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markdc journal--"Hope for the Hopeless"

Discussion in 'Fitness Journals' started by markdc, Jun 29, 2004.

  1. markdc

    markdc Well-Known Member

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    Hello everyone, and welcome to my first public attempt to become healthy. In this journal, I'll be sharing the unvarnished truth about what progress (or backsliding) I've been doing in this, my latest attempt toward overall wellness.

    A little about me:

    1. Basics--Just turned 34, WM, overweight since 3rd grade, momentary periods of slimming down over the years, but have never "felt" fit, even at my thinnest (around age 19). 6-foot-2, large frame, about 340 pounds, on medication for high blood pressure.

    2. Upbringing--Loving, fairly stable home environment: three older sisters, stay-at-home Mom, Dad (also unhealthy; overweight, smoker, etc) often travelled & worked long hours. Sedentary childhood--food given as a reward or "peace offering", little to no discipline or instruction given when it came to personal health, hygiene, etiquette, social graces, etc. I've had to learn most of these things on my own, usually after a friend comes clean with me and tells me the truth--even if it hurts ("Mark, you know I'm your friend, but...you eat like a friggin' pig! This not only repulses women, it's...it's just not healthy!")

    3. Adulthood--Maintained unhealthy lifestyle after leaving home, often get into "health kicks" (usually around New Years Day, birthday or after having difficulty breathing or similar "scare"--this is also when I'll suddenly find religion again). Then I'll fall off the wagon anywhere from 24 hours to three weeks later. Moderate smoker from age 22 to 28. Quit cold turkey June 22, 1998 after rapid heartbeat made me think I was having a heart attack. Very light drinker (didn't drink for many years, now drink very, very little), don't use drugs.

    4. Job--Currently have access to full gym facilities at work (free), including top-of-the-line weight room (free weights AND machines) & cardio machines, Olympic-sized pool, indoor and outdoor running tracks, basketball courts. Have visited a few times (see number three). I also have the option of staying active (mostly walking or even climbing stairs) during my shift, or sitting behind a desk goofing off (usually the latter).

    5. Daily habits--Work 4PM to Midnight, usually wake up around Noon, possibly eat a granola bar; if not, whatever looks good. Keep plenty of bottled water around and drink it frequently. I keep frozen foods on hand for a midday meal, then almost daily have Subway for dinner (while at work--around 5:30-6PM); footlong turkey on wheat w/American cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayo (or mustard), baked Lay's and Diet (or regular) Coke, plus 2 to 4 M & M cookies. Get home around 12:30AM, watch TV and usually have another snack or light meal. Fall asleep in bed with the TV on (put sleep timer on) by around 2AM. I have a weight bench with barbell, dumbells and leg lifters. I hang clothes on it.

    6. Social life & stress--prone to depression & panic attacks (only since I quit smoking); it went away in mid-'99 then came back with a vengeance last Fall after I blimped out to about 350 pounds and couldn't breathe comfortably most of the time. Occasional sleep apnea, lower G.I. difficulties, light-headedness, abdominal discomfort. All of these contribute to my stress, obviously. Socially, I do all right (better than I used to). I seldom date, but I do have enough charm to win over the occasional female (I wooed the most recent one through the magic of Karaoke). I have a couple of good guy friends that I hang out with on the weekend, and get together with my family (parents, sister nephews) about once a week.

    And there you have it. Me in a nutshell (help, help, I'm in a nutshell!). Make whatever helpful/derisive comments you want.

