Workout and shout out

Today is day 12 in the gym out of the last 16 days.

Five days a week for the past 2 weeks and 2 days.

I want to thank Joshua Samuel for giving me a workout routine that fits my experience, age, and ability.

I’ve never met Joshua except in the social media world. He’s an actor, bodybuilder, ex-marine based out of LA. He and I butt heads over a lot of hot topic areas but that hasnt stopped us from becoming friends. Thanks for your help Joshua.

Monday- chest, Tuesday- shoulders, Wednesday- back, Thursday- legs, Friday- arms and abs

Stuck but ok?

My weight is still at a standstill. I havent dropped or gained any weight in more than 3 weeks. I am frustrated, yes, but not losing my focus.

The two things that have changed in that time have been my thyroid medication dosage and I’ve added a new workout routine.

Both probably are playing into my weight loss issue.

I am going to see a thyroid specialist on Monday, hopefully that will help.

As for my workout routine…it’s pretty standard but I am working out five days a week. Each day targets a new area…chest, shoulders, back, legs, arms. I’m not lifting heavy weights but low weights and high reps.

So. I honestly dont know if it’s my thyroid or workout routine or both that is stopping my weight loss.

But I am seeing results in my physical self. I’m seeing muscles that I’d forgotten I had. I’m feeling stronger. So if there’s a silver lining to all this, it’s that.

Maybe it’s time I switch from the keto diet towards something more practical for the rest of my life. I never intended to eat keto forever. I’ve wanted to be in a place where I can eat anything in moderation without gaining weight. Want a pizza? Eat a pizza. Want ice cream? Eat it! That’s my ultimate goal. To lose weight and teach myself how to eat smarter.

Workout routine

I am on week three of a new workout program. Five days a week of isolated workouts! I never thought I’d be able to workout five days a week yet here I am.

Each day works a certain part of the body.

Monday: chest

Tuesday: shoulders

Wednesday: back

Thursday: legs

Friday: arms and abs.

I do 20-30 minutes of elliptical cardio as well.

I feel stronger already. I can flex muscles I’d forgotten I had. Still a LONG way to go but I am happy to feel progress.

Today is Wednesday so I’m off the wreck my back! Lat pulldown, cable rows, deadlifts! Look at me getting all swolefied!

Me. No more hiding.

I was blind to who I had become. I knew I was fat but I tricked myself into thinking that was all I was.

The truth is I had become a shell of who I was, who I needed to be. At my heaviest, at the end of last year, I avoided physical activities, was angry most of the time, stopped being the husband and father my family deserved. I was there, a part of the family, but a hollow me. I stared at my smartphone, aimlessly flipping through apps like a bored person staring in a refrigerator thinking something new would jump out.

If my children drew a picture of me I would be holding a phone in my hand.

I’ve spoken before, in previous posts, how it took me a long time to understand the depth I had fallen. How long it took me to prepare for change. Now I’m four months into this change and I’m happy, but I have setbacks, I have bad days. I have the tremendous fear I will fall back to old habits.

So I’m sharing a photo of me. One I hate to see more than anything. Me, with no shirt on. No adjusting my shirt to hide the belly fat, no more XXXL shirts so I could hide my gut.

This is me, a few months ago. Even with 45 dropped from my body this picture is still pretty accurate for how I look. It reminds me of how long I have to go.

I have no idea if anyone reads these blogs. I dont really care. I’m writing and sharing them for me. So I can look back at the first year or me.

My Voice Is Back

I’m at the gym.

My Voice is here.

I try to block it out but the voice in your head is the loudest voice there is.

You failed. You’re a failure. It’s too late.

Give up.

Look at the guy. Look at her. Look at their form, their muscles. They’re better than you. You’re doing it wrong. Put the weights down and go home. Sit on the couch. Watch a tv show. Eat. Eat it all.

You failed.

M Voice shows up a lot. A constant reminder of me. A constant reflection of who I am, then and now.

Am I a failure?

Give up.

You’re fat. Nothing will change that.

The funny thing about my Voice is it comes in flashes. Moments of self doubt. Moments of humbleness. Random moments.

Yet as quickly as it arrives, it can be pushed aside. By a song, a friend, a look in the mirror. A glance of approval from a stranger reassures you everything is fine and you can keep moving forward.

