5-24-23 Survive

Before I get into my rant, some good news for me. I switched back to intermittent fasting + high protein/low-moderate carb diet at ~1500-1600 calories and a goal of 170-190g protein. I’m also focused on getting about ~15k steps a day along with my mix of bootcamp, boxing, and strength training sessions. I do seem to be making progress. I just want to say “fuck off” to those completely reliant on calculators. The 2100 calories was not working for me for weight loss. It might be a fine maintenance calorie intake at my normal activity level and might be a thing to do when I switch to a heavy strength training focus instead, but that is not my goal right now. I want to say those 2 months on the “Shed” program were wasted…but in a way they weren’t. It told me that I can’t rely on god damn groupthink. I’ve been doing this for a while and monitoring how my body reacts to different diet/workout combinations. I have to have faith in myself.

On to the rant. I’m in a no bullshit kind of mood today. I’m surrounded by a lot of “neurospicy” folks that almost constantly seem to be posting something that supports their “oh woe is me, I have this condition and it makes everything so much harder!”. I’m done with that. Your friends on X social media might jump in to agree with you, but the world does not fucking care. I grew up in a chaotic poor household. I lost my mom when I was 18. I have no innate physical talents. I have more than my fair share of social anxiety. I had all the fucking excuses in the world to be a useless stick in the mud growing up. What would that have gotten me had social media been a thing back then? I’d either be homeless or in another chaotic household as I found a way to just survive. Or maybe I’d be dead more likely the way my body was going back then. Probably at my own hand come to think of it. This is fucked up to say, but maybe depression’s result of suicide is a weird sort of mercy. If you stop trying, the brain doesn’t want to suffer needlessly anymore and so it finds a way out for no other solutions are possible. I’m either too stubborn or maybe too much of an iconoclast to want to give in now.

You gotta fight every fucking day to make it anywhere. And it’s better that way is my thinking now.


5.15.23 Fitness journey

I decided to add long distance walking back into my program. I walked 7 miles yesterday afternoon. I need a better strategy for socks, that’s for sure.

I still need to check the data, but going by memory I do believe my leaner periods were associated with intentional walking on the regular. In particular, I keep looking back at Dec 2021-March 2022 when I broke my plateau and hit the leanest I had ever been. The weight started to creep back up once the Cicada swarm got so bad that I couldn’t walk without being regularly smacked in the face/neck, and I just lost the routine since. I also think back to 2019 which was another successful period in dropping my weight. Back then I was in the office 4 days a week and made it a point to do regular walks on my lunch break (~20-30 min). That and walking to and from the metro added to my steps, plus the bootcamps I did at night (when I had more time to do so consistently) contributed to an average of 15k+ steps a day. I only did the 1 heavy strength train session a week with a PT (who had a background in heavy lifts and training them). My protein wasn’t high enough at the time to capitalize on the muscle gain was the only issue.

The added bonus of the long walks is my disconnect time and/or focused time listening to my audio books. When I was in my 20s and lost that first large chunk of weight (80 lbs), I had spent 30 min on the elliptical and read a book at the same time. I linked my love of stories with a lot of steps, effectively. I also had nothing else going on in my life except work so it was easier to be consistent. Sadly, I had no access to the information I do today in regard to just how important protein is and how to really work rep schemes.

5.9.23 The Journey

Today’s sleep wasn’t great. I went to bed earlier but remember waking up sometime around 3am. My wife had trouble sleeping again and came to bed sometime around then. Wonder if it is the adderal the doc put her on. Fitbit says i got up at 4:30. My plan was to wake at 5. Maybe starting to go to bed at 9 isn’t cutting it and I need to start going at 8:30.

Side bar, sitting on the metro and hear the driver announce that we are holding due to an “unruly customer at the next station”. Dc is getting nuttier.

