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Cut the Gut, Build the Brawn

Discussion in 'Fitness Journals' started by Ecrivain, May 13, 2006.

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  1. Ecrivain

    Ecrivain Well-Known Member

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    I've drifted through life. I've had nebulous goals, mostly based on the expectations of my family, my friends, and society in general. I got good grades. I graduated college with high honors. I got a good job. But I've never had a plan. I've never had big goals, something to strive for, something to pour my passion into. This has resulted in a comfortable but generally unsatisfying life.

    About six months ago, something snapped. It started as a splinter in my mind, a simple thought that I may be able to improve myself. I toyed with the idea, taking it out of the box and playing with it a little bit. The concept yielded results: I lost a little weight and started feeling better. In January, I reached a very low point in my life. The emptiness, the drifting, was getting to me. It was time to get serious. I had to do something real with my life.

    Now I have goals. Some are small, short-term goals. Others are much bigger and involve serious life changes. I'm taking steps towards realizing these goals. And in an effort to keep myself honest, I've decided to share some of them in this very public forum.

    The Goal: Live in Japan, even if only for a year or two.
    The Plan: Lose weight, so that I can take the long flight without buying two seats (one for me, one for my gut) and so that I can walk down the streets of Tokyo without eliciting screams of "Godzilla!" Learn Japanese, so that I can function in the rural cities. Continue teaching ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages), so that I can gain experience that will enable me to enter the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) program.

    The Goal: Buy a new car.
    The Plan: Everything is more difficult when you're huge. So again, my plan involves losing fat so that I can shop for a car that fits my personality instead of one that fits my body. You think John's main concern when picking out his SLK 350 was how much room there was in the front seat for his stomach?

    The Goal: Ride a bike to work.
    The Plan: It's less then 10 miles so it's very possible to do. But I'd like to make it there without being a sweaty, out-of-breath mess. I will continue exercising on a stationary bike every morning. I will continue strength training, including leg work. Even if I don't actually ride a bike to work every day, I'd like to be able to do it.

    The Goal: Date beautiful, intelligent, ambitious women.
    The Plan: Improve self-confidence. Look good naked. Find the secret hide-out of local beautiful, intelligent, ambitious women.

    My health and fitness are key to all of my goals. I have no better tools for success than a strong body and a sharp mind. It's time to hone them and put them to work.
     
  2. Ecrivain

    Ecrivain Well-Known Member

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    Here's a comparison shot. I didn't take pictures 6 months ago when I began my journey, but the picture from last Summer's pig roast gives a good idea of what I looked like.

    See also my introduction post to read more about my beginnings.
     

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  3. M@

    M@ Monster Maker 2017
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    :lol: :lol: :lol:

    I get the impression I'm gonna love reading your journal.

    100 + lbs is not losing a little weight. It's an incredible freaking accomplishment. My hat's off to you for your progress so far and I look forward to watching you achieve every goal you've outlined above and seeing you set newer, even loftier ones. :tucool:

    M@
     
  4. carguy

    carguy Well-Known Member

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    Six months! That is freakin' unbelievable. You, my man, are a machine. Great work. You're doing great in our challenge, too. Looking forward to following your road to your goal. Let me know if you need any help picking out that car. That's my specialty (no, I'm not a car salesman).:tu:
     
  5. Black-Dawn

    Black-Dawn Well-Known Member

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    All I can say is WOW! :tu:
    I've read your other post and your plan seems
    very solid as also evidenced by your results.

    A bit of a large deficency but i can surely see
    why you needed to lose the weight fast.
    what is your average loss per week nowdays?
    and how tall are you?

    awsome work and go get them little bugger fat cells mate. :tucool:

    Shahar.
     
  6. Ecrivain

    Ecrivain Well-Known Member

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    I'll try not to disappoint. ;) A couple of weeks ago, I lost an entire Friday night reading your journal start to finish. That's some good stuff right there. I figure I owe you some stories for all the entertainment you've provided. So, just for you, I'll work extra hard on that 4th goal. :evil:

    Thank you so much for the kind words. Everyone here has been so encouraging, so supportive. I know I could've lost weight without this forum, but it wouldn't have been nearly as easy or fun. And I'll definitely let you know when I'm ready to do some serious car shopping. I figure that towards the end of this year I will have made enough progress with both my financial and fitness goals that I will be able to treat myself to something I'll love.

