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Seltzer's Pilgrimage

Discussion in 'Fitness Journals' started by Seltzer, Mar 23, 2006.

  1. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

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    Greetings Fellow JSFers:

    As this is my first post, I'd like to introduce myself and explain my motivation for starting this journal, but before I do that I want to extend my gratitude to all the contributing members of this community for all the time, effort and knowledge that you tirelessly offer.

    I'm about to turn 48, married with two children, and own a successful business. I have always been in “good shape”, especially when compared to many of my peers. Like many of these peers, however, I started to put on a few extra pounds and about a year ago I reached the point where I was disgusted enough with myself to start a program to lose the weight. It was during my research of how to lose the weight in a healthy manner that I stumbled across this website and I am sure glad that I did. I've learned a lot and have found inspiration from many JSFer's as you chronicled your fitness journeys. During the course of my readings I've recognized how we each have a similar goal, to get healthier, and that each one of us has certain particulars to our situation that are an advantage compared to the general forum as well as particulars that makes achieving our personal goals more difficult.

    One of the advantages I have is that I own my own business so I have more latitude during the day to exercise. Another is that I don't have any of the monetary concerns that many younger forum members have. I'm not referring to big macro issues like funding my children's college, paying the mortgage, etc., but to my ability to always have a home that is stocked with clean food as well as the financial resources to pay for a gym membership without any hardship. Another structural advantage of mine is that I manage my business from my home so I am able to prepare all of my breakfasts and lunches; in fact it would be a hassle and waste of time and money for me to go out for lunch. Another advantage that comes to mind is that I (most of the time) truly do like to exercise and, with one major exception which I will address shortly, I inherently like to eat clean. Accordingly, when I made the decision to become healthier, there was no tremendous disruption and change from my prior habits.

    Of the disadvantages that are particular to my situation, the first one is my age. As I wrote above, I always been in decent shape and people think I am at least five years younger than I am, but the aging process really does slow one's body down. My recovery time from injuries is substantially longer than it used to be and I find that I am getting injured more often than I used to. Just as my age brings with it certain advantages and disadvantages, so does owning my own business. I have more time flexibility than the average person, but I probably work more hours per week also, so sometimes finding the time to exercise can be problematic; I do make it a priority, so I rarely miss a session, but sometimes I have to get quite creative to squeeze it in. Another disadvantage that I have is that I drink too much alcohol and lately I have been drinking far too much. Were it not for this, I would easily have met all the health goals that I've set for myself during the past year, but I just can't seem to turn the corner. I stop the imbibing for a few days, sometimes a couple of weeks, but I then derail myself. It's incredibly frustrating and I'm truly surprised about how much trouble I'm having trying to eliminate my weekday at night drinking.

    This is the primary reason that I've started this journal; I'm hoping that if I start posting to the forum I will have additional incentive to stay with the program. I've been writing a journal at home, but since I'm the only one that's reading it, there's no outside accountability. Even if nobody except me actually reads this, I'm hoping that me knowing that someone could be doing so will be enough to raise my diligence and have me reach for the glass of seltzer instead of pouring myself a scotch (or gin or whiskey or vodka or beer or wine). I know what to do, I just have not been able to do it for a sustained amount of time; it's very humbling and frustrating.

    Two days ago marked the start of another attempt to get healthy. The process originally began on April 5, 2005 and at that time I was carrying 190 pounds on my six foot frame and my body fat percentage was probably around 20%; when I bought a set of calipers and tested myself for the first time on May 5, 2005 I was about 19%. The scale this morning read 177.4 and my body fat was about 12%. During the past year my weight has been as low as 171 and my lowest body fat readings were in the low eights. I don't really think that I was that low; I've felt for sometime that my bf% readings were too low, but just as long as the number kept dropping then I was satisfied. As you can tell by where I am now versus where I was when I was more committed, I've had some regression. Not anything that I can't overcome, but the numbers have been moving in the wrong direction for a while now and it's time to start moving them downward instead of upward.