On the diet front, I’m going back to the 1800 cal build with 200g protein, 80g carbs, 60-80g fat. While I know trainers on this trainerize app can see when someone isn’t “adhering” to a given diet plan, I honestly don’t believe this one truly gives a shit. Maybe I’m being a little passive aggressive but I’m focusing on what I know works for me and minimizing my communications. The only thing I’ll try are the workout builds themselves but I’m going to be much more liberal on using substitutes. It acts like a program for newbies but then throws in the more complex exercises with barely a few lines about how they work. It isn’t safe.

There was a guy on their group chat the other day celebrating after a year of being on this program that he lost 5 lbs. That is tragic. I half wonder if the guy running it doesn’t really just want a cult of personality. I think by week 8 I’m just going to ask to cancel.

5-8-23 fitness journey

It’s been what, a month since my last update? My mind is still a little bogged down with the breakup. It might be in part my anxiety around the possibility of having to confront them later come ren faire season. While I know they didn’t super care about my fitness level, it still matters to me and it serves as a sort of bulwark against the mental anguish. It isn’t so much just the aethestics but rather how I’m able to take this goal many people struggle with and accomplish something. To show that no matter what bs gets thrown my way, I find a way perserve and get better than I ever was before.

Right now I’m doing that shed program. It’s been a little over a month and I am not impressed. I’m taking what little bit of knowledge I’ve gained from it and going back to my own thing. Upping my calories to 2100 just showed me what my maintenance is. I have a deadline to meet. The guy running it seems to be focused more on body count than quality. I get he has a business to run, but I don’t have to settle for a shitty product in return. I’m going to drop my calories to about 1800 with a focus on high protein. And put more time into the kickboxing classes I’ve started on.

3.14.22 Diet Journal

Today’s entry will be a bit of a quickie as I wait for my coffee protein mix + 800 ml of water with BCAA mix to run through my body before I walk to the metro. Even with getting up at 4:30 am I don’t feel like I have enough time in the morning to ever make it to the office at a “normal” time. Thankfully it hasn’t been an issue in a long time, but I still feel a little guilty about it.

Diet still needs some retooling. I hate to do it but I think I need to simplify things a bit and keep my lean meat servings to 125-150 grams. Maybe 125. Twice a day, + the morning protein mix. I’m clearly doing the workouts regularly. I’m even going above and beyond with the extra cardio. Yet my weight/body fat keeps right around 208. I can’t reasonably sustain 2 a day workouts. Hell, even 6-7 days a week is a bit much considering the writing goals I have. While my current diet is fine for when I’m more focused on strength training (seems to be roughly maintenance at this rate), I really want to drop the body fat by ren faire season. As they say, can’t outrun your diet. So I’ll keep it simple during the week

  • Morning protein (coffee or smoothie mix).
  • Lunch is 125g lean chicken + ~150-200g veggie mix + some light sauce.
  • Afternoon fruit at the office (they seem to be packing these regularly now, which I appreciate)
  • Dinner is 125g lean chicken + 150-200g veggie mix + some light sauce + carbs (beans or sweet potato) at 150g

It’ll be boring but I don’t really care about that. Resisting the unexpected temptations is the real trick. Let’s do this.


