Daily Update Fitness

Phase 3 Update: As Expected, I’m Getting Fatter

So, as I worried would happen is happening. I’m gaining weight. I hope it’s just water weight from the increased carb intake, but that remains to be seen.

NOV 1, 2010 WEIGHT = 258 lbs
TODAY’S WEIGHT = 197.7 lbs 

I’ve gone from a svelte 194.6 to 197.7 in the past week, but at least a pound of that is due to the beers I drank last night while at a party, so I expect within a day or two that should drop down to ~196. So here’s what I’ve done this week:

  • Increased carb intake quite a bit by adding in 1 to 2 bananas per day
  • I also, started eating potatoes this week. So far, aside from a couple small ones last night at dinner, the main focus has been to eat a sweet potato within an hour of lifting weights, to replenish glycogen levels
  • I’ve been working out every day, which of course has resulted in my appetite increasing
  • My sleep has improved – I’m sleeping more soundly. I attribute this to the working out.

So, the real results are this:

I’m feeling very “soft”. Definitely notice my gut has increased and overall body fat feels like it’s gone up quite a bit, along with the weight increase. This tracks with what I expected/was told would happen – that the increased carb intake would result in initial weight gain of ~5 pounds, and then, so long as I keep up with the working out, I would start to ‘lean out’ over time. I sure hope it’s true for me, as I enjoy the working out or I wouldn’t bother, but the problem before was always the glycogen depletion.

Please note: I am, apparently, pretty unique in this ‘defect’. My body just doesn’t seem to replenish glycogen quickly enough, so while I could always do as much aerobic exercise as I wanted (within reason), the problem hit as soon as I did even one heavy anaerobic (i.e., weightlifting) routine – I would quickly feel ‘depleted’/lethargic, and then just feel generally not as energetic after for at least a few days. I had read a long time ago that some people have to replenish their glycogen levels (i.e, stored sugar) through ingesting carbs. But most people don’t have to do this. I would avoid it like the plague if I could, but I can’t if I want to achieve my fitness goals. Most people, it seems, don’t need to ‘carb refeed’ after a weightlifting session. Unfortunately, I do.

I’ve completed 3 heavy weightlifting sessions this week, as planned, and am still feeling good. After each session I come home and eat a large sweet potato (usually with cinnamon and butter on it). That seems to be doing the trick for replenishment. Earlier in the week I also picked up and ate, on consecutive days, some full-fat Greek yogurt (unfortunately though the best option was the kind with a sugary fruit or honey added).

All in all I’m feeling pretty good still, though I am feeling ‘fat’/bloated. It doesn’t help that last night I drank 3 or 4 beers, and a shot of vodka or two. :  ) But, my energy levels are definitely not going in the tubes this week as they used to when I tried weightlifting heavy. So the sweet potatoes are doing the trick. I will keep an eye on the scale and report back with a fresh post in a few days with another update. I’m optimistic that I will start leaning out further, that this was just an initial ‘bloat’. We’ll see.

Another note: I finally broke down and bought a copy of The Primal Blueprint. I’ve been meaning to get this for a LONG time, but with most of the info on, I just never bothered. But, after posting some queries on that site’s forum regarding glycogen and carb ‘refeeds’, etc., the general response was a simple, “Didn’t you read the book?” So I better read the damned book : ) Got it for an awesome price, to boot. In case you’re interested, here’s a link.


Daily Update Miscellaneous Ramblings

One Problem with Being So Healthy – It Takes A While To Know You’re Sick!

Just a quick post to update my status.

I’m sick. Feel like garbage.

It started last Saturday, which happened to be a big day for a basement finishing project I’ve been working on the past couple of months (see below). My brother, an electrician and all-around guru, came over to do the circuit design and ‘home runs’, switch wiring, etc. I felt ‘out of it’ all day – couldn’t concentrate, and just didn’t have much energy. I’ve been drinking 2 coffees per day, up from my usual single Starbucks Grande Americano’ with heavy whipping cream that I have Monday thru Friday as the price of admission for leeching a seat/table and wifi from Starbucks while working. Lately I’ve upped that to a Venti (that’s the largest size) and sometimes later in the day I’ll have a Kuerig at home. Gotta cut back on the caffeine.

