Weight Loss Ticker

Saturday, September 27, 2008

14 Miles

Yesterday, I ran 14 miles. I have this bandoleer thingy which holds 4 water bottles plus a pouch to hold my cell phone, gu packs, and facial tissue. I purchased some gu packs for my triathlon only to discover that I can't stand them. gu packs or gel packs are these little packets of syrupy, sweet, gelatinous gunk designed to give endurance athletes a boost of fast digesting carbs. I find them gross. I discovered that I like Sports Beans much better. I have yet to test out the Sports Blocks, but since I don't like gummies, I am in no hurry. Anyhow, since I had some left over, and being as cheap as I am, I wanted to use these things up, so I packed up 2 of them. I missed lunch and my afternoon snack because I get very uncomfortable with food in my stomach when I run long distances. So in addition to the gu, I filled 3 bottle with Gatorade for the extra calories while running. 1 bottle I filled with plain water.

My run started off goofy. I forgot to start my watch, so I had to back track in order to get the right distance figured. I found myself running slow. I am not sure if it was psychological because I knew the run would be long or if it was the result of over training and stress. My wife came down with pneumonia again (2nd time this year), so I had a lot of extra to do around the house. I am not complaining about it, but it was added stress. I had been coming down with the some of the symptoms of over-training. However, my in-laws had come over to help and it would be about the only chance to do my long run according to my training schedule, so I went anyhow. Regardless, I was puttering along.

It was a bit hot and humid, so I started on the Gatorade after 15 min. and took a sip every 15 min. thereafter. At an hour, I forced down my 1st gu pack, followed by some water. At 1:45, I reluctantly, consumed the other one, followed by some water. These stupid gu packs were messy, so I had to use some water to rinse my hands each time.

At this point, the last thing I wanted was something sweet. I wanted water, water, and more water. But dummy me, had only 1/2 bottle of water left and I didn't want to use it up so soon. So I continued to drink the Gatorade and kept reminding myself that it would hydrate me better than straight water. By 2:15, my stomach was churning and the thought of anything sweet left me nauseous. However, I knew that I needed to keep drinking the Gatorade. I did have a few sips of water, but I wanted to save the last of it for near the end.

There was a couple of times I thought I would barf, but I didn't. By the time I hit 14 miles, I was miserable. 2 hours and 38 minutes had passed by since I started. I hobbled another quarter mile back to my house where I drank 2 cups of water and collapsed on the couch. My stomach was in knots, my legs hurt, my hips were sore, my feet were swollen, and I felt terrible. After about an hour, I started feeling better.

I lost about 7 lbs on the run. That's a lot of water loss. I didn't drink anything right before I ran because doing so makes me need to pee on my run. Looking back, I did not drink very much on the run. Each of the bottles carries 8 oz. of liquid. All together I drank about 14 oz of Gatorade. I was having a hard time drinking the vile liquid so I had about 2 oz. left in one bottle and one bottle untouched. I am guessing I had 5-6 oz. of water accounting for the two times I poured water on my hands to get rid of the gu stickiness and the one time squirted some water on my face. That means that I consumed at the most, 20 oz. of liquid. After I returned, I drank 2 glasses (12 oz.) of water totaling 44 oz. which is about 2.75 lbs of water. Still I weighed 112 oz. less than when I started. I am convinced that I felt so bad and the run was so miserable was because I became dehydrated. After a few hours, my muscles felt better, I was no longer nauseous, and I felt pretty good.

I need to rethink my hydration issues before my next long run in 2 weeks and the half-marathon in 4 weeks. That all being said and done, I am pleased that I was able to run 14 miles. Imagine what it would have been like if I was properly hydrated and nourished. 14 miles is a new record for me and shows me that I can finish a 1/2 marathon which is 13.1 miles. 14 miles! Wow! I get a little choked up when I consider where I was 19 months ago. I never imagined that I would go from a 380 lb. blob to completing a triathlon and training for a half-marathon. It's funny how hopeless things seemed at the other end of the spectrum. All I can do is thank God and keep going.