    DAY 1 (6/29/04): Not off to a good start. On the way home from work, I stopped at McD's for food, because I wanted something quick (since I was "hungry"). I had two double cheeseburgers, a McChicken, a medium fries and a fudge sundae. I washed them down with a Diet Coke (at home) and a couple of bottled waters. I was up until 7AM, having much trouble getting to sleep because I was having great difficulty getting my breath. I slept until 2PM, ate Haagen-Dasz double chunk or some such thing for breakfast, showered, watched "Jeopardy!" and came to work. I got a 3 Musketeers and a small bag of Ruffles from the vending machine when I got to work. I washed them down with bottled water. For supper (around 6PM) I had a footlong barbecue chicken Sub on wheat with pickle and onion (no cheese), baked Lay's, four M & M cookies and a large Diet Coke. My insides are still kicking from last night's McD's (and today's food, no doubt). No exercise.
     
  2. MGB

    MGB Well-Known Member

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    Not enough time to write anything meaningful other than you made two great steps:
    1) Complete honesty
    2) posting it on this board.

    The tricky thing about honesty is that it can become a crutch (at least I was honest). Don't think you're going there, but it's something to watch out for.

    My first, easy recommendation is to get a meal replacement powered and use it instead of 3 musketeers and ruffles. If you don't want to cart a 5lb tub of it, get packets. Use water with it instead of milk. Drink it for breakfast. Get some plain oatmeal too (nuke it for 2 minutes), put whatever you want in it to start....but you really, deparately need to get more fiber.

    You'll want to focus on replacing the VERY high glycemic, very low fiber, unbelievably low nutrition foods you eat with moderate glycemic, higher fiber, more healthy foods. Do some easy things like NEVER getting fries or the sunday.

    Get the meal replacement powered (MRP) today. Right now. Order online. Get chocholate...you'll start to dig it after a while.

    I'm sure others will write better and more meaningful info. At least the MRP will give you a reasonable first step, and will help you realize that you don't have to change WHO you are, you just have to make different choices. That's an amazing powerful realization.
     
  3. chicanerous

    chicanerous Elite Member
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    DAY 1 (6/29/04): Off to a good start. On the way home from work, I resisted the urge to stop for food. Once I got home, (since I was "hungry") I had two nuked chicken patties, a nuked baked potato, and a huge delicious salad. I washed them down with a couple of bottled waters. I was up until 7AM, having much trouble getting to sleep because I was having great difficulty getting my breath. I slept until 2PM, ate a bowl of cereal Raisin Bran, granola, Special K or some such thing for breakfast, showered, watched "Jeopardy!" and came to work. I took out some trail mix, an apple, a banana, and two granola bars from a lunch bag (which I had packed this morning) when I got to work. I washed them down with bottled water. For supper (around 6PM) I had a footlong barbecue chicken Sub on wheat with pickle and onion (no cheese), baked Lay's, and two or three bottles of waters, just because water is so refreshing. My insides are glad I chose to stick to these healthier foods (and wish, no doubt, that I do this tomorrow). No exercise, but I really hope to start soon!

    ;)
     
  4. markdc

    markdc Well-Known Member

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    My thanks to those with advice. Rest assured, I am taking this seriously, and intend to keep a positive mindset (though I may, at times, sound defeatist).

    DAY 2 (6/30/04): I took some digital pictures of myself last night after work. Ick! Can't wait until that's the "before". I had two roast beef sandwiches on rye bread, drank bottled water & turned in about 3:30AM. Awoke at Noon, went to Sam's and bought fat-free milk, OJ, a bag of Romaine lettuce, a bag of "vegetable medley" (broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, etc), a box of Quaker Oatmeal "Variety Pack", two loaves of healthy, whole-wheat bread and a package of sliced turkey. Oh, and some shaving cream, but I don't plan to eat that. Sam's only had "Slim-Fast" MRP, which I didn't want, so I went to GNC and bought 40 packages of "Meso-Tech" (20 vanilla, 20 strawberry). I chose that brand because it was cheapest.

    Had two turkey sandwiches with mustard around 2PM (four slices of bread, one slice of turkey broken up and evenly distributed), and bottled water. Did 20 bench press lifts with 57.3 lbs of weight, rested, then did 10 bicep curls with 20-pound dumbells on each arm. My arms hurt for awhile, but I felt great about it after that.

