Thursday, April 10, 2014

The dreaded DIET

First off, no, I have not weighed myself.  To be quite honest, I have not been on a scale, besides at a doctor's office, in possibly more than a year.  I just didn't care to know how much I weighed.  I remembered that about a year ago,  I did weigh around 160 pounds.  I'm a lightweight, I am 6 foot tall exactly and I eat a lot of food without really gaining weight.  My family is an incredible metabolism which is important because through that, I am able to take in as much as 5,000 calories in 24 hours and not feel sick, bloated, or even full, much less gain an ounce of weight.  While all of this is said and good, within the past year, my 1 inch of noticeable gut/belly fat, has increase in size. 

Now, I do all of the cooking at home and while my wife was on weight watchers and lost a huge amount of weight enabling her to look hotter than Salma Hayek and Marilyn Monroe combined, I possible only ate more junk food than I normally did, adding useless weight onto my body.  It was mid-Summer of 2013, which I had asked my brother-in-law's body building trainer to start on me.  It was no secret that I was a 160 pound weakling.  I know that I probably weighed about 130 pounds when I first met my wife and she tells me stories that her family first thought I was sick and anemic.  I know her mom used to wonder if I could even help her with carrying groceries because I looked so weak. 

I never did any weight training or body building as I viewed it in a negative light thanks to my younger brothers.  When I turned 16, on a whim, and partially because I was a huge Mortal Kombat fan, I signed up to take Kempo Karate.  It wasn't required for me to live so it wasn't paid for by my parents and instead I had to pay for each and every lesson and everything that went with it.  So, as a teenager, still sharing a room with my younger brother, he began to feel threatened.  I mean, he was a younger brother who was always more aggressive than myself and my other two brothers.  I'm sure he saw his older brother as even more of a threat now that I was learning how to defend myself.  So, my younger brother started to weight lift at age 14.  He worked as hard as he could and as long as I did karate, he worked out.  When I got to college and was finishing up, he had gotten a job in a gym and was taking karate lessons from someone who claimed to have the ability.  (Much like taking karate lessons from someone who had watched a Chuck Norris movie.)  I had learned in karate classes that the damage that could be done to people was done through speed and concentration, rather than brute force.  Also, with my younger brother routinely trying to beat me up and me able to defend myself using my new found skills, probably irritated him even further and pushed him to work out more.  He talked my youngest brother to work out with him and within that time frame, he and my youngest brother had done some sort of exercise incorrectly enough where they both had hurt their backs.  It was bad enough that they were both told that they couldn't work out anymore.

Mind you, that my younger brother was the very epitome of body builder stereotypes.  During the summer, I remembered him waking up around 7am, leaving for the gym and then coming back around 4pm, eating 3 cans of tuna, drinking a large cup of milk mixed with whey protein and then changing his clothes to go to a nightclub and drink and come back home around 2 or 3.  Even when I was married and came back to visit my parents, he would still be there, downing can after can of tuna against my warnings of how it might not be real tuna and packed with great things like aluminum lake or mercury.  But it didn't phase him.

Now, enough about him. 

So, about last year in summer, I started working out, during my extra free time at my office.  I was instructed by a former Mr. Missouri.  I started off having to struggle to lift the 45 pound bar as a bench press and I remembered how tired I was after that.  Since then, even as recent as this past Tuesday when I worked out last, I was able to do many lifts of 40 additional pounds onto that 45 pound bar.  May not seem like much, but for me, it is great.  Not only that, but for the first time ever, I have been able to lift and carry my wife for long distances: like around the house. So, while the body building has helped me get stronger, I have not burned as many fat calories as I would liked to have done so.  I still weigh 160 pounds, today, but some of that is muscle and some of that is fat and I really need to get rid of that fat.  I don't believe that I am at a risk of a heart attack or any diseases for that matter.  I am so far from obese that it isn't an issue.  But, I love food and I always go for the unhealthy stuff.

Bacon and donuts are my two favorite things.  I love bacon and always loved bacon from the time that my dad would cook it in a pan, every Saturday morning for our breakfast.  It has a comfort level for home, warmth and taste.  I have made bacon, bacon brownies and even bacon ice cream.  I have used bacon in every dish just to try.  I even had my own jar of bacon lard, kept in the refrigerator.  Donuts are perfect and again, stem from a comfort level as when we were kids and my dad would take us over to a spot near our house called the Donut Drive-In.  At the time, it had a big wooden sign with red letters and lights on the side of it which lit up like a marquee.  They had a window in the back of the tiny building, where it had once been a drive through and had moved to just a view of the old gentleman making donuts from scratch.  We would get donuts from there and then go out back and watch him make more.  The world was different then and so was my body. 

Thanks to this internal drive and want for sweet things, I see myself gain weight in areas that I didn't know existed until now.  While doing the body building has added muscle to areas of my shoulders, back and arms, which never existed until now, a 45 minute session does not burn enough calories to clear away the fat.  Maybe 300 calories gets burned, because it brings me to sweating about every time.  Also for the first time this week, I have been counting calories.  I used to do it as a joke: eating a whole box of Little Debbie brownies at 340 calories a brownie and eating 12 would let me have 4,080 calories, as a snack, not a meal.  after that snack, I would still eat other meals like breakfast, lunch and even dinner.  I wouldn't gain that extra pound or anything else and it would just slowly seep onto my body over the course of many, many days or a week.  But what gets me now, is that the decisions in the past, like that, can be compared.  Tuesday I had about 3,000 calories by end of day.  That included donuts for breakfast, potato chips as a snack, a burger on a pretzel bun with mustard and mayo, a glass of protein shake and a dinner later that day.  Snacks included anything from granola bars to some chocolate chips I snuck in because I love chocolate.  Yesterday was the first day of my diet and while still doing the same things as I normally do, I was able to stay below 2,000 calories and still be full.  It was also one of the first times I have had a salad as a primary food source and also a bowl of fruit as a dessert. 

Well, then today I weighed in at about 162 pounds.  While I am still working out, at least 2-3 times a week, I find myself interested in losing about 5 pounds, maybe.  I mean, I am working out enough to help strengthen my arms and core, but find myself unable to see past my belly fat when I look in the mirror.  Do I want to look like a male model? No.  But I would like to see this gut go away.

So, what does that mean for me?  Well, as one with a degree in holistic nutrition, that means I really need to stay away from sugar and fat.  Yeah I know, healthy fats are okay, but those sugars and other fats need to be kept low.  I want to try to exercise a little bit each day and figure that even if I only walk 30 minutes a day, for the whole week, that burns an additional 1,260 calories from what I am normally doing.  And I don't live an inactive life.  I am always walking around the house cleaning up, doing laundry, doing dishes, taking the dog out and walking around the office and so forth. I haven't counted my steps but it would be interesting to see how many steps I do take in any regular given day.

Still now, the hardest part is not going over to get sweets.

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