So last Saturday went well – my brother hooked me up, then the next day I started finishing up the wiring of the receptacles and recessed cans, etc. So far, unlike when I tried finishing my basement in a different house about 11 years ago, when I was all stressed/nervous about it and it seemingly took forever to make any progress (and it turned out to be a mess at the end), this project has gone super well and has been fun. But this week it was hard to get motivated to work on it. Didn’t know why. Until Thursday, when I woke up with a nasty upper respiratory infection. I had apparently had it for a week but didn’t realize it. In prior years, when I ate like shit and felt like shit, I would have known I had a URI within hours of its onset. And would have sat on the couch for 2 weeks as a result. Now I can still function just fine. Just feel like shit doing so.

I get these URIs at least once per year, sometimes twice. Been getting them since my late teens. It was to a point where the last 3 or 4 times, the doctor has been very reluctant to give me antibiotics to knock it out – I have become immune to the one he was prescribing. And, without antibiotics, these things never go away – I always waited a minimum of 2 weeks of pain and suffering before I would break down and go to the doc. The last visit I had a new doctor (I go to one of those ‘Medical Associates’ places where you can choose from a few different doctors, all in the same office). This new doctor told me to try this natural ‘NeilMed’ thing from the drug store, I did, and within 2 days I was cured! The procedure is really gross so I’ll leave the details out, but it worked.

I was *hoping* that, with my newfound health I would not be getting one this year, but I think the huge amount of work-induced stress I’ve been under the past few months is really wreaking havoc with my immune system.

Regardless, back to the purpose of this blog – I’m down to a steady 195lbs now. I don’t weigh myself very often these days – maybe once a week. I’ve definitely noticed my belt getting looser too. This is surprising because, quite honestly, I have been slipping lately and eating some junk here or there. In fact, the other day at SaladWorks with a co-worker, I even ate a whole ‘Healthy Whole Grains!’ roll. I smothered it with butter to counteract the ‘Healthy Whole Grains’, but still. I guess I’m so active now that I can eat some junk and still burn them off. That said, it’s amazing how radically different my day-to-day is now versus just a year ago or even 7 or 8 months ago, while I was losing so much weight.

For example, yesterday I ate McDonald’s for the first time in a LONG time. When I was really dropping weight (the first 4 months of last year I dropped about 40 pounds) I was going to fast food joints at least 3 times per week. No, I’m not lying.

  • Twice per week for lunch, to Wendy’s to eat either a BLT Cobb Salad (yum!) or I’d get the Chili and a side salad (I used to live on the Chili but haven’t had that in many months)
  • Once per week with my son, who is addicted to junk food, I would give up and take him to McDonalds to satisfy his McNuggets fix. I would always get the Grilled Chicken Caesar or Ranch salad, which sucks, but it’s the best option there.

The last 4 or 5 months I’ve basically, unconsciously, just not gone to fast food places. Yesterday, it hit me that I have not been to a McDonalds in months. How cool is that? I just realized this yesterday morning when my son started begging me to take him to McDonald’s so he could personally taste test the all-new McBites that were unveiled by the illustrious chefs/chemists that McDonald’s employs. (That job ranks right up there with working for RJ Reynolds, but that’s a post for a different blog….). Incidentally, I had the Grilled Chicken Ranch BLT salad. It was okay. I also partook in some of those new McBites. They’re kinda blah. If you haven’t seen the commercial for McBites yet – imagine if you were the deep fry chef at McDonalds and you had cooked up literally 1,000,000 McNuggets for a year in the same deep fat fryer vat, without changing the grease during that time. Then, you went and changed out the vat grease by draining it out. After it’s all drained out you have a bunch of crunchy, sludge-like ‘mini nuggets’ that are mostly just ‘breading’ at the bottom of the vat. Those are the McBites! : )

That’s all for now. I’ll be glad when this URI is gone so I can start working out again. Haven’t been to the gym much lately (which is another reason why I’ve lost a couple more pounds!). In another few weeks, hopefully with this URI behind me, it’ll be time to start getting in shape for the Summer. Thinking about quitting my gym membership and doing pure Primal workouts in natural terrain – monkey bars, trail running, etc.

