New Goal (Posting it here so I’ll do it)

I still haven’t found a way to maintain a blog along with 2 jobs and all my family responsibilities (BTW, my body fat percentage as of 12/08/14 was 24%, down from close to 33% in May.), but I have still tried to complete some various goals related to self-improvement.  Some are easy to maintain, others are hard.  I’ve been doing one for a week and a half now and it has been very hard to not fall behind, so now I’m posting it publicly so I’ll be more inclined to do it.

I have found that in the last 6 years or so it is much harder to pay close attention to General Conference the weekend it actually airs.  Part of that had to do with the fact that UNT held a campus wide open house the first Saturday of April while I worked there, but part of it has to do with the fact that with 4 kids in the house it is hard to just sit down and listen.  We find things for them to do and encourage their participation in conference, but distractions pop up.  For some reason I was thinking about this during sacrament meeting a couple weeks ago while we were visiting Texas, and I thought up a way to play catch up with some of the recent session: each week I’d devote to listening to one apostle (including those in the First Presidency) and listen to one talk a day from the last 5 General Conferences on weekdays.

…and then I promptly forgot that I wanted to do that.

But then on December 7th I remembered and made a chart on my Google Drive and actually put on all the links to the talks and assigned them to days.  Luckily if I started on the 8th, I’d still finish before the April 2015 General Conference.  I listened to the two talks assigned for the 8th, and 9th

…and then didn’t listen to another one until yesterday when I started playing catch up on the goal.

Today I managed to properly catch up, but seeing as how I forgot for two weeks that I wanted to do this, and then got 4 talks behind right in the opening days of the goal, I needed more accountability.  Thus this blog post.

While I’d like to promise that I will publish something each Friday when I finish with my thoughts about the theme the apostle seemed to have, the last few months have shown that I don’t have a schedule that can permit such a promise.  However, I will likely post an update every so often on the progress I’ve made or something I’ve learned.

So if you like this goal or idea, feel free to share in it or modify it to fit your schedule and lifestyle. Or come up with your own goal to do, after all a good healthy S.M.A.R.T. goal is necessary every so often for all of us.

The Conference Center

October 2014 Conference Wordle

Running Again

I’ve started running more over the last two weeks. I’ve gotten to where I can run 5K without too much difficulty. I just need to work on my speed.

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This was my second personal 5K this week. I beat Monday’s time by 2:13. I think dropping the 4000′ in elevation between Utah and Texas, & having it be the most ridiculously pleasant July ever in North Texas might be contributing factors in the improved time.

When I was on high school cross country my average speed for a 5K was about 20:15 with a PR of 18:56. I think I’d be happy to be able to do less than 28:00 by the end of September.

Here’s Monday’s run by comparison:

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So, It’s come to this . . . I’m blogging about losing weight

Yes, I’m going to become one of those guys who openly blogs about his health, diet, and exercise so that I finally make some progress on this and get myself out of my sedentary lifestyle rut.

To summarize, I spent 3 years and 8 months in graduate school and working full time.  What more, I had a semi-stressful job and a very stressful graduate program.  So, between the lack of time, 2-3 hours a day in a car, the stress, and the desk job I graduated in August 2012 weighing 205 pounds having entered weighing about 175-180.  I am 6 feet tall, so that is overweight by BMI standards and I ought to have shed about 15 pounds to get into the “healthy” BMI range (I’m not a big BMI fan, more on that later).  Now over a year and a half later, I hadn’t lost any weight even though we’d moved to a more active state so I decided it was time to actively doing something and stop hoping I would just magically lose weight.

Four weeks ago I started counting calories and really exercising.  My original goal was to get down to 185 (20 pounds) by the end of summer and then maybe 10 more pounds by Thanksgiving.  I wanted to make sure that the calorie intake on my phone’s weight loss app was estimating correctly though, so a week and half after I started I took advantage of the fact that I work for a university with a world-class Exercise Science program and got my RMR accessed.  Fortunately my university has a BodPod so it was a fairly simply process.  It gave me a lot more than just my RMR though, and the results that printed out scared me.

First off, it turned out that my phone’s app had overestimated my RMR by 180 calories, so I needed to be even more careful about my daily intake.  The much bigger issue that truly scared me was my body fat percentage.  It was a whopping 32.6%.  Of the 203 pounds I weighed on the day I was measured, my body consisted of over 66 pounds of fat.  Let me be clear up front, I don’t look fat.  Rarely does anyone, whether friend, family, doctor, tell me that my weight is a concern.  I generally look like a lean person with a bit of annoying pudge on my belly.  Yet there it was in black and white on this paper: I was technically obese.

I know the BMI gets a lot of bad press, and it’s probably deserved because there is too much variability in body shape to just measure height and weight and come up with some magical number for everyone from there. Mostly though, it’s people complaining that they think they’re healthy when the BMI says they are overweight or obese.  For me, I am experiencing the opposite.  My BMI says I’m just somewhat overweight, but the reality is that I was carrying a very unhealthy amount of fat.  What more, if when I lose enough fat to be in the healthy range my BMI will be well below 25, which is considered the top range of healthy.

Given these unexpected results, I decided to take advantage of a more in-depth intervention that my university’s Exercise Science program offers.  Starting this week I began the Y Be Fit program.  On Wednesday of this week I met my training coach and generally reviewed my goals (and signed away all sorts of liability…).  Next Wednesday we’re doing a battery of assessments (including a new BodPod measurement and a sub-maximal treadmill test), and then for the next 14 weeks I’ll be meeting with my coach weekly to monitor my progress.

I think I need this because I’ve occasionally tried to lose weight, but either my busy-ness or social pressure got in the way.  I’ve felt ever since I broke 200 pounds that my weight wasn’t healthy, but because I don’t “look” like the type of person who needs to lose weight I would have coworkers, acquaintances, peers, and others question me for trying to watch what I was eating, or passing on the cookies or cake brought to the office.  The statement was that someone as skinny as me shouldn’t have to watch his weight.  Well, now it turns out that my gut feeling (no pun intended) was right, and I’ve got to shed some fat.  So, to help in to process I’ll be adding a blog post weekly after my appointments, and tracking my goal to get my body fat percentage under control and to live a more healthy life.  Research has shown that this type of recording helps the person who wants to lose the weight, but I’m also aware of numerous pieces of anecdotal evidence that people not dieting and exercising hate reading this kind of stuff.  So, my apologies in advance.

For the rest of you who are interested, here is my baseline (as of 5/14/14):

RMR:  1722

Weight:  202.863 lbs

Fat Free Mass:  136.796

Fat Mass: 66.068

Body Fat Percentage:  32.6%

 

In the event I don’t gain much in muscle mass (but I sure hope to!), I will have an acceptable (<20%) body fat percentage if I weigh 171.25, which means losing 31.75 pounds.  If I want to have an ideal body fat percentage (~12%) I will need to drop to 155, which means losing 47.318 pounds.  That’s not a healthy goal for a 15 week long program, but I’m excited to see how close I can get!