Monday, April 26, 2010

A Week in The Life

One of my friends, Ron Aultman suggested that there may be some interest in seeing exactly what I am eating and how I am exercising on a daily basis. It was with this suggestion that I decided this week's blog entry would be just that. I have chronicled what I have eaten and what exercises I have done.

Monday April 19, 2010

5:30 AM- I made it up on time and I begin my day with a pretty intense workout. I currently follow a circuit training routine. For those not familiar circuit training is a combination of cardio and strength training. It is a program designed to move quickly from one exercise to another with very limited rest. This is an ideal fat burning routine because of the elements of both cardio and strength training. There are many variations of circuit training, the one I follow is listed below.

1. Pushups 12-15 reps

2. Shoulder Press (using light weight dumbbells) 12-15 reps

3. Body weight squats 12-15 reps

4. Bicep curls (using light weight dumbbells) 12-15 reps

5. Body weight squats 12-15 reps

6. Walking Lunges (these bad boys are tough) about 5 minutes

7. Chair dips (these are great for toning the backs of your arms) 12-15 reps

8. Standard Lunges 12-15 reps with each leg

9. Crunches as many reps as possible (40 reps on Monday)

The key is to go through this routine with very limited rest. After completing the circuit you then take about 5 minutes to cool down and then do it again. In about 2 weeks I hope to be ready to complete 3 full circuits right now I am doing 2. The 2 circuits I did burned about 320 calories.

After completing my workout I settled in for a bowl of Lucky Charms (150 Calories)

About 10:00 I get a little hungry and decide on a snack size Snicker Bar (90 Calories)

12:00 time for lunch, I walk about .25 a mile (burning about 40 calories) to my Kiwanis Club meeting and I enjoyed:

grilled chicken breast (about 175 Calories)

vegetable rice medley (about 200 calories)

steamed cabbage (25)

Green Peas & carrots (135)

Total for Lunch 535 Calories

Had a good friend in town and we enjoyed an excellent dinner from The Shed

½ Rack BBQ Ribs (about 650)

BBQ Baked Beans (150)

Southern Gold Draft Beer (about 150)

Total for dinner About (950)

Total for the day 1725 Calories Not bad when my goal is to stay below 2000.

Doing the Math for Monday I burned approximately 2860 calories and ate 1725 this is a calorie deficit of 1135 calories.

Tuesday April 20, 2010

No workout to start Tuesday


1 Bowl of Pops Cereal (150)

Mid Morning Snack:

FiberOne Bar (140)

Vitamin Water (50)


Marie Calendar’s Frozen Pasta Dinner (450)


Zataran’s Jambalaya with Conecuh Sausage 400

Garlic Bread (about 200)

32oz Sweet Tea (200)

Total for Tuesday 1590

Walked 1 mile Tuesday afternoon Burning about 120 Calories

Total Burned for Tuesday 2620 total consumed 1590 Total deficit 1030.

Wednesday April 21, 2010

5:45 SO I wasn’t as quick to get out of bed today but I did complete my 2 circuits About 320 Calories Burned.


Quaker Instant Oatmeal maple & Brown Sugar (160)

2 Slices Sara Lee 100% Whole Wheat Toast (140)

Mid Morning Snack

FiberOne Bar (140)


Smoothie King Caribbean Way Smoothie (395)

Afternoon snack:

Apple (70)


Nachos with beef cheese & Salsa (460)

32oz Sweet Tea (200)

Total For Wednesday 1810

Total Burned for Tuesday 2820 total consumed 1810 total deficit 1010.

Thursday April 22, 2010

No Workout on Thursday


Lucky Charms (150)

Midmorning Snack:

FiberOne Bar (140)


Smoothie King Muscle Punch Smoothie (365)


Open faced BBQ Sandwich (360 Calories) (this was wheat toast with BBQ pork and shredded chese)

Green Beans (40)

20 oz Sweet Tea (150)

After dinner snack:

Kashi TLC Bar (110)

Total for Wednesday 1275

Total Burned for Thursday 2500 Total Consumed 1275 Total deficit 1225

Friday April 23, 2010

6:00am Yes I am even later getting started but I did get in both circuits and increased my crunches to 45.


