It’s Monday morning, and I’ve instructed myself to crank out a quick update before heading into work to get the week started. Looking at the blog archives, I see that it’s already been two weeks since the last time I posted something. Typically, Mondays are the days where i’m supposed to crank out a weekly measurement/stat/photo update on the progress with the weight loss efforts, but the thing is…I really hate doing it. As much as I’d like to be the type of person that’s really into physiological quantification, rigorously tracking activity and nutritional intake and steadily heading towards peak physical fitness, the reality that’s become very evident over my past updates is that I’m not. Even with all the tools I’ve collected over time, from analog tools like tape measures and body fat calipers to smart phone apps and wifi connected smart scales, there’s no out-the-box solution to fully automate that capture. At some point, it still requires sitting down in front of a text editor and compiling all that information. Like most people that aren’t professional athletes/body builders, it’s not exactly my favorite thing to do, especially since body changes, even when implementing a better diet and copious amounts of physical activity, is still a gradual process that fails to deliver on the instant-gratification level modern life has made us accustomed to. Much like I wrote at the beginning of the month, I’m still back in the high 190/low 200 lb range that I spiked up to at the end of August. For the majority of this month, I’ve been avoiding even stepping on the scale — knowing that the number it’s going to read out lacks context and doesn’t account for the trade off in fat to muscle that my increased running and body weight training has been causing, it feels pointless to take a measurement that I know is inherently inaccurate. I tell myself that I should at least fall back to the tape measure & photographs, but those are tedious and time-consuming to take as well. Yet, despite the lack of activity with written updates, activity in real life has stayed steady. I’m still steadily moving ahead with that pursuit of personal purpose and power I most recently wrote about. I’m looking at 10 miles a day for the rest of the month if I’m going to meet the 200 mile goal again for this month (which I fully intend to), and have been upping my game with the non-cardio workouts; over the past week and half, I’ve been spending a lot of time with a new friend who’s a professional yoga instructor, and he’s both forced and inspired me to raise the bar for myself. In addition to the body weight routines and 7-minute workouts I’ve been doing, I’ve also (finally) started actively targeting abdominal/arm muscles and general flexbility with the aim of being able to pull of advanced yoga poses and handstands like he can. More noteworthy than any set of measurements and photographs I could post is the feedback I’ve been getting in direct conversations with people, having recently started making a change from my ascetic & hermetic ways of the past few years. Though I regularly allow RunKeeper to cross-post my activity logs to my social media accounts, outside of the occasional Facebook Like and Twitter Favorite, I don’t usually see much by way of commentary. Yet, in “catching up” with old friends & acquaintances conversationally, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see it routinely being brought up by the other party. It’s validating to hear that my desired intent, to inspire even just one person on even the smallest level, is taking place out with these updates, even if I’m not immediately made aware of it.
As I wrote in yesterday’s update, I recently passed my “break even” point and started consistently recording new record low weights on my digital scale, which means there’s now actual progress to update on. Rather than inputting everything into a spreadsheet/HTML table like I usually do, I decided to give the bodytrack.it app a try and log things straight to my phone. It’s rough around the edges (read:buggy) and data input took much longer than it should have. I’m not sure I’ll be using it again, and will probably stick to data tables and notes for record keeping. Since it’s been so long since I’ve updated, I feel as though I should add photos…but I really hate taking them. Maybe next week.
