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Let's Do This (No, Really, This Time for Real ...)

Discussion in 'Fitness Journals' started by astroguy, Jan 25, 2019.

  1. astroguy

    astroguy Well-Known Member

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    Preamble

    Well, he's at it again, attempting to lose weight and get fit. Or, what I'm now trying to tell myself, I'm trying "To create a new lifestyle for myself with respect to diet and exercise, and a side-effect of that is going to be I will lose fat, increase my endurance, get healthier overall, and gain muscle" (that order). Because, as soon as I have set myself up for a specific "I'm going to lose weight!!" goal with a "And now let's gain muscle in 30 weeks when I've lost fat!!" goal, I crash and burn.


    Overview

    If it wasn't obvious, I've tried this before. Ever since I entered grad school in 2005 ... in fact, I've been a member of this forum since 2006 and used to be quite active. I had some minor success and major failures. My all-time best bodyfat percentage was on July 13, 2008, and November 20, 2011, at about 15.8%. My weight the second time was about 165 lbs. Now, on Sunday, I just tipped the scale at 220.3 lbs - an all-time high, with a bf% of 28% (ah, I remember the days when I was embarrassed at being 20%).

    Of course, there are excuses. All of them seem legitimate: (a) When I was losing weight, I had significantly less work than I do now (I tend to work ~60 hrs a week instead of ~30-40 hours (there was a 2-year period when I lost weight when I was about 60% employed, and before that it was grad school, so, ¿what work?)). (b) I travel a lot for work now. In 2017, I was gone 99 days, in 2018, I was gone 101 days, and I already have 77 travel days on the calendar for 2019. So keeping any sort of steady plan was impossible -- just as soon as I got something going, I'd have a trip and mess it all up. (c) I already have an extremely low BMR. For the very longest streak when I was keeping records, back in my attempt in 2011, my BMR with a 1.2x multiplier was about 2000-2100 cal/day with the normal equation folks use. If I consumed more than about 1500 cal/day, I gained weight.

    Now, of course, those excuses are excuses. If something is important enough, in a first world country, if you're middle to upper class, you should be able to find time to do it. If you're traveling, you should be able to find some time to exercise, you should be able to bring some of your own food so you don't have to eat out, or if you eat out due to the social nature of the meeting, get a friggin' salad without the big-calorie items (nuts, dressing, cheese, fried chicken). And if you have a low metabolism so you can't eat as much to maintain your weight (or lose weight), then don't eat as much, or work out more. It's all solvable.

    Right?


    What Seems to Work for Me

    Tracking, and I know I'm in good company here (unless things've changed in the last several years?). Some might call me "mildly OCD," so I have a bunch of spreadsheets with practically every conceivable metric. I have a food spreadsheet, one per week, where every item is counted and I have all macro and micro nutrients listed, along with fruit, vegetable, and liquid intake. I have a summary spreadsheet on food so I can see trends in if I hit or miss my percentages (am I consistently way under on Vitamin E? maybe I should be eating some almonds regularly). I have another spreadsheet with an overview tab with weight, calories from exercising and food, and bf%, plus goals, with one row per week. Another tab for tracking weight, another for measuring various bodyparts to get bodyfat, another for tracking cardio, and another for tracking weight lifting (all feeding summary data into the main Overview tab).

    But, tracking is a double-edged sword. It helps because I can see progress, but it hurts because I can see when there is no progress, or things are getting worse.


    Equipment and Limitations

    I live 45 minutes from civilization. I tried going to a gym a few times and despised it. Now that I live so far from one, it would be a significant deterrent, especially since time is already tight. So, in my basement, I have an elliptical, rowing machine, and free weights. Everything one needs to accomplish this. I have a bicycle I haven't used in years, since I moved to this house. Why? Because I'm on a mountain, with a poorly maintained gravel road, with 27% grades.

    I also have an Apple Watch (v4), so I can get running tallies on exercise metrics, sleep, reminders to stand and move around every hour, etc. I have a friend I'm linked to on it and we try to encourage each other. Also linked to my mom, but that's a separate thing where I'm mainly trying to encourage her.


