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Can You Hear Me Now? Rational Excuses!

This food thing is pretty intense. It seems that we think about food more than we do fitness and personal health. At least that has been my experience.

It's hard to get it right. Why is it that mostly skinny people are in the produce section and obese folks in the ice cream aisle - oh why can't I make better choices! In a recent NY Times article, it laid out the odds losing and keeping off the weight; we have a better chance of being bitten by a rattlesnake.

But it gets worse. We tell ourselves (and sometimes others) LIES. We cheat on the logging under the guise of being dedicated - or not getting red numbers in the calories column! We thought we could weigh our food by eye, and have a cookie at work without fessing up.Incidious!

It still gets worse, we actually believe ourselves.

Here are some excuse that don't hold much water if we'd just think it through.

- It was only a little. A little what, 22 pound turkey?
- It's cheat day. I do the same in my marriage.
- I deserve it - because I am already overweight.
- I'll have a big lunch and that is it for the day. Well except for dinner and desert and some snacks in front of the TV.
- I don't do this very often. It's sort of like a colonoscopy.
- It's a holiday - somewhere in the world.
- It's a birthday. So that means I don't have to log the candles.
- I'm out to dinner. Why? Because my metabolism is faster at Olive Garden.
- I did pretty well and didn't have to loosen my pants - because they are stretch pants.
- I had only one drink - but it was a quart.
- I never tried this before. I only eat less of foods that I know well.
- I was too busy to have lunch - so I can have this big dinner.
- I should eat this now - I usually leave it at the table or on the roof of the car..
- I can eat all the fruits and vegetables I want - but I choose not to.
- I didn't eat any of the rolls/bread sticks/biscuits - I was too full after the Mile-High Apple Pie.
- I eat about the same as my partner - but they are 9 inches taller than I am.
- I don't buy the food - or read the calories and nutritional information..
- I am not giving up everything - especially the chips, the pizza and the candy.
- I only eat clean - so pigeons are out.

How about you, have you thought through the things that you tell yourself?

Thanks for your votes and comments.  Thanks to you, I had 5 Most Popular blogs last week. It is very encouraging!!

Beware potential friends, I post! ;)

This Means War!

If you have been hanging around MFP for awhile, you'll hear about plateaus! I freakin' hate them with a passion. I started out at 276, and just by changing my eating, I dropped 2 to 3 pounds a week! I skipped the desserts, white rice, potatoes, white bread, got mini bagels instead of the regular size, and dissesd desserts!

After I lost about 20 pounds, I got involved in fitness training. As most of you know, 7 weeks into it I had congestive heart failure. At 244, I kept with the MFP diet, and did my best to walk a bit. I cranked my way down to 214.5 between April and August, and there I plateaued. The weight loss devils took the high ground of the scale, and weren't giving up. So I went from running 3 days a week to 4, then 5 and then 6. I slipped and tore the meniscus in my knee, but I kept on running 2 miles every morning! Ice, rest, Motrin, knee brace, and elevation; I did it all.

The scale wouldn't move. I went back to the gym and mixed it up with some weight training, and eventually my knee was so bad that I couldn't run, so I biked 10 miles a day 6 days a week.

The scale held fast, but I did get some leg strength that I didn't have.

Then I took a month off, and finally the doctor scheduled surgery. I had to make my cardio fast upper and core sets with lighter weights. I was running 3 sets of 12 reps at a good clip, and 30 seconds between sets on 10 machines. I started and ended my circuits by using the Marpo Kinetics VLT Rope Climber. You can burn 30 calories a minute on that.

I am frustrated that I have gained weight after such a long plateau. Now I am mad and this means war!

Here are my Plateau Busting Tactics:

- Stick to My Normal: I graduated high school at 165 lbs (I'm 6' 1"), and I played college hockey and was 185. No matter what I eat, or how much I worked out, I could not get to the 190 they wanted me at. Then I turned 41 (quit smoking) and shot up to 200 and by 42 I was 235. My best weight since then was 190, which I was happy with. Though I was not in great shape, it wasn't round! My physician would like to see me at 195 for medical reasons. I am sure my knees will thank me too! And I know that I am lucky to have been the weight that I want to be.

- Amp up the Workouts: Just moving is not enough, I need to get in a good burn. Now that I have 2 knees, and a fully recovered heart, I am adding weights to exercises like lunges and squats. Instead of doing 1 minute intervals, I am doing 2 minute intervals of a variety of exercises and cutting down the recovery time to 15 seconds.

