Weight and Eating Part 2

September 29, 2017

In the post last week, Weight and Eating Part 1, I talked about what I had weighed when I decided I needed to make a change, what I weigh currently, and my weight for where I think I need to be to reach my goal of being one of the Top 200 Fittest 50 – 54 year old males during the CrossFit Open. My post this week revolves around the plan that Darlene and I came up with in March of this year, which is my guide for what I eat and when I eat it.

Fact, I love to eat, I’m not sure if this is a blessing or a curse, but it is a fact. Fact, I hate vegetables, I get teased a lot by my family because I swear that when I eat vegetables I get the Shakes, it might be in my head but I’m pretty sure I couldn’t pass a sobriety test after eating vegetables because I’m shaking so much. Fact, I crave cookies, cake, doughnuts, and Little Debbie Swiss Rolls. Fact, I grew up drinking Coke and believed that drinking a Coke at meal time was the perfect beverage. Fact, I never want to be That Guy who doesn’t eat cake at a birthday party, or a bowl of Ice Cream when we are visiting friends, life is too short……But how do I reconcile the guy who wants to get fit and healthy with these facts in my life.

This will always be a struggle for me but here is the plan we put into action back in March:

  • Eat two meals a day, Breakfast and Lunch.
  • Don’t eat after 5:00 pm.
  • Drink a protein drink in the evening.
  • Limit when I have a glass of Coke to one or two glasses per month (Special meals).
  • Whenever I eat, I need to eat less.

That was it, I followed this plan for the next three months and had success, but it was SLOW. I lost about 10lbs over this time period.

In June I tinkered with the plan and I also added taking supplements into the plan. For me the jury is still out on supplements, I see how they can help but I’m still not sure of the value. Two vitamins that I will probably always take will be Fish Oil and Vitamin C, I’m also currently taking Creatine but haven’t decided if this will continue long term.

In case I haven’t given you enough reasons to laugh at me I tried something recently that is pretty silly, even by my standards. There is a supplement called Spirulina that was recommended to me because a recent blood test had showed my Cholesterol to be slightly elevated. Spirulina is something that has been labeled a superfood by whoever it is that labels such things. I went to the store to buy this and saw that it came in tablet form and in a powder, the powder was about half the price. If you’re reading this and don’t know me some people have been known to call me cheap, I prefer thrifty. So of course I buy the powder. One important detail about Spirulina, it is also known as Green Microalgae, also called Pond Scum. I knew all of this before I bought it but I still couldn’t spend the extra money on the tablets, I remember thinking “How bad can it be”. It’s pretty bad…….It is a black powder that when mixed with water turns the water black, and if you mix it really well you can almost get rid of the clumps. I’ve taken to drinking it outside so I don’t make a mess when I gag on it.

In all seriousness I believe that the eating plan I’m on is working well. I’ve been willing to try new healthy food options and have found some that I’ve been able to incorporate into my daily routine.

In August of this year the CrossFit Games were held in Madison Wisconsin, I had the privilege of attending for the sixth year in a row. Because of the crowds and how the days are organized once you get to the venue you don’t want to leave. Also because of the type of event, the food choices that are sold are slanted more to the healthy side. This forced me to try new things which for me meant that I got my lunch from a company called Paleo Nicks. The first picture below is of food bought at Paleo Nicks and is Sweet Potato, Pulled Pork, Avocado and Salsa. For me this was a big step and it was delicious. The second picture is a recent lunch that I made for myself, it is Sweet Potato, Pork Chop, Avocado and Salad, also delicious.

 

I’ve tweaked the original plan slightly but this is what I try to follow on a daily basis:

  • Eat a good breakfast. This really is the key to making the Plan work. My daily breakfast is either two eggs with 1-2 ounces of ham and a piece of Peanut Butter toast or I have 8 ounces of Yogurt, adding Blackberries and Granola with a piece of Peanut Butter Toast. Whichever option I chose I also add a teaspoon of Chia Seeds.
  • Lunch is 4 ounces of meat, a sweet potato, ½ of an avocado and a salad. This can all be made ahead of time, it just takes a little planning.
  • Two glasses of Chocolate milk. This seems to satisfy my chocolate craving. I usually have one glass with breakfast and one after working out.
  • If I have a snack it needs to be something small, I usually try to have fruit, but sometimes I eat a few nuts.
  • Don’t eat after 5:00 pm.
  • If we are having a get together it’s foolish of me to think I won’t eat something I shouldn’t, so I try to plan for what special thing I’m going to eat, maybe adjust what I eat during the day and then do my best.