    Why Am I Doing This?

    I guess in this (new) first post, I should return to this question to ensure that I'm really doing this for the "right" reasons, and have a "healthy" outlook on this.

    • I should not be out of breath climbing one flight of stairs.
    • I should not look at myself every day and be unhappy about my physical appearance (that's a separate, but related issue about being happy in one's own body).
    • I should be able to participate in outdoor activities enjoyed by my friends, which in Colorado is mostly hiking.
    • I should be more cardiovascularly fit at my age, based on various metrics including VO2_max and reseting heart rate recovery.
    • I would like to be able to fit into my clothes from high school and college again (which I still have, and could fit into most of them back in 2010).


    Outlook and Expectations (Revised after Measuring BF%)

    As noted in the Preamble, I think my outlook needs to be that this is a lifestyle change with respect to how I spend my time, how I eat, and how I exercise. This is not a specific "weight loss thing." With that in mind ...

    ... Given my current stats, at 220 lbs and about 28% bodyfat, what is reasonable for a goal? Based on how this has worked for me before, and on reading various forums (all the knowledge I gained here a decade ago), losing 2 lbs a week is ambitious for me and likely to fail, which will lead to frustration and quitting. So I think a goal of -1.5 lbs/week is more realistic, and if I lose more, then great. What percentage of that is going to be fat? Based on previous work over the years, I am hoping that at least for the first few weeks, up to 90% of weight loss will be fat (the beginners' aspect). After that, based on what other people have lost, it's more likely to be around 75%. Looking way ahead, when people have bulked, it's tended to be about 25% fat gain.

    So of course planning everything out for the next two years (ha!) I have a target of September 1, 2019, so +8 months from now, of getting down to 170 lbs at about 14% bodyfat. That is a steady loss of 1.5 lbs per week, 90% of that being fat for 7 weeks and then 75% thereafter. In those 33 weeks, I already have 10 one-week-long trips. But, the first one is in 8 weeks. So I have 8 solid weeks to establish a routine and stick with it and see results. After that next trip, I have another four solid weeks at home, so I have a first intermediate goal of +13 weeks to be about 200 lbs, though that's still 23% bodyfat. But it would be an improvement.

    Assuming I hit ~170 lbs at ~14% bf, the outlook / plan is basically to slowly cycle around ±10 lbs with roughly 10-week periods of bulking and cutting, getting down to the 12% bodyfat area in the 170s lbs in February 2020. I suspect I could be way more aggressive with that, but I also fully expect all of this to change depending on what happens over the next 3 months.
     
  2. astroguy

    astroguy Well-Known Member

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    Cut, Initial, Part 1 (14 weeks)

    Starting Stats

    Date: 20 Jan 2019
    Weight: 220 lbs
    Bodyfat: 28%
    Resting BMR*: 2200 cal
    VO2_max: ~36 mL/(kg*min)

    *I'm going to try to use the Apple Watch for this, rather than the normal math. Though the normal equation with a 1.2x multiplier gives the same - or slightly higher by 50 cal - number than the Apple Watch. But my watch is tracking my heart rate 24/7, so I trust it a bit more, especially since the numbers are so close.


    Goal

    Date: 18 Apr 2019 (just before a trip)
    Weight: 200 lbs
    Bodyfat: 23%


    Food

    My goal 1750 cal/day, or roughly a 500 calorie deficit. Under the assumption that 1 lb of fat is 3500 calories, then that's enough to lose 1 lb of fat per week.


