Thursday, April 7, 2011

Spring in St. Louis – an end and a new beginning!

I finished my work at the Institute last Friday, April 1st followed by a Scriptural Prayer Service of Farewell on Monday, the fourth. It was a lot of hard work on my head, my heart and my body and I am grateful that I am finished.
My discharge weight was 290 lbs. for a total loss of 72.7 lbs. from my initial weight-in last September.  (Obviously I'm not finished, but it's a great start, right?)  I’m very happy about that.  I’ve always tried to be clear though, that my real goal was the improvement of my health and that’s precisely what I have accomplished over these past months.
Dr. Mary Fox, the Co-Medical Director of the Psychology and Religion Program of the St. Louis Behavioral Medicine Institute notes my weight loss and the resultant improvement in the control of my diabetes, my dramatically reduced cholesterol, and well-controlled blood pressure.  She puts it this way: “In summary, Fr. Dennis has achieved many of the goals set out for him at the onset of this program. I feel confident that he will continue to achieve even more with continued lifestyle changes. I have been honored to assist in his medical care.”
Thanks be to God I’ll be home for Palm Sunday and Holy Week!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Some Good News Finally!

With some frustration I’ve been bouncing off and on that 300 lb. level I'd achieved for the last three weeks. (Hence no blog.) Finally I got serious about matters last Wednesday (that is, Ash Wednesday!) So at today’s weigh-in with Martha, I was at 296.1 lbs! Now truly below 300 and down 6.1 lbs. for the week! And so Martha was please. And if Martha is pleased, Father Dennis is pleased.
Now the really curious thing about it is that my starting weight was that astounding 362.7 lbs. and, if you figure it out, subtracting the current 296.1 lbs., to date I’ve lost exactly… ahhh… 66.6 lbs!  That’s right 6 – 6 – 6!
On another matter, it looks like my last day at the Institute will be Friday, April 1. (Strangely appropriate, eh?) I plan to spend the following week seeing the sights in St. Louis and environs as well as packing my bags and preparing my car. I have a meeting in Washington, D.C., on April 9 and then will plan to travel home beginning Monday, April 11 – getting home by Palm Sunday to celebrate Holy Week and Easter at St. Joseph’s in Sandpoint, Idaho.
At least that’s the plan!  Keep me in your prayers! Blessings to you all!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

So yesterday I met with Dr. Mary Fox, my physician at BMI (the Institute). (She’s great by the way!) And she was most pleased with my progress -- and I do mean pleased!
I am indeed getting healthy. For instance, my blood pressure was 118 over 60. (I asked her if I could start eating salt – she just laughed.) My good cholesterol has bumped up from 37 (below normal range) to 41 (within range). My A1c has gone down to 6.8 – we were aiming to get it under 7. Etc., etc.
But the thing that really brought a smile to my face, was to step on her scales and have her say, “It looks like 300 to me.”

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Tale of the Scale

I weighed-in with Martha on Monday: 304.1. Weighed-in with the “Y” on Tuesday: 302. I weigh-in with the doctor today. I won’t claim an accomplished 60 lb. weight loss unless and until it’s confirmed by Martha. But I’m close. (I wonder, do I sound obsessed about weight?)
My goal in this program has always been clear: To improve my health in a reasonable and sustainable manner. It is as Bill B., one of my colleagues in the weight management program, says, “a lifestyle change.” And it is the things I’ve learned here and put into effect in my life that will, I am confident, make all the difference. One of the critical factors of good health is diet; another is exercise.
I keep a detailed food log, which I’ve learned is an important key to successful weight loss (and to successful weight maintenance by the way!) And a review of the food log shows why I haven’t made more progress – I exceed my quota of meat servings on one day, and my quota of grain/starch servings on another.  Sometimes it’s because I mistake my daily count or encounter a complex dish, but mostly it’s because I give myself permission to exceed my quotas. It may be an evening out or a celebration or just because. And one of the other things I’ve learned is that all those little things that really add up.
On the other hand, the weight is going slowly but surely. I’m hitting the gym four times per week. My blood sugar’s under control. I feel great. I’m saying my prayers. And I’m managing to keep my sense of humor. I can’t wait to get home.
You'll see, it’ll be worth the weight.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Martha is pleased.

