Sunday, 29 April 2012


My journey is one of weight loss, and a lot of it.  While I am still under halfway to my goal, I felt that hitting 50 pounds lost was big enough of an accomplishment to at least see a before and current shot.  The problem is, when I was at and near my heaviest, I refused to let people take my picture because I was so unhappy with myself.  I'm finding it a bit easier to let those pictures get taken these days.  I found one from Christmas just passed so I decided to sit that next to a picture that was taken of me yesterday.  I've still got a long way to go but my resolve is just as potent as it was when I started this journey.  I can see a difference... can you?

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

WEEK 15 - Ruh-Roh

Week 15 | April 24, 2012 | Weight 263.3 | Loss of 0.2 lbs | Total Loss: 47.3

Oh the madness.  I'm not surprised by this weigh in at all.  While I did manage to stay under my calorie budget, the phantom of sodium had struck again and I will admit, one event in particular was lack of planning and will power.

We visited three different takeouts between Thursday and Saturday and while calories remained in check, my sodium did not.  I wasn't worried as I figured that in two days I'd be flushed and back to normal.  Then it hit, it was dinner time on Sunday and I had a meal on the home cooking menu that we've never had before so the temptation of a delicious, home cooked meal wasn't there (simply because I had no idea if it would be fit to eat or not LOL). We were at the mall and the Boston Pizza was glaring at me.  I did a quick check on the iPhone and I could do it calorie wise, but sodium would hit me at a shocking 5800 mg!  Add that to the previous sodium from the fast food from Thursday - Saturday.

It was nothing more than a pure weak moment and we went in.  On Monday, I had gained almost 4 pounds!  I flushed all day and this morning got myself back down by 2 pounds but earlier in the week I was weighing in at 261 so I didn't manage to get it all out of the system.  This means that next weeks weigh in should be pretty decent as long as I don't let this one incident continue.  Yeah, I had the Boston Brute...

Planned meals even in restaurants seem to be working out, but it's these unplanned, spur of the moment ones that'll get ya.  Don't make them a habit!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Good Food

Homemade Protein Bars
In an effort to help with my strength training and swapping out my un-healthy afternoon snack of ice-cream or chips, I started investigating protein bars.  After some experimenting with various online recipes and investigating store bought bars, my wife and I found this recipe to be simply delicious!

We also wanted to control what ingredients went into the bars without any extra chemicals and with the price of store bought bars being pretty out there, homemade is the way to go.  These will satisfy your chocolate craving and make for a fantastic treat.

Ingredients - Dry
2 Cups Rolled Oats
1 Cup Protein Powder (Chocolate Whey Isolate)
1/3 Cup Dried Cranberries
1/4 Cup Sliced Almonds
1/2 Tablespoon Cinnamon

Instructions - Dry
1. Mix all of the above dry ingredients into a large bowl.

Ingredients - Wet
1/4 Cup Organic Peanut Butter
1/4 Cup Unpasteurized Honey
1/4 Cup Skim Milk
1/4 Cup Unsweetened Apple Sauce
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Cube 70% Dark Chocolate (Cut into small pieces)

Instructions - Wet
1. Mix all of the wet ingredients above into a microwave proof bowl, including the chocolate
2. Put in microwave oven for 30 seconds.
3. Remove and Stir.  If chocolate hasn't melted, repeat step 2.
4. Once chocolate is soft and mixable, stir entire wet bowl contents into dry bowl contents.

Instructions - Final
1. Put a large piece of wax paper into a 8" x 8" square baking pan.
2. Spray Pam into the wax paper.
3. Pour mixture into baking pan and spread.
4. Press down with hands or rubber spatula (mixture will be sticky)
5. Refrigerate until chilled.
6. Remove from fridge, turn pan upside down and peel wax paper off.
7. Cut into 12 equal bars.
8. Place bars into sandwich bags and store in fridge.  They will hold for about a week.

Eat as a snack or eat 2 for a meal replacement with plenty of protein.  Each bar has the following nutritional values:

Calories: 165
Fat: 5.7 g
Saturated Fat: 1.7 g
Cholesteral: 0.9 mg
Sodium: 37 mg
Carbs: 22.2 g
Fiber: 1.9 g
Sugars: 10.1 g
Protein: 9.6 g

Mixing Dry Ingredients

Mixing all Ingredients
Fill your square pan
Press Mixture Into Pan
After Refrigerating, remove from pan
Cut into 12 equal bars

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

WEEK 14 - Advice

Week 14 | April 17, 2012 | Weight 263.5 | Loss of 2.4 lbs | Total Loss: 47.1

Hooray for another great loss!  You know you're making progress when people start asking you how you're doing it.  What's the secret and what's the magic behind weight loss.  I decided to reflect back on what I've done and make a list of things I've tried my best to understand and adhere to that's been successful for me.