    Exercise

    If I jump in and do everything at once, going from zero to infinity on Day 1, nothing will happen. So my goals represent a ramp up:

    • Week 1:
      • Rowing machine: ≥3x, 20 min each
      • Elliptical: ≥3x, 30 min each
      • Bodyweight exercises: ≥2x, 15 min each
    • Week 2:
      • Rowing machine: ≥4x, 20 min each
      • Elliptical: ≥4x, 30 min each
      • Bodyweight exercises: 3x, 15 min each
    • Week 3:
      • Rowing machine: ≥5x, 20 min each
      • Elliptical: ≥5x, 30 min each
      • Bodyweight exercises: 3x, 15 min each
      • Weights: ≥1x, ~1 hour each
    • Weeks 4-14:
      • Rowing machine: 6x, 20 min each
      • Elliptical: 6x, 30 min each
      • Bodyweight exercises: 3x, 15 min each
      • Weights: 3x, ~1 hour each

    Based on my watch, so I trust it reasonably well since it's monitoring my heart rate during exercise, I burn around 10 calories every 10 minutes on the rowing machine or elliptical, so I need to do about 3 hours of these per week in order to burn 1/2 lb of fat. Everything on top of that, calorie-wise, is proverbial gravy.

    Some reading this might wonder why, then, so much exercise. A couple reasons. (a) Elliptical for cardio fitness and fat loss. It's the closest thing to a hike that I can do indoors, so is the best thing for getting me up-to-speed with that goal. (b) Rower for cardio fitness, fat loss, and toning. It's more intense, working more muscles than the elliptical, but it's still in the "cardio" class, so it's something to do other than the elliptical and work the core and arms. (c) Bodyweight exercises for core fitness and toning, and it's something I can do anywhere, such as a hotel room. (d) Weights for muscle maintaining during this cut -- use it or lose it.


    During Travel

    Only one trip is in this period (currently, anyway), for 6 days, and it's a doozy where I am usually at the conference from 8am until 9pm, and I'm exhausted thereafter. I'm staying at a hotel without any fitness equipment, and I'm not in walking distance to the conference center (and it's Texas, so there are no sidewalks). So my goal for that trip is to pack most of my food and eat out no more than once a day. That means if I have lunch plans with people, I will eat packed food for dinner at the hotel (like jerky, protein bar, nuts). I will also keep up the bodyweight exercises, and potentially do them every night instead of just 3x. I'm not going to set that as a hard goal because I know myself on these trips and I'm likely to fail, which would make me feel like I failed, and more likely to quit.
     
  3. astroguy

    astroguy Well-Known Member

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    In posting food, I'm going to use emoji since I think the visual really, really helps me. For exercise, each icon is 5 minutes. For Drink, each drop is 1 cup. Some emoji does not yet exist so I have to make it up with other stuff, and some may not work on your system (e.g., the salt shaker is Emoji 12.0 and only is visible on my iPhone since I haven't updated my laptop OS since early 2018).

    ... change of plans, emoji does not work AT ALL. So I need to rewrite these and adapt.


    Day 1, 20 Jan 2019

    Exercise: ‍both rowing and elliptical

    Food:
    • 108% fats
    • 136% carb
    • 81% prot

    Day 2, 21 Jan 2019

    Exercise: ‍elliptical

    Food:
    • 106% fats
    • 102% carb
    • 107% prot

    Day 3, 22 Jan 2019

    Exercise: none

    Food:
    • 101% fats
    • 126% carb
    • 98% prot

    Day 4, 23 Jan 2019

    Exercise: none

    Food:
    • 197% fats
    • 289% carb
    • 235% prot
    Notes: Went way over on food today. However, I should still be close to goals for the week, based on current plans.


    Day 5, 24 Jan 2019

    Exercise: ‍rowing machine and elliptical

    Food:
    • 80% fats
    • 90% carb
    • 127% prot
     
  4. macdiver

    macdiver Well-Known Member
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    Welcome back.

    I know where you are coming from regarding travel. From mid 2013 through spring 2017, I was flying to San Francisco from Philly every other week. There were several times I was there for multiple weeks. During this time (after 2014), I didn't run any marathons though i did run a couple of half marathons. I let travel be an excuse. Last year I was in Florida from mid May until Christmas. I would fly down on Monday and home on Friday. Last year I decided no excuses. I trained and ran a spring marathon while traveling for a few weeks each in February and March. I trained and ran a 50k in October followed by a marathon two weeks later. All this to say, don't let travel be an excuse. Find time to take care of yourself while on the road. You may have less options while traveling but you still should be able to do something. If the hotel doesn't have a gym, ask if they have an arrangement with a gym nearby. Many of them will.

