Interval Training, Self Potential and Gratitude

Last night after I got home from the gym I was still kind of on a runner’swalker’s high. I have been doing about 1000 calories at the gym each time I go but only had time for 750 calories. I have been steering away from interval training to a constant pace for a longer time. Last night I got back to the intervals doing 4 min at a challenging but manageable pace and for the 5th minute I push myself as hard as I can. I drop back down after the 5th minute back to where I was and do it again 3 more times.

I have read many articles about interval training and the benefits over constant speed. Live Strong has a great summery of the benefits here. Interval training does something mentally also. Instead of getting a good pace and zoning out for an hour, it makes you flex emotional and mental muscles too. Pushing yourself (safely) to your limits is the only way you can realize what you are truly capable of. Also I have found that the time goes by WAY faster because when I stay at a constant effort, there is only monotony. In interval training you are constantly changing between three states. The first warms you up and gets your heart pumping good. Second is the burst of effort. Go all out! The last stage is a recovery from the burst, a challenge to reach equilibrium again. Once you are finally comfortable again it’s time to blow it up again. It is the best feeling walking to your car after leaving it all on the machine.

I was hitting the weights pretty hard over the past month and realized that my workouts need to be about toning and not building. I am in a weight loss competition after all and gaining muscle makes it hard to hit pound goals. For now I will stop the heavy lifting and re-focus on toning for fitness instead of buffing for sexiness. There will be plenty of time to work on the 6-pack after the kegger is gone.

After feeling euphoric from my intense workout yesterday, I was thinking about where I am in my life and how grateful for the new guy I have found. I like this me. I am proud to be this me. Even in my thinner years (term used in the loosest of ways) I would constantly enter a state of self loathing and anger with myself. I didn’t like who I was and looked for the easiest ways to escape confronting my biggest problems. Today there is nothing I see as impossible. Instead I see challenges to defeat and obstacles to overcome but nothing is unobtainable. I am grateful in ways I can’t explain to be in that place.

How do you get pumped for the gym?

Some days I want to go to the gym like I want to get kicked in the crotch. It seems random but if I think hard, it’s usually when I get home and get into a vegetated state for too long. When I have been naturally active throughout my day, it seems easier. On the flip side, when I get to the gym despite my butt dragging like a bag of wet cement, I feel more accomplished.

Today is a butt-drag day but I am excited to go to the gym. I have some new workout tunes for my mp3 player that I am excited to work out too. Also, the fat-face comparison post gets me motivated. I think I need a boost so I will probably grab a Crystal Light Energy or something to pick me up a little.

Thanks for all the “atta boy” comments on the before and after face pics. Sometimes dragging my butt to the gym happens for no other reason than the people who are behind me pushing me to succeed. Thanks for the shove today!

There was a time when I didn’t have a neck

Going through some old photos of me and noticed that there was a point in time I had no neck. There was just a series of chins that connected my head to my shoulders. It’s strange when I look at these now. It makes me feel very uncomfortable and claustrophobic to see myself surrounded by all that mess. Important to look back sometimes just to see how far you have come.

All you can eat buffet

This weekend was awesome. My wife and I don’t have near enough nights out, so it was a long needed timeout without the kiddos. We went to Tucanos Brazilian Grill to celebrate my brother in-law’s birthday. It’s basically an all you can eat salad bar along with servers who walk around with different meats you can try. Cason, the birthday boy, and my sister Shelley are some of our funnest friends. Shelley introduced me to Karlie and Karlie introduced Cason to Shelley so we have been hanging out as couples before we were married.

Dinner was delish. My favorite eat at the salad bar was marinated tomatoes. They were in a balsamic vinegar with herbs. Most of the meat the servers bring around are beef but there was a promotion going on so they also served seafood. The Salmon was cooked perfectly but a little over seasoned. The cod fish was excellent. The 2 shrimp I had were amazing and fresh. Add a few bits of beef and some chicken. (Now keep in mind we are talking about 1 or two bites of each, not an entree’ of each, which I probably would have eaten given the chance back in the fat Mike days.)  After dinner we went back to our place for presents. Delicious looking cakes were served from Nothing Bunt Cakes but I had none.