    Thanks to all who have read this and thanks to all who have contributed to the forum.
     
  2. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

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    When I decided to have a healthier lifestyle I tried to be realistic; there were certain aspects of my diet and behavior that needed to change and others that just needed to be moderated. I also knew that for me to sustain this new lifestyle I would need to find a balance; unlike others I did not truly believe that I could totally eliminate the occasional dessert or drinking, for example. Unfortunately, I have not succeeded with the drinking modification to the extent that I would like, but that's for a different dialog. What I'm trying to articulate is that I try to seek balance, making proper decisions most of the time, but not being fanatical. If my daughter bakes brownies you can be sure that I'm going to be her taste tester. I may have a smaller piece than I previously would have, but I'm not going to risk hurting her for the sake of clean eating. The desire for balance also extends to being comfortable knowing that these wayward actions will have a detrimental effect on my progress, but I'm willing to live with that. Which brings me to last night.

    Yesterday was my anniversary, so the day presented an unusual challenge. Knowing that I would be going out for a nice dinner with my wife, I tried to be extra clean during the day. And I was. Did I have a nice dinner? Yes. Did I have any fried food and/or gorge myself way past the point satiating my hunger? No. Did I have a few of glasses of wine? Yes. You get the point. I ate clean during the day, had an unclean meal last night, but with some moderation, so I consider yesterday about a C. Not quite a success, but not quite a failure either. Of course, I'm holding my eating yesterday to a lower standard than I normally would; the same consumption today would rate a big F.

    Since my body didn't know that it was a special occasion and the calories shouldn't really count :lol: , I was not dismayed when I stepped on the scale this morning and saw that my weight had gone northward. I impeded my progess, but the special dinner was worth it. Balance, balance.
     
  3. phillydude

    phillydude Don't Never Give Up.

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    Hey good luck with everything... don't stress too much about last night's dinner... I highly doubt you ate 3500 calories OVER maintenance (which is what it would take to actually gain a pound). Remember, total calories in vs. total calories out is the formula. Can I ask how much water you drink on a daily basis?
     
  4. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

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    Hi phillydude:

    Thanks for responding. No, I don't think I ate more than 3500 over maintenance, even if it was a soup to nuts meal. To answer your question, I try to drink a minimum of three quarts of water a day and my usual intake is probably about a gallon. Drinking a lot of water is one of the health tips I picked up from this forum.

    Good luck with your training; I know the inability to bicycle outside must be very frustrating, but hopefully the weather will take a turn for more spring-like conditions.
     
  5. phillydude

    phillydude Don't Never Give Up.

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    Good good... water is your friend. Your initial cut from 20% to 8% is inspiring... I can't even dream of the day when I will get down that far... but who knows... before I never dreamed I could run a marathon.

    I'm not frustrated (yet) with the indoor training... I know I'm just making excuses for not getting outside on the bike... I have all the cold weather gear, and I have been out for a few rides in January and February already... it's just a hassle to get all bundled up and go out in the dark to ride when I can be at home in my workout room watching a movie while I ride the LifeCycle.
     
  6. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

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    Hi phillydude:

    I have to admit that I was very satisfied with my initial cut; I looked good and I felt great. Although my calipers were giving readouts in the low 8's, I don't think that was a true measure even though I had what I would call a 4 pack and my clothes were looser than they had been in years. The absolute accuracy of my measuring was of secondary import, what was primary was that the numbers were in decline and considerably lower than when I started.

    I wasn't able to sustain that level of commitment and my calipers today gave me an 11.9 reading. As always, I believe that it is too low of a reading, but regrdless of what the actual absolute measurement is, the relative measure is higher than it was. Of course, I don't need the calipers to tell me that; I just have to look in the mirror.

    Fully realizing that I am responsible for both the positive achievements and the negative regressions I am confident that this number will not be going any higher. Due to a lingering shoulder injury I was very restricted with regard to exercising, but I was given the okay to start on a light weight shoulder rehab and started today. It felt great just walking into the gym and until I am no longer prohibited from doing any upper body exercises, I'll concentrate on my shoulder and doing lower body work. I still have pain, but it's lessened so I think I'll be able to go for a jog this weekend.

