Friday, November 20, 2009

Inspiring Guy at the Gym

Just wanted to blog about something unusual I witnessed last week. I go to the gym for one of my normal workouts finish up an uneventful run and then head to the pool for a swim. The pool I go to has 8 lanes and typically they are always full so I will try to find someone that is of equivalent speed and swim with them.

I notice this guy in one lane that has one of those donuts around his waste and is keeping a pace likely around 6 minutes per 100. I was actually shocked at how slow he was going. So I find a different lane and get on with my workout.

After one of my build sets I pop up and remove my goggles for a cleaning and I see that same guy now getting out the pool. He hobbles slowly about half way up the steps and then sits on the edge. Turns around and grasps a prosthetic leg and puts it on. In addition, it looks like only 1 arm has full mobility.

Two things come to mind...that explains why he is so slow but also I am encouraged by this guy drive. It's amazing that this guy is mobile at all much less getting in the pool at the gym and going for a swim with only 1 leg and 1 good arm. So next time I am sitting at home and whining about being to tired tonight, sore or whatever excuse I come up with I can remind myself of this dude that is up against far greater obstacles than I am and he is there, getting it done regardless.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Just Another Road On My Journey

Sometime last year I determined that I would start incorporating exercise as part of my overall plan. Still to ashamed of what I had become I shied away from the typical gym membership and eventually opted for running.

I used to fancy myself as someone athletic in my youth. Not sure why I remember it this way, perhaps because the truth was being suppressed to protect my already fragile ego. I played soccer at my High School but transferred prior to my Senior year and rules would not allow me to try out at my new school. No matter as I likely would not have excelled as my interest deviated from mainstream at that point anyway.

Flash forward 20 years or so and I find myself living a mostly sedentary lifestyle with exercise consisting of moving from one room to the next never straying so far that I could plop down to relax and catch my breath. I had made an attempt at running back in the early 90’s but seemed more laborious than it should have been and without a plan I was doomed to failure. However, the lure of running never went away and I could not shake the urge to try again.

Knowing that I needed a plan if I want to have any success I Googled “running”, “Jogging”, “running plans”, etc. and eventually landed on a site that took probably the most simplistic approach. Couch to 5K ( was a 9 week program that promised a simple to follow method of training that even a Neanderthal such as myself could follow.

I attempted once in the Fall of 2008 with no success having quickly developed shin splints. This ailment I would later relate to improperly fitted footwear. Decided to take the time off and research what I did wrong. Spring of 2009 comes and I am still determined to finish the program so I laid down the cash for a fitted pair of running shoes and asked for advice at the local running shop. Started out running mostly on soft paths and grass to keep the impact on joints at a minimum and worked my way up through the weeks repeating some along the way.

My 9 week program took closer to 14 but I was able to finally finish a 3 mile run while on vacation with my family at Fripp Island, SC. Could not have been a better venue for this trip to come to an end and I was excited I was able to finish despite feeling like I was going to pass out for the better part of the run. South Carolina in July is hot and I am sure this made it more challenging than it should have been but I was not going to pack it in because of little heat. My daughter rode along side me on her bike which helped some to distract me from the pain and dizzying discomfort I was in. I am not a tall guy but being vertically challenged took on an entirely different meaning for me that day.

Which brings me to the title of the blog post. The photo above is of a road on one of my regular runs. Last year at this time I was trying to run for 60 seconds without passing out. I have since run a Half Marathon with plans to run a Marathon next year. How did I get here from there? I stopped making excuses, plans for tomorrow, next week or next year. Tomorrow, next week and next year will still come whether you commit to your goals or not. Why look back in 6 months and wish you would have chosen your paths more wisely and just take the right road now. That road that looks to go on forever will eventually end and now I know which way I am going when it does.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

McDonald's, My Old Friend.

So off I go to lunch today heading to my typical stop to pick up some groceries. Long story short I found myself cutting through the McD's parking lot. While I have picked up a snack of apples or even consumed a bun-less burger before I have yet to realistically view it as a viable option for lunch.

