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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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    Day 19, 07 February 2019

    I'm now mildly concerned I'm falling into a trap into which I fell in 2013-2014: Either work or fitness. I think it gets into my mildly (*cough*) OCD tendencies. Or that I don't want to do my work right now. I spent a few hours today putzing around the house and looking at fitness things on Instagram (got some great memes, though!). Made further tweaks to my tracking.

    And based on some past efforts and reads, I tweaked my goals somewhat since I was meeting them. Instead of a steady -1.5 lbs/week, I have modified it to lose 0.765% of my mass from one week to the next. This might seem insanely precise, and it is, because that's what it needed to be to meet the first two weeks of what I've done. It's also very close to -1.5 lbs/week at the beginning, but it's closer to -1.6 lbs. But, towards the end, in September, it's down to -1.4 lbs. It all averages out to -1.5 lbs, but I suspect "beginners' gains" will make it easier to lose more weight now than later, and it's basically the same timescale anyway. What I did accelerate is fraction of that loss that's fat. Instead of 90% for the first 8 weeks and then 75%, I have it 95% at the beginning and steadily going down by 0.5%, which - oddly enough! - gets me down to just about 79% (instead of 75%) by the end of this first major goal, in September.

    This is accelerated because it means I could get down to my goal weight for this cut of 170 lbs at the same time, but at 12% bodyfat instead of the original plan of about 14.5% bodyfat. I have over 30 weeks to work with, so I'm hopeful that I can do that. If I can, it will get me at my true goal about 5 months earlier, of around 180 lbs and 10% bodyfat. But we'll see.

    Meanwhile ... food. A problem is I like to eat. Lots of things that I should eat lots less of. And I have a housemate who I can't always say "no" to when he wants me to make something. Last week, chocolate chip cookies. And today, banana bread. I can fit it in, it just required some rearranging. Because, let's face it, if I'm making banana bread, I'm eating some!

    Another aspect of the food, and I think a contributor to why I've given up so many times, is the artificiality of week-to-week tracking. Such that if I did reasonably well earlier in the week, then I had that slice of pizza, I had that doughnut in the middle of the week, or whatever, by the end of the week I basically can't eat anything but 5 protein shakes to make my calories / macros split correctly for the week. One of the sayings I found today that is so true, that I need to follow, is about rigid versus flexible dieting, where strict and rigid restraint will only lead to problems, as opposed to flexible dieting. Another was, "If your diet is so restrictive that you need a 'Cheat Meal,' then you're doing it wrong."

    This is why I re-wrote my tracking spreadsheets last week. While it still fundamentally breaks things down by week, it has a "Daily" tab that pulls the information from all the other sheets and displays a graphical running average. So I can see that if I go over on carbs for a few days, I don't have to starve myself of them during the last 2 days of the week to make my macros -- it all averages out over the long run, it's not just a day-to-day, nor compartmentalized week-to-week issue.

    Oh yeah, and my weight was down this morning again which again helped motivation. :)
     
  2. astroguy

    astroguy Well-Known Member

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    Day 19, 08 February 2019

    Today has been a mixed bag. Well, yesterday the exercise was less intense and I felt more tired. I've also been tired all day. I'm wondering if my body is p---ed at me for both expending more calories and consuming fewer. Hopefully (or not?) that's the issue.

    Anyway, today was more progress on the scale, I have lost 7 lbs in 19 days. That's a lot. But based on the three bf% measurements, 95% of that has been fat. I'm not entirely sure I trust it yet, since there's such a spread in the measurements due to how exactly I have my weight distributed, but I'll take whatever motivation I can get.

    I did another deep dive through my records and discovered that, not only have I never lost more than about 10 lbs in years of attempting this, I have also NEVER lost more than 1 lb two weeks in a row, except once, during a camping trip last September. So already it's something to say that Week 1 to 2 I lost 1.6 lbs, and so far Week 2 to 3 I've lost 1.4 lbs -- that's the difference in the average for each week, as opposed to max-min for the 7 lbs I quoted earlier.

    Thinking more about the end-of-the-week-starve I mentioned yesterday, I re-did the warnings in my spreadsheets. Now, instead of turning bright red (as opposed to staying green) if I go even a tiny percent over 100 for carbs or calories or fat, it goes yellow, until it's >5% over. After all, we're talking about 7.5 grams of carbs at 5% over. That's in the noise. It helps me feel slightly more relaxed and not panic and give up as much.

    That said, today I was really craving some things. So despite doing well initially, I gave in a bit and went 15% over my calories and 42% over my fat (which is fine because I was way under on fat for the week). It's not a huge binge, but I was so close ... but I should still end the week within a few% of my goals, which is significantly better than the first two weeks. Also, total calorie-wise, due to both lower calories in and more calories out, I am beyond my goal of net 1450 cal/day on average for the week: I'm at 1380, and that's without exercising yet today or tomorrow. An intense cardio session for a little over an hour today and tomorrow could put me in the -2 lb/wk territory of about 1175 cal/day average, net. I was going to take today off for exercising, but Apple started one of their special challenges and I get a little virtual award if I exercise at least 30 minutes every day between today and Valentine's Day.

    I know I'm still over-thinking and over-planning this, but for me, (a) early successes help the motivation to keep going, (b) having a hypothesis validated by an experiment's outcome helps because it shows I can reasonably predict results, and (c) earlier improvements potentially mean I can meet my goals sooner.
     
