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OCTOBER  FITNESS JOURNAL

10.30.03 Champing at the Bit

I'm working a little bit every day, but ever since reading some of these Navy SEALs fitness books, I'm feeling more and more anxious to bring this up a notch. Of course, my body is no where near ready for this. I'm glad I have a teammate who keeps me level on that count.

My body is stronger all the way around. There's more and more lean muscle tissue everywhere, and I'm getting more and more defined with every effort. I am not, however, really working on my endurance. I want to get into some of that, but I haven't found the right way to approach it. I think it's timing more than anything else. At lunch? Not sure.

I want to get into running, but even that requires working up to it. I have to build endurance. I'm starting to read about that now, so that I can get the right training and move to that appropriate level.

In the mean time, there's still lots to work through at my beginner's level of fitness. And, I'm still not doing 100% at my nutrition goals, either. I can still occasionally allow things through the armor. Oh well. It's getting there.

How are you?


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10.29.03 The Work Behind The Work

The reason that my fitness and nutrition program works for me is that it is NOT a diet, and it is NOT an exercise program. The reason this works for me is that it's a program that says, "You've got a weird relationship with your fitness and nutrition, and some of it is educational, but a lot of it is also emotional."

I had to work very hard on my self-esteem stuff. That's the part where I had to find the root causes of what's brought me to this place in my life. A good resource for that is this:


It's an article/program about finding the heart of the issues that might have caused me to choose the path I'm on. Remember, I didn't get here for a medical reason. I'm 100 pounds overweight because I didn't think much of myself, and because I didn't deal well with stress. I was also poorly disciplined.

On top of this, education. It is VITAL to the success of my program (long term, at least) that I better understand the nutrition underpinnings and fitness philosophies that make up the program. I'm not just following along in a book. I'm learning and reading other materials, and really getting to understand what I'm doing with my body. Reading books like Dr. Andrew Weil's EATING WELL FOR OPTIMUM HEALTH, and reading different books about fitness and exercise have given me a much better understanding of why I'm doing what I am with the  program.

To me, I couldn't have lost 32 pounds already without working hardest at the other stuff, the first step, the self-esteem stuff. If I hadn't worked on establishing a team (in person and through the online community), I would be behind. If I hadn't worked on filling the hole inside my soul that I kept trying to fill with food, I'd still find it easy to pile up my plate.

There's no purpose in eating well and shaking my body up and down without me forging a much better relationship with my self first. I matter. I am important. I am worth it.


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10.28.03 Wimp

I'm on the second day of the new program. It involves using weights and using them very slowly. I'm amazed how much that hurts to do. I feel so much like a wimp.

This, of course, is the critic talking. The "real" me knows that I'm at the start of a new program. This person thinks that things take time, and that I'm building on something new.

But the Critic is saying that I'm so weak because I can't even get through all the exercises with the dumbells. And we're talking really light weights here, people. This is nothing. How can I be so wimpy?

The "real me" knows better. I'm doing something here. It's getting me results. I am feeling the burn, which in turn means that I'm going to have more growth. I am in a process. I'm thrilled about this.

I think I'll let the "real me" win this one.


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10.27.03 Weekend Check-In

This weekend, I crossed another threshold. I have now lost 32 pounds to date. I have gone from size 2X shirts to a regular XL. I am on the verge of going down yet another waist size in my pants. That will make 4 waist sizes since August. Not too shabby, eh?

My success is based on several pillars. First, I am working so hard on my self-esteem, because it's partially that which brought me to this current weight. Second, I have the support of a very good teammate, and that makes a strong difference in the work I'm doing. Third, I'm learning more and more about fitness and nutrition, so that I may be better informed when I make my decisions in life. And finally, I'm beginning to set fitness goals that go beyond my just wanting to lose some weight and get a little more fit.

It's amazing how these efforts change the way I perceive myself. For one, when I don't look in the mirror, I think I'm much thinner than I actually am. Second, if I look at myself in the mirror, I see all the progress, not all the faults. I am very grateful for these changes. I'm happier thinking I'm thinner than I really am instead of thinking I'm too fat when I'm not. There are many who fall into the latter, and eating disorders are not fun. I'm thankful that I see myself the way I do.