    Best wishes for obtaining your goals.
     
  5. astroguy

    astroguy Well-Known Member

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    Awesome! I agree that it really is a decision I just have to make and stick with, it's not something where there is an external reason that really prevents me from getting fit -- just excuses. That I need to stop making. I think an additional, internal issue, is that bit of OCD where I feel like if I don't do something by mid-week, the whole week is shot and that gives me another excuse to wait until Sunday to "start back up again." So that's another thing totally in my head that I need to get over, and it's why I'm hoping the idea of "this is a lifestyle change in general" rather than week-to-week goals is going to help.
     
  6. astroguy

    astroguy Well-Known Member

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    Week 1 Summary

    I got distracted doing nothing for the last two days, so no Day 6/7 log on here. It is logged on my computer in my spreadsheets, and I also downloaded MyFitnessPal to be able to do quick backup logging on my phone. I refuse to pay for it, so I don't get the added features, but the ability to record things while I'm out, the ability to scan a barcode and have it record the food, all for later recording at home, is incredibly useful. At least at this stage. Also the calorie counter at the top of total - used = remaining is a big wakeup call on what I'm "allowed" to still eat during the day.

    Food: I went over, by 50%, twice this past week. Looking at the reasons why, it was primarily social eating and eating because I wanted that flavor/taste (such as a beef dumpling). There was also an 880-calorie issue where the other guy who lives here "got me a present" of a pint of ice cream. I know it should be easy to say "no." But it's not for me. There are a few foods for which I really have no filter (Doritos is one of them).

    All-told, the calories for this week were 126% of my goal, or an average of 2211 per day. Based on my estimated resting BRM, that should have maintained my weight, it is not enough to lose weight. Fat / carbs / protein splits were good, 31 / 36 / 33, from my goal of 30/35/35.

    Weight: Weight started out January 20 depressingly high at 220.3 lbs, but every day this week, except one, it went down. I actually ended on Saturday the 26th at "only" 215.6 lbs. When I measured by bf% on Wednesday, it was a median of 28% (based on four different forumlœ). I'll measure again in the next few days, I don't want to do a Wednesday to Sunday metric because I don't expect it to vary that much.

    That said, I am not naïve enough to think that I lost 5 lbs of fat in a week. I expect the majority of it is water, but we will find out within 2-3 days. So, I'm also trying to keep my fluid intake somewhat high, but it's hard for me to drink more than 6-7 cups of water a day (including 2 in the protein shake).

    Exercise: Ah, my old nemesis. I'll say going in that I injured my knee a few weeks ago to the point that I could barely put any weight on it. Taking an anti-inflammatory a few times a day for about 10 days helped, but I was quite wary of actually doing exercise this week -- cardio, which requires leg movement. So, I did take it somewhat slowly. But I managed to hit 2 of my 3 goals: I used the elliptical 4 times, not 3, for 135 minutes total, and I used the rowing machine 3 times, at least 20 minutes, for a total of 69 minutes. I also noticed that the rowing machine is definitely working arm muscles because I had baby-DOMS in them yesterday. What I didn't do was the core exercises at night, ≥2x, 15 min each. Instead of making excuses, I'm going to say that I'm just going to try to do better this week, and that going from nothing to something is better than staying at nothing.

    Total calories expended during the exercise was 2390, enough to account for maybe 2/3 lb of fat loss.
     
    #6 astroguy, Jan 27, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2019
  7. Jaer

    Jaer Well-Known Member

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    Welcome back! You seem to have a solid plan and good motivation. I look forward to watching your progress!

    Jaer
    signs off this way. In the third person. It's a bit weird at first, but you'll get used to it.
     
  8. astroguy

    astroguy Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, Jaer.
     
  9. astroguy

    astroguy Well-Known Member

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    Mid-Week 2 Update

    I haven't posted in a bit; no, I haven't stopped this already, I'm still going. But I've been working on behind-the-scenes stuff to make my own tracking more "me" and better suited for 2019 instead of 2006 when I first started my spreadsheet library and 2009 when I did my last major upgrade. I've somehow spent >7 hours so far updating how I track things, what I track, etc. And this has nothing to do with procrastinating on stuff for work.