The important thing here is that there is no one way to lose weight.  There's lots of different things a person can do to lose weight and get fit.  Below, is simply how I am doing it and by no means does every single item in this list need to be applied.  Some of them are common sense, others are things I've researched and chose the best resulting answer for me.  That said, this list is to answer the question "How did I (me) lose almost 50 pounds so far?" - My answer is, I use a combination of the Lose It WWW site for calorie tracking, and workouts and using the below advice.

1. Don't use any of the LoseIT food items in the database. Figure out your own. They rarely match what's on the labels, especially if you don't live in the US.

2. Do the work to figure out your own recipe calorie counts. I discovered the Meat Loaf I was using on Lose It was 200 calories. When I did the work to actually find out what mine was, it was more like 300.

3. Don't log your exercise. Think of it as bonus and do it as much as you can. I work out a couple times per day for 30-40 mins each time.  It is a combo of Cardio and Strength Training. If you must log your exercise, get a heart rate monitor.  Lose It says Vigorous Sex burns 1 calorie per minute and Fishing burns 3.5 calories per minute.  Uhh.. Hello?  Also, unless your workout machine asked your weight, height, sex and age, it's calibrated for a 30 year old, 150 pound man.  Don't trust the number!  Get a HRM!

4. Zig Zagging is your friend. Eat a bit under each day and then use those extra calories on the weekend to eat the things you enjoy that "may" not be the best for you.

5. Weigh daily, and learn to understand what the scale is telling you (don't guess, there are ways to actually figure it out) and record weight weekly, even if it's a gain. It will keep you accountable.

6. Watch out for sodium and learn about its effects. Turn on macro and micro nutrients in lose-it so you can see what your taking in.

7. Learn about BMR - it may apply to you.

8. Learn that new muscle growth in a typical male takes a year for 5-10 pounds worth (even for a Mesomorph) - no, you didn't put on 2 pounds last week because of muscles, it's probably water due to sodium or you overate and didn't estimate your calories correctly. (It's even harder for women to gain muscle mass).

9. Learn about simple vs. complex carbs.

10. Skinless Chicken Breast is your best friend.

11. Avoid eating out like the plague. Home cooking is much better.


13. Learn about weight fluctuations. Understand that they are normal from day to day, even hour to hour.

14. Log EVERYTHING, even if you go in the red, log it. I see people not log because they are either too ashamed they overate or don't want to see failure. Log it anyway - later you will remind yourself of what not to do by looking at it.

15. Patience, Patience, Patience, Patience.

16. Don't worry about the end goal date - it will come eventually but don't form habits that you can't sustain for the rest of your life. This is a life time change, not a diet.

17. Do meal planning. Figure out your whole day ahead of time. Then at dinner, you take up your serving, the extras on the counter are taunting you - have someone garbage them - it's a waste, but it helps train you to not eat the leftovers or go for seconds.

18. If you eat fast like me, train yourself to understand that the hunger will subside 20 minutes after eating - you may not be actually hungry even after eating your full planned meal.

19. Cardio burns, Resistance builds.  Unless you hit puberty, you didn't gain 10 pounds of muscle from riding a bike last year.  Your muscles will get stronger before gaining ANY mass.  This is the way of things.  Don't confuse getting stronger with muscle mass.

20. Stick with it and accept the simple science.  3500 calories = 1 pound!

That's it.  Remember, you don't have to follow this yourself, it just happens to be what I've researched and followed myself to see my success so far for the past 14 weeks (oh and it works for my wife as well.  She is down 26 pounds and is much closer to goal than I).  I still have a ways to go, but I am full steam ahead!  I've put this here to answer the question I'm being asked - what is it that YOU do?  Well, here it is.  Good luck to EVERYONE in their journey!  We can do this!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

The Effects of Sodium

So I've been experimenting with sodium lately to see and understand the things I was reading about.  Nothing better than taking someone else's research and applying it to yourself to see how it (if at all) impacts you.  The basic adage is that sodium makes you retain water and too much of it will (among other things) make you retain more water than you should and thus you won't expend the water you would have if you never O.D'd on sodium LOL.  The studies say the average person should ingest no more than about 2300 mg of sodium per day.

So, on three separate occasions, I decided to try this out for myself.  Here are the results.

Sunday, April 1st - Ingested 4216.1 mg of sodium.  2 Day Weight was 2.4 pound gain
Thursday, April 5th - Ingested 5815.1 mg of sodium.  1 Day Weight was 1 pound gain.
Tuesday, April 10th - Ingested 5741.0 mg of sodium. 1 Day Weight was 1 pound gain.

What's important to note here is that all three of these days were at a calorie deficit for me, meaning that I should NOT have gained weight under normal circumstances.

