Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Thirty Days and Thirty Nights

Somewhere in November I found myself in a predicament that was both hard for me to admit, and hard for me to ignore. There came a point in every week where the pain in my back was so severe that I spent a good half of my day stooped over, if I couldn't bear the pain to stand upright. This point was called Monday, and the part that was hard to admit was that I was doing this to myself. For several weeks I had actually been trying to get my eating under control, because I knew that the love handles just above my rear end were pushing so hard on my spine that the pain was an elephant in then room interfering with what otherwise was a pretty healthy physique. The part that was hard to admit was that I was actually cursed with this problem.
Several years ago, I quit smoking, and as wonderful as that may be it created an issue that the completely full of crap world refuses to admit. The love handles that formed were like a cancerous mass that I couldn't just burn off by starving myself and smoking instead of eating. Yes it is true that men gain weight on their backs above their ass when they quit smoking, but for those that used to use cigarettes as their best diet aid it is a double edged sword. I could have the most intense aerobic and anaerobic regimen on earth and like it or not every extra calorie would settle right in the one place where someone with a life changing back injury would be in excruciating pain over. Se la vie!
It started with me being bitter because I had finally married a woman who was a great cook and always had a great meal waiting for me when I got home, and at the same time it was killing me to admit that it had to end. It ended with me being completely depressed because I loved eating myself silly on Sundays while I watched football. Worse than all of this, despite my degrees in diet and nutrition, and my many years of being the most rigid exercise aficionado that I know, I had no sense whatsoever about how to make diet and exercise mold in a way to get that !@#$ing fat off my back. It was a complete and utter accident really that I found the website www.myfitnesspal.com which is actually the basis for this whole entry, despite the painful background I made both of you endure by reading this far.
In another piece I wrote for another one of my blogs, I had talked about the Samsung Galaxy Gear that I had gotten, with the most front and center piece of technology I needed out of it, the pedometer. I was going to use one of the old tricks I tell everyone else to do. Add 10% more steps a day until you start losing weight. Simple enough? Well ok maybe not, but I was playing around with the apps in the Galaxy App Store, when I downloaded the MyFitnessPal App for my Gear. Despite 3 or 4 days of trying to get that piece of crap app to work on the watch (don’t bother it totally sucks) I had gotten the app completely rocking on my Samsung Galaxy 4 Phone and the really easy to use website. Now all of a sudden I had a tool that was doing something for me.
Ok, finally I get to the 30 days and 30 nights. Before I had even given up on the crappy watch app, I had lost 3lbs just by religiously sticking to the calorie counter. I logged everything I ate for the first 3 or 4 days, put in all of my workout routines, and was really just going to demonstrate how it couldn’t work. 3lbs d doesn't seem like much but in under a week I had no back pain anymore. It was now early in December and I decided I would use the program for the rest of the year just to rip up and take a “Mission Accomplished” picture on New Year’s Day. I mean let’s face it everyone has a resolution to get in shape on January 1st but I am one of the few people I know that has had that ideal and carried it through for the next 365 days going on my 8th year. It’s about time I have a “Mission Accomplished” picture.
Here’s a few of the things I have learned in this 30 days and 30 nights that many people would say they understand, but I am here to say that it’s obviously normal, and hopefully give out the kick in the ass necessary to get people past it.
1.       In 30 days with a 1500 calorie a day diet (with add ons for exercise of course, another great feature of MyFitnessPal) I have only lost a whopping 11lbs.
2.       No matter how perfectly I ate my weight was a yo yo. I even made note of how I would lose 3 pounds over a series of 3 days and gain 2 back. Lose 3 gain 2, lose 3 gain 2. The entire time.
3.       I had one bad day, where I ate an entire large Dominos pepperoni and mushroom with extra cheese pizza. My stomach hurt, I woke up with back pain. I lost a pound.
4.       No matter how smart I am, I don’t actually have a clue what the calories of the things I eat are. I am better at it now, but I was fooling myself before.
5.       Once you have eaten right for a week, the “serving size” that we used to laugh about on the nutritional information label, actually does fill you up.
6.       It is easier to gain your progress with the mirror than it is with the scale.
Now with all that said, let me explain a little. Yes I dieted pretty hard core, BUT I am still a body builder at heart. As I was losing fat I was gaining muscle, so I can imagine I would have lost 20 pounds with the way I was going if I wasn't loading on protein and lifting heavy weights. I can also note that despite my lower calorie intake the fat I was burning off made up for it as I was drawing strength increases every cycle. I also note that my back and chest look a lot bigger as my waist gets slimmer. I guess that is a given, but a lot more profound when I stand on the scale and see a decrease. Of say .6lbs but look in the mirror and see Captain America. The Yo Yo effect I found amazing though because as I watch other people go through weight issues, I see them get into a 2lb funk and give up or heaven forbid make it to their second or third 2lb funk and hit an unrecoverable depression. Look it’s normal and it is the cycle of your body readjusting the fat and skin to the muscle and other tissues. For the love of GOD please don’t give up.

Today I was going to start trying to use a different diet and exercise tracker called SparkPeople and compare it to MyFitnessPal, but there appears to be a huge stumbling block. It really stinks compared to MyFitnessPal and I have no intention to ruin my progress. Dance with the one that brung ya. If you really want to lose some weight and you are serious about it (and if you aren’t that is ok, just admit it and move along) then you really need to get over to MyFitnessPal and take it seriously. With everything from diet trackers to exercise trackers, to recipes, to emotional support (feel free to add me to your friends list JeremyCrow4Life of course) the only thing that would stand in your way is you.