Turkey Bacon & Cheese Omelet (300)


Char grilled Chicken Sandwich from Chick Fil-A (300)

Chick Fil-A Waffle Fries (380)

Afternoon Snack:

Chili & Lime Almonds (150)


Hunt Brothers Loaded Pizza (735)

Total for Friday 1865

Total Burned 2820 Total consumed 1865 Total deficit 955

Saturday April 24, 2010

Had a little bit of a stomach bug and didn’t eat much


Subway Steak egg white and cheese muffin melt (170)


Granola Bar (100)


Granola Bar (100)


2 Slices of toast with butter & Jelly (240)

Total for Saturday (610)

Did a lot of laying around so not sure I burned a lot of calories but didn’t consume many either.

Sunday April 25, 2010

Normally I do some walking on Sunday, but I am still recovering a little bit from Saturday’s Bug


Cereal (150)

Banana (100)

Morning Snack

Fiber One Bar (140)


Grilled Cheese Sandwich (250)

20 oz sweet tea (150)

Afternoon Snack:

Pizza Rolls (200)


Chicken Alfredo with Bow tie pasta (about 500)

Total for Sunday 1490

Total burned for Sunday around 2500 Total consumed 1490 total deficit 1010

As you have already read from what I have written I am not on a restrictive diet. What I am doing is making sure I keep my daily calorie deficit at least at 500. Look back to the 3rd truth of weight loss for further explanation of how this all works.

I am drinking several glasses and bottles of water daily I just did not include this since water has no calories. I also want to mention that my Saturday calorie intake is not typical nor recommended, i was sick and didn't want to put too much on my stomach.

I hope Ron was right, I hope someone out there found this interesting. As always thanks so much for anyone who might be reading I appreciate your support. Don’t forget all the standard disclaimers apply.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010



What image comes to mind with the mere mention of the word exercise?

Does your mind immediately revert back to videos featuring leg warmers and dance music? Or do you think of images of the former linebacker hanging out in the gym grunting and telling stories of his former glory. Maybe you think of the guy who walks around the office in the shirt that is too tight trying to show off that barbed wire tattoo wrapped around his bicep.

Perhaps it is none of those images you think of when you think of exercise, perhaps like me the first thing you think about when you think of exercise is the long list of excuses you can take shelter in to avoid the struggle. Let's see how many I can think of without trying:

  • Don't have time to exercise
  • Can't afford the equipment
  • Don't know what exercises to do
  • Don't know which exercises really work
  • Exercise is HARD
  • Soreness after exercise
  • Exercise is boring

I am sure there are many many more.

C'mon it is no secret exercise has so many benefits for your life, it is not a new revelation that through exercise we can not only look better, but feel better and live longer; but it is not easy, and it takes consistency.

Anyone who tells you how fun and easy it is to work hard and swim in a pool of your own sweat is either lying or delusional.

Here is a little secret, you CAN lose weight without exercise. However, if you want to be healthy and look your best you SHOULD mix exercise with your smarter food choices. There are many reasons why to mix in some exercise but one of the simplest and most fundamental is that exercise burns calories. As we discussed in previous blogs to lose weight you must burn more calories than you take in, therefore exercise is a very important component to any weight loss plan.

There is so much information available on the topic of exercise that it would be silly for me to try to cover it all here. I do have a couple of ideas in mind for future blogs on various exercise related topics but I want to spend some time discussing my own struggle with exercise and how I am dealing with some of the excuses listed above.

