Thursday, October 30, 2008


I stepped on the scale today, mostly out of curiousity, although I am due for my weekly weigh-in tomorrow and it read: 205lbs. So no change from last week. Can't say I'm surprised since I have no idea when my body will give up the retained water or when my new workout will begin to show results on the scale. I think it's going to be awhile so I need to accept that and not let it get me down. I still haven't gotten my measurements done, I did mention it to Red the other day and she was game but it hasn't happened yet. Hopefully by the weekend.

I'm wondering if I'm getting enough cardio now that weight lifting and other calithstenics are the biggest part of my workout. I'm in the gym for approximately 2 hours; only about 25 minutes of that is dedicated to cardio and that's at the end of the workout. I've been alternating between the stationary bike and the elliptical but I'm wondering if maybe I should be just doing the elliptical because it burns more calories.

Another thing I've been wondering is whether or not I should alternate between weights and cardio throughout the week. Maybe do weights Monday, Wednesday and Friday and cardio the other two days. It would increase the amount of cardio i get in a week but I would have to compress my weight workout into that 2 hour window and I don't think it can be done without speeding things up. I have tried cutting the resting time between exercises down so as to keep up a good pace, but it really tires me out after a couple of sets. I think this is referred to as increasing the intensity of your workout, but I don't know if I can cut any more rest time out without just going from one exercise to the next without a break. I'm already pretty quick moving from one to another and I just don't know. Plus, if I'm not careful, I could hurt myself and then I'm screwed.

I'm not sure what to do, I know I need both, but how to do it without spending 3 or more hours in a gym every day? I'm only concerned about it because of the great calorie burn I'm getting from the cardio which is unmatched with other exercises. But on the other hand, as I grow muscle, that will burn more calories in a resting state which is a good thing too. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism works to burn calories. Maybe I'm just getting impatient with my weight. Not so much with the last two weeks since the change, but overall and this inability I have to shed the 200lb threshold. I know I can do it by going back to straight cardio, but that workout is severly lacking and I need more strength. Plus, I really want to grow some muscle and fill out better. I hate the way my body looks and I know I can affect some changes to it, not all I'd like, but maybe enough to make me content. Then again, maybe not.

I thought losing 170lbs would make me happy, it didn't. But i think most of that was because of how I ended up looking with loose flabby skin hanging off me and man-boobs that won't go away. These things are so stubborn that when I was sick with issues from my stapling surgery, they were the last remnants of fat to disappear after just about every other ounce of fat had melted away. It wasn't until I was about 140lbs that I finally had a flat chest! And guess what came back first when I was healthy again? 3 guesses and your first 2 are wrong! There's a medical term for them: gynecomastia. Among the causes of them: low testosterone, drugs, medical disorders, and of course obesity. Now since I'm not obese anymore, I shouldn't have them, right? Wrong. Maybe I'm low in testosterone? Never had a doctor tell me so, so who knows?

When I had my tummy tuck done in '03, I asked the surgeon to perform lipo on them hoping that would solve the issue. It didn't. He sucked out some fat but without correcting the hanging skin, they remained and while they were somewhat softer (this is starting to sound like a soft core porn blog), the manboobs remained. He did tell me that time would solve it since he had sucked the fat out, the skin would retract. It never did. So I'm trying, once again, to do something I've tried in the past: do enough chest exercises to encourage muscle growth and hopefully fill out the boobs with muscle and make them more natural looking for a male. In all the years I've worked with weights, it's never happened and I'm pessimistic it will this time, but I might as well try again. Guess we'll see.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What's average?

I find myself looking into the mirror often, searching for changes in my body as I navigate this thing called weightloss. Sometimes, I look bloaty, my belly fuller and rounder than normal, other times it seems deflated which makes my whole body look droopy and out of shape. My face seems to go from looking round to more angular, or about as angular as my face gets, then seems puffy again. About the only thing that never seems to change is my ass and legs. Even at my biggest, I never had big legs and a flat ass seems to be a family trait.

I really noticed a flatter tummy last December when I was first around 207lbs. At that time, I had lost about 20lbs since September and it really showed. I thought I looked "thinner" and so did Red, who before all this professed to have not noticed my round belly (funny how losing some weight can change someone's perspective, of course so is being blinded by love). But these days, being about 203-205lbs, I seem bigger than that. Somedays my body seems deflated and I look to be down a few pounds, other times, I'm bloaty. But the thing is, I'm actually lighter than I was in December and yet, I think I look bigger.

I can remember feeling really great about my loss then, showing myself off to family and feeling confident about my looks. A couple of people at work even commented on my loss. But now, almost a year later, I don't see it. Is it possible that you get so used to seeing yourself that you no longer see what's really there? Can your perspective be lost over time? How can I be lighter than I was before yet see myself as bigger? Could it be because I've been almost 10lbs lighter since then and my perspective has adjusted to seeing anything over 200lbs as fat?

I'm notorious for checking myself out in a mirror, windows when walking around outside, anywhere I can get a reflection. It's something I inherited from my dad, some kind of insecurity I'm sure, and I'm always judging myself. And I know I'm harder on myself than anyone else could possibly be, it seems nobody else sees the fat guy I do. And the engagement photos from a couple of weeks ago? Proof positive I'm pudgy. Now come on, nobody in their right mind could possibly look at me and not see a small weight problem. I'm hardly thin or thin looking, you can't miss the roll around my waist nor my wonderful man-boobs depending on the shirt I'm wearing ( I don't go shirtless in public for this very reason). Depending on what I'm wearing, I look fairly average, but to say I don't have a weight problem? Nonsense! I mean if you are talking about obesity and people who are obviously very overweight, then no, I don't have a problem anymore. But to deny I am a good 20lbs overweight? Sorry, but you'd be wrong.

