Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Challenge: Whole 30

As I mentioned in a previous article, I need a kickstart. While I’ve continued to lose weight at a reasonable rate, my enthusiasm is waning. This may not be a bad thing as Paleo/Primal is simply becoming a way of life, but I think it might be time to take it to the next level and start tweaking things for more benefits. My wife had tried the Whole30 through the month of June and seemed happy with her results and not inconvenienced by it.

The Whole30 approach is similar to paleo but it fine tunes a few more items out of the picture. The goal is to follow the plan TO THE LETTER without any cheats. It’s motto is that there are only two foods: foods that make you healthy and foods that don’t. As they say “There is no Food Switzerland”. As for what is OFF THE TABLE for the next 30 days:

Soy
Sugar
Alcohol
Grains
Legumes
Dairy
White Potatoes
Chocolate
Frankenfood/Hacking (IE, making junk food out of approved ingredients)
NO SNACKING BETWEEN MEALS

Apparently there’s a huge community on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Whole9 and https://www.facebook.com/Whole30) that offers a ton of support to people who are working on this challenge. My biggest concerns are this for work: salads at work that have tossed in cheese, no snacking between meals.

I’m going to need some backup plans for ‘bad lunch’ days.

Tuesday Weigh In: 266lbs

Note: this may be the last weigh in until September as I don’t think I’m allowed to weigh myself during the Whole30. I might weigh in tomorrow morning just to have a starting point

The Doctor Prescribed Goal

Today I went to see my doctor and weighed in at 270lbs (clothed) and had my blood pressure checked. The good news is that he doesn’t want me on MORE meds and wants me to continue on my path of weight loss. It was at that point he asked for my weight history as I had only begun seeing him recently and the highest weight he had on me was 287. I explained the 325, 315 and 225 times and explained what I was doing to be at 225. He pulled out a calculator to come up with a reasonable goal weight and came up with this number:

247

He said that at that point we could identify if my goal of 225 was approachable. He thinks it definitely is but will probably require a bit more effort. He agreed that 205 would be a pipe dream that would probably require significant loss of muscle… I guess we’ll see when I get to 225.

So 247lbs is another 20lbs down and I go back to the doctor in 3 months. So, the goal now is to drop 20 more pounds in 3 months. I think this is more than attainable but I may need to step up my activity levels. I also start a Whole 30 dietary exercise starting next Wednesday with my wife. I hope that cuts even more weight in 30 days. It worked well for my wife as she did it in June.

268! wait, 274? no, 271? OR How I wish I could throw this !@#$ing scale out the window

I may have discussed the Wildly Inaccurate Scale (heretofore referred as the WIS). The WIS has a tendency to be WILDLY inaccurate (hence the name) depending on the placement on my bathroom floor. Two inches to the right and it’s +10, 3, to the left and it’s -5. I’ve found a spot where I tend to put it where it maintains reasonable consistency. However, the other day I must have been off by a millimeter and the above titled sequence occurred.

I hate this scale, but because I need to maintain a control, I really don’t have any other choice. I’m able to get reproducible results once I get it in the right place. What do you use for a scale and how accurate is it? My current scale is a BORG digital scale. The other problem I have with it is that I can’t figure out how to change the ‘weight goal’ thing

Coming this week: A weekend of looking and feeling good AND Cheating at a wedding (with food…)

Monday Weigh in – 267lbs

55lbs.

Suck in the guts, guys, we’re the Ghostbusters.

Today marks a banner day for me.

I am 270lbs today. I’m officially 55lbs lighter than my worst weight ever with nothing but dietary changes. Things are going well and I’m going to participate in a “Whole 30″ with my wife starting August 1st. I’m hoping to touch 269lbs tomorrow which marks a solid 30lbs lost since June.

Over the weekend I found that I was able to fit into a 2XL Slim Fit shirt from Old Navy. When I received this shirt for Christmas last year, I was almost offended to get it as there was NO hope of ever fitting into something like this. Instead, I wore it all day on a rather hot day in comfort. I was even able to go to a store and buy a ‘tailor fit’ suit off the rack that fits and looks FABULOUS. I’ll show that off next week.

It felt good to buy some ‘regular store’ bought clothes and not have to go down to over-priced Casual Male XL… I’m down from a 54″ suit to a 50″ Long, my pants are down from a 48″ to a 44”, my shirts are down to a 2X instead of a 3X and most importantly I FEEL good. Not just physically good but mentally good. I’m seeing the fat disappear everyday and it’s done a lot for my self esteem. Going clothes shopping this weekend helped with that immensely as well. I might even go buy a few more suits just because I can (or not… because they’re expensive and I’m hoping to lose another 30-40lbs.)

I’ll have some new ‘sexy suit’ photos over the weekend.

I’ve got a wedding to go to this week and a pretty full plate so updates might be sparse this week.

Need a kickstart.

