For January, I lost 4 pounds. I was feeling a little saddened by this, but I also know the scale doesn’t tell the full story. I asked to weigh in on the fancy scale at the gym, some $5,000 scale which gives you tons of info.
While I did lose 4 pounds, I also lost FIVE PERCENT body fat. I also gained THIRTEEN POUNDS in water. Considering I am drinking 5 quarts a day (about 10 pounds) for 30 days, that means I am drinking about 300 pounds a month in water!
Water weight will go up and down. I’ve also been under some career stress, but that should sort itself out in the near future.
What I wanted to do today was to share that nugget so people don’t focus SOLELY on the scale, and I also wanted to talk about the haul that I did.
I’m sure many of you might have natural food stores around, or perhaps your grocery stores might have bins.
What you see above is about $65 worth of staples that will last me months. Within this haul I have:
- Big jar of local raw honey – I use this almost solely as my sweetener in things. In 5 months, I’ve not had so much as a sniffle
- Black beans – I have never eaten these, but the nutrition looks off the charts. I think I’m going to make these up with brown rice.
- Chia seeds – I add these to oatmeal, yogurt, and they are a central focus in my oatmeal cups. Pack a ton of nutrition
- Lentils – lots of protein, I add these to my soups
- Rolled oats – I credit these with helping my heart and reducing my blood pressure. I usually have some form of oatmeal within an hour of working out
- Brown rice – a staple I use with my meal prepping
- Lima beans – unlike many people, I’ve loved these since being a kid. The dried varieties are surprisingly even better than canned. They take some work to make, but are amazing. Great protein. I also add these to my soups.
- Pearled barley – I usually add these to my soups, they seem to make them a little thicker.
Is a trainer worth it?
For me, there’s no doubt. I would highly recommend this to some of you who have tried many times to lose weight and have had some success, but ultimately failed. My trainer is constantly challenging me, and I leave there having my ass beat while also having a lot of fun. If any of you have lifted a lot of weights – you get into your 3 day cycles of chest/triceps, back/shoulders, legs – and rinse and repeat. It gets really boring, and for me, usually after 2 months, I’m bored and stop.
When I got to the trainer, I had lifted again for 2 months and had taken about 3 weeks off of lifting prior.
Here’s the rundown with my trainer:
- used numbers to benchmark my progress. Used a fancy expensive scale to get me numbers to start with. I’m a numbers guy, so this was really cool for me.
- Told me my BMR was 2800 calories. Here, I thought a trainer would tell me to eat 1600 calories. Nope. I was like…ok?
- Adjusted my macros from 50/30/20 to 40/30/30 (carbs/fat/protein).
- Encouraged me to do mostly weight training and cut back on the cardio for weight loss.
- Wanted to build muscle to improve my BMR
- Introduced “muscle confusion” so my muscles are not always doing the same thing. Before you send me the link to the article that this method is bogus, I am really liking it, for me.
- Introduced proper form on some common exercises I was doing
- Introduced me to many, many, many exercises I never heard of or thought of
- Had me do low impact cardio. Prior to going to a trainer, I had also recently broken my fifth metatarsal in my left foot from overuse of running/walking. This then introduced the elliptical and swimming to me!
- I had requested a form of “circuit” training because I can’t get to the gym 6 times a week. She mentioned most muscle groups only really need to be worked once a week, maybe twice for some. So I’m hitting the gym for weight training twice a week, and doing swimming 2-3 times a week.
- The rep counts are much higher than I’ve ever done, with less time between sets. I used to start with lower weights at 12, then middle weight for 10, then higher weight for 6-8. It’s kind of the reverse with this system, and man is it getting me quick gains in strength.
I never had anything against trainers. Years ago, I just didn’t really have disposable income for this. I had lifted for many years, and I just didn’t see as something for me. It was needed for those people who never got off the couch before. Well, I’m in a position where I have a few bucks laying around and I can do this now. And it’s been completely worth it. In 9 weeks with a trainer, I’m down 14 pounds. While many of you might look at this and say FAIL…I need to also give this number with some disclaimers:
- I am eating a ridiculous amount of food. I think since September, I’ve actually been HUNGRY about 5 or 6 times.
- I am now drinking so much water it’s ridiculous. I was chronically dehydrated for probably well over 2 decades. As mentioned above, I’m properly hydrating my body these days, and I feel amazing.
- I am adding a lot of muscle. With all of the weight training, I’m getting much stronger. While the “weight” has gone down, what has really gone down a ton is my amount of fat on me. My clothing are really big on me, and I feel great all the time.
- I FEEL thinner. While the scale might say 14 pounds, it feels closer to 30.