I get this from various people in my life. My sister wonders why I'm still trying to lose weight. She's known me forever and has seen me at my biggest and my thinnest. She thinks I'm about right. Red sees me as about right too although she understands that need to lose that nagging 10lbs that seems to keep you in its devious grip. Her mom, a nurse and therefore should know better, thinks I'm crazy for thinking I'm overweight. Has being 20lbs overweight as the average for many people become that normal that its no longer considered fat? Have we become so conditioned to seeing people with a roll hanging over their belts like a muffintop, or a round face, that we think that's what we're supposed to look like?

I've always thought it was ironic that as I was finally losing weight to look normal, the population was actually becoming fatter, like a role reversal. Back in the day when I was obese and going out, you didn't see many fat chicks at the clubs, they all seemed thin and sexy, same too with many guys. But now, the club is full of fat chicks. And not just the middle aged women, the young ones are just as bad, stuffed into shiny or cut off tops that only exaggerate their fat midsections and rolls. When I was online dating, many women were overweight yet in their descriptions of themselves, they declared themselves "average". Average? Of course, the excuse is "the average dress size has gone up to a 12 or 14 and since I'm a 12 or 14, that makes me average." Guess it depends on what side of the coin you're on.

I know I'll never be thin looking and my body will never be "buff" looking due to all the loose skin hanging off me, but my hope is that by working out with weights, I'll grow enough muscle to help fill out my upper body and minimize the flabby look I've cultivated. It should help with the way my shirts and leather jacket fit too which would be nice since when my body looks deflated, I kind of look pathetic really (shirtless). Of course, my dad looks like this too, except that he's never been fat, so he doesn't have the hanging skin and roll. I suppose its just a family body trait that I should accept, and maybe if I looked like my dad more bodywise, I might feel better about it. But for now, it's demoralizing. I haven't approached the scale since Friday, somehow I'm afraid of what I might see. I've been good for the most part and I've worked hard at the gym. It would be nice to see something positive.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The hardest to lose

It's Monday and my pain is gone. Well, the muscle aches I had from switching things up last week are gone, my right shoulder is still hurting and i don't forsee an end to that anytime soon. Maybe as the muscles around it grow stronger, it'll sort itself out.

Did a full workout this morning and it felt good. While I know I'm not burning as many calories as I used to doing cardio for 70 minutes, my body feels like its been worked and I like that. I know I'm getting stronger and the payoff in the end will be good. Once my body settles into the routine and my muscles start to grow, the calories will burn off again. Or at least that's the hope.

The weekend wasn't too great, but not too bad I suppose. Shouldn't have had so many tacos Saturday and definitely shouldn't have done popcorn either. At least not until I see how things are going with my routine. As long as I'm about 185-190lbs by summer, I'll be happy. That's 15-20lbs, a weight so many people would love to have as their goal instead of the 40-50+ so many actually do.

Red said something the other day that rang quite true. She said that back in the day when we were big, it was nothing to drop 20lbs, you didn't even have to think too much about it. And that when you're trying to drop a measly 10lbs, it's the hardest thing to do. God, I can remember when I signed up with the Weight Loss Clinic, I lost 12.3lbs over the first weekend I was on their program. They were all ecstatic, there was this chalkboard they used in the lobby where people could write down their losses, sort of a badge of honour. Someone said they didn't think anyone had lost that much over a two day span at the clinic, so my loss was a big deal. At least they made it out to be one.

But when you're heavier, dropping 10 or 20 is as easy as not making that trip to the McDonalds for a couple of days, maybe drinking water instead of pop or juice and not wolfing down a bag of chips. In short, it's mostly bloat. And the bigger you are, the more bloated you are. When you're only 20lbs from your goal weight, it's real fat you're trying to lose and it's not going without a fight. This is very common and it's incredibly frustrating. Red has been trying to shed 10lbs for what seems like months now. She seems to make some progress, maybe 3-4lbs, then it goes back up. Sometimes its monthly and there's nothing she can do about it, but other times, it's like me: she makes a few bad decisions and voila! An extra few pounds she has to re-lose.

My issues have been this inability to get below 200 and stay there. If you recall, I reached 207 last December before the Christmas goodies started coming out. Since then, I've been losing and regaining 10lbs and to be quite honest, I'm starting to lose my shit with this. At end of August, I was 196 and thought I had left 200 behind. But a week off work, then an inability to get things under control again led me back to 203. On Friday I was 205, but some of that is water retention from my new workout, so I'm probably still 202-203. If it weren't for the missteps I seem to keep making, I would have reached my goal of 185-190 by last summer. Instead, I'm stuck in a whirlwind from which I cannot escape.

I wonder sometimes if maybe 200 is where my body wants to be. That maybe my lifestyle suits 200. Back in the early 2000's when i was in college and still under the control of my stomach stapling, I floated between 204-207. But there are similarities between then and now. For the most part, I was sitting for the day, then in a classroom, now in a cubicle. I went to the gym 4-5 times a week then and now. I ate junk back then, juices, basically no fruit or veggies, real pop, popcorn at the movies, etc. Now I eat healthier, no junk, diet pop, lots of fruit and veggies and I'm still stuck around 200. When I graduated in 2004, while waiting for my first job out of college, i worked full time in a paint store and within a few months, I had dropped to a nice 180lbs. So it's pretty obvious the extra mobility and exercise I was getting in that job was beneficial to me.

So how to rectify that now? We try to take walks during the evening when we can although we've been remiss lately. Both of us do take walks during our lunch hours if the weather's decent so that helps a bit. On the other hand, we do play volleyball on Wednesday nights, softball on Thursdays during the spring and summer, and currently we're in a rock and jive dance class so we're getting some exercise a couple of nights a week in addition to my going to the gym and Red's Nintendo Wii workout. Frankly, I don't know what else I can do without giving up even more food.