My WOE limits me to around 1800 calories a day. That breaks down to about 300 for breakfast, 700 for lunch, 100 for afternoon snack and 700 for dinner. Keeping this in mind I find myself hypnotised by the big glossy photo of a juicy angus burger. I can almost hear it calling my name and in a moment of weakness I realize I am now hearing a voice that snaps me out of my trance.

"Can I take your order?"

Momentarily flustered from a lack of recent experience at this establishment, I peruse the menu and find the number associated with the burger that so beckoned me from the window.

"Yes, I will have the number 14 but could I get apples instead of fries?"

I feel a rush as I wait for the response as if she may decline my request and I am denied my prize. Then I see the little red screen begin adding my order with the special instructions "ask". My order has passed the test and victory will shortly be at hand.

Upon returning to work with my plunder in hand I immediatly begin to disect it. Bun...don't need that, ketchup...scrape, where is the lettuce? hmmm. Grab an Arnolds Select sandwich bun and rebuild it without all of the fluff. Break out a plate and arrange my little apples slivers in a pile along side my sandwich.

This is the part where all of the negative thoughts start questioning my choice. That it looks way to good to be eating. What is in this meat thing anyway, MSG? I wonder if that's actually bacon on top? WTF have I done?! AHHH!!!

Ignoring the voices that are screaming at me to stop what I am doing. I sit at the table with my co-workers and within seconds I get the question.

"What are you eating?"

As if still trying to justify it to myself I explain in a very matter of fact manner.

"It's an angus burger from McDonald's with one of my low-carb buns."

Success, at least I'm convinced...

So after devouring this meal and enjoying each moment I return to my desk and direct my attention to McDonald's web site. How bad is the damage, I am pondering while working to find the nutritional info. Some part of me hoping it's not available because maybe not knowing would be better.

So how bad was it?

Turns out McDonalds has a pretty good tool on their website for calculating calories. You can add or remove most anything from menu items so that you get a customized view of what you just ate. My meal?

Angus Bacon and Cheese:
Calories - 500
Total - 36g
Saturated - 17g
Trans - 2g
Protein - 36g
Carbs - 8g
Fiber - 1g
Net Carbs - 7g
Sodium - 1240

Arnolds Select Multi-Grain Sandwich Thin
Calories - 100
Total - 1g
Saturated - 0g
Trans - 0g
Protein - 4g
Carbs - 22g
Fiber - 5g
Net Carbs - 17g
Sodium - 230

McDonalds Apple Dippers
Calories - 35
Total - 0g
Saturated - 0g
Trans - 0g
Protein - 0g
Carbs - 8g
Fiber - 0g
Net Carbs - 8g
Sodium - 0

Total Meal
Calories - 635
Total - 37g
Saturated - 17g
Trans - 2g
Protein - 40g
Carbs - 38g
Fiber - 6g
Net Carbs - 32g
Sodium - 1470

Calorie Breakdown
Protein: 25%
Fat: 52%
Carbs: 24%

So what do I take away from this breakdown in judgement? Still not sure but I was happy that while it was not the best choice it was within my dietary budget. Carbs where higher than I would like as I like to keep them down below 10% of the total so next time I will likely ditch the sandwich thin from arnolds.

Either way, I was able to eat a decent, not great, meal that is not crazy high in calories from a fast food joint.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Low Fat Dieters are Happier...

Watching the news and reading online I have seen lots of talk about the recent study in Australia comparing a Low-Fat to a Low-Carb diet in an effort to determine how it would effect mood.

Details of the study can be found here:

The basic method was as follows...

LC Diet:
4% Carbs
35% Protein
61% Fat (20% Saturated)

Objective to restrict carbs to less than 20 grams per day and increase to 40 per day after 8 weeks.

LF Diet:
46% Carbs
24% Protein
30% Fat (<8% Saturated)

Ojective to restrict saturated fat intake to less than 10 g/d for the study duration and with the inclusion of an approved food exchange (equivalent to the energy content of 20 g of carbohydrate) between weeks 9 and 52.

Both diets were designed to be moderately energy restricted (approximately 1433 kcal/d for women and 1672 kcal/d for men), with the total energy intake and energy deficit planned to be isocaloric.

The study used questionares at weeks 0(baseline),8,24,40 and 52 to asses mood, including tension, anxiety, anger, etc.

