Progress and some links

Well, this weekend didn’t screw me up too hard after all. Here’s how it all went down.

On Saturday, we went to a friend’s house for board games and spaghetti. He made the spaghetti sauce gluten free for all of us glutards (a term my friend Jordan came up with) and we got some gluten-free brown rice noodles that were actually very tasty. I ate a small bowl of that and probably 4-5 pieces of gluten-free garlic bread I made. Against the Grain makes frozen baguettes that are really good, and I just put some pastured butter and fresh garlic on there. So that meal was pretty heavy on carbs, but still at least somewhat reasonable.

Sunday, I made some gluten-free pancakes for my wife with Pamela’s baking mix. They turned out really well. They were light, fluffy, but with some body to them. I’d be lying if I said I’d ever made pancakes from Bisquik mix that were as good. I only ate a few bites of them, though. The great thing is that Jenna actually really enjoyed them. Finding good gluten-free substitutes can be a challenge, but we’ve been doing a good job with it. So anyway, I had some eggs and sausage and a couple bites of pancakes. They were super tasty. Then I went over to the Webbers’ house to help them with a project. Kristie was super sweet and made me some gluten-free pancakes using Red’s gluten-free pancake mix, I believe. She wrapped them around some chipotle-seasoned eggs because she knows how much I love me some chipotle. That was still a very reasonable amount of carbohydrate, though it was more than I usually eat. The real problem didn’t come until later.

Anyway, for lunch we went to a brewery and I got a side salad and a double bacon cheeseburger without the bun. I’m sure it was CAFO meat and cheese and the bacon was probably loaded with all sorts of nasties. I’m starting to get a bit of an upset stomach when I eat low-quality foods, even if they’re protein and fat. The good stuff never gives me trouble, but the factory farmed stuff has to be in small doses or it makes me a little sick. I’m so delicate now! That sort of upsets me in some ways, because I don’t like the idea of losing my digestive toughness, but I also really don’t like being borderline obese and gaining 5-10 pounds every year, or having to count my calories and work my butt off to maintain. So anyway, I’m trying even harder to eat quality foods. I also tried a couple bites of Jenna’s baked sweet potato and it was really good! I thought I didn’t like sweet potatoes, but that one was super tasty. So now I’m thinking maybe I like actual fresh sweet potatoes and just don’t like the nasty canned yam junk.

On our way home from there, we stopped by See’s candies. See’s has recently gone 99% gluten free in all their candies, with the only exceptions being things with frosting decorations on them. So as long as you avoid that stuff, everything is gluten free (without even cross-contamination, since nothing is processed with gluten on their machines), and they also have a solid list of soy- and dairy-free options. Anyway, if you’re looking to have something sweet and delicious, you could do worse than See’s candy. however, when you eat half a pound of See’s candies in a sitting, that will not end well for you. That’s precisely what I did. I ate a few pieces and then went on a giant binge and just ate everything I had gotten. It was delicious, for sure. That is easily the most sugar I’ve eaten in one sitting in about two months, though. I should have anticipated some repercussions.

We headed back over to the Webbers’ house to finish up some stuff, and Kristie made us some gluten-free tortilla soup. It was super delicious and I ate all of my bowl and most of Jenna’s. There were tortilla strips, corn and potatoes in it, so it was a little starchy, but I know I would have been just fine with it if I hadn’t blown my carbs for the day into the stratosphere with my candy binge. The weekend was a little carb heavy for me overall, even without the candy, but I don’t think I would have had any major troubles if I had just left it as those starchy foods and then gotten back on track on Monday.

Instead, I ended up with a sugar hangover on Monday morning. I was lethargic, a little nauseated, mentally foggy and unfocused and had a headache. That lasted most of the day, unfortunately. It sucked. It was bad enough that it will keep me away from binges for a good long while. The candy was tasty, but the few minutes of pleasure it gave me wasn’t even close to being worth feeling like 200 pounds of smashed ass. It’s hard to believe I used to do that sort of thing on a regular basis. You might not fully understand the magnitude of my sweet tooth if you haven’t seen me eat in real life. Servings of candy for me were measured in significant fractions of a pound. I would go to the store and look at the price per ounce and buy the most cost-efficient candy even if I didn’t like it that much, simply because I knew I’d be plowing through the whole bag in no time. This was an almost daily occurrence. Go back a couple years ago and I was drinking probably a gallon or more of soda every day in addition to the candy. How I’m not diabetic or in a coma is anyone’s guess. I should at least have been north of 300 pounds, but I always managed to keep my activity just high enough to keep the weight gain to a slow creep. Anyway, enough of all that. It was gross and I can’t believe I used to do that to my poor body. Now that I’ve stopped mistreating it so horribly, it has started rewarding me.