God damned cheater.

My activity level is way down lately. I’m still walking a lot but I never did finish the 21 day challenge. I’ve been looking at doing paintball once a month… I had a lot of fun doing it last time and it was a good workout running for your ‘life’. Part of the reason my activity levels have fallen off is that since our big work move, we’ve lost our gym. I’ve upped my walking to longer, more difficult routes, but that’s not cutting it. I really need to find time to work out. I’m thinking of early in the morning in our nearby park and doing the 21 day challenge workouts all over again, but it’s the matter of pushing myself to do it. My dad’s pool has opened up and we’ve gone twice already, but standing in a pool isn’t a workout.

On top of that I’ve had a few cheats over the past few weeks. Yesterday was probably the worst. We didn’t have adequate food here at work and I decided to go to the local BBQ place and get their BBQ ribs special. 3 ribs and something called BBQ Mash. They said the mash was just a bit of all their pulled meats. What they didn’t mention was the 2-3 fingerling potatoes mixed into it. For the price I paid, I couldn’t justify throwing it away so I just ate it. To make up for that, I’m taking a fasting day today. I’m not hungry, but I am craving what’s for lunch. Also, we’ve had a few parties and at the parties I had some hard cider. I’ve read through the ingredients and there’s nothing there that’s outright off the books. They’re listed as gluten free. Though I am just defending my urge to have a drink here and there. I was good at the latest wedding short of a small glass of white wine that I drank. The wedding food selection was perfect for us so I was able to eat to my heart’s content. I’ve also fallen back to eating full fat Greek yogurt occasionally. I’m trying to curb that right now. I’ve had a few cups when I was really hungry over the past few weeks.

I’m hoping this post might make me look at what I’m doing to myself and nip it in the bud. Yesterday I was 272, today I’m 274. I don’t want to mess this up. I would love to see the 260s before my birthday in 12 days. Hopefully this fasting day will help me get my head straight.

Loose clothes OR Keeping up appearances.

It’s better than the alternative, I guess.

Losing weight is a wonderful thing… most of the time. I’m down 25lbs since starting this, but I’m also down about 40 since last clothes shopping. This leads to events like the past weekend, in which I had to wear my suit to a wedding… a suit for a 325lbs man. Now, I’ve never been a 54″ waist, but the tailor insisted that I wear a 54″ trouser. It didn’t fit when I was 325… it REALLY doesn’t fit when I’m 275. My jacket is a 54″ chest. I’ve always had a big chest and now the suit fits a bit loose, mostly in the shoulders. So, with about 10″ of waistline to hide, I buckled my belt up (on the 3rd notch now!) and scrunched the extra round the back. Apparently, my friends noticed it and dubbed me J-lo butt for the day.

This isn’t the first time someone’s mentioned my clothes fitting loose. Even the guys at work are noticing that my shirts are noticeably baggier and my pants require a bit more cinching. Going without a belt is not an option right now. My strap belt is nearly going around the back of me now. When I was younger, I used to wear my strap belt through the first loop and I’d leave the excess loose along my leg. It was sort of a ‘gut gauge’ for me. At my thinnest, it hung to my knee. At my fattest it was above my thigh.

My shirts are mostly 3XL. My pants are mostly 46″. My shoes are all 11.5s. Most of these are too big (yes, even my shoes…) but the problem is do I invest in clothes that I’ll be grown out of soon or do I make due with what I’ve got? I recently purchased some new pants that are already too big and some shirts, but I need more. I need to start tossing my baggy stuff and going from there. I’m thinking of taking all my ‘too big’ shirts and counting them out and replacing them 2:1). Luckily I do have some older clothes that I kept as ‘goal clothes’ that not only fit but are going to be too big reasonably soon. The other problem is suits. I have TWO more weddings this year. I broke out my old blue suit jacket which hasn’t fit in years and to my surprise, it fits now. Hopefully it’s the right shade of navy blue for the wedding I’m going to be in soon. I also noticed that my ties tied with a school boy knot (Four in Hand) that it hangs properly without having to give myself a yard of extra material.

I do think a suit rental is in order though for the next wedding and I’ll need to buy some nice khakis and a nice shirt for the last wedding. At this point, I just need to get through the summer. Which means I’ll need ONE more bathing suit because the one I have now is going to be a problem… it’s nearly come off a FEW times… and I’m not ready to show off that much skin yet.

Slightly less fat guy in a GIANT coat. Slightly less fat guy in a GIANT coat. Slightly less fat guy in a GIANT cooooooooat.

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What’s up, Jerky OR More Sriracha!

I love jerky. I’ve always loved it. My wife has not been a fan of my obsession with it. She always said there’s too much salt, too many bad things involved… While this is true of most store bought, cheap jerky… making your own would allow me to determine what goes into it.

