Towards the end of last year, a group of people in my office intiated what they called the Fat Ass Weight Reduction ( FAWR) challenge. They each threw in $20 and had 30 days to see who could loose the largest percentage of their weight. Some of them had some pretty impressive results. When it was over, the winner took everyone to lunch and they ended up getting back just about all the money they put in to start with. But more importantly, everyone dropped weight.
Now they are embarking on the FAWR II challenge. This time instead of weight, the goal is to lose body fat as measured by a skin caliper test done at the Navy Fitness Center on base. This time the ante is $35 and yours truly is participating. Everyone has been tested and we have two months to lower our percentage of body fat. Everyone had the option of being measured before the holidays or after–it just had to be done by Jan 1. I opted for the early test, which meant I had to behave while the mass quantities of food were floating around the office, and my own home on Christmas day. I managed to take advantage of this risk/reward situation by avoiding any cheats except for one piece of cheesecake on Christmas.
I have participated in some of the challenges that seem to appear every month on Twitter or various blogs. They can provide some motivation to stick with a program; however, I believe this is going to be a much better challenge than the e-based ones. I have been a competitor of some sort all my life, and I’m approaching this like I would if I was running a race or playing racquetball. I want to win!! Pocketing the $280 would be nice, but that’s minor compared to knowing I won a competition, and managed to improve my health and body composition. To add to the fun, there’s a fair amount of trash talking going on amongst my fellow competitors. I’m also not above sabatoge–I’ve grabbed candy from a jar and put it on other people’s desk. All’s fair!
My starting BF % is 26.6% (I wonder what it was when I weighed 250lbs). Hopefully on 1 March that will be a much lower number. Meanwhile I’ll be keeping my….
Eye On The Prize!
My blog rises from the ashes for this special presentation!
First, a bit of an introduction for anyone who may have stumbled upon this post. The August Primal Challenge was a group effort by some like-minded Twitter users who adhere to the Primal/Paleo ideas about diet and exercise. I’m not going to go into that here–you can find a wealth of information on the subject with a Google search. But the idea of the challenge was to spend a month following a strict protocol with no “cheats” as opposed to the 80/20 rule. The individual set their own rules on some particulars such as avoiding fruit or dairy.
I actually began my participation a week early (on July 23rd). My personal rules were that I was going to avoid all fruit except for my daily apple at work, and I was going to shun dairy. The subject of dairy is one that is debated in primal/paleo circles. I just wanted to see what affect I would notice, if any, by avoiding it. Of course, it also eliminated one of my major cheats–ice cream! I had also been eating an abundance of sugar-laden tropical fruits such as mango and pineapple, and a lot of bananas as well. So I wanted to eliminate those forms of “legal candy.” I also wanted to gain more consistency with my exercise. I hadn’t been doing a lot of what Mark Sisson calls “moving frequently at a slow pace.” I was spending too much time sitting on my butt watching TV.
My first two weeks went extremely well. I didn’t cheat at all on the intake side of the equation, and I upped my exercise by setting up a spinning bike in front of my laptop. I did rides four times a week while watching an episode of The Wire on the computer. I was also doing some resistance work at the gym and one day of intense intervals. The results on the scale were fantastic. I dropped from an initial weight of 223lbs on day one to 211 at the end of two weeks. But somewhere during the third week, things took a turn. I started snacking on a lot of almonds, which is something I hadn’t done at all the first two weeks. Then my granddaughter asked me to help her make cookies. That turned into a carb binge. My sessions on the bike fell off as I had other family obligations pop up that made it hard to get my sessions in. Then I had a situation with my family that caused a lot of stress, and one of my reactions to stress is to resort to eating “comfort” food. So somewhere in that fourth week, I went on a bit of a carb binge. Then this past weekend, I went to a birthday party for my one year old grandson, and I gave in to the temptation when the cake and ice cream appeared. The bottom line is that I undid some of the progress I had made in those first two weeks. As of this morning, I’m back to 211. That still puts me down 12 pounds in five weeks, which is a result I would have been happy with going in. But I still feel that there was a bit of an “opportunity lost” situation, and I need a plan to go forward.
