Sunday, February 27, 2011

The End of the Tough First Two Weeks - Recap

Going into these first two weeks, I thought I knew what to expect.  Having been on this journey before, to certain extents, I knew some of the hurdles I would face: caffeine withdrawal, hunger, headaches, hunger, slippages in resolve, hunger, and... did I mention hunger?

Did I experience those?

Of course... more so this time around if anything.

But perhaps the toughest thing I've faced these last 14 days has been throwing out my back and the subsequent spasms for the last three days.  This situation has a tendency to put be flat on my back... and generates great amounts of boredom.

And we know what boredom causes... more desires for munchies.

So it's been a tough couple of days.  I've slipped a bit, but haven't had too much of a negative impact on my weight loss effort.  After two weeks of somewhat successful healthy eating I'm down 8.5 pounds.

Not too bad... not too bad at all.

So where do we go from here?  Well, for starters I'm going to keep eating the reduced calories... it seems to be working.  I want to get going on the exercise routine, but that may be on hold for a bit due to my back issues... but get there I will.

Despite my hurdles over the "Tough First Two Weeks" I'm as (if not more) inspired as I was at the beginning of my journey. I'm feeling good about the initial changes I've made and am looking forward to the next steps as I try to get my sorry butt into a shape other than round.

Stay strong on your own personal journeys, my friends.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Tough First Two Weeks: Day 13

What a crappy, crappy day.

Woke up this morning, tried to roll over in bed, and ended up pulling a muscle in my back again.  This little bit of fun is something that happens to me a couple times a year, for pretty much no reason, since around 1996 (when I hurt my back in the Navy).

I've been experiencing muscle spasms all day long, especially when I move suddenly.  And to make matters worse, I'm coming down with a massive head cold, so I'm sneezing up a storm... and pain storm.

Kind of disgruntled and crabby because of it.

Not much more to say.  Other than:

Stay strong people... and good luck on your journey.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Tough First Two Weeks: Day 12

Almost two weeks into my dietary and fitness journey and I've had my first real slippage in resolve.  was doing really well this morning... had my normal cereal with milk, yogurt, and a banana.  And then, out of nowhere, tragedy struck in the form of an evil that is almost impossible to avoid and ignore...

An invitation to eat Chinese for lunch.

I wanted to be good... I really did.  But all my co-workers were going and it just sounded too good to pass up.  So I did the evil and had some yummy Hot and Sour Soup, Pork Fried Rice, Chicken in Hot Sauce, and Chicken Wings.  And yes... I ate the whole meal, resulting in a pretty big spike in my calories for the day (see below).

Am I worried or upset that I strayed? No, not really... providing that I am back to my normal lower calorie intake tomorrow.  It isn't a bad thing to splurge a bit every once and a while, providing that it is infrequent. If I'm able to keep tomorrow's intake to around 1500 or less, my average intake for the week will still be reasonable.

That's all for tonight folks.  Stay strong on your journeys... and if you do stray, remember a reasonable amount of naughtiness is not a huge deal: just jump back on the path and keep trying.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Stuff to Make the Journey Easier: Audio Excursions

One of the keys to getting fit and in shape is exercise, either cardio or weight training.  Unfortunately, while weight training is variable enough to keep your mind occupied, cardio training tends to bore many people.  The long periods of placing one foot in front of the other, the mind stuck on concentrating on the tedium of your feet... BOREDOM.  So what can you do to help with the boredom and endless miles under your feet?  Music is one option, of course.  I, however, prefer to listen to books, especially podiobooks.  There are a large selection of great podiobooks available... if you know where to look.

One great author that you may want to check out is Neil Colquhoun, a fantastic Scottish writer of hybrid horror/thriller/sci-fi tales, creator of the "FRANK" series and the forthcoming "Jimmy and the Black Wind" tales.

Check out his Free audiobook, "FRANK - Volume 1: Boiling Point".  In this tale, Frank, a mysterious bounty hunter, gets more than he bargained for in his latest assignment. Becoming mixed up in the beginnings of a gang war, he has to contend with a team of hit-men, who are not like your usual guns-for-hire!  It’s a story about a a bounty hunter, a dead-but-alive hitman partnered with an alive-but-should-be-dead criminal, an escort girl, a man who has a taste for something bad… and the Devil!

