Archive for the 'Weight loss' 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

Is Mike Still Losing It?

Mike on Sep 17th 2011

As my last post a couple of months ago said, I had a break from the diet over the summer and did gain some weight, but the training never stopped. Several weeks ago I got very strict on the diet again, eating between 1500-2000 calories per day but found the weight just wasn’t coming off. Because of past experience I wasn’t willing to cut my calories any further than that, so I’ve significantly upped my cardio to about an hour per training session. I weight train four days per week for about 45 minutes and then do the hour of cardio on the elliptical machine, making my total workout about two hours long. It would be a bit of an ordeal if not for my Kindle and new BlackBerry PlayBook. Those allow me to get an hour’s worth of reading done during the cardio.

According to my heart rate monitor I’m burning about 3000-4000 calories per week during my workouts, and since increasing the cardio I’ve been seeing a drop of about two pounds per week. That’s a little less than I’d like but I can live with it. If that rate continues I should see the end of the weight loss portion of my program right around two years after I began, in February.

Filed in Exercise,Heart Rate Monitor,Weight loss | 2 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

Under 250 before China?

Mike on Jan 18th 2011

That’s the question. Can I finally, after a year on my program, break the 250 lb barrier before we go to China? We have our dates set. We leave Feb 8, and I want to switch my diet around Feb 6 to get my energy-level up and give myself a couple of days to adjust to eating differently before we go.

As of this morning I am at 259.6, up 2.2 lbs from where I was before the holidays. So that leaves me 19 days to drop 10 pounds. That’s roughly half-a-pound per day until then. I think for me that is very doable. The goal is certainly arbitrary, but I think it would be encouraging to finally break that barrier before we leave on the trip.

On an entirely different note, I continue to make strength gains despite my strict low-calorie diet. Losing fat and gaining any significant amount of muscle at the same time is tough, but it can be done. I’m very careful to get a lot of protein and nutrition, so it is working well. About a week ago I squatted 315 lbs, which is essentially what I weighed when I started all this a year ago (and could barely squat with only the bar and no weights on it). I also did lunges all the way around the gym carrying a couple of big chains on my shoulders (which is kind of humorous actually). When I started I could only do about five lunges at a time, while using a stick for support. Go, me!

Filed in Diet,Exercise,Weight,Weight loss | 4 responses so far

Wednesday Weigh-in: 257.0

Mike on Dec 8th 2010

I’m happy to say that the speedy weight loss is continuing. This morning I hit 257.0, which is 3.8 lbs for the week. As Louanne would say…”woot, woot!” I also hit a new high for deadlifts today: 285 lbs for 3 reps, the same as my squats.

My loose goal now is to drop at least another 20 lbs before we go to China in the next 1-2 months. That would put me at about 85 lbs down on the scale and over a 100 lbs of actual fat loss. I’m beginning to see the “end” in sight now…of fat loss, but not of working out. My lifestyle is different now, and for the rest of my life I’ll be working out every week and building muscle. I’ll just be glad to leave Fat Mike behind. He can go live somewhere else, and I won’t even be visiting him.

Filed in Exercise,Lifestyle,Wednesday Weigh-in,Weight loss | 4 responses so far

Gains and Losses

Mike on Nov 12th 2010

After my last post a few weeks ago I modified my diet, but I quickly found that my stress-level immediately increased again and my energy-level dropped. Clearly I still wasn’t ready for a reduced calorie diet again. Therefore I reversed my decision, still modifying my diet to be healthier (well…except for several days of Halloween candy) but without any significant calorie reduction. Simultaneously, I made some amazing strength gains, which indicates that I have definitely increased my muscle mass.

I’m now working with my trainer four days per week instead of three, and since I switched to a strength-building regimen a couple of months ago, my bench press has gone up from 205 lbs to 235 lbs, my deadlift from 235 to 265, and my squats have increased an amazing 70 lbs from 205 to 275. The deadlift and squat maximums were at 4 and 3 repetitions respectively, which means my one-rep max would be significantly more than that. This has continued to be fun and I have no intention of switching my exercise routine. I did, however, finally switch back to a reduced calorie diet on Monday, without any significant energy-loss or stress.

Hopefully now I can see some significant weight-loss again, since I have lost very little in the last four months—only about 5-7 lbs. At the beginning of the week my weight was at 270 and as of this morning it is 266.4 lbs. It is very hard to lose fat and build muscle at the same time, but I’m making every effort to do so. I will continue with my strength routine and have tailored my diet to maximize my chances. I’m eating about 1800-2000 calories per day, with low carbs, low fat, and high protein. I’ve been eating three omlettes per day made with six egg whites (that’s right, 18 eggs), a large chicken breast with brown rice, a protein shake, and a few snacks like some string cheese and popcorn.

My hopeful goal is that I can see the 240s by the time we travel to China a couple of months from now.  We’ll see what happens.

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

Like a Man on Death Row

Mike on Oct 18th 2010

Each day, for the last several days, I ate like a man having his proverbial “last meal.” I’d been on a break from my weight loss diet for about two-and-a-half weeks and felt like I was almost ready to get back to it. But before committing to a strict diet again, I was determined to enjoy some of my favorite foods. So each day we ate something different that I knew I wouldn’t be eating for awhile. I had Pappasito’s, Buca di Beppo, Louanne’s lemon birthday cake, Pizza Hut, Cookie’s and Cream ice cream, Chicken Express, ice cream at Braum’s, Pei Wei, a Blizzard at Dairy Queen, and so on. Last night I finished it up with a pizza buffet at Double Dave’s. I enjoyed every bit of it.

As of this morning I’m back on it, having my egg whites, chicken breasts, protein shakes, and the like. I’m hopeful that the three week break gave me a boost and I can see some good results again. As for my workouts, I’m sticking with my strength training regimen rather than going back to the endurance and cardio stuff I was doing before. The thought of that still stresses me out, and I’m having a lot of fun doing what I’m doing now. I still do cardio most days, but it isn’t anything excessively intense — most of my intensity is in strength training.

I needed the break badly, but now I’m fully ready to move forward with the weight loss again.

Filed in Diet,Weight loss | 4 responses 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

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