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Welcome to WHEE.

As your guest host tonight, I'll be relating my own current and ongoing lackadaisical 'program' to lose weight and gain tone and muscle mass.

WHEE (Weight, Health, Eating and Exercise) is a community support diary for Kossacks who are currently or planning to start losing, gaining or maintaining their weight through diet and exercise or fitness. Any supportive comments, suggestions or positive distractions are appreciated. If you are working on your weight or fitness, please -- join us! You can also click the  WHEE tag to view all diary posts.

First, a bit of history.  I started eating poorly and being semi-sedentary back in the mists of time, and chunked up around my mid teens, albeit not horribly so, just enough that I was pudgy.  I got more active and put on some muscle and toned up some during my undergrad years, but then totally destroyed all of that as a grad student, staying up late pouring over data til late at night, frequently eating entire deep dish pizzas while I worked.

By the end of my PhD I had gained upwards of 40#, and was tipping the scales at 220 lbs, and not in muscles.  A decade of sitting at a computer 10-12 hrs a day did not help out, and by the end of this May, I was tipping the scales at 300#, despite see-sawing a bit over the years on various diets.

(Last chunk of preliminary exposition, I promise!)

Finally, I had my work hours severely cut a year and a half ago, and then dramatically cut again a few months back, dropping me first from full time to 40% of full time pay, then to about 10%.  (woot, I'm below the poverty line!) This gave me the incentive to finally take and pass my NCLEX licensing exam and become an RN.  However, despite all the supposed nursing shortages in my state, I've racked up dozens of ding letters for the positions for which I might be qualified, and not a single interview even.

So.  I came up with a back-up plan.  The one group I KNOW for sure is hiring.  The US Army.

Which (finally, you knew we'd get around to fitness somewhere, right?) has several requirements that must be met, and I've got 7 months in which to meet them.  You see, I'm 41, and the Army age limit requirement is that you be in basic training before your 42nd birthday.

The army also has a set of physical requirements that must be met, which can be found in Army Field Manual 21-20.  For a 41 year old, I have to be able to run 2 miles in 18 minutes, 18 seconds, do 34 pushups and 38 situps  (correctly) in 2 minutes, I believe it is.  Finally, I also have to be below 26% bodyfat, which is roughly 178# for my height.  I actually was briefly in ROTC in college, before all the remedial physical training caused my grades to dive, and back then I would have had to do the run in 16 minutes or so, so I'm thankful they actually drop the requirements a bit as you age...

Which brings us back around to the title.

I'd decided to lose weight many times over the years, and generally had limited short term success, although at one point I dropped 65# and kept it off for 2 years.  What I didn't have, all those years, however, was what I think is going to make this time different - an important goal.  Always before I was merely 'unhappy' that I weighed too much, but very little seemed to ride on whether or not I succeeded.

So now I've finally got a set goal, set in time and pounds and tone, with fairly important real-world consequences if I fail to meet my goal.  Thanks to an incredibly supportive family, I've been able to meet my bills to date, but I can't continue to make $100 every two weeks indefinitely without draining my parents dry.  And the job market is nasty, and going to stay so for the forseeable future.  So I've got to be ready to enlist before my 42nd birthday at the latest.

So it's 100 more pounds off in 7 months, and added tone and muscle.

I started very slowly, to get my body used to the shock of actually doing something again, on June 1rst.  I started with bench presses, since I figured I'd need the pecs, lats, delts and trapezius in tone for the pushups.  During the month of June, all I really did was rotate my exercises up, starting with a bare bar (45#) and doing 35 reps at a time, then adding 5 reps a day until I hit 50 reps, then adding 5 pounds of weight and restarting at 35 reps.  Occasionally I threw in some bicep curls with either a curl bar or dumbbells as well.  I also started walking to the grocery store every couple of days about mid-June.  Not sure on the distance, but it takes about 15 minutes to walk there and another 15 to get back.

Near the end of June I started throwing in occasional weighted leg extensions and flexions.  At that point, I'd dropped 10 pounds from my start weight, but had plateaued for a couple of weeks, so it was time to step it up a notch.

