Friday, May 22, 2009

Day 54 – A Hard Workout

I weighed in at 206 this morning for a total weight loss of 9 pounds. I was glad to see a drop after so many days of no loss. I’m trying not to get too excited about it though because I have been here before. I am really looking for the breakthrough into the 201 range. But I am not down. I think I would need to see a five pound weight gain to let it get to me.

I have changes some of my snacking habits too. Typically I would have five Peanut M&M after lunch. I was pretty good at eating no more than five too. However, this week I am trying to control even that by having some almonds instead. The nuts may actually be more calories (I only have ten almonds) but I know they are better for me. I am also trying to maintain a minimalist lunch too. My lunch is mostly vegetables. Today’s lunch was half a cucumber, ten baby carrots, a small portion of zucchini cook in olive oil, and a sugar free jelly sandwich. I don’t really like sandwiches so it was mostly just two slices of whole wheat bread.

I managed to get in my mid-day workout today. I am very pleased with the workout I had. This is only the second day back to the gym after my illness so I knew it would be tough. I hit the treadmill first and set it for 35 minutes at a speed of 5.5. It felt really good, though always hard work, and with 3 minutes left in my routine I cranked up the speed to 7.0 to the end. That is always the longest three minutes! Then I went through all of the day’s weight machines for 15 repetitions and 3 sets apiece. I can still feel the burn as I write this an hour later.

There is a three day weekend beginning tomorrow and I have nothing planned. That means I have plenty of time to get my workouts in. I plan on getting to the gym each day immediately after breakfast, which is my desired time to work out. Saturday I have plenty of time, with nowhere to be so I will do the treadmill and all of the weight machines.

With my weight loss today and the total of 9 pounds, my average weight loss over 54 days is .17 pounds a day. Let’s see if I have a new weight loss trend starting!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Day 53 – Getting Back On The Journey

This morning I weighed in at 207 pounds. Situation normal. No weight loss. A funny thing occurred to me; before I started my workout routine, I had maintained my weight at 215 pounds for a couple of years. But now that I am working out (hard I might add) I have dropped about 6-8 pounds and have maintained about 208 for over a month. I have difficulty understanding why I am flat lined at about 208 with a hard workout but maintained 215 without a workout. The answer must be in my father’s words and I am gaining muscle. So there has to be a breakthrough soon.

Today is a very full day for me at work so I will have a struggle getting the mid-day workout in my schedule but I am determined to get to the gym today. Another situation has popped up today. We were all told that lunch will be provided today by the employer so I didn’t pack my normal lunch only to find out we are having pizza! I need to learn to ignore the fact lunch will be provided and bring my lunch anyway. At least then I can see what the company is providing and still have a fallback lunch. I can always put my lunch in the fridge for the next day if they bring us salads and other healthy foods (as they usually do).

I didn't exercise yesterday because it is one of my normal days off from work out so I am determined to get to the gym sometime today. I am still working hard to get back to my “pre-illness” strength so I know the exercise will be difficult. Also, with my busy schedule today, I will have a mental wrestling match because I will feel too tired after work to go to the gym. I have to overcome that feeling today.

With no weight loss today I am still at a total loss of 8 pounds after 53 days for an average of .15 pounds a day. I need a breakthrough!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Day 52 – Illness Brings Me Down

Don’t pay the ransom; I’ve escaped!

It has been several days since I have been able to write a posting. I was sick for several days and as a result, my day-job was really backed up. So since I make my living from the day-job, I focused on that work.

As you can see, getting sick causes some problems at my desk. But the other issue is that getting sick can also really be disruptive to my weight loss. For three days I was unable to work and it would be bad form to be seen in the gym after calling in sick! Plus, even though I called in sick for three days, there were additional days I felt good enough to be at work and function but I was in no condition to actually workout! So for about a week I was unable to go to the gym.

Yesterday was my first day back to the gym in eight days. My big surprise is that I didn’t gain or lose weight. I guess my weight loss was suspended while I was sick. My first day on the treadmill was very difficult! It is amazing how much ground I lost in losing a week of exercise. I did manage to push myself through the 35 minutes on the treadmill at a speed of 5.5. I was exhausted at the end but I did manage to get through all the weight machines done as well. It was pretty difficult to do 15 repetitions.

At this point in my journey, I have lost a total of eight pounds in 52 days which gives me an average weight loss of .15 pounds a day. This average is dropping rapidly since my weight loss has plateaued for the last month. I am at the point where it is a struggle to keep going because I’m not seeing recent progress. I’m sure this is the point where most people quit. I need to keep pushing myself and renew my commitment.