    At work, I did some walking and lifting, but nothing steady. I was more active today at work than I have been in many weeks, though. At 5:30PM, I had a footlong chicken sub on Italian Herbs & cheese bread, American cheese, ranch dressing, onions, green peppers & black olives, baked Lay's, three M & M cookies and a large Diet Coke.

    At 10:00PM, I mixed my powder (vanilla) with bottled water and drank it. It was pretty good (though my expertise in comparing these products leaves much to be desired as yet).

    Overall, I feel good about the day, and proud that I put forth the effort to be active and resist snacking and crap food (except for the M & M cookies). Tomorrow will be a good day as well.
     
  5. MGB

    MGB Well-Known Member

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    Good start! I know how hard it is to not have cookies :)
    Some other relatively easy suggestions.
    - skip the american cheese
    - get some lower-cal, lower carb bread. I get a great low cal (35 cals per slice), low carb, high fiber wheat bread that is REALLY good. I'd eat it regardless of it's content.
    - walk like there is no tomorrow. Walking is a really great for your health and your head.

    Something else I've found useful. On Sunday I cut up veggies for the week (cucumber, celery, sometimes red pepper, carrots) and put them in individual tupperware contains and stick them in the fridge. Makes it easier to snack on them, and also makes it easier to use them on sandwiches since they are already ready.

    About 3 years ago I dumped diet coke for (unsweetend) ice tea. It was REALLY tough. I had to start by not having a pop for a week (made me cranky), then for two weeks, then for a month. It's amazing how much pop drags your energy down. I don't know the science of it, but it's probably one of the best things I ever did for my energy. Even though I thought ice tea was dirt water, I've learned to love it.

    Keep going. I know you'll make it.
     
  6. ABguy

    ABguy Well-Known Member

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    :claplow: You're killin' me....but right on .... :tu:
     
  7. Buchy

    Buchy Well-Known Member

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    Can I suggest that you hit the sack as soon as you can? Don't sit up and watch TV or snack etc. Your metabolism is faster in the morning, and a morning walk/jog/run will help you. Make sure you get the eight hours, but don't sleep until noon. Your energy levels will go up, you'll have more time for training and going to the gym if you go to sleep as soon as you can and wake up early enough to fit in a morning work out.
    It will be tough for a while as your body will be used to sleeping until noon, but after a few days to a week you'll be sorted.
     
  8. markdc

    markdc Well-Known Member

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    MGB, great idea about pre-Tupperwareing (is that a word? It is now) the veggies at the start of the week. Thanks. Also, the bread I bought IS the "Earthgrains" 35-calories-per-slice brand. I love wheat bread anyway, so that's no problem. I usually toast it; does that detract from its nutritional value???

    As for substituting tea for soda, I agree wholeheartedly that it tastes like watery dirt. I've NEVER liked tea. Of course, with the three million flavors now on the market, I could probably find one I do like. Any recommendations?

    Buchy, thanks for your suggestion. I usually can't fall asleep right when I get home, but I do have to get up early tomorrow (Friday) and Monday (about 7AM both days), so maybe that will help me to start getting up earlier all around, even if it is torturous at first (I like my sleep!).

    DAY 3 (7/1/04):
    Had a turkey sandwich w/mustard and an orange after work (I had picked up apples & oranges on my trip to Sam's--forgot to mention that); drank water. Slept from about 3:15AM to 11:52AM (just over 8 1/2 hrs). I had a vanilla Meso-tech shake for breakfast, did 20 leg curls and 20 leg extensions (35 lbs each). Had a turkey sandwich w/mustard & bottle of water at 2PM, a Granny Smith apple at 4PM. At 5:45PM, went to Subway and got a footlong turkey on wheat, NO CHEESE :claplow: , lettuce, tomato, honey mustard, baked Lay's, ONLY TWO M & M cookies and a MEDIUM Diet Coke (baby steps!). Ate half the sandwich, the chips, one cookie and the soda at 6PM. Plan to eat the other half of the sandwich & cookie with a bottle of water after this post (about 9:45PM). Took a brisk walk outdoors at about 8:15PM tonight, included stair-climbing which took me up about four flights overall. Total time was about 18 minutes. I had a vanilla "Power Bar" and water after my walk. I also weighed myself on a scale at our fitness center at work. Looks like I'm right at 340...for now.

