Archive for the 'Motivation' Category

A Year of Not So Much

Mike on Nov 18th 2011

Yesterday I looked back over my last year of records regarding my weight loss. In the last eleven months I’ve lost essentially…nothing. Well, not really. It does seem that way because on the scale I have fluctuated up and down around 15 pounds between 245 and 260, seemingly making no progress. In reality I have definitely lost fat and gained muscle, because I look different and my clothes fit differently than they did a year ago, and I’ve made steady strength gains while lifting weights. How much fat have I actually lost though? 5 lbs? 25 lbs? I haven’t got a clue.

Regardless of exactly how much fat I’ve lost, I know it isn’t even remotely near what I lost the first nine months or so of my program. Something has definitely changed in the last 8-10 months. If I get really strict on a reduced-calorie diet I lose very little weight, at least relative to what I used to lose. I also find that as soon as I cut the calories I get tired much quicker during a workout and have a hard time making it to the end. After a few weeks of that I start getting stressed, start thinking about food all the time, and the tiredness progresses beyond just workouts and starts affecting me all the time. Before long I can’t continue like that and I give up on the diet, just to feel “normal” again. According to all the research I’ve done, however, this isn’t something significantly out-of-the-ordinary for someone in my position. For the better part of the last year and a half I’ve been following a pretty strict diet and have lost in the neighborhood of 100 lbs of fat. That takes its toll on the body and can have a variety of unintended consequences (i.e. lower metabolism, out-of-whack body chemistry, and the like).

So where do I go from here apart from just continuing my four days of training per week? Clearly low calories isn’t working for me any more…it is just causing me to yo-yo up and down like I used to. I keep setting goals and missing them because I can’t sustain the diet for more that a few weeks at a time, with very little weight loss even while I’m on it. What do I try now? What have I decided?

First of all, I’ve increased my cardio after each weight-training session. I work out with the trainer about 45 minutes and then do an additional 45-60 minutes of cardio. I typically burn from 900-1000 calories per workout. Secondly, I’m done with low calories. Done. Finished. It’s over. I can’t handle that any more. I’m tired of being tired and tired of the stress. For now I’m going to try modifying my diet to something close to what I’d do if I were finished with weight loss, except the calories will be slightly reduced. I’ll be eating the same sorts of food that I eat now (i.e. lean meats, good carbs, egg whites, and the like), but much more of it. I’ll still be counting calories but increase them to around 2800-3000/day. My hope is that I’ll be able to lose at least a half a pound per week, or possibly a bit more. Even if that means it takes me another year or more to lose the rest of the weight, that would be better than the last year, and without all the stress and tiredness. I’m also considering doing another body composition test at the Cooper Clinic to see exactly where I stand now—how does my lean body mass now compare to where it was over a year ago? While I’m at it, I’m thinking that it would probably be wise to get a blood workup as well, to make sure there isn’t something else going on that’s contributing to my problem.

In any case, I’m still at it, working out as hard as ever, and not giving up.

Filed in Goals,Motivation,Weight loss | 2 responses so far

Then and Now

Mike on Jul 11th 2011

It has been a couple of months since I’ve posted. Not because I’ve given up but simply because I haven’t had much to report. Training has continued like normal, but concurrently I took a significant break from the diet. As I said in my last post, I was feeling burned out and exhausted all the time, always thinking about food. A couple of months not really thinking about what I can and can’t eat has been good, plus I had a couple of weeks of vacation thrown in there. The family took two road trips back to back, and in the middle of that we found out our house flooded and are still dealing with the aftermath of that. Consequently I wasn’t able to train for three full weeks.

I ate somewhere around 49 lbs of taffy and 63 boxes of Pop Tarts on the vacation, so I have no doubt I’ve I gained some weight, but no worries. The trips are over, the house is pretty much in order (although we are still waiting on new flooring due to the water damage), and I’m just about ready to start hitting the diet fairly hard again. As of this afternoon I was able to get back in the gym with Tim and get the normal routine going again. It was a painful and exhausting workout, but that was expected after a three week break.

I’ll end this post with a couple of photos I’ve been intending on posting since Mother’s Day. The last several years we have made it a Mother’s Day tradition to go out to eat at P.F. Chang’s for dinner. I was amazed when I saw the picture we took this year and compared it to the ones from last year and the year before. It’s easy for me to forget how far I’ve come until I see a comparison picture like this. It helps encourage me and keeps me motivated.

