July 19, 2011

21 months, 50 pounds

I hit 175 lb this morning.  From my real start of 225 lb (my original scale was light by 5 lb or so), that makes 50 lb lost in just shy of 2 years.  Not as fast as I wanted, but I've made it this far.

That's all.  Just sayin', 50 lb.  Oh, and I can curl that one-handed now, so yeah.

Booyah.

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June 23, 2010

8 months, nowhere near 80 pounds

190 lb today, 24.3% body fat.  Today's the final entry in this category.  I managed to lose somewhere between 30 and 35 lb.  20-25 of that was in the first 3 months, and 5 of that was in the past five months.  I've been in the gym very consistently in those 5 months, and I've had a considerable amount of re-composition, so it's not all bad news.

Anyhow, I didn't hit my original goal (140), and I didn't hit my revised goal (160), but I ultimately didn't do too badly, either.  My legs are made of iron these days, my arms and shoulders are a lot stronger than they were, I can at least see the hint of some abs with my shirt off, and what little is left of my gut doesn't have dunlap disease any more.

My motivation has changed a lot, too.  Training for strength these past 4 weeks and counting has really made me start to shift my priority to that, to just getting stronger.  My weight loss or lack thereof has become a lot less important to me than how much iron I can push, pull, and press.  I suspect that's a good thing.  If I lose more weight while I pursue that goal, great.  If I get stronger, that's even better.

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June 16, 2010

New plateau, yep

191 lb, 24.2% body fat. I'm reading Lyle McDonald's The Ketogenic Diet and he mentions -- with citation -- that bioelectric impedance generally works poorly for people in or near ketosis.  The electrical properties exploited to measure body fat are different enough when you're low-carbing that the results can't really be trusted.  I'm not about to spring for DEXA or immersion testing, so I might have to break down and get some calipers eventually.

Or just keep looking in the mirror and pinching.

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June 09, 2010

New plateau?

190 lb, 24% body fat yesterday (didn't weigh in before work this morning).  So I'm up a pound from Friday, but no worse off than last week at this time.  We'll see what next week brings, I guess.

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June 02, 2010

More progress

190 lb, 24% body fat today.  I'm sleeping badly due to some work-related stress, so I might have lost more otherwise.  Hard to say.  My diet has stayed clean despite the stress, so that's something.  I'll have another training log on Friday.

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May 26, 2010

Progress, finally

191 lb, 29.2% body fat per the scale. I'm pretty sure the latter number is nonsense, because my abs are distinctly more visible this week than last.

I've switched gym protocols from my normal 3-way bodybuilding split (chest/tris/delts, back/bis/traps, quads/calves) to StrongLifts 5x5, which is a strength training routine rather than bodybuilding.  That means full-body workouts, 3x a week, adding 5 lb per big lift every workout.  It also means you start pretty light so you can adapt to the volume before the weights get very large, which means this first week I look pretty silly in the gym with my 100 lb squats.  But hey, I'm doing them 3x this week, and next week, and the week after that...

We'll see how it goes, but there are plenty of folks lifting this way, and the eBook was free.

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May 19, 2010

Gut Check Time

194 lb, 28.8% body fat on the scale.  Again, that's some serious variability.  35" waist measurement, unchanged from previous, but that's to be expected as pretty much the last 4 days have been a nutritional disaster.  The worst part is that -- again -- I weighed 191 last Friday, and was doing quite well.

I went off plan.  Saturday my temporary crown was hurting, so I drank a lot of milk blended with peanut butter and blueberries rather than try to eat solid food.  This of course came after my once-per-week "treat meal" of biscuits and gravy that caused my tooth to hurt in the first place.  Sunday, my wife and I celebrated her promotion with friends, and there was plenty of junk food to which I didn't bother to say no.  Leftovers from that same party still linger in the house (mmm, brownies), so I've not been much better since then.

Part of the problem is surely psychological.  I made such significant progress early on that I've become somewhat careless.  I have a cheat meal once a week or so, I'm not as strict about getting enough sleep, I still don't watch my calories well, etc.  The end result of which is zero movement on the scale for three months, even with the body recomposition progressing somewhat, and pretty good strength gains.  This is now the end of month 7, and start of month 8, and while I'm pretty sure my original goals were much less reasonable than I'd thought at the time, I'm still no closer to my revised goals than I was in February.  The inevitable question I have to ask myself is whether or not I have the heart to really finish this, or if this is "good enough" and I can just languish here in perpetuity.  I'm not going to lose the "last 30 lb" in the next 30 days, I can't.  But I could lose 10, if I wanted it badly enough and I made a sincere effort.  If I can't make that sincere effort, clearly, I don't want it badly enough.

Enough writing.  Time to head to the gym.

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May 12, 2010

Recovery week weigh-in

194 lb, 25.6% body fat this morning.  I'm attributing it to the meatza I made Monday night (and finished up at dinner last night), which is almost as much cheese as meat.  I'm guessing all the sodium made me hold in a bit of water, in addition to making me more electrically conductive, which explains the anomalously-low body fat reading.  I do feel pretty puffy.  I'm consistently IFing now (16 hour daily fasting period, followed by an 8 hour feeding window), which was helping before I ate the meatza (I weighed as low as 191 last Friday).  Going dairy-free for awhile might be a very good idea, or at least cheese free.

