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graindart - Wednesday Apr 04, 2018
(moderate food, decent water intake)
Weight: 176.9



Progress as of today: 106.1 lbs lost so far, only 17.9 lbs to go!

bearcountrygg on 04/04/2018:
Amazing transformation!!! Congratulations!!

Donkey on 04/04/2018:
Very impressive! You have the back-of-the knees that I'd die for. You have not just lost weight but also built up a nice physique in the process. Well done!

happy-1 on 04/06/2018:
Holy schmoly! What a transformation!!!!! If it wasn't posted here I wouldn't believe it was the same person.

graindart - Tuesday Apr 03, 2018
(moderate food, decent water intake)
Weight: 176.9

Yesterday was successful.

Water intake used to be hard to accomplish, but is now routine to drink a gallon of water daily.  I've got 2 water jugs that are 64oz each and I fill them each morning.  First one is usually gone by mid-morning.  Second one is gone by end of dinner.  The morning one tends to go faster because I don't get to drink diet pop until I've finished it.

It's been 3 weeks since I switched to a higher daily calorie intake and I'm liking it.  The progress is much slower, but things are still moving in the right direction.  I'm not obsessing on food as much, so day to day life is more tolerable.

Saw a pizza delivery vehicle driving along last night and wondered how they were still in business now that I hardly ever eat it.  It's probably my favorite food in the world and I used to eat it a couple times per week for decades.  When I was younger I worked at a pizza place for years and ate it 5 times per week or more.  Now it seems like I eat it once every couple months.  I still love it, but it just doesn't fit into my current calorie budget plans.  At the start of this diet a year ago, I thought about it all the time.  I tried several low-cal or low-carb versions, frozen weight watchers version, and other substitutes.  While they weren't bad, they just weren't the same.  It became easier to just drop it from my routine.  Seeing the delivery vehicle made me realize that I haven't craved or even thought about pizza much over the past few months.

In fact I don't really have any food cravings at present.  I'm ok with the food choices we have in the house, portion control is the only thing I have to keep an eye on.

Note to self - the reason why today's post is more positive probably has to do with a slightly lower number on the scale this morning. 

Progress as of today: 106.1 lbs lost so far, only 17.9 lbs to go!

bearcountrygg on 04/03/2018:
Good Job!

horn_of_plenty on 04/04/2018:
yes and in the long run, you need it to be tolerable so i guess your switch to slightly higher cal is the better way if there are far less set backs :)

Congrats on the lower number, GREAT JOB GRAINS!

I also hardly ever do Pizza. It derails me completely. Similar to cheese...bread...there's nothing great about it and it doesn't fit into my lifestyle well. At my other job, they were ordering it quite a bit in the Winter that just passed and i started to eat it...it frustrated me because i didn't always feel full after eating a slice an my calories would just be higher after it..and i'd start to crave more of it / more things after. anyways, moving forward! they also ordered bagels a lot and had sweets in the mornings at the other location i was working - the sweets are not satisfying and i'm still breaking the bad habits learned at that job - i was there for two months.

graindart - Monday Apr 02, 2018
(moderate food, decent water intake)
Weight: 178.0

Made it through Easter successfully.  Easter dinner at the parents didn't pose a problem, but did have late night issue where I wanted to keep eating.  Had to go to bed a little early to keep from going over allotted calories for the day.

Monday the wife and girls have off from school, so it'll be a little more difficult than usual for me.  I have to get work done and I work from home.  Whenever the girls/wife have an extra day off, I feel like I should have the day off also.  I took Friday off and we all went skiing, which everyone enjoyed.  Monday I need to get stuff done while they're enjoying a down day, so will probably be feeling deprived.

Just need to put my "big boy pants" on and get my work done.  Only 60-some days left until the cruise.  Coming up on my 1 year anniversary of my current diet on April 5th.  You'd think that after a year it would feel more like a life change than a diet, but it doesn't really.

Progress as of today: 105 lbs lost so far, only 19 lbs to go!

horn_of_plenty on 04/02/2018:
a year after my sister's wedding after i lost all my weight, i was still getting used to it...

Keep on, you are doing well! I remember around 10 years ago, I also had a 60 day countdown till a cruise! I was fully low carb then, had little energy, but lost every last bit of weight i could lose...then gained some back bc i was feeling very deprived on the low carb diet!! but it worked really well for that cruise man! i weighed even lower than i do now...but i do not like fully low carb anymore.

horn_of_plenty on 04/02/2018:
regarding your 100% perfect speech below, remember that people aren't perfect. i think you DO need to account for a little error space. ? no? however, now that the cruise is only 60 days away, one thing that i mentioned worked for me in the past is a 60 day countdown. i was really good for almost all of those 60 days. and was very successful.

graindart on 04/02/2018:
I'm not a fan of extremely low-carb either. It's not bad for a day or two, but then I just get tired of the meat and fat (butter/oil).