Check out his promo for "FRANK" here:

Read more about "FRANK" and access the audio files here:

To subscribe to "FRANK" on iTunes, subscribe to this feed: itpc://

If you are interested in reading more about  Neil and his various projects, head on over to his website:

To keep up on what Neil is doing, make sure you also follow him on Twitter: @necol66

The Tough First Two Weeks: Day 11

Hello Folks.  Been a little bit... super busy and yet not so busy at all... just resting and relaxing over the three-day weekend and getting back into the groove of getting back to work.

Overall, I've stayed on track for the last five days.  Eating has been going ok... normal fluctuation from day to day, but the average is right around 1750 for daily calorie intake and the fat calorie intake right around 450-500 calories (I'd like to get this down just a little, right around 300 to 400 on average).  Look here for my Graph of Progress:

So what does that mean? Well, if you look at just the calories, it don't mean squat, does it? No indeedy!  What matters is results.

So the results, as of this morning's weigh-in, is that I've lost 8 pounds in the last 19 days from just eating right. Woo-hoo! Knowing that weight fluctuates from day day, I also keep track of my daily weight and average it at the end of the week... according to my average so far for the week, my average weight loss over the last 3 weeks is 6 pound.  Not too bad... I'll take it!  Look here for my Graph of Progress:

The only drawback is that I was unable to start my workout routine this week.  On Sunday night, big klutz that I am, I fell while walking up the stairs and jammed my wrist catching myself.  Instead of aggravating it, I decided to push off the kick-off of my workout routine until next week.  Am I wimping out? Not really. I look at it that I'm playing it safe and setting myself up for success and not failure.

How's everyone else's journey going? Anyone find any good resources to help us with our mutual success on our trek toward fitness? Let me know and I'll check it out and post my thought on it.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Planning The Attack: The Workout Regime

It's been about six months since I last worked out.  At the time that I quit, I was dealing with work stress, too much school work, and the beginning of the dark season (ahhh... the joys of late fall and winter in New England)... and then the straw broke the camel's back when I threw my back out again.  Even when things calmed back down and my back was back to normal, I for some reason didn't jump right back in (I blame laziness).

So back to working out.  Before I quit, I had a pretty good routine going:
  • Mondays - Aerobic for an hour (typically between 6 to 8 miles on the elliptical stair-stepper); plus back extension reps; plus sit-ups
  • Tuesdays - Weight Training: Chest (Flat, incline, decline); Triceps; and Lats
  • Wednesday - Aerobic for an hour (typically between 6 to 8 miles on the elliptical stair-stepper); plus back extension reps; plus sit-ups
  • Thursday - Weight Training: Back; Biceps; and Shoulder
  • Friday - Aerobic for an hour (typically between 6 to 8 miles on the elliptical stair-stepper); plus back extension reps; plus sit-ups
Given that I'm only 6 months out of my workout routine, I'm going to try to slide into a similar routine, but at lower intensities and levels... so I don't get hurt prematurely.

What routines do you use to keep in shape or on your own fitness journey?

The Tough First Two Weeks: Day 6

Update At 6:15AM

Two weeks ago I started keeping track of my daily weight.  On the first day, I weighed in at 270 pounds. That first week I kept track of my daily weight and it averaged out to 270 pounds for the week.

Today, 14 days later, I'm weighing in at 266 pounds, having begun my diet/fitness plan 6 days ago.  Though technically I've lost 4 pounds based on today's weigh-in, based on the average of my weights for the week I've lost one pound (my average is at 269 pounds).  For a visual of this, go to this page:

Either way, I'm happy about my progress so far.  This week was just the diet adjustment, which is going well so far.  Next week, I'll be kicking off my combination aerobic and weight training regimen, which should kick the loss into high gear.

More updates to this post later on today! Stay strong in your journey, brothers and sisters.

Update At 8:06PM

Day is drawing to a close.  My eating is back on track again... limited my intake for the day to 1600 total calories, right on the high side of my 1400 to 1600 intake range.  Even my fat calorie intake is back down to normal (at 400 calories).  Feeling really good today (from a fitness/health standpoint and from a general sickness standpoint).

Heading into the three-day weekend, so this'll be a more true test of my resolve.  But one I can tackle.

Well my friends, that's all for today.  Have fun over the weekend... stay strong and focused on your journeys!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Tough First Two Weeks: Day 5

One of the things that always ruins me when it comes to eating right is boredom. I have the tendency to overeat and eat the wrong things when I'm bored, depressed, or just needing comfort.    And nothing screams boredom, depression, and comfort seeking than being sick.

