Weekly Digest 78 and 79

MacArthur isn’t the only one that gets to wade ashore triumphantly. In fact, each of us has those moments. The secret is in recognizing those little moments when they happen and enjoying them. That’s not something I am very good at. I tend to focus on what I do wrong rather than what I do right. It takes work to adjust your thinking to an asset-based perspective. But these weeks have been a bit of a reward for me. So I’m enjoying it!

Doug
Photograph by Carl Mydans, “General Douglas MacArthur lands in the Philippines at Lingayen Gulf on Luzon, January 9, 1945.”

Recap:

The last two weeks have really been emblematic of what my weight loss journey is all about.  It’s contained some stress, worry, effort, hard work, sweat, overcoming hurdles, dealing with injury and illness, struggling with positivity, and ultimately making it all work out for the best. The thing about a struggle like this is that sometimes it takes a lot of work to keep yourself moving in the right direction.

I managed to do a pretty good job of keeping my diet focused and my exercise levels up. The new gym membership is definitely helping out with that! Overall, I felt like I did quite well.  I have managed to lose about 4 pounds each of the last two weeks.  So that almost puts me back to my lowest weight. I am starting to feeling like I can declare myself recovered from the holidays and that entire mess! I am back to 220 pounds lost. I am hoping this is the start of a consistent trend.  Keep your fingers crossed and cheer me to make the right decisions in those key moments!

The Injury Report:

Well I managed to determine that my right rhomboid muscle in my back was the affected muscle.  So I have been trying to take it easy with activities that use that muscle too much.  That’s surprisingly difficult to do because it connects the right shoulder blade to the spine.  I can hear you now … “Umm gee, Ethan …isn’t that sort-of central to everything you do including moving around?”  You would be right.  If you pick up something, you engage your rhomboid. If you twist a certain way, you engage your rhomboid.  If you lay on your side, you engage your rhomboid.  Do you sense a trend?…I do.  This one has been slow in healing…and it’s still not healed.  BUT it is getting there.  I can at-least get some sleep without pain …so that is a decided improvement. 

On top of the rhomboid injury we can add some kind of mild stomach ailment.  I endured that for about 5 days this week. It had no other symptoms, just a stomach that was slightly irritated every time I ate.  Strangely my shakes and bars did not bother it, it was only when I ate dinner in the evenings.  It appears to be clearing up however. Likely it was just a temporary bug of some kind.

weight loss story
Live music is better!

A Nice Night Out:

Contrary to popular belief, I’m not all-business-all-the-time!  Even I allow myself some fun time! I took a Saturday night and went out with my friend, Johnny Hoy.  Johnny, a singer/guitar player, was invited to sit in with a local musician (George Faber) and his normal crew.  It was a great time – George and his band were fantastic, and Johnny was great!  It takes a good deal of courage to get up there and play music for people.  It exposes yourself in many ways and makes you vulnerable.  But when everything happens as it should, it’s amazing fun and so rewarding.  Seeing, and being a part of that excitement was just the tonic I needed to cure the winter blahs! 

Live music
George Faber & Friends. They were a great group of musicians!

I also went to a gathering of friends and Isagenix team members. As always it was a fun event where I got to see the new restaurant that Linnea manages!  She is an awesome restaurant manager, and seeing friends is always a blast.  It was just before the Super Bowl so it was quiet there and very low key for us!  Again, just what the doctor ordered! 

weight loss journey
Out with Linnea and some friends!

Hitting the Big Four-Oh:

No, I didn’t turn 40 …I’m actually older than that. But my car did – in a manner of speaking!  It hit 40,000 miles on the odometer. I’ve managed to maintain pretty low miles and that should help keep my beloved Mini Paceman on the road for many years.  Go go Godfrey! (Yes, my car’s name is Godfrey. Stop laughing, it’s a GOOD name!)

The Gym Update: 

Things at the gym continue to go well. I am very pleased with the choice I made.  Anytime Fitness continues to be that right blend for me of accessibility and resources.  It’s not so overly-traveled that it causes anxiety, and it has all the equipment that I need to keep pushing myself to greater heights.  I also have to comment that the opportunity to see what other people are doing really educates me on just how many people are knowledgable and understand what it takes to move the needle for them.  Seeing what they do, attention to form, and dedication with which they do it, is quite impressive. 

Shopping Healthy:

One of the biggest hurdles to eating healthy is the availability of unhealthy foods.  If you live with other people, their diets also can complicate your day-to-day routine.  So I approach it by trying to prevent bad foods coming in the front door.  Doing that is more difficult on some days than others.  Just this week I was shopping, and I texted Linnea Harju telling her I was out shopping …she told me NOT to buy peanut butter (A huge temptation for me) ..and sure enough, I happened to be in that very aisle, and thinking about getting some because I was out.   With her help, I resisted and made my shopping trip a healthy one.  Sometimes living healthy is a team sport.

cart
A good looking shopping cart! Now get out of there before any peanut butter jumps in!

Intake:

My weeks were not bad, but still contained some hurdles.  Let’s start with the positives.  I felt like my incidence of making bad snacking choices declined.  I felt pretty good about my choices overall, albeit I was far from perfect.  My dinners were good and healthy, and I maintained even meal times throughout the day.  Achieving some kind of uniform schedule is pretty important for me …going long periods without eating usually is one of the contributing factors that lead to snacking. On the downside, I still haven’t been able to fully purge sugar from my diet.  Considering how it promotes inflammation and really how bad it is for me, it has me asking questions about why I have not just stopped.  I think I need to make that one item a priority going forward.

In week 78, I had just one day over the 1400-1500 calorie window.  That was a mild 1550.  It was week 79 that was a bit unusual.  That week contained my birthday and back-to-back intermittent fasting days. I had a day at 1878 calories, a day 1724 calories, and one at 1556 calories.  I also had two days where I had only a few hundred calories as I fasted with the aid of a nutritional support drink designed to help me through those days.  While week 79 was quite unusual and did feature some high calorie days, it wasn’t through bad choices nutritionally. So I’m ok with it.  As always, I look to the future to improve and make even better choices. 

weight loss journey
Chicken and salad

Exercise: 

Here is where things have dramatically changed for me.  The exercise options I have at the gym and quality of the workout has made a big difference in how active I feel!  My workouts now mostly surround a combination of cardio options and free weight/machine resistance exercises.

In week 78, still being cautious with my back injury, I spent 120 minutes on the treadmill, 120 minutes on the recumbent bike, 45 mins on the elliptical, 25 mins on the rowing machine, and did 1 free weight workout.  In week 79 I was able to return to more free weight workouts.  I did 120 minutes on the treadmill, 120 minutes on recumbent bike, 60 minutes on the elliptical, 30 minutes on the rowing machine and 3 free weight workouts.  That’s really good and I am really happy with that activity level! 

Going forward, I want to keep improving my abilities and drilling down on various workouts. I think there is a huge learning curve here for me and that’s fun and exciting.  I love to learn new things so this will be great!   

hard work
hard work is not elegant

My Take-Away:

These two weeks have been good ones.  I hope that’s actually a byproduct of real weight loss and not artificially stimulated by a couple fasting days.  Dealing with the upset stomach has made everything a question in terms of how hydrated or dehydrated I am and all the sundry elements that go along with that. So my hope is that I can keep things on a relatively even keel and not regain after two positive weeks in a row. 

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