Daily Update Nutrition/Weight Loss

Update, and a Big Joke

So, as previously posted, I’ve been focused on maintaining my weight loss for a few months now and I’m happy to report that it’s mostly been effortless. I am weighing myself about once a week or so, but I’m so tuned into my body now that I can tell pretty much on a daily basis if I gain fat tissue or not. I sensed that during the final week of December, with Christmas parties and candy and pastries abound. I partook in my fair share and it resulted in a 3 to 4 pound gain. A couple of days of ‘eating clean’ (i.e., nothing processed and very few carbs) and the weight flew off back to my current set point of 196lb. I have large thighs/calves, so 196 is actually a pretty good weight for me – very proportional. And I’ve definitely decreased further in waist size – another notch on my belt is free and I could probably, if I wanted to, fit into a size 34 waist pants now. A year ago I was a size 44. Pretty incredible.

Ideally I’d drop another 10 pounds and that would be probably as lean as I should ever be for my body type, but as I wrote before, my goal this year is not to focus on fat loss anymore as that problem has been ‘cured’, but to focus on fitness level. So far the fitness goal is being achieved and I’ll post more about that soon.

My wife has joined the health revolution as well. Really proud of her – she’s doing Sisson’s 21 Day Primal Blueprint and is doing really well. Anyone who has been through it knows that it is difficult to go from a Standard American Diet of 60+ percent carbohydrate diet full of ‘healthy whole grains’, etc., to eating real, healthy food. She’s hanging in there and I can’t wait until the ‘switch’ flips like it did for me (about 2 months in) and she wakes up and realizes she’s got the carb addiction beat and is well on the road to health.

Okay, that’s all for now. I’ll leave you with the funniest thing I’ve seen in a while (related to diet) – an overweight/borderline obese looking lady, purportedly an ‘expert’ dietitian, is giving negative advice on low carb diets in this video:


Stay tuned for next post when I share a video of a deaf guy giving a critique of the latest Coldplay album!


Daily Update Nutrition/Weight Loss

Maintaining Weight Loss – Status

Maintaining Weight

So I’ve been maintaining my weight at 198lbs. This past week saw a 2lb gain for a few days, due almost surely from a night in center city Philadelphia with some friends, drinking beer and doing shots of Irish whiskey (not my choice) to the point of…let’s just say not feeling so well the next morning. The plan was to eat some junk food too while down there but that didn’t work out.

Then the next day my wife and I took our son to Arnold’s Family Fun Center, which is always fun and includes a buffet that isn’t half bad. They make this Chuck E. Cheese-like pizza but it actually tastes phenomenal. I partook in quite a bit of it, along with diet coke, something I haven’t had in quite a while and typically avoid.

It took a couple of days to ‘bounce back’ to my current weight ‘set point’ but I did with no problem. That is in addition to eating more fruit – at least one apple and one banana a day. I love fruit and due to the carbs slipping back into my diet more often I am re-developing a sweet tooth, which is concerning, but I am keeping mindful of it and want to see how this plays out. I’m *hoping* that I can eat some carbs like this, where some ‘junk’ is eaten every 2 to 3 days with no long-term gain as a result, or more importantly, not feeling like garbage. That’s a key part of eating Paleo/Primal/Low Carb – in addition to the weight loss and health benefits, you just feel great too.

This entire year has been one big experiment on myself, to test the common paradigm of calories-in/out, exercise methods, etc. So far it’s gone well, I’ve learned a ton, and feel great. I wanna keep that up. But…I want my cake and eat it too : )

Workout Routine Changing Yet Again!