Spent the day at home today with day two of the <queue the big music> "STOMACH BUG FROM HELL!!!!". In spite of being sick and bored out of my gourd, I didn't stray too badly overall.  The real killer for me today in the calorie department was the copious use of ginger ale and 7-up to settle my little tummy ache.  Without that, my total calorie intake would have been right on target... but with it I exceeded my goal of 1400 to 1600 calories by about 400.  <SIGH> Oh well, at least my fat calorie intake was pretty good overall.

Feeling pretty good now, with only a little bit of a tummy twinge left, so I'll be back to work tomorrow... and back on the ever-watchful diet journey.

See you all on the flip side.  And until then: Stay Strong!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Tough First Two Weeks: Day 4

Just a quick update today.  Still sick... worse if anything.  Actually had to leave work early today.  Will update the calorie tracker a little bit later. Slipped a little on the food front today, but will recover tomorrow once I feel a bit better.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Tough First Two Weeks: Day 3

Day two in my adventure is drawing to a close and I feel like crap.  No, not because of the diet or over-extending myself. No, I think I finally am catching the stomach bug that is going around (my daughter has the joy of its not-so-tender embrace over the weekend). The bad new is that I will probably spend a portion of the night worshipping the porcelain god.  The good new is that I'm not gonna be retaining much of what I ate today, so I should have some good weight loss in the morning.  LOL.

Day two of the portion reduction and diet change program went well again.  Got a little hungry toward the end of the workday, but that I think is because I ate my mid-afternoon snack too early. Like I've said before, it's about figuring out your body and adjusting your habits to take care of your needs.  Here's my menu for today:

  • Breakfast: 1 Cup Cheerios, 1 Cup Milk, and one Greek Yogurt
  • Snack: Snack Pack of Nuts
  • Lunch: Chicken Breast, 1 Cup Ziti, and Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Snack (a little early in the day): One Greek Yogurt and Snack Pack of Nuts
  • Dinner: Just a dry Chicken Breast Sandwich (since I'm not feeling too good)

Aside from that, I've added my Calorie Gains and Losses Tracker page, where I'll keep track (hence the name, yukka-yukka-yukka) of my daily total calorie intake, daily fat calorie intake, and aerobic calorie loss.  For this week, there won't be much in the way of aerobics, but this tracker should equalize out next week when I start my workouts.

Well, my workout and fitness buddies, stay strong and I'll see you tomorrow!

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Tough First Two Weeks: Day 2

Day One Complete and winding down.  Today's entry is gonna be a short one.

Dealing with Mr. Throbbing Headache for the second day and not a happy camper... gotta love caffeine withdrawal.  Actually, no I don't.  That's why I have my secret weapon: Motrin.    :-)

The eating front went really well:
  • Yogurt: 260 calories
  • Peanuts: 330 calories
  • Popcorn: 160 calories
  • Salad: 100 calories
  • Chicken Breast: 300 calories
Though it doesn't appear to be too much, I actually was quite satiated for most of the day.  We'll see how tomorrow goes, though...

Only got a few hours of sleep last night so I'm gonna be calling it an early night.

To all my friends on this journey as well: Stay Strong and Keep The Goal In Sight

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Tough First Two Weeks: Day 1

One of the things that I don't like about starting this journey is the first two weeks.  This is typically the make or break period for most people, the time when the goal seems insurmountable, the end results not worth the pain... and suffering and the loss of the good stuff appearing at times to be a little ridiculous...

For me, it's more about the transition.  During this time, I'm cutting out caffeine, reducing food portions, changing the diet menu, and starting the workout.  Most of this I can handle with a grim determination until I'm over the hurdle and on my way to making it a good habit. However, one of the things that makes Scott a Grumpie Guss is the caffeine reduction piece.

I don't really need caffeine, such as soda and coffee. However, like many things in life, it becomes habitual.   You start out with a half a can of soda a day (approximately 100 calories), which in the big scheme of things is not too bad.  Before you know it, the point I'm at right now, you are drinking 2 to 3 20 oz. bottles of soda each day, PLUS a foo-foo coffee drink as well, piling on 500 to 1000 additional calories each day, which one really does not need.

But like I said, I don't need caffeine to make it through the day.  Unfortunately, at the point where I am, my body (especially my brain) has become dependent on the compound, which means I have to go through the necessary caffeine withdrawal. The piercing headaches, the grumpiness, and the worn-out feeling are all part of the process... and for me is the worst aspect of the first two weeks.

Already I'm feeling this, having not had any caffeine for the last 20 hours.  I'm a little nauseous, my head is pounding, and my patience is on a short rope. While I know that this will only last a couple days before it is flushed out of my system, it is not a fun experience...