So in the beginning of July, I started working on a stationary bike as well.  My benchpresses were using 80#s now, and I put them on a bit of a holding pattern, just rotating in various shorter and longer sets while I  got used to biking.  Despite working my way up from 2 mile rides a day to 12 miles a day over the first week and a half, I still wasn't really losing weight again, so I finally took the missing step (and you all knew it already, of course) and started tracking exactly what I ate, and keeping my calories in line.  The pounds started to drop off again.

So I'm currently at 283.2#.  I've got almost exactly 7 months to ditch about 100# more (assuming I replace a fair amount with muscle, as I work my way into shape for the run, sit-ups, and push-ups.

17# down, 103# to go.  My June pace wasn't good enough, but I'm picking it up in July, and intend to keep closer on track.

Will I make it?  Only time will tell, but at least my goal is set, and has a lot of real implications for my future this time.  Steady loss is my plan, with as few plateaus as possible.  The biking is building up my endurance, and once I hit an hour straight on the bike, I plan to start working on the running itself.

Suggestions?  Thoughts?  Laughter at this poor soul who can no longer enjoy cheeses at every meal?

Originally posted to Ezekial 23 20 on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 04:38 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (18+ / 0-)

    Am I cynical? Yes I am! - Bob the Builder's lesser known brother Pete the Politician

    by Ezekial 23 20 on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 04:38:57 PM PDT

  •  Goals are definitely important (9+ / 0-)

    And contrats on making yours, and marking a milestone!

    I haven't put myself on a schedule yet, but I need to get from 260# to 215# ASAP, so I can fit comfortably into my kilt again - especially as my band performs more (gotta look good on stage). The long term goal is 195#.

    But I've set my goals a little differently, and I finally reached a major milestone on mine: bike 24 of the my 32-mile round-trip commute this week. And I pulled it off Wednesday. The ride in was fun, especially crossing the Wilson Bridge over the Potomac from VA to MD, and along the Oxon Creek cove just as I crossed from MD into DC. The ride back was horrible, especially at the end.

    Granted, there were setbacks. Heat exhaustion kept me from repeating yesterday, and this morning, when I set out to go again, I realized that I had blown my rear tire at the tail end of my ride on Wednesday (probably why it was so miserable). The tools in my pannier bag were insufficient to get the wheel off (wrench kept slipping on the nut), so it had to wait until this evening to fix, and now the wheel is slightly out of round.

    But with any luck, I'll be up and at 'em by Tuesday. I figure once I'm riding 4 days a week for a month or two, I'll bike the whole way, and by that time I'll be getting into great shape! That, and I'll be pretty damned green at the same time.

    Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

    by Robobagpiper on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 04:56:54 PM PDT

    •  Zooks! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Winnie, gooderservice, Robobagpiper

      I'm doing all I can to avoid going outside other than for the walks to the store until I drop some more of the flab.  I'm figuring the more I weigh, the more I catch heat with that big old surface area ;)

      Am I cynical? Yes I am! - Bob the Builder's lesser known brother Pete the Politician

      by Ezekial 23 20 on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 05:29:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, another reason the afternoon ride sucked! (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Winnie, gooderservice, Ezekial 23 20

        But I grew up in Texas, so I should be able to handle this.

        (Granted, when I was growing up in Texas, I was less than half the man I am now).

        Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

        by Robobagpiper on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 05:32:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah, the part I'm not looking forward to... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gooderservice, Robobagpiper

          is the assumption that if I pass basic, I'll probably be headed directly to Afghanistan at a guess, and some pretty high temperatures day in and day out.  I prefer the cold.

          Am I cynical? Yes I am! - Bob the Builder's lesser known brother Pete the Politician

          by Ezekial 23 20 on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 05:34:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, that's the part I wouldn't envy. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Winnie, gooderservice, Ezekial 23 20

            Fortunately, I'm just a civilian scientist contractor working at the Naval Research Lab on an Air Force project doing in-situ space physics measurements. So even they had the authority to deploy anywhere: sea, sky, or space, it'll be cooler than here!

            41, eh? I turn the four-zero on Jerry Lewis weekend. Decided this is the decade I get skinny and learn to dance.

            Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

            by Robobagpiper on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 05:38:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's a good decade to do so (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Winnie, gooderservice, Robobagpiper

              it only gets tougher to work your way back out from here on.  Best to get in shape this decade, then work on maintaining.  And dancing is a great way to maintain, and often leads to erm, other good ways to maintain ;)

              Am I cynical? Yes I am! - Bob the Builder's lesser known brother Pete the Politician

              by Ezekial 23 20 on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 05:41:03 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well, I figured, in my '30s, I learned to pipe, (3+ / 0-)

                fiddle, and sing (mostly English & Scots, recently in Gaelic). If I can't dance the steps to all of those, what's the point?

                I did a little contradancing while I was dating a couple years back, and had a lot of fun (and have a date planned soon along these lines as well). So this fall I'm starting Scottish Country Dancing and Irish Sean Nós, and a friend is one of the top Highland dance instructors in the area, so once I'm at the ideal weight, a little leaping too.

                And yes, with any luck, dancing leading to those other things. That, and skinny long-haird piper dudes get groupies, I learned well from watching my mentor!

                Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

                by Robobagpiper on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 05:51:02 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  wow & I don't even bike the 5-ish miles to work (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Robobagpiper, Ezekial 23 20

      The ride in isn't so bad, early morning is only around 80 degrees & for a 40-ish minute ride, that's not bad. On the way in is downhill, toward the river. So, home would be in upper 90s, and uphill.

      But I could take the bus home, or stop often. I could chill my camleback. I really should ride next week.

      terrifying space monkeys are loose in the engine room

      by anotherdemocrat on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 06:39:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My camelback is my best friend (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        anotherdemocrat, Ezekial 23 20

        Chilled or no.

        My route takes me down to the Potomac river, up a gigantic hill, and down again to the river. Because of various freeways, my options to avoid this hill are nil.

        Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

        by Robobagpiper on Sat Jul 17, 2010 at 02:44:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Zooks! Must be an old bike. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Robobagpiper, Ezekial 23 20

      I recommend upgrading to modern quick-release hubs.  Also, wheels don't go out of round from repairing a puncture.  The problem is usually in the tire and/or tube setting.

      Bicycling is great exercise!  It might be a better plan to do your bicycling on leisure time rather than relying on commuting for your exercise (and going farther).  Of course if you can do that, it's all the better, but don't hold your exercise ransom to the necessity of getting to work!

      •  Nope, it's a newer chainless drive bike (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mother Shipper, Ezekial 23 20

        which is why the removal of the rear wheel was a bit more of a chore; but I had neither the manual nor the right tools on hand.

        It wasn't hard to get off once I had a real wrench. The problem was that the stamped-metal mini-wrench that came with the bike was slightly too big for the nut, and it kept slipping. That, and I'd have needed a phillips screwdriver to get the plastic cover on the drive off. So I'll add those tools to my kit today.

        My "leisure" time is really limited, between practice, rehearsals for two bands, lessons (taught & taken), jam sessions, workshops, and gigs! (And hopefully, at some point, dates) So commuting was the best way, it seemed to get the exercise in on a regular basis - and to drive the car less.

        Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

        by Robobagpiper on Sat Jul 17, 2010 at 02:36:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, my thinking on the wheel was that (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mother Shipper, Ezekial 23 20

        I rode on it for some time after the tire failed without realizing it - the last 2 miles seemed really terrible, but I attributed that to physical & heat exhaustion and going further than I'd ever done in a single day of riding before.

        Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

        by Robobagpiper on Sat Jul 17, 2010 at 02:39:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  wow. great work! (6+ / 0-)

    good on you, Zeke!

    One approach I've found helpful is rotation.  diet hard for three weeks, and then take a break of a week or two, up to a month.  It's not a full break, you have to watch your calories still, but it keeps your body from resetting its baseline level and provides some resistance against plateaus.  The Rotation Diet is an old book that describes one detailed approach.  This one has helped me a lot, keeping my weight under control for almost 20 yrs.  Whenever I creep up too much (which is a continual problem), I'll get it back out and put it to work.

