition. However, I am doing moderate aerobic exercise with the yoga and experiencing none of the earier symptoms, which were fatigue and heart palpitations. My blood pressure is regularly 120/70, the best in my adult life. Whether or not it is wise for me to reduce the blood pressure medication remains to be determined. I do take the recommended dose of Mannatech Glycentials, which is a mineral/vitamin/antioxidant supplement, and have for years.

Some new learnings along the way

Most people have by this time noticed that I have lost weight, and the general response is quite positive. I have had to watch a little ego involvement in bragging about weight loss in front of people who are obviously struggling with overweight or obesity. I am trying to be much more sensitive to this, and just to live my life as a thin, healthy, compassionate person without the need for external social approval. If my ego were half the size it is now, it still would barely fit into this new, thinner body. So I have decided to go on an ego diet, too. More about that later, but it's kind of a neat idea. I I think first I will get to maintenance weight, and then work out some of these details. Of course, the Course in Miracles or Ken Keyes, or many religious and spiritual practices will put you on a good diet there. We have to think about this a bit.

I have also noticed another pattern in a few of my close female friends. They liked me better heavier. They tell me so in various ways. Sometimes it comes out disguised in various ways. They might say, "But did you really need to loose weight in the first place?" "I think you might have lost too much weight now!" or "You probably have lost all the weight you need to loose." I have to confess that I haven't learned to ride this particular bicycle very smoothly yet. But for the record I will tell you what I have tended to do. I speak right up and right back. I say things like, "Well, I am consulting with my physician on this, and we agree that this and some further weight loss might help my current medical condition." or "I know you'd like to see me a bit heavier, but I really prefer to be thinner." I've noticed that either I am saying these things abrasively, or they really don't agree with me, because I get a little static from them. Which is ok among friends, as long as you don't needlessly escalate.

I've also adjusted my goals a bit. My BMI (body mass index) has come down from 30 to 24. This is the percentage of body fat. My goal is 21. I think this is an excellent goal for someone my age. Also, I hope to continue to increase the exercise as I get healthier and more drug free, and that will bring down my BMI. I don't think I want to go below 20 or 19. You have to be a runner or swimmer to get lower than that, and this doesn't fit my age or lifestyle. But also, I still have a little glob of fat that I am carrying on my abdomen. Not bad, but it is there. So now my goal is really shifting. Imagine, when I started all this, thinking about loosing 25 or 30 pounds was monumental. Now I'm thinking about loosing a few more pounds and how I can effectively tighten and add a bit of muscle. I'm definitely NOT a mesomorph, so this doesn't come easy. For most of my life, I've been an overweight endomorph. That is, I was overweight, but it wasn't distributed over my body. I have skinning legs and arms, and the weight mostly goes on the abdomen and waist. So now I'm thinking about how I can be a fit endomorph. I never am going to have bulging muscles, and that would be a foolish goal. But I can be trim and defined, and that would be a very happy result for my body type.

I also have had a major push to improve my posture. That is what the yoga, tai chi, and also some myofascial release therapy is about. My yoga instructor today was talking about how we tend to loose upper body strength as we age. I definitely want to increase my upper body's ability to hold myself straight.

Well, thanks for listening, and check back in three months. Oh, I'll be going to Greece with Stephen in October.