STARTING POINT Stats Height 5’ 10” Goal Weight 160 Day # 1 Date: 03/21/2011 Measurements Neck 17.5 Upper Arm (Left) 13 Upper Arm (Right) 13.25 Chest 45.5 Diaphragm 45.5 Waist 44 Abdomen 46.5 Hips 44 Upper Thigh (Left) 25.5 Upper Thigh (Right) 25.5 Calf (Left) 16.75 Calf (Right) 16.75 Total Inches 353.75 Total Inches Lost – Weight 242 lbs. Weight Lost to Date – BMI 34.72 Change in BMI – Goal Distance 82 lbs. PHOTOGRAPHS (Edited for content: the point is to show off my disgusting gut, not my junk) Front Back Right Angled Right Left Angled Left The only haircut I’m allowed to have The jawline and hairstyle I look forward to having again
I am resurrecting a practice I once started to use awhile back that I called “Measurement Monday”. Now, I had already done this back in July right before I wiped all my accounts to a clean slate, so this might be redundant if the original post was read. Now, As much as I’m excited and eager to do this, it’s a serious long term commitment that honestly intimidates me; Not only is the commitment aspect intimidating, but this particular practice introduces a risk of humiliation. “Measurement Mondays” aren’t just text updates of tables and numbers. I also plan to attach photographic documentation, and publicly posting revealing photographs when you’re not physically in shape is a pretty embarrassing prospect that can only be validated through change and progress. So I have to really be committed and reach my goals, or end up making quite a big fool of myself. When I think of this project and all future posts under this “fitness” category, I wish I had an extremely defined plan, something that whatever few readers I get could not just follow, but also participate in. However, I don’t have detailed knowledge when it comes to diet and exercise like a nutritionist would. I’m just going to go along with what I have, and document the progress. However, I do have a rather vague plan, and I’ll get to that later on. STARTING POINT Stats Height 5’ 10” Goal Weight 160 Day # 1 Date: 08/02/2010 Measurements Neck 17 Upper Arm (Left) 13 Upper Arm (Right) 13 Chest 44.5 Diaphragm 44 Waist 42 Abdomen 45 Hips 43 Upper Thigh (Left) 24.5 Upper Thigh (Right) 25 Upper Knee (Left) 17 Upper Knee (Right) 17.5 Calf (Left) 16.5 Calf (Right) 16.5 Total Inches 378.5 Total Inches Lost 0 Weight 232.6 Weight Lost to Date 0 BMI 0 Change in BMI 0 Goal Distance 0 More of me than anyone should ever have to see [Taken back in July 2010] PRESENT SITUATION Right now, I’m at the heaviest I’ve been in two years. I’ve gained (what I’ve recently learned to be) more weight than I estimated over the past 6 months. My sleep schedule has also gotten way off track lately. I find myself staying awake into the late hours of the early morning, and waking up in the late mid-morning hours (around 11:30 – 12:00). When I wake up, I feel lethargic and tired for a good two hours after waking up. My energy levels are pretty low. My metabolic rate is abysmal. My circulation, I’ve learned by how easy my legs "fall asleep" when sitting cross-legged for a moderately short amount of time, is also really poor. Compounding this, my cigarette consumption has gone through the roof due to stress and boredom. I haven’t had an elevation to target heart rate since I last went to the gym about months ago. I feel my body yearning for exercise because I get really restless often, but mentally, it’s been so long without regular exercise that for some odd reason I find myself scared to engage in it, because of how badly I’m expecting to perform. I haven’t done any of my favorite things, like walking or dancing, in quite some time as well. Nutritionally, I’ve also been failing pretty hard. Due to the budgetary restraints imposed by unemployment, a lot of my diet lately has been consisting of cheap fast food and frozen processed foods, both of which are doing me absolutely no favors. Subsequently, bowel movements have been kind of infrequent and more often than not feel lackluster. Again, I blame what my diet has been mainly comprised of lately. PLAN OF ACTION I’ve been preparing mentally to start working on my physicality, and also materially. Combined with equipment I already owned, my current resource pool is as follows: Large Balance Ball Perfect Pushup Handles Iron Gym Pullup Bar 8lb Medicine Ball Ab Roller Resistance Tube Set Jump Rope Light Resistance Band Medium Resistance Band Not pictured, I also have 4 750ml stainless steel water bottles, which I plan to drink at bare minimum three per day to meet the recommended daily water intake. I’ve also recently acquired copies of the P90X DVD set. So for the first few weeks, I’m going to do running and combinations of the workout DVDs supplied with the balance ball and resistance tube set before graduating up to the P90X videos. Once i get other pending matters in my life squared away, I’ll renew my membership to 24 Hour Fitness and work fitness classes and gym time into the routine. Far as tracking goes, I’ve done my research on systems. On the web, there’s Spark People, Dailyburn, and Livestrong to name a few. On the iPhone, there’s also a range of apps, such as Lose It! and iFitness. After playing around with different interfaces, I’m going to attempt to use Spark People and iFitness, since they seem like the ones that’ll work best, and I’d rather hit a home run with my first picks than try ones that don’t work and have to waste time exporting data to another system. GOALS Upon doing some more internet research, I’ve also determined a goal weight. Average ideal weight of people my age/height/weight/gender: 194 lbs Medical Recommendation: 132-174 lbs. Devine Formula: 161 lbs All the sources listed present quite a big range. Initially, I was just gonna take the average of the first two and eyeball it from there, but I like the Devine formula. 161 lbs sounds good, but considering my body type and frame, I think 165-170 is the target range. Other body specific goals: Get rid of the gut, get some ab action going Get my poor arms to match the bulk and tone of my calves (which are pretty boss, considering they carry the rest of me around) Whittle down the mass of my thighs. They’re way too big. Build some muscle in my ass. Shape and tone back there would be nice. Have …
Stats Height 5’ 10” Goal Weight 165 Day # 1 Date: 05/19/2014 Measurements Neck 16.5″ Chest 41.25″ Upper Arm (Left) 12.25″ Upper Arm (Right) 12.25″ Waist 39″ Abdomen 39.5″ Hips 39.5″ Upper Thigh (Left) 23″ Upper Thigh (Right) 23.75″ Calf (Left) 16.75″ Calf (Right) 17″ Total Inches 280.75 Total Inches Lost – Weight 200.3 lbs. Weight Lost to Date – BMI 28.7 Change in BMI – Goal Distance 35.3 lbs.
