Tag Archives: Weight loss

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Yes, it is true.

I finally got back on the About Men Radio Fitness Challenge and made real progress.

My amigos from AMR chidded me on the podcast that I — very Kramerlike — declared myself out of the competition before it even ramped up.

Yep, I was OUT!

Earlier this year I noticed a measure that I was not happy to see.

It wasn’t the scale telling me that at 250 pounds that I was at least 50 pounds overweight. It was that tongue twister combination of systolic and diastolic numbers, commonly referred to as BP, my blood pressure.

It read 150/96!

A quick search of medical sites told me what I already suspected: I was squarely in the Stage 1 hypertension neighborhood. And if things continued like this I could buy some property in that neighborhood, and eventually and probably soon, a plot!

How could this be?

I was a soccer player, fit to run. Ten years ago, I was completing sprint and Olympic triathlons as well as 5Ks and half marathons.

Where did it go so far south for me? Ten years of neglect, that’s how.

Fitness levels drop exponentially after 40. Gone are the days of, “Ah, what the hell” attitude.

Every instance of feeding and activity has to be carefully monitored and planned. Gone are carefree days of eating and thinking that a little jog will balance things out.

So after a hard look at those numbers and disgusted that I was about to go up another pant size, I decided to do something about it.

This was not my first rodeo, I had molded myself back into shape those 10 years ago when I first fell out soccer fitness. I felt I knew the approach to take.

The very first thing was to completely cut out the “3 S’s”: Sodas, Sweets and Seconds.

I then  started packing up mini-containers with food, to eat small healthy portions five or six times a day.  Boy does this take up a lot of time! But I was determined to make it work.

I ordered a Herman Munster-sized lunchbox to carry all my parceled food and mid-meal snacks.

I only added extended walks and light running to my exercise. I was too heavy to bang out actual runs on these shins.

Shin splints were an issue for me back when I was lighter and swifter of foot, so I didn’t want to start my new routine struggling to work through screaming pain.

After the first month, I was rewarded with weight reduction but my BP numbers were still high and I was quickly getting tired of the packing and planning of all those meals.

I continued to review and research and I came across something I had never thought I would be willing to try for weight reduction.

A Canadian doctor of nephrology was getting a lot of attention suggesting to f___ for weight loss and a whole bunch of healthy benefits, including improving blood circulation.

I read on. So I can employ that four letter F word to lose weight, improve my BP and transform my lifestyle?

So can I really f___ my way to a new me?

Yes, I can.

First of all, it is not THAT F word. This is Fasting.

Whoa! Hold  on there. That F word means NOT eating. And for an extended amount of time!

Not cool.

That goes against everything I learned in my first go-round for health.

How can this be?

Won’t fasting cause muscle loss?

Won’t fasting weaken me?

Won’t fasting turn me into a grumpy son of a bitch?

No, no and no!

After looking into this from other sources and reading Dr. Fung’s book I decided to give it a try.

I ditched the monstrous lunch box and started what is called a 16/8 Intermittent Fast.

So easy when you look into it. This fast schedule, the easiest of the fasts, allows an 8-hour feeding window with 16 hours of no food but plenty of water!

Black coffee and unsweetened green tea were also allowed. Since I was already a black coffee drinker and I also drank my teas unsweetened, I was good to go for this experimental regimen.

I can happily summarize that it worked!

Most of the fasting period is spent sleeping, and I had missed a breakfast before because of rushing or whatever, so I knew the hunger was not going to be that hard to overcome.

The most I missed the first few days was that mid-morning snack but I did not miss the packing and preparing at all.

The hunger pangs were easily calmed with another cup of joe, or a freshly brewed tea.

I pushed my lunch out to about 1 p.m. and then I ate dinner at home around 6:30, still giving me an extra couple of hours if I needed a nibble.

I found that I didn’t. So I checked out the next level: The Warriors Fast!

Wow, that name alone had me sold.

I also found out that when those wimpy (and not so wimpy) Hollywood types need to get cut for a role in which they would be prominently shown on screen or movie poster (think Gerard Butler and his 299 homeys in 300), this is the regimen their personal trainers force on them!

