If you go to the grocery store today, swing by the meat department. Pick up a couple packages of hamburger. Balance them both on the palm of one hand. Feel that? It’s not super heavy, but it’s a noticeable amount of weight. The size isn’t insignificant, either. Hold it long enough, and your arm will start getting tired. Your hand might quiver from the strain. That’s 2 pounds of meat in your hand, enough for eight quarter-pound hamburger patties. And that’s how much less I weigh now compared to last week. Yep, I dropped 2 pounds. Objectively, those 2 pounds are no different from any other pounds I might lose on this journey. Subjectively, though, they seem pretty important. Discovering I weighed 307 pounds was a watershed moment for me. That’s when I knew I couldn’t ignore my diet anymore and when I realized I had to get back in shape. My first week as Ken 2.0, I lost 7 pounds. The second week, I didn’t lose any weight, but I didn’t gain any, either. I was stuck at 300. Now I’m 298. I’m not in the 300s anymore. To many of you, that probably isn’t a huge distinction. To me, it’s a big psychological plus. I feel as if I’m on my way now, as if I’m making progress. I’m heading in the right direction, and hopefully my weight will continue to decrease in succeeding weeks and months. The more weight I lose, the better my odds of avoiding certain illnesses and medical conditions, and the longer my life expectancy will get. At the same time, I’m working out. My exercise regimen now includes about an hour of weightlifting three or four nights a week, plus 20 to 30 minutes of cardio six times a week. Maybe I’m imagining it, but it seems as if my muscles are starting to firm back up. As I get more muscular, my metabolism will increase, and I’ll start burning calories more efficiently. The combination of a healthier, lower-calorie diet and a more active metabolism should help me continue to lose weight. Eating better is harder than you might think. Everyone has an opinion on what you should or shouldn’t eat, and new medical studies emerge seemingly every day that cite the benefits of one food and the negatives of another. It’s terribly confusing. I’m lucky to be working with Karen Funderburg, a registered dietitian, who has helped make sense of it for me. When I visited her Thursday, she explained why I was ravenous after eating a frozen meal for lunch the other day. The reason was surprising: I hadn’t consumed enough fat. I’ve been conditioned to see fat — all fat — as a negative thing. Turns out that there are healthy fats, such as those in nuts and olives. Having about 10 grams of healthy fat in my meals works kind of like a backup generator; when I’ve burned through my carbohydrates and proteins, my body still has the longer lasting fat to burn. That keeps me from getting hungry between meals. Here’s another surprising thing Funderburg said: Ground turkey burgers don’t have many more calories than extra lean hamburger, and for my money, real burgers taste a whole lot better. I’m allowed to have one every once in awhile. So when you’re done comparing those 2 pounds of ground beef to the two pounds I lost this week, put one of them back on the shelf. Buy the other one. And grill up a burger for me.
Staff Writer Ken Raymond began a yearlong weight loss and fitness journey on April
1. Here are his stats:
Age: 40 Height: About 6 feet 1 inch Beginning weight: 307 pounds Current weight: 298 pounds