Sure, I could avoid grabbing a slice or two of pizza once in a while during lunch, or not make a trip to the cafeteria at work for a turkey sandwich. But when all you bring to work for lunch is a bag of salad and some apples and pears, a sandwich shouldn't be such an issue. Or I could see about not having those grapes or pineapple in the evening and instead have some cucumber or other veg if anything at all. But i just don't want that. Most times, I do eat out of boredom and not hunger so I probably should find a way to occupy myself better.

All I know is that I'm tired of watching what I eat. I hate not being able to grab a bag of chips and just enjoy them without all the guilt. We've been talking about ordering up some KFC for a change but I haven't been able to pull the trigger on that one yet. I'd love to order a bag of popcorn at the movies once in a while and not think too much about it, or even grab a pretzel or two (because they're small and sooooo good), but i won't. I know the gym is a life sentence and I can't afford to not go so I grit my teeth and bear this cross. The truth is, this is my life for better or for worse. I haven't mastered the art of only enjoying a small sampling of something i crave, to me, if you can't just indulge and enjoy it, what's the point. A taste is just a tease. And I hate to be teased. But when you're unlucky enough to be one of those people who gain weight just by looking at food, you really don't have a choice. If you care at all.

Friday, October 24, 2008

I added a couple of items to this blog: subscription, newsreel and list of readers or followers of it. If you would like, add your name to the follower's list, it's located on the left side, I'd be curious to see who's reading this thing anymore.


First week done

So I didn't get lucky like i had hoped but it was what I expected so I can't be too down about it. The scale read 205.5lbs. This happens every time i start to lift weights as part of my workout routine. So now that I've seen the gain, the hope is that it will reverse within the next couple of weeks and I can start to feel good about what i'm doing, scalewise.

I googled this phenomenon and while there is no clear concensus, it would appear to be normal. Some people said that you shouldn't experience any weight gain and if you do, it must be because you're taking in too many calories still. That you feel that since you are working out, you feel you can eat more. Well, that's not what I'm doing. Others said it was normal and that most people experience it. It's bloat, your body is retaining water for the muscles while they adjust to this new routine. Once the body adjusts, it will no longer retain water and you will lose fat. The scale won't drop like it used to I know, after all, I'm building muscle while losing fat so i'll notice most of the changes in my clothes and in my measurements which I've never taken. Maybe I should ask Red to help me out with that this weekend, get out the tape measure and take some measurements, that would be a good indicator of my progress over the next couple of months since i won't be able to count on the scale anymore for validation.

The pain after 5 days of this new routine is lessening, I can walk without wincing, sitting down has gotten easier and my overall mobility is better. I'm still sore somewhat, but I expected a week of pain. Lunges, which caused most of my lower body pain I'm sure, are getting better, steadier. I can do my 4 sets of 10 much easier now and I've still got enough strength left in my legs after to do other leg exercises, which was not the case earlier this week. I attempted to do a step on/step off bench exercise again after a disasterous attempt on Monday and while it looked sloppy and unsteady, I was able to do some. So I'm making progress again, not unusual for me as I tend to adapt to weight lifting fairly easily, the trick will be not hurting myself this time. In that, I cannot guarantee success.

I don't feel that it was ever something I did that, in the past, caused these injuries. I've always paid attention to proper form and I've never been one to push myself that hard as to tear and pull things. I really do feel that my body just isn't built for weight lifting. And its usually the same spots that hurt, right shoulder, left shoulder blade, lower back. I know my lower back is weak so I'm hoping the exercises I learned at physio will aid in keeping it well. As for my shoulders, I can't do much else there. I'll go slow and try to find a way to stop any potential injuries but its the same old story.

I watch other guys work out and I've seen so many ways of doing things that i don't think there is a standard technique for any exercises. It could be that this is how these guys learned how to do it so I'm sure there are bad habits being passed down. I try to avoid things i know are wrong, I watch the trainers instruct their clients about good form, I read up on it too. So i feel well versed in how to do things correctly. Still, my shouler issues would tell another story.

Anyhow, today was the last day for this week, Monday is a new week and hopefully next Friday I'll see something pleasant on the scale.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Still alive....

So it's Thursday and the pain remains, well most of it. It has subsided a bit, at least I can walk a little easier now and volleyball last night went okay. Tonight is dance class so i hope to be somewhat nimble by then. Overall, I'm still stiff and sore and sitting all day doesn't help matters any but I expected it. I hope to be mostly pain free by end of weekend if not before.

The shift to weightlifting has really taken a toll on me. By the time I'm almost done, i'm truly almost done. My muscles are exhausted, I just want to lie down at the end. But I know I need to finish, to push myself to the finish line and know that I did a good job and didn't cop out. I'm almost afraid of what i'm going to see on the scale tomorrow morning despite having a good week foodwise so far, but I am expecting to be up a couple of pounds due to the reaction of my body to lifting. It would be so great if I stepped on that scale and it read less than or equal to 202 which is what i was last Friday. So we'll see. After that, as my body settles into this new regimen, the pounds will come off, albeit slower than I'm used to, but I know I'm building lean muscle mass which i need.

I've been doing a 20 minute session on the bike or elliptical on alternating days after my workout, just to loosen up and burn up some more calories. From what I've read, weight lifting doesn't burn up many calories but has other benefits, so I'm thinking the scale may not be a good source anymore to measure my progress. I've always believed that your clothing is the ultimate measure of where you stand bodywise so I'll keep that in mind when the scale isn't being friendly but my clothes are feeling looser. I have to admit, I'm feeling like I'm getting a good workout after i'm done, more so than when I just did cardio. My body is tired and sore and feels like I've laboured all day in a busy physical job. I feel thick in body right now but I think i'm a bit bloated too.