  3. astroguy

    astroguy Well-Known Member

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    Week 3 Summary

    Weight: Down. It has been a steady decrease this week and I met my goal - both old of –1.5 lbs, and new of –1.6ish lbs. My Day 1 to Day 21 weight loss is –7.4 lbs, and it's not muscle (or lean mass, anyway), and it's not water (based on urine color and reasonably steady liquid intake).

    Bodyfat: Down. While weight is clearly above the noise, I'm not so confident in body fat going down, just because of the different metrics I use all disagreeing with each other ... however, all of them are down by about 1% bf from Week 1 to Week 3. The three formulœ I use are one that uses (1) weight and waist measurements, (2) weight, waist, and neck, (3) and weight, waist, hips, and forearms. The first is giving me a number between the others, and the second is higher by 2%. To get them to agree, I'd need to have a neck at least 1" more in circumference (I'm measuring around the voice box). The third is lower than the first one by a whopping 3.5%, giving me a bf% of 24.3% right now. To bring it up to meet the first, I'd have to have hips that are about 3" wider around, and forearms 1" smaller around (I measure in the middle of the forearm, half-way between my wrist and elbow). So with such a large, 5% spread, a decrease in the average of 0.9% is not above the spread.

    Food: Down. But not quite as far down as it was looking a few days ago. I managed to do 110% - or about 1930 - of my calories per day for the week, which is down from 113% the week before. The macro split was also pretty close to what I want (30/35/35) of 31/36/33. What hurt me this week was the snacking at the beginning of the week, where Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday I went 40% over on carbs. And then making up for it at the end of the week didn't happen for three reasons: (1) Cravings, (2) the fact I was still meeting my weight loss goal, and (3) I think I will have more success if I don't have the mindset of making up for a "binge," but rather of just getting back on the wagon and trying not to binge again for awhile. I don't think my relationship with food is unhealthy per se, but I am trying to alter how I think about macros and % of goals on a weekly timescale vs daily timescale vs long-term timescale, as evidenced somewhat by the last few log entries here. I think I will have more success if I admit that there will be days where I go over, and that's okay, just do a bit more cardio or eat a bit less the next day or two or three. But the idea of needing to eat only half my normal calories on a Saturday in order to meet my goal for the week ... that has to go.

    Exercise: Mixed. It's hard to fault myself with cardio-related exercise, when I expended nearly 4,000 calories in the elliptical and rowing machine this week. That exceeds my goal for the elliptical and meets it for the rowing machine for Week 3. However, I have done no bodyweight exercises, nor have I done any weights. While the bf% measurements indicate about 85% of the mass loss has been fat, that's below my current goal (which of course can be adjusted if needed), and at –7.5 lbs in 3 weeks, that's starting to get into the territory where I think I should be worried about losing muscle. So for Week 4, this is a major goal.

    General Feeling: Tired and mildly obsessed. When I was a child, my mom had me graph my temperature when I was sick because she knew I would be too interested in that to complain about being sick. I'm "starting" to get into that territory with this, and it's negatively impacting work. I have a huge amount of vacation saved up so I ended up taking Thursday and Friday off to regroup and just not do much, but that's not really feasible going forward. It is also entirely possible there's just stuff I need to do now for work that I really don't want to and that it is coincident with the exercise and food monitoring and other stuff is just, well, coincidence. Correlation ≠ causation, but we'll have to see what happens when I add in even more time for stuff -- weights. But, the general fatigue I do think is correlated with the exercise and less food. This week, especially, I basically have forced my body to work net on about 1000 calories less, per day, than it got just a few weeks ago. I wouldn't expect it to be happy. That said, I still have motivation to go because I am seeing results on the scale and results in my body measurements that lead to the bf% measurement. I'm seeing mild improvements in stamina on the rowing machine and elliptical, but only mild. It's also only been 3 weeks.
     
  4. astroguy

    astroguy Well-Known Member

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    Day 22, 10 February 2019

    Weight was down, again. Did cardio for about 75 minutes, again (though it was late and crossed over midnight). Ate almost within my limits, and it was nice to eat closer to what I wanted to. I really need to have better discipline to NOT binge on one day, and/or to not feel like I have to pay for it the next several days. But typing and doing/feeling are two different things.

    My significant other informed me of a trip Thursday-Monday, meaning I re-kajiggered my meal plans for the next two weeks. I also tallied up and put in two new recipes to try, based on some fitness guy's instagram. One is a mango chicken recipe (430 calories, 60gms protein) and the other is a greek chicken tray bake (my term based on a baking show - a tray cake being a real thing) which has 430 calories and 45 gms protein. We'll be trying both of those next week, and this week a new recipe for me will be a salmon. I've never cooked salmon before, but it seems like a relatively painless source of Vitamin D and given that I get extremely little Vitamin D, and given that I don't get out in the sun much at all so my skin can't make it, salmon every ~2 weeks seems like a reasonable method to get it, if I can figure out a recipe I like (I tend to not like fish, so, this will be interesting).
     