    As many JSFer's have written before, being injured is such a drag. For weeks it affected everything, including sleeping, but I seem to be slowly recuperating. My focus is to get better as soon as possible, but to not put myself in a position to reinjure myself by returning too soon to my full exercise regimine.

    Phillydude, I give you a lot of credit for sticking with the indoor cardio. It's probably my least favorite form of exericse, be it a treadmill, bike, elliptical, etc.
     
  7. bmacntmac

    bmacntmac Well-Known Member

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    Welcome Seltzer!
    Good Luck on your renewed commitments.:gl:
     
  8. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

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    Thank you.
     
  9. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

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    Ridiculous. Around 5 o'clock I actually gave some thought to pouring myself a martini. Insane! My first public day and only my third day of renewal and I was tempted, albeit slightly, to do the wrong thing. It's another confirmation of how habits are hard to break. I'm happy to say that I resisted and poured a large glass of seltzer instead. This is one of the strategies I employed when I was successfully cutting; it worked then and it worked tonight. By the time I had finished my seltzer the urge was gone. I also think that at some level my fear of having to publicly declare my failure was a motivating factor in staying strong.

    I went through something similar before. At first I would be very aware of when the day reached the point that I would usually reach for an end of the day drink, but as time went on I thought less and less about it, until I reached a mindset where the thought of pouring myself one was never on my mind. I hope to get there again this time.

    I have to go out for a few hours and by the time I get back it will be too late to eat anything. Since I don't plan on eating any more today my macros will be (f/c/p) 9/51/40 and 45 grams of fiber. My calories were too low at 7 calories per bodyweight (kcal/bw), but I'm not concerned because I know that it is an aberration and my intake will move up to a healthier level and my macros will move toward healthier balance.

    I gotta state, now that I've finally gone public and gotten my first day behind me, it feels damn good.
     
  10. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

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    I woke up this morning and my shoulder was really hurting. What a bummer. It's been the same pattern for a couple of weeks now, some progress and some regression. Still, I'm going to go to the gym and do the exercises that the doctor prescribed. I'm also going to follow his advice and resist the temptation to do any other upper body exercises. My recuperation has been slow, but it is happening so I don't want to do anything that will impede my improvement. If I can get healed in a fairly timely manner without surgery, it would be a huge bonus.

    The scale read 176.2 this morning and my bf% was 1 percent lower than yesterday. Such a large variation is most likely due to operator error, but we'll see what the readings are in the days that follow.

    Today should be a healthy eating day with no potential hazards. I'll be poaching some fish for dinner tonight and have planned clean meals for the rest of the day. My macros based upon my preliminary eating plan for day are (f/c/p) 8/41/50 with 29 grams of fiber. My calories are still too low, but I still need to add another meal to the mix. Based upon my low fat percentage I'll probably add some natural peanut butter.

    Tomorrow has the potential to really foul me up, but I'm going to do my best to stay on course. Tomorrow afternoon we have a luncheon party to go to that will be rife with high fat, high salt, and tasty foods. I will have to be very careful because I will not be able to eat for a few hours before the luncheon and I know that I'll be hungry. To further test my resolve, tomorrow night we have a large, catered affair to go to. Cocktail hour, open bar, sit down dinner. There are many challenges tomorrow, but unlike my anniversary dinner earlier this week, I intend to be as clean as possible.
     
  11. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

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    The witching hour is here; it just turned 5:30, it's Friday and we're staying in for the evening. My usual MO would be to pour a cocktail, but today is different. I went and poured myself a nice tall glass of seltzer and ran to my computer to type in my own therapy session.

    I'm having a hard time resisting the urge, but I know how disappointed I'll be afterwards if I cave in and I'm trying to keep in mind that the pain of that disappointment will be greater than the joy I would momentarily get from the drink. As an additiional inducement to make the proper decison, on my way to the refrigerator I lifted up my shirt and took a quick look in the mirror to see my non existent abs. If I ever want to see them again, this situation and other like it is where the battle is going to have to be won.