3.11.23 diet journal

Doing okay today. I didn’t do the extra bike cardio like I had planned (it was raining outside). I thought I could do it after work but I’m just too mentally tired to do it. Now that I think on it, this is like a variation of the idea of “Your body is only as strong as your mind”. That’s a motto I picked up a long time ago at an internship that stuck with me. It was one of those phrases I held onto the first time I lost a lot of weight. I remember watching a Big Think video by Penn (of Penn and Teller) and he was talking about how he lost weight, and how much he had disagreed with the mind-body connection…until he lost the weight. The more surprising revelation to me was anyone believing that the mind could operate independently of the body. I suppose you could try to argue for Stephen Hawking as an example for this, but that is the rare exception and TBH, imagine how much more he could have done if he didn’t have that health struggle. Anyway, all this to say is that I’m not a big fan of how corrupt the “health at any size” movement has gotten. Yes, it is absolutely possible to be at a higher BMI or even body fat % and still be able to do a lot with your body. The fact I can still do clean pushups at my current weight (something I could not do the last time I was at this weight) is testament to that. However, joints and tendons longevity are a function of the amount of force you put on them over time. I’m certain my foot bone spur issue is only exacerbated by the amount of weight I’m dealing with. You don’t get to be obese or morbidly obese and not expect to suffer quality of life consequences for it. I’m not a fan of that magical thinking. You shouldn’t get judged for that, I’ll agree strongly with that. On the flip side, I do strongly agree that a person’s social worth should not be tied to their weight/fat. Just don’t complain about your inevitable physical and mental pain that’s tied to that. I don’t have enough emotional labor pool to handle that.

Anyway, after that digression. The diet’s been mostly on point. I did have some mission BBQ yesterday instead of the planned chicken thighs/rice/beans/veggies. I went with their normal sized salad, took some lean brisket, some honey mustard and some of their smoky mountain bbq sauce and mixed it all together. I also had a small cornbread. I was still within my cico goals. My protein might have been higher than I planned though. I’m going to try capping my protein to 160g for now. I might not be measuring cooked food correctly. I know calorie stats for my meat-based proteins are based on their raw weight. When you cook anything, some of that total mass is burned away (especially with the air fryer or oven). That makes the food more energy dense. So I might be taking in significantly more calories than I thought I was. Rather than try to figure out the stats post cooking, which is hard, I’ll just lower the values a bit and observe the data. As long as I keep doing everything else I’m doing. The running has been helpful when I do it. I’m going to add post strength training cardio (30 min) for Sunday as well. I’m hoping to make quicker progress through all of that. Hell, not even quicker, positive at this point is good. Anyway, here are the stats:

3.8.23 diet journal

This past weekend wasn’t super great, but it wasn’t horrible either? I stayed over at my partner’s friday night. I manually weighed myself that morning and I was at ~206. Then there was a birthday party that afternoon and I had more carbs than normal. A couple burgers, some chips/popcorn, and cake stuff. I also didn’t workout that day. I went up about 2 lbs the next morning. I did do a full body strength training session (sumo deadlifts, DB bench presses with alternating rows, then skullcrushers/incline curls). I ended up faltering towards the later afternoon when I went couch shopping with the wife and we stopped at mod pizza. I did try to be reasonable as I could and thought I could get away with a “jasper pizza” at mod pizza with a little extra grilled chicken for ~800 cal according to fitbit. It’s hard to trust anything online though. I ended up pushing 211 the next day.

I kept up with my workouts. I’m also changing my remote work schedule to have 3 days at home. I’m going to use this to add in those wind sprints again. Nothing gets more effective than that for a sustained elevated heart rate. Fitbit is way too generous on the calorie value of steps. I’m consistently burning around 3000-3500 calories and taking in around 1600-1900. Going strictly by that you’d think I’d be dropping like a stone…but months of data shows that is not the case. Strength training has been good for overall functionality and pain management (or rather prevention). Bootcamps have been good for similar reasons and get some cardio benefits…but they can be inconsistent in intensity depending on the trainer. My average heart rate BPM ranges from ~120 to ~140 depending on who is running a class and the workouts we do. From what I’ve seen, there is a much tighter correlation between BPM and calorie burn than anything else. Wind sprints get the best bang for buck. I started a set yesterday during my lunch hour. With my new schedule next week, I plan to do that Wednesday/Friday/Sunday on my str training days. Just today alone showed some interesting stats.