All in all, I would guess 6 or 7 ounces of meat. Needless to say, an all you can eat buffet is NOT on “the plan”. Before making my choice to stop being fat, “all you can eat”  was the best part of a buffet. Now that I am committed to living healthy and fit, I saw a new perspective on buffet dining. I don’t have to ask for anything on the side, instead of asking for no this or that, I just don’t put it on my plate. If I did it over again I probably would have eaten less meat and more salads but that’s a tweak compared to the overhaul change of my old buffet habits.

Eating out is now a calculated choice not an impulsive gorge-fest. Having made the choice ahead of time to eat out I had a breakfast of string cheese and a banana and lunch was a small turkey sandwich putting me at only 400 calories before dinner. 800 calories to work with for dinner was ample room to stay on track. Weigh-in on Sunday confirmed the dine out was not fatal with another 6 pounds lost.

Long gone are the days at an all-you-can-eatery doing the sigh-n-shove. What is the sigh-n-shove you ask? After you have consumed more than you thought possible, your eyes glazed over, taking in the comfort of the silenced bell that gluttony rings in your ear. You sit, satisfied, comfortable, full. Even the nagging hunger that brought you to eat more than you know you should tells you to stop. Your elbow on the table, fork in hand, food on fork. You pause, knowing the next bite could very likely be the bite that makes your stomach explode. Weather compelled by the need to get your money’s worth or just because it’s already on your fork, you somehow convince yourself it has to be eaten. Staring off in a daze, you take a deep breath, bring the fork to your mouth and chew as if you had no choice. Next time you find yourself in a buffet situation, before you head to the trough for feeding, stop and look. Look at those who are on their last bites, and when you see someone in the throws of the sigh-n-shove, maybe, just maybe it will help you recognize something about your relationship with food.

A weight loser’s best friend

I am not a man of many riches but there are a few things I believe are worth not going el cheepo on. An ongoing list I have had includes …

  • Knifes (I need to have at least 1 excellent knife in my kitchen. I love my cutco.)
  • Vacuum (Love my Dyson)
  • Barber (Super cuts is $15, Bernie is $10, She does better than Super Cuts so she gets $15)
  • Cordless Drill (hint – hint babe, I HATE my crappy Black And Decker that throws sparks I want a Dewalt )
  • Ketchup (don’t judge, Heinz is hands down better than any other)
  • Cameras (Canon is my only choice)

All these things are used constantly. For something I am going to use once I will scrape the bottom of the cheapskate barrel for my purchase but the return on your investment is best spent on stuff that matters in your day to day life. I am not saying that the best is ALWAYS the most expensive, I am just saying don’t scrimp on what gets you through your everyday life.

The newest addition to my list is shoes. I used to not give a crap about my shoes. Why? Because they didn’t effect my day-to-day life that much. I would grab a pair of Wal*Mart specials for $10 and wear them till I had to use liquid nails to keep the sole attached. (I really did this to the last pair.) Now that I am on my feet as much as time allows me to be, and doing cardio just about every day I have a new appreciation for a good shoe.

As a very large man, my footsteps are anything but dainty, in fact they are more like the water trembling steps of the T-Rex on Jurassic Park. There really is no way to be gentle on my joints when you have 400+ pounds of blubber sloshing up and down like a pillow case of vanilla pudding on a pogo stick. I thought the aches and pains in my ankles and hips were normal for a fat guy exercising. Then, at my father’s suggestion, I finally broke down and bought a great pair of shoes.

Pops is a pretty athletic man and has worked in clothing retail for a large part of his career. He knows a thing or 2 about buying a good shoe. He suggested New Balance because every shoe they carry is available in extra widths.