I know that my food intake won't always be 100% on plan. Food intake isn't my life and most other areas of my life are going good. I've ignored the food side of things for the majority of the past few decades. So the past year I've tried to get better at mastering my food intake.

bearcountrygg on 04/02/2018:
Working towards your physical made you accomplish what you wanted....you can use the cruise in the same way.

graindart on 04/02/2018:
Yep. I tend to have much greater motivation and success when I'm working towards a set goal with a set date. Without it, I tend to get bored and lazy.

Donkey on 04/02/2018:
I've done that before, gone to bed early to stop more eating. My husband drives me nuts with his "late night" munchies, which he gets usually around 8p.

Not this last time but the time before when I gained all this weight (remember, I've gained and lost the same weight at least 4-5 times in my adult life), I did it with late-night eating.

graindart - Saturday Mar 31, 2018
(moderate food, decent water intake)
Weight: 180.9

Yesterday was successful.  This post is mostly just for my records.  I'm not really looking for any answers, but rather just recording my currently frustrated state of mind.  Might be  best to stop reading if you want to remain positive.

I've been kind of standing on the edge of the cliff for the past week or so.  I keep deciding to step off it and have a binge eating reward day.  So far I've reached my foot over the edge several times and pulled it back.  I'm on a 17 day streak of not going over my new 2000 calorie per day budget.  Every time I don't go over the edge I think I'll be rewarded the next morning by some new lower number on the scale or lower body fat % on the scale.  And recently I've been disappointed.  

I'm apparently making muscle gains because I'm increasing in pullups, chinups, pushups, etc.  I'm also walking 6 days per week religiously.  It's 3 miles daily which only amounts to an additional 250-300 calories burned per day. 

What frustrates me is that my bodyfat % shown on the scale doesn't seem to be mirroring the supposed muscle gain.  In theory, if I'm gaining muscle the bodyfat % should be dropping since the weight is staying relatively static.  Or I should be seeing changes in the mirror.  Or with muscle taking up lesser amounts of space than the same weight in fat, my clothes should be fitting looser.

Body fat % appears to be mostly flat over the past bit.  Weight has been hovering around 180 for the past bit (178-182).  Clothes fit the same and the mirror shows similar chunkiness in the same areas.

So I'm back to evaluating my daily caloric intake budget.  Went to active.com and used the caloric needs calculator.  Input my gender, height, weight, age, and activity level.  Activity level choices include sedentary, low active, and active.  I chose "low active" to be safe.  It states 2750 calories per day to maintain.  So keeping my daily calories at 2000 should mean a weekly deficit.  Gaining muscle and having a caloric deficit should mean burning fat and the measured bodfat % should be dropping.

So I took a break from writing this post and looked up my recorded stats.  It does appear that I may have dropped approximately 1% on the measured bodyfat scale over the past couple weeks.  It's just hard to know how accurate things are, especially with things fluctuating daily.  I hate that it's now taking several weeks / months of work in order to see verifiable progress.  Of course if I screwup for a couple days in a row, the scale will instantly jump 10 lbs. 

I don't mean to be negative, but that's just where my mind's at today.  

Be good = wait weeks for future possible positive numbers. 
Be bad = see instant negative numbers.

Now to my future planning........ The cruise is 10 weeks away.  If I actually did lose 1% bodyfat over the past couple weeks and was able to continue dropping 0.5% bodyfat per week, that would mean a drop of 5% bodyfat by the cruise.  That would mean approximately 14% bodyfat if I were to be 100% perfect on calorie intake and exercise between now and then.  Not what I was hoping for and also probably not going to be 100% perfect given my recent mood.

Progress as of today: 102.1 lbs lost so far, only 21.9 lbs to go!

graindart on 03/31/2018:
After eating lunch and re-hashing what I wrote a little bit ago, I figured I'd better leave a reply to my own post with my own advice to myself:

Stop complaining about it being difficult and taking time! It's your own fault for letting yourself get out of shape in the first place. No one is making you change your habits. You're the one that has made these goals yourself and can choose daily whether or not you want to continue on with them or modify them. You can choose whether or not the current goal is worth it or not.

Set a goal, don't set a goal. Work towards a goal, don't work towards a goal. See the bigger picture or dwell on your current situation.

