Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Self-Control, Or A Lack Thereof

I recently came across this very interesting "New Yorker" article about the differences between individuals who are able to delay their gratification (essentially those who have self-control) and those who aren't. There are big differences and it interesting to see how something like self-control, which is a learned behavior, can impact so many facets of our lives and how well we do or to what extent we succeed (whatever your definition of success is). It basically comes down to the ability to distract yourself from whatever is trying to get your attention (junk food, alcohol, or any other vice you "can't" say no too).

I know that one of the big changes I had to make in my life was to finally get a grip on my self-control. I had to learn not to give in every time I wanted to eat something that was bad for me; to train myself to not go for the cookie and instead have something healthy. To not give in to emotional eating, and to recognize that was the reason I was consuming and not actual hunger. It is funny to me that when I look back I had so much self-control in some facets of my life and yet when it came to food I was at a complete loss. I cannot say for sure that I would've been like one of the children in the study who licked the filling out of the Oreo and then put it back on the plate before the researcher came back in the room, but something tells me that I probably would have been.

Anyway, check out the aritcle HERE. It's a worthwhile read.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Time for a NEW GAME PLAN

I had figured that my triathlon training would result in dramatic changes in my body composition. However, the evidence suggests that is not the case. In the last 4 moths (beginning of March through end of June) my body fat percentage has not decreased all too much, and the changes in my measurements are not as dramatic as I expected either. This is unfortunate because I really worked my ass off to prepare. I was working out 5 or 6 days a week, sometimes doing bricks (two workouts back to back, like a bike/swim or a bike/run). I was also eating really healthily, not drinking alcohol, save for a few special occasions, and getting lots of veggies and “good for me” foods.

So, I am at somewhat of a loss. I am not sure where I am going wrong. And this is why I have decided to devise a new plan. For the next two months I will follow the plan I line out in this post. I have enlisted some help, Bernard Lavallée of GAY NUTRITION (check it out, lots of good stuff to get you thinking), in this endeavor. He has agreed to check out my plan and give me some advice as well as look at the reasons/motivations behind my quest.

Here is what I can share about my motivations:

-I am still very concerned with good health (not sure if “optimal” is too strong a word). I have some diseases that run in my family (diabetes is a big one) and I would like to avoid having to deal with any of them if I can.

-I am over being fat. I was fat for approximately 25 years. I have previously stated the reasons why it sucks, and they still stand.

-I don’t feel 100% comfortable with my body. I still have a little fat on my chest and my belly and it annoys the hell out of me. Have you noticed how straight guys couldn’t care less about walking around without their shirts on (even when there is no pool or beach nearby)? Honestly, they have huge beer bellies and/or breasts and still walk around like nothing’s wrong. It’s amazing. I wish that I were that comfortable with my body but years and years of being made fun of, shame, and disdain for its appearance have scarred me. I know that I am ridiculously smaller than “the old” me but I still feel like my body is not beach ready. I don’t need to be some chiseled Adonis, I just want to get rid of the bit of flab that I am so embarrassed by. I just want to feel comfortable without my shirt on (this is very important to someone like me who loves everything ocean/beach/swimming/ etc. related).

Below is a current photo of me. You can see that there is sagginess around the waist and definitely the breasts. These are my two main areas of concern, though overall tightening up is part of the plan.

And now . . . THE PLAN!

1. I am going to work out less! That’s right, I am cutting back to 4 or 5 workouts per week. I am worried that I was overdoing it and that my body didn’t like that. So, I will not workout 6 days per week and no more than 3 days in a row.

2. I will introduce more High Intensity Interval Training into my workouts. I’ve been researching this a lot and it seems that intervals are the best way to burn fat. So I am going to incorporate this into my triathlon training (this also seems to be how you get faster and make positive gains in each of the three disciplines).

3. I will continue to mix it up. I will still do yoga, kettle bell, and other random classes (things that are not tri-specific) to shake things up, keep it interesting, and keep my body on its toes. I will also continue to do push ups, crunches, mountain climbers and other exercises that use my own body weight as resistance on a regular basis.

4. I will pay attention to how many calories I am consuming. Well, kind of. I am not going to keep a journal even though I hear it is the most effective method when trying to lose weight. However, I have come this far and feel pretty good about my eating habits. I eat a pretty damn healthy and clean diet, so for at least the 1st couple weeks I will go sans food journal/log. That being said, I will also make sure to consume enough calories to keep me alive and healthy. I am worried that I may not have been consuming enough calories (even though I feel like I eat a lot) for the last couple months. I guess being vegan makes it a little tougher to over-consume; binging on veggies just isn’t the same as cheese or meat I suppose. After lots of research I have decided on a range of 2600-3200 calories per day based on how intense my work out has been (some days as high as 4000 calories).

5. I will focus on meeting my protein requirements. I don’t think I have necessarily been under-doing it when it comes to protein I would like to actually try and hit a number range on a daily basis. The amount of protein we need is debatable, human breast milk is only about 10% protein (and babies do just fine, right?) but some trainers will recommend 1 gram per pound of body weight (for clients trying to build lots of muscle mass). 180g seems a little high and only 50g seems a tad low. Based on my findings 65-95g per day seems to be the proper amount for me.

And that’s THE PLAN!

Finally, here are the current stats (so I can track how this little experiment actually goes):
As of July 3, 2011
Height: 6'0"
weight: 179 lbs.
chest @ nipples: 40”
under breasts: 38"
biceps: 12"
@ belly button: 35.5"
hips: 35.5"
butt @ widest point: 39"
thighs: 22"
calves: 15" (down 0.5” this year)
Body Fat: 16%

I started the plan on July 5th. I will do bi-weekly check-ins. The final weigh-in/stat update will be September 5th.



Tuesday, July 5, 2011

And Now For Something Completely Different (though not actually too different)

Today I started a new fitness/body fine tuning plan. It is a plan I've created after lots of research, and my personal experience so far, to try and finally shed the last few pounds of flab. I am hoping this is the final step on the long road that has been my weight loss journey. Details to come shortly.


P.S. Photos of model Didier Cohen by James Demitri. While I know there is only the slimmest of slim chances that my body will ever look like this guy's, if it were to happen I wouldn't mind!