After giving it some thought, I’ve decided to take a different approach to the 80/20 rule. Trying to go 100/0 for an extended time is a carb binge waiting to happen for me. But my results in the opening two weeks of the challenge were outstanding. So I’m going to try operating on a two week cycle whereby I go hard core for 11 days, but then relax a little every other weekend. I’m not giving myself a license to go crazy on those weekends. I believe by relaxing a little at regular intervals, I can make steady progress without the big setbacks. If you do the math (11 days out of 14), it comes out to just under 80% so I’m still following the 80/20 in a different form. We’ll see how it goes!
It’s been over two years since I first picked up a kettlebell. In my “first post” (under the “Stuff” menu on the right), I detailed how that eventually took me to Mark Sisson’s site, and my adoption of what was to become known as the Primal Blueprint. I lost 30 pounds in about three months by following Mark’s eating recommendations, and working through a kettlebell exercise program. Since then it’s been a lot of yo-yoing with a particularly bad episode this past holiday season. So I’ve decided to go back to the beginning. I’m going to redo the same kettlebell program I was doing when I shed those initial 30 pounds.
The program I am doing is the Art of Strength workbook by Anthony DLuglio that is based on Pavel Tsatsouline’s Enter The Kettlebell. There are two phases: the Program Minimum and the Right of Passage. The first is an initial phase (4 weeks) that prepares you for the more intense work in the second phase (8 weeks). I could probably skip some or most of the first phase, but I decided to just do it as prescribed and build back slowly.
The first phase is consist of alternating exercise days of “manmakers” and “Turkish Get Ups.” The manmakers in this case are sets of kettlebell swings interspersed with “active rest” for a period of 12 minutes. I was supposed to start yesterday but that didn’t happen. So today I did eight rounds of 20 swings with one minute of jogging in place between each round. Tomorrow I will do five minutes worth of TGUs. By the time week 4 rolls around, I’ll be doing sets of 40 swings and 10 minutes of TGUs.
Thirty pounds in three months may be a lot to expect, but I hope to at least get back to where I was before Thanksgiving with a chance to do even more.
I hasn’t been easy but I’ve stuck to my plan since pigging out on Thanksgiving. Monday I fasted at work and didn’t eat until around 4:30. I had some pork, butternut squash with butter and cinnamon, and some Fage Total Greek yogurt. Today I had bacon and eggs for breakfast, some raw broccoli for a mid afternoon snack, and an evening meal of two hamburger patties with onions (sauteed in coconut oil) and some salso. I had a real tough hurdle to overcome when my wife decided to start a fire in the fireplace, and my granddaughter went out for Smores fixins. That’s the kind of sweet junk I would attack in weaker moments, but today I just made a cup of tea and stayed the course.
I haven’t been as good about getting more exercise like I had hoped. My best opportunity for getting in a workout is lunchtime, but I had errands I had to run on both Monday and today. Plus we’re in the midst of some wet, cold weather so just getting outside for a walk isn’t much of an option. I know I could just do some indoor body weight exercise, but after a day of work, and then having to help grandkids with homework, i just couldn’t bring myself to doing burpees in the dining room. I’m bringing my gym clothes tomorrow–hopefully I’ll make it.
Decent day on my Primal comeback. First of all, I got a decent night’s sleep that was much needed after waking up so early on Saturday. Loy and I headed out for what is normally a six mile walk but the skies were very threatening, and I didn’t want to be three miles out on a cool morning having to walk back in the rain. So we ended up doing six half-mile loops around the hood. I hate walking in circles so three miles was enough—especially considering I had walked 18 holes of golf Saturday and did a couple hours of mall walking. So I feel I’ve done a good job of following the Primal Blueprint rule of doing a lot of slow movement. It was a good complement to the tabata intervals I did Friday.