I do have one encouragement: I have gotten myself to 35 minutes at a speed of 5.5 on the treadmill. I have also gone from a minimum weight for 10 reps/2 sets on the weight machines up to 15 reps/3sets on bumped up poundage. In a nutshell, I know my abilities have increased greatly even though I am not seeing a loss of weight. But that much energy must be having an affect! I do believe my father was right when he told me that I am building muscle, which is four times heavier than fat. If that is so, I should see my current plateau end sometime soon.

I keep on going!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Day 39 – Every Day Is A Battle

It never gets easy. As you can see on the graph to the right I was doing well early in my journey but have struggled for the last two weeks. I haven’t figured it out yet but I suspect that I am eating too much. As I have described earlier, I don’t eat badly, so it must be the volume of food. Also I probably eat too much meat and not enough protein from other sources. Plus, I hardly eat out any more.

Maybe my dad is right, I’m building muscle while I am losing fat. Since muscle weighs four times more than fat it won’t show on the scale yet. But there has to be a point where the work begins to show as weight loss. I am getting pretty anxious to see that particular turn of events. For the last two weeks I have had no net weight loss. The only positive I can see is that I am not gaining weight. There have to be other positives that I can’t put my finger on yet. After all, when I started my journey I couldn’t run for 10 minutes and now I am running at a much faster speed for 35 minutes. Plus, I have continuously increased the weight on the weight machines and increased the number of repetitions.

Yesterday I gained one pound and this morning another which brings me right up to the exact weight I was one week ago and two weeks ago! Two weeks straight at 209 pounds. That’s getting a bit distressing. Analyzing everything I have been doing, (eating right, and exercising); I would have to be honest and say I could do better. To quote the Apostle Paul, “For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” It’s all Greek to me. How bad can I be if a Saint can’t even control himself?

Have I always eaten right? I don’t think I could honestly say yes. Just like Paul, I want to, but sometimes I can’t resist. Maybe my portions are just a bit too big. Have I taken advantage of every workout opportunity? Well, I guess not. But I want to. Isn’t that enough? Apparently the answer to that question would have to be, “No, that’s not enough”. So I find my self re-dedicating myself to watching what and how much I eat, and making new pledges to get to the gym and finish every exercise with an honest effort.

Here I go into another week determined with a new dedication. With that said, here is my status for the day. Weighing in at 209 on the 39th day of the journey brings me to an average weight loss of .15 pounds a day. I am not gaining weight but my average weight loss drops with each passing day that I don’t lose weight. I will be at the gym today.

One last note before I post this. I am thinking of upgrading my treadmill routing again. I am contemplating starting at speed 6.0. I will stay at that speed as long as I can. If I can’t make it through to the last three minutes where I bump it to 7.0, I will back the speed down to 5.5. This is basically what I did to get to 5.0 in the first place. In the beginning I couldn’t run at speed 5.0 for more than 15 minutes, and then I backed it down to a fast walk (3.0). Then, each day I tried to run at 5.0 for more and more time until I could run all the way through. We will see how it goes.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Day 37 – Taking A Day Off (Sort Of)

I was hoping to see another drop at my weigh-in this morning. Actually, I guess I hope for weight-loss every day! But this morning I expected it. I weighed-in at 207 pounds, which is the same weight as yesterday.

My feet have been a bit sore lately like I’ve been walking for miles. Because of the tiredness in my feet I decided to give my feet a day off from the treadmill. Instead, I used my mid-day break to do only the weight machine portion of the workout. Normally, I do half of the machines one day and the other half the next day. Yesterday however, since I was giving my feet the day off, I decided to do all the machines. Plus, I still haven’t reached the point where I could do three sets of 15 repetitions for every machine. Yesterday, I was determined to push through all three sets for each machine. I managed to pull it off and I could really feel the “burn” in my muscles. Also, I really felt the oxygen debt build up and I was able to get my heart rate up too. All in all, it was a tough work-out and I feel really good about it. I may keep that variation in my exercise rotation.

On another note, several days ago I sent an email to all of my friends and family telling them about my new blog and my endeavor to lose weight. Several of them sent me a reply back with encouragement but one really caught my attention. As he has done all my life, my father sent me a one liner that said, “If your workout is new for you, you may be losing fat and gaining muscle, which weighs four times more than fat!” That one line was more encouraging to me than all the others. My father has been a big encourager all my life, but his words were important too. Could that be why I have plateaued? Am I building muscle? I hope that is what is going on. I also listen to him because he is someone that was in my exact position many years ago and beat his weight problem. I was in college (and my son just finished college) when dad worked hard to lose the same amount of weight I am working on. He worked hard to understand his weight gain/loss and developed his workout. Now he is in his 70’s and going strong. That’s what it is all about!

