Sunday, January 28, 2007
It's something I did to chronical my thoughts/feelings while they were fresh. I've always hated the length and lack of creativity in this piece, but it not intended to be creative. Just that facts. So, with that cavaet, here 'tis.
How do you lose 100 pounds?
First, you must know...
How does one become 300 pounds in the first place?
Louie Anderson used to have a punch line…”It’s not like I woke up one day, looked in the mirror and said, ‘Oh no! Look at what happened.’”
But that’s kind of what it’s like. You don’t gain it all at once. You don’t see it go on. It was only about 10 pounds I gained my first year in college. Then another 10 the next. Throw in a bad relationship, a failed business, and ten years later, I wake up and said, “OH NO!”
If you could actually know what was happening, when it was happening, it obviously wouldn’t happen. However, the problem with denial is, well...it’s denial. You simply cannot face what has happened, and what is happening. So you keep lying to yourself. Telling yourself you’ll get in shape for next summer, when the weather’s nice. Then next summer, you again cannot take your shirt off on the lake, and you’re talking about getting in shape in the winter. Winter comes around and you say “after the holidays.” The holidays pass and you’re too damn depressed to get up at all, and the cycle goes on, and on, and on.
So how do you stop it? You simply do. Change may take years, but in the end, it happens in a moment. There is a moment, however brief, that you finally just decide. Not think about it, not plan it, not talk about it, you actually break down and get serious with yourself. In one moment, that voice inside your head finally speaks clearly to you. And that is it. No fancy plan here.
I look at it as a cycle. If you can imagine a wheel spinning, you have a cycle. If that cycle is a negative one, get out a wrench and throw it into the spokes. It’s not a process, it’s a moment.
Get real with yourself!
What really happened, the details.
I was honestly at the Taco Bell drive through. I had thought about losing weight for about 10 years, but never did anything besides lie to myself about it. And then it happened, in a moment.
My normal routine was to get really trashed at the bar each night, drink another few at home alone, and pass out on the couch. Wake up, get some coffee and cigarettes, then a couple white bagels with butter. After the nicotine, caffeine, insulin buzz subsided, I’d make my way to a fast food joint. And that’s where it happened.
I backed out, and drove to the store. All I knew at the time, June 2003, was that everyone was losing weight low carbing. I had heard of no one that didn’t lose 5 pounds or so the first week. So I figured, what the hell? I had never lost weight before, and figured I’d start out making sure I would lose.
And lose I did. I dumped 5 pounds, as predicted, week one. Another 5 the next week. Six weeks later, I’d lost 30 pounds. I felt great about the weight loss, but that was all I felt great about. I knew eating bacon and eggs every morning, and bunless double cheeseburgers at night wasn’t the smartest thing to lose weight. The lack of energy and constant constipation confirmed that. If you want to know what carbs do, try eliminating them from your diet.
Phase Two, Intelligent weight loss.
So I began my real search. I was on the hunt for what used to be Cybergenics. I wanted the workout, the meal plan, and the supplements in one box. I wanted it all. It doesn’t exist.
HOWEVER, my search led me to Body For Life, by Bill Phillips. It was the closest thing. The supplements were simple; Myoplex meal replacements. The meal plan was simple; eat 6 smaller meals a day consisting of protein, carbs, and a fruit or vegetable. And the workout? Simple. Weights one day, cardio the next.
I read the book in one night. The next morning, with new inspiration, I began the cardio portion Body for Life style. I walked, then jogged, then ran for 20 minutes. With 270 pounds crashing down on my legs, I got shin splint so badly that I didn’t run again for another year.
HOWEVER, I stuck to the diet. A few weeks later people started to take note. No one had said much during the low carbing. Amazing, 30 pounds and I didn't look much better. But eating a balance of carbs, proteins and healthy fats, and I was looking better, as well as feeling great.
By eating right, and more often, ala the Body for Life plan, I managed to lose another 20 pounds by that November. So why would I stall out?