As luck would have it, there is a New Balance store about 20 min. away from my house. The guy there measured the size and width of my foot then had me walk on a treadmill to analyze my shoe needs. He suggested the 883 (pictured first) and the 856. I am pretty sure I have been wearing the wrong shoe size and width all my life, because both shoes felt like thy were made for my feet.

The shoes I was replacing were these:

Note the liquid-nail residue between the flap of the sneaker sole and the absence of all traction on the fake crocs. I look like a fat slob in all the “backup” shoes and the “best” pair has had any resemblance of support squashed out of the heal.

Standing with the choice between my new shoe options, I made the only logical decision. I bought both pair. I would wear the 883’s to the gym because they flexed more, breathed more and looked more sporty and they had bubble laces so they wouldn’t slip while rockin’ it out on my gym machine of choice. The 856’s would be my everyday shoe. They have a leather upper and would stay cleaner and wear better in day-to-day use while giving me all the support I needed for the impromptu stair climbs I like to do.

All the other shoes are trashed! (except maybe one pair to paint in). Making a choice about my health has effected my eating, my activity & my relationship with my wife. Now even the things I get excited to purchase have changed. Those sloppy, ugly shoes are a symbol of all the steps I took as a sloppy, apathetic, unattractive fat person. A new life. A new me. A new pair of shoes to keep me on this amazing journey.


Sunday, Faith and Family

The day began as any other Sunday. I work 6 days a week so Sundays are sacred to me for more than religious purposes. Sleeping in was a beautiful thing rolling over in my bead to see my two favorite girls, my wife and my baby girl. Waking up slowly snuggled up with my sweet Katie is about the best thing in my week. Snuggling becomes giggles and tickling and the giggles wake up Jeffrey in a good mood.I hit the bathroom to get rid of everything I can before my weekly weigh in. 420 …… 419 …….. 420 ….. the scale can’t decide if it wants to give me an extra pound or not. It finally decides 420. Of coarse I want to call it 419 so I can claim 5 pounds for the week but Karlie calls me on it so 420 it is.

Breakfast was cereal. Honey Nut Cheerios for Ms. Katie and Life Cereal for Jeffrey. Corn Flakes, Skim Milk and Strawberries are in my bowl. It must be strawberry season somewhere because the strawberries Kar got from Costco are huge, sweet and juicy. The kids watch an animated Bible story while I eat in front of the computer getting my daily dose of inspiration from other bloggers. I dress the kids while Kar gets ready for church and I grab a string cheese to hold me over through church as lunch usually dissolves on Sundays with a late breakfast and early dinner. After shaving I hop in the shower grossly over estimating the amount of shampoo needed to wash my hair after a much needed haircut I got the previous day. I always do that.

Church was refreshing after a week suck at work. The Gospel Principals class I teach was quiet but the lesson went well. The speakers in the last meeting were not only spiritual but humorous and down to earth.

After church we headed over to my in-laws to celebrate Katie’s birthday. We celebrated at my parents last week so Katie has pretty much had a week long birthday. Kabobs were on the menu so it was no challenge eating healthy as grilled meat, veggies and brown rice were served. The grilled peppers and marinated chicken were excellent. Brown rice didn’t really appeal so it was left. As with any kid’s birthday, the frosted cake and treats were available but not to me and Kar. Not really interested in them anyway.

The boy

Baby girl

Katie opens presents and we all lounge around and visit. Karlie’s Grandma (a proud Norwegian) presents Karlie with a white dress she has painstakingly hand knitted. What patience and love must have gone into making such an intricate piece. We have produced the only grand-babies on Kar’s side so the kids are adored.

All in all a great Sunday much needed after what seemed like a long drawn out week. Excited for the new week knowing my scale already wants to give me another pound. Shooting for 7 pounds with a stretch goal of 9.

I feel so blessed and am grateful for family, faith, health and safety. There are so many who have so much less and those who are going through so much more.