    Thanks! I see from your journal you're doing quite well yourself. :)

    I'm 6'3. Fitday says I've lost an average of 3.9 lbs / week over the past 6 months, and an average of 4.03 lbs / week over just this past month. I've attached a screenshot of my 6 month weight chart. My goal is to get to around 200 lbs by the end of the year, which will put me right at the upper limit of what's considered a "healthy weight" for my height. Fitday says I need to lose about 2.12 lbs / week to achieve my goal at this point, so I've been gradually increasing my caloric intake to slow my weight loss down to a healthier rate.

    I know I've been losing more than the recommended 2 lbs/wk. Actually, I was hesitant to post about my progress in these forums because I was afraid people would scream at me to slow down. But, hell, when I was closing in on 400 lbs, I was burning about 4000 calories a day just by getting out of bed. It was practically impossible not to lose weight! It's scary to think about how much food and alcohol I was consuming just to maintain that weight for so long. I'm sure I've lost muscle mass along with fat during my transformation, but I consider it a calculated risk. Having lean mass was less of a concern that having a heart attack. And all along the way, I've used cardio and strength training as a way to keep myself in check. If I can't push myself on the bike, or if I can't see progress in my lifts, I know I need to eat more. I've been very conscious of how my body reacts to my nutrition and exercise plans and I've made adjustments along the way.

    One day at work, my boss finally made a comment about my weight loss: "You're not on some kind of crash diet, are you? You've lost a lot of weight! Do you get light headed?"

    I explained to him, as I began eating my 4th meal of the day, that I was keeping track of my calories and exercising more. No crash diet. No magic pill. No risky procedures. It's funny to me that when I was a walking heart-attack, nobody seemed too concerned with my health. But now I get all kinds of questions and comments from friends and coworkers.

    Thanks again to everyone for all of the encouragement. I'll keep you updated!
     

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  7. M@

    M@ Monster Maker 2017
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    That's why I'm a fan of the 1% rule of thumb instead. A 120 lb person losing 2 lbs of fat per week is scary. A 400 lb person losing 2 lb of fat per week can definetly lose more and do it safely.

    I'll post what I come up with regarding fun, non-drinking, social activities in my journal. ;)

    M@
     
  8. Black-Dawn

    Black-Dawn Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I agree about that M@.
    its all relative
    Myself I'm losing slightly over 2lbs a week nowdays
    and hope to keep it up for at least the next 2 months.
    I don't seem to have a problem slowly gaining
    lean mass while cutting so I do not see a problem with it.

    Ecrivain :
    Whatever lean mass you may have lost during that rapid weight loss. I'm pretty sure your lower body
    at least is much MUCH more developed then most ppl who have been training for a while.

    hack myself I only started training lower body
    recently (due to injuries unrelated to lifting)
    and relative to the rest of my body I'm pretty sure
    My Quads/calfs are pretty large.
    and I was "only" 265lbs at my heightest weight ever.
    carrying around 375lbs is better then anything
    and that includes Squats for developing those Quads and Calfs :)

    Shahar.
     
  9. Ecrivain

    Ecrivain Well-Known Member

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    That makes a lot more sense and makes me feel better about the way things have been going for me. I felt that what I was doing was right and fairly healthy, despite almost everything I read saying that 1-2 lbs/wk was the only way to go.

    Very true! That's a nice way to look at it, too. My thighs already feel like tanks. I'm progressing much better with my lower body than my upper. I feel like a god every time I do squats (even though it's not a very impressive weight). I'm looking forward to losing the rest of the fat off my legs and seeing what's hiding underneath.
     
  10. Silver

    Silver Well-Known Member

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    Just got home from a weekend away so this is my first opportunity to catch your journal. I'm impressed. Big time.

    Re the seeing the "underneath" - you might be surprised at how soon it starts to happen. Last summer I was probably about 240 (no working out, etc) then got up to close to 260 by January of this year and am now down to about 230 and when I was golfing with a friend of mine a couple of weeks ago, he commented that I had muscles in my legs he'd never seen on me before. It felt good that only a few months of working out has already provided such visible change so I'm sure you're on the verge of having all of that neat stuff start to appear.

    You'll be getting muscles starting to show up in areas they've never shown up before and gradually the fat deposits will be smaller and smaller.

    You're going places and I look forward to watching the journey!
     
  11. Ecrivain

    Ecrivain Well-Known Member

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    I got in on the 10% deal from AT Large, and the shipment arrived today. It's like Christmas in May! Two big ol' tubs of Nitrean (one vanilla, one chocolate) and some creatine. It's good timing since I'm getting close to the end of my current protein powder (BioChem's caramel swirl) and I'm ready to try something new. I hope the chocolate is as good as everyone says it is.

    The creatine... I'm not sure when I'm going to start taking that. The supplement debate comes up every so often around here. I fall in the "fuzzy gray line" side of things. I mean, even supposedly unprocessed, clean foods like fresh meats and vegetables are genetically modified and pumped full of hormones these days. I don't see a problem with taking most vitamins, herbs, and minerals. Protein powders are fine. The EC(A) stack seems okay too. And creatine looks to have nice benefits with few relative risks.

    So why the hesitation?

    I'm going to take it eventually. I wouldn't have bought it otherwise. But as others have pointed out, there's a certain sense of pride and a boost in self-confidence that comes with "doing it own your own." I like seeing what my body can do. I'm making good progress right now. So maybe I should save that extra push until I hit a wall. On the other hand, I could use some help maintaining lean mass while I cut the fat. I'll do fine without it. I know this. But perhaps I could do better with it.

    Would my success be any less meaningful if I got this sort of help at this point?

    I'm undecided. I've been reading as much as I can about creatine supplementation. I've found information about timing (PWO looks to be best), dosage (5g per day, which I've discovered is 1/2 tablespoon of AT Large's powder), loading (I don't think I'd do it), and transports (I think I'd use 20g dextrose with 24g protein). I know I'd need to drink lots of water. I just don't know when I'll start on it.

    Until then, I'm happy with keeping my nutrition clean and keeping my body moving. You can't beat the basics.
     
  12. Ecrivain

    Ecrivain Well-Known Member

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    The Dualism of Fitness

    There really does seem to be a bit of humility involved with the persuit of physical excellence. The first step in self-improvement is identifying weaknesses, deficiencies, imperfections. It takes brutal honesty to admit one's flaws, and tremendous strength not to be overwhelmed by them.

    It occurs to me that this transformation I'm going through involves tearing myself down and building myself up, both physically and psychologically. I rip my muscles by lifting heavy weights so that they will heal and grow stronger. I restrict caloric intake so that my body is forced to consume itself, burning fat stores. I put my heart and lungs under stress so that they will work more efficiently. Controlled destruction eventually yields overall improvement. Meanwhile, mentally I must balance self-loathing and self-assurance. I am not content with myself, otherwise I wouldn't have the need to put forth this effort. Yet I must be proud and confident, otherwise I wouldn't have the ability to put forth this effort. Everything in balance. How very yin and yang.

    I'm doing all of this because I know I can be a better person. I will be in the best physical shape of my life before I turn 30. I will be empowered by my appearance, not inhibited by it. I will have a body that will enable, not restrict, my lifestyle. I will be the symbol of my success.


    I don't mean to turn my journal into any sort of "daily affirmation." These are just some of the things that have been on my mind lately. And right now, working out this lifestyle change in my head is just as important to me as tallying my weight (which is still going down) and reps (which are slowly going up).
     
  13. M@

    M@ Monster Maker 2017
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    It's your journal, you can do whatever the hell you want with it. :lol:

    I'm a big believer in the Scrubs dialogue you quoted there. That's why I consider it essential to set goals and commit to them. It's soooooo easy to settle when you get to a physical state you're happy with. I mean, you're happy, right?! Isn't that the whole point?

    Happiness is great but it breeds complacency. I may hit what feels to me like the perfect physique on the way to my goals, but I have to push past that and get to the point where I said I would be. Just to touch the wall and make it official, you know? Then I can come back if I still want to.

    Whatever the reasoning or rationalization, giving up is still giving up.

    M@
     
  14. bmacntmac

    bmacntmac Well-Known Member

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    Props to you!:bow:

    Keep up the great work.