The only way to gain the health and life changing benefits of exercise is to exercise. This is a fact I have known for a very long time. When I was in high school not only was I on the wrestling team, but I also lifted weights on a daily basis and even belonged to a gym, but I was never one of those guys who lived at the gym or loved to exercise. As soon as wrestling season ended my senior year I pretty much quit exercising and began finding other things to do with my time.

Some people truly love to exercise, they practically live for it, I have never been one of those guys. I probably understand how exercise affects the body and which exercise works which muscles better than a lot of people, but I still don’t really enjoy the process. My dislike for exercise may be just as responsible for my immense weight gain as my love for food.

Sometimes like paying bills or scrubbing toilets, we have to do things we just really don’t enjoy. I knew this was true in December when I made this commitment but I wasn’t looking forward to it.

A few years back, I took up running in the mornings, this lasted for about 3 days until I developed shin splits, if you have ever had shin splits you know they are very painful, but if you get shin splits and you already don’t like exercise it makes it even easier to not continue.

Last year in a fluke accident at work, I fell and broke my ankle, this made for an exhausting few months of hobbling around on crutches and going through physical therapy to regain full use of my ankle.

For the first few couple of months I was not very consistent with my exercising and I can almost go down the list of excuses listed above. I live too far from a health club or gym. Financially I can’t afford to join a gym or buy any fancy equipment. I didn’t want to do anything that would cause any more damage to my ankle. The excuses could go on and on.

I did have a plan, I set my alarm clock every morning to get up at 5:30 and began exercising. I picked a few different exercise routines to try. I mentioned consistent earlier, I was very consistent with hitting the snooze button and curling up under the covers and simply not getting up in time for exercise. Have you ever noticed how comfortable your bed is at 5:30 and how much more enjoyable it seems to stay in bed than to get up and work out.

I was making myself do some small things, like park a little farther away from the office and take the stairs instead of the elevator, but small things have only small benefits and I knew to achieve the results I wanted I needed to find a way to exercise that I truly enjoyed and make myself accountable like I had with food.

There are some great programs available. Most gyms will help you get started on a good program for your goals. If you can afford it a personal trainer can be a wonderful advisor to make sure you are doing the right things. If you can’t afford a gym membership or a personal trainer there are still some excellent options available to you Couch to 5k is a great running program that is designed to help beginners be able to run a 5k in just 9weeks for more information here is a link

If you don’t really want to go to the gym and you are not really into running the key is to find something you enjoy doing. Kayaking, hiking, swimming, biking and many other fun activities are excellent forms of exercise that will improve heart health and burn calories. The important key is to find something you like to do so you don’t get bored.

Another thing that has really helped me is to find a partner to exercise with. This not only helps keep me accountable to make sure I am doing what I am supposed to do, but also keeps my routine from getting too boring because I have someone to share it with, thank you Reagan.

One last point, exercise is not easy. You will be sore the next day after you exercise for the first time, this is normal. Your body is reacting to the new challenge you have issued to it, this soreness will not persist with each workout. Give it a couple of days, and keep moving and the soreness will ease up. Make sure each time before you engage in any exercise routine you stretching well and doing a light intensity warm up.

One of the worst things a beginner can do is to pick something too hard you will tire out too fast and you won’t want to do it again. Keeping this in mind when finding your niche. If you enjoy cycling don’t try to be Lance Armstrong the first time out. The same thing is true with running, if you have not made a habit of running on a regular basis don’t sign up for a 5k and think it will be a breeze. Work your way slowly into your routine but keep pushing yourself to get better.

Exercise is just like any other aspect of weight loss first we must make a commitment then we must hold our self accountable and finally we must set realistic short term goals. The other thing in my opinion is just like when making smarter choices regarding food making smarter choices regarding exercise can make all the difference in the world when it comes to whether or not we can succeed.

Exercise can be the accelerant that ignites the fat burning fire or it can be the road block that completely shuts down the weight loss journey. If we pick the right exercise for us and select a good path that we can follow the results will be remarkable.

