Thursday, January 22, 2009

So I finally hopped on the scale earlier in the week just for a looksee, and wasn't surprised by what i saw: 211lb. Normally this would incite frustration and much anxiety in me, but I'm okay with it. Since I don't know where i stood before Xmas, and that I know I did some damage over the holidays, and that I've been very good since, I can't really say much. Getting off the scale has been good for my soul, living and dying by the scale is no way to live. Especially when you're engaged in the type of workout that promotes muscle growth and thus weight gain and your experience thus far with this regimen hasn't been one of loss.

I did fully expect to start dropping some weight by now, almost 3 months since I began the new routine, but instead, I've put on probably a good 8lb. Some of it is muscle I'm sure, but the expected bloat should be gone and my new muscle should have been eating away at the fat surrounding it. However, as recorded before, my diet wasn't as good as it should have been (read bread for the most part and a lack of water) and I suppose I wasn't giving it much of a chance. Also, you just don't burn as many calories when you lift weights as you do when performing cardio, there is a big difference. So in order to actually see some weight loss, a few dietary changes must be in order.

First up is the water consumption. Before? Nothing worth mentioning. Now? About 8-10 glasses a day. Incorporating this was relatively easy, I started bringing a bottle of water to the gym in the morning, then refilling it while there and at work afterward. I easily drink about 3 bottles while at the gym so there's 6 glasses right there (bottle is 500ml, 250ml = 1 8oz glass), then i usually throw back another 2 bottles during the day. So water is no longer a problem.

Second issue is bread. I think I've got this licked for the most part. Red and i have kicked the weekly pizza meal which is a huge savings on calories. Our once or twice a week visit to Subway has fallen by the wayside, although i have visited for lunch once a week the last couple since we haven't been going and I love Subway. Now we have done pasta the last couple of weekends which required a baguette, so I haven't been completely clean. But for the most part, bread is a non-issue. Do I miss it? Oh God ya, but I know bread is a major problem for me so, while I won't cut it out entirely, I've seriously reduced my consumption.

Another thing i think has been a problem has been my taste for alcohol the last few of months. Normally I don't drink, don't usually have any in the house. But Red does, as any good host should, and i found myself enjoying a couple or more on a regular basis, not just on the weekends, but through the week. Suddenly I wanted it in the house and I do believe this has slowed me down as well. So now I try and keep it to a minimun, on the weekends, and we'll see if this helps at all.

My workout routine has changed a bit too. I decided I needed more cardio in my workout since only doing a 25-30 minute spot after weights didn't seem like enough of a calorie burn. So instead of doing 4 sets of 10-12 reps lifting for each exercise, I cut it back to 3 sets to allow me more time to do cardio. I'm trying to incorporate more cardio like exercises in my warmup to weights, like 3 point squats, skipping and steps, but I needed to add another 10-20 minutes of elliptical work to help burn calories. Considering that my shoulder is aching like nobody's business anymore, this is probably a good thing. Of course, stopping any lifting and giving my shoulder a break would be the best thing, but since it wouldn't heal up on its own in a year of not lifting, I don't think it's making much of a difference. Might as well just suck it up and lift through the pain. I'm making an appointment with my doctor this week to see if i can find a solution to this issue. There's obviously something wrong there. A shoulder shouldn't hurt for a year with no good reason.

I enrolled in floor hockey for the winter months, something i've been dying to play forever. We gave volleyball a break this season and I don't know when we'll rejoin that. I know we will, spring volleyball begins about April or May so that's a possibility, but the summer session is pointless as many people dont' bother showing up to games and you can't play. So why spend the money? Softball starts up again in the spring too, so we'll have that. We're currently taking 2 dance classes a week, a ballroom and a rock 'n' jive class, so we're getting some activity during the weeknights and it's fun. Activity is certainly not a problem right now.

