Week 1 Days 9 – 11: A fight with my inner monologue.

Fat guy eating candyHad Big plans for exercising this week. I intended to walk the dogs everyday and hit up the gym to swim and work out afterwards. Long work days and big rainstorms delayed both.

The diet is still on track.  The net caloric intake is still below the daily threshold.  Keeping the calories down is probably more important at this phase anyway.  Don’t quote me on that, just justifying.

I had zero caffeine yesterday. I felt it today. I partook in a diet soda to offset the withdrawal. Not that I am trying to eliminate caffeine or diet soda. I am limiting my intake of soda though. Instead of several a day, I am aiming for one or two a week. I’m opting instead for coffee and water. I love good coffee. Keeping my water intake up is harder than I expected.

It is odd how one’s brain works against your best efforts. You would think you body would give you feedback like, “Stop feeding me sugar and eat less bread,”  or even “stuff me full of veggies.” Oh no, on my way back from a security conference yesterday, my body was, not surprisingly, shouting, “COFFEE, COFFEE, Coffee, cooooooooffffeeeeeeeeeee!!!!”

I could hear my internal monologue as if it were conversing with me from the passenger seat of my truck. “Go to Panera. Get Coffee. And get a salad. No screw that. Get a bread bowl filled with soup and for dessert a dozen crescents and a blueberry muffin. ” The more I ignored it, the more it became like a whiney child. ” I waaannnt cofffeeee. Now! Now! Now!”

The conference was in Cincinnati. That is about an hour away from my base of operations. I hadn’t had much breakfast. I skipped their lunch to talk with vendors and avoid the crowds. I was hungry. I had around 1950 calories to burn for the day too. I certainly had the power to indulge my inner monologue child. As I denied my hunger urges, my brain changed tactics. Rather than asking nicely or whining, it switched to an ego boosting method. “You’ve been so good. You deserve a treat. You know you won’t go over by much.”  Every exit we passed, I heard a voice say, “is there a Panera coming up” It was very specific. It knows I greatly prefer Panera’s coffee over Starbucks. It is easy for me to deny Starbuck’s.

It was a long drive home. Despite the random torrential downpours, the crazy drivers, and the associated accidents inevitable when the two meet, I made it home. I made food on my approved meal plan and drown my inner monologue in chicken and veggies.

I’m pretty sure my brain tried every trick it could, short of hallucinating me to Panera, to get what it craved. That is a solid lesson for me. I don’t think I have ever been so aware that my body and mind were trying to trick me. It didn’t need coffee and carbs. It craved them. It was desperate for them. I think it was valuable to experience that sensation. It is a weird feeling to be aware that I have trained my body for decades to want those things. Now it will actively work against me to obtain them.

It is a lesson that transcends just diet and exercise. It is a fundamental element of human psychology. Even when change is good, there will be active resistance to the required pain of achieving the goal.




Week 1 Day 8: Weigh in day

Snail-Winning-a-Race-Against-Fat-BoyWeigh in Day. A moment of truth. My plan last week was to cut my weekly caloric intake from 42,000 to 14,000. Has all this dieting and body ache been worth it? Was it even effective? As I stepped onto the scale I didn’t expect much. I had skipped the gym more than I went. I went over my daily calorie goal twice. I probably thought about food a thousand more times over the previous week than I had in years. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was actually a weight gain.

So with my overall caloric intake last week tallying at 12,093 and my average daily intake of 1728 calories, the scale said…

Nothing, it is a scale. Scales don’t talk. However, the dial read, “Still fat.” Even so, it reported that I was 10lbs less fat than I was the week before. Still big, far from buff, but have moved the needle in the correct direction.

Week 0 Day 7: Sunday says screw the gym

Fat-Boy-Eating-His-Lunch-Box-Coloring-PagesIt’s Sunday. Screw the gym. It doesn’t even open until like noon. I have bookstores to visit and shopping to do. Still walked a lot. If I would have skipped the roll at O’Charley’s, I would have been right at 2000 for the day. Oh well, it was so freaking good. I walked a good deal today. I also ate a ton of watermelon. So I can blame the roll or the watermelon on the overage calories. The roll was only 130 calories. They’re much less dense than Texas Roadhouse’s rolls. Today’s lesson is than rolls are good whether they are dense or airy. They are even better when they aren’t a million calorie.

