Day 8: It’s Actually Getting Easi……Yeah, I Can’t Finish That Title Without Laughing


So after day 3, I began to get into a rhythm with regard to my eating schedule.  Eight days in, and I’m actually not on the brink of being tossed into a rubber room and given a big box of crayolas and construction paper to make pretty art with.  The morning caffeine craving is basically gone at this point, replaced by cold water.  By the way: this sucks, because coffee usually kick-started me and put me in a higher gear for work first thing in the morning.  Now, I feel more sluggish and tired in the mornings, and I catch myself yawning mid-day (maybe this could be caused by me getting a look at my reflection in the office window…the verdict is out).One thing I will say though: I’m not starving in the mornings now, even after a workout.  those hunger pangs have dissipated.

Last weekend I put in some trail running, a few hours on the bike, and some strength work, and I wasn’t as ravenous as I had expected to be afterward.  After these types of longer, weekend workouts, I know that I’m hungry….but I’m just too tired to eat. So I was able to stay within my fueling window during the weekend (all calories taken in on a weekday are from 10am-3pm), and minimize the calories to only the good ones (a la swordfish and vegetables…thank you Trader Joe’s).  My goal is to run on more than 50% of my current diet in protein and shorten up on carbohydrates.  I want to use the weekend as my days where I come of the fasting routine, but I’m afraid to alter the process as – knowing me and my lousy sense of self-discipline – I may not get back on the fasting train.

Eight days in and I haven’t raised the white flag yet.  This is sooooooooo unlike me!

I can see it now: those Pearly Gates of Heaven floating on a huge white cloud like in an old Bugs Bunny cartoon from the 1980’s.  There’s Saint Peter, with a glass of 30 year-old Macallan scotch in his hand, sitting on a really awesome couch that he scored on sale at Ethan Allen during their Fourth of July Sales Extravaganza.  He’s got cable, of course – so he’s got the Yanks on the boobtube, and is beginning to stress about their starting pitching.  Right next to him is my little Irish grandmother, sitting there with a white wine spritzer in one hand and a pair of huge binoculars in the other.  The two of them are yapping away, discussing the proper way to make Hungarian goulash, when she presses the binoculars up to her face to catch a glimpse of her dear ol’ grandson.  And what do her sparkling eyes observe?  Me saying “no” to linguine, and “yes” to corn, peas, carrots and string beans, partnered up with tilapia.  Seriously: tilapia.  A damn fish that her Irish eyes never came across in her 94 years in New York City.

No pasta.  Doubling up on the veggies.  No bread.  Where the hell are the potatoes?

SERIOUSLY.  NO BREAD.

A tear begins to form in her eye.

She slowly lowers the binoculars, turns to Saint Peter, and…….whacks him right in the back of the head.  Saint Peter spills his scotch, and asks “OH!!!!!  Mary!!!  What was dat for?” (bet you didn’t know that Saint Peter was really from Bensonhurst, Brooklyn – look it up, it’s true) Two which my grandmother simply responds “What the heck did you do to my grandson?  He’s eating like one of them nutjobs I see on YouTube.  Now get down there and fix that kid (I’m 48, but technically she’s 114 up there, so I’m a kid – see, like I told my buddy Al….everything’s relative).

Sorry Grandma – I’ll eat a decent meal soon. But the effort is paying off.  7 pounds said adios since I’ve begun this process.  Not bad – but the biggest losses come right at the beginning.  So I’m not dancing a jig yet.

 

Day 3:This Ain’t Getting Any Easier


So its day three of this endeavor, and I’m already noticing some changes. Here – let me list them for you:

  • I used to be impatient.  Now I scowl at red lights just for taking too long to change – because my crankiness will definitely make it turn green quicker.
  • I walked by a place here in SoCal that stated “Authentic New York Pizza”, and I got so cranky that I kicked the sidewalk – because that will definitely make all the difference in the crust and the sauce.  (You see, pizza is always better in New York City because of the local water, the Jersey tomatoes and the fresh pulled mozzarella made from cows that have the same kind of attitude as Joe Pesci did in Goodfellas.)
  • I usually wear a rather clear sign on my face that says “Hello – I’m Joe, and I’m a nice freakin’ guy”.  Now the sign says “I’m Joe, now go scratch.

I have read about this type of intermittent fasting, and I know that the beginning is not supposed to be easy, because I’m making my body do the same things it usually does daily with less fuel.  Now the cool thing is that, because the body needs to do work with less fuel, the fuel I give my engine needs to be that 93 Extra Special octane gas that only the fancy-schmansy people pump into their 2019 Masaratis.  So I hit the office cafeteria twice a day during my 5 hour fueling window to chow down on diced grilled chicken that really doesn’t really have much flavor to it so that that stomach shuts up.  The protein helps me feel full for a bit – which is good.  And my evening bike and strength workouts haven’t suffered much, performance-wise.