I made a bit of a faux pas yesterday. Red's tuna casserole turned out to be really, really good and i had two portions on Tuesday night. I brought the rest to work for lunch, it was a decent sized portion and enjoyed it immensely again, but later on decided that I needed something else and picked up a turkey sandwich from the cafeteria. So I managed to ingest an extra 400-500 calories I didn't need and could have avoided had I just used a little more will power. Last night was Subway and grapes. Tonight is roasted veggies I believe but we haven't settled on a main dish as yet. Maybe chicken.

Looking forward to my last workout tomorrow and taking the weekend off to recuperate. Also, just to get out of this work place, God i hate my job.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Pain!!

Oh my god is my body sore. Yesterday was the first day of my new direction at the gym and boy, am i paying for it today. There is a huge difference between using a cardio machine that supports your body and movements, and lifting weights, doing lunges and squats. Today I can barely walk. Each step feels like my legs are on fire. My chest and shoulders are sore, my arms somewhat, but they will be tomorrow as today was arm and shoulder day. Hopefully my legs will loosen up a bit as I cannot imagine doing lunges and squats in this kind of pain. I was barely able to do them today after yesterday's workout. There's a step exercise done with a bench that I attempted but my legs had no strength left in them to do it. Maybe tommorow.

The diet was good overall I think. I had fruit and salad during the day, we were supposed to have a McCain Slow Cookers meal but for some reason it burned in the slow cooker. No idea why. I've never seen something burn in a slow cooker so its a mystery. We ended up having chicken fingers and one of those pasta sidedishes. Not the best choice but it was chicken and they were oven baked, not deep fried. Snacks consisted of fruit.

Today, in addition to my salad and fruit, I brought along a Chunky soup for lunch. With lifting weights, I feel the need for something more substantial to get me through the day. It won't be a regular thing but I wanted it today. What I didn't expect to see were leftovers from a HSBC meeting held at work over the lunch hour. There were finger sandwiches, cheeses, fruit and small pieces of cake. Of course I had a couple pieces of cake and 4 finger sandwiches, I know i should have chosen the fruit but it looked and tasted wonderful. Tonight Red is making her tuna casserole. I haven't had tuna casserole in, oh.......gee, I can't recall if I've ever had tuna casserole so it should be interesting. She says she makes a good one so I have faith.

I bought a pair of leather type sports gloves for weight lifting at lunch. The gnarled bar on the dumbells and barbells is hard on my delicate hands and they're sore. I used to have a pair when I first began working out a few years ago but I lost them and never got around to replacing them. Probably because I spent most of my time doing cardio. I saw a pedometer for $6 and considered buying two, one for me and one for Red, because we were curious at one point this summer about how many steps we were taking in a day, especially when we went for walks. But the cost of them at the sports stores we visited seemed too high so we passed. Maybe we'll reconsider now that i know where i can get them cheap.

I need a massage. I should call my massage therapist but I'd rather have Red's hands on me. We'll see how she's feeling. I can barter.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Episode 358 - A New Hope

Today was the first workout of my new routine. Not knowing how much time I'd need to get everything I wanted done, I chose to get out of bed a half hour earlier than normal (so 5:45am) and be on the gym floor by 6:15 at the latest. Waking up earlier didn't present much of a problem although my first thought was to go back to sleep for that half hour I missed, but like the trooper I am, I climbed out of a nice warm cozy bed beside a nice warm cozy woman and got dressed.

The gym was busier than i expected, a lot busier. There must have been a dozen or so people doing their thing, when I was arriving at 6:45, i might see half a dozen, sometimes a few more, but to my surprise, there were more people at this early hour. With notepad in hand, I set about this new plan of attack; first would be floorwork: stretching, situps, side planks, front planks, pushups, leg extensions, squats, lunges, etc.

Next up was the weights. This was the moment of truth: would my aching shoulder hold up? How much strength did I still have after months and months of cardio? How much weight could i push without pushing my body too far. I didn't want to hurt myself and my goal was to pump weight quickly: do faster reps and more sets for a good burn. The first thing I noticed was that my legs were exhausted from the lunges and squats. There's a big difference between riding an elliptical for miles where your body is supported and the pressure of your body weight isn't impacting your legs and actually allowing your legs to support your body as you move. This is why trainers generally don't like elliptical machines. Your muscles just don't get the same workout, sure you burn more calories which I'm a fan of, but you don't build core strength and you notice it when you run upstairs and feel the burn in your thighs. Not in as great of shape as you thought now are you?

My shoulder reacted painfully to incline presses with dumbells, it was worse with butterflies. But this is how you build your chest, through bench presses. I gritted my teeth and powered through it, the warrior that I am :-) I worked my back too, my plan was to spend every other day working a different section of my body. The floor work will be daily, but the weight lifting will be chest and back one day, arms and shoulders the next. This will give my body a day to recover before I attack it again. And I went moderate with the weight, enough to make the last couple of reps harder but not enough to risk injury, and I did them quickly.

I was finished by 7:45 which surprised me a bit. But I also cut out a couple of sets due to fatigue so once they're back in, I should be done closer to 8. That'll give me a chance to do 20 minutes of cardio as a cooldown (and a calorie burner) before I shower and head off to work. For the first time in a while, I felt like I had a workout. Sure I was sweaty after doing 70 minutes of cardio, but there's something more exhausting about lifting weights and pushing your body harder. Showering was a bit of a chore as it was hard lifting my arms above my head to wash my hair but I felt a sense of satisfaction in the job I did.

Knowing my body, the pain will set in overnight. I should be sore and slow tomorrow when I crawl out of bed (literally) but I'm looking forward to working my arms and seeing what my shoulder can handle. I'm also going to try and add in the sets I missed today, it was all floorwork, lunges and squats that I cut back on today so I'll see about finishing it properly.