I hadn’t left my past life in the past. Through it all, I was still holding onto the old, fat, unhappy me. Steve Chandler, in his book, “100 Ways to Motivate Yourself” talks about selling your house. Not the physical house you live in, but the emotional house you’ve become attached to. You see, no matter how messed up that house is, you still have a hard time selling it because it’s your house.
During the week I was healthy guy. However, when the weekend hit, it was game on. I had lost 50 pounds, was looking pretty good, wanted to go out and drink and show off a bit. So I did.
Then Friday and Saturday night turned into Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It was football season after all. So then, who could skip Monday night football? And Tuesday nights are pint night at a local watering hole, and well, so why not get cheap beer? Before I knew it, I was right back in my old house.
I didn’t gain weight here. I just stalled after incredible momentum. How could I have let that happen? In hindsight, I realized how terrified I was to leave that old emotional house. You see, I hadn’t been in any serious relationships since I had become 300 pounds. Now, the ladies were noticing, and I was going out on dates. In my mind, dates could lead to romance, romance to relationships, and relationships meant pain. Subconsciously, I sabotaged my progress by staying fat. The ladies I attracted were marginal in appearance and personality, so there was no risk. I could remain safe. I could remain in my house.
How to make a change-Step one, a have massive anxiety attack.
Skip to July, 2004. I’m on vacation in Texas, starting at 240 pounds. Another 10 down, even through all the partying. Upon arriving in Texas, I meet up with an old high school friend, and begin drinking beer and eating Jack in The Box tacos...at 9 am. The vacation went downhill from there, and nearly 2 weeks later, I’m on the road home to Indiana.
Somewhere in the middle of Arkansas, with the nerves shot from the previous night’s partying, compound by the massive amounts of caffeine I ingested in an attempt to counteract the hangover, I begin to feel some anxiety. Within a few miles, I’m at the next exit, paralyzed by it. I find a motel, and lock the door. I promise myself I’m done. I’m finally going to get it together.
Upon returning home, again, I don’t follow through. It’s amazing what it takes to change. I had gained 15 pounds on vacation, freaked out to the point I should have been at a hospital, not a hotel, and I still cannot get it together?
The real way to make a change-Surround yourself with positive people
For the first time in my life, I surrender to the idea of asking someone to help me. I went searching for a trainer. I knew if I was to spend the money on a trainer, I wouldn’t spend it in the bar. I might have wasted a lot of time, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to waste my money.
Fate, karma, God, some higher power, whatever, sent me into Healthkick, a local nutrition store. I immediately noticed two biceps attached to someone seated behind the counter. Later I learned it was Ryan Benroth, owner and operator. He gave me a card for Dane King, personal trainer. So it was on, right?
Sooooo...September, I finally make a call to Dane. He gave me a pretty hard sales pitch. I knew I needed to change, but was still resisting. However, in a moment, I finally gave in, and signed up for 4 weeks. In the end, a decision is just one moment.
Like this story has drug on, the time it took me to change drug on, and on, and on. The only thing I regret today about my weight loss is that I didn’t do it earlier. I know that sounds cliché; but it’s 100% dead on. Of course I knew that I should lose weight when I was fat. But if for one moment I could have felt how I feel now; the pride, the self respect, the confidence, all the things I feel today, I would have not hesitated a moment. Oh, if only the new me could go back and give the old me a swift kick in the ass.
But it matters not now. The past is in the past, and must be left there. That’s half the battle of losing weight. You get into such a cycle of beating yourself down further because you have let yourself go. In doing so, you defeat yourself before you start. So the negative cycle spins further down.
Allow the positive cycle to spin
I now give everyone the same advice on losing weight. Don’t fight it, and DON’T FORCE IT. Of course, then everyone asks, “What is that supposed to mean?” You have to go through it to understand. The best I can describe it, you simply surround yourself with the positive circle you need, and then allow the cycle to spin. It’s not about psyching yourself up. Will power is overrated. If you’ve truly made your decision, you won’t be fighting urges, or forcing yourself to go to the gym. You’ll simply do it.