For the past month I have made the additional commitment and improved my consistency with my workouts and I believe the scale has recognized this.

If you needed further proof that I don’t really enjoy exercise and that it is something I tend to put off just look at the date on this blog and keep in mind I usually have these up Monday morning.

Thanks to anyone who may be reading and possibly enjoying. I appreciate all of your support as I continue along the weight loss journey and I truly hope some of my experiences are helping some of you.

Next MONDAY by special request the blog will focus on a week in my life, we will discuss exactly what I am eating and what exercises I am doing.

Tomorrow is Weigh–in Wednesday getting close to the half way point!

Monday, April 12, 2010

The 3 Truths of Weight Loss Part 4:

Tips and “Tricks”

We have focused this 3 part series on what I call the 3 Truths of Weight Loss and how each truth effects your weight loss journey. This is the final part of the series and we will talk about some tips and tricks that may help you achieve the goals you have set.

Remember these tips and tricks are meant to help in our journey, but they do not replace keping track of your calories and burning more than you take in.


Pick a smaller plate- We were trained as kids to clean our plate, just make it a smaller plate you can reduce your calories significantly by choosing to fill a smaller plate


Put your fork down between bites- This little trick will slow you down as you eat and will allow your body to communicate the "full" signal to your brain.


Enjoy the conversation- If you have family dinners it is common to finish your first helping and then immediately go back to the bowl for seconds. Instead give yourself 5-10 minutes to sit and enjoy the fellowship and allow your food to digest. You may not need seconds after all.


Don’t park so close- It is natural to want to park as close to the office or the store as possible, but by choosing to park further away you are increasing your heart health as well as burning a few extra calories.


Take the stairs- If you have the choice between the stairs ans an elevator take the stairs, much like the tip about parking,; your heart and your waistline will both thank you later


Keep snacks on hand- There is a catch to this tip, make sure the snacks are healthy. If you have a can of almonds in your desk and you get hungry you are more likely to eat a handful of almonds then you are to go get a Zinger out of the snack machine.


Chose your calories wisely- For breakfast you could either have 2 Krispy Kreme Glazed Donuts or 2 Eggs, 2 Slices of Turkey Bacon, 2 Slices of Sara Lee 45 & Delightful Honey Wheat toast with a pat or margarine and strawberry preserves and you could even add a piece of fruit. Which choice will fill you up longer?


Anything that grows on a plant is healthier than anything processed at a plant- This one doesn’t need a lot of explanation, clearly a banana is healthier than a Twinkie


Drink lots of water- drinking lots of water is healthy for our body in so many ways, but it is extremely effective when losing weight for 2 reasons. First water has Zero Calories and second significant amounts of water can help diminish your appetite.


Find a hobby- if you are like me you eat if you are bored, the trick is to find something to do. I graze through the kitchen eating whatever I can find unless I keep myself busy doing something else.


Never eat as a secondary act- think about how often food is a secondary act to something else we are doing. “How many wings did I eat while I was watching the game?” Make sure when you are eating your purpose is to eat. It makes it much easier to track your calories and hold yourself accountable if you aren’t mindlessly shoveling food in without thinking.


Ask for your salad dressing on the side- drowning your salad in ranch dressing can make it have as many calories as a hamburger, get the dressing on the side and use the fork dip method.


Reward yourself- reward yourself when you meet your goals, but as a word of caution, don’t reward yourself with a half gallon of Cookie Dough Ice Cream


Plan meals ahead of time- this will allow you to put some thought into what you are going to eat instead of making rash hungry decisions

Avoid Buffets- First of all, a sign reading “All You Can Eat” is more like a challenge than an invitation. Besides if you are like me, you know that if you pay $15.00 for the buffet you had better darn well eat $20.00 dollars worth; otherwise you got a raw deal.

