After our last vacation ordeal, we had another trip planned for the 4th of July planned to Ocean City, MD, and Wildwood, NJ. However, due to a family/personal issue we had to cancel that trip, and instead travel to Richmond, VA to be with family.
I’ll be putting a pause on blog posts for awhile as I’m not going to be able to prioritize writing. However, I did want to get this issue out before that.
I am hoping to pick things back up next month as I have a bunch of ideas beyond this series.
The good news is that since we haven’t had any luck with actually taking a vacation this year, we are going to try one last time and head to the Outer Banks of North Carolina in August.
Anyways, on to the food!
For Richmond, since we were able to pack our own groceries, my intention was to stick to “normal” as much as possible even though there would be some restaurant meals. Let’s do this!
As I’ve recently mentioned in Issue #1, summers can be particularly troublesome for me. My wife is a teacher, and as such, we try to cram all of our traveling/vacation for the year (not including business travel) into a short 3 month window.
I also mentioned that I’m not a fan of being strict on your vacation, and I advocate “relaxing the constraints” to enjoy the vacation as long as you return to your pre vacation eating immediately upon returning. What you do when you return from vacation is more important than what you do ON vacation.
This recent trip was our family’s one big vacation (with 8 of us including my adult brothers) going to the Bahamas for a week. I didn’t intend on training at ALL, nor did I have any particular dietary constraints. I set the expectation that I would IMMEDIATELY return to my normal habits on Monday June 20th.
In fact, since I’d been making such great progress, my coach and I discussed “pre-gaming” and “post-gaming” in regard to my dietary and nutrition plans. I’d ramp up the protein, ramp down the calories, and up the intensity in my training by reducing my rest periods, upping the volume by adding some extra sets and reps, and adding some post workout cardio. So I did this to the week prior, and the week after.
So, here’s a quick look into how someone that used to be morbidly obese at ~410lbs , and has kept off a 200lb weight loss for 8 years, eats on vacation without constraints, and without training…and the repercussions of doing so. Spoilers: Not everything is peachy keen.
“I was a victim of a series of accidents, as are we all.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan
One issue that was always a stumbling block for me when it came to dietary choices was eating while traveling. For the most part, for myself and for most people, I’m a fan of not being super strict during vacation. I’d rather you just enjoy yourself. As long as you return to your normal habits immediately upon returning (like..the day after, not the week after..yes I’ve done that too), any scale weight will likely drop right off…especially if you don’t stress over it!
It’s not what you do ON vacation that usually causes you issues, it’s when you start to return to bad habits BEFORE and AFTER vacation!
However, since my wife is a teacher, we tend to travel often during the summer as opposed to one really big vacation. That means that I needed a way to do that without feeling like I was backtracking. One way to keep myself accountable (outside of having a coach myself) was to keep a journal of what I ate and did, so I’d like to share that with you in the hopes that you can get an idea of what maintaining a 200lb weight loss (and maybe even making some progress) looks like when I’m away from home.
Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood. – Fred “Mr” Rogers
When we first built our home gym in our finished basement, one of the immediate benefits was that I was no longer spending the time driving to and from the gym. A second, arguably more important, benefit was that the kids could be in the gym with me. We used a large play yard, foam interlocking floor mats, and a bouncer to allow a safe space to bring our daughter into the gym. After being home all day with a 6-month-old, my wife could hand off our daughter for some “mommy time” while I was able to do my workout and spend time with my little girl. This also meant that instead of listening to my normal but varied gym music (90’s rap, metal, etc), I switched to listening to classical and/or Yo Gabba Gabba music, but some changes are definitely worth it.
Yeah, I realize that many gyms have daycares, but I think that this is a better option for parents AND kids. What’s more restful and energizing than getting a hug or kiss between sets? If you said nothing, that’s correct. But think of the benefits for your children too! They are seeing from a young age that being physically fit is important to you, thus, you are making it important to them too. This also allows you to become a positive role model for them in the area of physical fitness, regardless of your level of actual fitness.
Remember, kids do what they SEE, not what you tell them to do.
In this article, I will look at how my family has integrated exercise and nutrition as a positive focus for our daily family life. If you don’t have any children, this article, unfortunately, won’t really apply to you so I’d say it’s safe to skip if you really want, although you may find some value and/or humor in some of it. 😉
I’m not sure if you’ve seen the advertisement floating around the internet that shows a unicorn pooping rainbows, but once you see it, you’ll never forget it.
So, here it is:
I was initially fascinated by the idea of what essentially amounts to using a cheap plastic stool to get your body into a more natural position for bowel movements. However, being the miser/thrifty dad that I am, I just ended up using the small stool that my son uses to be able to reach the sink which really didn’t make a difference.