- Weight Training: I confess, I find it so boring I could fall asleep in the middle of a 235 lb bench press even if Jennifer Aniston was my spotter. I just never did it. With the knee injury, I was forced to find both core and upper body exercises. I am now working with a trainer 3 days a week and a physical therapist 2 days a week. I now know I need a strong body to keep from getting injured - I knew, but did nothing about it. This time, it is strength first, running, hockey and other cardio second.

- Shake it Up: I am trying lots of different exercises with the trainer. No 2 days are the same. Sometimes I run a mile and work out, other times I use the elliptical, and we mix up the strength training, and bodybuilding. We do the circuits backwards.

- Do the Basics: Weighing food portions, logging everything, keeping a good attitude, not eating junk food, only whole grains and brown rice, fruit and vegetables, and lean meats and fish. I pretty much was doing this, but the calories were creeping up like a bad pair of underwear. 

- Water: This is another tough one for me. Five 8 oz. glasses a day are a tall order in the winter. I am drinking one every time I fill my glass, and then bring one to my desk. I am not convinced this is essential, but I will try it! No discussions please. You can rant in the forums. ;)

- Lower the Carbs: One of things that seems to work for me is not eating white rice, pasta, potatoes and bakery products made with white flour. I am back on it.

- Exercise Calories: I am not eating them to see what happens. No discussions please. You can rant in the forums. ;)

- Nutrition: This is a tough one for me. MFP says one thing, the nutritionist says another, and the trainer says another. I am sticking with a solid 1600 calories per day until I get all these other things nailed down. I lost the most at 1400 calories per day until the plateau. I need to get a good mix of protein, good carbs, good fats, fiber and watch out for the sodium. On bodybuilding days I need more protein, and on cardio days I need more carbs. This means eating more of the super-foods that are low in calories, and show my body the most love.

How about you, what would you add?

My apologies for being so serious today. Back to my regularly scheduled sarcasm and ranting later this week.

Thanks for the votes and comments; I am always amazed at how supportive you are.

Please Note: I only take friend requests from people that are breathing on a regular basis.

You Might be a Fitness Addict If...

Some of us are into this for long enough to call it a habit. Others of us are into it like a glass of Champagne at a wedding; fitness is a now our drug of choice. We've gone from couch potatoes, albeit; couch sweet potatoes, to raging addicts putting our life as fat and obese people at risk!

Here is the self-test:

You might be a fitness addict if...

...you lose time from work due to sore muscles.
...you check your heart rate monitor more than you email.
...you have freaked out because you misplaced your gym pass.
...you weigh yourself every day, sometimes twice a day.
...you happen to drive by the gym on your rest day, and stop in for a quick workout.
...you wear exercise clothes more than jeans and a t-shirt.
...you flex you muscles while brushing your teeth.
...you exercise alone.
...you have a complete loss of memory, in particular the taste of soda, pizza and chips.
...you may have been in a hospital as a result of injuries related to fitness.
...you carry 100 calories snacks with you at all times.
...you have dumped Facebook for My Fitness Pal.
...you are envious of skinny people, but know that you can out perform them.
...you don't see anything wrong with logging meals on a date.
...you panic when someone suggests eating out.
...you eat low-fat granola while using the toilet for #2.
...you crave the "burn."
...you registered for fitness events you can't even do now.
...in the winter your gym bag has frozen shampoo.
...you have been treated by a doctor for at least one overuse injury such as shin splints, plantar fasciitis, or joint problems.

If you have answered YES to any one of the questions, there is a definite warning that you may be a fitness addict. 

If you have answered YES to any two, the chances are that you are a fitness addict. 

If you have answered YES to three or more, you are definitely a fitness addict. 
 
I answered yes to them all. ;) 

A loose, a very loose adaption of the 20 Questions of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Thanks for the votes and comments. You guys are awesome!

Friend me at your own risk.

The Elements of Successful Dating... err Dieting

Have you been on a bad date diet that went terribly wrong? I have! I went to meet a gal, got stuck in traffic, my A/C unit died in the July heat (while wearing a tie), and I couldn't find the meeting spot. And to top it off I forgot my wallet to pay for the drinks. I am sure that woman is thanking her lucky stars!

For the most part, I have had the same sort of bad luck with dieting. The first time I knocked off the weight I dropped from 232 down to 190. All I did was change the way I ate. I bought Happy Meals instead of Supersized meals, drank sparkling water instead of Coke, and made a small sandwich for lunch. The second round was tougher after I went from 190 to 245. I was motivated by Dr. Phil. I started going to the gym, and eating prescribed meals (about 1200-1400 calories a day). I went down to 199 and then I injured my foot on the treadmill. It took 6 years, but I ballooned back up to 276.

I am at my third rodeo which I started February of 2011.