An added plus to all this is that I'm not craving anything. I have wanted stuff, but I've been able to say no and carry on. About the only thing I'm still having issues with is the times we have bread around. Last weekend we decided on some spaghetti and picked up a nice loaf of crusty bread to accompany it. Of course, as I always do, I was cutting slices off it as soon as we got home, then had more slices at dinner time, then finished it off later that night or the next day (can't remember which). Clearly, I can't be trusted around bread. It remains my biggest weakness which is why I'd prefer it not be around. I'm too weak. But it's one trangression in a week and a lot of better than some of the things I'd been doing.

So, all in all, I'm fine. I am noticing my belly starting to deflate a bit which is nice. I hope that is indicative of my hard work and recommitment and not just hopeful thinking. My goal right now is to lose enough not to look like a beached whale in Cuba in February. I have about 4 weeks to go.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I've managed to stay away from the scale for a few weeks now although I am curious. I''m sure I put on a few more pounds than I planned to over the Xmas holidays and my round and strangely solid tummy is enough proof of that. But after a couple of weeks of working out daily and dieting, I should be down a bit. Or at least that's the hope. But since my weight has refused to drop since beginning the weight training, I'm not optimistic about it. Which is why I've stayed off the scale. I can tell how I'm doing by my clothes, and my shirts are tighter. So there.

It would be too easy to forgo everything I've worked on the past couple of months in the gym and head straight back to the elliptical to lose the pounds, but I really need the muscle growth. Before, I may have been losing and looking thinner, but my body was soft and weak looking. It's always bothered me and having some bulk in the form of good old muscle appeals to me. So I'll keep on keeping on with the weights and cardio mix and hope for the best. Of course, I have made some alterations to the diet in the form of my bread intake, which I really believe is a major show stopper for me, so I'm hoping this is the ticket. We'll see as February approaches.

The thing is, the wedding is a big deal to me. To be specific, how I look at the wedding is a big deal to me. I don't want to look fat. So if worse comes to worst, I'll hop on the elliptical during the summer months and melt it off that way. I'm hoping it won't come to that as I'm bored to death of cardio. At least now when I do my cardio, I'm only on it for 25-30 minutes which is much easier to handle.

Other notes: my shoulder is killing me. On Monday while starting butterfly presses, my shoulder literally felt like it fell apart as it cried out in pain on the first rep. I immediately stopped what i was doing and packed it in for the day, but it was the weirdest feeling. This is not a new injury but an old one that has a nasty habit of popping up every now and then. Except this time, the pain started at one point last year when I wasn't lifting weights, so I have no idea what prompted it or why it won't heal up. Obviously lifting isn't helping, but neither was doing nothing so I figured I'd just be careful and soldier on. Chest and shoulder work are directly affected by this injury making it hard to advance in weight. I'm almost at that point now as the weight I'm lifting during bench presses and shoulder work is becoming easier and the time comes to add more weight. With my shoulder being as it is, adding more weight is basically impossible. The pain when lifting will be too much and my growth will be stunted as a result. This is extremely frustrating.

I need to see my doctor and get an MRI or something done to check it out. Maybe physio would do the trick but i used up my physio allotment from my insurance provider on my back last spring so i don't have coverage until at least this spring and I can't afford it myself. Besides, by the time the MRI gets booked and the appointment arrives, it'll be a good 7-12 months anyway. We may have universal health care here in Canada, but you wait forever for stuff like this. Who knows? Maybe I'll get lucky.