However, you need to set up the cycle around you. The means leaving some old “friends”, figuratively and literally. You know who and what they are. They need to be left behind. Trust me, once you change, you won’t miss them. In the beginning, my biggest fear was that I would lose my favorite friends; drinking and smoking. Today? Are you kidding me? I enjoy a beer ten times more now that I rarely have one. Smoking? I tried to go back to it once after quitting. With a new, healthy LIFESTLYE, it was mental trauma to try to inhale.
Looking back, I didn’t just start working out, or start a “diet”. I started a new life. I would wake up, eat, get dressed, and head to the gym, first thing. The workout was simple enough, with weights Monday, Wednesday and Friday, followed by cardio, and cardio alone on the other days. Sundays? OK, maybe on Sundays I was still a drink. Hey, it was football season again.
But the other 6 days I was living a healthy lifestyle. The workout was followed by a stop off at Healthkick to grab a post workout shake and discuss weight loss/muscle building theory with Ryan. Upon returning home, I’d usually surf the web for more info while cooking a post workout meal. That is where I first found bodybuilding.com. I tore into information on insulin and cortisol, testosterone and human growth hormone, whey and casein, whatever I could wrap my brain around, and some articles I couldn’t quite understand at the time.
I ate 6 meals a day, Body for Life style, and was spot on for 6 days. How did I maintain such a strict new life after being such a clown for so long? I had a support group I had surrounded myself with. Ryan, Dane, and Maggie. Maggie?
Even though I was 250 pounds of flabby misery when I started, I had started. I was feeling great every day after I got out the gym. Before the weight came off, I developed a new glow, a new confidence, and a new girlfriend. And she was into working out! I could cook healthy meals with her, do some extra cardio with her, and also go to the gym to do some extra cardio with her. Most of all, I had yet another person to be accountable to.
So the cycle spun faster. I felt like I was making a positive decision waking up to work out. Upon completing the workout, I’d get this wonderful euphoria that would last for another few hours. I knew from the information on bodybuilding.com, that I needed to feed the muscle, so I ate great. Eating great made me feel better, eliminating the highs and lows I previously had from starving and stuffing. I was doing great, and dropping weight, every week. Everyone I ran into was telling me how great I looked. The cycle spun and spun.
I lost a little, and Maggie would tell me I’m doing great. She also gave me a little encouragement in the personal appearance arena. I cut the hair. That really got the cycle spinning. I went out and bought some new shirts to keep updating the look. Some I bought to wear right away. Others I bought skin tight, as I knew I would be wearing them soon. And soon I was. What a time. Positive energy breading positive energy.
The scale is only one tool. Measure, measure, measure.
Before I knew it, it’s the middle of February, and I’ve dumped 25 pounds. Twenty five doesn’t seem like much, I know. But I wasn’t just taking it off. I was adding lean mass almost as fast.. I had the measurements from when I started with my trainer, and my current measurements. I could imagine what it was like 25 pounds ago, let alone 75 pounds ago. It just didn’t seem real.
That is, until I took the first after pictures, and got them developed along with my before pictures. I was beyond shocked. I had actually believed that I didn’t look that bad at 250. After all, I was 50 pounds lighter than 300, right? Well there I was, side by side with my new self, and the reality set in. I almost broke down in a confusing mess of resentment at my old self, and pride of the new self. It’s a moment I’ll never forget.
I got these two pictures back February 19th, 2005. That’s only 25 pounds. It’s not about the scale.
Those pictures are now up a lot of places. I don’t even relate to the guy in the before pictures. I don’t want to know him anymore, I cannot understand why he liked the things he liked, and I certainly don’t want to be him again. I wouldn’t even want to hang out with him. It’s really a different person to me.
