Keeping it up – Healthier Life Check-in

I haven’t had much time for any blog posts the last couple of weeks.  Starting right around the 4th we had a bunch of family come to town, followed by my son’s baptism, followed by spending time with said family, camping, birthday parties, etc, etc, etc…     It’s actually been a lot of fun.

I’ve been able to stick to my cardio goals, but I’m still having problems making my strength training happen regularly.  I just kind of get to it when I get to it, and I’ve missed some workouts because of that.  The thing is though, that I’m starting to see actual results:

  • I’ve lost 12.6 lbs, that’s the equivalent of 1 1/2 gallons of milk.  Think about having to carry a carton and a half of milk everywhere and then suddenly noBiking up the Passt having to anymore.  It makes a difference and I can totally feel it when I work out.
  • Last Saturday, in the morning I biked from Park City High School to the base of Deer Valley
    and then back.  Then in the afternoon, I hiked from Trial Lake to Wall Lake in the Uintas, and half jogged/speedwalked back to camp to make sure we could get dinner started.  Lastly, in the evening, I again biked.  This time 4.6 miles uphill to Bald Mountain Pass; over 1000 feet of elevation gain, with the starting elevation over 9700′!
  • Then Monday, I was out doing my 2-mile jog and I got 1 1/2 miles in and was still feeling good, so I decided to see if I could jog a 5K without having to walk at all.  I made it 4.85 km in 34 minutes, and to make sure I finished in under 35 minutes I actually sprinted the last 150 meters.

All of that stuff would have been unthinkable back in May, but each time I accomplish something that I know I couldn’t have done just a few weeks ago, it just makes me want to keep going to see if I can do even better:

  • Yeah, 12.6 pounds is good, but I still need to lose another 19.1 pounds to get down to a healthy body-fat percentage. Another 13.1 pounds past that to get me to ideal!  Still, if I feel this good having gone this far, I know that going further will be even better.
  • Yeah 4.6 miles uphill on my bike was great, but what if I could do a full mountain loop.  One of these days, I’m gonna do the Alpine Loop around Timpanogos or the Nebo loop.  That will feel amazing.
  • Being able to jog a 5K is great, but my personal record from high school was 18:96.  Yes, I’m in my mid 30’s and will never return back to that level of performance, but it doesn’t mean that I couldn’t someday be sub-24, running 8 minute miles again.

I just want to keep my eye on the prize so I don’t get complacent with where I am right now.

On a different note, one thing that I’ve learned in the last weeks, as my cultivated diet gave way to family gatherings, BBQs, and buffet meals is that people don’t seem to think it is good manners to pull your phone out and counting the calories of all the food in front of everybody. Yet, trying to get to it later means you end up forgetting some things.  So for that last 10 days or so, I didn’t do the immediate journaling during my meals.  Instead, what I did was skip all the major treats (birthday cake, ice cream, etc.), and then during meals make sure my plate was about 1/2 to 2/3rds as full as most other people’s plates.  Lucky for me, my family tends to be healthy, so the food was good, and since they all maintain good body weights, I figure if I eat 50-70% of what they’re eating I’ll be right in my goal of 1800 cal/day.  Luckily the strategy paid off because my weight loss is staying right where it has been the last two months.

I did allow myself one major exception to my diet though:

photo 2

The best s’more ever!

Hey, I was camping! You can’t go camping and not eat at least one treat. (Don’t worry, I only ate half)


New Week, New Goals!

I’m now over two months into my summer goal to become healthy.  I’m really glad that I’m doing a coached program because in the past this was about as long as I was able to last on my own, but I’m feeling good and confident, so you’ll have several more weeks of these blog posts coming from me.

My goals for the coming week are:

  • Run 2 miles 2 times
  • Do my strength training workouts 2 times
  • Attend spin class once
  • 300 minutes of cardio

So far the biggest challenge I’ve had is getting the 300 minutes of cardio, I’ve been averaging 210-240/week.  With Friday being a holiday I might actually make it this time.


Projection vs Actual

Blue line: Projection / Red line: Actual

I’ve been doing good when it comes to tracking my weight these past two months.  Last week I mentioned that I had hit a plateau.  In hindsight I don’t thing that it was a true plateau, but my weight measurement on 6/18 was an outlier. Basically I looked like I lost more weight than I really had.  As you may recall, when I got my 2nd BodPod measurement I tracked out an estimate of what I would lose based on the changes I had done during the 3 weeks between my measurements.  I had lost an average of 1.101 lbs/week in between my BodPod Measurements, so I created a spreadsheet to see how long my goals would take if I maintained that pace.  The blue line on the chart is where my weight would be if I kept up the 1.101 lbs/week trend.  The red line is my actual weight loss.  So even though I look like I gained weight between 6/18 and 6/25, I’m still beating my estimate. A fact that makes me very happy 🙂

Another bit of good news is that based on my projections of losing 1.228 lbs of fat/week and gaining 0.128 lbs of muscle, my body fat percentage should now have passed below 30%.  I won’t know for sure until the last week of my program, but if anyone asks, I’m going to tell them that I am now officially “overweight” and I’m no longer “obese” (Again, using these terms based on actual body-fat percentage, not the stupid BMI. According to my BMI, I’ve never been obese & I would be “healthy” with a 26% body fat!  Stupid BMI…).