Today's also the day I return to my regular eating patterns, the "lifestyle" change as I call it. Gone again is the bread that vexed me the past month, as well as the junk that crept into my life. I know Red is frustrated too and is wanting to get back to normal; we received our engagement photos on Friday and while there were some cute pics of us in them, we could see the puffiness in our faces and bodies from the past month's debauchery. I think it was a good wake up call. Sometimes you need that. I know we did.

Friday, October 17, 2008

new approach

202lbs. I was expecting much worse but somehow I've managed to duck a bullet this week. Who know, maybe I'll step on the scale tomorrow and it'll read 204? Either way, it's official weigh in day and i'm basically where i was last week at this time so all things considered, i'll take it.

I missed the gym yesterday due to an appointment with my mechanic first thing so I figured I'd just go today knowing that I had a dental appointment almost first thing this morning. As mentioned before, I've been thinking about changing up my gym workout and this morning I made the decision to do so. So instead of actually working out, I took the time at the gym to work out a new regimen. I brought along my handy little notebook and pen and wrote down all the exercises, both floor and weight lifting, that I have done in the past and wish to do again. Also, I added some new exercises that i've spied others doing under the tutelage of their trainers. Since I cannot afford to hire a trainer myself, I might just as well steal their routines since there's usually one or more there training someone when I'm there.

Unfortunately, this left me with only 1 workout this week but it set me up with a new plan for next week, and I think that's more important. My biggest concern is the expected weight gain I'll experience when i begin lifting weights again. Its not that i'm going to lift heavy, I'm going more for moderate-weight and quicker reps which should build lean muscle mass and give me strength, plus I'm hoping to burn some calories in the process. But my body reacts violently to weight lifting and bloats. So I'm expecting a good 3-5lb increase by this time next week unless i get really lucky. I'm still going to do some cardio, probably a session on the elliptical at the end of my routine but most of my workout is going to be on core strengthening. From what I understand, the lean muscle mass I'll build will aid in burning calories and well, make me stronger which I need.

This isn't the first time I've done this so I already have certain assumptions about how its all going to turn out but maybe with the extra things i've added, it may make enough of a difference to benefit me in the long run. Plus, with a better overall diet, I should see the changes I'll need to see on the scale and in the mirror to keep me motivated to continue this path. If not, I'll be back to boring cardio for an hour and a half wishing I were dead.

On the plus side and ironically enough, after all the bitching i did about needing new music for my MP3 to make those cardio sessions seem easier, I managed to download a bunch of new songs but with this new approach to the gym, I won't be listening to it as much. I don't use my MP3 when i'm lifting, i find the earphone cord just gets in the way but at least i'll have newer music to listen to when i do my (much) shorter cardio blast. Funny how life works.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Why am I eating?

Why do we eat when we're not hungry? I've been cognizant of this habit for a long time but until I read what I had written yesterday about all of the eating I had done over this past weekend despite not feeling hungry, I hadn't given it much thought. I knew that I munched often, that most times I wasn't hungry at all, that I have associations between certain activities and food, and that I'm an emotional eater. But why would you continue to shovel food into your mouth and make yourself uncomfortably full if you're not hungry?

I do this constantly. I'm like an eating machine, thank God I'm eating lots of fruits these days instead of chips, cheezies or other junk foods, but its still extra calories. And I'm not entirely clean from the junk; Red keeps chocolate around, we have Ritz crackers in the house, Fibre1 bars, sometimes ice cream. Of these, its the chocolate and crackers I have the biggest problem with. Ice cream is not really an issue, I only crave it once in a blue moon so I'm not concerned with having it in the house. Sometimes, most times actually, I'm good with the chocolate. It's only those times, like the past month, when I've been struggling with control that I eat it. But overall, it's not bad.

But even if I'm snacking on fruit, there's only so much of that you can ingest before you're blowing your calorie count for the day. An apple contains 65-75 calories on average, strawberries, pineapple, grapes, just about any other fruit besides bananas are about the same for a cup. But when you eat 2-3 apples, a banana or 2, handfuls of grapes that at best guess might be equal to maybe 5-7 cups, 2-3 cups of pineapple or whatever combination of the above might happen during the day, you're looking at 700-800 calories in just fruit! Add that to your normal meals and weight loss suddenly becomes a bit harder.

One way to solve this is to switch some of that fruit to vegetables, which contain, on average, half the calories. Unfortunately, after my big bag of Dole salad mix, I'm done with veggies. That bag contains more than enough of my daily intake of veggies and I don't like them enough to eat more, with the exception of our roasted veggies which we love so much. Now like I said, it could be alot worse than eating fruit. However, even too much of a good thing isn't good. And it speaks directly to the insanity of constantly eating which many fatties do, I just choose to eat healthier these days.

But does this make it less of a problem? No. To beat this, I need to find another way of using my time, of diverting my attention away from the kitchen and breaking those associations that are ultimately my undoing. So what are the usual suspects? Well, there's TV. That's the big one without a doubt. I grew up eating in front of the tube so that association is very strong. And it's one we all can agree on. I don't know too many people who don't munch in front of the TV. It's too easy and its comfortable.

Another big one for me is the movie theatre. I've been a regular movie goer for years and my usual routine was to order the large special: large popcorn with topping, large drink and candy treat, the popcorn and drink coming with free refill, not helpful. I did this for years and it showed. The popcorn is easily 2000 calories and that may or may not include the topping, my google searches for the calorie count never indicates topping or butter added. A large pop will set you back about 400 calories and then you have the small candy, so figure about 250 for that. Add in the refills, which I usually did as well, and there's a 5000 calorie visit to the movies. Add that to the rest of my day and....well, you get the picture.

