This past month’s weigh in was slightly disappointing, but I wanted to put it in context.  I ended up about a half a pound less.

I watch a guy on YouTube at times named Alan Roberts, and he does “Every Damn Day Fitness”.  Cracks me up.  Love his videos.  However, I’ve stumbled across a few videos about a year old where he talks about how weight loss is a simple equation of calorie math and willpower.  I started to see red and make a comment, but eventually never posted.

I think anyone reading this needs to understand that the calorie math is some bro science shit.  Yes – the math and physics exist, but at this exact moment, no one knows exactly how it works.  No one.  Get this:

1. Ask 100 fitness “experts” about how many calories you burn every day, and they will find 100 different formulas to estimate your BMR, or basal metabolic rate.  That means, not one of them have the exact same number to give you.  On top of that, that is just the bare number of calories to keep you breathing.  How many calories did you burn walking out to your mailbox?  Cooking dinner?  Cleaning?  Each rep of 225 pounds on the bench press?  The problem then in this equation starts with HOW MANY CALORIES, EXACTLY, PRECISELY, DID I BURN TODAY?  And…no one knows this exact number.   I want you to process this.
2. Apparently, our food labeling can be off as much as 20%.  Could be 5%.  Could be 10%.  Could be more calories, could be less.  Did you weigh every single morsel and crumb that went into your mouth today, and every day?  EXACTLY, PRECISELY, HOW MANY CALORIES DID YOU TAKE IN?
3. So.  I know that one pound of fat is 3500 calories.  I don’t know how many I burned.  I don’t know how many I took it.  I’m going to ballpark it.  That, unfortunately, is how this all works.  You have a bunch of people guestimating.  And then when you do this and you don’t lose enough weight in a month, you are shamed because you eat like a pig and cannot control yourself.

This past month, I exercised more than I think I ever have in my life.  Or, close to it.  In the past month, I had my birthday – where I ate a good amount of low carb cake.  I got kicked out of ketosis and added tons of water.  I gained 18 pounds in water weight in 4 days.  In ZERO of those days did I have any more than 2200 calories.  On Thanksgiving, I also did not go over calories, AND I did a 3 day fast with zero calories each day.  I didn’t eat on Fridays.  I did the most exercise of my life.

And yet, Mr. Roberts and friends would like you to believe that I only created a 1750 calorie deficit during that time.  Eating the exact same foods, and less of them mind you, I only lost half a pound because I just didn’t count my calories right.  I ate too much.

Well, at the end of this shit, I got a good book for all of them.  I love Alan’s videos, and of the 50 or so I saw, 49 of them were awesome, and this one….well this one bothers me a lot.

During this month, I also was dealt a blow.  Read one of my previous posts called “Cancer sucks”.

Let me tell you what ACTUALLY happens during weight loss, for those of you who have struggled to lose weight.

1. Stress can hold weight on you.  Find things to de-stress you.  Cortisol is a stress hormone that will hold weight.  If you think about caveman times, calorie math was not a static number.  They might eat every few days.  At times, you wouldn’t get food for awhile and you can’t have your body dumping its fuel all the time.  If stressed, it would hold back reserves.
2. When you exercise a LOT, you create inflammation.  This also draws in water.  I gained one pound of lean body mass this past month and 1.5 pounds of water.  People just look at the scale when it doesn’t tell the whole story
3. I lost about 1.5-2 inches off of my waist.  Body re-composition is a real thing.  Last month I dropped like 8 pounds, this month was half a pound – yet I really dropped size this month.
4. Some foods you have may be more salty than others.  With keto, they tell you to eat lots of salt, potassium, and magnesium.  With the amount of exercise I did, I also needed a ton of water and sodium.  I had pre-workout a lot with creatine.  I felt like I was holding a lot of water.
5. Sometimes, you drop weight quickly in bunches, other times you’ll lose inches.  Everyone who ONLY looks at the scale is hurting themselves.  Get the tape measure out!!
6. Apparently, on low carb, you burn an extra 250-500 calories per day just breaking down fat stores for energy.  No one can tell how much, exactly, but this seems to support “a calorie is not a calorie” if you compare high carb foods to low carb foods in the context of a low carb, well-formulated ketogenic diet.

To conclude this section, I stopped calorie counting 5 months ago and I’m down 30 pounds in that time.  Jonathan Bailor wrote a book and did a lecture called “The Calorie Myth” which helped change how I saw food.  “If you pay attention to the QUALITY of the food you eat, it will automatically take care of the QUANTITY of food you eat”.  TRUTH!!!