Martha’s my dietician.  I weigh-in with her every Monday. Today, I was down to 304.3. (Lord, doesn’t it seem to take forever!) Down just about 3 lbs. for the week and overall some 58.4 lbs. Martha was pleased. And I’m at least satisfied.
The weekend was beautiful here in St. Louis. When I left the “Y” early Sunday afternoon, the thermometer in my Subaru read 65° -- and the snow disappeared very rapidly.  It felt to me as though this weather finally broke the back of winter.
Did I mention I can see the Mississippi out the back door of the La Salette house.  The house is actually on an 11 story bluff overlooking the river – so it provides spectacular and fascinating views in all seasons.
At this point the river moves along at 15 knots per hour. The tug and barge traffic moving upstream and downstream is pretty impressive – as is the ice flow on the water. The Illinois side of the river here serves as a flood plain and so is not built up.

I’ve started reading Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn after the Lord only knows how many years – I figured this to be an ideal place and time to do it. And I hope to follow my reading by a trip upstream to a town called Hannibal come the spring.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Triple Nickel and then some

It’s very cold in St. Louis!
To cut to the chase:  Weighed in with Martha on Monday: 307.2 lbs. – down 55.5 – triple nickel. Then on Tuesday weighted in at the “Y” Weight Challenge: 305. Why the difference?  Could be a couple of things, time of day, meal and/or water consumption, etc. So it’s going slowly but surely.
I expect (and certainly hope) to do much better next week.
I’m working hard, I feel good, Life is great. I miss my family, parish and all my friends. Keep me in your prayers and, by all means, keep those cards and letters coming!  God is good!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I know, I know. . .

It’s been a while and I’ve heard from a number of my gentle readers that they are anxious to hear from me and learn of my progress, so here you go:
First, the numbers.
When I checked in with Martha a week ago Monday, I weighed in at 310. Then this past Monday, it was 309. That’s more of a plateau than I’d ever want.  So I’m not happy about that; but there were some other numbers: my total cholesterol is down from 218 to 95 and the bad cholesterol went from 125 to 15!  My overall health appears to have improved:  my blood pressure (110 over 70), my blood sugars (mornings 118!)  Dr. Fox seemed very pleased.  I’m very pleased.  Now if I could just loose the pounds.
Secondly, St. Louis is currently under a blizzard warning.  There’s a layer of ice under the layers of snow and high winds are predicted.  The Institute (where I attend sessions) was closed today and will be closed tomorrow as well – first time ever according to some of the staff.  Plus I got word that the YMCA was closed so I couldn't attend my usual Y Weight Challenge class this evening!  I couldn’t get my gym time in! 
Isn't God good!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Another Milestone!

I weighed-in today with Martha for the first time since before Christmas. I weighed 312.1 lbs. Which means since I entered the program I have lost 50.6 lbs. that I am no longer carrying around.  My friends, that’s over 50 pounds of ugly lard!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year 2011!

I have really enjoyed the Christmas break.  I don’t start back to the Institute until Tuesday. So it’s been wonderful!
Actually I’ve missed home, family and parish very badly, but I’ve received tons of mail, lots of emails, texts and phone calls.  So I’ve felt very much in touch.
What I’ve done (at least on the positive side) is this:  I’ve gone to the gym every single day between Christmas and New Year’s (for a total of 20 days in December!) My workout is now up to a heart-pumping 40 minutes on the treadmill or the Nustep (a reclined stepper). Plus I went in twice on Tuesday, the second time to get checked out on the strength machines.
Now I’ve also applied for the “Y Weight Challenge” – a 12 week competition (in small teams with a personal trainer – a la the Biggest Loser). I’ll find out tomorrow whether I’ve been accepted in that program.
So while it seems I’ve fully embraced my athletic self (sigh), it’s still an effort to get to the gym.
Plus (again on the positive side) I’ve seen lots of movies!  The best of the bunch is “The King’s Speech.” Some bad language in it, but Oscar worthy in my humble opinion. I also enjoyed “The Fighter.”
On the negative side, I didn’t focus much on the diet.  But while I didn’t do great on the diet over the holidays, I did alright.  I’m not sure I lost any weight, but I’m sure I did not gain any either.  It just puts be behind schedule. However I don’t weigh in with Martha until next week. So we’ll see.
On the whole it’s been a great break!  Happy New Year to you all!