With my weight staying the same as the day before at 207 pounds and this being the 37th day of my endeavor, my weight loss averages out to a .22 pound weight loss a day. That is below where I want it to be but the trend is still down. I have scheduled a mid-day workout break today. I am planning on running on the treadmill for 27 minutes at a speed of 5.5 then boosting the speed to 7.0 for the last three minutes. Plus I will do today’s scheduled weight machines for three sets of 15 reps.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Day 36 – Making Some Progress

This weekend was very productive. First off, I did something I usually cannot do: I managed to get a full Mid-day workout on Friday.

At Friday’s workout I managed to do something I had never tried before. This will probable be insignificant to you but it is a milestone to me! I started to think about my normal treadmill speed of 5.0 and realized that I usually feel relatively OK through my 30 minute run at that speed. Remember I have recently been bumping the speed up to 7.0 for the last 3 minutes for a little extra. Friday I thought I would try to boost my normal speed up to 5.5 to see if I could make it for the 30 minutes. Surprisingly, I did fine! Don’t get me wrong, the treadmill is a really tough workout! But I made it to the 27 minute mark and pushed the speed up the 7.0 for the last three minutes! That was a big achievement for me and I was very happy I did it. Now I know I can so I will adopt the 5.5 speed with the last three minutes at 7.0 as my normal run, for now.

Saturday morning my weigh-in resulted in the same weight as Friday (208) so that wasn’t very exciting. I had an appointment in the morning so I was unable to get my early morning start, as is my custom. I have found that if I get to the gym early I am eager to workout and sure to complete everything I should. Otherwise I tend to lose some momentum as the day gets older. So as a result of the appointment in the middle of the morning I got to the gym in the late afternoon and really felt drained of energy. I managed to finish the treadmill but I ditched the weights. I wish I didn’t.

Sunday’s weigh-in was 207 pounds. That is a one pound loss over the previous two days. After the weigh-in I was off to the gym by 7:30 a.m. Everything went very well and I was able to run on the treadmill at my new “normal” speeds of 5.5 & 7.0 as described above. Then I pushed myself to do all of the day’s weight machines with three full sets on each machine. I was pretty tired in the end but I felt really good that I did everything I planned.

This morning I weighed-in at 206 pounds for a two pound drop for the weekend. I am one pound over my lowest point at 205. I am hoping I can hit 205 during the week. With the new weight loss I have lost 9 pounds which brings my daily average weight loss up to .25 pounds each day. A ¼ pound a day seems slow but it also means in 30 days (a month) I could lose 7.5 pounds! I like the sounds of that! So since I’m dreaming…at a quarter pound of weight lost a day and 27 days left in this month; I could break 200 pounds by the end of May!! Breaking 200 deserves two exclamation points…

Friday, May 1, 2009

Day 33 – The Mind Game

I weighed in at 208 this morning for a one pound loss. I know it’s not much but I will take any loss at this point. I find myself a bit more motivated each time I see a weight loss. I am much more interested in controlling my diet and working out when I see progress of any sort.

Yesterday I reported a two pound weight gain. As a result I had a real struggle getting out the door for even my mid-day workout. Then once I did get to the gym it was a challenge getting through the exercises. I always start with the treadmill. The treadmill is a challenge every time. Not once have I gotten on that thing without thinking about stopping before the 35 minutes is up. It is a real head game to push through to the end. I will always feel so winded and weak that I want to stop early. However, the truth is that I can make it. I know I can; I’ve finished over and over but my mind will always challenge me.

As a result of putting off my mid-day workout to the end of the day I had a mind game going on about getting home in time for an appointment I had at 6:30. Even though I left work 30 minutes early so I could squeeze it in before the appointment I stopped short of completing the weight machines. As it worked out I had plenty of time, in fact, the appointment was even slid out another 30 minutes later into the evening.

So the workout is one mind game. My diet is another! It seems I want to eat all the time. Plus, when I let myself get really hungry I want to eat everything in sight at mealtime. I am still learning what to snack on between meals to keep the hunger in check. I have read that nuts are good for that. Maybe I will get some almonds or something when I go shopping this weekend.

With the weight loss today, I am at 208 pounds. That puts my daily average at .21 pounds. I need to lose more so I am planning a mid-day workout today.