I began by cutting portions and dumping deserts. I got down about 15 pounds when I joined the YMCA - OK, I lied, I was already a member for a year but never went. I worked hard for those 7 weeks and had a heart attack. I was at 244. I started walking the week after I got out of ICU. In the beginning it was just a few hundred yards a day, and by mid-June I was up to a mile. I was jogging by July and running by August. I fell in love... with running.

Love hurts, and I injured my knee tearing the meniscus. After fighting over how much I run for nearly 4 months, I finally agreed surgical counseling 3 weeks ago; we're healing with the help of a physical therapist.

It's interesting how failures can make you an expert of sorts.

Here are my Top 10 Tips for Success

-1 Be Realistic: A good romance is rarely like the movie Pretty Woman. Remember that success is simply getting up after a failure, and starting again. Make room for small failures, and put them behind you (pun intended) as quickly as possible.

-2 Be Honest: If you are overweight, or obese like I was, you need to admit to it But DO NOT identify with it. If you screen name is WideLoad, maybe you need to change it to LookingGoodIn2012. I admit I like WTF8IT!

-3 Be Positive: It's been said that "a man is so he thinketh." Your success is primarily in the right attitude. Without the right thinking change, you'll be hard pressed to make good decisions about food, exercise and your environment. You might want to be a fairy princess (I swear it was a passing thought), but if you keep telling yourself that you'll be a fat fairy princess, you are already defeated.

-4 Diet: It is what you eat, not what you do. I am all for regimented diets if they are a lifestyle. IE: Vegan or South Beach. Me, I am on the Whole Food Caffeine Fueled Carnivore Diet. The macros are 35% carbs / 35% protein / 30% fat / 2000 sodium / 25 fiber.

-5 Exercise: This is a key! Unless you are really doing exercise, you will never know what it feels like to get up and feeling like a rocket powered rabbit during mating season! Start out slow, but make a plan and a commitment. If exercise is something you fit into your schedule, you will probably fail. I did.
 
Be careful too, it's easy to get this going, start eating your exercise calories and then when you can't get a workout, you'll be way over on the calories. For me, I exercise about 30 minutes 6 days a week. It was easier to make it a habit that way, as well as easier on me physically. And if I miss one, it has half the impact of a losing a one hour workout.

-6 Friends: You need someone to tell you the truth tempered with encouragement! It's probably not me. :)

-7 No Excuses: You don't deserve anything you don't work for, it's no one else's fault you are overweight, and you just plain need to tell yourself no. Now get off you butt, toss the junk food and do something more strenuous then picking your nose.

-8 Profiles: Fill it out and put up a picture of you. Your cat, your kid and your favorite cartoon characters (OK Garfield does) don't need to lose weight, you do.

-9 Goals: You have to have some goals along the way. I didn't make mine (81 pounds in a year) for 2011, but I have them. I am going to get to a 32" waist, and I am going to run a 5K. Today's goal is get to the gym and not piss off the trainer.

-10 Wanting It: Just like a cute date who will be "the one," you need to want this change. If weight loss is for a season, for a reason other than health, it will probably not work. If this is not a lifestyle change, I would guess you don't want it enough.

Thanks for all the comments and votes. Friend me at your own risk.

They're Back! Yes, Our Gym is Filled With Newbies!

It's the new year, and the resolute are amongst us again. It's an unfortunate truth, but some will not succeed at losing weight.

I am undecided at what to call these gym-going-gargantuan-ghouls. It would be all well with the regulars if the temporary tubs would at least leave us a parking space.

For the next few weeks, it's war!

Here are a few tricks I employ to get to get an exercise machine pretty quickly. Just look for folks wearing sweat pants with the price tags still attached and the size sticker on the rear end.

- The Unplug Trick: Drop your water bottle and unplug the treadmill as you pick it up. When they get off looking for another machine, plug it in and jump on.

- The Fake Sign-Up Sheet Trick: Print your own sign-up sheets and point feverishly to your name pretending to speak a foreign language. If they answer you back in a foreign language, just move on.

- The Safety Lanyard Trick: Just give it a little yank, when they are fiddling with their iPod. You can re-fasten it after they go looking for another elliptical and you are on your way.

- The Odor Trick: Put on some stinky stuff. I am sure they must have something wonderful at Bass Pro Shops. Hey, you are going to take a shower anyway.

- The Fart: This is not a trick, but a wonderful tool employed in a similar fashion to skunks and octopi. If you can't get one in the chamber, record your husband and play it back from your iPod - just look sheepishly embarrassed and you are in like Flint.

- The Fake Sign Trick: Tape an "Out of Order - Unsafe" sign to the machine while you go and hang up your coat. Trust me, it will be empty when you get back. You might even have time to use the rest room too.

