Everyone has a weakness

Mine is coffee, today it caught up to me.  I made it all the way to the sixth day before I lost out and had some extra coffee.  Tonight I went to see the movie Lawless after fighting the cravings all day and feeling extra tired I had an extra cup of coffee.  It was amazing, and I’m not sorry at all.  Being strict has been good, but when your body needs something it’s dumb to deny it.

Observations from today:

caffeine addiction is rough to break

-I’m enjoying eating clean, there’s not much that I miss.

-Thinking of things to write about everyday has been good, but takes some discipline which is good to develop.

-I’m enjoying the extra reading that I get to do now that things have slowed down.

-Two more days until I take weekly update photos, wonder what they will show.

Pictures today:

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Day 1 – Before pictures and first thoughts

It’s almost 9pm on my first day strict.  Here are some observations from the day as well as my before pictures.

– Going from lots of coffee to not so much coffee is not really that fun.

– I’m thankful that I’m still allowed to drink a little tea in addition to water, at least there’s some taste there.

– Cutting down on the things that i used to eat was really not as hard as I originally thought.

– One way to make sure you don’t cheat is to spend 3 hours in the gym, doing your work and then working with the on-ramp class.

That’s it for today, here’s the pictures.

Bringing things into the present

                So far I have talked about stories that have happened in the last year, and I will still do that as part of my writing here.  The last couple weeks I have felt a pull to bring things into the present, and talk about my life today and how it is different from before, as well as the daily struggles that come around.  This is going to be the first post that talks about my life today, and at least one post a week will be that way.  Yesterday I picked up my copy of Practical Paleo, I got it not only because the author is an awesome lady that I have had some dealings with via twitter, but also because for my last month in Pennsylvania I am headed back strict.  I thought that I would outline what that will cover here since for the next month I’ll be doing some extra posts to talk about how going back to strict for a month is treating me.  “Project Sexybeast” as I’ve just decided to call it is 4 weeks long and will end just before I move back home to see everyone in Illinois.  The basics of the program will center on four things: retooling my food intake, going to 6 days/wk of programming, getting better sleep, reflection on the last year.

The Scale

I think that I should take on this one early in the life of this blog. Seeing as how I have and will talk a lot about weight loss in my writing. This topic is one that can easily turn into a rant, or just run wildly off topic so I’ll try to keep it on point and hopefully making at least some sense to you are you’re reading it.

 

So is your weight just a number, or is it something more?

 

As you look around the internet you will find tons of posts on fitness blogs about the scale being just a number. When I ask myself if I really believe that I have to say that there is a part of me that doesn’t believe that it is. Everything we do is measured in some way shape or form, and while it is true that the scale only gives you a small picture of what is going on with your body it is still a valid measurement. Now before anyone get’s the wrong idea about what I think about using your weight as a measure of success let me say that I think it is way down the scale on what you should be looking at. But from time to time it is good to know what you weigh. I have not weighed myself in months I’ll be honest about that, the gym I go to has a scale in the locker room but I refuse to use it. Why, because I feel that I have moved passed using my weight as a measurement. Until I hit my goal I did weigh in once a week. For that part of this journey I was concerned with where I was, and how I was tracking. And I think that when you are trying to find out how your body is progressing stepping on a scale every once in a while can give you valid data.

 

Here is how I did it for the last year, first I only weighed in once a week. This was a solid rule for me, as a former wrestler and someone that can be very Type A about things I had to limit myself. It was simple I weighed in Sunday mornings, I woke up, went to the bathroom and the weighed in before I brushed my teeth. That gave me a baseline weight, let me know how my diet had been for the last week and if I was going in the direction that I should be. Most weeks I had lost something, a couple weeks I had gained, and they were weeks that I had changed something in my diet and I knew then that I had to go back to what I was doing. That allowed me a chance to take a snapshot of where my body was at. The rest of the week I didn’t worry about it, why because if you weigh in too often you’re just chasing the needle and trying to make yourself hit a certain weight. My weekly weigh ins were a small part of an entire picture and within that context it was a number but it was a part of something larger.

 

Second, I didn’t freak out when the number that I hoped for didn’t show up. There were lots of weeks that I had hoped to see a certain number, usually when I was close to another milestone and I didn’t get it. I just had to remind myself that this wasn’t the only way I was measuring success and usually those were the times that I only had to look as far as a workout that I had PR’d or looked in the mirror to see my body composition changes to understand that my body was changing in more ways that just dropping pounds. I wasn’t always successful in this however and there were a few Sundays that I would walk into the box for the strongman work and complain that I hadn’t gotten to where I wanted to, but once I got into the work for the day those concerns tended to go away.