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Week 86 Weigh-In Buffet??!!

Last Week's Weight: 231.4 lbs.
Today's Weight: 230.8lbs. (-0.6)
Total Lost: 149.26 lbs.

Fat Ratio: 20.4%
Lean Mass: 183.7 lbs.
Fat Mass: 47.1 lbs.
Waist: 45.5 inches

Bleh, I was hoping for better, but perhaps the buffet is to blame. Regardless, I don't have much to complain about. At least it's moving in the right direction.

Anyhow, we made a trip to Bay City and Saginaw last Saturday. My wife needed to get her bassoon repaired and I wanted to see what kind of end of season bike deals were to be had. We ate lunch at Applebees and I had their chicken and portabella on a whole wheat bun with fruit. It was quite good. So far so good even though I missed part of my breakfast and my mid-morning snack altogether. As the day progressed, I missed my afternoon snack. By the time 6PM rolled around, I was getting light headed and weak. The prospect of going to another restaurant and waiting for at least a hlaf hour or longer for food was not going to work. Therefore, I was going to stop at a sub shop where I could get something half way decent and FAST. Before we headed to the sub shop, we spotted a buffet. That sounded great, so we went.

We got seated and I headed straight for the salad. I was able to get a healthy plate and they even had fat free dressing. Then I headed for the main course. I found some sweet potatoes and baked chicken breast, but I had to peel off the skin. The meat was dry. I tried the pot roast, but it was dry. I found some fish, but had to scrape off the greasy breading. I decided to eat some dessert, so I took a little sample of 4 different ones. I took a bite of each which was a mistake. All but one tasted like crap.

After, I decided I couldn't stomach any more of this horrible food, I recalled that almost every buffet looks better than it actually is. I wish I had gone to the sub shop. I sat there and looked around at the other people in the restaurant. It was eerie. Every single person in there was obese. Okay, a couple were simply overweight. However, there was at least one person at each table that was extremely obese. One table made my heart sink. One lady was about 500 lbs., another was about 250 lbs. There was an infant, but I wasn't sure which lady it belonged to. However, there were two other children. A boy about 8 years old was around 175 lbs, and a girl about 10 who looked over 200 lbs. This group had been in there before us, and I think the kids were up to get food every time I was. When I was done, the kids were still running around getting food. I saw the girl at the dessert table at least three times.

I walked away having learned a few lessons. 1) I don't belong at buffets. Not only do they provide very little healthy food, but most of the food is bland and gross. Further, it's too easy to lose track with all that food available. Plus, I felt terrible the rest of the day, 2) I am thankful that I have turned from the path I was on. I could easily have reached 500 lbs. and more. What would I have taught my children? Would they have become obese too? I shudder to think of it. 3) Though I was walking in their shoes, I have no idea what I can do to encourage/help anyone who is currently going down that path. "Excuse me. I couldn't help but notice how obese you are. I used to be like that. Please, eat healthy, eat less, and exercise. Have a nice day."

Every once in a while, I used to have someone tell me I should lose weight for my health. That would tick me off. They didn't know whether or not I was already doing something about it. They didn't know that I hadn't been twice that size. They didn't know squat about me. Someone I didn't know telling me I should lose weight just made me mad. As if I didn't know I should lose weight. But that bozo who didn't seem to want to get to know me felt it was his duty to tell something so blatantly obvious just felt insulting. However, I would just smile and say thank you.

My rule of thumb when it comes to giving out such advice is I say nothing unless asked. If it's someone close to me, I will say something like, "Hey, I am going for a walk, I could sure use some company. Let's go." I always loved it when someone asked me to do something with them. If you have any thoughts on the subject, please share them with me.

"Difficulties strengthen the mind, as well as labor does the body."--Seneca

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Week 85 Weigh-In I AM TRIATHLETE!!!!!!