  5. astroguy

    astroguy Well-Known Member

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    Mid-Week 4 Update

    It was bound to happen. Despite making progress (almost down 10 lbs, in <4 weeks!), I hit a mental stall around Tuesday. I'm starting to get over it, but I think it's due to several factors. One is simply energy. I have less energy than before with less calories coming in and more going out. I'm not sure how to solve that problem. Another issue is work. The most pressing stuff I need to do for work now is stuff I've been putting off for months. So I look for excuses not to do work, meaning I sit around doing nothing (I work from home a lot, given my long commute), and combined with lack of energy I don't use that time for exercise or anything else. Tuesday night I spent 5 hours watching TV Shows ("How It's Made" is really neat, I hadn't seen it before). Yesterday, I spent 4 hours processing photos from the last few years that were in my queue (stuff I need to do, but it's pretty low in importance). I went to bed early and got up late, logging in 9.5 hours of sleep. I also still have not brought myself to work out yet other than cardio. Failure to do that put up a mental block of, "If I'm not lifting weights and can't bring myself to do it, what's the point of all this other stuff??"

    So, lots of mental issues swirling around, along with some physical. This morning I took a step back and am re-grouping. The limited calories is working for weight loss. The cardio is working for weight loss and I can tell it's working for fitness, since I'm seeing improvements with my stamina and have been able to increase resistance on the elliptical and rowing machine. For work, I've been focusing on the little other things that I need to get done but have been putting off, like reviewing papers or updating a grant proposal draft. For sleep, I'm trying to sleep a bit longer (~1 hour?) plus not force myself not to nap. And I've reminded myself this is a marathon, not a sprint, and if I'm unable to mentally do weights at the moment, then okay, we'll try to add them in next week. Instead, focus on the food, focus on the cardio, keep that up and keep that habit going. As consolation for not doing weights, really try to add in the core bodyweight exercises that hit muscle groups that weights tend not to.

    Another side issue is my knee. It's been hurting for awhile, and I think it's due to weight issues and not exercising it. It's been getting a lot better since I started to sleep with a pillow under it to keep it bent, and it also feels better after exercise (the cardio stuff). But, I am wondering if another mental block on the weights is that I'm worried that in my first 200lb squat I'm going to hurt it.
     
  6. astroguy

    astroguy Well-Known Member

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    Week 4 Summary

    Summary: Some steps forward, some steps back, mostly treading water with no actual improvement this week, but that's okay.

    Food: Food was again slightly better this week than last week, 108% of my goal as opposed to 110%, and 113% the week before. This was achieved by being a little lower on fat, with a 30/36/34 split this week. Cholesterol was lower, sodium higher, fiber lower, but micronutrients were generally better, likely because of the salmon and switching to a multi-grain Cheerio instead of honey nut. I still have a somewhat unhealthy attitude - read: anxiety - about meeting my goals and going over and stressing myself out Thursday/Friday/Saturday, but it has actually gotten slightly better. I think.

    Exercise: Worse this week by most metrics, mostly driven by my mid-week meltdown. That said, it wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been, and out of the last four weeks, I logged my second-best number of calories expended at 2796 (versus 4185 last week, but 2185 the week before). That's all from cardio -- rowing machine and elliptical. I also got some awards on my watch which helped a bit today: Even though I felt somewhat bad about not doing as much exercise, I still got that little reward for sticking with it, bouncing back, and recognition that I was still doing something. Specifically, I got Apple's limited edition award for "Heart Month," meaning I did at least 30 minutes of exercise every day for the week before Valentine's Day. Now, that's cheating slightly because there were two episodes where I exercised for 75 minutes, but starting at 11:30pm, so I got it for 2 days logged instead of 1, but I'll take it. The second award was a rowing machine workout record for most calories burned in a single span, and the third was I met my February Challenge of at least 850 minutes of exercise logged in the month of February. That said, my biggest concern for next week is, again, doing bodyweight core exercises and weights.

    Weight and BF%: Weight was again down this week, though it stalled the last three days. That's fine, it was predicted based on my eating and lack of exercise, but I still more than beat my weight loss goal for the week and am currently down a half-pound more than my goal for this week, on average. Which also means I set a new record for myself ever of largest-longest weight loss streak, of more than 1 lb lost, per week, for more than 2 weeks. Bodyfat percentage is also on-track, at 26.8% average from my different measurements/formulœ, but I have adapted my outlook in order to likely better match what's practical: Instead of starting at 95% of weight loss per week is fat, –0.5% per week (so after 10 weeks it's 90% fat), I changed it to start at 90%. That better matches the last four weeks, is more reasonable, and we'll see what happens.

    General Feeling: The obsession has started to pass a bit, but there is now the issue that I'm simply impatient. I see my goal and "Oh, in just a few more rows in the spreadsheet, I'll be 180 lbs and 16% bf" or something like that. When in reality, "a few more rows" is late July. But that's minor compared with what happened mid-week where, well, you can read about it above. Basically, in a funk for various reasons, but significant net caloric deficit does not help. I'm also seriously considering modifying my daily food goals to increase the carbs somewhat because I really just have cravings, and then I may give in and I see myself go over my goal and I feel worse about it. (See above with "unhealthy attitude" about food.)

    In millennial style, I made a little motivational poster for myself. It helped a bit ... but it's full of emoji which won't render properly here so I'm not going to include it.
     
  7. astroguy

    astroguy Well-Known Member

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    Week 5 Summary

    Summary: Basically, this week can be classified as "steady progress."