Decide what you want and what cost you're willing to pay. Know that being a certain weight, certain bodyfat %, or certain fitness level won't bring any extra happiness itself. Being fit can open doors of opportunity to do additional activities with friends and family, but you still need to plan for and initiate those activities.

Basically you need to make a decision about what you really want. And after deciding what you want, you need to stop complaining about it and just "suck it up Buttercup"!

Donkey on 03/31/2018:
I was at this point a couple of weeks ago, when I came to the conclusion that if I want change, I have to work hard at it. If change was easy, we'd all do it. If weight loss were easy, we'd all be thin.

Donkey on 03/31/2018:
One more thing to add: I felt your pain regarding the scale. Seriously, my weight fluctuates so much. One of the ladies who works in the same building I do had gastric surgery, and she's pretty much at goal. Her weight does not fluctuate much at all. So I don't know if it's genetics/biology or if it's the process (surgery versus non-surgical), or what.

The scale just gets so frustrating at times...

graindart - Thursday Mar 29, 2018
(moderate food, decent water intake)
Weight: 179.5

Yesterday was successful.

The scale went up 1 lb today, but the body fat dropped to 18.5% this morning.  How much I weigh doesn't really matter as long as the body fat gets to my goal of around 10% someday.  The bodyfat % on my scale is moving lower, but it's doing it extremely slowly.  It's also not doing it consistently.  While it was 18.5% this morning, it could easily say 19.5% tomorrow.  I've been kind of in a slow holding pattern since December.  I've had some ups and downs, but the scale and bodyfat % haven't changed a ton.  I've been able to work up to some pullups / chinups over the past few months, so I know that I'm progressing.  At the start of the diet last April things were moving so quickly that it was easy to stay motivated.  Now with very small changes happening over time it's less easy to stay motivated.

Progress as of today: 103.5 lbs lost so far, only 10.5 lbs to go!

horn_of_plenty on 03/30/2018:
Overall, your body fat will go down but there will be little ups and downs over the course of a week...similar to how weight loss works...don't you think?

Keep on, Gains!

bearcountrygg on 03/30/2018:
Muscle weighs more than fat.

Donkey on 03/30/2018:
Motivation comes and goes... That's why it is important to have consistent habits (e.g. a program, a meal plan, etc.) that gets you through the hard times.

graindart - Tuesday Mar 27, 2018
(moderate food, decent water intake)
Weight: 178.5

Yesterday completed successfully.

I decided I'd start checking how many UN-assisted pullups / chinups I can do on Tuesdays before working arms with assisted pullups / assisted chinups.  Mondays I do some different arm / chest exercises that work different parts, so Tuesdays I'm still pretty rested since the last time I worked pullups/chinups was Saturday.

I've never been able to do either pullups or chinups for pretty much all of my life, whether due to weighing too much or not having enough upper body strength.  I've been working the band assisted pullups / chinups for the past 3 months and was finally able to do my first UNassisted pullup about a month ago.  I was able to do 4 chinups last week, which was a record for me also.

Today I was able to do 3 pullups in a row.  Rested 30 minutes and then was able to do 6-3/4 chinups in a row.  I so wanted that 7th chinup, but stalled with my chin a couple inches below the bar.  Even without getting my 7th, they were both still new records for me. 

The goal is 10 pullups in a row by the cruise in a little over 10 weeks.  

Since the scale hasn't really been  changing a lot recently, it's nice to see progress in the strength department.

Progress as of today: 104.5 lbs lost so far, only 9.5 lbs to go!

horn_of_plenty on 03/28/2018:
GREAT job on this progress...it's very rapid changes for you, great work!!!!!!

Donkey on 03/28/2018:
Awesome! I especially love how you have found different ways to measure "success" other than just the number on the scale.

graindart - Monday Mar 26, 2018
(moderate food, decent water intake)
Weight: 177.5

Made it through the weekend successfully, but barely.

Unfortunately I'm back in the mindset that small self-accomplishments deserve a reward.  And I'm back to thinking the reward needs to be food.  Not just one food item, but a food cheat day.  

