Tuesday, December 27, 2016

I'm back!

Let's see, my last post was a year and a half ago? Jeez. Makes sense, though, since I haven't been focused on health and fitness for quite a while now. This year especially has been pretty rough. I started out the year suffering from anxiety and panic attacks on a daily basis, which led me to begin taking an antidepressant. Which did help, but one of the side effects was weight gain. I'm not sure if it's a direct physiological effect or if it just made me too tired/unmotivated to cook and eat healthy food or go to the gym, but it resulted in about 20 pounds of added bodyweight. Most of my clothes don't fit any more, and I got a sweet new set of stretch marks on my belly. It sucks, but it is what it is. I managed to get off the medication a few months ago (which resulted in some bad withdrawals, but they're gone now) and with the holiday season almost over I think it's time to shift my focus back onto my health again.

Here are my obstacles: food, booze, and exercise. Too much of the first two and not enough of the last. So, how do I rectify this imbalance in the force?

Since I've been at this for a few years now I've learned that free-eating does not tend to go well for me. My natural appetite is higher than my metabolism and activity level can handle. If left to my own desires I will put away about 4000 calories a day, easily. Doesn't really matter if it's healthy food or junk, as I can put away a 24oz. steak with some asparagus just as easily as a Whopper. Which means I'm left with tracking my food intake and counting calories. I'm okay with this, since it keeps my mind focused on the task at hand instead of letting it slip into the back of my mind. Right now I'm shooting for 2,500 calories a day, with 170 grams of protein so I can maintain as much lean mass as possible.

For weight loss food is number one. I know that I can lose weight simply by reducing my caloric intake, with no other effort whatsoever. So that's the priority, to stay within those calorie bounds every day, regardless of external situations.

That also mostly takes care of the booze question. Booze has a high caloric load for its volume (7 calories/gram) so it'd be pretty hard to drink heavily and still stay within my calorie limits. So I figure if I have the calories left at the end of the day and have hit my protein requirements then I can have a glass of wine or a beer, but pretty much not under any other circumstances. As I've gotten older most of my friends who I used to go out and drink with are too busy with their jobs, homes, and starting families to go out carousing. So I don't really have a temptation in my life in that regard any more. Which means I don't have any excuses either.

The last thing is exercise. I'm still a Crossfit coach at my gym, so I have 24/7 access to equipment and facilities. Right now I'm rehabbing a lower back injury, so I can't take on any kind of rigorous strength program until it's healed, so for now my goal is to just improve my cardiovascular conditioning as well as get back my mobility and strengthen my core muscles so my back doesn't get re-injured. To that end I'm focusing on full body movements without much external load done quickly to get my heart beating and my lungs burning. Once my back heals I'll get back into barbell and kettlebell work to get my strength and power back, but for now just moving around for an hour a day is plenty, since my conditioning is truly awful at the moment.

My goal is to lose 50 pounds by my birthday at the end of August.

Current weight: 261 lbs.
Goal weight: 210 lbs.
Short-term goal: 255 lbs. by end of January 2017

I find that having both a short-term and long-term goal is really useful for weight loss. Only having a long-term goal can be discouraging, especially when you hit a plateau for a week or two. Having the short term checkpoints helps to keep the eyes on the prize, so to speak, so that's my plan. I'll try to update the blog with my progress a couple times a week as well. It's another tool that helps me to keep my goals close at hand. Wish me luck!

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