Thursday, August 24, 2006

One Man's Snack Food is Another Man's Animal Spirit Guide

If one's health is based on what they eat (nutrition) and what they do (exercise), then my overall health since moving to Virginia in 1999 can be broken down into four ages:
  • The Sedentary New Yorker :: Nutrition (-)(-) Exercise (-)(-)
  • The Lazy Dieter :: Nutrition (+)(-) Exercise (-)(+)
  • Son of Sells-Floto :: Nutrition (-)(+) Exercise (+)(-)
  • Man on a Mission:: Nutrition (+)(+) Exercise (+)(+)

The first age (1999-2002) is remembered fondly with all-night hackathons (probably to get the table width for my website perfect), frequent trips to Krispy Kreme, 4 pints of Ben & Jerry's a week, and a signature 24 oz bottle of Mountain Dew in arms reach at all times. History shows this is when I reached my highest weight ever in January of 2002 (I was probably smoking a Marlboro Light while on the scale). [277 lbs]

The second age (2002-2003) began with what Cory and Trevin later named "Weirdo Diet". Weirdo Diet was my adaptation of a low-carb diet using everyday processed foods (like Wendy's Salad) that still had hidden carbs. Mountain Dew was yanked from my sweaty, fat fingers and replaced with water. Sedentary life was minimized with long walks (2-3 hours) 2-3 times a week (almost always preceded by smoking the finest skunk weed Northern Virginia had to offer at the time). From a strictly weight standpoint, I reached a short-lived low for adult life during this period. [220 lbs]

The third age (2003-2005) closely mirrors my time working for FELD. Long hours and fast food forced me to hire a personal trainer. I started running again after probably 8 years off, and over two years we worked up from 1 minute run/3 minute walk to solid 45 minutes at 9-11 minute pace. She was also a certified nutritionist, so I journaled several times to try and discover why my weight my was stuck. [240 lbs]

The fourth age (2005-present) began last October with my job change. I left my first trainer for one (err...two) at Mason (much closer to work and home). I started swimming 2 nights a week and lifting 5 mornings a week. In January I increased my swimming to 3-4 nights a week, with one workout much longer than the others. I saw increases in my strength and endurance, and my clothes all started to seem bigger, but my weight was still frozen at 240. I was careful not to increase the amount of food I was eating in response to my exercise which lead to a breakdown in April. I finally had to stop swimming in June and go down to 2 days a week lifting.

On Meredith's recommendation, I met with a nutritionist two weeks ago. Over two visits we tested bodyfat and base metabolic rate to put together a food plan. Between the visits, I journaled so she could get a sense of what I'm currently eating. Based on the tests, even on my worst day I was only a couple hundred calories over where I should be to drop this weight (hence, weight not going away). I learned a few very interesting things in my conversations with her:
  • An ounce of meet has 8 grams of protein, but different meets have different calorie counts. 1 oz beef = 100 cals, 1 oz chicken/pork about 50 cals, 1 oz fish = 25 cals. That 14 oz Ayers Rock Strip at Outback: 1400 calories for just the meat.
  • I'm supposed to be eating 96g protein a day, but am only getting about 72g on my best day, which explains my breakdown last April
  • Of all my meals, lunch should have the most calories (650) and protein (54g). Dinner maxes out at 450 cals and 50g protein
  • Alcohol has way too many calories

Her guidelines aren't restrictive at all, they just tell me that I need to make some different choices if I'm going to continue this level of activity. We've put together a plan from now until January to ramp my activity back up where I want it, get my weight down under 200 lbs, and bring my bodyfat under 10%.

I plan to do this with the help of my Animal Spirit Guide, Mr. Peanut. The Planters 100 cal peanut butter cookie crisps are the tasty, and if you go ape shit and eat two it's all good.

I love the picture of me in front of Krispy Kreme. I call it, "Fatty Arbuckle, Consumerist Hero".


Anonymous said...

I'm super excited for you. And I'm super excited to learn that those peanut butter crisps are tasty. I also like the Krispy Kreme picture but can't stop laughing at the photo of you with a cigarette in your mouth. Didn't we take that photo at Gus' (when it was still Gus's) on your birthday? And din't you make out with my brother's fiance that night? LOL

Love you, J

the Alpha John said...

(1) Mr. Peanut makes those crisps with his own tender hands (and monocle)
(2) That was our "Behind the Music" photo -- I was kind enough to crop you out
(3) Debra made out with me...six front of your brother, yes