So to recap: Still working hard, glad I have a coach, 1 new goal, 3 repeating goals, not a real plateau, & now just overweight.

See you next week!


PS: the chart above was based on my weigh-ins at the gym.  I’ve also done my Wii Fit almost every morning in the month of June.  Here’s the chart from that:



June Wii Fit


Do you like my Mii?

Diet Soda Killed My Root Beer Habit

I’ve thought about writing this for one of posts for my “Becoming Healthy” blog project, and thanks to reading a related news article, I decided to finally do it!

Why Diet Soda Will Never Top the Real Thing

The above article was on the Real Clear Science Newton Blog this morning, and it hit on something I’ve totally noticed within myself and my eating habits.

Confession: I LOVE root beer.

I like going to specialty soda stores and trying out the various flavors. I get in discussions about the best bottled vs the best canned root beers.  I am adamant that sarsaparilla is NOT root beer.  I can tell the difference between a cane sugar and a corn syrup root beer.  I love root beer sweetened with honey.  My least favorite root beers are those that incorporate a black licorice flavor into the taste and bouquet of the soda.  I’m very particular about the quality of ice cream I will use for floats (No soft serve or vanilla bean for me!). Yeah, I love root beer.

My favorite can-buy-anywhere root beer:  A&W

My favorite dessert root beer: Henry Weinhard’s

My favorite overall root beer: Abita

My favorite float root beer: Stewart’s

And yet, if you’ve been following my blog, you know that in early May of this year I started a diet and exercise regime to get my body fat percentage back in control, and to feel better about myself and my appearance.  What room is there in my daily calorie budget for the occasional root beer?  Zero.

Delicious, foamy root beer

That doesn’t change the fact that I love root beer.  I’ve tried diet root beers in the past and without exception they were all terrible. Nothing redeemable about them whatsoever.  They all had a harsh chemically aftertaste that completely overpowers the flavors of the sassafras, vanilla, molasses, nutmeg & whatever else the brewer chooses to include.  I did find one exception though, and that is A&W 10.  It has a bit of that chemical taste, but overall the root beer flavor comes through pleasantly.  With my coach’s permission, and her assurance that all those rumors about artificial sweeteners messing with metabolism are not supported by scientific study, I bought a 12 pack for the occasional indulgence.

The last time I bought a 12-pack of root beer to keep in my office was back in February or March.  I noticed a funny thing happened.  I would crave a root beer around 2:00 or 3:00 pm, during the afternoon drowsys, and since there were plenty of cold root beers in my mini-fridge I’d have one.  The next day around the same time, I’d want a pick-me-up and the root beer craving would hit me bad, so I’d have one.  Then on the third day, I’d grab a root beer without even thinking about it.  Before I’d know it, my 12-pack was gone.

With the 12-pack of A&W 10, I let myself have one, but then the next day the craving never hit.  Three or four days went by and there were still 11 can in my fridge.  I’d have one with my lunch, but then the next day I was happy with a glass of water.  I find myself satisfied with the flavor, but indulging in one can leads to zero craving for a second root beer the next day. I think that speaks to the addictive nature of sugar.

Since there is no caffeine in most root beers the only addictive element in the soda is the sugar itself.  I occasionally drink Dr. Pepper, but since I’m not a coffee or tea drinker (obviously) and I’ve never had a period in my life when I had a daily indulgence in caffeinated soda I can drink caffeine for a pick-me-up, headache relief, or an overnight drive without developing a caffeine craving.  So I guess for me, at this point in my life, sugar is potentially more addictive than even caffeine is.

Well, I’ve been “sober” from refined sugar in both root beer and my favorite candies for almost 8 weeks now.  In a few months, when I finally get to a point that I’m satisfied with my body-fat percentage and overall health, I’ll need to be very careful about reintroducing full-sugared root beers and other sugar-heavy snacks into my diet so that they don’t become habit forming again.

