Saturday, January 19, 2013

Holiday Abs and the Summer Slim Down

Photo: I'm always jazzed to see people working towards their goal. I'm going to try to do a better job of acknowledging people in the gym, at every level, who are making an effort.

You may have noticed I haven't been blogging lately.  I have been having a hard time finding time when my new position started in September.  But, I feel this blog is important to get my success/failures out there so others can see and possibly relate to what I am going through.

Let's rewind to July 2012, 9 months after starting my journey.  I bottomed out at 178....starting at 238.8.  I say bottomed out because I have gained some weight, but I am unsure what is muscle/fat.  I have gained some fat back for sure, and I'll get to that in a moment.  In July, we took a week long vacation to California.  I was feeling good, but I really didn't pay attention to my quality of foods.  I ate anything I wanted, just less frequently.  But I was eating foods that were not whole, nutrient dense, or high in quality.  It was bad carbs....fried....sugar....etc.  I started to forget what got me here.  It was ok to indulge in the bad stuff, just understand the calories you are putting in your body.  When I returned, I never really got back on full track.  The Holidays hit, and both Thanksgiving and Christmas were times in which I never really monitored the quality of foods I was putting in my body.

Two things happened during this time period.  #1....I become stronger.....I mean, my weight lifting numbers were's like the over eating really gave me a boost of energy I was lacking when I was at 178.  #2....I gained fat....I'm currently at 193.....but I'm estimating 5 pounds is muscle since starting back in the gym in May.  That leaves me with about 10 lbs. extra gained from July.  That seems reasonable, the top of my body is still pretty shredded, but my waist area still has my "Holiday abs".

Now, if you know me, I have been analyzing how I can maintain my success and not fall back into old habits for an extended period of time.  I isolated the one thing that was keeping me successful that I was not doing, and that was calorie counting.  You know what I found?  Calories counting is a pain in my ass.  I hate having to log my meals every day, it's like, if I wasn't inputting my meals for the day, I had no guide and would eat whatever I felt because I could make it up the next few days when I did start counting.  Only, I haven't really consistently logged meals since July.  So, now I have concluded that I hate calorie counting, and I have gained back some fat, but also gained muscle and strength in the process?

Here am today, with an even simpler plan that you can monitor with me.  I will get to 168 pounds.  Remember, with my height and average lean muscle mass for at 37 year old male calculations, that weight should put me in a good body fat %.  I'm currently at 193.  I still love fasting.  Non-workout days....I'm going to stick to try and max 1800 calories a day.  Two of those days, I will be mixing in a 24 hour fast and try to shoot for 1400 calorie days.  Workout days, I my go as high as 2800 calories.  I'm still skipping breakfast and giving around 16 hours between meals.  Here's the catch, I hate counting calories, but I also have a ballpark feel now about how many calories are in each of my meals. If I go out to eat, I will have a pretty good estimation about what plate I will be eating and the calories involved.  Also, I keep telling myself that if I monitor the bad stuff, I can mix it back into my diet for balance.  I can, but I have to be ready for a battle.  To many times of having a sweet here or there, or a deep fried meal leads to more indulgence, and I find myself gaining weight.  It's tough for me to stop when I go down that road, that's just how I am wired.  If I am going to detach from calorie counting entirely, then I will need to stick to the quality foods....whole, nutrient sugar (for the most part).  1-2 quality meals/day should get me to my goal.  If I anticipate a bad meal coming (and I am going to limit them), then I will break out the calorie counter. It's going to be that easy.  Also, I will listen to my body....if I am feeling depleted (I was feeling this way at 178), then I will feed my body with quality stuff.  I am going to, as Brad Pilon coined, "detach and relax".  Again, I am still gaining muscle, and that's a good thing, and I have to find that balance of feeding my body, but not over feeding it.  No supplements either, and lifting on a empty's great.  I imagine if I stick to the quality foods, continue to lift heavy, and stop sweating the small stuff....I'll be ready to go by summer....I'll keep you posted.  Who's going to join me on this summer slim down?


  1. hello!! Just wanted to say your fitness journey is inspiring!
    I too have been on a summer slim down mode for about 3 weeks now! Don't give up!!!

    Looking forward to more of your fitness blogs and the journey to come!

  2. Keep up the good work man. I wasn't as heavy as you were but I've lost a good 20 lbs since the beginning of February. My story is the same as yours...lose weight, put it back on. lose weight, put it back on.

    I counted calories for about a week and that taught me what a good plate looks like. For me its a portion of meat, veggies, fruit, sweet potato, and a handful of nuts. Not traditional eating but it works for me and I never have to count calories. All I do is a checklist of the food on my plate. I eat something like this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That's about 1500 calories of food but it fills me up so well. In between I might snack on dark chocolate or a smoothie to get me to about 2100 calories for the day.

    With daily walking and resistance training 3 days a week. I've been losing 2 lbs per week and never have to fight hunger pangs. I think the biggest thing that is allowing me to eat at a caloric deficit is that I've eliminated wheat and grain products. Those foods give me that carb crash that drives binge eating and snacking reflexes. I haven't sworn off these foods completely, but I will stay away from them until I hit my goal weight.

    I'm not low carb at all, probably about 50% of my calories comes from carbs.

    Hang in there man. I have about 4 or 5 more lbs to lose before I hit the 10% body fat mark and then its party time!

    6'1" 182

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