Our dancing classes started up again last week, ballroom and rock 'n' jive. The jive class is fun and lively and we both love it. It can be quite fast so there's an aerobic workout factor there. The ballroom class is more formal and slower, but we enjoy it. The bonus is it's an activity through the week that gets us off the couch. Floor hockey begins next week too, which I'm looking forward to so that'll give me 3 evening activities a week plus the gym 5 days a week. Not bad. Cuba's in a little over 5 weeks, my goal is to lose some of this belly and not look like a man-cow on the beach. It won't be for a lack of trying.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ya, it's been a while. To be honest, I've pondered writing for a while now, but with work being busier and me not feeling like writing in the evenings, it's been hard to find time. Also, I'm a little tired of yapping about this. I enjoy writing and did enjoy writing this blog at first, but it also started to sound the same every time. Bitching about my weight going up, staying the same, my workouts, my stress, blah, blah, blah. I think I was just bored (which i was at work when i do most of my writing) and I wanted to use this blog as a way of tracking my progress. The problem began in the fall when my diet wasn't going so well and my weight started to creep up a bit. Then I switched my workout to include weight lifting and all Hell broke loose on the scale. It was about this time when my duties at work changed somewhat and I didn't have time to think about what to write.

Red asked me quite a while back, why do you obsess over your weight? At the time, I was offended as I am not the only fattie who has their weight constantly on their mind, consuming them. Being a former fattie herself, I expected her to understand. But she's different, her whole outlook about it is more positive and overall, she's in control of her eating. Unlike me who lives like an alcoholic, dealing with it one day at a time, falling off the wagon, hating myself, climbing back on, then falling again. It's insane. I've never forgotten that comment and she's right. Why do I obsess over it? I know what it takes to lose and keep off the weight. I've adopted a good diet and I've made great strides in helping myself. I should be proud of what I've accomplished so far and know that I am going to fail once in a while, but that I'm capable of picking myself up and moving past it. We all eat too much at times and we all make poor food choices at other times. That's life in western society. But I'm fine. I'm not going to blow up again, I have enough control over myself to not let that happen again. And writing about it all the time isn't that interesting anymore. I'm going to continue this blog but how frequently I use it is up in the air. It'll depend on what is going on in my life and what kind of time I have to write. Whining about my weight and the scale is boring.

Christmas is long gone and life is back to normal. The holidays were not a good example of how to control your weight and I most certainly did not. But it's over now and all in all I had a good break. I know I put on a few pounds during those 2 weeks but I haven't confirmed just how many. I've pretty much given up on the scale. Since beginning my weight lifting regime, my weight has only gone up prompting much anguish in me. For a guy who's lived and died by the scale his whole life, it's quite disheartening.

Nope, instead I've decided to stay off the scale for the most part and just let my clothes and appearance guide me. I can see definite changes in my body from the new workouts so I feel I'm on the right track there. My diet is better now thanks to my decision (finally) to greatly reduce the amount of bread in my diet. I'm convinced much of my pre-Xmas problem was the bread. I had gotten into the habit of visiting Subway a few too many times, I was eating sandwiches or toast at home, bread at certain meals, garlic bread with cheese when we ordered our weekly pizza, and lots of crackers in my soup to make it heartier. That's a lot of bread.

Aside from the bread, my diet is good. I figure if I cut out most of it, I'm gold. I've known people who've lost weight just by cutting out the stuff and its amazing. Of course, it isn't hard to find evidence of this online. Most breads are just terrible ingredient wise to begin with and it is high in calorie for what it is. I love bread, it is probably my favourite thing to eat in all its various forms, but if I want to see results and maintain them, I need to sacrifice. And I'm in a good place mentally to do this, I have no real cravings and my desire to lose some weight before the wedding is strong. Now that I'm seeing some changes in my body due to the weight lifting, I'm feeling more motivated.

I'm still going to eat Subway, but maybe only once a week. The pizza is a disaster so I want to cut that back to maybe once or twice a month. This past weekend, we didn't order and we both feel good about our weekend as a result. We saved a ton of calories just by saying no, calories we both didn't need. We're heading to Cuba in about 6 weeks and I'd like to not be bloated. There won't be much of a difference in my appearance between now and then other than the bloat. The only way to make a real change in appearance would be to crash diet and go back to cardio at the gym. I could probably burn off a few more pounds but crash dieting is a bad idea and I don't want to do it. Instead, slow and steady to win the race. I've got less than 9 months to drop some weight and look good for the wedding, I'd like to be sure I get there.