Saturday, August 18, 2012

Horse Before the Cart

Couch to 5k training began last week, and this morning marked the second time I've woken up super early and decided to get my jog/walk out of the way first thing. While I was out there, confused by the sounds of 6:30am, it occurred to me that little wins like this were a product of patience. When I try to start a new fitness program and I decide I need to get up and workout early I tend to fail. When I let the day dictate when I should workout, knowing I need to jump at the opportunity, I succeed. The main difference this time is I changed my food first, started walking a decent amount each day, and now find myself more able to fall asleep early and get up early. Trying to force my sugar-riddled body out of bed at 6am was an exercise in futility.

Don't read this the wrong way. I'm very, very far from being a morning person. Just ask my poor, abused snooze alarm. But giving myself the freedom to workout when I want, so long as it's on the right day, has led to jog/walk sessions at 6:30am, 11am, 5pm, 6:30pm, and 8:30pm. I don't care when it happens because I haven't missed a day. Once the baby arrives, will I be better off with hard and fast routines, or will hard and fast days with the ability to improvise workout time make me more successful? I'm betting on the latter. The strength and newly formed (and hopefully perpetual) ability to say "this is my chance to work out today, I'm taking it" instead of "I'll do it later" or "I'll do it tomorrow" gives me hope that my little one will have a fit dad.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Junk Free July Recap/Reboot: Phase 2!

Buckle up, folks, because this one's a doozy.

Junk Free July is over. Here are some stats:
-Length: 36 days
-Steps taken: 288,969
-Desserts eaten: 0
-Non-water drinks: 0
-French Fries drooled over: 1,287
-French Fries eaten: 0
-Starting weight: 257.4

Now we get to the part where I talk about the rules I broke. Blue means I succeeded, red means I suck. Here we go:

-Read July, July before the August 6th deadline
--I started it, doesn't that count?
-Walk 2 miles minimum at a time at least twice a week for the 5 weeks of this plan
--Honestly, I mostly just forgot about this. Basically I walked enough, but didn't actually have the 10 workouts I planned for the five week period. This will be addressed in my next challenge.
-Average at least 8,000 steps a day for this time period
--My days often centered around how to keep getting steps after work. A lot of nights ended with quick walks in our complex or even around the living room. In the end, I averaged 8,027 steps per day.
-Continue back exercises as per Doctor's orders

--Considering all the traveling this month, I feel like I've stuck with this and improved my back.
-Keep working towards a clutter-free, baby-ready house
--Kacey did a ton more than me while I was at work, but we're really getting there.
-Take care of Kacey as best I can
--I hope this is true. I mean I know this is true.
-Weigh in before and after
--Perhaps this didn't explicitly say so, but my goal was to not weigh in all month. Then I could see if I felt differently before I saw the results on the scale. I failed miserably, and eventually was weighing myself all the time. I'm not worried about this issue, however.
Cheat Meals
--I'm very happy with this aspect of JFJ. While my main meals often consisted of unhealthy items, I didn't binge on things I promised not to, and I didn't drink a single thing I wasn't supposed to.
Allowed items
--I ate many things not on this list, including unhealthy main dishes, but I largely stuck to the list for snacking. I'm calling this a win.
-Sugary cereals, cookies, cake, ice cream, soda, juice, french fries, sweetened milk, alcohol
--I fought through the first week or so of real cravings, and eventually reached a place where my pangs for sugar were weak. Fresh fruit was a major help this month.

Several people have talked about how I must be excited about all the donuts and cupcakes I can eat next week. Sorry to disappoint, but I'm not going back without a fight. I feel better now than I have in years, and that includes the last time I was in the 240s and working out a lot, which was Spring 2011.

This weekend we had family (and a few close friends, the ones we could fit) over for the baby shower. It really would have been a failure to give up 36 hours before this little experiment ended, but truffles and brownies and soda and cookies and cupcakes all on one table are hard to resist. There were times I felt my breath pick up pace, and my eyes widen, and I knew I needed to check myself. Ugly, but true. Here's to hoping that a few days from now I'll be back to the calm I had reached during this journey.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about my 2nd-tier nemises, sodium. If sugar is Ledger's Joker, sodium is Ra's al Ghul. (Bane can be Sweet'N Low since he sounded as authentic as Adam Sandler doing a Sean Connery impression)

I both love and hate myfitnesspal. Pizza will from now on be made at home, Bdubs will be condemned from my diet, all in the name of sodium. Trying to eat out reasonably, only to go home and get punched in the brain by myfitnesspal, is becoming tradition. 8 boneless wings from Bdubs with medium sauce have 3,280mg of sodium. That's 1,000mg more than the daily suggested, all packed into 768 calories. Whew.

So with that in mind, Accurate August (so named by my lovely wife) will involve taking everything a step further. Accurate August will also be known as Phase 2, or P2 for short. This includes making the phase last even longer, so P2 will actually go until October 21st and will include the birth of my kid. At the end I will try and find a plan I can stick to once the baby has turned us into living zombies due to sleep deprivation. Another end goal will be to pr a 5k on October 20, 2012

So let's talk rules:

  • Desserts: None, and that includes my birthday, Kacey's birthday, Dad's birthday, and the kid's birth day. Yes, I said no cake on my birthday. Fruit would be great, however.
  • Other food changes: mustard instead of mayo, balsamic instead of ranch, baked organic chips instead of regular potato chips, just general healthy switches.
  • Cardio for at least 20 minutes, 3 times a week. I'll accomplish this by doing the Couch to 5k program.
  • Take the baby for many awesome walks.
  • Lift once a week, do back exercises 4 times a week.
  • Watch no more than 2 TV shows a night (unless it is an Office/BBT rerun that I can largely ignore). This should be easy with the baby coming and the fact that we only watch a few shows now.
  • Only drink water, sparkling water with real fruit in it (or natural flavors at the very least), or unsweetened almond milk. Absolutely no soda, milkshakes, etc.
  • Track food every day and keep sodium to around 2,400mg a day (and never go over 3,000mg).
  • Cigars: 1, on or around September 15th.
  • Alcohol: No more than 2 drinks a week, beer or wine only (no sugary mixed drinks). This will not take effect until well into P2, as two weeks into JFJ I swore off alcohol until Kacey can drink again. Once the baby is here, this will be the only exception to my rules on what I can drink.
  • Four meals out each week, max, and that includes work lunch. In addition to lowering sodium, one of my goals will be to eat lots of vegetables during P2.
  • More steps per day: I considered jumping up to 9k but I'm trying to set myself up to succeed. 
Perhaps this seems rigid. But what I want to get across with these rules is that I will likely always feel addicted to sugar. Excusing birthday cake, for me, leads to excusing ice cream a few nights a week. That leads to Pop-Tart benders, which quickly lead to sugar-filled breakfasts, which lead to dessert three times a day. Then I'm right back where I started. Unless I can physiologically change how my body reacts to sugar, I need to be strict.

So that leaves is how this 5 weeks affected my weight. This morning I was 244.6 pounds, a loss of 12.8 pounds, 2.49 pounds per week. I couldn't be happier, and in order to keep up a pace that even approaches this I need to start really working out and tightening up my eating.

My goals for Phase 2:
  1. 8,500 Steps a day, minimum (11 weeks, or 77 days, so a total of  654,500 steps)
  2. Walk/Run the October 20th 5k in under 40 minutes
  3. Wake up the final morning, October 21st, below 230 pounds
Thanks for sticking with me!