Day 9 or 10 in a row of being on-track I found myself thinking this way.  I made it through that day, only to be in the same state of mind the following day or two.  Each day I actually decided that I deserved it and I was going to go off plan.  Thankfully each day I reigned it back in and corrected before doing damage.  Saturday was sitting in the stands for basketball games and decided to go out to eat for lunch because we were getting done at a weird time.  I wrestled internally with myself and ended up just driving home instead of a restaurant.  I didn't mention it to the family, so no one was disappointed (besides me).  Sunday after church, decided to go out to eat and fully intended to blow the daily calorie budget.  Read through the menu and decided to avoid the obvious loaded carb/calorie foods like chocolate chip pancakes and such.  Was feeling more in control, so when my food arrived I actually gave the hashbrowns and one of the pieces of toast away to my daughters before starting to eat.  That left a large spicy breakfast sausage, 2 eggs, and one piece of toast.  So I did get to go out to eat and was able to stay under calorie allotment for the day after all.

The next 3 days should be easier for me to stay focused because it's back into the regular work routine, with the girls / wife off at school and work.  Of course Easter Break starts this Thursday and goes until next Tuesday, so that will be a challenge.  I know we're going skiing on one of the days, so will need to pack something or else I'll completely blow that day.  Haven't decided how I'll handle Easter dinner with the family yet.  It might be a cheat day or it might be something I decide to be "good" on.  Hate to admit it, but it'll probably depend on what the scale says that morning.  If it's an encouraging number, I'll probably stay on plan.

Progress as of today: 105.5 lbs lost so far, only 8.5 lbs to go!

Horn_of_plenty on 03/26/2018:
Dieting is not easy neither is maintenance. Here you made a good decision to stay on track. Lately, i have TOO MANY options...even healthy ones...too many variables and outings etc. can make it harder to maintain.

Continue to have healthy options around....so you don't have to blow it totally.

I went to a brunch last week and too many unhealthy options were up for grabs, when this happens, sorta like your breakfast, it's really easy to eat poorly....so try to keep healthy options around, and keep the other things in moderation - which you did PERFECTLY, by the way!!

bearcountrygg on 03/26/2018:
Sounds like you did a good job of resisting the temptations.

Donkey on 03/27/2018:
Even though your thought patterns are still not healthy -- or conducive to weight loss -- your actions are showing that you're getting it. Now just do it a million more times for the rest of your life... I'm coming to realize that this will be a lifelong mission, just as other members here have stated. *sigh*

graindart - Thursday Mar 22, 2018
(moderate food, decent water intake)
Weight: 180.8

Yesterday was successful.

Did the band-assisted "dips" last night.  Went well and did feel some mild soreness in the pecs.

My posture has been lacking when sitting at the computer desk for several hours in a row.  So I'm giving a kneeling chair another try.  I tried one back a few years ago and it killed my legs by putting way too much pressure on them.  The kneeling chair that I just picked up has more padding and has been much more comfortable.  I also weigh less this time, so that may have something to do with it also.  You can still slouch with a kneeling chair, but I find myself noticing it much more quickly and can correct.  The kneeling chair doesn't have a back and doesn't have armrests.  This means that I'm using more core muscles to sit and retain balance.  My mid-back has really been feeling it over the past few days.  This also causes me to get up and stretch or walk a little in order to tone down the back soreness.  I'll see how it goes, but right now I think I'll stick with the kneeling chair.

Progress as of today: 102.2 lbs lost so far, only 11.8 lbs to go!

horn_of_plenty on 03/22/2018:
and of course, you can build up to a full day of the kneeling chair - it's good to even switch off every hour or so between the too.

i'm glad you had a great day!

the snow day cancelled my gym plans yesterday and i wasn't in the mood to do any of the workout at home...back to it tomorrow doing something :)

happy-1 on 03/23/2018:
Good job!

Donkey on 03/23/2018:
I had never heard of a kneeling chair before. Wow - interesting! I might try this some day...

graindart - Wednesday Mar 21, 2018
(moderate food, decent water intake)
Weight: 178.6

Yesterday was successful (food, water, exercise).

Tweaked my exercise schedule somewhat.

M-Sa mornings = walk 3 miles on treadmill (will hopefully progress to a jog later)

MWF mornings = pushups currently 60 total over a few sets

MWF night = band assisted 'dips' - 5 sets of 10 is the goal

TuThSa mornings = plank for 5 minutes (2.5 regular with the rest split on planking each side)

TuThSa night = band assisted pullups 5 sets, band assisted chinups 5 sets, unassisted count for each

Last night was my first night of adding band assisted chinups after completing my assisted pullups.  On paper I thought I might not be able to do them due to being tired from doing the prior pullups.  I just left an extended rest time of 15+ minutes between the exercises and the chinups worked out great.  The goal after completing 5 sets of each (pullups / chinups) is to see how many unassisted I can do.  I wasn't expecting much of anything for the unassisted attempts because they were done after the 10 assisted sets (and rest).  The unassisted pullup didn't even amount to an inch of movement, which I kind of expected.  Surprisingly I was able to a chinup, then 2, then 3, then 4.  It really surprised me that I was able to do 4 in a row, which is actually a new record for me.