Enjoy a long walk on the beach- yes it is cheesy, but it will do wonders for your waistline and if you can get someone special to walk with you it may even do wonders for your heart…

Balance your calories- Some experts advice eating several small meals per day to avoid hunger. This is good advice if this is a plan that works for you. Different people have different hunger needs, some people function better in the morning on a small breakfast and will eat a big lunch and a small dinner. Personally, I like to spread about half of my calories throughout the day and save a large amount of room for a good home cooked dinner. The key is to find your balance.

Beware of "Hidden"Calories- Sometimes it is not our main course or even our snacks that sabotage us, it is our beverages or our accessories. Be careful you may be eating a very low calorie bowl of soup, but the cornbread you are about to crumble into it may have as many calories as the soup. Also don't forget if you drink soft drinks those things are packed with sugar and therefore with calories. The choices here are to allow yourself enough room in your meal plan for these saboteurs or to find alternatives. I personally can not stand the taste of diet soda so, I drink almost exclusively water. I do have one glass of sweet tea at night with my dinner (about 200 calories).

As an addendum to thiss tip, if you like beer or wine make sure you account for those calories, and keep the consumption within reason, too much of this delicious frothy goodness can not only lead to a night you don't remember but can keep your waistline from shrinking the way you had hoped. Hey they don't call it a beer belly for nothing.

You don't have to sit still while you watch TV- Here is an odd tip, next time you are watching your favorite show, when the annoying ads come on spend that time doing push ups or sit ups or some other exercise that gets you moving. An average 30 minute sit-come has around 8 minutes of ads, if you can watch 2 shows a night and practice this tip TV time could become a major fat burning experience

I hope at least one or 2 of these tips and "tricks" helps someone meet their goals.

40 pounds gone 60 to go; I can hardly wait 2 days until weigh-in Wednesday.

As always Thank You to anyone who may be reading and hopefully enjoying. Remember the opinions expressed in this blog are mine and the plan I am following including “The 3 Truths of Weight Loss” is not approved by a doctor, a nutritionist, or a bureaucrat, only by me.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The 3 Truths of Weight Loss Part 3:

The 3rd Truth of Weight Loss: Calories

When it comes to losing weight there are as many plans as there are stars in the sky. There are the milkshakes, the fast food sandwiches, low carb, low sugar, low fat, eat only meat, eat only raw food and the list goes on and on. Every celebrity and retired quarterback has a plan. There are points to count, there is bread to avoid, and don't forget there is grapefruit just waiting to be eaten.

It all seems so complicated, what really works?

We have seen the before and after pictures and heard the testimonials for all of these plans. Many of us have tried some or all of these programs and our results have not been the same as the actress or the quarterback.

Why are these programs successful, or at least partially successful? I would suggest that every program on the market whether it is reducing carbs or fat or has you only eating hot peppers and lettuce has one key thing in common; it is reducing your caloric intake.

My third truth to weight loss and perhaps the most fundamental is simply if you burn more calories than you take in you will lose weight.

We have talked about goals and accountability and we have talked about smarter choices and deprivation but calories are what ties the whole thing together. This has been the hardest of the 3 part series for me to write because of the technical nature of some of the information, I will try to make it as simple and intresting as I possibly can. I don'twant this to sound like a medical report, I am not a doctor, I am just a FAT guy trying to lose weight and trying to help others do the same.

Let's first dispel a few misperceptions about calories. First Calories are not what creates fat. Actually a calorie is defined as a unit of energy supplied by food. A calorie is a calorie regardless of its source. Whether you're eating carbohydrates, fats, sugars, or proteins, all of them contain calories
Another misperception is that calories are the enemy and should be avoided at all costs. The truth is everyone requires calories to live, remember calories are units of energy. Even if you lay in bed all day and never move you still need some calories to reach the remote.

They key is not avoiding calories, but maintaining a good caloric intake and burning more calories than you take in. There are some very complicated equations out there that will tell you exactly how many calories you need to consume each day and at the end of this blog I will link to some calculators and some other tools, but an easy formula to keep in mind is to consume 10 calories per pound of your weight.