Last Week's Weight: 231 lbs.
Today's Weight: 231 .4lbs. (+0.4)
Total Lost: 148.6 lbs.

Fat Ratio: 20.6%
Lean Mass: 183.7 lbs.
Fat Mass: 47.7 lbs.
Waist: 45.5 inches

I am not concerned about the weight. After the recent huge losses, I think things are just evening out.

Now for the big news. I completed my first triathlon on Saturday. Now before anyone gets overly impressed, most people think of the Ironman triathlon when they hear triathlon. There are actually four basic levels (distances)of triathlons: Ironman, Half-Ironman, Olympic, and Sprint. I did the Sprint distance which was a 500 meter swim followed by a 20k bike followed by a 5k run. My times were as follows:

Swim: 13:27 min.
T1: 3:38 min.
Bike 43:43 min.
T2: 39 sec.
Run: 29:06 min.
Total: 1:30:27

I am quite happy with my results. I made a few mistakes. Overall, I was about 15 min. faster than what I clocked on my run through on Labor Day. I came in 54th out of 99 racers. I came in 36th out of 54 men. In my age group(35-39), I was 9th out of 15. However, I did not compete in my age group. I competed in the Clydesdale division which is for racers over 200 lbs. In my division, I finished 2nd out of 4. I received a plaque for getting second place.

I am thrilled that I actually did a triathlon. This was inconceivable 6 months ago, let alone 85 weeks ago. Now that I have done it, I want more. I loved it. It was so much fun. Whether or not I received an plaque is irrelevant. The fact that I could go out there and compete in such an event and do well is beyond words. I held my own. I came in right in the middle of all three disciplines. I fit in among this group of athletes and it felt great. I want to compete in more triathlons. I can't wait until the next one...but it probably won't be until next spring. Oh well, just that much more time to train.

For right now, I need to set my eyes on the half-marathon. That will be coming up quickly enough. In reality, it will require more endurance than the triathlon did. Although, I will continue to cross train with swimming and biking. In fact, I hit the pool this morning. I worked on the breat stroke which is new to me. All I have worked on for months is the freestyle. I thought I should try and mix things up a bit.

Now for some more from the book I have been readin, "Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy." Last week I ended with the authors critique of several popular diet schemes. He continue by giving his own suggestions for weight control. He has a threefold approach.

1) Get more physically active.
2) Find an eating program that works for you.
3) Become a defensive eater.

1) He explains that physical activity burns calories that would otherwise be stored as fat. It builds and maintains muscles which are what burns most of our calories throughout the day. Without exercise, fat replaces muscle which means your body burns less calories throughout the day. We should exercise at least 30 minutes a day, do things to make our day more active (take the stairs, park far from the entrance, etc...), and find something fun to do.

2) Whatever food program you follow it should be low in refined carbohydrates and have whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. It should avoid saturated and transfats, but provide mono- and poly- unsaturated fats. He recommends a Mediterranean style diet which is low in red meats. Most of all, it must be something that works for you.

3) Defensive eating:
*Stop before you are stuffed.
*Be selective (Don't just eat something because it was put in front of you.)
*Choose small portions. (restaurant portions are huge, enough for 2 people)
*Beware of desserts (Skip the meal and share 1 dessert 4 ways, eat a healthy meal and skip the dessert is even better)
*Slow down and pay attention to your food when you eat.
*Be creative with low-calories options to show that you really care. (in reference to cooking at home).
*Keep track of the calories in the foods you eat. You don't need to formally keep track just be aware of what you are eating.
*Spoil your appetite. Have a snack before your meal so that you aren't starving when you eat.
*Minimize temptation. Don't keep unhealthy for which is supposedly for the kids in the house.
*Be vigilant. Remember the food industry is doing everything they can to get you to buy more of their food. They are not truly interested in your health.
*Try to keep it simple. The less dishes served, the less we eat.