Filed in Encouragement,Lifestyle,Motivation,Photos | 3 responses so far

I made it by 45

Mike on Mar 15th 2011

One of the main goals I had just over a year ago when I decided to start my fitness program was to be in the best shape of my life by the time I reached 45 years old. Well, today I turned 45 and I’m happy to say that I made that goal. I still haven’t lost all the weight I want to lose yet–I still have about 40-50 more lbs to go, but I’ve lost around 90 lbs of fat, gained around 20 lbs of muscle, and have more strength and endurance than I’ve ever had at any time in my life. Just a few months ago I had a complete physical and have zero health problems, and over the last year there were countless times that I said to myself something like, “Wow, I could have never done this in the past.” When I think back to the normal state of my health and fitness in the past, I’m regularly amazed at the things I can do now without getting tired. In some ways my outlook is very different now, and I have no doubt that I’ll be done losing all the fat that I want to lose within the next several months. After that I’ll be able to concentrate exclusively and building more strength and endurance.

I’d also like to leave everyone with this bit of encouragement. If you are in a state similar to me when I started all this–150 lbs overweight, sedentary life, tired all the time, and so on–then you CAN get where I am now. You can. It has taken me exactly a year to get where I am and it will take me a few more months to get where I want to be, but that won’t be the end. There is no “end” to it. For the rest of my life I’ll be exercising, eating differently, and living better. You can do it too, but you have to change your lifestyle.

I’ll finish this post with something I’ve said on multiple occasions, “If you want to lose weight and keep it off, stop living like a fat person on a diet and start living like a fit, athletic person in training. It takes a lifestyle change, so change your lifestyle.

Filed in Encouragement,Goals,Motivation | 3 responses so far

The First Great Clothes Purge

Mike on Jan 30th 2011

Yesterday I went through my closet full of clothes and did my first Great Clothes Purge of 2011. I tried on almost all of my clothes, tossing aside things that were too big, worn out, or I just didn’t like any longer. I also sorted things that fit me again, will fit me very soon, and are still way too small.  Today I’m going to go through my dresser and do the same thing.

I was amazed at how many things fit now. Several months ago about 90% of my clothes didn’t fit. When I started my fitness program about a year ago I was wearing XXXL shirts and 42-inch waist jeans.  Yesterday I discovered that lots of my XL shirts now fit…at least half of them. I also had to toss out all of my 3X shirts (some of them looked like clown shirts on me). I wear XL and some XXL shirts, and I can now wear two of the three pairs of 36-inch waist jeans I have. One fits good, one is a little tight, and one is still WAY too tight. My latest belt is now also on the last hole and I’ll have to get a new one. I expect within the next couple of months all the XXL will finally have to go and all of the XL will fit. Who knows, maybe I’ll even be able to squeeze into my 34-inch jeans by then, too.

One side note: as of this morning I’m at 253.8 lbs. That’s 4 pounds to go to break 250 before the China trip. I’ve got one week left, and I believe I can do it. I’m being crazy strict on my diet and I’ve switched my workouts back to endurance-type routines rather than strength building, to help fat-loss. I also got a Kindle a couple of weeks ago and now use it to read while I’m doing the elliptical after my 45 minutes of weight-training. That distraction has enabled me to do 30 minutes on the elliptical every time without any trouble. Those changes have pushed me up to burning 700-900 calories per workout. It’s good to see the weight steadily coming off at a good pace again, after it slowing down for so long.

Filed in Encouragement,Exercise,Motivation,Weight loss | 2 responses so far

Wednesday Weigh-in: Thanksgiving Shmanksgiving!

Mike on Dec 3rd 2010

After over three months I am FINALLY out of the 260s. Whew! That was a long one. Granted, during that time I spent a couple of months eating an increased calorie diet and making significant muscle gains (my squats went up 60 lbs) but it was still a long time coming to see “259.8” on the scale this morning. Wednesday my weight was 260.8, which in itself was a new low, but this morning’s 259.8 was an even greater relief and motivator for me. That puts me at having lost 61.8 lbs on the scale, but it is realistically more like 75 or 80+ lbs of fat I’ve lost, considering the amount of muscle I’ve gained in the last 10 months of weight-training.