Grandma L. knitted this by hand

A win with a fail on the side

Every month there is a day at work that is … well not so bad. Every month the company treats my team to lunch. Typically lunch breaks are about 30 min but on these days, the team lunch lasts min. 1 hour. We go to a decent place, typically in downtown Salt Lake.

We are a team of 5, including my manager but only 4 of us are usually here on any given day. Because there is only 4 of us, there is only need to take 1 car. I drive a Honda Element that houses a portly person in all 4 seats comfortably. The problem is the, the two back seats are strapped down with chairs for the 2 kids. Just remove them you say? No no no no. Not unless I want to unleash a furry of crumbs and, who knows what that lurks under the rarely removed collect all that is a child’s car seat. So I usually end up in some dilemma. I can either offer to drive one other person forcing the use of 2 cars or agree to ride in someone’s car (hopefully in shotgun) and pray the contortion of my body to fit in their “normal” sized vehicle doesn’t cut off my airways completely. Either way is usually an apparent display that I probably shouldn’t be eating lunch at all.

This last week I find myself choosing the second of the two options by climbing into my boss’s Purple Mazda 3. I had survived this feat before but the effort was the equivalent of sitting on top of an over packed suitcase while zipping it up. Not a comfortable situation…usually. This last trip I slid right in the car. My thighs were comfortable between the door and the center console and closing the door did not require the roll to the left while closing the door. I just shut the door. I was able to move around and didn’t realize what was going on until I found myself surprised at how comfortable I was in such a small car until I realized I wasn’t comfortable because the car was spacious, it was that I WASN’T as spacious. It was great.

Then the fail. We got to the restaurant “Red Rock”, an excellent restaurant built around an award winning brewery and sat down. Appetizers were ordered. Calamari and 1 8 inch diameter stuffed mushroom. The calamari were fried and the mushroom was stuffed with everything not calorie free. For the first time I caved. I sampled a couple calamari, the first fried thing I have eaten since the start of this blog and ate 1/4 of the stuffed mushroom. In my brain I compromised the food because I was getting a shrimp salad with palm hearts and caper berries and a vinaigrette dressing. It was the lowest calorie thing after analyzing the menu. My big mistake was forgetting to ask for the dressing on the side. CRAP! The salad came and looked amazing. When I realized I forgot to ask for my dressing on the side, my heart sunk. While not drenched in the dressing, the salad was tossed to lightly coat everything in the salad. No way of getting the dressing off. Now in telling the story I wish I would have eaten the shrimp on top of the salad and only 1/4th of the coated lettuce but I didn’t. I ate the whole thing. WHY? The thing  that drove me the craziest was I didn’t know how many calories.

Regret set in as we left the restaurant and the tastes that only lasted while the food in my mouth faded. I have had plenty of experience feeling regret for food I have put in my mouth in my life but this was more than regret, I was pissed. Honestly, I have NOT regretted anything I have eaten since I started because I have been so vigilant with my food but now my “perfect” streak ended. This was not the emotion I had before with food where I wanted to trash the whole thing or anything like that. It was more like getting the first noticeable scratch on a brand new car. Frustrating. I tried to “buff out” the scratch by hitting the gym that night.

Last night my wife and I admitted to ourselves that we were getting sloppy with our calorie counting and only loosely following our food plan. I am sure the scale will reflect it on Sunday at weigh in. It’s easy to get in a funk but what does that help going forward.

Own it, learn from it, get over it, get on with it!

I want your tip … (that’s what she said)

One of the things I am struggling with this week is drinking all the water I need to flush the crap-ola out of me that I am burning off. There are only 1 of 2 ways your body is going to flush the fat and in order for your body to do that job efficiently is to pee … a lot!