    Like the Beatles said, "It's getting better all the time...."
     
    #8 markdc, Jul 1, 2004
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2004
  9. MGB

    MGB Well-Known Member

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    Great improvement on your diet. It's incredible.
    If you charted it, it would be at least a 25% improvement, maybe 30%.
    Not bad for a day's work.

    TEA: This took a lot of experimentation, but I found a couple of things I really dig.
    NOTE: Anything besides brewed tea is gross. Lipton, Nestle are syrup and taste like it. They taste like diet coke syrup without the flavor.

    Brewed tea: I make all the tea in the coffee pot. Pour in water in machine. Put tea bags in coffee pot (usually 5 bags). Turn it on and let it sit for 10 minutes. Pour the tea into a container of some kind (remove the tea bags) and fill the rest with water. Stick in fridge for 5 hours and you have iced tea.

    I have three current favorites.
    #1: Four bags of earl gray (Twinings is the best but a bit expensive) + one bag of orange and spice (any brand). This is my favorite. I've shared it w/people that dislike ice tea and they've universally dug this.

    #2: Earl gray (5 bags) with lime. Make the tea then cut up and put 2 limes in the tea (leave them in the tea container until it's gone). this is killer.

    #3: Straight green tea (Celestial Seasons...not the antioxidant kind, that's gross too). Okay, this doesn't taste that great, but it hardly tastes like anything and there is something in green tea that's good for metabolish (besides caffinee). I don't recall the details but will see if I can find them and post them.

    One last thought: For me at least, I have to feed my mind good stuff, too. Our mind is what got us out of shape, and it's our mind that gets us back into shape.

    If you have 30 minutes a day to listen to CDs, you could do much worse than listening to something from Jim Rohn (http://www.jimrohn.com/shopping/shopdisplayproducts.asp?id=12)

    Very practical. Very useful. I don't buy everything he says, but then that's not the point. The point is that you end up being 100% more motivated and 74.7% smarter by listening.

    Also, I was a total TV aholoic. I was on a consulting gig in Indianapolis, rented a condo and decided not to get cable. Drove me insane for a week (I have TV and rented movies when I REALLY needed some media). Didn't get Web access either (I could go to work if I needed it). Anyhow, I ended up sleeping more and better, reading more and better, and dumped cable at my home too. One of the best things I ever did. It's amazing how much life there is beyond cable :)

    Anyhow, great job today. Can't wait to read what you do well tomorrow.
     
  10. RobinLA

    RobinLA Well-Known Member

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    not to nitpick but...oh what the heck...I'll nitpick

    I'm pretty sure it's Meal Replacement POWDER, not POWER. Ok. I feel better now :)

    But good advice I think. Sure beats candy bars. I like Metr-x (spelling?) or Myoplex. :p
     
    #10 RobinLA, Jul 2, 2004
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2004
  11. cederron

    cederron Well-Known Member

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    you are addicted to m&m cookies! try to replace with a protein bar(really good taste)
     
  12. markdc

    markdc Well-Known Member

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    DAYS 4-6 (July 2-4, 2004)

    As one might expect, there was a bit of fudging over the holiday weekend. I don't feel overly upset or guilty about it; I know that "falling off the wagon" is just a cue to get right back on again, and as I write this (Monday morning, 7/5/04), I am geared up as ever to continue my mission. The weekend wasn't a total loss of course; my main failings were the indulgence in a bowl of chocolate ice cream with chocolate syrup, about three sodas (mostly diet), a few handfuls of potato chips, a chocolate shake, a piece of YUMMY homemade chocolate cake and about eight cookout burgers (this is over three days, mind you). Other than that, I have been having my instant nuked oatmeal every morning, sticking to bottled water and getting some servings of fruits and veggies over that period. I even resisted getting snacks at the theater when I saw "Spider-Man 2" on Saturday (what an awesome movie!!!).

