Thursday, March 17, 2016

Contest update, week 1

A quick note regarding contest results and progress:

Tuesday’s weight was 256 pounds—on track for plan. It was down to 253 pounds by the end of my two hour workout which was mostly water weight loss. As I told my trainer that evening, losing weight is simple. All you have to do is keep running a caloric deficit. Note that I said “simple”, not “easy.”

In order to run at a caloric deficit I have two big challenges--cravings and hunger. Cravings are what happens when I walk out of work and smell four eateries grilling their hearts out. I want it. I don’t care what it is but I want it right-now. Cravings are your body’s way of telling you that something is off. I crave citrus after a good workout because I need the nutrients and because fruit will help me rehydrate. Sometimes I crave dessert because I am depressed and eating makes me feel good. Both urges stem from an imbalance. You cannot fight cravings but you can mitigate them. I keep a bowl of plain yogurt and fruit in the fridge so that when I get home and want to go gonzo on the pantry I have something to divert interest. I have a bag of unsalted almonds in my desk at work so that I can chew on something rather than charging the cafĂ© lines. These snacks are not delectable. They are just appetizing enough that I will eat them in a pinch and not so appetizing that I will start craving them—which would be counterproductive. I make sure to keep junk out of the house and office whenever possible—especially open and eat foods like chips. I make sure to eat a couple hundred calories in the morning before I leave the house so that I can string my way along throughout the day till I can get home for dinner. I do not fight cravings. I mitigate their impact and limit the number of targets available.

I kind of like hunger. I know that sounds weird because the first thing I say around meal time is “I am starving” but it is true. A little hunger makes me feel like my body is trimming down to the basics. I do not feel bloated. I may be tired but not apathetically wallowing in my last meal; which is not to say that I enjoy being hungry—it just has some up sides. I can fight hunger. Exercising, especially the kind that produces endorphins in quantity makes it go away. Getting out of the house or into a project takes my mind off the feeling. Drinking a couple glasses of water dampens the affect. I try to keep high energy high protein snacks available because they promote satiety (the feeling of fullness.) I avoid soda, chips, and other empty calories—not because they are bad for me but because they ultimately do not make me feel full or take the edge off my hunger.

So far it is working. For the past couple months I have let my self go a bit in the name of building muscle. Now I have to accustom my body to the idea that it is ok to run a little low on fuel. I swear 90% of losing weight is mental.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Putting it on the line

Last year I took off 40 pounds, kicked my less active life style in the teeth, and started eating better. Now I am putting it on the line—because there is nothing like a good competition to get me motivated.

My gym offers periodic contests to inspire its membership to get healthy. This year it is the extreme brick-over. They take a bunch of measurements, use weekly weigh-ins, and at the end of eight weeks the person who loses the greatest percentage of body weight wins. There was a time in my life not so long ago when I would have been shooting for total victory—take no prisoners and all that. However, experience has taught me to set goals within my power to achieve. Winning the contest depends on my results relative to other people. It would be nice to take home the prize but I am more interested in starting off spring with some slimming down so that I can start pushing hard between April and July. So here are my goals:

• Get back down to 240 pounds. When I hit that number by the end of April it puts me in a great position to attack my fitness goals for the rest of the year.

• Maintain steady weight loss while attending Easter dinner and the beer, bourbon, and bbq festival. I am going to enjoy these opportunities while eating responsibly.

• Build a new exercise routine based around slimming down. The last six months have been focused around building core strengths. I am going to build a new routine that focuses on cardio and constant movement.

• Get my body used to eating smaller portions and better quality. I have not been pigging out. I have gotten a little too comfortable having light snacks like jerky and cheese around though.

That is it—nothing complicated. Starting weight last week was 261 pounds; so I need to average 3 pounds a week to hit my goal. Next check is tomorrow before boxing.