I don’t normally do a post workout weight in but I had a strange fluctuation this morning. My carbs were on the low side yesterday (I had ~175g of beans total that day, then some spinach and tomatoes, netting to around 53g of carbs). Then a lot of chicken thighs (boneless, skinless). I was surprised to see my weight go up; however, my bodyfat (According to aria) went down signficantly. Then I remembered the spices I used had a lot of salt. I added some more salt via that MD blend [the name escapes me, but you marylanders know what I’m talking about]. Then I remembered the research I did a few days ago in regard to how much water weight you hold on to per g of carbs. In that research I also found approximation for salt as well. I had quite a bit of salt (I remember the taste). I also remembered back to that inbody weighin I did for the SF challenge and how high my Skeletal Muscle Mass (SMM) was, and how that dropped at the end (and yet somehow fat went up). I noticed the ECW/TBW (ExtraCellular Water over Total Body Water) had gone down. I might play with this idea to see if I can exploit the inbody machine to read the higher SMM again. Mainly out of curiosity.

In any case, my overall body fat has gone down. I’m going to keep with the run schedule as best I can. At least for this cutting portion. When I get back to the 180s (or even 170s) I’m going to need to figure out another strategy for long term maintenance. I’m obviously working out a lot. I do like working out but I worry that as I get older, something in my body will start to give. I also plan to start dedicating more time to actually writing books. Keeping a lower weight will definitely help (and I like my leaner look).

On to the stats:

3.3.23 diet journal

Not a whole lot of progress this week. The body fat percent might mean something but hard to say. I am planning on starting up my wind sprints again. Nothing beats the consistently high heart rate I get when doing it. In the past those runs have always resulted in weight loss. I remember my pt discouraged it for a bit since we were focusing on muscle build. My remote work schedule should be changing next week so hopefully, I’ll have more opportunities too.

I’ll be remote w-friday. I’m thinking bootcamps m/t. Upper str wed with either sprint back home or run after work. Th bootcamp. Friday legs. Saturday bootcamp or rest. Sunday full body str + run.

On to the stats.

3.1.23 diet journal

I feel like I’m stagnating this week. Or maybe it is just this morning throwing me off? I did my push/pull workout yesterday and got everything in. The diet was on point. Instead of walking I did some yard work (trimming and hauling some branches). My diet went well too. Only thing I didn’t include in my log was having about 30g of that cheese sauce stuff, which seems to be relatively low cal. They were a couple bites of yuca, maybe 25g total. I should still have been under as far as my incoming calories. I might also be bothered by the inbody I did yesterday. Even though I am about 6 lbs lighter than when I did the jan 16th one, it thinks I gained fat and lost muscle. Yet my clothes fit a bit better and I don’t feel weak. Of course I’ve worked with that machine long enough to know it has some accuracy issues. The only other thing I could think throwing me off was my water level. It suggested I was on the low side, which does typically correlate with the skeletal muscle mass reading (SMM). And anytime SMM goes up, it inevitably reports a drop in fat. Something I should try to give more credit though is the fat% report on my fitbit. That piece has been going down consistently.

I’m also just tired this morning. My sleep wasn’t super great monday either. At least yesterday I had a good reason to be up late. Well, no, Monday I had a good reason to be up on the late side too. I’m taking a GM workshop course and I’m learning some good stuff as far as quick story generation. This just made me think that I should apply the location + creature + treasure template to all the side quest scenes I have planned for my players.

Back to the fitness train of thought. Now that this challenge is over, I’m going to start using the gold gym thursday morning for my leg workout. I’m going to keep the same timing. It’s going to be tuesday: SF upper; Thursday: GG, lower; Saturday/Sunday full body (Primaries Deadlift, Bench, Rows; isolation Skullcrush/Incline bicep curl). As the weather is getting warmer I should be able to put in more walking time. Maybe even some wind sprints? I’ve always had good success with those wind sprints. I just *hate* doing it in any kind of cold weather. It hurts my throat to breathe in cold air at the rate I do. Maybe I can set aside masks for this. Point is I need to have a good amount of cardio mixed in with my Strength training sessions. I don’t have the setup to do 2 strength training sessions in a day.

On to the stats: