Meet the old Charles.
The weight just fell off! I initially didn't do much in the way of exercise, but as I lost weight I found it easier to exercise and that I had the energy that needed to be burned. Initially I was walking and biking. I live in a climate that makes outdoor activity difficult in the winter, so the biking was temporary. Then I came across Mark Sisson's website/book after hearing him on Robb Wolf's podcast. I like what he teaches on exercise. Wolf tends to cater to those who really want to do weight lifting, and that's not me. So with Sisson's ideas on sprinting once a week, lifting heavy things once a week, doing slow aerobic the rest of the week, and playing as often as possible...well...that was right up my alley.
As a testimony to the effectiveness of the sprinting on overall aerobic capacity, I was able to do the sprints for four weeks before going to Colorado to ski in December. On the first day, I ran up three flights of stairs, two at a time, and wasn't winded! That is unheard of for me. My first run down the mountain was top-to-bottom, non-stop (even with my weight, I am an accomplished skier), and I wasn't winded nor was I feeling the burn in my thighs. Again...unheard of for me recently. Between the weight loss and the sprinting, my physical abilities at altitude were better than I can ever remember. OK...I got ahead of myself. The weight fell off quickly. The "after" picture is from early October and the total weight loss at the time was about 30 pounds. I continued to lose weight, but at a slower pace until I was down about 34 pounds by December. Then I got to spend a lot of time skiing, so my exercise level was necessarily increased considerably. That brought me down to a loss of 39 pounds. Right now I have been bouncing around at between 35 and 39 pounds of loss for about a month.
I believe it is because I have gotten a bit slack and allowed myself to eat too many sugary sweets like hard candies, etc. I have about 20 pounds to go to get back to high-school weight, so I am going to bite the bullet and let those sugars go by keeping my eye on the goal. I also had a VAP cholesterol test done. I don't have a "before" test to compare it to, but it came back as expected as "high" overall, but with good HDL, Type A LDL, and good Triglycerides.
I've read a ton of Chris Kresser's work on cholesterol and am not worried about the numbers. He also pointed out that it really isn't a good idea to believe the numbers until you have been at a stable weight for several months. So I'll test again when I get to a stable weight. Overall, this has been the simplest way of eating I've ever encountered. I don't miss grains at all. And it will be a lifestyle. It has to be. If it is only a "diet", then as soon as I get to my goal, my old way of eating comes back right along with the weight. That can't happen. I want to be healthy as I age, able to be active as long as possible.
Meet the new Charles
I have a nasty sweet tooth, so staying away from things like hard candy and ice cream is especially difficult. In fact, I am at a plateau right now and suspect that this is the culprit. So I am going to work especially hard at avoiding the opportunities to consume those items.
Know why you want to do this. I inundated myself with all the books about eating Paleo/Primal...everything from Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson, Gary Taubes, Chris Kresser, and Loren Cordain. One of my favorites was "Wheat Belly" by Dr. William Davis. All of these helped convince me that I was eating in a manner that would make me healthy for the rest of my life. With all the other potential diseases out there, why make it easier to be debilitated by the way you eat?! Set a goal, but more importantly, set a REASON. If it's only a goal, once you reach it, you will be tempted to return to your old ways. But a reason stays with you and you can make this style of eating a lifestyle.