Getting good, solid information from the internet is tough sometimes. Think about the studies on eggs over the years. Or salt. Salmon is great for you, right!! Nope, only the wild caught, due to the ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 in farm raised is terrible.
What if you got real information from people doing the work?
What if instead of getting tips from a person who has been buff their whole lives, you are getting information from someone who is doing this, real time? I want to talk about the progress, but also the minor setbacks you get along the way.
Today, I stepped on the scale and got down a few more pounds from last week. The needle keeps moving, so to speak.
Trust the process.
My challenge was that my weight seemed to not really move for 2 weeks. Tons of running, walking, and would take 1 rest day every 4-5 days. LOTS of lifting.
Why? Wasn’t I burning calories?
Well…..there’s a lot going on there. People don’t realize how hard it is to put on muscle, and it’s not nearly as much as they think. I’m watching my clothing get looser and looser, and for me, that is the only real metric I care about. Muscle takes up a LOT less space than fat, and it burns a lot more calories. So consider this:
My weight is down 18 pounds in roughly 8 weeks now. Had I done one of my diets from high school, I would have had 800-1200 calories a day, lost a lot of muscle mass, and dropped 40 pounds in this time. But this time…it’s not about numbers. It’s about health. And I’m trying to preserve and build lean body mass while I burn fat. Additionally, I’m taking creatine, which says that it can add 1-3% of body weight in water in your muscles. So, consider the following:
18 pounds lost….can be…
26 pounds of fat lost + 4 pounds of muscle gained + 4 pounds of water weight in my muscles from creatine.
So what I’m also doing is building up the fire pit. More muscle means higher metabolism, means I can burn fat faster down the road.
Meaning….if you hit a plateau of weight loss, perhaps the best thing to do is to take a day or two off, relax, and let your body heal up and regulate itself. Trust the process.
I hate that word. I prefer “proper nutrition”. However, with losing weight and being healthy, it’s like there’s a trifecta of cardio exercise, nutrition, and resistance exercises. If any one of them are off, it could really hamper or eliminate progress. Some people advocate the HIIT workouts, some advocate mostly cardio, some mostly workout for muscle. At my weight, I’m interested in first getting myself more fit before I take on something like HIIT. I don’t want to start it and fail 2 days in because my conditioning is too poor. Giving myself proper fuel for longer workouts is essential.
Also is making good life choices. I work from home a decent amount, and when I’m in the office, I have temptations when we go out to lunch. Making smart choices one after another builds your confidence up. Also, not being fucking so hungry you can eat tree bark helps as well. Drink lots of water. I eat breakfast as late as I can so I don’t get hangry for lunch and make bad choices. Take this for example:
In the above, I had a chicken-vegetable noodle soup cup (it’s smaller than it appears here) as well as a Caesar salad with chicken – and I get the Caesar on the side. This meal completely filled me for lunch, and came in at 553 calories (29.5 carbs, 28.2g of fat, 53.3 g of protein). The protein and fat satiate you for the rest of the day. I get Caesar dressing on the side so I can control how much goes on. I’m ok with using the 2 TBSP…but sometimes these places drench your salad. Also, the good folks at the restaurant forgot the croutons, so I probably skipped another 100 calories, but missed out on some carbs.
Later that night, I made up another salad, with chicken, and put some cheese on the chicken. MyFitnessPal gives me a ridiculously high number of calories for a day, and I try to get at least within 250-500 of these. Some days, it’s impossible. Here’s my dinner that night.
The chicken is leftover from a batch I made 2 days earlier. This dinner took me literally 5 minutes to make. It’s important to plan ahead, at least a few days, on your food. When you have nothing available, that’s sometimes when bad decisions are made. Consider this. The next night, I made up pork loin, peas, carrots, and lima beans. I’m a ridiculously picky eater, but for some reason, I have always loved peas and lima beans. As it turns out, lima beans are pretty good for you. I used them here with the peas as my “starch” rather than a potato/rice side. This pork loin was then able to make up 4 freezer meals, which I then took to my big freezer.
Each one of those meals has about 4 oz pork loin, and close to a cup of veggies. If I need to, I’ll eat 2 pieces of my whole wheat “health nut” bread for more carbs and fiber.
Moving on…more cardio and working out.
As I’m writing this on a Saturday morning, I took Thursday and Friday as rest days. Yesterday, both of my Achilles tendons were a little tender. When your body tells you to rest. REST. Do NOT confuse “pain” with “injury”. When you’re a bigger person and you push it with running and walking like I do, you do fear the worst. So, occasionally, you have to back the dial down and kick your feet up. Stay on your nutrition plan. Take an extra bath and soak. Read a magazine. Study up on your nutrition. Watch some fitness vlogs. Shop for that new gadget or app. Point is, REST. Let your body heal up. It is really good at fixing itself when you give it the right fuels and the right amount of rest. The above foods are high in proteins, and the animal proteins in particular are very good with repairing tissue. I believe they call them “complete proteins”.
The above pictures I want to let sink in to some of the bigger folks out there. On the left, you see some of my exercise for the week recorded on fitbit. On the right, you see a run I did using interval training over 40 minutes. The interval training I use to get a more intense workout in a shorter time. However, the more intense workout can be putting greater strains on my body.
You want to burn calories, right? Well, if you look at Tuesday above on the left, you can see I went on a one hour brisk walk, came home, ate my banana and peanut butter (I now add honey for more carbs) and then walked the dog twice around my neighborhood. If you look at Tuesday, my fitbit is telling me from my 90 minutes of walking that I burned about 1050 calories. If you look at the run on the right, it tags me at 634 calories in about half the time. However, the run on the right also has a really good cardio workout which is making my heart muscle stronger and will help me with oxygenation. You remember all of that ATP/anaerobic ATP stuff you learned in high school? Look into interval training, it’s pretty cool.
So my point is this – if you are feeling a little tender, and you still want to stay on your program, you can take some rest days. Perhaps if you are stir crazy, you take a leisurely walk (not high intensity) to burn some calories. Also – it’s getting a little cooler now here on the northeast, finally, but on the workout on the left you see biking. I’m up to 14 miles now, and I took off about 7-8 minutes in the middle of it to take some pictures and enjoy the scenery. This drove my mph down a bit. The 90 min or so on my fitbit had me burning 1437 calories.
So….MyFitnessPal has me doing 2400 or so calories a day, in order to lose 2 pounds per week. When eating REALLY healthy foods with veggies and fruits, it’s kinda sorta hard to accomplish this many calories. What do I do when you have the biking day where you burn another 1400 or so on top of the 2400? Well, early on I tried to keep up, and I just couldn’t , and I was still losing weight. Now, I just stick with the 2400, regardless of exercise calories burned and it still seems to be ok. My problems of many diet failures over time….was toooooo little calories. Imagine doing the exercise I have above, with only 1200 calories a day for a month? My body kept going into a starvation mode of sorts after my initial weight losses.
Eat your allotted calories. Keep a nutritious diet up. Rest. Exercise with cardio. Exercise with less intense walks. Lift weights. Bike. Get off the couch!
Best the best version of you…every day.