Today my Voice was pushed aside by lyrics from a song by Common that danced into my ears betweens sets:

Sittin’ in a shadow of me, gradually battlin’ me
A fall from grace like Adam and Eve
Search for the inner-Vatican in me
The temple, the body, I’m mental, I’m godly
Somehow I made my mess-ups my hobby
Is it the stress and the pressure? Probably
Out here with much anger inside me
Don’t know who my friends are, stranger inside me

Am I a failure? No. Have I failed? Yes. My failures dont define me though. How I act after failure does.

Goodbye, Voice. For now.

Oh boy

Sometimes you hit a wall. Sometimes you hit a speed bump. Sometimes you get hit on all sides by a perfect storm of doh.

So, here I am. Down 45 pounds and going strong. Then some things happened…

First and foremost, I will admit I have become careless. My ultimate goal has always been to be in a place where I dont need to track my food and I can go through a day eating smart.

I may need more practice before I do that.

I’ve been skipping my food log which, when you’re on a diet that calls for specific grams of fat and protein and carbs, is not smart.

Then other things joined the fray.

Do to my rapid weight loss, my thyroid medication (which I’ve been taking for over 10 years) was too high. My doctor lowered my dosage. That’s awesome! Maybe.

So, my discipline is off and now my thyroid medication is lower.

But wait, we’re not done yet! At the same time my body has decided to do a thing that can happen while on a low carb diet. It rhymes with Shmonstipation.

So what does a person do who has lessened discipline with food, a lower thyroid medication, and free time from not having to go to the bathroom?

Why, he breaks down and cheats with Easter candy!!

OH! I almost forgot. I also started my first workout program since starting my diet. I’ve been in the gym the last week lifting weights.

Yes, this careless, less medicated, constipated 40 year old chowed down on some easter chocolate (or dozen) and is getting swole at the gym.

I’ve gained a pound in the last week. Which, in the grand scheme of things, is not bad.

But I’m not PAST this moment in my journey yet and that’s where I’m nervous. I’m still having issues in the bathroom, I’m still on low medication, and I’m still trying to justify sneaking a piece of candy from my kid’s Easter baskets.

This is my reality. I’m in a rut. And I’m at risk of sabotaging everything I’ve worked hard on since January.

OR!….I refocus and get back up and move forward.

Yeah, I like that.

Softball

I played softball last night. With adults and running and hitting and throwing and holy crap I am sore. But I did it.

6 months ago. At 320 pounds, giant belly, old and sore, I would have skipped the game.

But not now.

It felt great to not feel like a giant blob while playing. It felt great to play again.

Everything about it, even the sore muscles, was great.

Cholesterol Test Results

Eating a high fat diet I had concern about my cholesterol levels so I had a checkup with my doctor.

I just got the results back and they are good.

My total cholesterol is 123.

LDL is 77, HDL is 43, and triglyceride levels are 46.

The only thing off was my thyroid levels, which I’ve taken medication for over ten years. They said because of my weight loss my medication level is too high. So they actually are lowering the dosage.

That’s awesome.

Emotional Perspective

Here is a photo taken this morning of me and my five year old daughter, Alice. Alice is a fireball of energy and laughter. She sings, dances, jumps, falls, gets back up, laughs. She and her brother are major motivations for me to get healthy.

I am sharing this photo because 1) I love my daughter and she’s awesome and 2) my daughter weighs 40 pounds. 40 pounds is significant because as of this morning, that’s how much weight I’ve dropped. (And I say DROPPED instead of LOST because I don’t intend to find that 40 pounds ever again)

40 pounds. I’ve dropped the equivalent of one energetic Alice.

40 pounds in 72 days. Still a long way to go but, as with any journey, I’m enjoying the ride.

The Secret to Losing Weight Revealed!

Nice clickbait title, isn’t it? The secrets to losing weight have been revealed to us! Click on this article and you will find all the answers you need!The dieting secret THEY don’t want you to know about!

All joking aside…..what if the answer to weight loss really IS in this post? And it’s not that diet companies don’t want you to know about it, it’s just that they don’t know how to talk to you about it.

The secret to weight loss isn’t a pill or a specific diet. The secret to weight loss is you.