    I lost a lot of time a couple of weeks ago catching up on M@'s journal too. Great reading and no late fees from the library!!:lol:

    -bmac
     
  15. Ecrivain

    Ecrivain Well-Known Member

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    The Good: I dug through my closet and found some shirts I haven't worn in over fours years because I outgrew them. They fit great now! I tried them on and was looking pretty sharp. That was a nice little ego boost. I just wish I'd saved some of my old trousers. I'm gonna go broke buying new pants every month.

    The Bad: I look at my calendar and I see danger ahead. My boss wants our department to get together at a Chinese buffet this Friday for a team lunch meeting. I'm supposed to go to an after-work happy hour next Wednesday to welcome a colleague from out of town. Then there's a cookout on Memorial Day weekend. Another happy hour for another colleague on Thursday. And another cookout for a friend's birthday the next weekend. That's potentially 5 cheats in 3 weeks. It's nice that I know about them ahead of time, so I can plan my meals around them. But it really stinks that these events that are supposed to be fun celebrations are causing me anxiety. I foresee many more of these situations throughout the Summer, too. Maybe I won't have to worry about buying new pants for a couple of months. :o
     
  16. Ecrivain

    Ecrivain Well-Known Member

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    ...and then set new goals and recommit. Constant forward progress. For instance, I just realized your SGX Week 0 is pretty much my current year-end goal. When I reach that point, I will strive for a greater achievement. There is no stopping.

    Thanks! I can always use extra encouragement. Like zenpharaohs says, the easy part is probably over.

    (We should probably be careful going on about M@'s journal. He might get the idea in his head to start charging us to read it or something). ;)
     
  17. Ecrivain

    Ecrivain Well-Known Member

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    Perchance to Dream

    Sleep, those little slices of death, how I loathe them. - Edgar Allen Poe

    Not me. I love sleep. I just haven't gotten enough of it for the past few weeks. I've averaged about 6 hours a night. One night this week I only got 4 hours. I'm drinking quite a bit of tea to keep me going, but the lack of rest is really starting to catch up with me. I'm snippy at work, especially in the morning. I'm not getting through my evening workouts as quickly as I should. And I just don't feel sharp.

    I've managed to make morning cardio a habit. I hated doing it at first. Obviously, I'm not a morning person. But I made myself do it. Now it's not quite as painful. In fact, I feel bad when I miss it. The May Morning Cardio Challenge made it a solid part of my routine.

    I'm simply going to have to apply this same strategy in the evenings. I need my own personal "8 Hours of Sleep Each Night" challenge. For it to work, I'll have to get in bed by about 10pm. That's the trick. I seem to always find little things to do, things that distract me, before I get to bed. There's one more article to read, one more email to send, one more chore to do. And then, the next thing I know, it's midnight (or 1 or 2am).

    Sleeping is no mean art: for its sake one must stay awake all day. - Friedrich Nietzsche

    Mini-Goal: Bed by 10pm. 8 hours of sleep per night.
     
  18. Black-Dawn

    Black-Dawn Well-Known Member

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    I hear you.
    I can't function without proper sleep.
    If I did not have a good night's sleep
    I just slide through the day bearly concious.

    I've only been doing large amounts of cardio
    for the last 3 weeks or so. I really hated it at first also
    but once I discoverd the wonders of audio books
    I sorta look forward to my cardio sessioans.
    give it a try if you have not.

    Shahar.
     
  19. BigDog

    BigDog Well-Known Member

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    Hey - just wanted to jump in and say good work.

    People that I know are impressed that I've dropped 45+ lbs and kept it off. Hell, I was impressed. But then I read journals like yours, and it reminds me of the importance of patience in this process. It also reminds me that over time, we will all make mistakes - big or little - and that the key is not to let them completely derail you.

    Very, very well done. I (like others) will be watching your progress.

    Edit: Is that your picture in the Avatar? If so, why black out your face in the pictures? There is a resemblance there, hence the question. . .
     
  20. M@

    M@ Monster Maker 2017
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    Haha! That would be so cool. :lol:

    My journal is and shall always be free. In fact, I am eagerly working towards the point where I no longer have to post in it at all. I may not be able to get Doordude's postwhore crown, but if I can make that journal self-sustaining I've got a great shot at capping that forum's benchmarks. :D

    M@
     

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