 

Lastly, don’t take it too seriously. I know this seems dumb, but really sometimes you just need to make a game out of it, understand that every week won’t be perfect, that sometimes you’ll mess up and that it won’t be a smooth road. When you step on the scale maybe take a guess while it’s calculating, see if you can guess where you’re at for the week. It might even help you be more in tune with what your body is telling you throughout the week. When you have a big loss celebrate, when you don’t lose anything remind yourself that you’re in for the long haul. You don’t get to where you want to be overnight, and sometimes there are things going on with your body that you don’t know about. There were times that I wouldn’t lose more than a few ounces a week for a few weeks and then bam, I’d drop 10 pounds because my body had been working on some body comp issues. So take the number with a grain of salt and put on your big boy/girl pants.

 

Overall just remember that it is a number but it’s more than a number too. Use the scale for what it should be, one part of your measurement of progress. There will be times that you’ll lean out, and times that you build, sometimes the number will go up, sometimes down, and sometimes it won’t go anywhere. Just don’t get on that thing everyday, don’t obsess, and sometimes when it doesn’t show the number you want it to. Tell the scale off, cause you know what, it deserves it.

You’re not my pal: Or how I learned to stop worrying and listen to my body again.

This post is actually a repost of a note I wrote when I stopped using the website My Fitness Pal.  While the timing is off I still believe everything I said here.  In the time since I stopped using the service I have managed to hit my goal weight, drop another pants size, and continue to lose around the waist.  I firmly believe in the idea that one calorie is not the same as another and that the breakdown of what you eat matters far more than just limiting your overall intake.  With that said I’ll let my words speak for themselves and I welcome all comments about the following post.

This week I stopped using the website and mobile app MyFitnessPal, there are a variety of reasons for this which I’ll outline here. But first let me say that for many people I am sure that this is a great tool, and for some the principles behind the calculations have led them to lose weight and be more fit. I however am not one of those people. In using the software I have lost weight, about 10 pounds in five or six weeks actually, but on the whole my experience of tracking was miserable. Some say if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, well I had already lost over 100 pounds in six months before signing up for the website. And my thought was that if I had gotten this far on my own imagine how much more I would lose if I just tracked my calories and my burn and it would help me know how I’m doing in all areas of my eating. Well I was wrong for a few reasons.

It turned me into a freak about every little thing that went into my body:

Those fish oil pills you take in the morning, yup they have calories, and yup the count, every other thing that you take in has calories. And you better find a way to burn all that off, cause it will add up quick. I began to worry about everything, weighing food, not eating even though my body was saying I was hungry, and looking at that magic figure that the program had given me after only a couple questions and taking that as gospel for what I could have. Didn’t matter what my day was like, do two crossfit workouts, and work an 8 hour shift, do some housework. Doesn’t matter you still only get the same amount of calories. Eating calories burned in exercise is cheating don’t you know. I also started to change my diet from that I had been eating quite regularly and just replacing it with drinking more water to feel full. That number became my end all be all, no matter what my body was saying and it was often crying out for more protein and fats, I didn’t listen to it.

I became obsessed with the scale:

As you could imagine tracking intake and burn also means weighing yourself in from time to time. And while I have generally allowed myself to weigh in once on Sunday mornings just to see where I am tracking everything through the software meant that I was finding an excuse just to “check my weight” and it got to the point where I’d weigh in multiple times a day. I’m not wrestling anymore, so I don’t have to worry about not being able to compete because of my weight. Getting upset that I had only lost one pound that week, or wondering why I was carrying an extra 0.1 pounds one day over the last began to take over my thoughts about how I was doing on my diet.

I was ignoring my body

This is the big one, I no longer listened to what my body was trying to tell me. And this is a huge part of being Paleo is listening to your body and giving it what it needs. For the first 100 pounds that I had lost I generally didn’t use a scale with foods. Sure I’d measure some things, and even sometimes weigh out portions when packaging things as leftovers for the week. But it was more about making sure that each day was about even more than it was about making sure that I didn’t get too big of a meal. At the beginning of the week I had been pretty hungry all the time for about a week straight but I only ate the number of calories that I was allowed and so I just kept going. My workouts suffered, my life suffered, and in general my health was not as good because I was living to a number not what my body was saying. It was telling me that I was working out six days a week sometimes twice a week and working 40+ hours at a job that I spent the entire time on my feet. I needed more calories and so I came to the conclusion that me and the program had to go.

What comes next:

Pure and simply I go back to life before I started all this craziness. I have been doing this since Tuesday and it’s been great. I eat meals that fill me up, and I no longer worry that Green Peppers have more sugar in them than the red variety or that I shouldn’t have a little orange juice from time to time. I mix up my meals, eat lots of veggies, and make sure to include plenty of protein. But I don’t weigh anything out, I eat when my body tells me to, and I don’t eat when it doesn’t. I make sure to avoid processed foods, sugars, and of course those grains and legumes. I’ve even let myself have a little cheese this week. In all I feel much better than I did before and my workouts seem better because my body is well fed and can call upon that nutrition to rebuild and get ready for the next day. It’s a good thing to because I’m competing in the CrossFit Open and will need all the help that I can get. All in all I’ve returned to the Paleo model of intake control, and I feel great because of it.

Wonder if it worked?

Well I weighed in today and lost 3 pounds since I stopped tracking, biggest loss since suing the program.