... an experience I can't wait to be over with.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Planning The Attack

Having been through the weight loss roller coaster, I already know what works for me in the weight loss department.  I've been successful in losing weight a few times in the past.

  • Back in the early 90's, when I joined the navy, I lost a significant amount.  Entering bootcamp, I weighed 215 pounds.  Even though bootcamp was a joke, through proper eating and a minor amount of exercise, I left bootcamp after 2.5 months weighing 175 pounds, the lowest of my adult life.
  • In the mid 90's, at the end of my first shore command, I ended up at around 230 pounds. Through exercise and a planned meal schedule, I was able to get down to 198 pounds after about 2 months.
  • Last year, when I hit my highest weight of my adult life (at 290 pounds), I began the year with a New Years Resolution to get back into better shape.  Through proper eating and working out 3 to 5 times a week, I was able to drop my weight down to 255 pounds over about 3 months.

So what does it take for me to lose weight and get in shape? Well, for me it is a two phase approach.
Phase one is establishing a predictable and nutritious eating schedule. This comes down to portion control (eating a single serving instead of a serving or two or three) and replacement of certain staples (pasta and red meat) with alternatives (vegetables and white meat).

Phase two is exercise.  This one comes down to a combination of aerobic (treadmill and elliptical) and weight training.  Both are a necessary evil for me: the aerobic helps with the overall calorie burn and cardio while the weight training helps build back the muscle that get's scavenged by the body during the diet change.

Phase three, which is a necessity (one that I have a notoriously difficult time trying to maintain) is just that: maintaining the new healthy habits. This is one that I'm going to have to work on once I get to that point again.

So here's the plan: Over the next two weeks, I will be modifying my eating habits and cleansing my body a bit.  Once the eating is under control again, I will be starting my morning workouts again.  Once I flesh out each of these plans more, I will post them here for your general viewing and scrutiny.
Until then... stay strong on your own journeys!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Taking Charge: The Beginning

I've always had issues with my weight... at least it has always been so as far as I can remember.  As a wee-lad (less than about 5 years old), I was fairly skinny.  It really wasn't until I started attending school that I began to pack on the pounds.  Part of it was due to poor choice of food (I'm told there was a spread of about 2 years that I would only eat ravioli).
The main cause, I believe, was a comfort defense mechanism, a way to seek comfort from food when I felt alone, depressed, or even bored.  Much of this came from the alienation I felt as a child due to my speech impediment (though no one can tell now, I am a Stutterer and Stammerer--the first half of my life was spent barely being able to say two words in a row without hitting the blockage).  Children being the way they are, this speech issue did nothing to endear me to their hearts: in fact, it was prime ammunition to set me apart, ammunition to be thrown in my face at every opportunity.  This of course led to alienation, which led to overeating for comfort, which in turn led to more alienation as I became "LardAss".
Ah, the vicious circle, one literally feeding the other.
Fast forward to the end of high school about 20 years ago.  At this time (and right after navy bootcamp), I achieved my lowest weight, due to exercise and proper eating.  At this time, I ended up weighing around 180 pound, at 5'-11" in height--I wasn't built nor was I muscular, but at this time I was in the best shape of my life (see picture to the right).
Since then, my weight has been up and down.  Work, marriage, parenthood, and stresses large and small all led to additional depression, anger, frustration, and general angst. And what was there to comfort me? You got it: food, my old friend. In the last 18 years since I left bootcamp, my weight has slowly increased, due to poor eating, overeating, and a lack of physical activity. In the last 5-10 years by weight has really picked up, to the point where I am ashamed to be seen.
I am not only fat... I am in the realm of obesely fat.  While I have gained more muscle mass than my earlier version (about 20+ pounds of muscle), I have gained much more in the way of fat.  I am now 270 pounds and I need to take charge of my life and health.  I want to be happy looking in the mirror again.  I want to enter a room and not try to suck in the gut.  I want to feel confident that people are looking at me and not my double chin. Dammit, I want my life back from this evil, insidious disease (and a disease it is, this thing called obesity).
Over the next year I will chronicle my journey toward health and fitness again. I'll detail my eating habits, my exercise habits, and my weight loss. For this first foray, I'm giving myself a kick in the hind-side (and humiliating myself) by posting pictures of me as I am now, in all my "cuddly" glory. As the weeks go by, I'll post updated pictures so you can see my progress... and so you can kick me in the butt if I stray.  For now, I'm in the planning phase... I'll be posting more as my plans start to take fruition.