When I began my current regime of diet and exercise last September, one of the first things I did was cut out the concession stand and boy, was it hard. The smell of freshly popped corn is intoxicating and not having it really impacted my enjoyment of the movie and soured my mood greatly. Sounds ridiculous doesn't it? How can not having some popcorn ruin your movie going experience if the movie is still great? Because of the association; popcorn and movies go together like peanut butter and jam, Abbott and Costello, teenagers and drama, etc. It's just the way it should be. And I hated being denied. Now nobody did this to me, I made the decision. To quote that scholar President Bush," I'm the decider." But it impacted me nevertheless and made Red's life miserable for a while too until I came to terms with it.

I started bringing diet coke and rice cakes, sometimes a couple pieces of fruit, something that allowed me to munch but wouldn't hurt me. It wasn't the same. For the most part, I stopped bringing anything except the diet coke, but then I started ordering fries once in a while, sometimes I'd bring in a bag of M&Ms or some other candy. Other times, we'd grab a pretzel, or 2, from the pretzel place inside the theatre. This continues to this day, after doing so well I've allowed the association to return, albeit in another form. I need to end this.

I find when I'm busy, I don't munch. So boredom is obviously an issue. And I get bored very easily. I'm one of those people who need constant stimulation, it's sad. While Red is perfectly content sitting on the couch reading or watching TV, I need to get out. I need something going on around me otherwise I feel like I'm wasting my time. Playing volleyball, softball and taking dance lessons has helped fill in time, but I need to find ways of occupying the rest of my time. We enjoy our Wii but haven't played in a while for some reason. I have video hockey I like too, but don't take the time to play. Same with my guitar. So it's not that I don't have stuff I could be doing, and therefore not be eating, I just don't do them. I really need to prioritize this.

I think I've covered the why I eat question. I think more than anything, it's boredom and less about emotion. It's about associations that don't need to be there. Clearly, I need to do some work on this if I hope to ever conquer my demons and be happy.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Thanksgiving aftermath

There was pie, lots of pie. There was turkey, lots of turkey. There was gravy, rivers of gravy. There was dressing, not alot but it was there. There were potatoes, salad and buns, cranberries, it was everything Thanksgiving dinner was supposed to be. And it was good. Too good I think.

Overall, the weekend was nighmarish if you care about your weight. Our wonderful wedding photog forgot about our engagement shoot Saturday morning so we ended up rebooking for Monday morning and went to breakfast. I had an omelete and some fried potatoes and toast. Not too bad, but I could have done without the toast. We made hamburgers for dinner, then sat down to a couple of dvds and snacks for the evening.

Sunday was turkey day so I enjoyed a bowl of Shreddies for breakfast before departing to Red's parents house for the day. There were crackers with pate and shrimp to munch on, fortunately I do not care for fancy crackers and pate nor will I ever eat shrimp so i settled for beer. Dinner was good, I ate well and then devoured most of a pumpkin pie, not to mention having a slice of a coconut cream pie as well. Her mom made 3 pumpkin pies, all different, so I sampled 2 of them. One of them came home with us along with the usual leftovers. Once home, I did have a turkey sandwich despite the fact I wasn't hungry. I just wanted it. How sad.

Monday we finally got our engagement shots done and headed home for breakfast. This time we made a kind of Denny's scramble with eggs, cheese and veggies with toast and bacon. Not the smartest move but it was damn good. Since just about everything was closed and we didn't have much to do, we hit the movies for an afternoon flick and after first deciding not to get anything to snack on, I ended up buying a bag of M&Ms and Oh Henry chunks. Big mistake as neither did anything for me, it was more just the habit. Afterwards, we decided to head downtown to the Rideau Centre which is always open on holidays. There, we passed a sandwich type shop and I couldn't resist this pizza croissant thing in the window. It was pretty good, but I mean let's be honest, I didn't need it nor was I really hungry either. Another one of those just wanted it things. Dinner was leftovers and more pie. i made a point of finishing the pies as I wanted Tuesday to return to normal. It did, sort of.

I woke up and decided that since we didn't really get a chance to sleep in during the weekend thanks to having our engagement shots booked for 8:30 two mornings, and the fact that neither of us slept well, I wasn't going to the gym. Instead I was going to salvage whatever I could of a fairly sleepless night and get up a bit later. As it turned out, I barely slept during that time and ended up wishing I had of gone to the gym. No, I didn't hop on the scale and I didn't want to. I knew what i had done, I didn't need to see it. Last night for dinner was a hot turkey sandwich and some of Red's moms turkey rice casserole that she had sent home with us. It was good and quite filling. I munched on fruit the rest of the night but in reality, I could have just passed. I wasn't hungry.

So this morning, I'm back to my usual routine. I hit the gym, did the full cardio workout and today I'll munch on my fruit and salad. Dinner is a mystery as Red is displaying flu like symptoms and might not be able to eat. No worries there though, if she's not hungry, I'll just enjoy some pea soup. Usually we'd do Subway as it's volleyball night but there's no point in that if she's on the shelf so to speak. It can always wait.

I've been thinking quite a bit about changing up my workout. Since forever, I've been doing the cardio thing: 2 25 minute sessions on the elliptical and 1 15-20 minute stretch on the stationary bike. Needless to say, I'm bored with it. Cardio is mind numbing and the only thing that gets me through it is my music. But as I stated before, I'm bored with the same tunes day after day. However, I can't find anything new that I want to listen to so I'm stuck. One way to fix that is to switch to lifting weights again, which is where my concerns lie.

I go on weight lifting spurts, lifting for a couple of months, then backing off and doing straight cardio. I do this for a couple of reasons. First, I lose much more weight faster doing only cardio. But I know i'm also burning muscle tissue so I'm probably not getting the full benefit. Plus, I'm not building core strength which is important to keeping your body strong over a life time.

Second, my body hates lifting weights. While I know how to lift properly and not overdo it, I still manage to tear or pull something and suddenly I can't lift for a while. It's frustrating but its the same thing every time. And I want results, results I can see. But even when I've gone full out for months, I never really see a difference in my body. Sure, I'm lifting more but no bulging muscles. It's disheartening.