    For example, instead of having breakfast, lunch, snack 1, dinner, snack 2 logged for every day, which I wasn't actually eating in order after planning it a week in advance, I have: Meals, Drinks, Fats, Carbs, Proteins, Dairy, Fruits, Veggies, and Seeds. That way there's no specified order, and things aren't jumbled, such that it's easier at a glance to see what kind of food I ate in any given day. The last four categories are ones that are generally encouraged, like yogurt in dairy, fruits & vegetables self-explanatory, and almonds in seeds. These are mainly for filling in micronutrients and to get my housemate off my back about not eating enough "green" things. The Fats and Carbs are where the "bad" snacking goes, like chocolate or chips. Protein is for filling in my protein for the day just for the sake of protein, like jerky, a protein bar, or protein shake.

    I've also spent some time researching on the CDC's website and wherever health.gov goes to in order to upgrade my dietary goals for micronutrients, saturated fat, and fiber. Since last time I updated them I was 25, and recommendations change as you age, and new research has been done over the last decade. Apparently also, there is no longer a specific recommendation for dietary intake of cholesterol since it seems to have a negligible impact on your blood-level cholesterol. It's much more important to keep saturated fats low, recommended at <10% of your daily calories. See— all this is new info from the last time I made up my goal sheets to eat within!

    All of this updating is not just to my tracker, but I then have to go back and update all of my meal spreadsheets and other things because I'm updating stuff like also tracking manganese and a few other micronutrients I left off back in '09 but never added due to inertia. But if I'm doing a major update now, I might as well incorporate that.

    Weight-wise, I have gone very slightly up, or kept about the same as my minimum last week. That's expected, since I really did not believe -5 lbs in 1 week was real. I have also confirmed yet again that my weight tends to go down a bit the day after I exercise, versus not. Likely water weight, but it's positive reinforcement to exercise, so I'll go with the fantasy.

    Bodyfat% went down this week over last. Not quite as much as I had hoped, but it went down using all four formulœ I use, and by 0.3% -- I had hoped for 0.4%. Though I fiddled with the numbers a bit and apparently I can't go down 0.4% given the 1/8" resolution of the measurements I'm making. So, it's fine. And I have been at this long enough to know the trend is what's important.

    I'm on track to meet my cardio goal for the week, but not core exercises. I think that's still "okay," if not great, since I'm still ramping up and it's better to do a slow ramp that's successful rather than fall off. But if I still haven't done it next week, that's a problem.
     
  10. astroguy

    astroguy Well-Known Member

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    One modification to my tracking is the correct application of BMR, calories in, calories out, and the real goal I should be aiming for for net calories in a week. And it's somewhat depressing.

    So, before I was doing the BMR calculation and using some multiplier for activity level. But now what I'm doing is the BMR for basically no activity (or whatever the watch says for BMR, they're within 2% of each other), and then subtracting off the proper number for goal calories for –1, –1.5, and –2 lbs/week. When I say "proper number," that means it's not 3500 calories. That rule of thumb is based on the idea that 1 gm fat is 9 calories, adipose tissue is 87% lipid by weight, so you get about 3550 calories for 1 lb of fat, or rounded it's 500 calories per day as a deficit. But the actual number is that 1 gram of fat can be anywhere from 8.7 to 9.5 calories, depending on the type of fat. And an adipose cell is 72–87% fat by weight. I'm using the larger number of 9.5 cal/gm but assuming the larger proportion of 87% in my calculation. But I'm glad because I now know where the number comes from and that there is at least a ±1000 calorie around the mean for 1 lb of fat.

    Anyway, so I have a column for BMR, and 1 column for 1, 1.5, and 2 lb fat loss per week. Then, I have my intake, coming from my nutrition log spreadsheet. Then I have a column for the exercise calories expended. And then net. Seems simple.

