knock-off of Magic Mike because I thought I would be lean enough to kind of pull it off, though I would be minus the six pack (but at least it wouldn’t be a keg like the old days). Yup, I firmly believed my life would be altered within a year, and why not? The stories that permeated the world wide web were plentiful, and some of them were pretty darn extreme. I remember one story about a kid that was extremely overweight and then lost 100+ pounds in less than two months. He got a pretty nice story out of it, mainly as a sob piece to raise money for his corrective surgery due to all the excess skin that was left behind. Back in those days, there were no crowd funding platforms to take advantage of unsuspecting people out there (but on the other hand, it means do your homework people!). While all of these stories are great to hear and wonderful to read about, they seemed to reveal a very dark and foreboding truth: those were the extremely rare cases.
If anything, the punishing reality is something more similar to what I have run into. While I have become more fit and healthy than I ever have in my life, I still have some issues with my weight and my body shape. While the dissatisfaction of my body shape is merely in my head and how I feel about myself, the weight problem is still something that has been lingering. While I have certainly put forth a herculean effort in regards to my fitness this past week-putting up workouts that are far tougher and more advanced than what I am used to and logging some 23 miles on the running path-losing the weight is going to be pretty tough. I already broke a couple rules of mine, engaging in a couple of good sized meals to make sure I had enough fuel to handle two seven-mile runs this week. But for the most part, I have been eating more plants this week and getting a better control of my eating schedule. Personally, I’m hoping all things work out a little better as I approach the second week of my little challenge. The first good decision is going on a beer fast, for the heavy ales that I love so much are expelled from my fridge until my birthday later this month.
Now when we start talking about weight cutting, the first thing people think about are various combat sports athletes sitting in a sauna and hoping they sweat out all of their fluids. Just about any weight based competition uses this little trick up their sleeve, but some of these guys take weight cutting to an extreme, pushing the envelope in ways no one thought possible when they cut 15-20 pounds! This happens quite a bit in mixed martial arts and boxing, where maintaining a big reach advantage and a strength advantage is crucial in regards to success. One of the best fighters, John Jones, sometimes cuts 25-30 pounds off his six-foot four frame. Back when he was trading jabs in the octagon rather than verbal jabs on WWE, Brock Lesnar would dump 30 to 35 pounds before a fight just to reach the 265-pound weight limit. This by no means is something I’m willing to try, but on the other hand, two years ago I never thought I would become vegan and willingly run six plus miles three times in one week. But if I ever did try to do something crazy like that, this is a pretty nice guide to doing it the way the UFC fighters do it. http://fourhourworkweek.com/2013/05/06/how-to-cut-weight-ufc/
To say I hit a plateau in the weight loss department has been something of an understatement. So the biggest culprit is easily the amount of food I eat in a week. The problem with losing weight and losing it fast is everyone has their own special “remedy” on how to do it, and they always promise it to be a safe and sound procedure. I’m sure we all have someone in our family that has an old wives tale of some trick from the “old country,” but it also seems to come down to two factors: food and exercise. Now I know I am doing my part in regards to the exercise this week, running a speedy three-mile run on Monday, a six-miler on Tuesday, a seven-miler on Thursday in one of the muckiest November nights ever, and a seven-miler at Sabino Canyon on Saturday. I used to run 23 miles just about every week nearly a year ago, but that was really before I started putting a huge emphasis on weight training and plus, I was doing smaller distance increments as well (I would usually run five times a week, and during the Ragnar training, I would put in 15 miles in the span of 24 hours!). I have also become good friends with the 50-pound dumbbells, using them in just about every exercise now. I have also accepted the idea that I need a tough workout even in the wake of an equally tough workout. I didn’t finish my seven-mile run on Thursday until well past 10-o’clock in the evening. Yet at 6:30 in the morning the next day, I was doing squat-press-pushes, chest presses and bent over rows with the 50-pound dumbbells, working off very little sleep (I was pretty wired after the run) and very little food. I still managed to get the full workout done in 50 minutes, and then did a mile on the rowing machine. In a span of less than 10 hours, I dumped 2100 calories. So if anything, the effort is there, and maintaining that effort is something I’m going to have to work on in the coming weeks. Now the biggest problem I’m running into is finding advice that is more or less long-term. Even on WebMD, they offer a lot of good advice for weight loss, but it seems to focus quite a bit on those that want to lose a few pounds for a high school reunion or bathing suit season or something. http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/lose-weight-fast-how-to-do-it-safely