    Best wishes for meeting your goal!

    Life is full of disappointments; yes, and I am full of life. -- John Gorka

    by bubbanomics on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 05:03:02 PM PDT

  •  Remember John Candy (6+ / 0-)

    ...in the movie Stripes?

    “You might have noticed that I’ve got a slight weight problem. I went to this doctor. He told me I swallow a lot of aggression… along with a lot of pizzas. Well, I didn’t have the money [for a weight loss program]. Then I thought to myself, join the army… it’s free. I’m going to walk out of here a lean mean fighting machine!”

    Interesting about the entry requirements for a 41 year old.

    •  Laugh. I actually just saw that a while back. (6+ / 0-)

      Can't recall if it was before or after my decision, though :)

      I was a bit surprised to find that my father wasn't in favour of my idea, in spite of the fact that he and both my grandfathers were in the military.  When I brought that up, he said that he hadn't been in while there was a war on :P

      On the other hand, I might have him help me brush up on my German again.  I don't know if the army maintains a presence at Rammstein AFB, but if so, I'd be a lot more likely to pull a slot there if I was at least semi-fluent in German again.

      Am I cynical? Yes I am! - Bob the Builder's lesser known brother Pete the Politician

      by Ezekial 23 20 on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 05:33:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  didn't make it to exercise today (4+ / 0-)

    but I'm going for a bike ride in the morning - the Tour de Crepe. It'll actually be a bit challenging for me. And I've got to get up early.

    So tomorrow starts another 4 days in a row of exercise. We'll see if I can make it this time. You wouldn't think 4 days in a row is that hard, but reasonable things come up & it is hard to argue with them. I took a walk yesterday evening, but it is so hot & the allergens are so high that I felt bad all evening. So I'm not walking tonight, so I don't make my 4 days.

    terrifying space monkeys are loose in the engine room

    by anotherdemocrat on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 06:15:24 PM PDT

  •  My long term goal is probably (5+ / 0-)

    both unreasonable and unlikely to be attained. I'd like to get back to get back to what I weighed when I was strongest.

    My preliminary goal was to get down to the Army max weight without taking a body fat measurement and I have made it.

    Next up is to split the difference and start delivering blood samples that my doctor isn't concerned about.

    •  In college, my 'best' (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Winnie, gooderservice, Robobagpiper

      was getting to benchpress 185#, which was my bodyweight at that point in time.  I'd actually rather take the bodyfat measurement, as 178# is a bit scrawny on my frame, especially if I'm to have any real muscle mass at that point.

      Am I cynical? Yes I am! - Bob the Builder's lesser known brother Pete the Politician

      by Ezekial 23 20 on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 06:28:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good luck on your goal of getting fit (7+ / 0-)

    and getting a job. Sounds like you are off to a great start. I'm more motivated when I have a goal. My latest goal is to lower my cholesterol levels and stabilize my blood sugar as well as lose weight. It will make my doctor happy and I have no intention of being on any meds.  At 51, I've struggled for many years with the whole WHEE thing. I like to read what people do, look forward to future posts reading about your success.

    Change is not an event, it is a process.....

    by lady blair on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 06:39:29 PM PDT

  •  Ezekial, maybe I missed it, but I (3+ / 0-)

    didn't read what diet regimen you are following.  
    Allow me to be obnoxious and share what is working for me:

    -8 to 10 raw veggies a day, almost all organic.
    -5 servings of real whole grains (organic).  By real whole grains, I mean you buy the dry goods like wheat berries and corn and grind your own flour or make your own cereal.  I believe that bread labeled "whole grains" is a scam.  Except sprouted grains "Ezekial" bread is good stuff!
    -after eating all that daily, there is no great urge to consume a lot of meat.  I eat as little meat as I feel is safe and in consideration of the muscle tone that I want to maintain and enhance.  Also, it's all humanely raised and slaughtered and organic meat.  I ate some really cheap meat at a party a couple of weeks ago and found it to be disgusting.
    -shop only the outer walls of the grocery store.  Fortunately for me, beer is on the outer wall of my store.  It's OK to venture into the aisles for toilet paper and such, just not "food."
    -No junk food in the house.  None.
    -dried fruit or blackstrap molasses in a cup of coffee to satisfy my sweet tooth after dinner.
    -make sure you're getting good fat, like butter from pasture raised animals.  Coconut oil is my new thing.