There have been some unexpected positives from this plan.  I haven’t had any issues with Acid Reflux since I started, I seem to sleep better through the night, because I’m not eating after 5:00 the night food cravings are manageable which keeps me from eating everything in sight.

I would love to tell you that I have this all figured out, but I don’t, it is a constant struggle. For some reason these last two weeks have been really hard and I’ve eaten things I shouldn’t. What I need to do now is keep moving forward and stay positive, this isn’t a two week journey it is for a lifetime. We can do this.

Thanks for following me on my journey.

Weight and Eating Part 1

September 22, 2017

If you’ve followed every week of my journey so far we have made it to week 7. I’m attempting to be one of the Top 200 Fittest 50 – 54 year old males determined by the CrossFit Open which starts in February of 2018, this would allow me to participate in the CrossFit Online Qualifier. Here’s a quick recap of where we’ve been.

This post is going to focus on how much I weighed when I started this journey, to how much I weigh now, and where I need to be to meet my goals.

I’ve always considered myself a pretty decent athlete, not elite in anything but someone that is pretty good at most sports. As long as I kept my weight at a reasonable level I didn’t believe that the few extra pounds I had added was slowing me down. But once I hit 40 years old every extra pound I was carrying became noticeable in my ability to move around quickly and efficiently.
Also after turning 40 I found it much more difficult to lose weight. I had always been able to drop 5-10 pounds quickly and without much effort. I remember one month when I decided to not eat desserts or any Chocolate and was able to drop 10 pounds. Well those days are long gone.

December 26, 2015 is the day I remember being at my biggest weight. I had just retired from work and had really enjoyed the holidays. I stepped on the scales and I weighed 240lbs. Below is a before and after picture, the before picture was taken right about the time I weighed in at 240lbs and the after picture is from Monday September 18th, 2017. On that date I weighed 202lbs.

Since the previous year, when I had been at my all-time high, I had gained and lost some weight bouncing between 225 and 235lbs. On March 15th I weighed 230lbs, and decided that I needed to become more intentional with my weight loss. Together, Darlene and I put together a plan of attack. Although we have had to tweak the plan a little as we’ve gone along we seem to have found something that works for both of us.

In the last six months I have lost 28lbs, or a little less than 5lbs per month. While I’m excited about losing the weight and realize how much better it is to lose weight slowly, I’m a guy, I’m used to losing weight quickly, I’ve had to change my mindset.

For me to reach my goal of being one of the Top 200 Fittest 50-54 year old males, I believe that I need to weigh no more than 190lbs. At this weight I think that I will be able to perform the Body Weight Movements that are currently Holes in my Fitness, the real driving factor in everything that I’m trying to do is that I want to be able to do Pull-ups!!!

I’m an analytical person and the scale can drive me crazy, because of this I’ve tried to find other metrics that I can track. I still weigh myself daily, and it still drives me crazy, but I’m also watching my BMI, Body Mass Index, my PBF, Percent Body Fat, and my SMM or Skeletal Muscle Mass. It finally clicked in my mind that although I need to lose the fat I have to keep the muscle or being able to do Pull-ups!!! will still be a dream.

Tracking these other metrics is a little more difficult, currently a company called Inbody has a machine/scale that measures all of these metrics and more. Casey, my son, stumbled upon one while he was buying supplements at our local Complete Nutrition store. So far Complete Nutrition has been cooperative in letting me use their scale but I’m sure it’s helpful that I’ve bought product from them. Below are two examples of the report that the scale creates. These examples are mine and are from June 20th, 2017 and August 26th, 2017.

There is a lot of information on these pages but as I said earlier I’m trying to focus on what I consider to be the most important metrics.

  • Weight – This is in the top box labeled Body Composition Analysis, in June I weighed 220.9 and in August I weighed 210.0. At the time my scale at home had me weighing about 4.5lbs less, I attribute this to me weighing early in the morning.
  • BMI – This is in the middle box, in June my BMI was 30.0 and in August it was 28.5. BMI is an index used to determine obesity by using height and weight. If you were to refer to a published chart it would indicate that a 6 foot tall male with a BMI above 25 is considered Obese. I don’t consider myself Obese but it is still important for me to lose fat which will drive this number down closer to 20.
  • PBF – This is in the middle box, in June my PBF was 25.8 and in August it was 21.1. For me to reach my goal I believe that this will be a very good indicator. I will need to get my PBF below 15 and then reassess.
  • SMM – This is in the second box, in June my SMM was 93.7 and in August it was 95.0. When I got the report in August this was the number I was most excited about. I gained 1.3lbs of muscle while at the same time I lost 12.8lbs of fat. If I can continue to lose weight while increasing or maintaining my SMM it will go a long way towards making my goals a reality.