    But I've also color-coded by goals. So for calories expended in exercise, it's red if it's <1166 calories per week (1/3 of 3500 calories), yellow if 1166-3500 calories, and green if >3500 calories. My goal currently is to expend 1/2 lb of calories in exercise per week, so it's true that I could go green if it's >1750 calories, but another point of this is to get more fit, so I want to have a goal of doing more exercise each week, regardless of calories ... the calories are just a decent indicator.

    But for net, it's red if the net calories are >BMR, orange if it's BMR to –1 lb/week, lime yellow-green for –1lb to –1.5 lb per week calorie goal, and green if less then the –1.5 lb goal.

    What's the point? It's really amazing just how much work I have to do to hit my net calories for –1.5 lbs/week! This week I've done a lot better with not snacking on little bits of stuff around the house (I'll be about 200 cal/day lower than last week), but with the exercise so far, I'm still just at 1750 cal/day net -- only enough for –1 lb/week. I have to exercise 2100 calories (3–4 hours of hard cardio) in the next two days to get to 1450 net, or just not eat, or something.

    I know this is a process, but it's definitely a hard one, with difficult changes to make.
     
  11. astroguy

    astroguy Well-Known Member

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    Week 2 Summary

    Summary: This week got somewhat weird with work, with some late nights involved, so I did not exercise as much as my goal. Food was good, weight steady and slightly down.

    Food: I did much better on food this week, perhaps because I spent well over 12 hours re-doing my nutritional tracking sheets and logs and recipes instead of eating. While in Week 1 I had an average of 2221 calories per day, this week I was at 1997, over 10% lower. It is still 10% above the goal of 1750 cal/day, but it is fewer calories on average for the week than pretty much any week in the last 7 months. So it's an improvement, and this is a marathon, not a sprint. The split was also closer to my goal, 31/35/34 for fat / carbs / protein.

    Additionally, once I really started using my new templates and logging system, which includes a running tally of everything per day in graphical form that also includes a moving average, I really tried harder to hit some of my key goals. For example, half-way through the week, calories, total fat, saturated fat, and carbs dropped by 20-50% and have generally been closer to what I want them to be.

    Sodium is still very high (typically 3500-4000 mg), I think mostly because of the stir fry I do and because of hidden (and obvious) salt in some of the foods I regularly have. For instance, I put canned chicken breast on my salad since it's much easier than making blackened chicken ahead of time, but the can has 1000 mg of sodium in it. One of the ways I supplement protein is 2 oz beef jerky, 800 mg sodium. I don't get enough Vitamin E, so I eat almonds -- sodium because they're salted. The first thing I'm going to try to do is cut back on some of the salty sauces in the stir fry.

    Weight: As noted in the update earlier in the week, weight hasn't been quite as happy this week as last, but last week's –5 lbs was not realistic. Weight started going up mid-week to a high of 217, but it ended the week at a new two-week low of 214.7 lbs. Bodyfat, as noted earlier, also went down a bit, almost in line with my goals.

    Exercise: Exercise was worse and better this week. Worse in that I did the elliptical once less than last week, worse in that I had planned to increase what I was doing. But better in that I could almost do what I set out to do, and better in that I steadily increased the duration of the exercise. For instance, from 25, to 30, to 35 minutes on the rower. I also could increase the intensity slightly for the elliptical, and I had to pause less on the rowing machine (instead of pausing, I just did a back + arms motion instead of legs + back + arms, and the number of times I went to that was less today than it was on Tuesday).

    A problem with exercise (besides not wanting to do it) is also that I tend to put it off during the day. But, if it gets too late, I just, simply, don't do it. For instance, I was going to do it on Wednesday, but by the time 11:30 rolled around, I just had no impetus to go downstairs and do it. The same thing happened last night. So I need to do it earlier in the day. But, the problem with that, is that I get tired afterwards. So I did it around 1:45pm today, and then I napped for two hours afterwards. I'm hoping that'll get better, and it's probably better to exercise and nap than to not exercise.