    Earlier today I congratulated another forum member on his decison to quit smoking and related that I did the same about 25 years ago. What I didn't state then was that for me it was quite easy, even after smoking a pack a day for about seven years. What made it easy was that it was beginning to effect my health and while there were certainly situations during which I craved another Marlboro, I knew that if I had one then I would have failed in quitting. It was a black and white situation; either I was a smoker or I wasn't; none of this half or quarter pack a day stuff. It is the corollary of this that I believe is one of the reasons that I'm having such a hard time finding a balance with alcohol.

    I should certainly drink less, but I don't feel a compelling desire to stop completely. Nor does my doctor, nor does my wife and nor do my friends. Many of them are quite healthy and some of them don't drink at all, so it's not as if I've canvassed people at the local pub (which I don't go to)to see what they think. What I'm trying to achieve is to cut out the highly unnecessary drinks, such as the one that I would usually be having right now. Inevitably, that first one leads to a second, so to cut out the first really means I'm cutting out at least two. The past year has shown me that once I do that, everything else falls into place healthwise.

    The drinks I have while socializing are usually not an issue; occasionally I may have an extra one when we're hosting, but when I'm a guest I'm very cognizant about moderation because I know that I'll be getting behind the wheel. The whole things seems so easy to accomplish when I think and write about it, but for some reason it has been otherwise in reality.

    Okay, the therapy session is over. The urge has passed.
     
  12. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

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    Yesterday didn't turn out as well as I would have liked because I wound up having a cocktail last night; it was only one, but it was a healthy pour. Fortunately I didn't succumb and have a second, nor did I reach for some snack, so I didn't totally undue my efforts of the past week. To compensate for last night, I am going to be extra diligent today so that the totals and macros for the two combined days will be about what I was anticipating they would be.

    In the last seven days I lost 1.5 pounds and my bf% increased by .1%. Go figure.

    Gotta go. Have a great Saturday morning.
     
  13. Yinzer00

    Yinzer00 Well-Known Member

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    Hey, it sounds like you're definitely on the right track. I'm about your height, and I can barely remember when I was in the 190's, let alone the 170's. Moderation is so difficult, whether it be smoking, alcohol or food, or whatever else. My dad is about your age, and I only wish he was doing half as well as you are. Stick with it!:tu:
     
  14. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

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    Thanks for the encouragement and kind words.

    I'm quite satisfied with myself right now. The afternoon luncheon that I went to was much closer to the sit down dinner, open bar, cocktail hour affair that I'll be going to tonight. I and a lot of other folks were surprised at the formality of it so there was definitely some ambiguity with the invitation. There were some healthy food choices during the cocktail hour so that made it easy to stay away from all the fried appetizers and mainly stuck with the fresh veggies. Once we moved into the ballroom my choices were more limited, but I chose the fish entree (it was broiled salmon) and stayed away from the fat laden side offerings. My indulgence for the afternoon was a chocolate covered strawberry and a bite of my wife's napoleon. Okay two bites, but they were small. And the only beverages I consumed were water, selzter, and a cup of coffee. Also, my wife and I worked up quite a sweat dancing so you can so that my cardio was taken care of also.

    Tonight is going to be more of the same. I find it ironic that we've had a few weeks with nothing social going on and both of these long anticipated affairs are happening on the same day. Lucky for us the timiing of them is staggered so we can attend both parties.

    Enjoy the rest of your day!
     
  15. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

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    The focus for today will be to drink copious amounts of water. One of the wonderful consequences of being committed to becoming healthier is that I am much more aware of minute changes in my body. A year ago would I have noticed some extra water weight? I don't think so, but now I do. The scale and calipers only serve to substantiate what I know is happening to my body.