Last month, physically, was a massive setback. Most of the first quarter of 2015 has been spent wrestling with light medical complications, stress eating, personal disinterest, and good old fashioned laziness. In the process of clawing my way out of the recent funk I’ve been in, I’ve been treating my workouts less like to-do list items and more like militaristic mandates – get the work done, no matter what. In truth, what really helped snap me back into focus was an email update I got from Memoir resurfacing a post from last year. Finding myself in the present weighing almost 10 lbs more than I did back then, I immediately started to get back to running regularly, in addition to adding light dumbbell and body weight activities. When I stepped on the scale this weekend, I was fluctuating between 198-202 lbs., which is halfway back to where I left off when I was on top of my game late 2014. Normally, this is where I’d put together one of those “Measurement Monday” posts, but I’m not exactly eager to begin quantifying myself since I’m still in the process of losing weight I’d already very recently lost before. Even without the numbers, there’s still some noticeable improvements taking place. Though I’m not back to my record lightest at 192lbs, my clothes fit me closer to the way they did then rather than the last time I was in this present weight range. The dude-boobs are withering away and starting to take on the shape of pectoral muscles, I’m starting to form curvature in the gluten and getting rid of my flat “office ass”, and I’m slowly and steadily building the lump on my arms. As long as I don’t falter on my commitment to not breaking again, it shouldn’t be before long until I’m back to the old peak shape and pushing the record further.
In the time since my last post, I’ve been keeping myself busy mostly with work, personal studies, and getting back in form with my running. Between all the big meals over the holidays and the running days missed because of the cold and my insufficient willpower, my times, stamina, and even the drive to get my route done has noticably suffered. That same night I made my last update, I had a friend comment on my run, asking when I’d be posting photos: https://twitter.com/thechexican/status/556886119569448964 I’ve been meaning to do just that, in addition to the measurement tables I used to post in my old “Measurement Monday” updates. Thing is, I know that there hasn’t been any overall progress since the last time I updated them – I’ve been staganating and fluctuating in the same weight & BMI range. In preparation to get back to doing those updates, I’ve been clocking in more time with the pull-up bar and body weight exercises in addition to my running route. In a couple weeks time, I’ll be back to my pre-winter state and ready to push further, adding regular resistance training into the mix as well as a complete dietary overhaul. On the writing front, things haven’t been moving along as fast as I’d like due to some extentuating circumstances in the personal life that go beyond the scope of this update. Still, I’m preserving the momentum, and look forward to the results I’m going to start seeing in all areas of life in the coming months.
Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been missing my target “Measurement Monday” window to update the body stat tables and check in. Normally its something I give myself a lot of grief over, but out in real life, I’ve still been keeping up on “the work” and offline logging. After spraining my ankle on Friday of last week and spending that weekend stuck on the couch and eating Mexican food I ordered in for both days, I was very reluctant to take measurements this past Monday. When days go by without going running, anything I eat feels like it has three times the caloric value than it does. After a whole two days eating Mexican food and staying put on the couch, I was expecting to find myself set back just above the 200 lb mark and remaining trapped in that plateau. Much to my pleasant surprise, the numbers showed that those two rest days did little damage. In hindsight, it was only two burritos each day, one in the morning and one at night, with a little snacking in between. After I regained my ability to walk on Sunday night, I spent the majority of this past week wanting to go running, but settling for lunch time walks with my co-worker. Thursday evening, I decided to give taking to the streets a shot even though my ankle was still feeling a little wonky, I still managed to keep pace within my average times. Yesterday, I went for another run after doing a quick 15 minute yoga session as warm up. I woke up today feeling a slight soreness in my hamstrings from that, in addition to the knee pain and faint ankle stiffness from last week’s sprain. But when I stepped on my scale, I was pleasantly surprised by a readout out of 195 lbs, a 2.1 lb drop from Monday’s weigh-in. Along with the excitement at the consistent progress made, in spite of dealing with an injury, there are a few couple of other implications that this morning’s weigh-in brings to the table. One of which I’m already starting to deal with is the fact that I’m starting to run out of clothes that fit. The other, slightly more off in the distance, is that I’m only 5 pounds (2-3 weeks) away from hitting the 190lb mark, the designated target weight at which I’ll allow myself to start growing my hair out again. This means I’m going to have to start dealing with putting time and money into hair care, something I’ve kind of enjoyed not having to deal with the past few years with a buzzed head.