- The Staff Shirt Trick: I go to the YMCA and all the trainers wear medium-blue t-shirts with white silk screened lettering. I have one from Myrtle Beach that looks just like them. I often get asked how to use machines when I wear it. It's like wearing a red golf shirt at Target! Just walk over say; "I'm sorry this machine is reserved for another member."

- The Heart Rate Monitor Trick: Did you know that Precor fitness machines and many others can receive a BlueTooth signal from your heart rate monitor? You can simulate this with any Android or iPhone. I just set the threshold to 280 and wait for the screams. I am working on a program to reset the mileage and calories too.

- The "Problem" at the Front Desk Trick: Simple but effective - you show up in your pseudo-staff shirt and tell someone there is a problem with their membership and please report to the front desk to straighten it out. Bingo, free elliptical.

- The Reverse Pick-Up Trick: You need to stalk a newbie that is way out of your league (easy for me). You just start using some pick-up line like "I just did a Marathon last week, it was the Christmas Story on TBN." Pretty quickly they are grossed out and viola, a stationary bike with a warm seat.

- The "See That Guy" Trick: You find a newbie on a machine that is in the line-of-sight of the free-weight room. You say, "See that guy/gal over there benching 450 lbs? This is his/her personal machine." Then wink and nod your head in his/her direction.

- The "Let Me Show You" Trick: I love this. You need to make sure you know what you are doing, or be a good Balderdash player. (I'm the champ of that game!) You tell the unsuspecting noob that they are using the machine incorrectly. They stop the machine and you get 30 minutes to impress them with your knowledge! If you are really good, they'll even fill your water bottle up while you chatter away.

- The "I Have MRSA" Trick: Grab a sanitary wipe on one side of the gym, and find a noob just getting on for a jog on the other. Walk over and say: "I have MRSA, and I wanted to wipe down the treadmill before someone else got on." Shrug your shoulders. If it doesn't work immediately, you might have to explain how there is no treatment for this type of staph infection.

Thanks for all the comments and votes. Friend me at your own risk.
 
Happy New Year, and good luck. 

2012 Already Rocks!

In February of 2011 the doctor gave me a rather stern warning about my weight and the health issues that were related to it. Although my blood pressure has always been about 140 over something, I have been flipping off other drivers and road raging since I was 16; it's a family trait. I started by eating better, and I joined a class at the local YMCA entitled "In It to Lose It." You can decide for yourself what you think that means.

In the first class, I nearly blew my cookies - it was pretty bad! I should have left my water bottle closer to the floor and brought an oxygen tank. On a scale of 1 to 10, it was a "Just freakin' shoot me!"

I got home that evening and didn't feel like eating. I had no idea that point of exercising was to reduce your appetite.

Eventually I got to the point where I could actually talk during a workout without swallowing my tongue. They were just phrases at first: "This sucks!", "Are you kidding!" and variations on the f-word, but I got better.

On the eight week, after losing 20 something pounds, I had congestive heart failure. Exercise saved my life. That's another story.

Since last February I have lost about 60 pounds, spent a week in ICU, and had knee surgery. That is why I already like 2012.

Last night, I started another round of "In It to Lose It." I renamed it, "You Think You Are Going to Die, but God is Cruel and You Don't."

As a senior member, of "In It to Lose It," I get to be the group wise guy. One lady quit about 15 minutes into the hour. I laughed like one of the villains in Scoobie Doo. (Really her knee went out.)

In addition to the exercise I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. The byproduct of a high fruit and vegetable diet is obvious, but I can't find anyone to pull my finger. I don't miss the rice and potatoes too much either. Honestly, I haven't made that many changes to my former diet - or I didn't think so an until now. Here is a self-test to see if you are actually a dieter, or just a normal person.

-1 Does the dog/cat food look appetizing?
-2 Do you try to eat the crumbs from the bottom of every package and lick the bottom of the yogurt cup?
-3 Have you extended the 5 Second Rule to 40 minutes?
-4 Do you only weigh yourself after going #2?
-5 Have you purposely tripped a skinny person on an escalator?
-6 Does the thought of exercise disappear with a mouthful of chocolate?
-7 Do you "suck it in" and look at yourself in the mirror?
-8 When you plan vacation, do you stop logging?
-9 Have you thought of eating foods sacrificed to idols?
-10 Do you ask God in prayer what foods will be on the table at the great Banquet in the clouds?

If you answered YES to two or more of these questions, you might have a clue as to what is going on with me these last 10 months.

I know, diets usually fail, and one needs to make a lifestyle changes. For a desk-jockey this is a big change, and if all goes well, I will be running a 5K in 2012!

How about you, are you in shape?
 
Thanks for the comments and votes, it makes it more fun for me! 
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