I stayed on nutritional track as well. Breakfast was eggs, bacon, and onions cooked in coconut oil. Lunch was a small grass-fed ribeye off the grill along with some mustard greens cooked in bacon. And finally I had some pork that spent eight hours in the Crock Pot. I drank coffee, tea, and water–all unsweetened. I have to admit that as I sit here typing this, I’d really like to have a Cherry Coke Zero but I’m not gonna do it.
It’s back to work early tomorrow. I’m thinking that I’ll probably fast until I get home but that’s not in stone. I do know that I’m going to keep the total calories down during the week as part of my overall approach. I’m not sure about exercise. I have to take care of some errands at lunch so anything I do will probably have to wait until after work. The weather forecast is for a cold front to approach tonight with rain tomorrow, so it’s iffy. I might just pick up my kettlebell from the gym and take it home. That’s the tool I used the most when I was dropping from 242 to 212–can’t go wrong going back to it.
First – if you are new to my concept of “Primal Golf”, then read the article from the Stuff menu on the right. In a nutshell it means to carry your clubs and try to stay on the move. A good round is finished in a couple of hours or so.
I wasn’t supposed to play golf today. I was supposed to work but that got canceled when there were no government workers scheduled to be there. So when I woke up early, I decided to go play. I didn’t get to play my true version of primal golf because another player joined me. That slowed me down a little but I still got in 18 holes of walking and I enjoyed the company. The effect of the long layoff was obvious–I only hit four or five shots that I could classify as STDSs (shots that didn’t suck), but the goal is exercise and that I got!
I did a good job today of avoiding anything sweet. Breakfast was two bacon, egg, and onion tacos without the tortilla. In the early afternoon, I threw a six-ounce grass-fed ribeye on the grill. I ended up with a grilled chicken salad from Chick-Fil-A that was damn good for a fast food meal.
In addition to the golf, I got in a solid couple hours worth of mall walking in this weekend. It was a good complement to the tabata intervals I did yesterday.
The game plan is to continue to exercise more while avoiding anything sweet–natural or artificial. Gotta get back to that third belt hole (and beyond).
I had a short but good workout today. After warming up with some kettlebell halos, I did three clean and press ladders with four rungs. I took it easy–didn’t want to toast my shoulders since I haven’t been working out much at all. I was going to do some kettlebell swings after that but I decided to head over to the Concept 2 rower for a little Tabata action. I warmed up for five minutes and then did 8×20sec with 10 sec rest. The distances for each interval dropped from 100 meters from the first one to 82 meters for the 6th. I managed to bump it back to 85 and 86 for the last two. It’s easy to see I haven’t been doing much work that shows up on the intensity scale.
This post marks yet another “restart” to my blogging efforts. My last restart didn’t last long, despite a nice comment from Mark Sission, because I became a Twitterholic shortly thereafter. I just found it much more convenient to knock out 140 character messages on my cell phone than to dig out my laptop from it’s hiding place (paranoid since the last one was stolen) and compose a full post. But I have really slipped in my efforts to be primal over the last few weeks so I’ve decided I need every bit of motivation I can find to get back and stay on track. Blogging has helped in the past so I’ll try it again.
One thing I am trying to do now is to eliminate “sweets” from my diet for awhile. That means natural and artificial. I seem to have this terrible sweet tooth that just takes over sometime. I’m hoping that by eliminating anything that taste sweet (including fruit) I can get a handle on this. Castle Grok had a good post on this on his website that got me to thinking about doing this. We’ll see.
I don’t know what I weigh right now–I’m afraid to get on the scale. I don’t really need to because my belt tells me all I need to know. Whereas at one time I was comfortable using the 3rd hole from the end and could use the 4th, I’m back to the 2nd. That’s not good. I don’t want to undo all the work I did getting from 245 to below 210. So it’s time to draw the proverbial line in the sand.
I’ll probably have some turkey this evening around 4:30, which will be 24 hours after my last piece of pumpkin pie was devoured. There’s still a lot of leftover crap sitting around for temptation–I just have to do what I need to do (like secretly throw some of it away).