What? Really?! I clicked on this post for that?!?! Hear me out and think about it. When you break it down, when you pick through the giant heap of reasons for success and failure, it always leads back to you. Your mind, your thoughts.

As a fat person I have stood in front of the refrigerator, door wide open, eating out of the carton of ice cream, and feeling awful about myself while doing it. I know I am fat, I want to change that I am fat, I know what I need to do, yet here I am, eating cookies and cream with the largest spoon i could find. Maybe when I am done I will be motivated for a change. Maybe for the next few days I will cut back on bad habits, eat some vegetables, go for a walk. Yet by day three or four, I’m finding ways to justify that extra chip or two. That larger portion of cake. That midday candy bar.

Your mind is your greatest asset and your greatest obstacle. In order for you to truly be successful with a new, healthy lifestyle, you have to convince yourself that you want to do it. And I’m not talking about momentary motivation. Anyone can get motivated for a moment. It’s those who can get past the motivation and into the habit who are successful. Play We Are the Champions by Queen and I will get pumped up to do something good. When the song ends, however, the moment passes. Motivation is a good song on the radio that will end in a few minutes.

So you need to have a discussion, a long discussion, with your mind. Sit down, get comfy and speak out. Say, “hello mind, it’s me. Let’s talk.” Ask your mind what changes you want to make. Get personal. Tell your mind what scares you, what hurts you. Give it reasons why you think you’ve failed in the past. Your mind is a middle school journal. Spill your guts to it. Break it all down and get to the source. For me, it took realizing that I was embarrassed and angry at how I looked. And that anger was being projected out onto the people around me, which happened to be my kids and my wife. I realized how depressed I was over my weight. And I cried. I cried a lot. And then the next day, I repeated the process. I looked inward to see what was bothering me, what was hurting me, and why. And I cried again. A good, deep healthy cry.

I continued this process for a long time. Being depressed isn’t going to get fixed on the first try. So I kept talking to my mind. Before I could eat healthy foods, I need to eat healthy thoughts. (Really? that is so cheesy) BUT IT IS TRUE. If you aren’t at least accepting of who you are or where you are at, you raise your chances of failure. If you can’t acknowledge that yes, you may be hurting, you raise your chances of failure.

Admit your biggest fears and disappointments to yourself. Admit the things you love as well. Be honest with yourself. Get your mind in order.

YOU are the biggest asset to your weight loss journey. Understand you may have setbacks, slow periods, frustration. Understand that a specific diet plan may not work for you. But in the past, before you had a candid convo with your mind, a failed diet plan might have meant giving up entirely. The new you, however, is able to understand that your healthy journey is a windy, exciting road with many paths. Sometimes you may have to double back and go a new way. Sometimes you may get lost. That comes with the territory. You are a stronger person now. Your mind can take those setbacks now.

As some wise women once said…Free Your Mind and the Rest Will Follow.

Robert and the ER

The plan that I came up with sometime in mid-2017 was to work on me, as a person. Work on my depression, my anger, my frustration with being overweight and then, when my mind was in the right spot, turn my attention to the number on the scale. Get my mind right, then work on my body.

The funny thing about the universe is, sometimes, your plans don’t mean squat. Sometimes the universe gives you a signal that it’s time. And if that signal wasn’t taken serious enough, the universe gives you a swift kick in the pants. Or chest in my case.

December of 2017, my wife and I flew to Breckenridge, Colorado for a long weekend getaway with a group of friends. I expected laughter, some tubing, and most of all, relaxation. While I got most of that, my vacation began with a trip to the ER, chest pains, and trouble breathing.

When traveling from a few hundred feet above sea level to many thousands of feet above sea level, your body has to adjust. At 12,000 feet above sea level, your body has to work very hard. And when you are severely overweight like I am, your body has to work even harder. Your blood pressure can rise, your oxygen can drop, you can get “altitude sickness”. To me, within hours of landing in Denver and then driving to our cottage just outside Breckenridge, it felt like someone was kneeling on my chest. My heart rate was up, my blood pressure was up, and I was googling my symptoms (which is an awful idea, by the way. Just terrifying).