    Food: Food was again better than last week, I came in at about 2% over in total calories. There are rounding errors somewhere in my food, because that ended up being 5% over in fat (vs 12% last week), 5% over in carbs (vs 13% last week), and 4% over in protein (vs 6% last week). I say there are rounding errors somewhere in the food because you can't be 4–5% over in all your macros but only 2% over in calories. But, whatever, that's in the noise. I was also lower on saturated fat this week, much lower on sodium (only 33% over versus 66% over), better on sugar (+27% vs +41%), and about even on micronutrients. I was also more even than last week, where the fluctuations in carbs was not so much that I didn't feel panicked at the end of the week that all I could eat was raw protein powder. That is even more impressive considering that I went to a dinner theater this week with friends.

    Exercise: Better this week, but not by much. Week 3 is still my best with cardio. I was still over 3000 calories expended with cardio, and with the reduced food intake, I was at a net of 1359 calories/day, enough to lose a little more than 1.5 lbs of fat per week (see next section). I also finally did core exercises this past week, but it was on Tuesday, and DOMS hit my gut so much I couldn't even do the rowing machine for several days. Back to it tonight, and I'm finally going to spend an hour in the basement cleaning all the spiderwebs (no, literally, spiderwebs) off the weights so I can get to those this week. Because ...

    Weight and BF%: ... bodyfat is not going down much anymore. It went down by 0.1% instead of the 0.5% goal, and since I think I'm doing everything right except lifting weights, for now that is my main hypothesis as to why. It's Sunday as I write this, and I do my bf% measurement on Tuesday/Wednesday, but I did a quick check and this week is also not down much. So, I really need to get on those weights. That said, weight loss is going well, I'm averaging below my goal for weight / above my goal for weight loss, and I've steadily lost more than 1 lb per week since starting, which is a record for me (going 5 straight weeks that way, previous record was only 1 week being able to lose more than 1 lb). I also was able to say confidently this week that I lost my first 10 lbs (took 31 days), and the scale is now starting with "20" instead of "21" or even "22" (lbs, not kg). So that's nice. I'd like it to go faster, but I'd rather keep things feasible and steady for now, especially since fat loss is stalling.

    General Feeling: I'm feeling better in general, at least compared with last week, and I definitely think at this point that the funk I've been in is work-related but exacerbated by less energy due to the caloric restriction and additional exercise. Takes awhile to separate these things out. But when I started doing something else Wed/Thu for work, I felt better and actually put in a full day's work (plus some). So, yeah, pretty sure it's work related with the other stuff helping to hurt it.

    Week 6: Going into week 6, my primary goal, again, is the weights. Really need to get to that. Also, I leave for my conference in 3 weeks from this morning, so that's a minor goal of getting down to about 25% bf by then; the last time I was 25% was at the end of 2015. I need to shed about 1.5–2" off my waist to do that, in the next 3 weeks.
     
  8. astroguy

    astroguy Well-Known Member

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    Early Week 6 Update

    Weight has gone up a pound since starting the week, and it's on par with last week's average (though slightly less). I understood yesterday's increase - I over-ate on Sunday. But yesterday I was right on target and still went up half a pound. I think it might be water because I drank a lot yesterday. Bf% is again down very slightly. So, taking those two together, I'd rather keep weight stable and lose fat than lose weight and have it be half or mostly lean.

    That said, I FINALLY did weights yesterday. And cardio. After spending an hour cleaning the equipment on Sunday, I was in the basement for 45 minutes last night, 7:30-8:15, lifting. Squats I could have done at a higher weight but I didn't want to hurt my knee, so I stayed at 130 lbs instead of going to 200. Bench press failed in the 4th set at 4 reps instead of 8. Military presses were horrible -- my shoulders have been my weakest part when compared with the average person for many, many years. At 80 lbs, I could barely do 4 reps in my last set. Deadlifts, bicep curls, and calf raises were fine

    That said, DOMS is going to be brutal for the next day or so. I'm already very sore this morning, 12-15 hrs later.
     
  9. Spartan88

    Spartan88 Well-Known Member

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    80lbs is where I find the Military Press gets tough for me. Last Friday's Press 37.5kg/82.5lbs x 5,5,4,1. Can't find any record of lifting higher than 42kg/92.4lb.
     
  10. astroguy

    astroguy Well-Known Member

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    I'm basing my goal here on various metrics I've found online saying what an average male for a given weight and given training level should be able to do for various exercises. For shoulder presses, someone around my weight at an intermediate level "should" be able to press 160. Novice, 120. My shoulders are pretty small, and I realize everyone's different, but it's one thing that I feel I can use as a guide to gauge strength. Last night for shoulder presses, the goal was 4 sets of 8 reps at 80 lbs. I did 80 lbs straight through, but reps were 8, 7, 5, 4, and that 4th was due to a little jump push.

    That said, I just double-checked and it looks like those goal weights are 1 rep max. So, maybe 75% of those values for 4x8. Regardless, I have a ways to go before I'm happy with what I can do. :)
     
  11. Spartan88

    Spartan88 Well-Known Member

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    I've based my own current goal around what I found here: ExRx.net : Press Standards

    Should be a little over 140 intermediate and 110 novice.

    I started a 125lb Press Club in the Fitness Challenges as it seemed like a reasonable goal based on those numbers.

    I'm also on a caloric deficit and I'm sure I won't hit those numbers unless I'm eating at maintenance or above.
     