Today is day one of the new program. It's not that difficult yet, but that's because today was benching and rowing, and that's nothing too vital. I'm looking forward to learning even more. But man, I've got a great teammate!


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10.23.03 Two Days to Go

I have Friday and Saturday left to go and then I'm moving up to that next program. I'm looking forward to it. I think that'll be the key to me getting to a new level with my fitness and my weight loss. It'll also be tough.

It's funny how what I used to do at the gym seems to pale in comparison to the work I'm doing here. I think it's because the added level of endurance exists in these workouts instead of what I was doing at the gym. There, if I had eight to ten reps, I was done until the next set.

Not any more. Every little movement is a focus. And the slower I go, the more it hurts to get there. I think this is a good thing. I imagine this will turn around and be endurance as time goes forward. I'm looking forward to seeing where the results leave me by Christmas. Because when it gets to then, I'll be running.

See you Monday.


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10.22.03 Mental State and Working Out

It's amazing how easily I can let my bad mental state overwhelm my interest in taking care of myself. I figured I had that kind of stuff fairly tightly wrapped, but I guess not. I have to find my way around that.

When something goes squirrely with my morning rituals surrounding fitness, I let it impact the way I feel for the day. Because of this, I feel less in control of my choices than I believed myself to be. I don't have any solutions, but I know that's the issue.

I'm looking to find a way to shut out the stray thoughts, the rough feelings. I want the work to be more than the mind. I want it to be alive inside me, something I'm fighting for instead of something I'm fighting against.

This seems to be a constant theme in my head.


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10.21.03 Sore Arms, but a Good Sore!

Boy, doing things with dumbells really makes ones arms sore. It's a nice kind of sore, akin to when you go out and chop wood for a while. It's the kind of sore that makes you feel like you've really accomplished things. It's the kind of sore that will build lean muscle tissue that will burn my fat with more effiency.

I'm really enjoying the new brisk walks, too. We really put our legs into it. Not enough to lose our breath, but definitely more than a delicate stroll around the town. It's great to feel this power that my body is giving me in return for all my hard work. I'm grateful that this exchange is happening.

I am loving this program, and thankful for a good partner.



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10.20.03 Up A Notch

This week marks the third cycle of the 28 day program I'm following. I've done this for almost three months. The good: I've been sticking with a program of fitness and nutrition for longer than I've ever stuck with one before. The bad: I have graduated out of the program we've been using, and have discovered that I need to take my workout up a notch.

First off, I puchased some dumbells. This was a trip in itself. When I used to work out at the gym, I could curl 65 pounds easy. I used 55 pounds for my bench pressing, and then went up to 75 or 80 in each hand. When I did back work, I did even more. So, imagine my chagrin at picking up two little 10 pound weights, all coated in neoprene. They looked so small and wimpy.

I am *so* glad Kat persuaded me to get those instead of the 20s.

There's a HUGE difference between throwing around hunks of metal for 3 sets of 8-10 reps, and the work I'm doing now. When you're moving slowly through well-measured repetitions, and where holding and sustaining are required, it's amazing how much can be done with so little weight.

My arms are so sore. We did benching and bent over rows today. Now, the rows weren't all that bad. I probably could've used a little more weight there, but, I never in a million years would've imagined feeling so much burn and wobbling out of stupid little 10 pound weights. I take back every disparaging remark I ever made towards other guys at the gym for lifting such paltry amounts. If they were doing what I'm doing now, I get it. Sorry. I get it!

The other thing I'm going to do is change my workout program. The book I purchased to get me starting was fine for the first cycle, and probably part of the second, but I can breeze through the workouts without much sensation that I'd done something. So, I got a new book.

Same guy, but this is the book that people with only 20 pounds to lose are using. This is for fairly fit people to get back into shape with. My book was for people like me, who weren't really fit at all. My take is that the new book will give me a boost to that next level.

I'm doing that in all steps. I'm doing brisker walks. I'll consider running come Christmas-time. I'm working harder on the nutrition. So, it's an all around push.

I've taken it up a notch.