If anything, this kind of leads to the obvious conclusion: everyone has ideas for the long term, but not too many have good ideas for the long term. If anything, the general message seems to work along the lines of staying active and moving, which is no problem for me. In regards to myself, the best thing that came out of having no car for such a long period of time was the fact I developed some walking habits, like walking to get my morning coffee or walking to the grocery store, even if it meant taking a short cut through a wash that has sand so soft, it is murder on my calves and a written guarantee that my shoes will be filled with dirt. But here was something that was really no surprise to me at all: eat more vegetables! Truthfully, this has never been much of a debate in regards to maintaining a good figure. Unlike most foods, leafy greens are less dense, but have a much higher surface mass than much of the processed food that people stuff down their throats. Look at it this way…it’s going to take a lot of burgers and fries to fill up a stomach, mainly due to the lack of space they may take up (unless you are eating some monstrosity from The Heart Attack Grill). Compared to a decent sized salad, not only will your body feel fuller as a result, the less dense food will most likely be higher in fiber and nutrients, which will still give you a much needed injection of healthy additives. Personally, this will be kind of my go-to idea for the weekend, as I have a lot of pre-packed spinach and arugula to munch on before they go bad. I would say four out of my possible six meals will be just salads (I don’t normally do this, but this is reflection of the times. My parents work a free food service for the poor on a weekly basis, and much of the time, the people seem to stay away from the packaged plant foods. Yeah, I had to get rid of some of the soggier leaves, but well over 90% of the plants were still lush and full).
Now there are some pretty extreme methods to solving some of your basic weight problems. If you have the moxie and the heart to do it, unloading processed sugar and salt from your diet can certainly do wonders. Now severely lowering your salt count can be tricky and maybe even unhealthy, especially since salt plays a relatively vital role in the functioning of the body, especially in regards to regulating water and electrolyte balances. http://chriskresser.com/shaking-up-the-salt-myth-the-human-need-for-salt So while unloading the salt from your system might be a quick way to lose some body fluids, it is certainly not a long term solution to a healthy weight loss plan. Sugar on the other hand is a much more reasonable approach to helping one lose weight and control the appetite. I’ve already written about the sugar problem, and is something I will never stop writing about. http://blog.parsonstrainingtucson.com/2014/10/my-struggles-and-apparently-rest-of_30.html
Of course, I ran into some other good ideas, some that were incredibly reasonable. Of all things, cook for yourself! When you go to a restaurant or buy a whole lot of pre-packed, pre-made food, you have to realize the ingredient list is going to be chocked full of stuff your body isn’t going to need. Taking control of the ingredients is quite a must, and when you have control of the additives and are trying to lose weight, you’re probably going to be a little more conservative in regards to what you are doing. If anything, I rarely add salt of sugar to any of my food, and rarely do I use olive oil for cooking. This sort of control is going to be essential for me as I look to trim some pounds from my physique. But here was a mother piece of good advice that I thought was quite befitting of me….indulge. I know, I know. Cutting all of the bad food is certainly going to help you lose weight, but for some people, controlling the cravings are going to be difficult. For me, cutting out the cheese was pretty easy when I first started, but then I kind of had a weird fetish for Buffalo Chicken sticks at the QT by my house. Until I actually gave up meat, the only real craving I developed over time was the desire for the vegan friendly scones at Whole Foods (which are not very waist friendly). I got one last week in the wake of a 7.5 mile run up Sabino Canyon, and while I didn’t specifically crave it, I felt at ease about eating the concoction. Truth be told, I used to go weeks on end thinking about getting those delicious scones. But due to a combination of Whole Foods getting lazy on the subject, I’ve had to pretty much give them up. But I look at it this way. I don’t really have a scone craving right now, even though I did have one that very day. While I don’t really condone the concept of cheat meals, maybe there is a little bit of truth in doing so. But I’ll acknowledge this idea can work for a more disciplined eater, which truthfully I am not right now. I don’t think doing an occasional cheat meal would be good for me, especially due to my rather obsessive nature about things. I’m just thankful there is no good place like Pionic with a vegan friendly pizza or a Chipotle near my house.
Truth be told, this next chapter in my life is going to have to be a very patient and tough one. I have to expect from here on out that each and every run and workout I partake in is going to be tough. The working out part of the weight loss will not be the difficult part, for I think I can get enough gusto to take those challenges. But if anything, the food will be key. Yeesh, this is not going to be easy!
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.
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