2013 Goals

It’s been a year since I did the 90-day Body-for-LIFE challenge and I still feel great. I’ve kept the weight off and continued eating healthy and exercising. So, what’s in it for me next? I joined an indoor Soccer League in December and have been really enjoying playing in an adult over-30 league. This Spring I’m coaching my son’s recreational soccer league as well. Lately I’ve been running about 2 times per week, playing soccer on Friday nights, and now adding back in Soccer practice twice a week. That’s a good amount of cardio for me each week. I just need to add weights back in now. The last few months I haven’t been doing weights at the gym. Thanksgiving hit, followed by Christmas and New Years. You know how it is. Honestly, I don’t really have an excuse, I just need to do it. First goal for 2013: weights at least twice per week at the gym.

It’s been 5 months now since our family went Wheat Free. I’ll be sharing some more details over the next few posts, but that one simple change of removing wheat from our diet has made a world of difference for us. Goal two for 2013: continue the wheat-free lifestyle and avoid “Gluten-Free” products. This means eating more nuts, vegetables, meats, cheeses, etc. and not all of the shelf Gluten-Free products that are filled with rice flour, tapioca starch, and a bunch of other processed ingredients. More natural just feels better.

Goal 3 for this year: get a super defined 6-pack. All of my hard work last year did finally get me that 6-pack, but I would like for it to be really amazing. Maybe I’ll do some sort of ab workout program to get it build even more than it already is.

In summary, my health and exercise goals for this year are:

  1. Weights at least twice per week at the gym
  2. Continue the wheat-free lifestyle and avoid “gluten-free” products
  3. Washboard abs

Wheat Belly

Wheat BellyI came across a blog online when trying to figure out how to get rid of that extra layer of belly fat in order to show a full six pack, which I’ve still not quite achieved yet. I have a 4-pack, but there is still this tiny bit of belly fat left to trim off.

I decided to read this book Wheat Belly after reading the summary of it on his blog. I’m about 50% through the book right now and it is outlining a handful of compelling reasons to eliminate wheat from your diet. So far the author has talked about the original wheat grain and how it changed the last 50-60 years due to cross-pollination and genetic modification of the original Einkhorn wheat seed.

The wheat we eat today is totally different than the wheat that our grandparents and great grandparents ate in the early 1900s.

Wheat was essentially unchanged for thousands of years until the mid-1900s. The original tall amber waves of grain have been replaces by new dwarf wheat that has a much higher yield per acre. The entire middle sections of the grocery store was born, all chock full of processed products containing wheat.

In the 80s there was a big push with the food pyramid. I remember it being taught in schools when I was a kid. The push was to have the bulk of your diet consist of grains, along with a small percentage of fat at the top of the pyramid. The interesting thing about it is that around the time when Americans started replacing fat in their diet with “healthy whole grains”, the obesity problem in America started to spiral out of control.

I still haven’t decided exactly where this journey will take me in regards to my diet, but I have started to eliminate wheat from my day-to-day diet and have actually felt much better and had more energy. I may still have wheat as a splurge every now and then, but I’m moving more towards a hunters and gatherers type of diet with nuts, fruit, vegetables, and meat.

6 Month Weigh-in and Pictures

Six months ago I decided to make some big changes in my life. I was 34 years old and decided I needed to make some adjustments in both my eating habits as well as my exercise plan (or lack thereof) in order to be more healthy. I kicked off this year by completing the 12 week Body-for-LIFE program. I’ve maintained since then for about another 12 weeks and am now 6 months out from the start. Let’s take a look at where I started at:

After completing the 12 week Body-for-LIFE program, I definitely saw results.

I’ve continued to eat healthy and exercise since then. It’s been 3 months post BFL and 6 months since I did the Body-for-LIFE challenge. Here is what I look like today:

A few flexing shots:

In this next one, you can really see my side back and tricep muscles that I’ve built:

Before and after photos, side-by-side:

How have I done it? During the 12-week Body-for-LIFE challenge I would eat smaller portions 6 times a day. Each meal would contain a protein and a carb. Good carbs, though, none of the processed, enriched white flour. Stuff like whole grains, vegetables, beans. One day a week was my “cheat” day where I could eat whatever I wanted, and I literally ate whatever I wanted.