At this point, it’s been well over a month since the last time I posted an update. In the time since, I’ve meant to buckle down and post an entry many times, but I’ve been in a weird place this past month. It was not unlike those old behavioral loops I used to be prone to, only without the nagging rumination and general mental “funk” of times past. After all the insane amounts of running I did in August & September and all the social activity in my off-time during those months, I simply burned out. I lost touch with my drive, my thumos, and stopped working out regualrly and abandoned my self studies, opting for escapism instead and losing myself in video games and Netflix. Throughout that time, I kept telling myself to pull it together and get “back to work”, but I didn’t. Couldn’t. I completely lost interest in myself and my projects. I kept trying to think of all the things I had running about in my head that I wanted to get out and commit to text, but was unable to muster up the intent to get it done. Now, in what feels like a literal blink of an eye, I find myself at the start of a new month. I finally it together enough to write out one of my “life snapshot” entries in my offline journal, and seeing my current reality reflected back at me hard coded in words has jarred me back to my senses. There’s still so much to do, and time, as always, continues to tick away.
It happened as if to spite me: last week, I was back on track, made my progress update, and had a good & active remainder of the week. Saturday, I forced myself to walk over to Hillcrest and catch this year’s San Diego Gay Pride Parade for the first time in years, on account of this year’s big Supreme Court decision. I sold myself so well on the significance of it that when that thunderstorm rolled in, I headed out in nothing but jeans and a tee. I expected high humidity and light showers. Instead, the region got hit with unusual record rainfall for the month of July. I ended up leaving the parade early and headed back home for that very same reason – not having anticipated so much water, I didn’t have any adequate protection for my phone, and I wasn’t eager to adding having to replace a cell phone to the budget schedule. After returning home, drenched to last inch, I changed into some dry clothes and had a drink with friends who had been running late stayed at the apartment once the rain started to fall while I did a load of laundry. They soon headed out to the festivities, but I had clothes in the dryer and was feeling tired enough for a nap. And then’s when I got sick. I went down at about 3 PM, waking up briefly at around 6 PM to get up and go retrieve the clothes from the laundry room. Back inside the apartment, I went right back to sleep for the rest of the day. Sunday, I woke up in the midmorning hours and had a cup of coffee while I planned out my day, then immediately hopped in the shower. When i got out and toweled off, I ended up taking a nosedive into my bed and not waking up again until 6:30 PM. By that point, the fatigue had begun to heavily involve cold sweats, muscle aches, a headache, vertigo…all sorts of fun symptoms. I was up for long enough to go, with great pains, out into the world to refill a 5 gallon water jug and pick up something to eat for dinner. I ate, hydrated, and went back to suffering in sleep. Monday, I made it into the office and got a couple hours of work in before the headache and searing pain in my eyes put me laid out on the office couch, trapped in a forced sleep state, actively fighting against the pain in my head and eyes and trying to gain enough composure to survive a drive back home. Yesterday, I woke up feeling better than I had the day before, but still light in the head and heavy in the eyes. I sent a message to the boss, and grabbed a few extra hours of sleep. That seemed to do the trick; as the rest of the day ran its course, I found myself feeling gradually better and more “like myself” again. Today the same holds true, and I think I may have enough strength back to be able to get back to my running this evening. After all that, sounds like the worst part about being sick these past days was all the physical pain and discomfort. Truth is, it was all (even the migraines) manageable. To me, the parts that caused me most trouble were the forced & sudden disconnect from my “self” (going from 5-8 mile daily runner to bed-ridden & incapable), the acute awareness of all the lost time, and the existential resentment of having the luxury to be able to lie in a bed and ride it out while for so many people out there, a simple natural temporary illness can be ruinous on so many critical, sometimes even fatal, ways. Being physically incapable of exercising like normal and being too exhausted to write (or merely even think), trapped in a state of weakness and incapability, not being able to fight the fight for self-improvement…that’s what really made it such a miserable past few days for me. Also, 4 days spent sleeping and waking up only to use the bathroom and eat…I don’t even want to look at my scale right now..