In part 1 of this 3 part series, I mentioned that at the beginning, only my wife knew that I was starting this journey. Without her support, and help, I don’t know how I could have gotten started as quickly as I did. While smaller changes at one time are generally are easier to make into long-term habits when embarking on a lifestyle change, I was facing a ticking clock like I was Jack Bauer in 24, counting down to the birth of my daughter.
So we went at this with all guns blazing and started making big changes, at all once. I don’t really recommend that you do it this way for a few reasons. First, it can be overwhelming. Trying to change your built in habits all at once means that you are going to have to temporarily allow your diet and exercise changes to taking over your life. That means really focusing on it, putting energy toward it, and prioritizing it. And that may mean some short term suffering, and de-prioritizing other things such as a social life, free time generally spent on relaxing, etc.
Cooking. It’s one skill that while I’ve dabbled in it here and there (I make some amazing scrambled eggs), it’s not something that I’ve mastered. Like anything else, the only way that you get better at it is by failing, learning, trying, and adapting. However, I find no pleasure or joy in it, and honestly, really dislike it.
Thankfully, my wonderful wife is an amazing cook and enjoys it. However, as time is our most precious resource, sometimes cooking is our last priority. Well, how do you feed a family of four when you often can’t prioritize cooking, while still maintaining the lifestyle changes that have made lasting weight loss possible? I’m glad you asked!
“The strong people are not those who show strength in front of us, but those who win battles we know nothing about.”
47 Days. That’s how long it was until I told another soul on this earth (besides my wife), that I was attempting to lose weight. Even then, it was through an anonymous post on the internet (hey, shout out to the SomethingAwful forums again). It would be even longer before I confided in those closest to me, my friends and family.
At over 400lbs, I was already an introvert and as antisocial as they come. I had tried and failed so many times, I wasn’t yet ready to tell my friends and family that I was trying to lose weight because I was afraid to fail yet again. Even though as the weeks flew past, and the weight dropped off, and I was falling in love with the process, I was still afraid. Afraid that it wouldn’t last, that this was a dream, and maybe deep down, afraid that I somehow didn’t deserve this. I put my head down, and I did the work.
Flash back to 8 years ago. It was March. Breaking Bad aired its first episode 2 months prior. Rhianna’s song, Umbrella, was on the radio every other song. The first Iron Man movie was coming out in about 2 months. I spent my evenings playing World of Warcraft with my online friends. I was my guild’s main tank. This meant that it was my job to piss off the boss monsters so that they only attacked me and not the characters of my friends. It wasn’t easy. It required figuring out the best equipment to do the job and that changed depending on which boss monsters you happened to be fighting.
For my job, I spent my days writing scripts that automated stuff for other office workers. But between projects, when most people were browsing the internet for cat pictures, I was figuring out which pieces of equipment would help me fight those bosses and tracking the data using Microsoft Excel, and I wrote complex formulas to analyze which piece of equipment was optimal for each situation.
Oh, and I was over 400lbs. I was in constant back pain. I gorged myself on pizza smothered in ranch dressing because it was easy to make (simply dial the number for delivery, cover with ranch, boom). I hardly ever moved except to move between chairs. At most it was office chair, to car seat, to home computer chair. In fact, even getting up to walk to the restroom often made me out of breath.
The World Was About To Change. At Least Mine Was.
I found out that my wife was pregnant, and had my epiphany moment.
I felt a lightning bolt strike me, filling me with the absolutely certainty that I had to lose weight, and I had to start right now…
“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint – it’s more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly… time-y wimey… stuff.”
-The Tenth Doctor, Doctor Who, episode “Blink”
Time Is The Only Currency That Matters
Time. Time is the only real resource or currency we have. We exchange our time for money, services and experiences. We also tend to waste time on things that don’t really matter. I do that too. Even now. Hell, I procrastinated writing this very article because my fear of writing is something I struggle with, and rather than keep trying, I scroll through Facebook or Reddit or play video games. But as I recently talked about in my blog post about conquering fear, the things we fear may be the very things we need to focus on, as fear indicates we are out of our comfort zone. And when we are out of our comfort zone, we grow.
“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.” – Bruce Lee
You probably feel like every other person on this planet: that there is never enough time to get everything done. There is a constant struggle of trying to fit in the things that you want to get done and the things you need to get done. Things you need to get done are the steps that allow you to accomplish both your short term and long term goals.
Simply trying to do everything is only going to result in you feeling like you’ve accomplished nothing.