    Yesterday was a potentially disastrous day, but I weathered it with minimal damage. I had a bit more wine than I anticipated, but I was reasonably satisfied with my eating/drinking choices. One of the issues that I couldn't get around was the high salt content of most of the food. I never add salt to any of my food and use it very sparingly when I cook, so I am sensitive to foods that have a high sodium content. I knew that my weight this morning would show an increase from yesterday due to water retention and I was right; the scale read 176.4, a gain of almost two pounds. Interestingly, I'm not bothered because I understand the cause of it and I know that it's a temporary condition that will become a non issue as I flush my system. I usually drink close to a gallon a day, but today I'm going to try and get an additional two quarts into me. I guess I better not wander too far from any bathrooms. :)

    I went out this morning for my first jog since I injured my shoulder almost a month ago. It was great to hit the pavement again, but my conditioning definitely suffered from the inactivity. My legs, which started out as flesh and bone turned to lead by the time I ended and my lungs somehow forgot how to take in air. The good news is that I didn't succumb and I finished the 5.2 mile circuit without stopping. Unlike many others on JSF I don't keep strict track of my time; usually I'm around and an 8:30 LISS pace, but I'd peg today at probably a minute slower. My shoulder felt the effects of the movement while I was running and I had to ice it for about thirty minutes after I came home; this is after taking an anti-inflammatory medication a couple of hours before I ran, so this tells me that my rehab has longer to go than I was hoping. I'm not going to let that bother me now, I'm going to enjoy the feeling I have from getting to run again.
     
  16. oohchild

    oohchild Well-Known Member

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    Congrats for finishing the 5.2 mile, empathise with the pain, maybe wear some shoulder guard or something to prevent it from jerking too much. Do some rehab exercise until your shoulder is strong enough. Take care of your shoulder, in pain stop the workout, switch to alternatives if necessary. :gl:
     
  17. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

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    Thanks for the advice and link. The exercises are very similar to the ones that my doctor suggested and that I did for the first time on Friday. Like you he also suggested using pain as a barometer.

    As frustrating as this has been I am deviating from my usual MO and not looking to rush back; the last thing I want to do is reinjure myself and be laid up for an even longer period of time.
     
  18. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

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    Disappointment is the catch phrase of the morning. I caved yesterday and ate and drank things that I shouldn't have and I'm paying the price for it right now, both mentally and physically. Another day, another setback; I just keep sabotoging myself. Will today be the day that I turn it around? Yes it will!

    I've always considered myself as someone who has a large amount of willpower and I have a demonstrable history to back up this self image, but I'm faltering in this endeavor. This shouldn't be that difficult. I'm probably doing 90% of the things I should be doing (or not doing), but the last 10% has such an disproportionate influence on the entire process that I have just been maintaining for the past three months. In some ways I feel that I've been living a lie when others comment on what good shape I'm in. I know that I'm in better shape than almost all of my peers, but I'm not as healthy as I was last year and I'm not as healthy as I could and should be. A few such comments were made at one of the parties I was at on Saturday and I really felt like saying something, but I didn't think I would get my message across. So I said nothing to contradict their assessment and just murmured a thank you and that I'm trying to do the right things. To me it was lying by omission, but relative to the little group that I was with, I truthfully am in much better shape than any of them, so maybe their perception is not that far removed from reality and I should give myself more credit.

    To clear up any possible mis-interpretations, I am disappointed, but I am not feeling sorry for myself. I am not wallowing in self pity; my feelings are more akin to being mad at myself because I know what to, I have done it before, and I have given the same advice and encouragement to others. Do as I say, not as I do is not going to cut it anymore, in fact it's bordering on hypocrisy for me to tell other JSFer's what to do when I can't follow my own advice. It's going to be, “ I do as I say” and I say that I'm going to clean up the parts of my lifestyle that are inhibiting me from reaching my health goals. And I will start today, right now.

    What's wonderful about this process is that the results are completely dependent on the effort and diligence expended and the ability to make the proper choices exists entirely within each of us. I, and I alone, am responsible for my success or failure and the pace at which I achieve my goals. I recognize that issues arise that slow down the process, such as my shoulder injury, but a person who is really committed will not let the areas that he has control over go astray. In fact, today will be one of those days where a situation has arisen that is beyond my control and will negatively impact my plans, but I'm going to do my best to stay with the process.