Next week, I will review the chapter on why fats are actually good for us.

"Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude."--Thomas Jefferson

Living Fit Is My Number One Job!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Three Days Until Triathlon

3 Days left. Today, they set up the transition area and looks like they were getting ready to place the buoys, but I don't know if they got that far. They took over most of the parking lot at the park, so I am not sure where people are supposed to park. The weather forecast says 60% chance of thunderstorms, so I am worried it might get canceled all together. I have trained for so long for this that I would be disappointed if I didn't get to race. Although, I did a run through on Labor Day, it's just not the same as an official race. I know, the journey is the most important part. All the preparations are what I should be proud of. I will probably repeat that if it does get canceled, but still, it will be a major let down.

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!

p.s. I ran 5k at a 9 min pace today. That is a new record for me!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Week 84 Weigh-In I'M FAT!!!!!!


Last Week's Weight: 235.2 lbs.
Today's Weight: 231 lbs. (-4.2)
Total Lost: 149 lbs.

Fat Ratio: 20.6%
Lean Mass: 183.4 lbs.
Fat Mass: 47.6 lbs.
Waist: 45.5 inches

Wow, I never expected to lose that much this week. It's interesting how our bodies work. Sometimes, the body likes to hang on to the fat despite our best efforts to make a calorie deficit. Other times, it seems to lose the fat when the deficit doesn't seem to be as great. I know in the big picture it all evens out, but it is interesting to see how it works week to week.

Anyhow, I hit two milestones this week. I am below the weight I was when I got married. The body proportions are all different. I thought I might be able to fit into a suit that I bought about a year after I got married. No dice. I have a couple of theories. One, I have much greater muscle mass than I did back then. I also think that much of my fat back then was marbled between my muscles and hanging around in between all my internal organs. Therefore, I had a smaller waist, et al. I believe I now have less fat and more muscle, but my fat mostly below the skin instead of in the muscles and between the organs. It's just a theory. Otherwise I don't know how to explain that I am lighter, but have bigger proportions. I suppose the suit could have shrunk.


The second big milestone is that I now have a BMI under 30. In other words, I AM FAT!!!!! rather than obese. I hope and pray that I will never again be described obese in medical terms. The next big goal besides the ten pound markers are to get under 200 lbs., and then of course down to 190 (if that still makes sense), and finally my ultimate goal in terms of weight is to get under 15% body fat. I am not at all confident that my own body fat calculations are correct. When I get closer to 190, I will try to get an accurate body fat test like the dunk tank test.

I do want to emphasize that even though I am excited about these weight goals being met, my ultimate goal is live a fit lifestyle. That goal can be accomplished each and every day. Yet, it is new each and every day. In other words, I can and do accomplish living fit from day to day, but it is never to be marked as a something as fait accomplis.

I wanted to report a little more on our vacation from a couple of weeks ago. The day after the race, we went to the Michigan Renaissance Festival. We go to this most years and we all have a lot of fun. The kids especially like to watch the jousting. I enjoy the whole atmosphere. Anyhow, they had a rock climbing wall there (Don't ask me how it fits the theme), and my wife wanted to try it. So I paid for her to try it. Well, I had to try it then too. I had a lot of fun. They tried to start me on the difficult wall. Well, having never done it before, I did not make it very far. They then put me on the easy wall, and I got to the top with no problem. That was another goal accomplished.


Finally, I mentioned that I was reading the book "Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy." Here is a little synopsis of what I have read so far.

*The USDA's original food pyramid was misleading and too vague because it didn't differentiate between good and bad fats, good and bad sources of protein, or good and bad sources of carbs. In addition, it made no mention of exercise.

* The new USDA's "My Pyramid" while acknowledging the importance of exercise is even more vague and confusing than the original and necessitates the use of the internet to use it.

* Dr. Willett proposes "The New Healthy Eating Pyramid" which takes into account the body of studies on health and nutrition and corrects the problems he has with USDA's pyramids.

