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Eating is bad for youuuuu

Ah, weekends.

Weekends are hard, as you probably are aware. I was a good little boy, staying under 2000 calories every day last week, until Friday when I think I topped out at 3500, but I had also lifted weights and bicycled 10 miles that day, so I didn’t feel too bad. Then we had a party on Saturday, and watched the Super Bowl on Sunday (more on that in a moment), and suddenly I’d blown through a conservatively-estimated 384,014 calories in about 36 hours. Glucose is a hell of a drug. As is rye whisky.

I hate weekends. But I also love weekends.

Last week was a pretty solid week from a training perspective; aside from the missed swim on Monday, I hit all my scheduled sessions, including two of weights, a run, a stationary bike, a road bike, and a good hard swim. So while I’m disappointed in how I handled the weekend, I’m satisfied with my activity levels for the week in general.

As to the football: a couple of good commercials (I didn’t think the Nationwide one was nearly so egregious as to warrant the massive overreaction; I’ll concede maybe the Superbowl isn’t the best time to trot out your “dead kids” commercial, though I’m not sure what the best time would actually be), a disappointing first quarter, and then tha game got 2 hype brah. The consensus among my Facebook friends was that Pete Carroll made a shitty playcall, so I was amused to see that the consensus among the national media was that Russell Wilson screwed up. Maybe he made a poor throw, although I’m much more likely to give a little leeway to a guy who’s making split-second decisions while possibly suffering the effects from a concussion 2 suffered in the AFC title game. I’m not likely to give any leeway to the coach who had 15-20 seconds to figure out a play from the 1 yard line and picked something other than “give the ball to my unstoppable running back.”

I thought Katy Perry did an admirable job, and I thought Adele Dazeem did fine with the National Anthem, even though she was a little too self-indulgent, though certainly no worse than we’ve heard in the past.

The plan for this week is two swims, two bikes, a run, and two solid weight training seshes, and hopefully still stay under 2000 calories every day, and try to be a good boy on the weekend, though I’m not holding out much hope.

Everything’s coming up Milhouse

Things have been (mostly) looking up from a “decision-making” perspective. I went back to proper calorie-counting as of Tuesday, using LoseIt!, and I feel I’m doing pretty well, though I haven’t checked my weight recently. I’m not always perfect from a “hitting my macros” perspective; yesterday I decided I really needed an evening glass of whiskey, which took me to 2300 calories on the day instead of the 2000 I’ve been shooting for, but my primary goal is to just back into the habit of recording everything I eat. Historically it’s been an issue because I’ll get to the weekend and not bother to track things. I’m going to try and be very very good about tracking, even if I’m binging.

(Pointless side note: “binging” looks like the Microsoft equivalent of “googling.” It should be spelt bingeing to make it clear what the verb is. I think I’m going to start deliberately spelling it that way and step up my letter-writing to the Oxford English Dictionary people about it.)

There are a million ways to calculate what one’s caloric requirements are, but for me they tend to average out to about 2500 calories a day, if I’m “sedentary.” I’m obviously not sedentary, but my workouts are so hit or miss that I’m loathe to include them into the TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) calculations. If I shoot for about 2000 calories every day, then I’m short about 3500 a week, which is roughly enough to lose a pound a week. If I do 5 half-hour cardio sessions (which will obviously ramp up a ton as I get closer to triathlon race season), that should add between 1500 and 2000 calories burned every week, which is enough to either lose me another half-pound, or (more likely) make up for poor eating on the weekends, or if I decide to eat a bit more after lifting weights.

I’m sticking to a generally low-carb plan, and shooting for 200 grams of protein a day. Let’s call this a “New Year’s Resolution Reset” and get back to it, ‘Murica. Gotta lose dem 20 pounds by late May.

I’ve been generally good with workouts this week; I missed a swim on Monday because of the snow day, but I got in a run on Tuesday, a stationary bike ride on Wednesday, and made it to the Y for a brief swim over lunch today. I lifted weights on Tuesday as well, and of course gave myself a mild back injury ’cause it had been a few weeks since that had happened. I’m kinda getting the hang of working those mild strains out, though; I actually felt it stiffen up on my 2nd-to-last set of deadlifts, but did the last set anyway with no additional pain, and went for my run afterwards. I anticipate being able to squat heavy tomorrow, though obviously I’ll take it easy and see how things go.

