You are doing great with your new lifestyle changes, you are seeing progress (in whichever way you are measuring it), and you have things down to a routine. And then comes a spontaneous invite to go out to eat a meal with friends/family, and then panic sets in.
I’ve been there. I still sometimes feel that way when being pulled in two different directions of the pressure (social and otherwise) and to continue moving toward my goals.
The question “how to increase one’s metabolism” came up in the context of a discussion with someone who felt that their calorie goal was far too low to consistently lose weight. That’s something that that many people (me included) often face. It’s more of an issue for women and shorter men, and unfortunately, shorter women have the worst of it. And it sucks. If you work a desk job and don’t get in much activity during the day, you may need to hit a calorie goal as low as bodyweight x 8. Having faced this myself, I know how badly that sucks. It’s terrible and it feels like suffering, and because of that, it’s not sustainable. Heck, I’ve seen cases where someone needs to go even lower, toward 6-7 x bodyweight. Please never do that on your own without guidance from a professional. So….what do we do about that?
My Biggest Weakness. What a catchy title eh? In truth, my biggest weakness is probably my inconsistency with writing because I want everything to perfect, which is ironic as I know an all or nothing mentality doesn’t work for fitness, so why would it work for writing? Hint: it doesn’t work, obviously.
So, here is me trying to break that habit, by examining my fitness habits for weaknesses by writing about it. I’m all about efficiency so let’s work on two problems at the same time.
I’m not perfect, and while weight loss is simple, it’s not easy. You know what else isn’t easy and is harder than weight loss? Maintaining the weight you’ve lost. I’m pretty good at this, but I could be better.
Crap. I am so sorry. October almost passed us by without an article from me. I apologize. Life has been crazy recently with the transition to both kids in grade school and doing kung fu 3 days a week. I’ve also started going through the process to become Precision Nutrition certified, and I’ve also added sword fighting training to my personal fitness development.
Anyways, thanks to a Facebook friend’s post about eating healthy on the cheap, I wanted to share my thoughts about how eating “healthy” doesn’t have to mean eating expensive. I put healthy in quotation marks because that’s a loaded word. Single foods in isolation are generally not healthy or unhealthy alone, but it’s your overall diet/summary of choices that are healthy or unhealthy. If being able to drink a craft beer and/or having some pizza once a week with your family allows you to be consistent with dietary choices that align with your fitness/health goals the rest of the time, that pizza and/or beer exists within what is a healthy diet for YOU. Just something to keep in mind. With that said, if that’s something you want to discuss, I’m *always* willing to do so. =)
Following the theme of last week’s article about what I’d do if I couldn’t track calories, I’m answering the other half of the fitness equation: What would I do if I couldn’t go to the gym? Why? Because in my own 200lb weight loss, the gym played a large factor, and not in the way you think.
One of the key factors in my 200lb weight loss, and my lifestyle/mindset/habits changes need to maintain that level of weight loss was being able to control my calorie intake. I am an analytically-minded person, enjoy creating spreadsheets, and crunching numbers. When I found out that there was an underlying math, I remember thinking “Um, why didn’t I know about this before? I was doing exercise I hated while eating foods that I hated, and all along I could simply be weighing/tracking/spreadsheet guru’ing my way to weight loss!”
The real truth is that while calorie tracking via weighing your food on a food scale is the means to an end, it is not the end itself. That end IS NOT weight loss. Rather, that end is an awareness of portions and foods that are in balance with our goals.
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. 😉