7 1/2 weeks in, hitting a plateau

So, I’ve been working at this healthier-self project for 7 1/2 weeks now, and I’ve hit my first weight-loss plateau.  I’m actually 0.5 lbs heavier than I was last week.  It was bound to happen eventually, but I’m sure that I’ll work through it. This week my coach provided me with a two strength-training workouts that I’m supposed to alternate and do 2-3 times per week.  I’ve never been properly trained on how to use strength-training as part of a workout routine, so this will be good.  We’re focusing right now on exercises that don’t require gym equipment so I can do them anywhere.  Still, since the goal is fat-loss, the majority of my workout time will be spent on cardio.

One thing that I’ve been curious about is regarding my daily calorie intake.  I know my RMR is about 1760, so I’m supposed to keep my daily intake between 1800 & 1900.  I’ve been wondering though about those days that I do some serious exercise, like if I go on a day-long hike that burns 2500 calories, should I eat those calories?  What about days I only exercise a little bit and burn 300-400 calories, should I eat those?  My coach answered that calorie burning in exercise is so unpredictable and unmeasurable on an individual basis, that I should never do a calorie-for-calorie recovery of exercise.  Instead, if I have a major work-out day I can up my daily intake to about 2300 maximum. Perhaps that’s why I was never able to lose more than 15 pounds on my own in the past.

The big news for this week is that my blood profile finally came in from the hospital.  It turns out that while I might be carrying around way too much fat, my cholesterol is totally fine.  I’m in the “desirable” range for my total, HDL level, LDL level, and my HDL/LDL ratio.  In fact, I was barely in the “desirable” range, and could very well be in the “ideal” range by the end of my Y Be Fit program.  Yay!

This coming week, my goals are:

  • Get up to 300 minutes/week cardio workouts (still hitting between 200 & 250 / week)
  • Attend the faculty/staff spin class (couldn’t last week because of finals)
  • Follow my coach’s strength-training guide at least twice.

Hitting a milestone

I don’t have a meeting with my health coach today because it’s finals week.  I still wanted to at least check in on here.

Big news, today when I went to weigh myself, I came in exactly 10 pounds under my starting weight!  I’ve been trying to make sure my weight check ins are consistent, so I use the scale in the gym locker room.  I know it’s accurate because the two times I had my BodPod measurement done I used the scale immediately afterward and got the same weight (granted only to the 10th of a pound, vs a 1000th).  On the days I go in I try to do it right before I eat lunch.  So it should be about right.  So, in about 6 1/2 weeks I’ve lost 10 pounds.  A good bit of progress.




For my goals for this week, here’s my performance:

  • Stick to my diet while the carnival is in town (Success!)
  • Get 300 minutes of cardio in (I got 240 minutes done)
  • Do 50 push-ups in reps 2 days a week (I did one day last week, meant to yesterday but forgot)
  • Attend spin class at least once (turns out they also closed for finals, boo)

I’ll carry over the goals to this next week since I didn’t get a chance to change them with my coach.

Preliminary Healthy Life Assessment Data





Body Mass




Fat Free Mass




Fat Mass




% Fat Mass




As I said in my first post, a BodPod assessment I did shortly after I started monitoring what I was eating and actually exercising was what scared me into realizing that I needed more than just an active summer and to watch what I am eating.  Based on my 32.6% body fat, I decided to do a summer long fitness assessment and coaching.  Today was my assessment day and while I won’t get my full results until next week, my coach did give me a copy of today’s BodPod assessment.

I am pleased with my results.  In exactly 3 weeks I have successfully gained 1/3 pound of muscle and lost over 3 1/2 pounds of fat.  Yay me!  It is nice to know that I am actually doing my body some good.  I should be categorized as just having “Excessive Fat” instead of “Obese” within 3 weeks.

While I don’t know if this is at all realistic, I did project out what could possibly happen if I can maintain this pace for another 12 weeks when I do a 3rd BodPod:


Weekly Change

12-week Change

12-Week Projection

Body Mass




Fat Free Mass




Fat Mass




% Fat Mass



It would feel pretty good to be 13 pounds lighter by the end of summer, along with the thought that I’d have shed nearly 15 pounds of fat between now and then (over 18 since April).  It would be like no longer having to carry an extra 2 gallons of milk with me everywhere I go.  And yet, I will still be solidly in the “Excess Fat” range at the end of summer.

I went ahead to took these projections out a bit further, and again assuming I can hold to the same average per week, I won’t be “Moderately Lean” (<20% fat) until after 23 weeks of work, which will be November 12th.  If I want to really push myself until I hit the ideal of “Lean” (<12% fat) I wouldn’t reach that until February 11th, next year.

The more I ponder this, the clearer it’s becoming that to really pull this off I’m going to need to make real lifestyle changes, not just diet changes. I need to get out of my office chair more regularly, walk WAY more, make exercise a way of life, and change my dietary habits (bye bye Rips).