Thanksgiving was last week, and now I wonder if I should celebrate Thanksgiving every week, because I ate a lot of sweets last weekend…a LOT…and yet dropped weight like crazy this week. I’ve lost 4.2 lbs since Thanksgiving morning. Okay, okay, maybe I shouldn’t eat that stuff every weekend…but wouldn’t it be grand?

Filed in Motivation,Wednesday Weigh-in,Weight | One response so far

Burnout! Time for a Change and a Break

Mike on Sep 27th 2010

It’s time for a break! For weeks now I’ve been discouraged about the significant slowdown in my weightloss despite my strict diet and exercising as much or more than ever. I’ve tried multiple things and nothing has helped significantly. I intensified my workouts but just felt tired. I changed my diet and had a quick 3 lbs loss, but within two days it was back up more than a pound and continuing with the same very slow rate I’ve been seeing for the last couple of months. Furthermore, for the last week my discouragement has progressed into total burnout. I’ve been on my regime for over seven months now and the calorie-restricted diet portion of it for five months. I’ve lost 59 lbs on the scale, and probably more like 65-70 when you factor in muscle gain. Things were going great, but now I’m just feeling stressed all the time.

I don’t know for sure what’s wrong (pushing down my metabolism, over training, whatever), but regardless of the actual causes and effects, I need a break from the diet and major cardio/endurance workouts−I need some time to rest and recover. Even the thought of another low-calorie diet day and endurance workout stresses me out. I am burned out, burned out, burned out. I’m sick of the diet, sick of feeling exhausted after my workouts, and sick of seeing the scale inch down by about one pound per week for my trouble. Did I say that I’m burned out and need a break? Well, I do. ::insert primal scream here::

I talked to Tim about it, and starting today I did a complete change in everything. No weightloss diet and no crazy cardio/endurance workouts. I’m upping my calories to about 3000-3500 per day and switching to a muscle-building regimen. For the next month or so (at least) I’m going to work on building muscle and not concern myself one whit with losing weight. So, today we did chest and triceps, higher weight and lower reps. I benched 205 lbs, and for now we will work toward a tentative starting goal of me eventually being able to lift my own body weight. And you know what? I had FUN today. Wow, what a novel idea! I actually had fun…at the GYM. I left the gym today feeling good and with a smile on my face…and I’m actually looking forward to my next workout. I don’t know if I’ve ever said that since I started this back in February. I’ll still be doing a modest cardio workout a few times a week, but I’m leaving the other stuff behind me for awhile.

Maybe in a month or two, if things are going well and I feel ready and recovered, I’ll switch back and hopefully get a “reboot” and see good losses again. But right now even the thought of switching back makes me feel like finding a padded cell and drinking a lithium smoothy…so I won’t be thinking about that for a bit. For now I’m going to enjoy…hmm, yes, “enjoy”…going to the gym and doing something that I like for a change.

Filed in Diet,Exercise,Motivation,Weight loss | 2 responses so far

A small thought for the day…

Mike on Aug 12th 2010

If you want to lose weight and keep it off, stop living like a fat person on a diet and start living like a fit athletic person in training. Change your lifestyle.

Filed in Lifestyle,Motivation | No responses yet

The Practical Benefits of Exercise

Mike on Jun 21st 2010

Last week Louanne decided that she wanted to do a square foot garden in the backyard, so I volunteered to get it all set up for her, including running drip irrigation to it from our patio. The irrigation would involve digging a trench across the yard and running a hose to it from the faucet. I did a similar project almost exactly a year ago to run drip irrigation to some trees we planted the previous year, and boy do I remember that job well. It was hot, exhausting, and took me several hours to finish (around SIX if I remember correctly), plus a couple of hours the next day to fix some problems I encountered. I was completely wiped out and sore for days afterwards. By the end of it, digging that trench all the way across the yard felt like I had been digging my own grave.

I anticipated at least a few hours of misery again this time, but was amazed at how easy it all went. It took me two hours, including looking everything over at the beginning and taking a 30 minute break in the middle for some water and to cool off. It was really no big deal at all. When I finished I felt like I could have done it all over again and still wouldn’t be tired from it. No exhaustion, no soreness, nothing. I couldn’t believe how different the experience could be between the two similar projects. Clearly, working out with a trainer for four months has had a much more significant effect on my strength and endurance than I realized. That’s very encouraging and motivates me all the more.

If you want to see the result of the project, Louanne put a post up about it on our family blog.

Filed in Exercise,Motivation | One response so far

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