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  12. astroguy

    astroguy Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, that was one o f the sites I looked at I think a decade ago. It's a little lower than the site I was looking at now, but on exrx as "untrained" and around 210 lbs at this point, I should be able to do 85 lbs, or 145 as an intermediate.

    I expect to be able to go up slightly in everything, even during my cut (maybe 10%?) due to re-re-re-re-re-re-beginners' gains. But I agree, I suspect to actually make decent gains in strength, I'll need to eat at a surplus and be in a bulk phase. Which, based on my current projections, won't be until late summer.
     
  13. astroguy

    astroguy Well-Known Member

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    Later in Week 6 Update

    What's been dominating since my last update is the DOMS. It just really sucks. I worked out Monday night, it's 74 hours later, and I can barely walk. I've been walking all day like I have a stick up my butt because I can't straighten out my legs. Almost everything else is okay right now, except the muscles in the back of my upper arms and legs -- triceps, biceps femoris, and adductor magnus are the three primary ones I've identified. I can walk down stairs fine. I can even walk up stairs. But straightening out my legs - and my arms, causes significant pain in those muscles, still. I haven't let that stop me from cardio, I actually did do the elliptical Tuesday and Wednesday nights. But tonight, I just can't. Like, I could barely get out of bed (due to legs). Yesterday, I could barely get my coat off.

    DOMS sucks.

    Moving on, weight has started to go back down, though I do not think I'm going to make my target for this week. Right now, I'm averaging 210.1 lbs, this morning I was back down to 209.8, but the target for this week was to average 209.3 lbs.

    I'm slightly okay with that just from the standpoint of having made a lot of progress the last five weeks, and letting this week take a pause in weight loss to focus on weight training ... even if it's just Monday and (hopefully) Friday and Saturday. Such that I'm hoping when I measure my bf% next week, it'll be headed downwards again.

    I've also made progress in stopping obsessing over the tracking. To the point where I've gone several days just checking my spreadsheet for what food I am supposed to eat and then changing the text color from red (planned) to black (done), or moving around dinners based on grocery shopping or not. So that's good.

    Don't get me wrong -- I'm still tracking, I've just stopped spending 3 hours a day fussing with the spreadsheets.

    I also beat a friend of mine in a 1-week competition via our Apple Watches. It was good from the standpoint that it pushed both of us: He didn't read the rules so worked out like crazy on the last day, but was capped at 600 pts; meanwhile, there were a few days I didn't want to work out but did anyway to keep slightly ahead of him. So I think that accomplished its goal.

    Food has also been pretty good this week. I really like to make Thai food, so there are several dishes in my regular rotation that have noodles. Since I'm planning out dinners more than a week in advance now, I'm cutting back on the noodle dishes. I'm also trying to focus, in every week's planned food, on trying to ensure that before the week starts the plan gives me 90–120% of my protein for the week, and 50–70% of my carbs. That way, the inevitable snacking that happens - which is mostly carbs - does not throw me off by the end of the week. For instance, this week I've had to go into work twice, and there have been large meetings for other folks but left-over catered lunch. I had a burger yesterday, and a few potato wedges, and both yesterday and today I had a cup of croutons (I love croutons). I counted it all, estimating various things, like 3 oz of croutons today, a 5oz 85% lean beef patty yesterday, etc., and I'm ending Thursday at 89% of my carbs for the week eaten + planned. Meaning that if I make a bit of popcorn, or have some dumplings tomorrow or Saturday, I should still be at or below my carbs for the week.

    I think that's some significant progress because that planning and little extra control earlier in the week has led to significantly less stress in the last 2–3 days of the week.

    So, I think things are generally improving, slowly but surely.
     
  14. astroguy

    astroguy Well-Known Member

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    Week 6 Summary

    Summary: Progress in some areas, none in others.

    Food: I was slated to actually get even closer to my goal in Week 6, but Sunday threw me off, with 50 gms of stove top popcorn (the 1.5 Tbsp of oil did me in). I was 6% over on calories, 8% over on fat, 7% over on carbs, and 6% over on protein. So on the balance, I did hit my 30/35/35 split of calories from fat, carbs, and protein, but that averages +100 cal/day. Not horrible, better than the first four weeks, but not quite at my goal.

    Exercise: Well, I finally did weights. See above posts. It sucked. But I did my second set on Saturday (it took 4 days for DOMS to go away enough that I thought it was safe). Writing this on Monday, I do not have DOMS from Saturday's exercise, so I think I'm in the clear. Now to actually do it 3x/week, and the 3x/week core bodyweight exercises, too. Plus the cardio. Because of DOMS, I did effectively meet my cardio goal for the elliptical, but I only did the rowing machine once. So I would say improvement in one (very important) area which was my primary goal for Week 6, but treading water in others, or even a step back since I did no core exercise.

    Weight and BF%: Stagnant. On the average, for Week 5 vs Week 6, I lost 0.8 lbs. But from the start to end of Week 6, there was effectively no change. Writing this on Monday, two days into Week 7, I did finally start to go down again, so I'm not really worried. Per my above post(s) this is a marathon, not a race, and as long as I'm improving in some areas and not really going backwards, I'm okay with that. BF%-wise, I was again extremely slightly down, by 0.1%, well within the noise of the measurements. I will measure again tomorrow or Wednesday and am optimistic that the BF% will be dropping again (I did a preliminary waist measurement yesterday). So again, not really worried, but this does affect my motivation.

