First – I want to pat myself on the back as another month goes by, and another 6.2 pounds came off. What is interesting about what I’m doing with strength training is that:
- I’m eating relatively a LOT of food
- I am NOT dieting
- I have chosen to live healthier
- The weight is taking care of itself, I try not to focus as much on that as feeling better.
- I’m adding muscle weight while taking off fat. So my 6 pounds of weight loss with this is showing up on the fancy scales as muscle being added whilst fat being trimmed and water % climbing higher. I saw most people should be like 60-65% water, and I started at like 51%. It’s climbing, as is my muscle mass. Years of cutting weight with starving myself, running all the time, etc had depleted a lot of my muscle and drove down my BMR.
Last night, I went bowling with my wife and some friends. One “first world” problem revealed itself – I have no belts that fit. They are all too big. I was pulling up my pants all night lol. I’m thinking I’m going to punch a hole for my belt, but it will probably end up with me in the ER for some reason.
Some of the staples I’m doing the “work” with…
- Kashi cereal in the morning
- Beef vegetable soup for lunch
- Dinners are usually either one of my frozen prepped meals, breakfast for dinner, or a diner trip on Friday nights.
I track my foods religiously.
I drink an obscene amount of water.
I work out “hard” once a week. The last 6 weeks my life has changed with a long commute, so my time after work sort of disappeared. I have, however, been able to get in my 6,000-10,000 steps a day and take my dog for a walk. Now that the sun is up longer and it’s getting warmer – I’m looking to introduce my biking again. Also, I want to get back out and play some golf, do some free runs (not trying to kill myself), and get outdoors.
Second – costs of being fit.
I didn’t grow up with a lot of money. Psychologically, it’s part of why I am how I am today, both the good and bad parts of that. It’s pushed me harder to succeed than I think many people realize, but there’s also some side effects of that I haven’t been proud of over the years. I always tell people that I’m a work in progress, and just try to be a better person every day. But I digress.
In those times where I didn’t necessarily have the most means, I was always considered a “picky eater”. Not to get into a thousand details, but it’s sometimes easier to buy some cheaper foods to last longer amounts of time and get you more “volume” of food. I would then “try to diet” and this would then lead to picking out organic this, or frozen that, etc – shit just added up in costs. If you really look at what costs a lot, you can boil it down to protein. Protein sources can cost a lot. But you can also buy a 5 pound bag of rice, 5 pounds of chicken, and a giant bag of frozen broccoli for a total of $15, and make 10-15 meals from this. This is one of my staple meals – and it gets exponentially better with some paprika and cayenne, but again, I’m going sideways.
You can buy items that are healthy and not destroy your budget.
But I want to take you on an aerial view of costs.
In one of my MBA classes at Villanova, we were discussing quality. What I read was, “you pay for quality upfront or in the end – but you pay for quality one way or the other”.
Let me explain, that this was in reference to an automobile company, and how they have to pay for R&D and testing on their cars. It costs a LOT of money to produce a car with high quality. However, if you skimp on this….2-4 years later, you could be sued for $10 billion and destroy your company. Perhaps a recall might cost you $800 million. Perhaps proper testing would have cost another $5 million.
So – the concept here with quality is to pay the $5 million now, to offset the $500 million cost later. Cost avoidance, if you will.
I want to now paint you a picture of what life is with not putting quality things into your body (and trying to go cheap on the “upfront costs”)…
- Food costs in the grocery store are lower. Yay!
- You tend to eat out more often, which costs a lot.
- If you don’t drink a lot of water, eat a good amount of fiber and protein, your total food consumption will be higher. So the lower costs of food at the store are negated because you eat more volume (and a LOT more calories).
- The food going into your body is shit. It then plays with your moods. This may drive you to have poor self control, “feel” things too much, smoke, drink, or add other vices to balance you out. Perhaps this costs you to get upset at work and cost you a promotion of sorts.
- Your clothing stops fitting, so you now have to buy clothing at special stores that have a 900% mark up. Buying clothing then becomes really expensive
- Because your clothing is so expensive, perhaps when something tears, rips, or has a stain, you choose to overlook it. This can cost you friends, dating prospects, career opportunities. And starts to mess with your self image.
- You can’t fit in seats on planes – or anywhere else. You read how airlines want to force people of your size to buy two plane tickets. You are humiliated at the thought you might not fit in a seat somewhere, and you stop going to concerts, movies, sporting events, and traveling on planes. Restaurant booths now are a challenge, so you tend to stop going out to eat. Food can be delivered, after all, or obtained in a drive thru. Don’t worry, I’ll do better on Monday.