Next week I will share with you the weight loss plan that Darlene and I put together.

Thanks for joining me on my journey.

Improving the Mental Side of Fitness

September 15, 2017

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”
          Henry Ford

This quote from Henry Ford has had a profound impact on my life, I believe it to be true in just about every situation. In my life I have many examples of this, but one of my favorites is that I had the privilege of coaching my friend’s son and his fifth grade baseball team. One night the team played poorly and got behind very early in their game. If you’ve ever been around me on a baseball field you would know that I chatter (talk, cheer, instruct) pretty much non-stop throughout the game, so from the very beginning I was trying to pump them up and encourage them, trying to convince them that they could play better and still win the game. These were fifth grade boys though and they were stuck in the mentality that they couldn’t do it, by the last inning we were behind by eight runs. Fortunately the first boy from our team to bat in the last inning was a kid with an amazing attitude, he just loved to play baseball and was going to have fun no matter the situation, he stepped up to the plate and promptly got a base hit. The next kid steps up and also gets a hit. All of a sudden a few of the boys are standing in the dugout and have begun to chatter. The third boy up in the inning gets another hit which knocks in two runs, now all of the boys are up in the dugout, there is excitement, noise, playfulness, belief that they can do it. Just as quickly the fourth boy comes up to bat and strikes out, but a crazy thing happens, instead of discouragement the boys are full of encouragement, not just some of the boys but every single boy. There was no stopping them, we scored seven more runs to win the game. I still remember their faces, they went from unbelief, frustration, and failure to belief, encouragement, and success in just a matter of moments.

On the flip side negative thinking happens to me and to everybody everyday of our lives. An example of the negative thoughts that go through my mind and the impact that it can have on my life if I let it is my day will start out with the thought of, I’m going to workout today, which will lead to a thought later in the day of, my left hamstring is feeling a little tight today, to, I probably won’t be able to lift very much weight today, to, people are probably going to laugh at me because I can’t lift as much today, to, Jim really gets on my nerves when we workout and he starts to laugh, to, I’m just going to take a rest and not workout today. Does this sound familiar to you?

These same type of thoughts also seep into my mind while I’m working out. I can be in the middle of a workout, everything is going great I’m feeling strong and full of energy with the next movement being a set of five back squats, and out of nowhere my mind says, “You don’t have to lift it five times you can just lift it twice, it’s really heavy and you don’t want to hurt yourself”. If I don’t turn my mind off right then and push the negative thought out of my head, I’ve lost, I will shorten or stop the workout, and I’m defeated. How do we change this negative mental aspect and turn it into the positive thoughts and events like what happened with the baseball team?

This is a work in progress for me but I’ve found a few positive steps that I try and think about during each day as well as during my workouts:

  1. Create goals, both long-term and short-term. This includes my current long-term goal of being one of the Top 200 fittest 50-54 year old men, this goal has helped to create a drive in me to get in the best shape possible. My short-term goals revolving around fixing the holes in my fitness are important because until I can reach my short-term goals meeting my long-term goals is much more difficult.
  2. During the day or during a workout I try to focus on my long-term goal. This may seem counter-intuitive but this keeps me from being discouraged by small set-backs. I know that to reach my long-term goal I have to get a little better or more fit each day. To do this I have to put in the hours of training and working out, so even if I have a bad workout or on a more granular level if I miss a lift, the important part isn’t the lift or how the workout went, but that I’m putting in the effort each day.
  3. Being more intentional about my daily workouts, determine what I’m going to work on before heading to the workout. If I have the mindset that I’m going to workout today but I don’t plan out what I’m going to do ahead of time the chances of me blowing off the workout and finding something else to do are much greater. This is one of the reasons we post the WOD (workout of the day) on Facebook each night for the workout the next day.
  4. Workout with friends and positive people. So often I can go to a workout and just not be feeling it, it’s a day that I really don’t want to workout, but I know that when I workout at Veneta CrossFit I’m surrounded by people that want me to succeed, just like I want them to succeed. This comradery while working out is incredibly uplifting, and is really one of the big reasons that CrossFit is growing.

I’ve included one of my favorite inspirational videos, while it doesn’t focus on the Mental side of Fitness it does inspire us to Never Give Up. Eating right and working out is tough, we will all fail at times, but we have to keep trying, we have to work at training our minds to be positive and shut out the negative.

Thanks for joining me on my journey.