    I've found this way of eating is time-consuming compared to fast food, but I feel there really isn't a choice.  It's also sorta fun to cook and research new recipes.

    •  You didn't miss it, I was vague. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Robobagpiper

      Basically, I'm doing the same breakfast every day.

      1c kashi w/ 1c skim milk - 290 cal.

      then typically either one can of veggies or beans or one frozen boxed veggies for lunch.  Typical range around 200-300 calories.

      Dinner can then go all the way up to 900 calories or so, typically centered around some form of beef or chicken.

      I've been keeping the total calorie count for the day between 1200 and 1600 calories.

      Am I cynical? Yes I am! - Bob the Builder's lesser known brother Pete the Politician

      by Ezekial 23 20 on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 07:09:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Have you considered trying P90X? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oaktown Girl, Ezekial 23 20

    Stephanie Miller promotes it on her show all the time.  She recently finished the 90 days and really praised the workout regimen.

    http://www.stephaniemiller.com/...

    According to the website that sells it, there is a 30 day money back guarantee.

    Our Guarantee

    All products on the Site carry at least a 30-day money-back guarantee (less shipping & handling) from the date of delivery from the manufacturer or distributor of the product in the event that you are not 100% satisfied with your purchase. Should you experience any difficulty or delay in returning a product and securing the proper refund, please visit our online Customer Service Center.

    Another place on the website says there is a 90 day money back guarantee.

    So just click YES below now and try P90X risk free for 90 days,

    http://www.beachbody.com/...

    A handrail for two steps down from the front porch is required, yet oil companies aren't required to drill relief wells along with the main well. Ummm.

    by gooderservice on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 07:23:09 PM PDT

    •  I'm actually (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Oaktown Girl, gooderservice

      running below the poverty line this year, so nothing that really has extra costs is on the agenda.  Just lucky I already owned the stationary bike and weight bench.

      The diet I'm on is also helpful on cutting expenses, heh.

      Am I cynical? Yes I am! - Bob the Builder's lesser known brother Pete the Politician

      by Ezekial 23 20 on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 07:40:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What's missing from your regimen is CARDIO (3+ / 0-)

    The weight work is useful and important to avoid losing muscle, but cardio burns calories and fat.  It also improves your insulin etc. health (causes metabolism).  YES, count calories, YES do weight training, but try to get your heart rate UP for least 1/2 hour 5 days a week.  I swear it will help you reach your goal!

    •  Good info on the cardio (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mother Shipper, Ezekial 23 20

      and it looks like he's getting it with his bicycling:

      The biking is building up my endurance, and once I hit an hour straight on the bike, I plan to start working on the running itself.

      Homer: "Marge - I'm going to a hardcore gay club and I won't be back 'til three in the morning". Marge: "Have fun!"

      by Oaktown Girl on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 11:43:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hey Ezekial! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ezekial 23 20

    I hope when you referred to yourself as "guest host" you were just being whimsical. "Guest" makes it sound like WHEE has "official members" or something, and there's no such thing. You are today's host, not a guest in somebody else's house. You probably already know that, but I just want to be sure (because, that's how I roll!). We're very happy to have you here, and very glad for your contribution today. Thank you so much, and good luck on your goal! Please keep us updated on your progress.

    Homer: "Marge - I'm going to a hardcore gay club and I won't be back 'til three in the morning". Marge: "Have fun!"

    by Oaktown Girl on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 11:41:35 PM PDT

    •  Well, I thought there was some dedicated group of (0+ / 0-)

      WHEE diarists.  I checked with Wee Mama to see about doing this one, as I frequently see her name attached to them, and she said she would have been doing the Fri night one, but was traveling this week.

      Am I cynical? Yes I am! - Bob the Builder's lesser known brother Pete the Politician

      by Ezekial 23 20 on Sat Jul 17, 2010 at 10:10:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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