On that note, here’s some progress. I’m just about at 8 weeks since starting my 30-day trial, and here’s what I’ve accomplished:

Weight: 245 down to 220. That’s 25 pounds of scale weight in two months. At first, I was hesitant to say that a majority of my weight loss was body fat, but now I’m confident that such is the case. I’m simply looking far too lean for it to be anything else. Can’t say precisely how much of it is fat vs. water vs muscle, but I think there was some water early on, and then mostly fat. I don’t feel like I’ve lost significant muscle mass, though. My muscles are still feeling the same size as they did before, just without the chub layer.

Suprailiac pinch: With the new calipers, I’m going to estimate I started at 23-25mm. I measured at 21-23 about two weeks in, so I think that’s reasonable. This morning, I measured at 16-17mm. That is just a huge difference. My skin is feeling…thin. It’s weird. Weird in an awesome way. I’m not going to use this as a gauge of my body fat %, but between this pinch, my waist measurement, my waist, and how I look in the mirror, I feel comfortable saying I’m under 20% body fat now. Probably 18-19% at the most, and maybe even 16-17%, though that may be wishful thinking on my part.

Waist: 40+” down to 36.75″ this morning. That’s a pretty huge difference. My pants are looking increasingly silly, and are actually getting uncomfortable because of all the material bunched up in the waistband. I have a few pairs that are significantly smaller, and they are much more comfortable. I’m debating about buying new pants now, because I don’t know whether to buy 34″ or 36″ waist pants. That’s a nice problem to have vs not knowing whether to buy 38″ or 40″ waist pants. Anyway, I know everything is going to keep going the right way as long as I keep doing my part.

General: I’m feeling muscle right under the skin in a lot of areas, now. I didn’t realize just how much fat I had spread out over my body, and the loss has been pretty subtle. There’s a lot of me, so even a lot of fat can be spread pretty thin. But it’s all slowly but surely melting away. My biceps are looking more defined, and my legs are feeling pretty darned lean. I’m focusing largely on my torso, because it has always been my biggest problem area. The abdominal fat is thinning, though slowly. I’m feeling muscle right under skin over on my obliques, my love handles are getting less dense and getting slightly smaller, and the front and center fat pad is getting less dense and thinner as well. I’m not sure when I’ll catch sight of my abs, but I’m thinking it will be early next year. For the record, I have literally never had anything even approaching a six-pack. Even when I was in the best shape of my life, I’ve always had belly fat and love handles. I’ve gotten pretty lean everywhere else, but never in my stomach. So this is all very exciting. I’m also learning more about why this happens, and that makes it all feel more like I have control over my own fitness destiny.

So anyway, there you go. That’s what’s been going on with me. I’ve been trying to avoid fast foods and I’ve done that for a few weeks now. That’s making me feel better in a big way. The key is just having enough convenient food at home so I don’t get caught up in the “But it’s so much easier to go through the drive-through” trap. It also helps to mentally kick that out as an option. If you were hungry and couldn’t run through Wendy’s, what would you do? You’d find something to eat at home or you’d stay hungry. That’s a good enough motivation to inspire some creativity in me when it’s required. It also helps to keep those nights in mind when you go to the store. Find some convenience foods that you can heat up or unwrap in a pinch. You also need to get your problem foods out of the house if you don’t have the willpower to stay away from them. When you’re hungry and don’t feel like making a big meal, that box of Fruity Pebbles (a heart-healthy, law-fat food packed with the goodness of whole grains!) may just be too hard to resist.

I haven’t tried these yet, but they look awesome. I’ll pick up a few and let you know how I like them, but they would be a fantastic option to have around the house for when you need a snack/meal on the run:  Steve’s Original PaleoKits

Also, read this. It’s incredibly inspiring. Vainglory His whole blog is here: Food is for Fuel And an entry that I read and actually gave me goosebumps is here: Reasons Not To Lose Weight

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