Weighing in is only part of the story. A small part. If I had relied on the scale, I would have failed for sure. Thanks to my trainer, I had measurements taken every 4 weeks. I continue to measure inches and body fat percentage along with weight. Of course, I continue to update the pictures. Whenever I’m feeling down, and think I haven’t progressed, I’ll measure again, or take another picture. It’s hard to see the little changes, especially of you only are measuring the weight.
I’m going to preach a little more about the scale, as I think it’s important to totally, completely and fully hammer home the point that it’s NOT ABOUT THE SCALE. I weigh in everyday. I highly recommend daily weigh ins. Not to see weight loss, but to see how pointless a pound or two, even three or four can be. I fluctuate as much as 4 pounds from day to day. When I was 250, it was more. Why?
Sodium (salt) makes you retain water. So does carbohydrates. Just having water in my stomach will cause me to weight in a pound or two heavy some days. What if you weigh in one day and haven’t passed things through your system as much as the previous day? That will add a few pounds. The most I remember fluctuating was 9 pounds in a week.
With all that said, looking at a scale once a week can really throw you off. What if the scale reads the same one week? Did your body fat stay the same? Or did you lose fat, and gain muscle? Did you actually gain a pound, but are more dehydrated? There are too many variables to tell for sure. So weigh in daily, and just make sure it is trending downward.
Failing to plan is planning to fail
As well, I kept a food journal. The journal was a HUGE part of my success. I planned all my meals ahead of time, then recorded what I actually ate. You must plan on succeeding to succeed. Most “diets” fail not because of lack of willpower, but simple lack of planning. If you don’t know what you’re going to be eating next, there’s a distinct possibility that you’ll be caught unprepared, and make less than ideal choices.
Planning ahead insures you’ll be eating the right things. As well, if ever I felt as if I was hitting a plateau, I had a record of why. And those days I weighed in too high? It was easy to trace it to something I had the day before.
I also planned my workouts upon going out on my own. The planning process, I believe, is key to continuous gains. My routine has changed many times. Keeping a record of planned workouts, and actual workouts has been a key to keeping the progress going. Again, if ever I get down, I can look back at my workout log, and see how far I’ve come.
And how far is that? Take a look at that first before picture, with the long hair. Now picture that guy showing up in the gym, 10 AM. He’s got a pair of giant yellow swim trunks on because he hasn’t bought a pair of shorts in 6 years. The t shirt he wears is from the Go-Kart track he got fired from, and is XXL. The sweat is so profuse anytime he turns his head his wet hair sends sweat flying. His three sets of bench press are 85, 75, and finally 55 pounds. All three sets need a spot to get to 10.
Fifty five pounds. To be clear, that is the bar with two fives on it. We’ve all gotta start somewhere. Just start. The people in the gym aren’t judging you in a negative light. They admire you, and are think, “Hey, at least he’s trying.” Really. I know, I’ve been on both sides.
So where does it end?
Good question. I don’t think it will. I learn something new about myself nearly every time I go to the gym. I continually impove upon my diet, as I learn new things and get new discipline. Do I do everything perfect now? Hell no. Far from it.
I think that’s a big misconception when people start out. They believe they need to go from total failure to 100% success without falling. Guess what? Notgunnahappen. Nor should it. Take your time, and learn a little about yourself along the way. Most of all, enjoy the journey, it’s a GREAT one.
I’ll be waiting for you on the other side. The view from here is AMAZING. When you get here, drop me a line and tell me how you got here, so we can direct others to where we’re at.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Streetman’s one page weight loss AND maintenance plan.
You don't need a book. You need simple rules you can live with.
Eat at least six modest sized meals and/or snacks each day to keep blood sugar stable. Eat to feel satisfied, not full. You can eat again around ever three hours.
Eat breakfast immediately upon waking. You are "breaking the fast" and this is the key to getting your metabolism fired up, and elevating blood sugar and energy levels immediately upon waking.
Each meal should consist of a protein, carbohydrate, and a fruit or vegetable. Proteins rebuild muscle, carbohydrates provide that muscle energy, and fats are necessary for cellular rebuilding and hormonal health. Portions can be calculated with one of three methods:
Use your plate. Get a 10" plate, and visualize three equal sections, like a three piece pie. Section one protein, section two carbohydrate, section three vegetable.