* Chapter 2 deals with deciphering studies and reports concerning diet, nutrition, and weight loss. He gives the following guidelines to help:

1) Pay no attention to studies done on animals. They may pave the way for research on human beings but are never a basis for changing our own diets and habits because the effects on an animal can be quite different for humans.

2) Don't worry about studies done in controlled environments such as hospitals or special research centers. These studies look only at how the body responds to different foods in isolation, but not at over all health risks. Studies done in the real world are the ones to which we should pay attention.

3) Studies that pay attention to disease endpoints are more important that studies that look at intermediary markers that may lead to the disease. In other words, those markers don't always translate into things like heart disease or stroke, so look at the studies that focus on the direct connection to the disease.

4) Larger studies are better than smaller studies.

5) The more studies the confirm each other the better. If only one study concludes that something is bad, but 20 other studies conclude that it is good than we should assume that it is good.

* Chapter 3 talks about healthy weight. He explains that this is not as simple as people think it is. For example, a person may have a BMI under 25, gain 15 lbs and still have a BMI under 25. However, a 15 lb. weight gain can have serious implications for our health. While things like BMI's and weight charts can be helpful guidelines, much more needs to be taken into account.

* He talks about the reasons for weight gain: Diet, genes (but only partly), lifestyle, and culture. Of course, the simple math of it is more calories in than calories expended.

* He then evaluates diets:

1) Low-fat diets aren't good because they limit the good fats we need.

2) Low-carb diets may help with weight loss, but if they allow unlimited amounts of red meat, butter, and cheese, this is not good for optimal health.

3) Low-energy-density diets don't differentiate food based on its health value, but simply on its ability to fill us up with the least amount of calories.

4) Low-glycemic diets are not too bad but there are simpler ways to accomplish the same things.

I think I will save his approach to weight control for another post. Anyhow, the bottom line is that diets that are designed for weight loss all have pretty much the same track record when it comes to keeping the weight off. What is needed is a diet that is designed to give us the best possible health all our lives.

"Practice yourself in little things, and thence proceed to greater."--Epictetus

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!

ADDENDUM 6 days until the Triathlon (500 meter swim, 20k bike, 5 k run)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Week 83 Weigh-In

Last Week's Weight: 238.8 lbs.
Today's Weight: 235.2 lbs. (-3.6)
Total Lost: 144.8 lbs.

Fat Ratio: 21.0%
Lean Mass: 185.8 lbs.
Fat Mass: 49.4 lbs.
Waist: 46.0 inches

Back from vacation and as you can see, the quest to lose weight while vacationing worked out. I had a few indulgences and a little sickness, but in the end I had quite a substantial loss. I am not sure if anyone else lost 17.8 lbs. in the Labor Day Challenge, but I suspect I may have pulled it off and won. This also means that I have lost more than 3/4 of my original goal weight. This means I am 5/8ths man. I am getting closer every week to reaching my Half Man goal!

One nice thing that has recently happened is that my wife has started walking. She has a pedometer and keeps track of her steps every day. I am proud of her.

I started reading a book called "Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating." It is critical of the USDA health pyramid because it is too vague and misleading. I understand why the author says this, but for me, I guess I just filled in the vagaries and wasn't mislead due to a lot of other things I read. So when it makes grains, bread, pastas, and rice the base of a healthy diet, I assumed this meant whole grains, not refined. I do think that the criticisms are worth reviewing.

The book has much more than mere criticism of the food pyramid. For example, it gives some guideline for evaluating studies. I will need to do separate posts on the things I learn in this book. It is quite good so far.

Oh yeah, I did a practice triathlon this morning. I finished it and felt great. About an hour later I started to feel wiped out. I am not sure if its from the workout or this lingering sinus/allergy thing that crept up on me last week.

I hope everyone is doing well and staying out of Gustav's way.

"If we all did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves."--Thomas Edison

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!