    Excercise wise, I walked to and from my local fireworks display yesterday (about three blocks; half-uphilll; carrying chair, bag, etc), and did some over-the-head dumbbell lifts for the triceps on Saturday, but I could only manage ten. I may need to start with less weight (currently have 20 pounds on them). Had to leave early this morning, and didn't make time for my oatmeal, so I'm going to Hardee's for a sausage biscuit and an orange juice (hey, it's better than a bag of donuts!). I'll also try to get some walking in, but I'm operating on about three hours sleep, so no promises.

    Thanks again to all those contributing advice.
     
  13. deadguitargod

    deadguitargod Well-Known Member

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    Hey Mark,

    Duane here. Read your journal - Great Start!!! Oops, sorry about the

    cookout extravaganza (couldn't let you eat grass and dirt while the rest of us were eating all of that yummy crap) :tu:

    I think pre-planning and always having something at work/home that you can eat in a pinch (i.e. MRP or similar) will go a long way towards helping with the nutrition aspect of each day, and that one overboard day won't make or break your program/plan. Do the best you can each day, and if you mess up in any one area, just remember that tomorrow is a new day.

    :confused: Constant motion (no matter how slow) is always better than stagnation.
     
  14. markdc

    markdc Well-Known Member

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    Hey, thanks for replying. It's kind of ironic that you mentioned pre-planning, because I was about five minutes away from the house on the way to work today when I realized I HADN'T pre-planned and brought anything today (MRP, snack bar, fruit, etc). Well, like you (and Scarlett O'hara) say, tomorrow is another day. Plus, in fairness, you did tell me you got low-fat meat patties and turkey dogs. I neglected to mention that earlier. Of course, I also forgot to mention the wheat buns with built-in penicillin! ;) Just kidding...thanks for the feast & festivities. I believe everyone had a great time.

    DAY 7 (7/5/04)

    After my journal entry for Monday, July 5 (which covered July 2-4) I went to Hardee's and got a sausage & egg biscuit and a large orange juice. Lunch was at Noon: a Subway chicken/bacon wrap with Swiss cheese, green pepper, onion, black olives and ranch dressing. Ate with baked Lay's and a Diet Coke. Had a 3 Musketeers and a can of Diet Coke around 2:30PM. Had two turkey sandwiches and water at abou 4:30PM. Slept from about 5PM Monday until 6:41AM today (Tuesday, 7/6/04). Overall, a few slips, but nothing I'm freaking out about.

    I'll edit this post and add today's activities later this evening.
     
    #14 markdc, Jul 6, 2004
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2004
  15. MGB

    MGB Well-Known Member

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    CHEESE! RANCH DRESSING! LAYS! DOH!

    Maybe try oil and vinger w/salt and pepper (try it at least once) and deep six the cheese? Maybe replace the 3 Cancerteers with a protein bar? :)
     
  16. MGB

    MGB Well-Known Member

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    By the way (BTW): I just bought some ProteinBar (powerbar) brand from sams....12 for $14. Not a bad deal. Also, 10 cans of chunk light tuna in water for $4.88. I know you shop at Sam's, so thought you might want to check these out.
     
  17. markdc

    markdc Well-Known Member

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    MGB, I have some Powerbars (from Sam's); funny you should mention that. I'm not crazy about the taste, so I may try another brand next time. Also, I love tuna, though I usually add mayo and relish. I may have to warm up to the "blandness" of plain tuna. Naturally, some pre-planning today would have replaced many of those bad items with a powerbar or whatever. Once again, though, hope springs eternal.