Both groups lost roughly 30 pounds and there was no statistical difference regarding LC vs. LF. In each group they found that all particpants mood scores improved from week 0 to week 8. However, both groups mood scores declined from weeks 8 to 24. During weeks 24 to 40 the LC groups mood scores continued to decline while the LF groups scores showed little change. Finally both groups showed some improvement from weeks 40-52 but for the LC group it really only returned them to scores that were roughly equal to what was measured at Week 0 (baseline).

Graphic Here...

So what does all of this mean. I can tell you from my experience eating a low carb diet for almost 2 years I find it often challenging to eat this way. If you talk to people that have been eating LC for some time you will get a feeling it's them against the world. I think this comes from LC lifestyle being such a deviation from mainstream. For me I would often put up my shield as soon as someone asked about my food choices.

I could absolutely see how this could cause anxiety as I can attest how difficult it can be to go to family functions, dinner or other events and say no to almost everything. Packing your food everywhere you go can be a drag. I find that I am constantly asking questions about the recipes people bring to gatherings which is not only uncomfortable for me but likely also for the friend.

Secondary to this is many LC eaters feel like they have a need to set the world straight regarding food choices. As if LC is the only logical choice and all other methods are foolish. Many will try to educate those non believers and rant about how crazy they are for trimming the fat from their steak or chicken.

Bottom line...I have said it before and I will say it again. LC works for me and I am comfortable with it as a lifestyle. However, I would not recommend to everyone as it's can be stressful and difficult to manage.

Good Luck.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Status Update 11/09/2009

Induction Beginning Date: 3/6/2008
Starting Weight: 285
Current Weight: 175
Goal Weight: 175

Still at my goal weight as of this morning. Had a good workout with my Son tonight but my arms and shoulders are feeling weak now and I am pretty sure I will be feeling the effects of this workout for a few days. We also played a little 1 on 1 full court basketball which is always fun and great workout.

Not much else to talk about today as it's been a pretty uneventful week. Still searching for another race coming up. Had planned on doing the Y's 10K Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving day but remembered we are going to Churchill Downs that day so I guess that ones out. So if anyone has a suggestion for a good 10K'ish race between now and Christmas I am all ears.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Buffalo Wild Wings Nutritional Data

Ask and you shall receive...

One of my favorite places to eat's nutritional data. You have to email them to get a copy so I thought I would post it here for myself or whomever else want's to review it.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Calories Do Count!!!

I have been involved in several discussions of late regarding calories and do they matter or not. I know that many people that are on a Low-Carb diet have somehow come to the conclusion that they do not. In Dr. Atkins book he suggest in the beginning that your primary concern should be carbs and to eat when hungry and stop when full.

My best guess is that people either read this excerpt and determined from it that calories don't matter or they heard it somewhere and took it as fact. For those of you have read DANDR (Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution) he was very specific that calories matter.

You body needs a certain amount of calories per day based on your personal rate of metabolism. This is known as your Base Metabolic Rate (BMR) and can vary greatly in 2 people with the exact physical makeup based on activity levels, genetics, etc. This part I think we all understand, however.

Physics First Law of Thermodynamics:
"Energy can neither be created or destroyed, it can only change forms."

If I am a person that needs 2000 calories to get through a typical day. Then any surplus I consume will be stored (change form) for future use. However, if you have a deficit by say taking in 1600 calories. Your body will need 400 calories from somewhere. It will then use your fat stores to convert this stored energy (change form).

Atkins works not because you are in Ketosis and you can consume whatever you want and still lose weight. It works because the lack of carbohydrates in your diet helps control instability in your blood glucose which will ultimately lead to hunger and more instability. The cycle will repeat itself and you will eventually take in way to many calories and always be working with a surplus of calories. Since they cannot be destroyed they will be converted to a different form. FAT.

Because you have already converted your body to utilizing it's own built-in anti-starvation mechanism having a deficit of calories in a given day will mean your body will not pause and figure out how to make up the deficit. Ketones are in place and your body goes to work making ketones to burn for energy.

It's really as simple as that. Calories in calories out is not an exact science since we are all somewhat unique physiologically. However, the differences for a typical person are not so great that the laws of thermodynamics don't apply.

Good luck.