Startling Revelations

I visit the Emerald City once a year. I have posed for a photo in almost the same exact spot for the last four years. No, I will not give you directions to the Fountain of Youth.
I visit the Emerald City once a year. I have posed for a photo in almost the same exact spot for the last four years. No, I will not give you directions to the Fountain of Youth.

I’m not sure if I am angry, confused, happy, motivated, encouraged, or all of the above. After not gaining a pound and staying at 180 pounds in the weeks leading up to and after back surgery, I have been gaining weight of late. I resumed lifting weights, I finally started running again, and I adjusted my diet with an emphasis on protein. Thank you to everyone who suffered my insufferable countdown to running.

After watching my weight climb as high as 188 and bottom out at 183, I decided to start counting calories again. Holy crap. When I was in the process of actually trying to lose weight, I was consuming between 1,200-1,700 calories a day. After logging a full day’s worth this past Monday, I saw a number north of 2,000. Knowing this was a typical day’s worth of calorie consumption, I was very disturbed…well, more disturbed than usual.

Not that long ago, I asked someone I know who is into fitness for advice about my belly fat. His first instinct was to tell me to lose weight, to ingest fewer calories than I take in. I found this interesting because this person was familiar with my efforts. After logging calories for a day, I now understand why he said this. After realizing that my diet was out of whack, watching my weight climb, and some anecdotal evidence…

…I am officially back in weight loss mode.

No worse for wear after a 4-mile run, my longest run since April.
No worse for wear after a 4-mile run, my longest run since April.

So, before I share my conclusions, let me update you on the goings on. Yes, I started running again. The countdown ended July 29 and I started the Couch to 5K plan. The app is great except that it still doesn’t work when the phone is locked. Four weeks of interval training and I decided to attempt non-stop distances. I managed two 5Ks, one four-mile run and one 2.2-mile run (hills in downtown Seattle are a bitch). Thanks to ibuprofen and dogged determination, I haven’t had any real issues. Some tightness and soreness in my hips and a little post-run swelling are the only symptoms I’ve had.

My times are getting better as I prep for a 5K.
My times are getting better as I prep for a 5K.

I’m definitely stronger. I have been pushing myself with weights, with one exception of course. I’ll never do another deadlift as long as I live. Good thing there are substitutes. I have been experiencing some “bench press elbow” which was exacerbated by drunken arm wrestling a 23-year-old. Not wise to take on someone half your age when you don’t have your wits about you. I was engaging in two-a-day workouts during the month of August and I really enjoyed that. My schedule no longer allows it as much as I’d like, but I’ll do as much as I can. I actually am going to be back in a more regular routine so I’ll really be able to get a handle on this. Chest workouts are challenging when you have a sore arm. I can pull but it’s hard to push. Bench press and pushups are difficult at best but I feel better now than I have since I was “pulled over” or somesuch.

You may be wondering what’s going on with my back. Well…the daily pain and stiffness is much less than it was. I am still awakened at 4 a.m. with an ache in my hip just about every day. That’s the aggravating part. As better as I am, as confident I am that my injury has been repaired and that the chronic problem as been addressed, I’m still not right. And I don’t know how long that is going to take. I’m tired of it. Never mind that I haven’t gotten a good night sleep since 2008. I guess I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

My most recent run, the hills in Seattle are a bitch.
My most recent running activity, not too shabby.

The running has been going fairly well. Back or hip pain has been minimal. It’s the cardio-vascular that is taking the time. I can’t seem to get my lungs back. I’m sure smoking a pack a day for 18 years, although I am seven years removed, has something to do with it. I logged a 9:06 mile Thursday morning, I’m at about a 10-minute mile pace and I think I am close to being ready for an organized 5K that I’m running Sept. 12.

Do I have a point to all of this? Well, as much as I felt like I accomplished something by getting to 180 pounds and staying there for a while, my back injury threw everything off and I forgot what I was eating right around the time I blew out the tire at L4L5. Yes, more protein=more muscle=less fat. Yeah, yeah, I know. My belly fat has been the one overriding issue I’ve had. It seems to be the one area I can’t seem to resolve. It stands to reason that I am still covered with body fat. I am starting to resume the progress I was making before back surgery but I am overweight and skinny fat (I still can’t believe that’s actually a thing).

Based on all of this, my desire to achieve certain goals, to look a certain way, all comes back to the fact I wasn’t finished losing fat. Unfortunately that means losing weight. It may only need to be a few pounds, 10 or less, but it still needs to be done. Now, the average person can consume 2,000 calories per day and maintain their weight. At my age and with my metabolism, I can’t do that, I don’t care how healthy I’m eating. Using a Basal Metabolic Rate calculator – 1,788. Jiminy Christmas, I wish I would’ve known this six weeks ago. Using MyFitnessPal, I capped my calorie goal at 1,700. I guess I wasn’t too far off. No wonder why I’ve been gaining weight. No wonder why I can’t lose my belly or uncover my muscles. We won’t even discuss the alcohol consumption.

It’s back to the drawing board on my daily food consumption. Granted, I have increased my exercise level in recent weeks and months but that doesn’t compensate for the fact that consuming 2,000-2,300 calories per day is too much.

Add all this together and I now how do I feel? I am pissed. I have figured it out. Back to training mode. Back to weight loss mode. Back to beast mode.

Mechanism cleared and reset.

“I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass and I am all out of bubblegum.” – RIP Rowdy Roddy Piper

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