    DAY 8 (7/6/04):
    Like I said, I woke up at 6:41AM today. I had a bowl of plain, nuked oatmeal with skim milk and went for a brisk walk. It took right at 15 minutes, and I felt very refreshed afterwards. I spent the next couple of hours doing housework, and had a vanilla Meso-tech shake around 9AM. I did 20 bench presses (57.3 lbs) and ten bicep curls (each arm) with dumbbells (20 lbs).

    About 11AM, I had a baby spinach salad from Subway with fat-free honey mustard dressing. YUM! Drank bottled water.

    At 1:30PM, I had an apple and an orange. At 5:30PM, I had a footlong Mediterranean chicken sub on wheat, feta cheese, vinagrette, green peppers, onions and black olives, baked Lay's and a medium Diet Coke. They have a new contest, and I won a free cookie, so I figured it was fate, and I ate it. :o

    I haven't eaten since then, and I'll almost certainly have a turkey sandwich or two when I get home (PLANNING!). I feel good about the day; not a LOT of junk, plus some comparatively productive activity.
     
  18. MGB

    MGB Well-Known Member

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    I only like the peanut butter ones. I have no idea whether or not they any better than a candy bar, but the Balance Bars come in all kinds of flavors. They taste like pure candy to me (especially the mint ones...yum).

    Are you taking fiber supplements and multivitamins? These won't make anyone get in shape right away, but they do help keep your system clean (which gives you energy), and help your body repair itself.

    Cool that you're lifting when you can. I find that if I do it right when I get home (which is when I LEAST feel like it), I actually get the best workouts. "Action often proceeds the feeling." I think that's the most important lesson to learn about being healthy. Feelings are not only bad masters, but they're wrong so often!

    Anyhow, glad to see you still posting. Rock on.
     
  19. gamut

    gamut Well-Known Member

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    Seems like your diet consists mostly of pre-made foods. Do you cook at all? Cooking can be great fun and very rewarding if you approach it with the right attitude (much like working out :)).

    I wish you all the best in your effort to shed the weight and add years to your life Mark - hang in there and your efforts will be rewarded!
     
  20. markdc

    markdc Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. I don't do much cooking, because I'm still very, very lazy. The effort I have been putting into food preparation is about at its maximum level for the time being. During my last health kick, I really got into preparing salads, and I enjoyed making (and eating) them on a daily basis. Other than that, I'm not much of a hand around the kitchen (which may help explain my horrible diet up to this point).

    Also, MGB, I'm not taking any supplement other than the MRP at the moment, though the oatmeal and fruits & veggies over the last several days have done wonders for my roughage intake and subsequent digestive processes (though for the first couple of days, my insides were kicking at the prospect of all of this new fiber).

    DAY 9 (7/7/04):

    Since I hadn't thought to bring any snacks to work yesterday, I was hungry when I got home. I had a turkey sandwich and peanut butter sandwich (Jif) and water. I fell asleep around 2AM, and awoke about 10:30AM today. I had my oatmeal with skim milk, did 20 leg extensions (didn't do the leg curls--it's a little awkward with my equipment--I may have to do those at the fitness center instead) and took another brisk walk, which, since it covered roughly the same area, lasted 15 minutes.

    I had a strawberry Meso-tech shake at about Noon, then a turkey sandwich and peanut butter sandwich at about 1:30PM. Dinner was a grilled chicken and baby spinach salad from Subway and a Diet Coke (NOTE: no chips, no cookie). About a half hour later, I had a Powerbar. At 10:00PM, I had a strawberry Meso-tech shake, and will eat an apple at about 11:00PM. That should tide me over until morning.

    I'm feeling better with each passing day; more and more of this is becoming routine, and I'm finding it easy to slip into healthier living (the trick so far has been not to make the changes so drastic that it sours me on the idea right off the bat).
     

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