Weekly Digest 37 4/12/19 -4/18/19

Ya know, this is not exactly the kind of week for which I had hoped.  Overall I didn’t think it was TOO bad, but I had a couple dietary stumbles.  Overall the calories were not bad, but not as clean as I would have liked.  A little too heavy on the salt and sugar this week, perhaps. 


I felt good, and exercised well. I also had the season’s first really great bike ride!  Despite all this I managed to gain 3 pounds this week, putting me back to 200 pounds lost, total.  I’m not sure I understand that rebound very well.  Unless it’s a case of retaining fluid from too much salt and burning sugar first instead of fat…that’s possible.  I’m not sure, but I’m going to look at it as though it is a minor thing and it’s just one week. 

It does serve as a great reminder, however, that even small deviations can have a significant impact.  That’s something about which I will need to continually remind myself as I continue to lose weight.  I will wager that as I progress, those small deviations will have a broader impact.  Perhaps I am mistaken about that – I am merely guessing at this point.  Mostly I base that on the fact that my body seems fussy and wants consistency.  It can be a real jerk at times.  …doesn’t want me to have fun, ever!  Just work, work, work!  *grumble*

It’s All About the Accounting

I have been on this crazy see-saw all winter.  For whatever reason (and I am sure there are a lot of them) consistent progress has been hard to come by. Many times, you have heard me talk about the science behind what I am doing …more specifically, the math.  I will say it, yet again …weight loss is, essentially, accounting.  Years of watching my father work has bred into me a sincere appreciation of accounting.  Mastering the accounting (or the math/science) can provide a degree of understanding and control over your environment. It becomes a framework around which I can build understanding. 

 Gantt Chart

And I need the understanding.  Science abhors a vacuum, after all.  If we look at me, and my professional skill set around project management, writing, operations and management, they are, similarly, built on systems and known quantities.  I even approach the unknown armed with a theorem, formula or a graph to explain it. Yes, that’s a joke. ..but only kind-of. 

A Shifting Landscape

However, as of late, you have all heard me saying something else as well.  Namely, that my body doesn’t always want to play by the rules. The farther I get along this journey, the more I find instances where this is true.  In-fact, when I started losing weight, EVERYTHING was far more predictable, consistent and stable than they are now.  I could have small deviations, and reward days, and –for the most part – progress kept right on going at a steady pace. 

My body is changing, and it’s adapting to being more active.  As I am doing more biking and other activities, my body is now reminding me that things aren’t the same.  It is demanding more fuel and calories/protein. That’s really hard to grasp for me because it’s outside the realm of my established system, and I have never experienced it before.    

I had a moment of reassurance when talking with my friend Abby May over at Pam Hargrove’s house for an Easter Celebration.  Abby is a runner (She ran the Boston Marathon!!) and she experiences some of the same issues that I am just starting to experience. It felt good to have someone to identify with!  While I understood what was going on, never having dealt with it before made it an eye opening experience.  It’s worth its own short article later. Yes, yes, I know. …”you NEVER write a short article, Ethan.”  Pfft.  

The Joy of a Big Ride:

healthy living bike ride

On Tuesday this week I put 17 miles on my bike in another big ride to open spring. (My first was last week at 13 miles.) I feel really great about it!  I cannot possibly explain to you all just how good it felt to be out on my bike and being active outside.  The impact of Minnesota winters on your mood, happiness, positivity, and general well-being is stunning. 

Sometimes we hear that seasonal depression referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder.  I do believe that’s a thing. I definitely was impacted by something similar this year and while it might not be a depression in my case, I have been CRAVING being outside and moving!  So that 17 miler was an absolute tonic for me.  I’m smiling more.  I’m happier, I’m more positive.  As I write this I now have several rides under my belt and it’s just making me feel great.  I don’t even care if it is doing wonders for my overall activity levels – I just like riding my bike. 

The Injury Report: 


Two minor issues to report.  One, I think a free weight session with some inappropriate weights caused a strain my upper back between the shoulder blades.  I have been treating that with a heating pad and ibuprofen.  For a couple days it was pretty intense, but after dealing with it for a week it has subsided now.  So slowly it’s healing.  Next, it’s my old friend Insertional Achilles Tendonitis.  I think my shoes may play a role in this.  I’m using Salming running shoes with a drop 4 heel. That might need to come up a bit.  I’m going to go over to Gear West and get a stride analysis to see if they can help me identify what I should be using.  They may also be able to tell me if I need something different for biking than I do for walking or general use. 


Alright, let’s get right to the nasty part of this, shall we?   This is where I admit all the bad stuff I ate.  There’s something every week – usually my sweet tooth is what gets the best of me.  This week is no exception.  I partook of …of… JELLY BEANS.  Jelly beans is one of my all-time great weaknesses.  Some people like only jelly belly (Linnea!) and some people can’t stand the spicy jelly beans.  Me?  I like them all.  I have not yet met a jelly bean I don’t adore.  So when the opportunity presented itself, I caved in and indulged.  I don’t know how much it was …but it was pretty significant. I also had 3 beers and a mixed drink that day. That is a heck of a first day of my diet week. 

Jelly beans

Do you like how I held out so long before giving in to temptation?  Yes, that’s sarcasm.  It’s a hell of a way to start the week.  Well, I shaped up my act for the rest of the week.  I had a gin and diet tonic, and some cheese and crackers as my only transgressions for the entire rest of the week.  I’m pretty happy with that. I did also have a bit more of a rice side dish than I should have on Thursday – it’s high in sodium so that didn’t help with weigh in on Friday.

However I am also proud of how clean I ate outside of the obvious exceptions. So I come away from this with much the same reflection as I do every week.  I acknowledge that I’m human and I’m prone to fail on occasion – and that I want to do better.  By and large, I make a good effort every week, and I think I can live with that.  Striking a balance between eating right, and still having some semblance of a life is not very easy.  Pam Hargrove always reminds me of this.  I sincerely appreciate her moderating influence. 



The week was pretty good for exercise.  Obviously, we can start with that big bike ride. 17 miles is no joke, right out of the gate for spring – but I felt great.  My off-season work definitely paid off.  I did 3 elliptical sessions – two of which were 40 mins sessions instead of my normal 30, and 2 free weight sessions.  Wednesday was a busy day so I took that day off of exercising.  After the long bike ride I am kind of glad that I did.  Thursday I was right back at it with the elliptical.  So I exercised 6 out of 7 days.  I’m VERY happy with this!  With spring coming in, I see no difficulty in keeping my exercise

My Take Away:

I think the take away from all this is quite simple.  Ready?  Here it is: Stay away from the damn jelly beans, and as my friend Wahbon Spears told me “Just keep moving.” She’s right about that – and I am truly excited to be doing just that out in wonderful spring weather (when we GET good weather!)  Additionally, I think getting the athletic shoes thing addressed is pretty important.  So I stay the course, keep working my plan, and do the best I can!  See y’all next week! 


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