Use your hand. Eat a protein portion the size of the palm of your hand, the carbohydrate the size of your fist, and eat vegetables until you feel satisfied, yet not full.
Count. Eat one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight, the same number of carbs, and fats grams should be less than half of those. For example, a 200 pound man would have roughly 200 grams of protein, 200 grams of carbs, and 90 grams of fat. This will provide roughly 1/3 of your calories from each macronutrient.
Avoid the “whites” as much as possible. White rice, white potatoes, white flour, white sugar. These spike blood sugar levels faster than their counterparts which provide a steady increase and added fiber. Avoid “white fat”. White fat is any fat that is solid at room temperature and will be high in saturated fat.
Fats should come primarily from fish, nuts, seeds, avocado, eggs. UNSaturated fats; not saturated. Practical application: Replace butter with olive oil whenever possible. Natural fats are high in Omega’s (essential fatty acids). Omegas are essential for mind and body health.
Eat like an animal. Natural, unprocessed foods and colorful fruits and vegetables. The deeper the color, the better. Colorful foods provide needed vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Drink like a fish. Your body knows no difference between being full from food, or full from water. You'll be less hungry with more water. Drink .01 gallon per pound of bodyweight. ie: If you weight 150 pounds, drink 1.5 gallons daily. Water removes waste and toxins from your body.
Avoid ALL chemical food such as Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) and other Glutamates (hydrolyzed proteins), High Fructose Corn Syrup, and Trans fats (aka partially hydrogenated oils). Although certain chemical additive often don't have calories, (one such example is Acesumate Potasium), there are numberous scientific reports indications many increase hunger sensations.
Weight loss begins at the supermarket. Stay in the outside aisles, where you find foods that spoil. The inner isles should only be shopped for things such as oats, rice, nuts and seeds.
Read the label on BACK of foods. Ignore the front label which may state "NO MSG", as it still might have other, similar glutamates. It may say "Lite" which can mean light in color or texture.
Final thought: What is an acceptable level of anything? Well, how healthy do you want to be? Nature works in balance. Don’t be extreme in any way, Don’t over or under eat, Don’t be unnatural.
Six meals a day, every three hours or less
Breakfast immediately upon waking
Protein, fats, and carbs at every meal
Vegetables and drink water for satiety
Snacks between meals
Naturally occurring, unsaturated fats
Like an animal, drink like a fish
Eat the "whites": Rice, flour, potatoes, fats
Eat carbs within 4 hours of sleeping
Eat any meal that makes you "stuffed"
Eat chemically altered food (MSG, Hydro’s)
Shop in the isles at the supermarket
Get hungry or get stuffed
Well, it appears that some numbskulls set up a "scientific" study to prove their hypothosis that chocolate milk is, indeed, better for you than...what? Better than carbs alone. That's proven.
BUT IT DOESN'T MEAN IT'S THE BEST, PERFECT, OR EVEN CLOSE TO IDEAL!!!!
This pisses me off so bady, that I'm just going to show you the blatant bias of the "scientific" study here. The questions you ask will determine the conclusions you come to.
Let me ask you, "Do you walk to school? Or do you bring your lunch?"
Let me ask you something else, "Do you still beat your dog, yes or no?"
What's better post workout? A stick of butter, or a stick in the eye?
As an educator, philosopher, and all around proveyor of truth I AM PISSED!!
Just look at the last two lines, the ones I put in red, and in bold.
The Efficacy of Chocolate Milk as a Recovery Aid
[Annual Meeting Abstracts: C-34 - Free Communication/Poster: Post-Exercise Nutrition]
Karp, Jason R.; Johnston, Jeanne D.; Tecklenburg, Sandy; Mickleborough, Tim; Fly, Alyce; Stager, Joel M. FACSM
Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.