I hope everyone is surviving this devastating blizzard and haven’t had a roof collapse under the weight of all this snow. </SARCASM> At least the Brandywine School District behaved a bit more rationally last night than they had yesterday morning; after dismissing all the schools at lunch time because of light flurries, they held off cancelling school today until this morning, and of course were able to have a regular school day as a result because we got no more white flakes on our driveway than I would get on my bedspread after brushing my cat. (Siamese produce much less dander than other breeds.)

The weather has made it difficult to get in my regularly scheduled workouts, which is frustrating and making me a bit depressed; I had to leave work at lunchtime yesterday to meet the kids at the bus stop, so I didn’t get to swim, and my general malaise has made me less likely to do my chinups, pushups, and planks; I haven’t done a plank since the middle of last week, and the last few days have failed to meet my daily 30-rep goal on the other two. At the same time, being trapped at home with my children has made me much more likely to drink delicious, calming liquor, as well as completely fall off the wagon food-wise.

My plan to try and shed fat by simply avoiding carbs most of the time isn’t going very well; after last week’s birthday-related debauchery, I haven’t dared step on a scale, and I’m still eating far too much sugar and crunchy snacks in the evenings. As much as it pains me, it’s probably time to start deliberately counting calories to try and stay under my daily limit, even on weight-training days. ‘Tis the season for seasonal depression, something that’s affected me in recent years, and it’s a bit of a death-spiral: I get sad because it’s cold and dismal, which makes me more likely to eat and drink things I shouldn’t, which makes me more sad and frustrated with myself, which makes me more likely to skip out on workouts, which makes me *more* sad and frustrated with myself, which makes me a rather crappy husband and father ’cause I just become a completely miserable jerk.

I’ve done better at staying out of my funks than I did last year (when a few times I think Sarah was going to simply put a pillow over my head to put me out of everyone’s misery), but the winter is yet young. Only 52 days until spring.

Falling off the wagon

Golly, it’s been a brutal week. I actually wrote a post on Monday but forgot to actually, you know, publish it, and I kept putting it off, and procrasting, as I do, and yesterday was my birthday so Sarah’s just been stuffing me with things that are very bad for me and inspiring me to drink too much.

So it’s all her fault, as you can obviously see.

I’ve managed to keep up with my workouts, for the most part, though today was supposed to be a scheduled swim and I just didn’t have it in me. I decided to go for a nice hike at the office instead, wandered through the woods and did about 3 miles of hills in an hour. I didn’t measure my heart rate but it was definitely elevated; I might add a weekly hike to my workouts, at least until early March when I start really ramping up the triathlon training.

Tomorrow’s going to be fairly hectic, so it remains to be seen if I’ll get any training in at all other than my chins and pushups; I have to take my truck to the shop for repairs and borrow a car and drive to take a certification test about an hour away, and I’m cutting things a little fine to get there in time. If I can’t lift tomorrow, hopefully I find time for it over the weekend, otherwise I will have a super sad.

I haven’t checked my weight in a few days because my diet has been horrific, though I don’t seem to have backslid much when I look in the mirror. It looks like I may be writing off most of January, and I probably need to seriously think about a different way to stay accountable and make better food choices more frequently.

If you skip this one, I’m cool with it

It was rather a busy weekend, as you might surmise from my silence.

I hit all my usual workout metrics on Friday; squat and overhead press, plus all the usual chins and pushups, plus a nice little 30 minute jog. I was supposed to do 4×3 of the squat and overhead press, but found after two sets that I couldn’t get all three reps, so I switched to doubles to finish things out. This is probably an indication that I am due for a reset of some kind, but I’ll wait until I actually fail on the big singles that are scheduled for next week.

Saturday I did all my chins, pushups, and planks, but we went out to dinner with friends in honor of our various birthdays, and I ate and drank too much, which caused Sunday to be a bit of a misery. At least I didn’t have to go to church, just sat around watching soccer and football and trying not to move too much or be in direct sunlight, which was helped a bit by the fact that it absolutely poured rain all day. I did not do any chins or pushups because agony. I also ate poorly, something I’m sure I’ll pay for all week.

Here we are on Monday, and unlike civilized folks I’m at work. I ran over to the YMCA for a swim and it was outrageously busy and I still felt kinda iffy, but I managed to pound out 1800 yards. Anything’s better than nothing. I haven’t done any chins or pushups yet, I’m not looking forward to trying to pack all of them into one Monday evening when I’m not feeling 100%, but we’ll see what happens; I may short today a bit and make it up tomorrow when I’m working from home.