As to the title, last week was week 6 of my lifting cycle, so this is my off week between cycles.

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May 05, 2010

Still plateaued

194 lb, 27.3% body fat* according to the scale this morning. No noticeable changes from last week as far as the scale can see. My bench is up to 175 lb, though, which is nice.

I'm trying to keep my eating to an 8 hour window, meaning a 16 hour daily fast, as per Martin Beckham's recommendation. So far, I've managed to stay consistent on that since last Thursday. I've had a few cheats in that period, and that probably set me back a bit. Martin's pretty loose on carbs on work days, he has more of a cyclic ketogenic approach (to the point of eating entire cheesecakes occasionally), and in transitioning to his version of an intermittent fasting protocol, I found myself craving sugar like I haven't in months.  I'm not sold on the notion that that much sugar could possibly be good for me (or anyone, really).  If I'm going to go higher on carbs, I'll stick with natural starches like yams or sweet potatoes, which at least bring some nutrition with their saccharides.  Luckily, my sugar cravings appear to have abated for now.

*I really don't buy this number any more, and may stop recording it. I'm listening to Robb Wolf's podcasts, and he remarked in one of them about the wild inaccuracy of these measurements. Specifically, he tests at 30% on them while he's 13% according to immersion testing. He also noted that a nice hot shower and some salty food can drop your "bf%" by several whole points, and I'd rather not have my number dictated by the warmth of my feet or how salty Tuesday's dinner was.

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April 28, 2010

Continiung plateau

194 lb, 27.3% body fat this morning.  I haven't been fasting as consistently as I'd planned, and last night's dinner (baby back ribs with a low-sugar, commercial BBQ sauce) left me with a severe stomach ache at about 0230, which kept me awake until 0330 at least.  Lack of sleep and excessive salt might have caused me to retain water and some tissues to become inflamed, so that might also have thrown the numbers off for today, but it's more likely that I have simply made no progress this week.

It looks like the experimental question of "can I have BBQ sauce off the shelf?" has been answered with a resounding "no".  I'll have to stick to homemade curries and other sauces from now on, if for no other reason than to avoid digestive pain.

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April 21, 2010

The longest plateau

194 lb, 26.6% body fat today. Waist measured at 35", so that's some sort of improvement, but otherwise I'm down 2 lb and 1.5% body fat since Feb 17 of this year, which makes for two full months of very slow improvement.  I'm making pretty consistent strength gains (I'm up to 7 pull-ups in a set, benching 165#, dead-lifting 255#, and squat-pressing 720#, all for 5-rep sets), my waist is smaller, my skin is tighter, my arms and legs are bigger, but it's not showing up much on the scale.

I guess I just have to keep the calories down, maintain my protein intake, and keep going.

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April 14, 2010

Unchanged from last week

194 lb, 27.3% body fat.  I haven't been as diligent as I'd have liked on calorie cutting, and yesterday's planned fast was a failure (I tried eating breakfast with a plan of fasting until now, but I was much too hungry at dinnertime).  I'm concerned again that dairy might be holding me back.  Not because of carbs, but because of hormones.  Milk is supposed to be what you feed to a growing mammal.  While growing muscle is welcome, I suspect that it may be holding me back from losing more fat.  I really miss it when I don't have it, though.

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April 07, 2010

First half-week of sporadic IF

194 lb, 26.8% body fat this morning.  So far it's just been one 25 hour fast, from lunch Thursday to dinner Friday, but I did manage a full, heavy leg workout 23 hours into it, which was a surprise to me.  I'm fasting again today, but it will be shorter.  I had a late dinner yesterday (7pm), so I'll probably only go 23 hours this time.  I do have another workout scheduled, but this is my first week of "maintain the muscle" rather than "build some muscle", so it won't be quite as heavy as last week.

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March 31, 2010

Then again, maybe not

195 lb, 27.6% body fat today. I stuck to my plan not to exercise last week, and had only one serious dietary divergence (pizza on Wednesday night, I blame demonic possession). I'm lifting again this week, with the same pattern as the prior cycle, and even did some cardio yesterday. I'm considering trying something different for next week and those following. My prior 6-week cycle, I'd been trying merely to re-establish a foundation of strength, adding muscle if possible, and to rebuild the habit of gym-going. Considering the stall to my weight loss, it's probably time to reformulate, at least for this cycle.

My plan is to finish this week with the same split, then switch routines next week. The intention will be to preserve muscle while I do some serious cutting of calories. I haven't seriously tracked my calories, though I have been trying to make sure I get between 150 and 200g of protein a day, which is remarkably easy to do when you eat 2lb of meat. I've tried to keep carbohydrates to less than 30g a day, and I do quite well at that. Other than that, though, I've paid zero attention to calories.