I have received some public and private queries about what I have referred to in my Twitter postings as my “alternate six weeks challenge.” Here’s my attempt to explain it.
This all started a few weeks ago when the new book by Dr. Eades started getting some notice amongst the people I follow on Twitter. My initial reaction was that it wasn’t at all in line with the primal/paleo philosophy that I had adopted as had a lot of the folks I follow on Twitter. The idea of relying primarily on protein shakes for a couple of weeks had no appeal to me at all. At the same time as I was reading Tweets from people who were trying the program, I read this article on Marc VanDam’s excellent blog.
It’s a great post but the bottom line is that if you want to lose weight, you have to eat less. You can eat all the right foods but if you eat too much, you’re not going to lose weight. When I read the article, it was easy to see myself in it.
Marc also had another post praising the push up. I sent him a picture I took of my monitor at work where I had placed the words: DO MORE PUSH UPS! Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I do a bunch of push ups through out the day at work. So my personal six weeks challenge can by summed up this way:
EAT LESS — DO MORE PUSH UPS!
I started on Monday, Oct 5th at 208.8 pounds according to my bedroom scale. Yesterday morning I was at 204.0. I was pretty excited about the results I was going to be able to report on Monday morning. But as often happens, I got derailed the last couple of days. It was a pizza pig out Friday night, and 12oz ribeye this evening chased with a little ice cream. I still have plenty of time to show good results for six weeks, and that’s what I plan to do.
One final point. It’s not my intention to knock Dr. Eades’ book or anyone who is trying the plan. Good luck to anyone who is trying it—I hope you get the results you’re looking for. Meanwhile I’ll keep my plan going while surrounded by temptation!!
Neal and I played our match that was rescheduled from Monday. I got off to a really hot start by winning the first game 15-2. I think I had 11 or 12 before he scored his first point. My serve was my chief weapon—I had several aces. The second game didn’t go as well as I lost 10-15. I fell behind early and really worked hard to get back but it wasn’t enough. The third game was nip and tuck and was tied 8-8 before I ran off a nice streak and ended up winning 15-10. It was really a great workout!
I haven’t been doing any of my body weight exercises because of a mild muscle strain in my upper back. I haven’t felt anything for the last couple days so I’m going to crank up the pushups and pullups tomorrow.
Weight is hanging in the 205-208 range. I just can’t seem to make the big push to get it down any further. The problem is an over supply of junk in our house and an under supply of will power by yours truly.
Morning weight: 207
First a quick word about my posting frequency. Now that I am a confirmed Twitterholic, I find that I can use it to post quick thoughts on the go. It’s easier than finding the time to get to the computer to knock out a post. Heck, I’m writing this one on my phone in a store parking lot waiting for it to open. But there are some things that just can’t be covered in 140 characters, so my blogging days aren’t over.
I have a standing post over in the right column under Stuff where I describe Boogie Golf. I called it that because the purpose of the game is to keep moving and get some exercise. But if you read further into the article, you will find that the inspiration for it was my attempt to find an activity that fell in line with Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint. Thus I now call it Primal Golf.
I teed of a 6:30 this morning in very low light conditions because of clouds. My first tee shot sounded and felt good but I had no idea where it went. I dropped a ball at the 150 marker and pressed on. On #2 I hit a ball in the right rough which is very sandy—lost ball number two. But I managed to keep the ball in sight after that and didn’t lose another. Aftere that it was a mixture of awful shots mixed in with a healthy dose of Shots That Didn’t Suck (STDS). Thanks in particular to a nice string of shots with my 26 degree utility club on 12 thru 15, my STDS total was 17. Not bad.
One thing that really separates Primal Golf from “real” golf is my mental attitude. When I was playing with the goal of shooting a good score and lowering my handicap, my reaction to bad shots was one of anger and frustration. But with Primal Golf, it’s just a quick “oh well” before moving on to the next shot. It’s a healthier way to play.
Well, I was going to say more but my thumbs are getting tired!