- Persons who you have interest in, do not have interest in you. You are the same person, but your wrapping has changed, and thus people stop making eye contact with you. You then learn at an early age to not make eye contact with others because it is not reciprocated. You can literally go years of your life without anyone showing you overt signs of interest.
- You wake up every day with severe pains, everywhere. You start taking ibuprofen and Tylenol to deal with your frequent headaches. You start searching for miracles to make you feel better. You rationalize everything. “I’ll do better next week”.
- You can no longer sleep well. It might have been a few years since you got a really good night’s sleep because you’re snoring or sleep apnea is waking you up 42 times during the night. You are too tired to cook meals. You are too tired to take out the trash, and people generally consider you “lazy”. But they don’t understand that you’re tired ALL THE TIME. Your spouse hates you because you snore so loud you are now affecting their sleep and their career. You are kicked out of the bedroom and spend many nights sleeping in a chair in the living room and get a sore neck…every night.
- You can’t get life insurance. Statistically, you probably will die within the next 5-10 years. You now have a family that will have to survive without your income, or any life insurance.
- You are facing the prospects of getting cancer or perhaps, if you’re lucky, surviving a heart attack and getting a $50,000 bill for open heart surgery. Perhaps you are prescribed medication for your condition, whatever the hell it is, and the costs for your medication every month are $1,000.
- You get depressed. You realize that even if you lost 100 pounds, you’re still morbidly obese. Fuck.
Side note: There are a lot of campaigns out there trying to promote people of all sizes as “beautiful”. OK. I get it. I don’t agree, but I get it. But I do feel that people are justified in “not accepting” people of my size, however fucked up that sounds. We are smart enough to understand the theory of evolution, but too PC to realize people are attracted to who they are attracted to based on millions of years of biology, not because an ad campaign tells us to embrace them. I think Ashley Graham has a gorgeous face, not because someone told me to think she was hot, but because I’m attracted to her. I even wrote something about her here awhile back. Don’t try and tell people who they are supposed to like, they will do it on their own.
My wish, is that my work product is not discriminated upon nor I be held in contempt by people for existing. I am essentially a recovering food addict that finally got his shit together, and it will take some time for the final product to emerge. I would prefer a day of my life to go by where I was not ridiculed in some way. If you don’t pick me for your kickball team, I get it. Don’t try and force people to pick people for their kickball team they don’t want on it..or they will resent you. And I get that people like me are driving up the costs of healthcare for everyone. Instead of me insisting that other people pay for my problems, I’m taking personal accountability of my situation. I hope that other people do as well, so WE can together address our healthcare crisis, and not expect the government to fix this problem through higher taxes.
I’m doing this for me. If I can help you do it for you, awesome. If people want to then pick me for their kickball team later, I get that too. But I am not doing it for you. I’m doing it for me and my family.
End of PSA. We will now return you to the rest of this blog…
So. You’re going to feed your family for $70 on shit food, or you can make some life adjustments and spend $100 on higher quality food. Drinking more water.
One day, I went through a list like the above. What is interesting is that many times in my life, I was indeed losing weight for other people. I felt like a drug addict, eating badly all the time. I didn’t necessarily eat 20,000 calories a day, but the quality and volume of the food was so not right that you can’t help but gain weight.
I feel like if you ever try to lose weight for the wrong reasons, you will always fail.
My story simply began at needing to change from within. I am not dieting. Here’s what I still eat, from time to time:
- Pizza. Max 2 slices. No more than once a week, probably once every two weeks
- Ice cream. I had a scoop with a cupcake for my kid’s bday party. Perhaps before this might have been a big ass bowl of ice cream mixed with two cupcakes
- Meatball parm subs. Love them. Maybe once every month or two?
- Cheeseburger and fries. Often on Fridays, I’m coming home dead tired after a 60 hour week, have eaten AWESOME all week, don’t feel like cooking, and go to the diner with my wife for a quick meal. This is not healthy. But I used it as one of my two cheat meals per week, and I still do not go over my calories for the day.
- Pasta. I love pasta, but eat it at most once or twice a week. Anything left over, I freeze and eat over the next few weeks. I’ll try and have smaller portions and make up some broccoli with it, add some low fat ground beef/turkey for protein. I also use a lot less sauce than before and trim out most of the bread I ate with it. I also add red pepper now, which for some reason, makes it more interesting and I don’t eat as much.