    General Feeling: I defended a $1/4M proposal for an internal grant at work this week, and that was my focus, and I went back to programming work for it as opposed to the work that had been blocking me a few weeks ago. I was programming for hours on end Friday-Sunday, so I think I'm pretty sure now that it really was the work blockage that was affecting me a few weeks ago. That said, I didn't exercise yesterday (Sunday) because I was doing work. So I'm back to that other problem. But general feeling towards this process and progress, as noted my motivation went down a bit because progress was not really being made last week with respect to the tangible measurements of weight and BF%, and I was in serious pain for a few days, but I'm not stopping.

    Week 7: My goal for Week 7 is really, "To continue, and put it all together." I've made considerable progress getting my food under control, especially comparing Week 1 with Weeks 5-6, I've made progress exercising and can see the improvements based on the resistance levels on the rowing machine and elliptical, and I finally did weights again, and unweighted core exercises. But in different weeks. So I need to put it all together and do it all. I have this week and next week to keep working on those habits, and then I go for my first trip in two months which will be a real test: Will I maintain eating and moderate exercise habits while away, and more importantly, if I do or don't, will I get back to those good habits in Week 10 when I'm back?
     
  15. astroguy

    astroguy Well-Known Member

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    Late Week 7 Update

    Weight is down, BF% is down, I have done weights as planned, I have NOT done core exercises as planned, I have put in many hours for work (due to needing to get code to run faster and then set it to run on 9 computers), and cardio has suffered somewhat because of that. I also learned last night that I should NEVER do cardio after doing weights. Despite thinking I was fine, my stamina and ability to do my now normal resistance was horrible.

    My biggest concern at this point in the week is food, surprisingly. Two things happened. First, housemate's mother sent care package of candy for me from Australia. Got that Tuesday, and I've eaten some of the chocolate. Then, despite my telling him not to, housemate did not listen and bought me Graeter's ice cream. This is ice cream from where I grew up in Cincinnati, OH, and I have zero impulse control. Similar to Doritos®. I had the entire container in the space of 24 hours, 1280 calories, much of it fat.

    So, there are multiple ways to go about recovering. All the memes I've read on fitness Instagram accounts say that if you overeat, just go back to your normal routine and do not try to account for it. My OCD wants me to account for it. So, I looked at my food for the week, and because I was good on carbs so far this week, but just okay on fat (due to salmon and beef early week), I actually can still fairly easily fit within my overall caloric goals. For instance, I cut the morning yogurt out, which saved on 42g carbs (due to ice cream and the chocolate). I cut out my bit of cereal that I have in there for micronutrients for a 31g carbs saving. At the beginning of the week I weigh out 2 oz of M&Ms that I use for my chocolate snacking during the week, but I've only gone through half of them so I put the other half back, saving carbs and fat.

    So at the moment, if I stick to plan with no further unplanned snacking, I'll be at 98% of my calories, 112% of my fat, 89% of my carbs, and 96% of my protein. So, that's the goal right now.

    That and getting my sleep schedule back under control. I was doing pretty well for the last couple weeks, but when you get into a programming mode, you just don't want to stop (you'll forget how your algorithm works, your new idea you want to implement, etc.). The last 7 days, I actually developed some of my code while trying to fall asleep (developed as in figured out the algorithm). So I have been going to bed between 1am and 4:30am since last Friday. But I think I have finally finished the code spurt, so I can relax a bit more and attempt to normalize it. It's 12:50am now, I'm going to exercise, then go to bed. For me, I have to gradually go backwards, otherwise I'll wake up in the middle of the night unable to fall asleep. So last night I went to bed at 3:30, tonight the earliest needs to be 2:30, then 1:30, then 12:30. If I do any more than -1hr each night, I will likely fail.
     
  16. astroguy

    astroguy Well-Known Member

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    Week 7 Summary

    Summary: Slow progress.

    Food: I did end up coming in at my "revised" goal based on the ice cream, ending the week at 102% of calories, 113% of fat, but 97% of carbs and protein for a 33/33/33 split. Not horrible, and better than the first week or two.

    Exercise: I expended more calories in exercise than any other week since Week 3, but 750 of it was in weights/core rather than cardio. So I did weights 3x, core 1x, rowing 4x, and elliptical 5x. I'd say that's decent if nothing else for showing that I can do it and carve out that time.

    Weight and BF%: Somewhat lower. Week-to-week average loss was 1.3 lbs, but the trend is flattening for weight. For BF%, it was down, I'm now where I wanted to be about 1.5 weeks earlier. But it's progress, I need to not knock it.

    General Feeling: Not sure on this one. I think I should feel good about this week. I managed to recover on food despite two very big curveballs, and I met my main goal with exercise which was to sort of "put it all together" and do everything -- which I did. So I take it back -- I do feel good about it.