This fasting schedule is a 20/4. In following the previous naming structure that meant that this will be a 20-hour fast with a smaller four-hour feeding window.

Now I am skipping both breakfast and lunch, eating dinner at home and avoiding any very late snacks.

The beauty of this regimen is that if I start my feeding window at 7 p.m. I could have a late snack at 10:30ish and still be well within my window.

I did this and still was not grumpy.

I did not miss eating and continued to shed pounds. I started this journey at the end of January and in August I had proudly hit my target of shedding 50 pounds.

I looked down on the scale and 199.8 stared right back at me! I did it!

But this is not an invitation to change anything. I have become very accustomed to the meal skipping.

It simplified my life and gives me extra time with my family rather than spending it preparing so many little meals. It also allows me to eat heartily (and not overdo it) at dinner.

I have also learned to try so many different fun meals at dinner without guilt.

I am not shedding weight and cutting up at the rate that Wolverine has with this diet, but our objectives are very different. My goal was to get into a lifestyle change that I could support and still keep a steady improvement of my weight and health.

To that extent, I am maintaining myself in a 195- to 200-pound window.

I have increased my running and together with my wife we happily run and do some high-intensity interval training together (more on that in a future post).

Oh and those blood pressure numbers…118/74!

Now to do some more f___ing!!

Finding Fitness Is Like Getting Back on a Bicycle

I was a skinny kid.

My mom took me to the doctor, who prescribed this yucky elixir to gain weight.

I also had to add a powder to my chocolate milk to bulk up.

They didn’t seem to work.

I recall walking home from school and getting pushed into cars by strong winds.

Lightweight John on the right, circa 1978.

It wasn’t until high school that I took fellow About Men Radio posse member Chris’s advice to eat a pint of Carvel ice cream each week. [Editor’s Note: Chris has no recollection of having done this and middle-age and lactose-intolerant Chris would strongly advise against this approach.]

I was the kid who could eat a whole pizza in one sitting. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have done it in mixed company.

I’d also finish off a whole plate of spaghetti and lose a pound or two.

I’m guessing that it wasn’t until college when I discovered the endocrine system and how my metabolism used up the fuel in my body, thus keeping me skinny.

I also rode my bicycle to and from school every day, so that was about a 10-mile workout daily.

I used to enjoy leaving the college after early classes and taking a ride throughout Yonkers and Peekskill.

One day I rode up to the Kensico Dam. That was the farthest that I biked after classes. I know that it doesn’t seem far, but you must  pedal back home as well.

So, what happened?

Well, in my senior year, my dad let me use the car.

My bike started to become a clothes rack.

Driving became the rage.

After college, I walked to work.

 While I kept on my feet at work and participated in recreational activities, I also started to put on a few pounds.

The pounds came on gradually and the next job was 50 percent field work and 50 percent office work and so the pounds accumulated.

Pedro rubs John’s belly for good luck in February 2016.

I would take the bike out once or twice a month, mostly to pedal to the health club to work out for a few hours, then pedal back home.

I guess the bike then became part of my workout routine and less of a fun activity.

 Occasionally, I’d pedal to Orchard Beach and take a quick swim.

The next job was 99 percent in the office and on one evening I was working late, and the bus stopped running after 10 p.m.

While waiting for an alternate bus, I decided to walk home. I decided that I’d walk home once a week, preferably in the daytime.

Last month, I set up my bike to my stationary bike stand and have it facing the TV in my living room.

I have a nice cushioned seat and am gradually losing the pounds.

I put them on gradually and the best way to keep them off is gradually.

Related:

Putting Fitness Back on Our Menu

Can My Doctor Just STFU About My BMI Please?

Battle of the Bulge: The Struggle to Eat Right and Exercise

Can My Doctor Just STFU About My BMI Please?

 

I recently had my annual physical and I was like pffffft….I’ve got this thing in the bag.

Heart? Sounded A-OK.

Lungs? All clear.

Yes, I wear my safety belt. I drink alcohol in moderation. And no, I don’t smoke.