Now, I want to tell you about the upsides of changing my life, and how this negates a lot of the bad list above:
The moral of the above is to think about the quality of life you want to live. I can now tell you the below is my life…and I can’t even imagine how awesome it will be when all is said and done!
- Food costs in the grocery store are not really bad. I buy staples that are used for soups, prepped meals, and overnight oats. I rarely, if ever, eat out and my total costs of food per month went significantly down. The cost for the bags of items above with the honey were like $75. I still have a lot of it, and the ridiculous amount of meals I get from that stash is just mind boggling. So, I was the one leading the pack with the costs of food. Well…I think my average food/booze/smokes/eating out costs may have been somewhere north of $1,000 for many years. I’d say now they are about $250-$400 per month, max.
- I rarely eat out. When coming home late after a long day, I’m too tired to cook. Luckily I have one of 5 or so options for dinner that are already prepped. I am usually eating dinner within 5-10 minutes of coming home and it’s high quality, balanced, nutritional options. I now avoid the costs of eating out, mostly. Maybe I have $100 in eating out per month (including the wife).
- I drink tons of water, eat lots of fiber and protein. I’m rarely hungry on 2400 calories a day. Feeding my body the right stuff does wonders. I no longer buy diet coke by the case, and drink water out the ass (free). I supplement some protein. I eat more veggies as sides. My “carb” quality is much better…meaning carbs for veggies I’d take far over carbs for a spoonful of sugar.
- The food going into your body is awesome. Your moods are stable, your blood pressure is much lower, and things don’t get to you like they did. You have much better self control and impulse control because your nerves and body don’t seem to need the crutches it did. With all of the time/energy you are putting into getting healthy, you are no longer tempted to drink/smoke. In fact, the idea of smoking right now repulses me. Smoking used to cost me about $200 per month. So, I now avoid $2,400 per year from smoking and maybe another $1k in drinking booze.
- Your clothing stop fitting, but it’s because they’re fucking huge. Summer is coming, and I’m about to buy some clothing to get me through a few months because by mid to late summer, I should be buying off the rack at most stores anywhere – at a much lower cost.
- Now my professional clothing are new, fit nicely, and I have a neat appearance at work. This helped me land the job of my dreams, and every day I dress to impress the customer and provide an example for my staff. I have had to get some of my professional clothing altered, and am in danger of having to get more altered.
- I’m now able to fit easily in any restaurant booth and looking to fly somewhere in the fall. I’m also looking forward to taking my son to a sixers game and perhaps even a Phillies game in Sept. A world has once again opened up to me and I’m excited at things I can do with my family and friends.
- I am making more eye contact, and people are making more eye contact with me. I’m still new to this game, but working on it. I am now (finally) getting legit compliments from my wife. Took awhile, but got one 🙂
- I wake up every day at 4:51AM and pop out of bed excited for the day. I feel amazing. I can’t wait to get to work. I am one of the first people there and one of the last people to leave. I’m accomplishing a LOT. I’m focused, calm, and able to multitask many things.
- I sleep like a baby most nights. Once in awhile, the wife yells at me about snoring, but it is the rare exception, and not a nightly thing. I wake up refreshed, no pains, no aches (other than my trainer killing me, and those pains feel amazing).
- I’m now considering a life past 45, perhaps past 80 because of my changes and my continued success – which is snowballing. In the next year I will qualify for some much better supplemental life insurance, and for me, that will help me sleep better at night knowing my family is taken care of.
- Rather than facing hundreds of thousands in medical bills, I’m looking forward to hopefully living a mostly clean life and having to treat the occasional flu as my highest costs. In this country, our cancer and heart attack rates are far more than the rest of the world’s. I realize bad things happen to even the best and purest of us, but statistically, I’d like to try and reduce MY contributions to that. While I may not erase all of the damage I’ve caused, I’ve also learned the human body is amazing and I firmly believe that my body will repair itself over the next few years and put much of my risk down the road to bed.
- I’m not depressed. I’m happy. I’m excited. I can’t wait to plant some sort of garden to grow tomatoes for my salads. I can’t wait to bike, run, golf, play catch with my son, play sports of all types. I am not as reclusive as I once was.
And this list….this is paying for quality up front. You see, when you are talking about quality of life and paying for it on the backend….you’re talking about a significant price, and that’s time on this earth. Buy the apples. Buy more lean protein. Put down the coke. Reduce your sugars. Cook at home more. Meal prep.