    Week 8: This week 8 is going to be hard. Writing this summary for Sun-Sat on Monday, I can already see that my weight is back up because I did zero exercise and ate about 15% over on Sunday. But I'm more concerned about work: This is the week before a conference, and I get kinda crazy in the week before a conference with trying to do two months' worth of work in half a week. I'm only presenting posters this year so I just have to get those done by Thursday for Friday printing, but I have other work I owe other people for their presentations which I haven't even started. So forcing myself to pause that and do exercise is going to be hard. I was unsuccessful doing so yesterday (Sunday), working from when I got up at 11am to when I went to bed at 2:30am, with a 2.5-hr break for a nap. I also haven't cooked the last three days because of this, which means that I'm making less healthy choices in what I eat since I don't have my fairly high-protein, low-carb and low-fat main meals ready. Knowing this week is going to be an issue, and next week is travel, I think what's really important are two things: (1) Can I minimize the impact of the disruption and work, and (2) Regardless of if I can or cannot, can I quickly / immediately recover when I get home?
     
  17. astroguy

    astroguy Well-Known Member

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    Weeks 8 and 9 Summary

    Summary: Am I allowed to use expletives? Let's just say, "cr-p." See Week 7's summary for why, and that this was anticipated, though it was worse than I anticipated. As a preface, Week 8 was filled with non-stop preparation for a major conference for work (the largest conference I go to for work, every year). Week 9 was at that conference, in The Woodlands, TX (USA).

    Food: Food in Week 8 was mediocre. I was 111% of calories (about +200 calories per day than goal), +20% on fat, +20% on carbs, and -5% on protein, for a 32/37/30 split. Not horrible, hence "mediocre." I had planned out various meals, but I simply didn't have time to make them, so pre-prepared food made a comeback (e.g., a store-bought tamale, or frozen breaded chicken breast). In preparation for my 6-day trip, I really tried hard to plan. I packed 6 bottles of pre-measured protein powder, protein bars, 6 oz almonds, 3 oz Cheerios, a bag of beef jerky, everything was planned out. I was even decent on Sunday. At the reception, I only had a small piece of cheese and one very small bowl of chili, plus a very small slider. I had a protein bar, protein shake, and Cheerios and almonds. And then I ordered a pizza and garlic bread from Dominos. And on Tuesday, Chinese food followed by the same thing on Wednesday and a pizza again on Thursday.

    I honestly don't quite understand it: While ordering, I knew I shouldn't. I had food I brought. I was going to regret it. But on the other hand, the setting, the context, and the easy ability to do it just made me click that button (I live way up in the mountains so can't actually do this kind of fast food ordering at home). I almost feel now like I need a food chaperone when I go on trips.

    In very slight fairness, I did try to count things. Guesstimating on what I ate. Like 1 oz potato chips at a 4-hour poster session on Thursday. Or using my own chicken fried rice recipe and scaling various things to get an extremely rough approximation for the carry out (or takeaway for Brits). Yesterday (Friday), I had the remaining pizza from Thursday, and then some rice and lentils when I got home for 90% of my calories for the day, and today (Saturday), I'm at 70% of calories but 104% of protein. But I estimate for the week: 140% calories, 150% fat, 190% carbs, and 90% protein. It is the worst week since I started in mid-January. It also shows that my self-control right now, when not home, is horrible. I thought I had better control over my cravings.

    Exercise: In the last two weeks, I have lifted weights once. Period. I'm writing this Saturday evening, and I plan to do weights and cardio in the next 5 hours, but we shall see. That means there is practically zero offset from all the calories I ate. In Week 8, I was simply too busy with preparations for the conference. But that's an excuse: All my posters were sent to the printer on Thursday night (well, Friday morning at 2am), but Friday I was simply too exhausted from work to do anything (excuse). Saturday I did weights, so there's that, but I also went to a birthday party for a friend (1 hr drive each way, 2.5 hrs at the part) and had to spend hours packing (it took awhile due to computer stuff). I thought I would at least do core, bodyweight exercises while on travel. And ... no. The excuse was I was simply too tired from the long hours at the conference (including some 14-hour days). Is a break a good thing? Maybe. Is a break like that where I also over-eat a good thing? No.

    Weight & BF%: I kinda don't want to talk about it. I'm afraid to measure my waist, and when I did a test weigh this morning it was +5 lbs from my low 2.5 weeks ago.

    General Feeling: So ... "cr-p." I feel a couple things. First, I'm disappointed in myself that I gave into food so much over the last several days. There's really no good excuse for it, it's lack of discipline and control, and I thought I was better than that. My weight is effectively back to Week 3, I'm supposed to be 10 lbs lighter right now. Second, same with exercise -- that's a little more excusable, but I should have been able to do something this past week. Third, while this would've killed my motivation a year ago, I actually don't feel unmotivated right now. I feel motivated to catch up as much as I can to my goal, and to try harder. Which I think, right now, is about the best I can hope for.

    Week 10 Goal(s): I'm not entirely sure what my goals are for the week. Obviously, get back on the wagon and try to undo some of the damage from the last two weeks. I've made my menu for the week and, barring snacking, should come out at around 85% of calories, 80% fat, 60% carbs, and 115% protein. Given realities of I will snack (though hopefully less than usual), that'll equalize a bit but I've set myself up for a much better week. Obviously, exercise daily to get back on track. But, I'm not sure exactly what to do about weight and bf% goals. On the one hand, I'd like to keep the goal trend as-is and see if I can recover, or just re-evaluate at the end of my cut goal in September and see where I am. On the other hand, if I get back on track with the kind of weight/fat loss I was doing before, it will simply have me consistently behind my goal by about 5-7 weeks. Constantly seeing that red, or seeing myself as behind in my graphs, could hurt my motivation.