And third, my shoulder is still aching. Its been like this for months and its being stubborn about healing. I used up my yearly physio alottment with my insurance provider fixing a back problem in the spring so any physio I receive now will come out of my pocket and I'm just not down with that. I know it'll heal eventually, but its a pain in the ass for now. Besides, its not the first time I've had stubborn aches and pains that refuse to heal quickly and it won't be the last. Besides, I'm almost 42, the body just doesn't respond like it used to.

So i need to come up with a plan; something that takes both cardio and weight lifting and gives me a workout that benefits me in a way I need to see, and doesn't bore me. I'll give it some more thought this weekend.

Friday, October 10, 2008

getting better

202.5lbs. I'm all over the place this week. 203 last Friday, 205 Wednesday, now 202. It would appear I have no idea just what my actual weight is, but since Friday is official weigh in day, I have to take 202. In the scheme of things, it's probably about right. I know I'm over 200, have been for about a month now. I know I'm not 205, that was probably bloat. I'm probably about 202-203 which is where I've been for the past 2 weeks.

So the last two days have been fine, snacking has been reduced to fruit and a few crackers. I've been good at lunch, no sandwich purchases, so I think that's helping. What I noticed though, is the larger presence of bread in my diet the last while. When I was losing and doing well, bread wasn't part of the equation. Sure, we did Subway twice a week, but that was essentially it. Little rice, little potato, and basically no bread. The last few weeks? Bread, bread, bread! We did pizza a few times which is a killer on so many levels, lasagna one night which involved a loaf of fresh baked bread which I ate most of (god it was good), I made pancakes for breakfast one morning (bad combination of a bread product and maple syrup), pizza slices regularly during lunch or when we would be out, and those sandwiches I was buying at work for lunch. Add it all up and you get a lot of bread. And you know they say that bread is bad. Well, I believe that whole heartedly.

And it's a shame because I love bread. It's the basis for so many meals, it goes with just about everything and if it's missing from the table, it just feels wrong. When we do splurge and buy a loaf of fresh baked goodness, it goes quickly. Red has more willpower than me, she'll indulge but nothing like I do. That's why i don't buy it. I try not to have buns in the house, too easy to make sandwiches. We keep a a loaf of bread in the freezer just in case so that tends to last a while, but fresh baked bread? It doesn't stand a chance.

I think if i can keep my bread intake down to a minimum like before, I'll be fine again. The chocolate thing, while still there, is waning. I still want it, but after I've had it, I don't feel that sense of satisfaction and, in fact, I feel sick. I just don't enjoy it. So why go there then? I don't know! Why do any of us do things that only hurt us? Red made a comment that we fetishize food. She's right. I think all fatties do it. Its the one thing you can count on, it's always there and it makes you feel better, at least while you're eating it. I won't mention the guilt, the self loathing that comes after. It's our best friend, our confidante, our lover. It'll never cheat on you, nor will it ever let you down. It's the perfect companion, except for the fact that it makes you fat and inspires bitterness and shame in you.

This weekend is Thanksgiving. We're going to Red's parent's house. There'll be turkey, potatoes, some type of veggie, bread, gravy and god knows what else her mother conjures up. I'm told there'll be pie, pumpkin pie this year, among others. Last year she didn't make a pumpkin pie, I'm still bitter about that. Who has Thanksgiving dinner without pumpkin pie? Its like not cooking a turkey. All I have to say is there had better be pumpkin pie this year or I cannot be responsible for what may happen. I do realize that demanding pumpkin pie is ridiculous considering how much bitching I've been doing the past month about my weight and that I'd be better off without it, but its Thanksgiving. And you can't have Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie. I won't stand for it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mid week shock

Okay, so it's Wednesday and while I'd like to say things are under control again, they truly aren't. While I have managed to cut back on snacking on most bad things, I'm still snacking on some bad things. Take last night for instance. Got home from work and had some grapes while waiting for dinner. Dinner was steak and roasted veggies so that was good. Then I had a few more grapes. I can't begin to tell you how many grapes I've devoured in the past 2 weeks. Seems like we're at the store buying big bags of grapes every 3 or 4 days. And we don't just buy a couple of bunches, we fill one or two of those plastic bags the store provides for veggies and fruits. So that's a lot of grapes!

So after dinner, we decide to go for a walk, good idea since walking seems to have fallen off our list of activities in recent weeks. We're gone for more than an hour and when we return, we plop down in front of the tube with some pineapple and yes, even more grapes. But I've still got the munchies. I've been like this for a few weeks now and its insane. First, its a few Crispie Minis, then I'm munching on some Ritz crackers with peanut butter. Then a couple of squares from a chocolate bar in the fridge. Then more grapes. Monday night was similar, sitting in front of the TV eating grapes, apples, chocolate, crackers. I know it could be worse, I mean it could be a bag of chips or something else, but its all extra calories I can't afford.

At work I'm not only eating my fruit and salad, I've been ordering sandwiches from the cafeteria. Usually a turkey sandwich, but yesterday I ordered a club. And God it was good. So tack on another 400-800 calories a day in addition to everything else. And the end result? This morning I weighed 205. Yep, that's 2 more pounds since Friday. How is that at all possible?

Well, I don't think its all fat, a couple pounds are probably just bloat, but I'm still well over 200lbs. And that after all the work I did to get to 196 just a month ago. I know it seems small when you consider there are a lot of people who are 40, 50, 75 or more pounds overweight and who would love to trade places with someone who is only about 20lbs overweight currently, but when you're bigger, you don't notice an extra 5 or 10lbs. I never did when I was huge, I could lose 25lbs and not see any difference. But when you're close to your normal weight, you see every extra pound.