It's worth noting that I've paid no attention to calories since starting this process, and that worked for the first 30lb. Near as I can figure based on my usual intake, I'm consuming somewhere between 2200 and 3000 kilocalories a day. 2200 is probably okay, but my 3000 kc days (which, unsurprisingly, correlate strongly with the days I lift) might be slowing me down. Caloric restriction, though, is hard. Your mind resists it, your body resists it. There is some evidence suggesting that it's easier to do on a low carbohydrate diet than it would be on a standard one, but I'm not looking forward to it. I may go with intermittent fasting as a way to cut calories instead, taking 3 days a week off from eating, which is a lot less crazy than it sounds.  That would allow me to eat comfortably on lifting days, and "rest" on non-lifting days.  It'll take some experimentation to determine which method of restriction will work better for me.

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March 24, 2010

Stop exercising, lose weight?

194 lb, 27% body fat today, so down 2 lb with body fat basically steady.  My waist measurement is down to 35".  This is my off week after 6 weeks at the gym doing a triple-split routine*.  My last workout was Friday, so this is about 5 days out from that.  I stopped losing weight the week I started working out regularly, so this is the first time I've actually gone down since then.  I built about 4 lb of muscle overall in those 6 weeks if my scale's body-fat measure is to be believed.

*Monday "Chest": pectorals, serratus, anterior and lateral deltoids, triceps.
  Wednesday "Back": latissimus, trapezius, posterior deltoid, biceps, brachialis
  Friday "Leg": quadriceps, biceps femoris (hamstring), soleus and gastrocnemius

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March 17, 2010

Weight up, fat down

196 lb, 26.7% fat this morning, so I'm up a pound, but it looks like it was all muscle, at least per my scale.  Lean body mass, again:

Last week: 140.79 lb
This week: 143.67 lb
Net change: 2.88 lb

Which seems like -- and is -- a very big muscle gain for one week.  Every real-number measurement's got error bars around it, though, even if you don't know what they are.  If last week's measurement was a little low and this week's is a little high, that might be enough.

I like the trend, though, and the trend looks real.

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March 10, 2010

Weight steady, fat down, again

195 lb, 27.4% body fat.  In terms of lean body mass:

Last week: 140.79 lb
This week: 141.57 lb
Net change: 0.78 lb

So I've gained about 3/4 of a pound of muscle and lost an equal amount of body fat.  My pants feel pretty loose these days even on my tightest belt hole, so it's progress, even if it wouldn't show up on a normal, weight-only scale.  I've been lifting heavily and regularly, and eating plenty of protein, so an increase in muscle is welcome and expected.

Also, I've added a few things back into the diet.  I'm eating vegetables again, some nuts, and very low-sugar fruits (i.e. blueberries), along with small amounts of dairy (mostly full-fat Greek yogurt).  Primarily, I worried about micronutrient deficiences, and I wanted a bit more variety.  I'm still not touching any grain-based food whatsoever, no starches of any kind.  Basically, Neanderthin with a little bit of dairy.

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March 03, 2010

I doubt the accuracy of my instruments

195 lb, 27.8% fat according to the health-o-meter. I'll buy that I've lost a pound, but the fat % change is in the noise, and I don't have a clue what the ± for that measure is. The Mrs tells me that it depends strongly on how hydrated you are, and if you aren't consistently hydrated measure-to-measure, the body fat measure will be less reliable. My hydration % is nearly always about 51, but I honestly haven't paid that close of attention to it, and I really don't want to track another number.

Waist measurement to be added to this post tomorrow. Book post coming soon.

Update 3-4-2010: Waist measurement of 36" the following day. I've been eating cheese here and there, and I suspect it's slowing me down through inflammation or water retention (salty stuff, cheese). I'll take it back off the menu as soon as I finish the block of cheddar I have left. I'm considering adding vegetables, nuts, and possibly small amounts of low-sugar fruits (e.g. blueberries) back to the menu, but that won't be for a little while yet.

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February 24, 2010

Weight steady, fat down

196 lb, 27.7% body fat this morning, meaning something like 0.784 lb of fat went away and was replaced by an equal amount of muscle.

It's not awesome, but I'll take it.  I was seriously worried this was going to be a stall week.

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February 17, 2010

New Scale, New Goals, New Numbers

196 lb, 28.1% body fat according to my home scale.  The weight matches with what they determined at the gym last week, but that's 2.4% less body fat than their instrument found with the same method.  This would imply that at a constant weight, I lost 4.7 lb of fat and gained 4.7 pounds of muscle in 7 days.  Extremely unlikely.  OTOH, the home scale is free for me to use, and getting it tested at the gym again will cost money, so I'll be able to keep up the home scale measurements each week without any trouble.

The question is how to treat those numbers.  Do I assume a linear variation, where the home scale gives what the gym's scale would -2.4%?  Since I only have two data points, even though they were at least some time apart, a linear approximation is all I can really do.  So, without further data, I'll have to shoot for about 11.7% body fat on the home scale, which still means I need to lose just over 32 more lb in the absence of any muscle gains.

In case the reader thinks I might be putting too much emphasis on numbers, well, you might be right.  I'm human though, and as prone to cognitive bias as anyone, and raw data is the only objective thing I can track that will help keep me (almost) fully honest with myself.  I have to know if what I'm doing is actually working or if I just feel like it is.

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