This not-particularly-interesting update has been brought to you by hangovers, exhaustion, and hunger.

Healthy Mexican food does exist

Eating out can be challenging. Even in places with good healthy choices on the menu, those choices can sometimes be pretty boring (salad, chicken and broccoli, etc.), and eating out always feels like a “special occasion” when one should be able to splurge a little, even if you eat out once a week like I think most families do. You go in with good intentions, and then look over the menu and think “Man, if I have another piece of skinless chicken breast I may weep openly. Maybe a piece of fish…oh look, they have fish and chips.” And then you eat a nice 1500 calorie meal, which, at least in my case, leads to thinking “Well, I already screwed up, might as well go whole hog” and you drink a bunch of beer and a fantastic dessert.

If it really is a “special occasion” (your birthday, wife got a big raise at work, your eldest son came out of the closet), then a little splurge is fine, but you can’t do it very frequently, which is a problem for me ’cause I do so love me some splurgin’. So whaddaya do if you find yourself at a Red Robin and are trying to steer away from a double cheeseburger with guacamole, bacon, and a fried egg?

What I like to do is try and pick something that’s going to provide me with a ton of protein. So even if I end up getting a 1000 calorie meal, I might get 70 grams of protein from it, which is pretty stellar. A good chicken sandwich with some awesome flavors might get you close to that. Then the trick is the side dishes; maybe don’t go with regular french fries, but you could rock some sweet potato fries instead. Slightly fewer calories and a ton more micronutrients and fiber.

Tonight we met my parents and my sister and her family for dinner at a local Mexican restaurant, and I managed to steer away from the “Sampler platter” (two plates of awesomeness that have to total at least 2000 calories) and got fajitas instead, with chicken, beef, and shrimp. Staggering amounts of protein. Did I also eat chips with huge loads of salsa on them? I did. Did I eat beans and rice? Of course. Was it probably 1500 calories of awesome? Perhaps, but lunch was just some chicken and veggies, and I did swim another 1500 yards today, so I think it’s a wash.

Per uzh*, I’ve banged out my 30 chins and pushups, and need to blast through some planks before heading to bed. My back feels a ton better so I should be able to do my OHP and Squat workout tomorrow, and maybe even get a short run in, time permitting.

*“Usual,” duh.

Ow, quit it

Whoops. I typed this all up last night and then forgot to actually hit submit. Derp.

Unsurprisingly, I’m injured. Surprisingly, I’m not sure why.

My lower back is kind of a mess, and it seems like I strain it every month or so, in levels that range from “back to normal in a couple days” to “unable to deadlift or squat for 6 months,” as happened to me after I hit my 455lb deadlift in September 2013. Usually I can pinpoint exactly when it happens, because I’ll be in the middle of a squat or deadlift and will feel a distinct pop, usually on the right side of my lower spine. Yesterday’s injury, though, I can’t explain; I finished my deadlift workout with no pain other than the usual exhaustion from having lifted several hundred pounds a dozen times. Then at some point later on I noticed my back was a bit achy, and this morning it flat-out hurt. As the day’s worn on it’s loosened up a bit, and I was able to get in a decent half-hour on the stationary bike during lunch.

One thing that I’ve learned when it comes to injuries is that if they’re not debilitating and I can work around them, I should do so. If I started skipping workouts every time my lower back was acting up I would never progress. I anticipate this mild strain being back to mostly normal by Friday, and I’m still planning to squat heavy (though if it starts hurting a bunch as I warm up, I’ll bail out). Chinups and pushups don’t seem to bother it much (I did 7 of each this morning) and even planks are mostly painless; after my bike ride and a brief stretch, I did a full two-minute plank (apparently I can do those if I don’t tire myself out doing chins and pushups first).

Stupid back.

I forgot to weigh myself this morning, which is probably for the best because of all the carbs I ate yesterday; the mirror tells me I’m pretty bloated up, though even in just a week of “non-holiday” diet I believe I’m seeing some slight abdominal definition. That might be a hallucination, of course.

Food today: I had leftover turkey and leek chili for lunch, which was delicious but left me wanting more. Dinner was chicken casserole, with brussels sprouts and eggplant.