- I’m always in a good mood and have tons of energy. I credit a lot of this to the advice/guidance above.
- I have an irrational fear of losing 100 pounds in 4-6 months and having “loose skin” everywhere. I told my trainer going into this that my goal is to do this in 2-3 years. While this may happen at some point, unlike my year’s past, I’m really ok with anywhere between 1-2 pounds per week for the long haul.
- This is not “The Biggest Loser”. First, you should read up on how many of those people gained some or all of the weight back. It’s a TV show, and they use every tool available to trim WEIGHT, not just FAT. It is not REAL to lose 15 pounds in a week. You might be losing fat, but this also is telling me you’re losing water and muscle. Most weight loss should be around 2 pounds a week at most.
- This is NOT DIETING. REPEAT: I AM NOT DIETING. I learned how the fuck to live a normal life. I am learning, from the ground up, how to really fuel my body properly. If you eat shit foods, you will pay for it when it comes time to workout. I have been steadily observing things. Last Weds, I had a cheat meal with my team. Chicken tenders and fries. Well….these chicken tenders were MASSIVE. I must have had a half cup of BBQ sauce. I put this stuff into MyFitnessPal with my best estimates and it essentially told me I’m done eating for the day. My macros were WAYYYYY off. Thursday, I went to the gym and really must have had my worst workout yet. So, just a reminder I shouldn’t have my macros this far off.
Bonus: Foods I stay away from
Look, when you are trying to live a better life, you try your best to eat healthy…and occasionally I have the “cheat meal” where I eat whatever I want, but I still have to hit my macros and calories for the day. So maybe today is Saturday and I have two slices of pizza for dinner. OK. I need to then understand what else to eat during that day to make it work for me.
That being said, there are just foods I really stay away from. These might be foods that are just so bad nutritionally, I rarely would eat them. Here’s the list, and why:
- Donuts. While I was never a huge donut fan, these are just packed in calories and a lack of nutrition.
- Ice cream. I LOVE me some ice cream. But I just can’t justify the calories right now. Maybe when it’s hot out I’m ok with a small cone. However, I would have probably biked for 90 minutes prior to indulging in a small custard. This isn’t my previous life with the massive piles of ice cream and ignorance was bliss. I’m dead if I ever do this stuff again.
- Cookies/pies/candy. I’m not a huge dessert person, if you can’t tell. These things are loaded with sugar and flour. Candy is just way too many calories for nothing.
- Sugar. OK, so I have a little with my coffee, a few times a week. However, white plain sugar is just bad on soooo many levels. I do have some honey, but sparingly – and while chemically the carb might be the same, there’s a lot of other “stuff” with the honey.
- Butter. I DO use this a little, but you have no idea how much this can add up. I mostly use a butter spray. When I cook my eggs, I usually make some bacon first, then cook the eggs in the bacon fat. I have already counted that bacon fat in my calories, I might as well use it.
- Sodas of any type. Ever. OK, maybe once every month or two I have a diet soda. My wife got me drinking water 2 years ago. For maybe 15-20 years, my total liquids for the day may have been 2-4 12 oz diet pepsis and a coffee. I just avoid all soda now. All of it.
- Cream. Have you ever seen the nutrition information for cream? No wonder that food out tastes amazing! Lots of cream and butter in everything. You might actually be eating a whole lot more calories than you thought when you are out.
- Alcohol. The amount of empty calories is staggering. I put on over 100 pounds in college, and I’d attribute 90% of those calories to booze. I might have been drinking, on average, 15-25 drinks for 6 days a week for 3 years. This was mostly beer, and I’d drink from maybe 3 or 4 in the afternoon until 12-2AM every night. While 15 sounds like a high number, I wasn’t doing this during a 2 hour party. I never really knew how to “drink socially”, as I’m really “shy” when sober. Getting hammered helped open me up to the world of people out there. So the 15-25 drinks some days may have been 10…and others as much as 40. Some days on a weekend, I’d start around noon and be out until 4AM. At a 3 drinks an hour, that is 48 drinks. Then sometimes I’d power heave once or twice a day so I could keep drinking more. Then, let’s not forget how much chugging, beer pong, and turbo cups I did. I had a few of my friends try calling me out that there’s NO WAY I drank that much. Well, my final tally after college was 115 pounds added, and I was athletic throughout all of college – having made the college tennis team as a freshman, running, and playing intramurals throughout. Why talk about this part of my life like this? When in college, or unemployed, this was much of my life. It’s just not me anymore. I’d rather be left alone to read/write/play chess than socialize these days. While there’s no way this plan could have worked for me at this point in my life – I wish the knowledge I had hit me in high school prior to all of this.