I work on the phones and frequent breaks just are not something that are consistant to performing well at my job. Yesterday I ate my grilled chicken sandwich while talking to a client. I need to take time though to go fill up my water bottle so I can get the fluids I need. It’s not like my work won’t let me get up to get a drink or anything, I just get so involved with the projects I am working on I find myself seldom getting up. I need to balance my work day out better again. Before I was tkaing every available break and drinking so much water I had to pee every 15 min. it seemed like. Also, on my scheduled break times I was doing some short but intense cardio. The interuption was a much needed way to break up my day.

One of the ways I like to get all the water I need down is my Crystal Light packets. I have shown these before but there seems to be a new flavor avery couple of months. I love these. Actually the WalMart knock offs are not to bad either. The grape is sweet like real sugar filled Kool-Aid and only like 5 or 10 calories. I am almost 100% off soda because of them. I think I have had like 3 diet cokes in the past couple of months.

I want to know your best little tip. What is something you do or use to help overcome the little struggles that slow your progress?

A puch in the face

I work tech for a software company. I have been there 5 years this month. The people are great to work with, I like the job but I have been there so long that I feel my skills are VASTLY under utilized. I have been there so long because I am trying to advance to a position on the Quality Assurance team with the same company. I have shadowed QA guys, taken on extra support for BETA testing sites, helped with regression testing and have become one of the best guys at SQL on my team. I have applied for the position with QA twice now. The first time I applied, I knew it wasn’t likely I would get the job because of another shoe-in candidate but this time I was a prime candidate… or so I thought. Looooong story short, I found out that not only did I not get the job, someone who has been with the company a quarter of the time I have, got the job. The worst part, I think one of the reasons he got the job was because a lot of my hard work building complex SQL statements that has saved the company countless hours and headache got repackaged as HIS work. Although I like the guy and believe he will be good at the new job, it is needless to say I was NOT having a good day yesterday.

Que the comfort food right? WRONG. The old Mike would have gone into a week long funk numbed with deliciously awful foods and moping around work pissed at my situation. New Mike stuck it out till work was over yesterday, came home to change and hit the gym. When your pissed, you can work out like nothing else. I hit the elliptical machine for a WHOLE HOUR killing 1150 calories then finished up on the treadmill for 30 min. for another 350 calories. 1500 calories wasn’t enough. I still wanted to punch someone in the face so I hit the weights. After rocking out every one of my upper body muscles, the feeling of being warn out drowned out the suck that happened from work. Because I had taken care of my frustrations at the gym, I didn’t take my anger home to my family. In fact after working out I took the kids off my wife’s hands and went shoe shopping for them (an exercise in patience on a good day.)

Although I am over the initial anger, trying to get my job done today with everyone congratulating the other guy and hearing how he is going to be able to move his family into a house is going to make for a very unproductive day. I need to regroup today. I decided to take a personal day today in the best interest of the company, my customers and my sanity.

It’s like  I told my bud Ron, a newcomer to the weight loss blog world:

“Don’t focus on the crap happening to you. You can’t control 90% of it. You DO however have 100% control over your body. Focus you efforts on what you have control over and crush some goals!”

Picking food while preparing meals

I’ll be the first to admit that when it comes to the kids, my wife does the lion’s share of the work and she is great at it. Tuesday nights I take over because she has a weekly church meeting. Something I didn’t think I struggled with anymore is picking. I guess it just wasn’t a problem till now because most meals take a while to prepare and the only foods available for picking are maybe a piece of lettuce … woopty-doo.

Preparing the kid’s food is waaaaaay different. I found myself popping a thin piece of turkey that crumbled while making the kids a sandwich. Then they had some gram crackers for a latter snack. Again broken piece in mouth. Grrr. I hate that I did that. Now I know it may not seem like anything but those little picks turned into some cravings. Not for anything particular, just cravings to eat. Why would I do that to myself. I was completely satisfied with my dinner.

Hats off to my wife who dishes my kids up all day. I get to go to work, drown out the cravings until lunch, come home and eat dinner soon after. It would add an additional layer of self control for me.

The kids have a range of foods they will eat and it’s getting better but it’s still hard not to just throw chicken nuggets at them.