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10.16.03 Slipping Last Two Days

I've been eating a little more than I'm allotting just these past few days. I think I'm reacting to my recent success and treating it as a reason why I can afford to backslide a little bit. That's got to stop.

Not in some insane way, but I just really need to keep my momentum. I'm only 25% through this effort. My mission suggests that I must maintain and sustain the efforts that I've been working so hard on since August Fourth. This is my chance to do just that.

One reason I've been able to eat more is that I haven't been following my water intake so closely. It's harder to feel hungry enough to eat when you're pouring a gallon or more of water into you every day. Another reason is that I'm not eating every three hours the way I'm supposed to, according to my plans. This is probably making my metabolism jump a little bit, and I need to get that throttling back to normal.

On top of this, stress levels have been a little higher due to a few considerations. I am an emotional eater, so this is an easy trigger. That said, I'm staying closer to my goals even when I go off the reservation.

The very last thing I need to fix: middle of the night eating. I still really like something sweet between 10PM and midnight. I'm going to get there.

Anyhow, I thought I'd share some of my current setbacks, so that if you're reading this thinking that it's always rosy, it's not. This is work. This isn't easy. I was the biggest skeptic I know, and now, I'm doing it. Look at those numbers on the left hand column. That's pretty damned good.

I just have to keep my focus.


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10.14.03 Two Pounds a Week

Sometimes, it's frustrating to see how slow my progress with my fitness goals is going. Two pounds a week is a slow motion kind of thing. I've been doing this since August Fourth. Faithfully. Shouldn't I be done by now? The answer is no.

For one, two pounds a week is commonly referred to as the sustainable amount of weight that people can lose. That means I won't likely just chunk it all back on if I keep losing it at this pace.

For another, two pounds a week adds up. Look over there at that left hand column. I've lost 26 pounds since August 4th. That's not too shabby at all. This, by the way, is the thinnest I've been in many years. Maybe 10. So it's nothing to sniff at.

I have 74 pounds to go. That sounds like a mountain. But I *did* have 100 to go. And so, I'm over 25% complete on this effort. I'm working hard. This isn't easy work by any stretch of the imagination.

The funny thing is, as I continue to lose more weight, I'm shifting my interests in fitness from losing weight to other venues, such as improving my cardiovascular strength and fitness. I'm also looking into new methods of exercising, such as maybe running, maybe rock climbing, and other ways to get my body to respond to the newfound power that keeps coming to me as a result of my efforts.

It takes a lot of work to lose those two pounds a week. I have to maintain my eating plan. I have to stay vigilant to emotional eating. I have to get up every morning religiously and follow the rituals that form my fitness plan. I have to take extra time to do walking (eventually running).  But it's worth it.

So, I guess I'll keep my two pounds a week. It's really doing me well.


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10.09.03 Born to Think About Running

Regular readers of my fitness journal know that I've jogged a few times in the last month. I'm doing it in fits and starts so far. I'm thinking that I'd like to "up" my fitness program once I hit the halfway mark for the weight I've got left to lose, which should hit around Christmas time. So, what shall I do?

I have two trains of thought in this regard. The first is that I might want to engage in some all over fitness program, and the ones I keep referring to are models of military training, such as the Navy Seals fitness program. Why? I don't know, but I guess because it seems like it's challenging. Mind you, doing the low-level work I'm doing right now feels challenging, but that's why I'm not thinking of starting this new level until the end of the year. And I mean on top of my morning fitness that I do with my teammate.

The other thought is that I might want to start running. Why? The old me used to say that the only time you'd catch me running was if Godzilla were chasing after me. The new me is saying that running is like the ultimate test of my new abilities and that I'll have really "made it" if I can run.

Running is much more cardio-vascular in focus than the overall fitness program from the Seals. The overall program is much more diverse in what it will give me for body strength and endurance ability. Of the two, I think the running is maybe the easier goal to achieve, in that it's just learning one skill (Yes, I know it's complex) instead of picking up an entire new fitness regimen. With all those factors in mind, it seems most likely that I'd start with running and then maybe take on the Seals somewhere near the 3/4 mark in my weight loss goals.