The next morning, with the chest pains still there, I went to a doctor. (yes, I understand with chest pains I should have gone earlier. The nurses reminded me of that over and over). While my friends went tubing I was getting an EKG and chest X-Ray. Some vacation, huh?

Now, I think I should tell you that during all this I remained, for the most part, very calm. Like it was a routine thing to go to the hospital with chest pains while on vacation. And why was I so relaxed?

Robert. The gate operator at our car rental place in Denver.

Robert told me I would be ok..before I even felt chest pains.

Normally when you rent a car you drive to the gate, hand them your paperwork, they say good day and open the gate. But not Robert. He checked our paperwork and then asked us to roll down the windows. (There were six of us in the car) Robert then proceeded to give us a three minute motivational speech about letting go of the past, accepting it, and moving forward. “There’s only a few weeks left in 2017. Whatever negativity you had, whatever problems you had, let them go,” he said as he wiped his hands clean. “2018 is a new year. A new time. A new way to move forward.” He talked of being in the moment, cherishing it all. And then he looked at me. Right at me. He pointed a finger in my direction and said “Especially this guy. He needs it. You need it. Let it go. Move forward.”

It would have been easy to laugh off our encounter as just some random wierdo. It would have been wrong too. Everyone in that car felt what he was saying. We all knew he was right. So when I found myself in an X-Ray room, I naively knew that I would be ok.

I knew my time for change was here, now. No more waiting. No more preparing. Now. I had found a sense of peace within myself and knew I would be ok. I knew I had work to do, a lot of work, but I knew I would be ok. I was ready.

The test results came back and I had not suffered any sort of heart attack. My blood pressure had lowered to a good range. They tested my oxygen levels and they were lower than they should be. After a nice oxygen mask session, me levels went back to normal and the chest pains disappeared.

I left the ER and walked into the cool air of wintery Colorado. A fresh start on life, a smile on my face, and the words of Robert buzzing in my head.

Let it go. Move Forward.

Progress

So…I’m pretty excited about my progress in the 12 days since I’ve started. I’m not starving myself, I’m eating healthy choices, I’m not snacking. Yes I miss a good pint of ice cream or a bowl of cereal or a giant bowl of queso…but as I’ve heard before, “nothing tastes as good as being fit feels” 

13.2 pounds lost since starting on January 1st. Wow. 

What foods have I avoided


Here is a list of foods (which I eat often) that I have avoided since starting the Keto Diet nine days ago: 

Breads, milk, potato chips, cereal, oatmeal, tortillas, sugar in my coffee, honey, ice cream, juice, fried food, preservative filled food. 

Here is a list of food that I am eating: 

Chicken, beef, eggs, avocado, asparagus, broccoli, bacon, cauliflower, flax seed, blackberries, coconut flour, bone broth, peanut butter with only salt and peanuts in the ingredients, and more. 

And I’m drinking a LOT of water. 

I’m consuming 2000 calories a day. I’m never starving. I eat three meals a day. 

And I’ve lost 9.5 pounds. 

The photo I attached is blueberry coconut porridge made with flaxseed. 

My plan

So, as someone who has tried various diets and work out regimes and lifestyle changes before..how am I movijng forward with this current move forward? 

On January 1st I started the Keto diet. The controversial low carb, high fat and protein diet. I’m also tracking my intake and calories on Myfitnesspal. 

I understand the controversy behind the diet. Extreme low carbs while eating more fat sounds a tad off. I get that. But look at my daily menu: 

For breakfast usually have eggs and some bacon and maybe half an avocado. For lunch it is a healthy salad with chicken and some green vegetables. Dinner is a protein with avocado and some green veggies. I use olive oil when cooking on the grill. I add mct oil to my coffee (If I drink a glass). 

My plan is to do the Keto diet for a month or two and then switch it up to, most likely, the Mediterranean diet, which has room for carbs. 

My biggest issue is overeating and snacking.  Especially with carbs. I can eat a whole row of Ritz crackers in one sitting or grab a cold bagel as a snack. My portion sizes are WAY too big and I sneak in treats throughout the day. 

Tracking my food as well as being strict on carbs and snacks will greatly help me, I hope. 

So far so good. I have yet to cheat with any breads or milk. I have stuck by the diet and I feel great. Day 3 was rough, I admit. But that was expected. 

Onwards.