    Total calories expended was less than last week, 2185, but because I ate less, the net calories, per average day, were 1685 this week, versus 1880 last week. So I'm in the "yellow" area of my daily net calories where that's enough to lose 1 lb in a week but not enough for 1.5 lb. Which jives roughly with what I lost, 1.6 lbs but that's the average Week 1 weight versus Week 2 average ... if I take out the first really high weight on Day 1 Week 1, then it's a –1.1 lb week-to-week, which is what the net calories would predict.

    I'm 95% sure I'm over-thinking this, but regardless, it is nice even if just a placebo to say/see that the numbers actually are making sense.
     
  12. Shamie

    Shamie Senior Member

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    They have done studies, and they say that people who keep nutrition logs, are much more successful at keeping weight off long term, over people who don't. I wish that I had kept taking weekly photo's like I did the first 2-3 years when I started. You might not see progress on scale, photo's are a better indication of how you are doing than the scale. You might want to add a few weekly photos to your regimen, if that is something you are not already doing.

    Your spreadsheet sounds comprehensive.
     
  13. astroguy

    astroguy Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. I did photos a decade ago but I never really made enough progress to see anything. I strongly dislike how I look now which is a reason I have not done photos yet.
     
  14. astroguy

    astroguy Well-Known Member

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    Well, it's happened. It took two weeks, but it's happened: My stomach shrank. Or hormones have rebalanced, or something. But I'm no longer as hungry as I was, on fewer calories, and I'm quite full after a ~500 calorie meal.

    What's good about that is, of course, helping to not over-eat. What's bad about it is that if I give in and snack on something, it's something small, like a piece of chocolate, as opposed to a larger meal like a salad with chicken on top. Or even jerky -- chocolate's calories are denser so I can have just as many calories in a small piece of chocolate than I can in a handful of jerky.

    So ... a positive and negative development, likely more positive than negative, but frustrating at times.
     
  15. astroguy

    astroguy Well-Known Member

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    Day 15, 03 Feb 2019

    Exercise: 25 min rowing, 35 min elliptical

    Drink: 8 cups (bit low)

    Food:
    • fruit Skyr
    • turkey teriyaki stir fry
    • protein shake
    • 2 oz almonds
    • 2 oz beef jerky
    • minor misc. snacking: dumpling, chocolate, cookie

    Percentage of Goals: 96% fats, 104% carb, 92% prot, 143% salt

    Notes: I don't think I'll be setting a goal to post exercise / drink / food / breakdown every day, but today, at the start of Week 3, I'm feeling better than I think I did at the beginning of Week 1. If for no other reason than I actually have lasted 15 days. I stayed under my calories for the day, and while I was a tiny bit low on protein, it was commensurate with the % of total calories I ate. Carbs were a bit high, but I'll be eating for primary meals later on this week food with significantly less carbohydrates, so it will even out. For instance, salad with chicken breast for lunch and salmon for dinner on Saturday, which with other things will put me in at around 60% of my carbs for that day (though I'm sure random snacking will raise it a bit). Exercise is also getting a bit better in the sense of stamina, being able to do the elliptical longer at a slightly higher setting, and not needing to pause on the rowing machine every two minutes. I did more time on both yesterday than today, but I was tired and sore -- that rowing machine is giving me a minor case of DOMS in my arms, which I think is slightly pathetic but emphasizes that I really am out of shape and this is a path towards fixing that.
     
  16. astroguy

    astroguy Well-Known Member

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    Day 16, 04 Feb 2019

    In lieu of a list, I'll just do a narrative today. I'm spending too much time in my spreadsheets, but I suspect the novelty will wear off relatively soon. Regardless, weight was up slightly today, and I consumed my largest planned calorie intake of the week, but I also exercised and did more today than in the last 16 days: 35 minutes on the rower with fewer pauses, and 45 minutes on the elliptical at a higher intensity than before. Even if I do no more exercise this week, but I do stick to food plans, I will have a net of fewer calories per day this week than the last two ... almost at the 1450 cal goal for –1.5 lbs/wk. My two biggest issues right now are getting the weights in and drinking enough.