Sport nutritionists recommend that endurance athletes performing two workouts a day ingest carbohydrates immediately following the first training session to rapidly replenish muscle glycogen. To meet this need, many nutritional products have been marketed as carbohydrate replacement drinks (CR) or fluid replacement drinks (FR) containing less carbohydrate. Since chocolate milk has a similar carbohydrate content to that of many CR, it may be an effective means of recovery from exhausting exercise. PURPOSE: To test the efficacy of chocolate milk (CM) as a recovery aid following exhausting exercise. METHODS: Nine male, endurance-trained cyclists (22.1 ± 2.0 yrs, VO2max 65.0 ± 9.0 mL.kg-1.min-1) performed an interval workout to deplete muscle glycogen (Kuipers et al., 1987), followed by four hours of recovery, and an endurance performance trial to exhaustion at 70% VO2max (Fallowfield & Williams, 1997), on each of three days. Immediately after the first exercise and at two hours of recovery, subjects were given isovolumic amounts (based on body mass) of CM, FR, or CR, in a single-blind, randomized design. The carbohydrate content (1 g.kg-1 body mass) was equivalent for CM and CR. Blood lactate concentration, body mass, and total body water (TBW) were measured pre- and post-exercise. Time to exhaustion (TTE), average heart rate (HR), rating of perceived exertion (RPE), and total work (WT) for the endurance exercise were compared between trials using a oneway, repeated measures ANOVA. RESULTS: TTE (40.0 ± 14.7 min; 41.3 ± 15.0 min; 26.8 ± 10.3 min) and WT (626.5 ± 262.7 kJ; 590.5 ± 218.7 kJ; 398.6 ± 185.0 kJ) were different (p<0.05)>
CONCLUSION: As compared to the commercial products tested, chocolate milk is an effective recovery aid following exhausting exercise.
Supported, in part, by a grant from the Dairy and Nutrition
©2004The American College of Sports Medicine
Monday, January 15, 2007
Be true to yourself.
Make each day your masterpiece.
Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.
Make friendship a fine art.
Build a shelter against a rainy day.
Pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessings every day."
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
So, what happened? I went 13 weeks with no alcohol, no sugar, no TV, no internet at home (admittedly, I became hooked on free WiFi), etc. etc. I alienated myself from most people. I even turned off my cell phone at times for full days so no one could find me.
Why? Self reflection/growth/introspective. Why not?
Now, two things happened. One, I learned about myself; A LOT about myself. I went hiking, rock climbing, camping (both regular camping and nudist colony), I went to live performances on small stages, organic farms, and other random, new activities. However, I usually did everything ALONE.
It sucks that in Indiana the oddball is the person who eats for health as opposed to making eating into a sport. I'm a freak because on a Friday night I'll seek out the local performing arts scene, as opposed to the bar scene. You will just as soon find me in my local Starbucks, in front of the fire reading something enlightening as you would find me in the local pub arguing religion and politics.
But I was alone.
So, October came along, and I got out a bit. Then the cold hits, and it's easier to go warm up with friends and libations than sit alone in front of the fire. Don't get me wrong, I love my fireplace, but I must balance.
Christmas brought the old friends back in town, and predictably, more going out. Now, I'm trying to swing the pendalum back the other direction, and balance. I'm not going another 13 weeks (for now), but I am more focused on fitness.
More focused? I'm getting it done. It's building.
The one good thing about this last few months of introspective reflecting, and all out social interaction is that I'm now dating quite a bit. I grew a TON last year through all my time alone, and it shows with those I am attracting now. The best advice I ever heard in regards to finding women is to quit looking. Just work on yourself, and they'll find you. Done.
So now, I am working some workout dates into the mix, some dates without drinking, some activities that stimulate the mind and spirit as much as the physical. With this, I crave the physical exercise again, which in turn I feel my mind become a more fertile ground in which to plant intellectual seeds.
It's a cycle. It's beginning to spin again. I love this.
- ▼ 2007 (28)