This week I re-thought my workout routine (again!). I re-visited the exercise philosophy on The Primal Blueprint fitness forum and my prior approach was wrong so I am switching it up. I am one of the few people that enjoys the elliptical trainer machine at the gym. I can go 30+ minutes on it now at a medium resistance level, pushing (pedaling?) as quickly as possible and still stay at the < 150 bpm level, which it turns out is quite good if you want to avoid “chronic cardio” syndrome.

So I’m going to do that at least 3 or 4 times a week. In addition, an old squash partner has resurfaced, so that will cover my HIT day, and add to that the change from a full-body to a “high/low” weight routine and that should cover me for a month or two.

Thanksgiving’s Right Around the Corner!

So that’s the random update. One last thought: unlike most people who either want to lose weight or maintain weight loss, I’m actually looking forward to Thanksgiving. I am in particular going to eat all the turkey (with the great, healthy fatty skin!) I want, and I expect to eat well over 3000 calories just in one meal. Interested to see if any weight loss occurs that day. I doubt it, based on the pattern, but I know if I don’t overdo it on the carbs then I can eat all the calories I want and not gain. Oh, and the vegetables will be great too. I’ll be trying my hand at some type of low-carb (preferrably no-carb but doubtful) dessert, maybe a pumpkin pie!

Daily Update Nutrition/Weight Loss

Walking the Tightrope I Think…But Still Holding at 198lb

So, as previously mentioned, I have achieved my goal weight and have shifted my focus to becoming more toned and muscular. So far, that’s been a fail. I’ve been very busy with work and after-work family activities and just haven’t gotten to the gym this week. That said, I’ve been really active in a typical ‘primal’ way – lots of moving slowly, and I’ve done some sprinting here and there when playing soccer with my kids. But I haven’t done my weightlifting routine this week so I am going to do it tomorrow (I had planned on doing Mondays and Thursdays). I’m doing a full-body routine consisting of low reps and heavy weight. I find I enjoy it more and I definitely ‘feel it’ more in my muscles both right after lifting and the next day. I strive for 4 to 6 reps, 3 sets each of:

  • Leg Press (I’ll eventually get back to doing real squats though, as I know those are better)
  • Dumbbell Chest Press
  • Cable Row machine (the one that targets the back)
  • Pulldown bar machine (can you tell I don’t know these machines by name? It’s another one that targets the back)
  • Dumbbell bicep curls
  • Tricep pressdowns using the rope attachment to the cable/pulley machine
I need to incorporate crunches and shoulder presses, I know. I *hate* shoulder presses and have mostly avoided them. Amazingly my shoulders are the one part of my body that are pretty damn toned, with great definition. How that happened I don’t know, but I’ll take it.
I may try attending my gym’s squash “club night”. My gym is primarily a squash club, and one night a week the squash pros go around and pair up amateur players for friendly matches. I’m sure I’ll be the worst player there, which I don’t care about in terms of pride/ego but it is awkward because the decent/good players don’t want to waste their time playing someone like me. They’d like to break a sweat! Hopefully there will be another bad player there.
On the eating front…as I said – I’m not actively trying to lose more weight. That said, I could definitely stand to lose another 10 pounds. I carry the 198lb pretty well (I have big thighs/calves) and people are surprised when I tell them I still weigh that much. But aside from some softness in my middle I’m pretty much where I want to be in terms of body fat. But the last few days I’ve been on a slippery slope – eating more junk than usual. Today was a doozy – I ate, for the first time in probably almost a year, white rice. Some friends offered to buy me lunch at our favorite Thai restaurant. I had the Coconut Milk Chicken soup (it was awesome), a salad with peanut butter dressing (it was awesome), and my usual Green Curry with Chicken and white rice (yes, it was awesome). I could feel my blood sugar pumping after that meal!

And on Monday night, in anticipation of the Eagles game and after a long day of getting my ass kicked at work for things out of my control, I decided to wash away my sorrows that evening with a few glasses of Coconut Rum mixed with fruit juice. (Yeah, I’m a real man.)

Amazingly, so far, I’ve not gained any weight back. Holding steady at 198 all week. But I can feel like I’m on that ‘slippery slope’ where I’d better reign things back in. Especially since I am going to a happy hour on Friday after work : )