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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.
     

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