Getting back on the losing train

The goal for 2014 was to be less fat. Check that, it still is to be less fat.

I’ve tried to go down this road numerous times, with varying degrees of success — but really, it’s all failure because I haven’t STAYED there. In fact, right now I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been: 265# (more or less). I don’t know my precise bodyfat measure, but if you Google around for body fat estimation pictures, I’m at least 30% body fat. Let’s do some math. That means I’m 185# at 0% body fat, which is unrealistic but it’s math good to know because assuming I maintain that lean body mass, then a 15% bodyfat would be about 215 pounds. 15% body fat is a good goal for me to start with and folks… that’s a 50# difference.

Put it this way. You go to the gym, and those big plates? The 45# plates? Lug one of those around for a while… I’m wanting to lose a little more than that. I have a little more than that just sitting on my body, weighing me down, stressing my body, my joints, and everything. And that, to me, just sucks. I also get stupid and think about how if I do decide to compete in powerlifting, that’s dropping down 2 weight classes (vs. being in the 275# class when I’m not a guy lugging around 275# worth of muscle). So yeah, I’m tired of it.

I’m tired of being fat. I’m tired of all the downsides it brings. I don’t want a flat stomach because “abz” aren’t a priority, but I do want the ability to carry things on the front of my belt, like AIWB. I want my clothing to not fit me because of muscle, not fat. Yeah, there’s vanity. But there’s also a desire to accept that my 40-something body is only getting older, going to fall apart more, and I have to change a lot of habits to help me manage this “over the hill” thing so I can still kick ass when I’m 70 years old, like Sonny:

The diet has always been my struggle. I eat to manage stress, to find comfort, escape, joy, whatever. All the things I’ve tried, I can manage somewhat, but there’s always some piece of the puzzle I’m missing. I’ve come to accept I cannot do this alone, and that having a coach, someone to direct me, to kick my ass when I need it, to be there to answer questions — well, I stress the value and importance of this in every other aspect of life, so why should it be any different here? It may not work, but at this point, it’s well worth trying.

As I’ve mentioned in some prior posts, I’m trying out the guys at Renaissance Periodization. At this point I’m doing a 6-month plan with them. I’ll talk more about this as I go along, because it’s going to be a journey. But so far, it seems like a lot of stuff I already knew, just well-structured and in a manner that I think should be more consumable with less information overload. We’ll see how it goes.

The other thing is how my lifting will go.

Since the primary goal is fat loss, I know that strength and muscle mass will be lost as well. I want to minimize this, so it seems the best recommended path for me to take is one that builds muscle mass. While a strict bodybuilder approach isn’t what I want right now, because strength is still more important to me, that philosophy is certainly there. So, I’m going to give Paul Carter’s Basebuilding a go. Philosophically it seems the right thing to do. I don’t know how well it will work on the restricted diet, but then I’m willing to adjust and adapt as I go along. I believe I read somewhere that Paul said BBing works out well in a diet phase since you can just adjust your weights (downward) and keep going. I just have to remind myself that the key isn’t to focus on the numeric value of the weight as much as it is ensuring I work to preserve strength and muscle mass. It’s the work I do, not the weight I lift.

The other thing? I have to do cardio. 3x a week I’m in the gym lifting. On my non-lifting days, I have to walk for an hour. That’s part of RP’s plan. Ugh…. not my favorite thing to do. But, I will say for a while there I kinda dealt with it because I listened to podcasts while I was walking and I kinda miss listening to them. So this will be useful. I may try just simple reading too as my reading list is backing up.

RP wants a semi-weekly weigh-in, so the plan is to weigh myself on Sunday and Wednesday. I will also take periodic pictures, probably just on Sunday. I debate posting the pictures. Part of me doesn’t want to because I’m sure you don’t want to see me half-naked, nor do I feel like sharing my half-naked self with the world. But I think about it — that’s in part because I do not like how I look. But 50# from now? Yeah, I’m sure I’ll like it more and be kinda happy to run around with my shirt off. So I dunno… part of me thinks that the public shaming and accountability it would create for myself would be good for me. Plus, look at a guy like John Stone and his pictures. If that’s not some level of inspiration…

So… here we go…. voyaging down this road again.


2 thoughts on “Getting back on the losing train

  1. Walking an hour is about 100 cal (plus or minus a few depending on weight). That’s not going to lose you weight. If what I’m reading is correct, you don’t start burning fat until you’re into 30-40 minutes of cardio.

    Since I quit playing racquetball I’m going to the gym six times a week. Two days for weights (I’m still building muscle/strength, but slower), and four days for cardio. At least an hour of cardio, and I mean getting the heart rate up there. Three machines rotation . . . rower, stair climber, and stationary bike.

    . . . I eat a lot . . . I hope you’re not dieting overly hard. The body does weird things when you starve it.

    Take a long term approach (2-4 years to get down to your target). You’ll have a better chance of remaining there because you will have gotten into a routine for both exercise and eating.

    . . . I’m not an expert, dietician, fitness guru . . . I am an engineer, so no expertise in this kind of stuff; just common sense. My advice is to ditch all them program, systems, etc. . . . instead, if your gym offers them, take classes (group classes) – barbells, TRX, or any other they have. Cheaper, and it gets you into a routine.

    . . . again, not an expert.

    • Walking… depends how you walk (e.g. leisurely pace, or with a weighted vest and like an angry gorilla), but you are right that most walking really isn’t much. But that’s not the point. The walking is a larger part of RP’s plan — just one small facet. I’m working on an aggressive plan, so every little thing you can do to contribute is important.

      I’m still going to be lifting, and with a program that’s going to tax me pretty good from the looks of it.

      I do know that massive starvation or radical plans aren’t a good thing — the body “overreacts” and fights to preserve everything since it thinks it’s starvation. But RP’s plan seems quite logical. Really, it isn’t breaking any new ground that I’m not already aware of. But it does seem to cut through a lot of the b.s. and overload of mixed messages out there. Plus there’s something nice about getting a plan tailored diretly to me and my needs, and that will be adjusted on a regular basis to ensure I’m able to achieve my goals. I think that’s been part of my past problem, is being able to keep it adjusted and suitable for my needs as the weeks go by.

      Yo uare right about the long term approach as well because you need a lifestyle change to really make it happen. I’ve changed my lifestyle a LOT in the past decade, and especially the past few years. But one thing I will always battle is eating for comfort, for stress management. I’m actually hoping to gain some insight into that by going through this. And yes, having the extra accountability of another person, of the fact I spent some money, and I’m going to be more public about this effort — well, hopefully that’ll help me get there.

      We’ll see.

      It’s a journey. and yes, it’s always possible this may not work out for me either. But I think the experience will be good for me, and so long as I learn well… that’s where “long term” really sets in. 🙂

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