Week 0 Day 6: Fun Day

fat_brianFamily fun day. No time for the gym, hehe. Walked a lot to make up for it. Had a personal pizza and frozen yogurt today. Still only clocked in at 1800 calories. Maybe this is how skinny people manage to be thin and still eat good stuff. Smaller quantities… and luck of the draw on metabolism. Why do you hate me genetics?

Week 0 Day 5: Too many calories

fat_skoobyBusy work day. Busy family day. First day having lunch out and having dinner out while on the diet. Salads both times. Skipped the gym again. I am bad. Calculated that I still only had 1900 calories for the day. Sh!t, I indulged in Abuelo’s Sangria Swirl frozen margarita and didn’t record it. First day of diet I broke 2000 calories.  I ended up at around 2450. Still much less than a week before.

Week 0 Day 4: To Roll or not to roll

Fat-Boy-Look-Like-BalloonMissed my morning gym appointment. Means I won’t be able to go today.  It is a busy day packed with activities. Why did I pick a gym that closes at 9p. Dinner was at Texas Roadhouse. This was my first real act of strength. I ate none of their fabulously tasty rolls.  I wanted one so bad. They are just short of 300 calories each. Did you know that? I didn’t. I’ve eaten 12 in one sitting before. That’s around 3600 calories…just from rolls. That is enough calories to feed an entire third world village for one meal.

I decided to not roll. So, I managed to finish the day with 1607 calories.

Week 0 Day 2: Everything Hurts, Still Gungho

Gungho Fat Boy Ea -Hot DogDay 2, gungho. The alarm rang at a predawn hour jarring my body. I ignored it, but realized everything hurts. My morning gym goal was aborted. I did stick to my daily meal plan. Actually, I was running behind so I skipped my oatmeal. I took some instant packets to work with me to eat later.

Honestly, I wasn’t running. I was barely moving. My bravado regrets being so gungho on day 1. My quads are on fire. My biceps don’t want to move. Skipping the morning session was actually a good idea.

The work day kicked off with back to back meetings. I’m lucky as I’m not sure I could’ve handled my stand-up desk fist thing today.

By the time my meetings were over, it was lunch time. Hooray! I was hungry. I had not snacked nor had my oatmeal. I earned this lunch.

Post lunch, I decided that I could fit some time in later with the gym. I recovered the joy of swimming. Pushed 130 on the crunch machine and flat maxed out the back extension machine. I seemed to have no idea what being overzealous did to me this morning. My ego was singing.

I wanted to show myself I could stair climb Everest too. to start the machine up, you have to get it going, then it wants you to answer 50 questions.  It took about 2 minutes to answer them all; height, weight, age, etc. I was done. Yesterdays old guy could have Everest. My quads cried mercy.

As I willed my body home, stumbling like a drunkard, I started to feel hungry. We haven’t completely purged the house of junk food. There were so many tempting things. 3 day old cake. Candy from the Christmas…of 2014. Baking chocolate. Aging bread. I was strong though. I did not give into the cravings. I went to bed having had 3 meals. The total caloric intake for the day was 994. Over 5/6 less than my usual intake. More than half my max intake threshold.


Week 0 Day 1: Baby Steps for Big Mike to Fit Mike

baby steps Snail Winning Rac Against Fat BoyChange starts with baby steps. The alarm rang at 530am. Typically, I would be exhausted. Today I was excited to start my new routine. It didn’t take me long to get ready. I was at the gym by 550am. I felt like a champion ready to take on the world. I had to wait 10 minutes for the doors to open. My motivation waned a bit. Motivation is surprisingly fickle.

I figured I’d keep up motivation by testing out my swimmer’s MP3 player. It is a waterproof MP3 and headphone device that allows me to listen to music while swimming. Plus, it helps drown out the cries of “Put your shirt back on” and “Hey, look a white whale.” Unfortunately, it wouldn’t power on. I charged it, it works when connected to my computer. However, the last couple years of sitting in my car unused destroyed the unchangeable batteries.

I was tempted to roll out and go get breakfast. However, that is what big Mike would do. Fit Mike would go to the gym.

Once the doors opened, I made my way up the stairs to the fitness center. I warmed up on the treadmill with no music. I was feeling pretty good until this 70ish year old man hopped on the stair climber. In the time it took me to walk a mile, this guy probably summited Everest. I shook it off and used it as motivation. I will be able to do that one day.