For example if you weigh 150 pounds you should average about 1500 calories per day.

This is a guideline not a hard rule. The more you weigh the more calories you need to function. Other factors like age and sex need to be considered as well. Keep in mind most doctors recommend not going below 1200 calories a day to maintain your health.

Before I started my weight loss journey in December I was not monitoring my calories at all and I was not making smart food decisions I was averaging somewhere around 3500 calories per day. Based on the formula introduced above I was well on my way to 350 pounds. It is amazing how many calories we can take in when we aren't paying attention

At the risk of scaring some people away I need to introduce another small bit of math. To lose 1 pound per week you need to decrease your calories by approximately 500 per day.

For example I now weigh 264 pounds so to maintain that weight I would need to eat around 2600 calories per day, but to lose 1 pound per week I need to eat around 2100 calories per day.

This math is pretty simple but don't forget to adjust it as you lose weight. I try to adjust every 10 pounds.

This is where the other two truths we have talked about come into play. It is important to maintain accountability and make the right decisions. Everything we eat and drink has calories and it is up to you to track those calories each day to make sure you are maintaining your goals.

When we talk about smart choices, if your daily goal is 1500 calories then one Thickburger Combo from Hardee's with a medium fries and a large coke will put you over your goal. However you can still go to Hardee's and order the BBQ Chicken Sandwich with a side salad and a water for less than 500 Calories.

Tracking your calories is all about accountability. You know your goals you know what you are eating. Everything you eat or drink has calories, It tells you right on the label how many calories are in the food. By simply keeping a food log of what you eat and how many calories you have consumed you will better hold yourself accountable for achieving your daily goals.

There are a few very good sites online that will help you count your calories and monitor your goals. One such site can be found Here.

I have found this site very useful. On this sight you can actually enter what you are eating and it will help you track exactly how many calories you have used and how many you still have to use. Also it provides a spot to enter your favorite recipe to find out how many calories you are consuming. For example we discovered that the chicken soup recipe my mom passed down to my wife has only 220 calories per serving. Yummy!

Another important thing to know is that every major restaurant has online nutrition information including calories which is good information to have before you order. Most can be found on the restaraunt's primary homepage but a simple Google search with the restaurant's name and the word nutrition may save you a step. I have found a helpful tip is to review the menu online before I get to a restaurant then I have had the chance to make an informed decision without the pressures of time or what looks delectable on the menu.

One last consideration that I would be negligent if I did not mention is exercise. I don't want to go too deep into exercise now as I will have an entire blog on exercise coming up in 2 weeks but it is a subject that must be mentioned. I waited this late to mention exercise not because it is not important but because many experts feel it is important to spend a few weeks working on your eating habits before introducing exercise.

Every thing we do burns calories; the more active we are the more calories we burn. The more calories we burn the more weight we lose. While monitoring your diet is important, adding exercise is like putting extra fuel on the weight loss fire. For a list of some activities and the calories each would burn you can look at this list. Don't forget to account for these calories in your daily count as well

I hope I have not bored anyone.

Remember if you don't meet your goals one day don't lose hope remember this is not a sprint, but a marathon and if you maintain a good average you will see results.

As a bit of disclaimer, you can chose to eat anything you would like to as long as you monitor your calories and you will see weight loss; however if your goal is to be healthier there are other factors besides calories to consider. That of course is not my focus at this time but some more information on nutrition you should see this article

The final parts of this series will focus on some “tricks” and tips to help on our weight loss journey.

35 pounds gone 65 to go; only 2 days until weigh-in Wednesday

Thank to anyone who may be reading and hopefully enjoying. Remember the opinions expressed in this blog are mine and the plan I am following including “The 3 Truths of Weight Loss” is not approved by a doctor, a nutritionist, or a bureaucrat, only by me