So after adding the chinups and unassisted attempts to last night, I did wake up feeling a bit of soreness in my muscles (mainly shoulders).  It didn't affect my pushups this morning and doesn't "hurt", just a nice little soreness to remind me that I actually did something.

Progress as of today: 104.4 lbs lost so far, only 9.6 lbs to go!

Horn_of_plenty on 03/21/2018:
yes, chin-ups are easier for me also than pull ups. Also, i have been doing a bit of planking also.. I generally go for only a minute which is considered the minimum for a moderately healthy person i think! Do you plank for 2.5min straight!? that is very good if you do!

graindart on 03/21/2018:
I'm able to do a good form plank for about 2 minutes and then I start shaking and just fight through holding it for that last 30 seconds. The side planking on 1 arm is extremely difficult for me to hold for 75 seconds on each side. I don't enjoy it, but it's only 5 minutes out of my life 3 times per week.

Just looked up the world record for planking. 8 hours by someone in China. I don't think I could even STAND in one exact spot for 8 hours straight without moving.

Horn_of_plenty on 03/21/2018:
wowwwwwww 8 hours huh!?

btw, that's a great job for you...you sound like you are in decent shape! you must at least avg or above it if you can do those moves. great job! and def keep on!

Donkey on 03/21/2018:
Your exercise schedule/goals are very inspiring. Thank you for posting!

graindart - Tuesday Mar 20, 2018
(moderate food, decent water intake)
Weight: 178.6

Yesterday was on plan.

If a temptation food isn't in the house, it's a lot easier for me to stay on track.  I'm usually too lazy to hop in the car and drive somewhere to go off plan.  With that said, the house has been void of most temptations for the past several months (cookies, ice cream, candy, chips, etc).  They occasionally make there way into the house for my wife and daughters, but they're usually gone pretty quickly also.  Over the past couple months I've been screwing up by occasionally binging on other foods that have been staples in the house for them.  These include bread / jam / jelly / peanut butter / cereal / granola bars.  Taken in moderation none of them are terrible, but when I go off track I can easily eat half a loaf of bread, couple bowls of cereal, and / or several granola bars.  It's not the wife and kids fault that I do it, but unfortunately the stuff needed to leave the house in order for me to stay on track.

There's plenty of food in the house and it covers all of the required nutritional requirements, but there's just fewer simple processed carb-heavy foods now.  It's only been a couple days and the kids haven't brought up any issues with it, but the wife wasn't overly enthusiastic about losing the cereal, bread, pasta, and granola bars.  Up until now, the wife and I have alternated weeks of cooking dinners for the family.  Since I'm changing up the available ingredients, I said I'd take over cooking all dinners for the next while.  That seemed to appease her.  

As always, things aren't progressing as quickly as I'd prefer as far as fat loss / exercise gains.  I started off extremely slow in my exercise plan at the beginning of the year.  I started with a small number of pushups daily at the beginning just to get in the habit of doing something daily.  Since then I've slowly added several other things during the week and also tweaked the days that I do certain things in order to make sure I also give muscles rest so that they should continue to grow / progress.  Now I'm wondering if I'm pushing enough on certain muscle groups in order to see gains. 

My chest / pecs have always been my weak area and I've been trying to figure something out that would target that area specifically.  It seems that whatever I've experimented with has always worked the shoulders more and hasn't really seemed to affect the chest as much as I'd like.  Last night I did chest fly's with a cable machine and tried to concentrate on contracting the pecs.  It was the shoulders that felt like they were getting the most workout and today it's the shoulders that are sore.  Also saw a certain type of "dip" that is supposed to targer the chest area (along with the shoulders too).  Since I have dip bars on my pullup tower already I'll give dips a try tomorrow night and see how they feel.

Something else that crossed my mind is maybe my shoulder muscles will grow and get used to the exercise and then the chest muscles will end up being used more.

Progress as of today: 104.4 lbs lost so far, only 9.6 lbs to go!

Donkey on 03/20/2018:
I agree -- having it out of the house really helps. That's a nice swap deal you have with your wife, with cooking dinner. I'd make that trade :-)

Horn_of_plenty on 03/21/2018:
i am sure you are pushing enough...gains take time to see...when i first started weight training, actually the second time i went back to it after regaining weight around 10 yrs ago, it took a year to see any real transformation to even start...but it happens!

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