Weeks 80, 81 and 82
Well these three weeks were not banner weeks. I struggled with a lot of stress, and still getting over injuries, and even though my diet wasn’t horrid, I still managed to gain some weight. In week 80 I regained 4 pounds, in week 81 I lost 2/10th of a pound …so basically stayed even. In week 82 I gained 2 pounds. I did do a measurement and discovered I have gained muscle in the thigh and lost a half-inch in the arms. So there’s some redistribution and muscle building going on.
While it’s unknown what, specifically, that weight gain represents, one thing I can tell you is that I FEEL good! Yep …you heard that right. I am feeling good. I’m not sure if that’s the ideal measurement in health progress, but it’s a pretty good one, and perhaps the one that matters most. I have been trying to not focus on the numbers on the scale, but we all know that at some point those numbers do matter. But, I am feeling stronger and more mobile, agile and capable. It’s a really good feeling …so despite the weight gain over this period, it doesn’t feel like a bad thing. We will see how things progress going forward.
But to acknowledge the numbers this puts me at about 215lbs lost total. While I don’t want to dwell on numbers, I think it’s important to recognize that I have been struggling over the same 15 pounds for months on end now. Consistent, positive, weight loss has been stalled for several months for reasons unknown. And without stooping to graphs and pie charts… (mmm, pie! Doh!) I think analysis would likely point to a variety of factors. More on that later.
The rhomboid has mostly healed. It takes a bit for me to feel it, so in terms of day to day impact, it’s now minimal if not negligible. I did manage to slip on the treadmill and ended up with a good dose of belt rash on my left leg. While it’s just a surface injury (cue the Black Knight from Monty Python: “It’s just a flesh wound!”) it does sting a bit. So I will have to go through a few days of discomfort while that heals. Really, though, the whole thing makes me laugh. I usually joke about being a klutz because I am always hurting myself one way or another …and then when I least expect it, I prove that real life is stranger than fiction …or self-deprecating comedy, in this case.
Dad On The Run!
Dad has decided to vacation in Florida this year and is spending time with great friend Pam Hargrove at her annual Florida retreat. It’s been a lot of years since he has given himself permission to take a vacation so I am thrilled that he is doing that now! Good job, Dad! I hope he loves every minute of it, and vacationing somewhere becomes a regular thing for him. He deserves it!
More Guitar Geekdom:
Over the last two weeks I have found myself fiddling more and more with pedals, amps and guitars. I have determined where there are some gaps in my sound and am trying to come up with a solution to that. That solution will be to introduce a clean boost, distortion and a reverb pedal to the mix….possibly a chorus. I’m still messing with ideas.
But one of the things I tried had a profound impact. At the end of my meager pedalboard, there is a TC Electronics delay pedal that has stereo outputs. I have never bothered to try to use them. I always just ran one line out to a single amp. But I decided to try running a second line out to a second amp. For the curious, I was running one line to a Marshall Class 5, and the other line to a Vox Valvetronix set to a Vox AC30 sample. It was brilliant! I was stunned by how well the two amps played together and how rich and full my sound became.
For a guitar player, it is a revelation. I don’t see myself ever going away from running two amps …especially two complementary amps. I am thinking a Fender blues junior with the Marshall class 5 might be an ideal combo. Or possibly a small Hiwatt combo. Anyhow…I could muse on this subject for hours and only bore the lot of you. The bottom line is even this little event puts a smile on my face and makes me feel like I have accomplished something this week. Is it earth shattering? Only to me. But then…we all have to find ways to make ourselves smile and even more importantly it’s rekindling a creative outlet, which are necessary for me.
This has been my strong suit for the last little while. Joining the gym has given me great access and inspired me to do new and different things. I feel like I am more active overall, more active at a single time and the activity levels are higher for each instance. Each day I go to the gym, my activity routine contains several parts. I usually warm up with 30 mins on the treadmill walking at a clip of about 3.5mph. Then I will move into weightlifting of some kind, either free weights or machines, and pick 9 exercises, doing 45 reps each in increments of 15, broken into sets of 3 exercises. Then I will usually finish with some kind of cardio …often that is rowing or recumbent biking or even both.
In week 80 I spent 90 mins on the treadmill, 25 mins rowing, did 4 weightlifting sessions, spent 75 mins on the elliptical machine and 30 mins on the bike. Week 81 was identical except one less weightlifting session and 5 mins more on the rower and 60 more minutes on the elliptical. Week 82 was great at 120 mins on the treadmill, 3 miles of mall walking, 30 mins on the rower, 4 weightlifting sessions, 90 mins on the elliptical machine and 45 mins on the bike machine.
Overall, activity seems to be very good, and I am feeling good about it. This is not the area in which I need to seek improvement. However, I will try to push myself by working on improving my form in weightlifting and trying to increase the weights I use. There is always room for improvement. But to break out of my slump, I don’t think this is the problem area of my game.
Generally, I have felt this has been ok …but not perfect. There is room for improvement here, and as the old dieter’s maxim goes: “weight is lost in the kitchen, muscle is built in the gym.” So over this stretch, I am seeing a tendency to use too much sugar, a bit of peanut butter consumption, and likely portion size control for dinner could be improved.
Of these three weeks, I had 9 days that were over 1500 calories. Of those, one was in the 1700’s, 4 were in the 1600’s and 4 were between 1500 and 1600. Realistically, those totals aren’t bad. However if I break down the contents of those calories, I am still finding too many calorically dense choices. Not all calories are created equal, and the dense calories aren’t returning a sensation of fullness for the amount of calories consumed, which may indeed contribute to more consumption. Also there is clearly a need for me to wean myself back off sugar. Focusing on whole food is where I need to push myself.
I’ll also hypothesize that calorically dense foods can sometimes be deceiving in terms of how many calories you are consuming. It’s easier, for me, to understand what I am truly consuming with fruits, vegetables and other whole, simple foods. Certainly, one CAN make sure to measure everything and ensure it they know the calories …and we all do that, at times. But pushing myself to eat better is also a simpler calculation to make sure I am not over consuming.
My Take Away:
For me, this has been a disappointing stretch. Moreover the frustration is considerable given that I don’t have a bunch of glaring errors in my diet that make me say “Oh! Well, THERE is your problem!” I think the truth of the matter is, as I have opined before, that my body is just not very forgiving. Especially as I inch closer to an average weight for someone in my age/height range, it’s going to be more difficult. But rather than focusing on what the exact problem is, I think it’s more productive to focus on making smart choices. I know what the smart choices are …and I think a lot of us do. It’s just that they aren’t easy choices. For me, wanting to push myself to greater levels of health and fitness is simply going to take dedication to exceptionally healthy eating habits. That is a tool I have in my toolbox, and it’s about time I employ it wholeheartedly. That’s my take-away …be smarter, make better choices, and make no excuses.