After a bit on the hamster wheel, I wandered into the weight machine section. All the machines were ever so slightly different than the ones I have used in the past. So my work out was somewhat staccato. Read machine directions, adjust it from tiny woman settings to big Mike settings. I’d like you to think that mean increasing the weight. Actually, it means moving the seat back and lowering the bench height to accommodate all of me. Impressively, I almost maxed out the leg press machine. I strutted a bit after that. The arm curl unit set me straight. 8 years ago, I could do three full sets of 110 lbs. Today I struggled with 70.

Baby steps. Significant, stable change isn’t made overnight.

While stepping like a baby, I also began eating like one. My pre-diet intake was about 6000 calories a day. Regularly more. Today I had about 1850 calories. I was below my max of 2000. It was quite exciting to feel full after each meal too. I expected to be craving more food by dinner time.

The day wasn’t perfect. It was a good enough start to this long journey ahead.



Big2Buff Begins Anew: Transforming from Fat to Fit

fat weights

There are perks to being fat. No watching calories. You always get your monies worth on food. You don’t get cold like skinny people. Many times you don’t have to worry about sharing seats as there isn’t enough room for two people. My personal favorite is that I always felt like I got more for my spend when buying clothes. Skinny people get a garment. I get a tent. Really skinny people can use my socks as a sleeping bag. You also don’t much have to worry about getting kidnapped or being cannibalized. The work to payout ratio is skewed in my favor.

Now, there are drawbacks too. Stairs, airplane seats, and cheaply constructed furniture are things of which I’m not fond. It is also tough to find stylish clothes. People tend to think big people dress like slobs. More aptly, most department stores’ Big and Tall sections look like they needed a place to hang their unwanted fabric scraps. The “clothes” are staged like a fashion horror show screaming at you to lose weight so you won’t have to wear a shirt made from an old drape. That is if you can even find clothes in your size in a regular department store. You know you are fat when your pant size is one standard deviation above the biggest size in the mall.

Of course, the mall is always a hundred thousand degrees inside, even in the summer. If one’s dignity isn’t stripped away by the sheer lack of clothing choices, the fact that you’ll be dripping with sweat before being halfway through the first store surely won’t help. Some people say sweat is fat crying. Those people don’t sweat while eating. Those are the people that will brag about their 300-pound squat at the gym. I got news for you. I squat more than that every time I get out of a chair. Want to run a mile. Sure. Let’s trade bodies first.

Enough of the funny stuff. Everyone knows being fat is a bad health move. It is now 8 years after my major weight loss. I’ve gained it all back and then some.  I am officially heavier than I ever have been and I feel it. My energy is low. Stairs wind me. I could put a buffet out of business in one sitting. It is time to do something.

Today marks the beginning of what I hope to be a transformational journey. Big to Buff. This isn’t the first time I’ve started this journey. Hopefully it will be the last. I think the cards have be dealt for success. The 1st day on the month falls on a Monday. No better time to start a new routine. I have a cruise I need to be fit for a year from now. My target weight is 200lbs. That means I need to lose 160 pounds in a year. That is aggressively a bit less than a half a pound a day. I typical consume about 6000 calories in a day. The new diet caps off at 2000 calories a day and will shrink every couple of months. Chelsea and I joined a gym (again). This is very nearby and has a pool. There won’t be a good reason not to go. This effort involves carefully measuring calories intake while burning calories through aerobic and strength training exercises.

I bought a bunch of stuff to help with the journey. For meal prep, I am using these Rubbermaid containers which I love. They make it easy to measure out portions. In case I feel like working out at home or getting an extra round of fitness in, the Century BOB XL body opponent bag will help. It is much more satisfying to punch this guy in the face than a traditional heavy bag. I should warn you that punching him bare fisted can be painful after awhile. I ended up getting some hand wraps. I am also working on building up my ability to do push-ups and pull-ups. I needed something that could handle my weight, but wasn’t pro grade. The Weider Power Tower does that as well as includes a leg lift and crunch section. Speaking of handling weight, my hands tend to get dry and crack. So when I lift, I wear gloves. I’ve had a pair of these Harbinger’s lifting gloves for about 15 years. As for food, I’ve stocked up on Boost High protein shakes for meal replacements. Also, if you are looking for a healthy beverage that tastes kind of like champagne, try some green tea Kombucha.

Today was the first day at the gym. It was an okay day.  I had some wasted time figuring out how to use some of the machines and didn’t end up swimming. Of course, my swimming media player died, so I didn’t have any tunes to get pumped up.  Tomorrow will be a better day.

The transformation begins…again.