Experimentation and Self-Discovery

If I were an adolescent, that headline would probably have a totally different meaning. However, I am your average 43-year-old white guy who is trying to understand his metabolism.

I started lifting weights religiously about a month ago. For the first two weeks my weight loss stopped. I got to 218 pounds or so and got stuck. I was walking three miles in the afternoon and lifting at night and didn’t lose an ounce. I decided on an experiment. I stopped walking and just lifted at night and quickly lost almost two pounds. I got to 216.8, which was .2 away from 20 pounds lost. For a few work-related reasons I have gotten off track with the experiment and I’m at 218 at the moment. A couple of 12-14-hour days at the j-o-b will get you off track a bit. I am sure I’ve snacked too much and I know I haven’t been eating the healthiest food the past few days.

It makes absolutely no sense to me why cardio in the afternoon and weight lifting at night results in maintenance and no loss. Or why no cardio and just lifting at night results in weight loss. Plateaus happen during this process and I know I have to switch it up as I go along. But, whatever is happening makes no sense whatsoever. I know I need cardio in my life. So confused.

Tomorrow night I will be back on the weight-lifting tip and I’ll update you faithful readers on my progress. I had been waiting until I hit 20 pounds lost to write and I thought that it would have happened by now. No worries, I have a plan and I’ll execute it. I was reminded last night that I haven’t blogged since April 6. Yikes.

The pollen count here in San Joaquin County has been out of control. I am not allergic to anything that I know of so I have either developed some sort of allergy or I have a head cold. Great way to start this spring, runny nose, sneezing…bleah.

Since I haven’t been walking at work I haven’t been accosted by those pesky ground squirrels in awhile. The last few times I did walk I saw a snake, bees, vultures, crows, gulls, a turkey, ducks, and beetles. The squirrels were nowhere to be seen save a lookout or two. Maybe they’ve gotten the word that I know a lot of guys whose names end in vowels.

I have noticed that quite a few people I know have started exercise regimens lately. I’m not talking about the New Year’s resolution crowd who quit going to the gym by the end of January after they got talked into a membership while gorging themselves on Thanksgiving turkey and pumpkin pie. Mmmmm….pie. I’m talking about friends and family jumping on the fitness bandwagon as of late.

My ego would say it’s me and my success that has inspired these folks. I have lost damn near 20 pounds since January. Frankly, I don’t care. As I go through this and continue this journey I have been doing quite a bit of research and reading. You come across so much material that says we Americans are obese and so unhealthy. If my friends and family lose weight, get in shape, eat healthier and live longer lives…so be it. But, it is nice to know I may have inspired a few folks along the way.

I always have to remind myself I have to work just a little harder to lose weight because of what I did to my metabolism with nicotine for 18 years and the fact I have sleep apnea. I can’t compare myself to anyone else. I can’t get jealous if someone experiences results faster than me.

I just need to DO WORK, SON!

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Interesting Week

Bruce Campbell in Evil Dead 2
Bruce Campbell as Ash in Evil Dead 2.

Left heel hurts, right knee aches, shooting pain in my right hip during my walks, lower back…well…I am running out of words for pain. Nothing debilitating, just the price I have to pay to achieve my goals. I’ve had muscle soreness associated with lifting weights. More on that later.

I started April without a walk. Work responsibilities kept me from getting out of the office Monday. I have really been trying to increase the distance to four miles. I have walked 17 miles since Tuesday and my pace has been all over the place. I have been experiencing some heel pain and I’m not sure what’s causing it. My Nike running app and I had a major disagreement yesterday. It went goofy and gave me credit for 4.58 miles when I only walked just over 3. Now, I really don’t care since I’m only competing against myself. But I do like tracking my progress and I value accuracy.

I’ve tried mixing in a little running here and there but I still find it very uncomfortable. I haven’t been able to run more than a quarter of a mile at a stretch. The walks are great exercise but I feel like I should be doing more. My experience at the Oakland Running Festival showed me I can run a little bit. Shin splints haven’t been an issue lately.

I wrote a few weeks ago that I purchased a weight bench and was going to start the Daniel Craig weight lifting regimen. That didn’t get off to the start I hoped it would. I have too many convenient excuses to not exercise at night. I work long, full days, I get home late and I’m exhausted.

Since I turned 30 and got the job I have now, I really don’t like to spend or waste money. Blame my father for that. He was a very practical man and it wasn’t until recently did I find out how poor we were when I was a child. Funny, I do well and I don’t want to spend money. In my 20s, when I didn’t have money, I wanted to buy everything and did some serious damage to my credit. Oh, I have the creature comforts mind you. I just try not to be frivolous.

My point is that I didn’t buy this weight bench to take up space and collect dust in what was my home office. We didn’t buy a recumbent bike and go through hell with the wrong elliptical machine to put an expensive coat rack in the family room. Part of my problem with food is that I won’t waste it. Although my mother never made me clean my plate as it were and always made me what I wanted, I have become that person in adulthood. I clean my plate.

I finally decided that this was the week I was going to put aside the excuses and dive into this strength training business head first. I have lifted a little bit, I have used the bike (which I like more than I thought I would), but I hadn’t thrown myself into evening exercise like I told myself I would.

As I mentioned, I was unable to walk Monday so I did my Monday weight lifting session and rode the bike for 25 minutes. I walked three miles Tuesday and lifted Tuesday night, I walked 4 miles Wednesday and lifted Wednesday night, I walked four miles Thursday and lifted Thursday night, and I walked three miles Friday, lifted and rode the bike for 20 minutes Friday night. I have tried to stay as close to the Daniel Craig workout as possible. There are a few exercises I can’t do because of my set up, but I have found adequate substitutes.

I haven’t lifted weights since my Austin trip, and I haven’t lifted on a regular basis in more than two years and I have to admit I was one sore puppy this week. My triceps especially did a lot of screaming. I pushed through and by today the muscle soreness was minimal. I have been taught on two occasions that it takes three weeks to get over and deal with the muscle soreness of weight lifting. Week one is in the books.

This obsession I have with the scale has to stop. If Wednesday is my normal weigh-in day, I have to stick to it. I weighed in at 218.2 pounds Wednesday. That marks 18 pounds lost. That’s halfway to 200, and 28 to go until I reach my first goal of 190.

So, it’s Saturday, I walked three miles, went to see a movie I have been waiting to see for a year and tried not to eat too much bad stuff today.

Any one who knows me at all knows that I am a horror movie fanatic. When I was in high school I made a life-long friend. JP and I would go to all kinds of midnight movies during our senior year – Rocky Horror Picture Show, Heavy Metal and Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2. We often found ourselves in fairly empty theaters and spent quite a bit of time making fun of the movies, especially Evil Dead 2. Army of Darkness is pure comedy. The Evil Dead trilogy has achieved a tremendous cult following.

I have since become a big fan of Bruce Campbell, star of the Evil Dead movies. About a year ago I read online that director Sam Raimi and Campbell were backing an Evil Dead remake. In a recent interview, Campbell bristled over the term “remake” and said it this was it’s own Evil Dead film. I saw this film today and I quite enjoyed it. I agree with Campbell in the fact that it does stand on its own. I have also heard that more Evil Dead films are in the works and I am very happy about this.

So I have one word to sum up my week of progress, fighting through pain and leisure activities…

Groovy.