    And not snacking! It's so, so easy to just take those few M&Ms from the pantry and think, "Oh, it's few enough that the calories don't matter and will all even out!" The problem with that thinking, of course, is that while it might be true for THAT little snack, it won't be true for that, plus another, plus another, plus another, plus another ... . In my food log, I have a sheet per week, and I have food per day, but I also have a "General" category for the week. That's where I effectively keep a tick mark tracking of all these little bits, and at the end of each day, I update the calories. The food in the "General" group gets divided evenly among the days of the week, so everything is tracked in the aggregate. I strongly suspect that it's all this little bitty snacking that contributed significantly to my current weight problem. For instance, while the last two days have been a bit higher than usual, the little bit of chocolate here-or-there has summed to 550 calories, which is how many I went through on the elliptical tonight.
     
  17. astroguy

    astroguy Well-Known Member

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    Day 17, 05 Feb 2019

    Despite a lot of work today, I did manage to get myself downstairs for 35 minutes on the elliptical. I had such momentum early in the day because ... I did my bf% measurement and it was lower again, and in fact it was right where I wanted it to be this week. I use 4 different formulœ to measure bf% based on various body measurements, and while they all disagree by about 2.5% right now (I'm guessing because everyone carries fat somewhat differently), they are all going down. Now, granted, it's three measurements so far, taken 1 week apart each, but a trend is a trend and it has helped my motivation, so whatever works with that.

    I also spent a bit of time going through my historic records and noting it on my bf% graph for various milestones. These are when I was last at a certain bf%:

    • December 2015, 25% @200lbs
    • April 2015, 22.6% @190.5lbs
    • June 2014, 21.5% @182lbs
    • September 2013, 19.7% @179lbs
    • November 2011, 15.8% @165lbs

    I'm surprised but not, and definitely disappointed that I haven't been under 20% bf in basically 5 years. Now, that also happens to coincide with when I finally got full-time employment two years after grad school, but excuses excuses. That November 2011 number is the best I have been since I started to keep track in 2007, though it ties with where I was in July 2008 (though that 15.8% was at 160 lbs). This round, assuming I stick with it, I will hit 15.8% bf some time in late summer, at around 176-182 lbs. I am cautiously optimistic.

    Meanwhile, weight today was holding steady, which means to hit this week's goal weight I need to keep it right at 215 or start losing weight again (I'm running an average of 215 right now, the goal this week is 215, too, but next week it's 213.5). Food was good, though I failed slightly. I made one of my favorite dishes and instead of properly dividing it into 5 as I had intended with this new food stuff, I did 4. That said, I used less chicken and broccoli and a bit less oil than last time, but instead of 5x 520 calorie servings, it was 4x 610 calorie servings. But I still topped off the day at 99% of my calories, so whatever works.
     
  18. macdiver

    macdiver Well-Known Member
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    Tending down is good. :tucool:
     
  19. astroguy

    astroguy Well-Known Member

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    For those metrics, yes. :)
     
  20. astroguy

    astroguy Well-Known Member

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    Day 18, 06 February 2018

    Weight was down, exercised 45 minutes, but over-ate a bit on a kiwi and some green beans. Not horrible.

    Interestingly, I took a look back at my historic records on the last few times I tried to lose weight, paying attention to really the only three times where I was consistent for several months. While each time I managed to lose up to 4-6% bodyfat, actual weight loss was limited to 10 lbs. For example, in 2010 I went from 23% bodyfat to 18%, but weight change was only 10 lbs (178 to 168). Same kinda thing in 2007-08, and 2011. Which means that, for me, at least when I did this before, the weight that was lost was close to 100% fat, which seems odd compared with what others have reported. It's possible that it was so little muscle loss because I did do weights at the time and because it was rather slow: Rather than an average of 1.5 lbs loss per week, it was closer to an average of 0.3 lbs per week -- something only really noticeable over the long-term, but also could be why muscle loss was negligible. It would be nice if muscle loss were similarly almost nothing this time, as I could potentially end this cut in September at 170 lbs and only 10-11% bodyfat -- basically my end-end goal -- instead of about 14% bodyfat. Clearly way too early to really be speculating or planning like this, but it's helping me to stay optimistic, and motivation is key.
     
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