Your food, dried… for your play-zhurrrr

So, with that, I put a food dehydrator into my amazon wish list (which is basically the “Buy me this for birthdays/father’s day/Christmas” list). I chose the Nesco FD-80 square dehydrator. I’d read a lot of reviews and this seemed to be the best. I also put the Jumbo Jerky Gun Kit into my list as well. These both arrived in time for Father’s Day, which was lovely.

It sat for a few weeks because I didn’t have any meat that was low enough in fat to use. After some cursory reading of jerky making, I found that leaner meat makes better jerky. It also makes jerky that’s less likely to go rancid. The dehydrator and jerky gun kit came with spices, but the spices contain nitrites and I wasn’t about to use those right away. Eventually, I found my way to the grocery store where I bought some cheap, lean ground beef. My wife was not happy with my choice as it wasn’t grass fed, organic beef. She told me that if I bought that I’d be eating it myself as she wouldn’t have it. I told her I wasn’t going to blow a big chunk of change on my first batch in the great odds that I screwed it up. So, a pound and a bit of jerky all for me then… or so I thought.

When I got home, I seasoned a bowl with some salt, pepper, Tabasco chipotle sauce and Sriracha sauce then dumped the meat in and started blending it together by hand, occasionally adding more of the above seasoning to it. In my head I was thinking “more seasoning than I need because it’s going to burn off…” THIS is incorrect. You need to use slightly LESS because dehydrating makes the season MORE potent. I loaded my jerky gun (which is basically a huge extruder and started working it onto the tray. I tried doing it in a circular pattern (don’t do this, you waste a LOT of space). The gun is kinda weird. It doesn’t come out as smooth as the above picture. It kinda burps a bit. Also, have a knife on hand to cut the strips off when you get to the end of the tray. Lay your strips out as the above picture, in straight lines. The other problem is when you get to the end of the gun, you’re left with this little hockey puck of perfectly good meat. Don’t do this: don’t slap it on the dehydrator and expect it to dry properly (or at least at the same length of time). It’s too thick. Either press it down a bit and put it on the dehydrator or cut it up a bit. I ended up just drying it as is. I set it on high and let it go for 4 hours. After 4 hours, I had a piece… it was good, but over-seasoned. I ate the hockey puck… it wasn’t quite cooked all the way through. I didn’t get sick, so there’s that…

I offered my wife a piece. At first she turned it down. Then, a few minutes later she tried a piece… and another… and then a few more exclaiming, “This is the best thing I’ve ever eaten…”

Thursday Weigh-In – 274lbs

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The Barbecue Conundrum or “No, sorry, I can’t eat that”

I’m not Nitrite free, but I’m De-Goddamned-Licious!

We got to go to our first real BBQ while on the plan. We brought some Blueberry Protein Balls and some roasted (scorched) asparagus. I was immediately offered a beer to which I responded “Sorry, can’t drink them anymore,” which started the whole conversation of what I’m doing. The host replied, “Well, I have some home made hard cider, can you have that?” He explained to me the ingredients (pressed apples, yeast and a little bit of sugar) and I decided “Hey, why not?” It was delicious and it seems like hard cider is one of those “debatable” things in the Primal community. I had one (rather large) bottle of it and called it a day with a reasonable buzz.

The meat served may not have been perfectly primal. The (organic, cage free) chicken was in a soy sauce marinade, but we had a few before we learned that. We had some wonderful sausages and kielbasa with grilled onions and peppers which falls squarely into our plan (despite probably having some nitrites in them). And then came the big mistake: The coconut crusted chicken. We asked the person who made them how they made it and she explained, “Eggs, coconut flakes, butter, etc…” and we voraciously dug into it. My wife had a bite and asked one more question to the lady, “So, how do you make it?” She replied, “Well, you take the eggs, coconut, FLOUR, butter…” My wife interrupted “Oh, there’s flour in it?” The woman replied “Well, yeah, you gotta add that to make it stick.” My wife politely spit the bite she had taken out and said “They’re delicious but we can’t have flour.” At that point I was already tearing into the 2nd one… which I shrugged and finished. My first ‘willful’ disregard of the rules. It was REALLY good and I was still hungry. That said, we looked at the composition and determined that we’d be able to modify this meal with almond flour to create this delicious item.

We kept my son out of the crackers and chips that surrounded the BBQ and I hope that we didn’t end up being “Those people…” at the party of mainly strangers. We had a good time and a few people seemed genuinely interested in what we were doing… or they were REAL good fakers.

For July 4th, my wife and I will be hosting a BBQ at my dad’s house. We’re providing the majority of people with burgers and dogs while we have a small stash of food for ourselves (organic, nitrite-free turkey dogs, CSA-supplied ground beef, maybe a steak.) It should be great.

Next time – Adventures in Jerky OR “I think I put too much Sriracha in this batch…”

Saturday weigh-in – 277lbs

Sunday weigh-in – 274lbs

Monday weigh-in – 276lbs