Motivation

I’ve been on the David Goggins bandwagon lately.  But I’ve noticed a pattern.  I think people who struggle with fitness and wellness need more positive influences around them.   I think one of the problems I had a lot in my life had to do with who I surrounded myself with.  Habits that they had I picked up – and trying to break those habits while being around those people were tough, as I would then be somewhat “shunned” by those groups for trying to change.  Time after time, I would try and break free from the pack, and time after time I’d fall back into THEIR habits.  One thing that helped over the last few years has been less social contact with anyone.  At all.

While I wouldn’t recommend this for most people, I can tell you that I stopped “going to get drinks” and “going out to dinner” a LOT.  These behaviors were traps – I’d be out drinking, be 8 drinks deep, and sure – I can handle ONE smoke.  This then became 3 or 5.  Then I’m buying a pack.  I’d sleep like shit and be tired.  Then the next day, I’ll just finish the pack.  And it would start all over again.

I just feel like if I can change – ANYONE can.  I said something the other day I felt was something I’d love to pass on.

“One of the great things about life is that every day, you can wake up and be a better version of you.  The only thing that is preventing you from being better today, is you.”

I don’t believe anyone is perfect.  Somedays, we struggle.  While we are not perfect beings – we can create a habit of STRIVING for perfection.

Let me get some more mileage from two charts I created a few years back.  Staple this shit to your fridge.  Share it out.  This is how I observed that I broke the cycle I was in.  Let me warn you, that if you are to try and break out of the cycle, that you should do homework before doing it.  Smoking cessation programs, meal prep, gym memberships, meeting with your doctor, meeting with a trainer, meeting with a nutritionist.  So many people take the leap, but they don’t plan for failing – and it’s SO EASY to fall back into the comfortable lifestyle.

Often, you invent roadblocks and throw fear out there.  I am someone at work who finds problems, identifies roadblocks, and finds ways around them and how to mitigate them.  One of the big things I always hear – “That’s the way it’s always been done”.  OK.  “Can we do it better?  Who do I have to talk to in order to make the change to the process?”

I just feel that I was caught in a trap, and I gave every excuse.  I failed 200 times, and trying the 201st time was too…damn…hard.

However, your effort is a CUMULATIVE effort.  That means, if you really screwed up TODAY, you have 364 more days in the year to make it better.  Move on the next day, and do better.  For example – look at Nov 2016, Nov 2017, and Nov 2018.  And – I had already taken off 25 pounds prior to my Nov 2016 weigh in.

Military update

I continue to look into this, and I’m trying to narrow my focus to become a Navy IP professional officer.  As it stands currently, I’m about 1.5-2 inches too big on the waist.  Hoping I can hit that number towards the end of January.  Boards/interviews are in mid-February, and the truth is, I may not be able to hit that date.  Why?  Because I’m 43 and not 22, so I disclosed all of my medical issues which then requires a TON of documentation.

My biggest issue, above all, is something the recruiter pointed out.  My Barrett’s esophagus is a disqualifying condition.  However, just because it is listed as such, doesn’t mean the doctor won’t evaluate me in the totality of my medical profile and recommend I be processed.  OR – I could provide all of the records and they feel it is a condition they won’t even look at.  I was diagnosed with this in 2005, and apparently it came about from a ton of acid problems I had in my 20s that turned a portion of my esophagus into a lining similar to my small intestine.  There is a 1% chance of esophageal cancer every year, and you are to be examined every 3 years.  I have set up my appointment for January 11th as my first follow up – 14 years later.  I have had zero acid issues in more than a decade, and have no symptoms or issues with this condition.  It appears that the biggest issue with this is that there is a statistical chance it could develop into cancer at some point during my service.  However, if you look around at any military branch, I believe a ton of them smoke cigarettes.  So – am I THAT much of a risk?  Don’t know.

But if they turn me down on this, that is the end of my Navy journey.  It’s possible that the Army would take me down the road when/if the National Guard opens up.

I feel that this sucks – but having spoken to a few Navy IP officers already, they feel my background is EXTREMELY strong and competitive.  Most going for this are trying to use this position to advance their careers and learn a ton more.  I already have the certs/education/experience and am trying to bring it to the Navy.  Apparently, this is very favorable to the boards.

Also – apparently the 5 month training is at Virginia Beach, VA.  And – you can come home on the weekends.  This was a problem I was worried about, that seems to be ok now.

Lastly – I found stats of boards over the last few years, and the IP professionals have a selection rate of about 11%.  This means, I have a 1 in 9 chance (if put in to the interviews).  They are picking 12 on this round in February, which is a little higher of a number than normal.  If it’s the same number of candidates, I’m then looking at a perhaps 17% chance, or 1 in 6.  Having seen some of the qualifications of those selected – my resume, education, and certifications are in the Pepsi challenge with any of them.

So – 6 months ago, I was staring down a .000001% chance of this.  Through determination, research, and persistence, I’m looking at maybe a 1 in 2 chance of being one of the 12 selected – IF I can overcome the medical concern.  There is something to be said for not giving up.