I was sailing toward a bill of health cleaner than my mother’s kitchen when…

The doctor looked over my paperwork and saw my weight. Hmmmm, she said, for your height and weight, your BMI is high and you are very close to being obese.

For those of you who are not familiar with BMI, or body mass index, it is a conspiracy cooked up by health professionals to figure out new ways to guilt you into losing weight.

It takes into account your height and weight and then comes up with a score to determine if you are like porridge in a Goldilocks fairy tale: Underweight, overweight or just right.

But even at the news about my BMI, I was not fazed.

Then I raised the question that I should have left unasked.

So, doctor, how much weight do I need to lose? (I figured five pounds would be a reasonable answer.)

“Fifteen pounds” came her reply.

The room started to spin.

My righteous indignation started to rise.

Protests began to form on my lips.

Fifteen pounds! Now look here, I work out religiously four to five days a week, at least 30 minutes of hardcore exercise each time.

She acknowledged that was good but said the issue was probably my food intake.

Oh. That.

You mean my beloved cookies the size of Frisbees that I get at the Jefferson Diner in New Jersey?

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You mean the processed snack bars that are promoted as healthy but are still loaded with a bit too much sugar and carbs? Or my less-than-optimal daily intake of vegetables?

In the Supreme Court of Calories, I want to strike a plea bargain.

BMI is an imperfect measure of body fat that was originally intended to assess the obesity rates of a population of people. Applied to individuals, one size does not fit all.

Further, it does not differentiate between fat and muscle, so if you work out with weights (which I do) you could be penalized.

An article in Men’s Health magazine makes the point that you know if you are overweight.

How do your clothes fit? Do you have trouble making it up a flight of stairs? What do you see when you look in the mirror?

Now, it is true that what you eat matters more in some ways than how much you exercise. That is an area where I do have room to improve.

So I’m resolving to try to cut back on my sweets and maybe watch my portion control a little more closely. And maybe extend my workouts a bit each day.

I figure what I have got to lose — except 15 pounds.

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Weighing in on the AMR Fitness Challenge

Note: About Men Radio member Richard Rodriguez wrote this a month ago as we prepared our AMR Fitness Challenge. We’re encouraging all men to do what they can to get themselves in better shape. Here is Rich’s first installment:

It is July 1st and I have determined this to be the start of my entry into the AMR Fitness Challenge:  Six months, lose 30 pounds and start regular exercise.

I am using the Lose It app to track my calories and exercise.

I ended my old job, which I had used as an excuse and crutch for my lack of exercise and healthy habits for the past two years.

When I had lost my job at the end of 2011, I used that time at home to be healthier and actually walked regularly and monitored my calories with the Lose It app.

I lost weight, felt better and even ran my first and only 5K.

Then I thankfully went back to work but my healthy ways went out the window.

I was driving four hours a day, gone all day, under stress at the job, and by the time I got home I was exhausted and defeated.

I didn’t want to do anything.

I probably gained 20-30 pounds and erased all the progress I made before.

I began a new job on July 5th with a shorter commute, and will have more time for my family and for taking care of myself and becoming more healthy.

I took a painful picture this morning and weighed in. I hope to begin a transformation and have a great improvement by the end of 2016.

Rich AMR

With the help and encouragement of the AMR crew, I hope all of us can reach our goals.

 

No More Excuses, It’s Time to Get Healthy

Longtime listeners of the podcast know that getting the entire AMR Posse to reach a consensus on anything is quite the achievement so this episode may come as a shock.

Father John, Coach Silvio, SuperDad, Mele Mel along with yours truly, El Kaiser, have unanimously agreed that getting healthy should be our top priority for the rest of the year.

The ravages of middle-age and busy lives have taken their toll but to paraphrase the manliest-man of all, our lord and savior Popeye:

We can’t stands no more!

The challenge to get into shape by 2017 has officially been thrown down and we will document our progress—or lack thereof—with regular posts on the blog at aboutmenradio.com.

Take a listen to what is motivating us and please send us your tips on how best to reach our goals or, better yet, join us in our quest for health.

It won’t be easy but you know the journey will be snarky good fun.

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