So, we've gone and had too much sodium.  How do we fix it?  Well, to fix a sodium problem like I caused above, you spend the next day or two flushing with extra water and eating at or below 2300 mg of sodium.  Here are those results:

2 Days of water flush: 2.3 pounds lost in 2 days
1 Day of water flush: 0.7 pounds lost in 1 day
1 Day of water flush: 1.0 pounds lost in 1 day

These were the day(s) immediately following the day of high sodium intake.

What does this mean?

It means that for ME, high sodium intake causes weight fluctuations and sudden gains COULD be explained by analyzing how much sodium I took in even while I was in a calorie deficit.  The gains are temporary!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

WEEK 13 - Keeps going, and going...

Week 13 | April 10, 2012 | Weight: 265.9 | Loss of 4.4 lbs | Total Loss: 44.7

For the first time ever we never had a turkey for Easter.  We decided this year that we would have a regular meal that the kids would choose.  They selected Meatloaf LOL.  Go figure.  Happily, unlike turkey, there's no gravy and hordes of potatoes and other such treats.  That said, we did quite well with keeping eating under control.

On the exercise note, I started in on my weight training.  I've got some severe DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) as a result.  I don't think my muscles have been worked like this in years.  I'm also slowly starting to switch up my snacks and going with less sugary ones in exchange for healthy ones.  To start, I'm including an apple with my lunch and looking to increase my protein and reduce my fat intake.

Also, on a small goal note, I am currently the lightest I have been in the past 6 years.  YAY!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone!  It's been a good Easter for me and my family so far.  On Thursday, my wife and I had a date night and we ate out at Boston Pizza.  We overate, drank too much and I had over 5000 mg of sodium in me.  Yikes!  As predicted, the next day I shot up almost 2 pounds, but gradually came back down as I flushed and the days went by.

My wife and I were thinking of a better way to celebrate Easter for the kids rather than giving them hordes of chocolate.  Normally, we have an Easter egg hunt with little chocolate mini eggs.  Because of our new lifestyle change, we decided to go a different route.  Instead of having little chocolate eggs, we picked up about 200 plastic eggs and put a 25 cent piece in each one.  The kids LOVED it!  They made a bunch of money and didn't miss the chocolate at all.  Of course we DID buy them a chocolate bunny each but this is the first year we had a significant reduction in chocolate around the house and it's working out well!

My wife has also officially registered for her first 5 km run.  She has entered the Starbucks Run for Women.  I set up a domain name to her sponsor page which I thought was neat.  It is

She was quite pleased.

I also decided to try my hand at the C25K on the treadmill.  I found it was easier than I originally thought.  Of course everyone says running on the treadmill is easier than running outside but you have to start small and slowly.  I'll keep that up.

I picked up an Olympic Easy Curl barbell with some weight plates to go along with my workout room weights which I started in on last night.  I swear my muscles haven't been that sore in years so I know I must have done something right.  Mind you, I'm not replacing my normal cardio routines with weight lifting, I just added it to the regimen 3 times a week.

I was quite beat by it and learned I have a long way to go before I can do a single unassisted pull up, but oddly enough, I was able to get the push-ups in better than I thought.  The lunges seemed easy when I started them, but after two sets... Ow.  LOL.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

WEEK 12 - Paying the Piper

WEEK 12 | April 3, 2012 | Weight: 270.3 | Loss of 0.1 lbs | Total Loss: 40.3 lbs

I am both amazed and not surprised by this week's weigh in.  Let's see, where to begin.  Well first on Thursday evening we had a ton of things to do so getting home to cook was just not in the cards.  I ended up eating a Momma Burger combo at A&W.  Then of course on Saturday, I ate smokies, salmon, steak, baked potato and cheese toast in large portions.  Then there was the copious amounts of alcohol in the company of some great friends.  Not to mention the wife's chocolate fountain.. yikes!

To add fuel to the fire, Sunday was worse with deep fried fish and chip takeout with gravy and deep fried coconut shrimp, followed up by a chocolate brownie explosion from dairy queen and finally to end the evening off with pizza!

I feel so dirty LOL.

I certainly call this a cheat weekend and happily it was all planned.  My wife and I decided that we would have a weekend where we could eat whatever we wanted as long as we logged everything we ate.  After 3 months of doing so well, it was time for a break and you just have to do that once in a while.

Now it's back to home cooked meals which I still love to cook and eat and workout up to 40 minutes now in the mornings.   20 on the rower and 20 on the elliptical.  Oh, and I finally got my treadmill.  We were shopping around Canadian Tire and decided to grab the Tempo 632T Treadmill.  It was on sale.  I spent most of last night putting it together and it works just great.  It'll come in handy for the cold rainy days we get.