    I think I will leave them as-is for this week, and potentially through to the end of my travel in April, and re-evaluate then. See if I can recover and, if not, re-set my goals. At the moment, it will be hard to recover: If the weight today is any indication, I am +11 lbs from my goal (7 weeks behind), and I am guessing that I will be +2% from my bf% goal (5 weeks behind). But, I also don't want one or two weeks' worth of messing up to mean that I can suddenly reset all my goals and not be behind. That would tend towards not actually getting anywhere because if I get behind or stagnate, I could just say that was my new goal.
     
  18. astroguy

    astroguy Well-Known Member

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    Early Week 10 Update

    Well, I didn't end up exercising on Saturday, but I did Sunday and Monday (it's mid-Tuesday now). Food has been within my limits. Weight is coming back down and this morning I tied my lowest so far for 2019. Preliminary measurements show bf% is coming down, too. As much as is reasonable to expect in just 3–4 days, anyway.

    I also spent some time today re-doing my calorie limits/goals. I had previously been basing things on 15-lb increments with respect to overall weight's effect on BMR. But it also looks like my numbers were a bit old ... or, rather, were for when I was a bit younger. Re-doing them with an average age of now lowered things, and I also wanted to re-do them to be in 10-lb increments. That's because my end goal is to be bouncing between about 170 lbs and 180 lbs for bulk/cut/maintenance cycles, and goals based on 165 and 180 lbs don't quite make as much sense.

    This meant a re-kajiggering of all the percentages from the last 9 weeks and, since my calories went down a bit, all percentages went up (as in, if my goal before was 1750 cal and it's now 1680 cal for that weight, if I averaged 1800 cal that week I went 7% over instead of 3% over). It's not really a big deal for those weeks since, well, they're in the past and don't affect now, so I was okay making that change. That also means it's easier right now to improve and get closer to my 100% goals with food in comparison with past weeks.

    I still don't feel good about the last two weeks, but I have been saying for the last 17 days that a real indicator of how committed I am will not be how I do during Weeks 8 and 9, but how well I get back on track in Week 10. And I am getting back on track and recovering well, if the last three days are any indication.
     
  19. astroguy

    astroguy Well-Known Member

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    Two quick addendums: (1) I am also doing another fitness challenge this week against a friend of mine and he teaches but is on Spring Break this week, and while I easily won the last two, he's giving me a hard time to pull ahead this week, so that's a good motivator. (2) I have also been better this week about the random, uncounted snacking. I was very good for roughly the first ~7 weeks, but then it was so easy to say, "oh, that one peanut butter cup is so few calories that it's just in the noise of everything else." Not doing that anymore.
     
  20. astroguy

    astroguy Well-Known Member

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    Week 10 Summary

    Summary: I lost my fitness challenge to my friend (so we're 2 for 1 now, me 2 wins to his 1), but I think this week was really, really good, all things considered.

    Food: After shifting things around with specific goals for the last few weeks based on the revised BMR at finer resolution (see "Early Week 10 Update" post), this week has literally been my best so far in terms of food. I was only 6% over my 1680 cal/day goal, 9% over on fat (primarily because I was eating almonds earlier in the week), 7% below on carbs (a first!!), and 17% over on protein. I also hit all but 6 micronutrient goals, and I had a 31 / 31 / 39 split, which is also my highest protein % for the year.

    Exercise: Exercise was my third-best for the year, within 13 calories of my second-best, in terms of calories expended: 3579. 2012 thru 4x elliptical, 880 thru 4x rower, and 687 thru 3x weights. I still didn't do core/bodyweight exercises, but, especially in contrast with Weeks 8 and 9, this week was excellent.

    Weight and BF%: Down! So, on average my weight measured just twice in Week 9 was 210.1 lbs even though it was much higher than that. On average in Week 10, I was 208.4 lbs, so that's –1.7 lbs. However, from actual week start to end, I went from 211.3 to 206.8 lbs, or –4.5 lbs. Bodyfat percentage was down on the week but slightly up from the minimum at 25.7%. I'm not pleased, but it's much better than it could have been given the previous week's binge.

    General Feeling: I'm happy because I went right back into things and was actually successful in losing weight and getting back on track, despite nearly two weeks of being bad. For the weight I've lost this year, 82% of it is fat, and I'm hoping to hit my first stone dropped (16 lbs) this week. Things could always be better (core/bodyweight exercises!), but things could be much, much worse.

    Week 11 Outlook and Goals: Week 11 is going to be interesting. I'm cutting my calories again since I expect on average to be <205 lbs this week, so within the 200±5 lbs calories goal. However, Monday thru Thursday, and then Friday thru Monday, I will have houseguests. The first batch is for a conference that's local, so I'm hosting two guys so they can save on hotel and car. They leave at noon Thursday and I have 24 hours to turn over their rooms because my parents and two of their friends will be visiting Friday thru Monday. For this conference, lunch is catered Tu & We, and dinner is out (since I'm driving these guys, I should be going with them). I expect meals will be out with my parents on the first day, but I'm pushing hard to get them to let me cook Sa & Su so I can more accurately count things. Food isn't the only issue -- there's also exercise given my time will be taken up with hosting, so, my conservative goal is to "tread water" this week and at least be similar to what I was able to get done in Week 11
     

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