I have a great book on beginning running called RUNNING START TO FINISH, by John Stanton (See left sidebar). The first time I read it, I got to the part about selecting good footwear and got bored. This time, I'm not going to get mired in the gear. I have some new shoes that should probably do the job. They're meant for hiking, but I can't imagine they'll do anything too bad for me. (You can all laugh at me if I report severe blisters and excruciating pain after running with inappropriate shoes).

The funny thing is, starting running after Christmas in New England is like making a New Years resolution to commit suicide by throwing myself to the icy pavement. More likely is that I'll pick up this habit as weather permits, and will satisfy myself with some blend of other goals until there's enough of a thaw to get my body out there into the fray.

Do you run? Any advice?



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10.08.03 Caffeine

I have a definite problem with caffeine. I have been trying to kick that habit since August of this year, but it's not very simple. I stopped having caffeinated diet Coke, but still can't seem to pass up the regular coffee in the caf. Why? The other coffee is just as good to me (I have crappy taste buds, but it tastes the same to me). So, what's the deal?

I'm still working in getting that out of my system. I would've used juice as an alternative, but juice has a lot of calories that I'd rather use for vegetables and lower-sugar fruits.

Don't talk to me about water. I drink a minimum of a half gallon a day. I am nearly floating all day long.

So, I'm still working on it, but it's rough. I need to find some kind of bridge off caffeine. Have you kicked it ever? What worked for you?



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10.07.03 Those Darned Abs

Y'know, I'm working out every day, and I'm doing cardio stuff, and I'm losing weight, but man, those abs take a LOT of work, don't they? I'm not asking to have washboards (okay, secretly, I think that'd be kind of neato, but not really). I just want to get rid of those weird stuffed animals hiding underneath my flesh.

Every morning, after the official workout, I do side to side turn things where you lie down with your knees bent, and then tip your knees over to one side of you while keeping your upper body flat. I do crunches. I do lower leg raises. I do side crunches for those obliques.

But man, of all parts of the body, this one really seems to take the longest to work into something different than what it's been for most of my life. I'm just lucky that I have almost a year left to go before I hit my goals, because maybe they'll get better over the next two months. Abs are difficult.

And yet, I've got no real clue why I'd bother, except that I want to get some of my gut out of the way. Yes, I know that a stronger torso makes everything else better and that's great. But I'm not looking to become an underwear model, so who cares about washboards?

I'll just keep on keeping on.




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10.06.03 On The Road


Boy, taking your fitness and nutrition program on the road can be hellish. We went to a cabin in Bar Harbor, Maine for a week. The good part of this is that we had our own cooking facilities, and so we could cook stuff that fit our nutrition plan's needs. The rough part of this is that we had to find ways to sneak in our fitness, while sharing a space with another family. Because hey, who wants to do exercises in front of other people if you don't have to? Not me.

We did fairly well on the eating. There were several meals where we couldn't exactly eat on plan (1/2 a plate of veggies, 1/4 plate of carbs, 1/4 plate of protein). Most times, veggies were the issue. We just couldn't get enough of them to make up the right portions. Often, fruit had to be substituted. But even given this, we both came back with losses instead of gains, and we felt like we did the best we could with what we had. Portion size mattered the most when eating something off plan.

Regarding exercise, we did all that we were tasked with doing. I think we did two days in one at one time, because we never got to the exercises one morning. We did as much walking as we could while a hurricane pounded down rain around us, but hey, it's hard to haul a 16 month old girl into the storm and still feel okay about yourself. I did get to go jogging again one day. That was weird. I just really felt an urge to do it. I think reading a book about Navy Seal training probably had a bit to do with it.

One thing that worked really well was writing down all our week's exercises on a little 3x5 card for reference. That way, we didn't just fudge around and freestyle what we had to do. That part was nice. Another part that worked out was that I could get out and do some cardio work eventually, with or without that little kid in tow. She likes stroller rides. I just wish the weather was better.

So, I'm down 24 pounds since starting the program in August. I've got a mini goal of being down 50 pounds by Christmas. That's halfway towards my goal, and it's a bit ahead of schedule. I have "slip" time, in case of any plateaus.

How are you?




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