Dem carbs be tasty brah

I was hoping to get all my chins and pushups in after the Flyers game last night, but I ended up watching the College Football Championship, staying up too late, and only finishing with 16 of each and only 40 seconds of planks. It’s probably a bad idea, joint-health-wise, to try and make up for what I didn’t do, but I’m an idiot so I’m doing it anyway.

So far today I’ve gotten in 44 chins and pushups (some of which came during my weight training), and I’ve knocked out about 2:40 of planks, hoping to get another 1:40 to reach what I should’ve done yesterday and today. I also did my heavy bench presses and deadlifts, along with as many overhead presses (supersetted with chins) as I could get in under the hour. I also got in a nice gentle run, about 2.7 miles in 30 minutes.

Food-wise I probably haven’t been sufficiently careful; I made an omelette after my run, and Sarah had pre-made a fantastic turkey and leek chili for dinner, but I haven’t shied away from cookies and breakfast cereal either. Theoretically I need the carbs after working out, but I probably don’t need to get them in the form of 2/3 of a bag of Mint Milanos. Oh, Pepperidge Farm…you know how to love me.

I was up a pound this morning, and will probably be up a few tomorrow ’cause of the carb load, but I should be back down to the high 220s by Friday.

Today’s weight: 230 (+1 this week, -1 since 1/5)

Wait on your weight

It drives me a little crazy when I see folks, many of them friends and relatives, posting things like “down 5LBs since last week!” Losing five pounds of fat is a significant achievement, but guess what: in a week, you almost certainly didn’t lose five pounds of fat. You lost, ideally, one pound of fat, and probably four pounds of water, which will come back as soon as your various hormones will settle. And then you’ll post something next week about how it was a tough week, you gained a few pounds back. You didn’t! You just soaked up a little water.

Note: if you’re significantly obese, like pushing four hundo, it is possible to lose many pounds very quickly, but if you’re just trying to lose a few Christmas cookie pounds before heading to Punta Cana in March, you can’t do it that quickly, unless you simply stop eating altogether, and then you’re going to pay a heavy price in muscle loss, so don’t do that. #runonsentence4lyfe

Short term weight changes fluctuations are the bane of the fitness-minded. You have to ignore them. The only thing that matters is the long-term trend, which you’ll find follows a nice gentle slope of 1-2 pounds a week, depending on how much a deficit you’re in. This is obviously frustrating to folks who have a *lot* of weight to lose, but keep in mind: it took you decades to put it on. It ain’t coming off in a few weeks.

That being said, I weighed in at 229 this morning, two pounds down from last week, so I’m going to celebrate with cheese cake. #justkidding.com I did go to a Flyers game tonight and had a couple hot dogs, but avoided having any beer, which is good from both weight loss and wallet health perspectives. I did come home and have Scotch, but that’s because I took my 8yo son and 9yo nephew to the game, and little boys are exhausting.

Food today: pork tenderloin and mixed veggies for lunch; hot dogs for dinner.
Workout: The sleet this morning delayed school, making me late to work and cancelling my intended swim workout. I’m still trying to get all my chins/pushups/planks, but it’s getting late; I may have to make things up tomorrow.

Weight: 229 (-2 since January 5th)

McDonalds is bad for yoooou

I didn’t manage to get a post up yesterday, as you may or may not have noticed, if you had been waiting with baited breath until the wee hours and finally went to bed, disappointed, wiping cold tears from your cheeks and cursing the day you ever trusted Matt “Le Douteux” Hearn.

It wasn’t the greatest day for nutrition; I managed to stick to the fasting schedule for the most part, not eating anything until a hot dog at lunch, but backslid a bit when we went to a bonfire party in the evening and I ate pizza and drank hot cider. At least I got in my usual chins+pushups+planks.

On Sundays I usually eat breakfast because while I’m a big proponent of fasting, I’ve had bad experiences with being undernourished at church; not sure why, but I’ve gotten dizzy a few times up in the choir stall, so I make sure to get some eggs and meat in my system before I go. Lunch was a hot dog with cheese, though I did spend a lot of the afternoon picking at things (like the pork tenderloin we premade for the week), and then we went to the mall and bought new phones and ended up picking up McDonalds on the way home to appease our unruly children. It’s amazing how even a good choice at McDonalds (in my case, a grilled chicken sandwich) is still *incredibly* unhealthy compared to almost anything you could make at home.

Fries be delicious as hell, doe.

Weight’s still holding steady at 230. Perhaps if I stop eating fricking fast food I’ll actually start dropping pounds…nah.