    My son has a nasty cough and is staying home from school so I won't be able to go to the gym today. I was looking forward to starting on my new routine which adds some ab and lower body exercises to the shoulder rehab exercises that I've been doing, but it now looks as if Wednesday will be the start day. To compensate, I'll try to squeeze in some abdominal work at home.

    Once again this journal has served a very useful therapeutic purpose. My mood is much more upbeat than when I started writing and I have a renewed vigor to tackle the challenges ahead of me. Have a great day everyone; I need to get some work done before my son wakes up.
     
  19. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

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    In the mail today I received the current issue of AARP The Magazine. Yes, I've reached that stage (not the retired part :( ) and my father signed me up for some type of junior membership. The main cover story was about Paul McCartney, who turns 64 later this year, 40 years after he wrote a song about the age. Think you'd recognize it? Included in the issue is also an article called, "Eat More Stay Thin, 10 Fat fighting tricks of the naturally lean."

    Unlike that boob who was the former Apprentice player who is promoting his 4 bagel plan, many of the suggestions in this article dove tail nicely with what many on this site believe. I'll try and paraphrase each suggestion.

    1. Never say diet. This isn't a short term diet, but a lifestyle change.

    2. Beware of "low fat". Food that are sweet, but low calorie prevent the body from accurately tracking how many calories it's actually consumed and leads to over eating.

    3. Steer clear of white bread. Refined grains are empty. Switch to whole grains.

    4. Trust you brain, not your stomach. Very often we mistake a fleeting craving for hunger. Remove yourself from the stimuli and you'll most likely find that there was no reason to eat.

    5. Weigh in every day. Certainly one that JSFer's are split about, but the authors felt that the daily feedback helped people stay focused.

    6. Learn what four ounces looks like. "Most people who have been lean their whole lives have a much better understanding of proper portion size than do people who are overweight."

    7. Punch the snooze button. Lack of sleep has a detrimental effect on the body's ability to maintain a healthy weight.

    8. Dive into doughnuts. An infrequent binge on something you like (another way of terming our cheat meal?) helps maintain the long term dedication to eating well.

    9. Twiddle you thumbs. In one study the difference between gainers and losers of weight had much to do with how often each volunteer participated in small scale movement such as standing up, stretching, and maintaining good posture.

    10. Say "Not now" instead of "No". Don't eliminate your favorite foods from your diet. Just plan for them. The balance of this section is essentially talking about what we refer to as a cheat meal.

    I present the above because I know that most JSFer's are years away from even qualifying for a junior AARP membership and would probably not be aware of the article otherwise. Certainly the list in not inclusive and some of the points are open to debate, but I felt that the general tenor of the article was vey much aligned with the philosophy that is espoused here and wanted to share it.
     
  20. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

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    Hooray! Last week I ordered the AtLarge Fat Loss Stack and it arrived today. I've already tried the vanilla nitrean and found it to be the easiest mixing whey product that I have ever used. And it was tasty to boot. I also took my afternoon dose of Thermocin and the daily creatine. I look at this purchase as another positive step toward achieving my goals; if nothing else I think that the plucking down of my hard earned money will motivate me to be more diligent.

    There have been a number of small positives in the past week; first was the okay to start my shoulder rehab, second was my shoulder improving enough for me to go out for a jog on Sunday, and third was the decision to place my AtLarge order. Furthermore, if my shoulder continues to mend as it has, I think I'm about ten days away from full activity again. That will be wonderful, with both physical and mental benefits. I'm feeling better about myself and more optimistic than I have in quite some time; it's as if I'm starting to see through the hazy funk that I've been for the past month.

    My little guy has a lingering cold and is home again so I wasn't able to get to the gym, but I did do some of the rehab exercises with what I have around the house. I believe that he's turned the corner on this thing and will be able to go to school tomorrow, so my daily routine will return to normal.
     

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