For exercise I went to the gym 6 times a week – 3 times cardio, 3 times weight. Total amount of gym time was between 3 and 4 hours a week. I was extremely consistent with the food and exercise during the 12-week challenge. Since then I’ve relaxed a little bit. I still try to eat healthy and eat 6 times a day. Instead of one day a week off, though, I’ve settled into 3 or 4 meals a week off. The rest of the week I eat smaller portions and still try to eat 6 times a day. It has become a habit, and one that I really, really enjoy. Gorging myself on large meals always makes me feel “blah” afterwards. Here are a few of the foods I regularly stock and eat:

Also, I avoid any sugar sodas. I do drink some diet sodas, but plan on dropping them at some point since they’re not the greatest for you…but I’m not quite there yet. In addition, I drink lots of water. It is crucial to keep your body hydrated. Sometimes when you think you’re hungry, you really just need some water. Also, keeping your body hydrated helps with muscle growth.

Since I finished Body-for-LIFE, I’ve continued to run 2-3 times a week and do weights 2-3 times per week. On average I’m exercising 4-6 times per week still. I always feel so good after either a good run or workout.

Now, for my 6-month weigh-in. I weighed in this morning at 154.

I’m down 16 pounds down from where I started this year at 170. It’s hard to tell really how much I’ve lost/gained since a lot of the loss has been fat which has been replaced by muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat. Well, actually they weigh the same, but for the same size of mass, the fat will weigh more than the muscle – see my post here for more about that. I’m continuing to increase weights at the gym, which for me is a good indicator that I’m continuing to gain muscle. Going forward I will be doing checkins every 3 months with pictures and a weigh-in. The next one will be at 9 months in October, followed by my one year checking the beginning of January 2013. In the meantime I will continue to blog about my story, healthy tips, and how I am able to keep a healthy lifestyle up while behind the desk on a computer every day.

Day 64: Packing to Eat Healthy While Out of Town

While preparing to take a business trip, I went to the grocery store and picked up a few items to pack with me in my suitcase. This will help make it easier to eat healthy while on the road.

If you haven’t tried the Emerald Cocoa Roast Almonds, they are excellent. Next – a couple of apples – packed in a tupperware dish to keep them from getting bruised.

And two pears – also packed in tupperware to prevent them from getting smashed. But, a mushy pear is better than a mushy apple. Apples need to be crips. Mushy apple = yuck. In any case, I’d rather neither of them get smushed 😉

Day 21: It’s not just about the pounds

When I weighed in yesterday, I had only lost 1 pound from the previous week. Some would be discouraged by only losing one pound after eating so healthy and working out so much. I’m totally ok with that and not upset in the least bit – here’s why…

You may have heard that muscle weights more than fat. Technically 5 pounds of muscle weighs the same as 5 pounds of fat. 5=5 the last time I checked. The only thing that defies such a simple mathematical equation is when 2+2=5:
Awesome ThinkGeek shirtGreat t-shirt from Thinkgeek…ok, back on topic. What is really intended to be said when people say that muscle weighs more than fat is that given the same size mass of fat and muscle, the muscle would weigh more. It really has everything to do with density. To put it plain and simple – muscle is more dense than fat. To demonstrate, here is a picture of 5 pounds of fat and 5 pounds of muscle that I got from an excellent article on the topic at http://www.onemorebite-weightloss.com/muscle-to-fat.html.
5 pounds of fat and muscleAs you can see, 5 pounds of muscle is much more lean than 5 pounds of fat. Think about how you would look if you replaced all of the fat in your body with muscle. Here is a perfect example of why you shouldn’t have the scale be the judge of your success. Here is a picture of a girl who looks way better at 9 pounds heavier!
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(credit Kathy’s Fit Blog)

Now, I know I previously mentioned that my target weight is 155. That may not really be my target weight. Depending on how much muscle I gain and fat I lose, I could end up weighing more. The most important thing when determining success is how you look and how your clothes fit. I can see progress in my Week 3 pictures, and that’s all that matters to me. Don’t let the scale be the final judge as to how successful you are in your weight loss program. And hit the gym more frequently while you’re at it. I think we’d all rather have more muscle in our body and less fat.