Sunday, August 21, 2011

Returning to Health

It's been 9 weeks since we started the "Biggest Loser" contest at work and I weighed in at 263.4 lbs. This weekend I weighed less than 225 lbs. That's 38 lbs lost in 9 weeks. A lot of people are asking me what I'm doing so I thought I would share it here along with some interesting health information.

While the weight loss is a big part of this, I was very encouraged to find other aspects of my health have improved as well. The last blood test I had done before starting 9 weeks ago had the following results:

(normal ranges)
Cholesterol 267 (140-199)
HDL Cholesterol 52 (35-80)
LDL Cholesterol 165 (0-129)
Triglycerides 248 (0-150)

As you can see I was in pretty bad shape. Not only was I very overweight, I was at risk for a number of other serious problems. On July 22 (only one month into my new routine) I had more blood work done and these were the results:

Cholesterol 164
HDL Cholesterol 60
LDL Cholesterol 93
Triglycerides 53

I was thrilled to see such an improvement and it was all done by changing my diet, exercise, and sleep. Those three items are critical (IMHO) to weight loss and good health. I thought I would share what a typical week is like for me now so you know what I am doing to make such a turn around in my life.

Diet (what I eat)
I'm putting this under diet although I wouldn't say I'm on a diet. If anything, I feel like I eat more food and eat it more often than before. I follow "The Man Diet" but I thought I would get more specific about what a typical day's food is for me.

Breakfast is typically two packages of Quaker Instant Oatmeal (I like raisins and spice). I eat that after I exercise and many times not until I'm already at work at my desk (around 8:30am). I typically bring into work a lot of snacks to eat throughout the day. On a typical day I bring in a banana, grapes (Costco grapes are awesome) about as many as you could hold in two hands, blueberries - about as many as you can hold piled high in one hand, a small handful of almonds, two apples (medium sized), and sometimes I'll have some melon too. I normally have my fist snack at 9:30am and another at 11:00am. It varies depending on how busy I get.

Lunch is typically a salad or a sandwich. Wendy's makes a pretty good Cobb type salad but I only use half of one of their salad dressings on it. I also like the Turkey-Bacon-Avacado (6 inch) at Subway with no cheese and no mayo, but lots of mustard and all of the veggies. My other favorite is the Voodoo Chicken Salad at Rumbi Grill (and I use ALL of the dressing on that one). In the afternoon I polish off the rest of my snacks at my normal 1 1/2 to 2 hour interval.

Dinner is whatever the family is having but my wife is awesome at preparing healthy meals that won't interfere with the man diet. I typically try to eat dinner before 7pm, after that it's only water. I find it's easier to get up and work out if I don't eat much after 7pm.

On top of that I am drinking nearly 100oz of water every day (or more). I have a 20oz Rubbermaid water bottles that can be washed in the dish washer. I drink two in the morning, two in the afternoon, and one or two at night after work. Yes, I go to the bathroom A LOT!

Having lost a lot of weight before I was already aware of what it took. For me there is no substitute to long sustained workouts. When I say long I mean at least 1 hour. This is a typical week for me (and I had to work up to this but it didn't take long). I work out 6 days a week if I can. I try to rotate through different types of workouts so my body doesn't get accustomed to what I'm doing. A typical week would be 22 mile bike rides Mon, Wed, Fri and a 5 mile jog Tues and Thursday. Saturday I reserve for longer adventures like losing myself on single track Mt. Bike trails for 4 hours. It's not typical but I've been on rides for 4 1/2 hours and burned around 3500 calories. Most of my work outs take place early in the morning. I get up at 5:45am to make sure I'm done in time to get to work. I find morning work outs are more difficult to get used to, but they are also most effective. My morning work out generally molds my day and keeps me eating what is good for me. After riding for 22 miles nothing sounds good but some fruit and oatmeal. Any greasy fast food would probably make me sick. I've tried to also introduce swimming but I HATE swimming. It's incredibly effective but just as boring. Still, I try to go swimming at night on occasion in hopes I'll somehow find a way to like it. When I say I go swimming that's one hour of swimming laps doing freestyle and breast stroke.

Finally I must talk about sleep. I cannot stress how important sleep is. I'm typically in bed by 10:30pm and some nights earlier. My body doesn't function well on a routine like this with less than 7 hours and most nights I need 8. If you stay up late you are doing to eat junk to stay awake (I know because I've done it a lot).

I will just add a few other thoughts. The first two weeks of this was not easy. The first few mornings I got up I wondered how long I would last. It got a lot easier after a few days and I was used to it after week. Now I crave the morning workout and always look forward to them.

I hope that was informative and not too boring.

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