Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A little Reading Never Hurt Anybody

A few days ago I was goofing around on the internet, trying to find something worth reading when I stumbled across a new book about Veganism. The title got me right away. MEAT IS FOR PUSSIES (by John Joseph). The little blurb/tagline states "A how-to guide for dudes who want to get fit, kick ass and take names." Sounds awesome!

From what I can tell, the author cites both health related (duh!) and environmental (duh!) reasons for going vegan and proves that it really is easy to do. It’s just like breaking any other habit or deciding to cut out caffeine. Basically, decide to do it, stick with it, and before you know it you don’t even have to think about it, it becomes second nature.

Obviously, by cutting out meat/animal products you consume significantly less saturated fat. HEALTHY! And besides clear cutting the rainforest (the poor amazon) to make room for raising cattle, current estimates show that it takes one gallon of gasoline to produce each pound of beef. Add to that the extra methane the cows produce and we have a horrible burden we are placing on our planet. And there are many more reasons to make the switch; I could go on forever.

The website for that book led me to another book on the topic (by clicking on the “reviews” tab). This one got me really excited. Thrive: The Vegan Nutritional Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life by Brendan Brazier, a Pro Ironman triathlete, seems like exactly the book I was looking for but didn’t know it.


Ok, fine I will admit it; I have always secretly wanted to compete in a triathlon. I think it is exactly the kind of challenge that I would like to see myself overcome (and it would also blow people away to know that a former 300+ pounder just completed a triathlon). Someday, hopefully within the next 5 years, I will do it.

Anyway, this book outlines how to make sure you are still getting all the proper nutrition you need while following a vegan lifestyle. It also disproves the theory that in order to be an athlete you have to eat lots of lean meat (chicken and egg whites) and avoid carbs altogether. If I hear another stupid, ill-informed body builder talk about eating a pound of grilled chicken breasts and steamed broccoli for every meal I think I will shoot myself (not really but you know what I mean). Hello, to be truly healthy you need variety. You need to eat the rainbow, so to speak, making sure that you are consuming all types of fruits and vegetables, which are each full of different nutrients. Guess they don’t call them “meat heads” for nothing. This book had a lot of 4 and 5 star ratings on Amazon so that’s a good sign.

Of course there is a second review by another author, Mike Mahler (The Aggressive Strength Solution for Size and Strength, redundant much?) but as I have stated before, I have absolutely no desire to look like a body builder. I’m all for muscle definition and all, but I never want to be “big” again, even if it is due to lots of muscle and not lots of fat. I hate the feeling of being the largest guy in the room. Though some people may be into that, and if so, I encourage you to try and check that book out.

And then there’s the book that originally got me started on the vegan path (once I was already a vegetarian for a while), Skinny Bastard. It was a good intro and a “fun” read. Sensationalist at times, and full of humor (if you like being told that your dairy eating ways are fucked up). It’s definitely a good one to check out and flip through if you are hanging out at the bookstore.

I will definitely be picking up the first two I mentioned and possibly (most likely) sharing my thoughts on them here.


KEEP ON KEEPING ON (More Stats & More Thoughts)

I started this blog in January of 2008. It is now July of 2010. Two and one half years from making a conscious and concerted commitment to finally break free from the burden of my weight. Here I am approximately 60 pounds lighter than when I started the blog, and nearly 120 lighter than when I was at my heaviest. I am shocked when I actually see those numbers in writing. It’s unbelievable.

Anyway, I made a really cool (in my opinion) chart that chronicles my weight loss/measurements since I started recording them. Luckily I had some papers scribbled with stats on them stashed away in a drawer from way back. The last line is the most current stats. I’m currently 192 pounds, or at least I was prior to 4th of July weekend (though I think I was pretty well behaved, minus some alcohol). That is stellar! I am thinking that my ultimate goal will be 180. Pretty sure I mentioned that before, and it still stands. It seems like the right number for me; 190 is right around the corner and I’m still noticing “problem areas” that haven’t gone away.

Here’s the chart:

As for the weight loss plan I am still eating mostly organic, 99.9% vegan, and exercising 5 days per week (average). I vary it up with cardio classes, weight training, swimming, and more cardio. This helps me to keep things fresh so I don’t get bored with my workouts.

What I find really weird is that it has been about two or three months since I added in the weight training and I am noticing more definition, but the numbers aren’t adding up. I am down 3 pounds, clearly have gained a little muscle, and yet my body fat percentage is stagnant. How is it still at 20%? Especially when it dropped by 4-5% a year ago when I lost about 10 pounds between July and August. This also means that my lean muscle mass is decreasing (now at 153 lbs whereas back in July 2009 it was 161 lbs) when it should be increasing. I am starting to think I just can’t put too much faith in the bathroom scale when it comes to this measurement. It’s frustrating, but not to the point that I am going to throw in the towel. If anything, I see it as a challenge. What do I need to do to make that number go down?

I just need to keep on keeping on I suppose.