I actually felt thinner when I got below 200. My belly was flatter, the roundness that defined it for so many years was basically gone. Sure I still wouldn't walk around without a shirt on as I'm flabby as all Hell, but overall, I was pretty average looking. Now, my belly is back, my face is rounder and I look fat. Everytime I take my shirt off at night and look in that big mirror on the dresser in the bedroom, I cringe. I actually feel sick. Then I feel bad; the guilt sets in. I really wanted to look thinner for our engagment photos that are being taken this weekend, but I guess that won't happen. Its not that I didn't want it, I just can't seem to get it together.

I've been using stress as the biggest reason for this lack of discipline, but the truth is: I'm sick of counting calories. I'm sick of worrying about what i've eaten during the day and how many calories I have left to use. I try and eat snacks that won't burn me on the scale but even fruit has calories. I usually bring a banana, 3 apples and one of those bagged salads to work. Sometimes I bring an extra banana if they are starting to over ripen and we have too many left. But still, that's about 300-420 or so calories of just fruit during work hours. Add in the bag of salad and low calorie dressing and there's another 100-200 calories. Sometimes, I drop a couple of quarters in the candy machine and have some M&Ms. Add in the odd sandwich I might buy from the cafeteria and I'm at about 1000-1200 calories before dinner. But usually its just the fruit and salad; in truth, I rarely buy a sandwich.

But lately, I have bought the sandwich. I did Monday and Tuesday and once or twice last week I think. Some days, I've found myself craving a slice of pizza so off to the shop I go to get a slice or two. That's in addition to the fruit and salad. I think I bought the sandwiches this week because it was the better choice than devouring a slice or two of pizza. But its still off the norm for me and adding another 400-800 calories to my day, not too mention the constant munching at night.

I don't feel right, haven't in a few weeks. My mind is cluttered with things: worry, stress, whatever. Putting on weight is just one more cause for concern. I really wanted to take this fall and lose what I needed to, to get me ready for the Xmas season. But its almost mid-October and I'm falling behind. They gym has become a major chore and work is just painful. I'm spending most of my time doing things I hate with little reward at the end. My mood has brightened somewhat from where it was a week ago, but I can't honestly say I'm happy. Guess that's the story of my life though: never happy. Much of it is work related but i can't seem to find my way there.

After seeing my weight this morning, I was in shock. So what did I do? I went to the gym, as per usual, then only did 2/3 of my workout. Partly because my legs are sore from dance practice and partly because I'm bored as Hell at the gym and don't want to be there. Some new music for my MP3 player might help but I can't seem to find anything new I want. I'm so sick of the same songs. But on the plus side, I don't want to order a sandwich today nor do i want a pizza slice. No, that's a lie. I DO want a pizza slice, I just won't buy one. As for tonight? Well, its volleyball night so that means probably munching for dinner, perhaps Subway, who knows? I've just got to get a handle on my snacking. It's my mindset I can't seem to sort out. I hate the doldrums.....

Friday, October 3, 2008


203lbs. Same as last week. Yesterday was 201lbs. So who knows? Either way, I'm still over 200 again and struggling to get it together although I've managed to cut out the chocolate and shit over the last couple of days. Probably didn't help that I munched on some cheese and crackers while watching the VP debate last night, had a bowl of cereal I can't honestly say I was hungry for just before bed, and that I didn't go to the gym yesterday either. I know exactly what my problem is, I just haven't gotten it sorted out yet.

Its been cold lately so taking in a lunchtime walk has been hard, plus we haven't been taking our evening walks lately either. Volleyball has restarted so that offers some activity during Wednesday nights and we enrolled in a Rock 'n' Jive dance class on Thursday evenings, so we're getting out and moving a bit, but I'm out of gas. Mentally, physically, I've got nothing. My head aches with a steady dull pain that won't disipate and I want to jam dull pencils into the skulls of just about everyone at work. For some reason, the word "Jerkhole" keeps coming to mind when talking to people.

On the plus side, hmmmm....well, dancing is fun. We're liking this jive dancing stuff and we're learning. Soon, we'll be smooth as ice, if one of us doesn't trip the other one up first! I can't dance, never have been able to. Its mostly because growing up as a fat guy, I never wanted to draw any kind of embarrassing attention to myself, so letting myself go and moving about on a dance floor never appealed to me. I'm stiff and awkward and have basically no rhythmn despite being a drummer for years earlier. Yet, our instructor, a nice eastern european sounding lady, came up to us during the lesson and asked if I had taken dance in the past. Me? Captain Clumsy? I think not. And I don't think I'm capable of faking it that well to be mistaken as a dancer by someone who knows how to dance. I'm still scratching my head over that one.

The weekend looks quiet overall. We need to mow the lawn one last time (if we're lucky) and we really need to fix the incline behind the house before the snow falls. Maybe I'll look into that as a job. I think we'll see a movie tonight, its been a couple of weeks since we've been, due to the horrid offerings as of late. And the last 2 we saw were awful. I haven't decided what I'm going to do snackwise while there; since i gave up the popcorn last year, I've been all over the place, bringing fruit, rice cakes, candy bars. Sometimes we've gotten fries or pretzels but the goal is to not snack at all. But boy it's hard. The popcorn smell is intoxicating, but anymore its the chocolate cravings and the pretzels that sink me. We'll see what happens....

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

When it rains, it pours

The bleeding hasn't ended yet. This morning, another surprise...or not: 203lbs. I don't know what's going on with me but the munching is out of control and the weight is rising. Sure, I'm still munching on fruit and such, but I'm also slipping in chocolate, ice cream and Fibre1 bars. Needless to say, I'm not happy and my mood is getting darker by the day. I know its stress but that's no excuse. I've got to get it together now! But I've got no gas in the tank at the gym and the diet is crumbling. I hate my life.