I will say one positive thing about this experience: I’m actually more focused on both work and stuff at home than before.  Before, I could eat whenever I felt like it. Little things here and there.  Yum – something to nosh on in between meals.  Now, with this window of time to eat, I need to focus on other things when that urge to buy a package of Oreos comes calling (ah oh dear Lord, he comes calling…..often).

Oh wait – here’s another cool thing about this process: I can look forward to the weekend knowing that I can relax – but just be self-aware at it pertains to NOT LOSING any gains I made during the week.

Now….all I need to do is stay cool and not flippeth the helleth out on some random stanger that doesn’t like the color of my sweater (It’s a lovely shade of green – it brings out my damn eyes….).

 

No Coffee and I Didn’t Croke? I’m Stunned


I woke up this morning at 4am, hungry as all hell. I got a light workout in, as I needed to get to work extra-early. By 9am, I realized two things:

1) The hunger pains aren’t as bad as I expected – but my stomach does make a rather embarrassing noise when it’s empty (if I were underwater, and my stomach made the noises its been giving off today, I’m sure a family of humpback whales would try to communicate with it), and

2) I’ve now gone over 40 hours without caffeine of any kind, and my world has not erupted into bedlam. I have no idea why, but I haven’t suffered from a caffeine headache yet, and I’m not exactly craving that venti Starbucks with half & half. While casting my liquid security blanket aside, I won’t swear off caffeine all together. I bought this funky-looking teapot, and I’m going to give tea a shot. I can drink tea without milk or sugar, so it doesn’t really have any calories, it has some flavor, and there’s something in tea that helps digestion and other stuff. How bad can it be? I mean, James Bond drank tea, right? (oh wait – that was a martini – shaken not stirred…..crap, I’m screwed).

The other killer for me right now is that I’m cutting out wine during the week. I thought this would have been a bigger deal than it appears to be thus far – but since I’m not eating after 3pm, when I get home, I’m not cooking….so I’m not popping a cork either. that doesn’t mean I’m writing of vino all together. HECK NO. Just during the week, while I’m developing this new routine, wine is a no-no for me.

I’ve also noticed that I’ve stepped up the level of cranky. I’m guessing that adjusting my eating habits and running on less fuel for the next few days will be a bit tough – I’m hoping I get used to it. Yesterday wasn’t a rough day for workouts, since I knew that most of my energy would be dialed in to sticking to the diet and being disciplined. Today was another story, though. I got an hour in on the bike, some weights, and a solid 45 minute run in this evening. So tomorrow morning will be the real test – I’m hoping to sleep well and wake up with enough energy to get a workout in before work. We shall see.

I am glad that I’m focusing on diet first, and I’m not letting the other stuff distract me yet. It’s only been 2 days…..19 more in a row and I’ve got myself a habit.

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TODAY’S REPORT CARD

Sleep: B+ (Got 7 hours in. Not bad on an empty stomach)

DIET: B+ (Day Two on this plan, and I stuck to it again. I’m shocked)

Swim: N/A (Not on the schedule today)

Bike: B+ (An hour on it, with a 19mph average. I need 20mph for an A. I’m a tough grader)

Run: B (45 minutes, outside. Relaxing but SLOW. That’s why I am working on the diet first – I’ll move faster without this baby grand on my back)

Strength: B (Worked out even though I ached a bit from yesterday)

Hungry, Cranky, and Trying Something New…


So today I began something new: intermittent fasting.

It’s a rather radical decision to make, but I realized that the old saying is true: Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes. Before today, the only times I’ve done what’s now referred to as Intermittent Fasting was when I either a) didn’t have enough cash to buy breakfast and lunch, b) I lost my damn wallet on the #6 train, or c) I didn’t have enough time to breathe, let alone eat a meal during my work day. Let’s face it: I didn’t call it by some fancy name like Intermittent Fasting….I referred to it as I’m Cranky As Hell Because I Didn’t Eat.

I’ve done a lot of reading about this type of fasting, and I chose to go this route so that I can drop excess pounds quicker. This will allow me to train at a higher quality level than I’ve been hitting recently. This won’t be a lifestyle change for me – I like food WAAAAAY to much for that – but in order for me to finally go from where I am to where I want to be, something drastic needed to happen.

The way I see it, I’ll go the next 6 weeks trying this discipline of eating: there will be a window of time each day for caloric intake (I’m budgeting a 5 hour period between 10am and 3pm each work day). During this time period, I will eat a decent breakfast (around 10sm), and a decent lunch (as close to 3pm as a work schedule will allow). After 3pm, I can take in as much water, tea, or coffee (black, no sugar) that I feel like. When I wake up in the morning, it’s calorie-free fluids until the clock strikes 10am again.

Now my number one concern was my energy level and how the lack of calories will effect my training. Some experts say that proper calorie intake during your feeding window should permit a solid workout. However, my goal is to drop weight at a rather quick rate, so some hunger pangs and a grumbling stomach are part of the deal. As an Ironman Certified Coach, I would not recommend this type of diet to someone training for a triathlon, because the athlete needs fuel to get him/her through longer workouts at a high level of quality. But that’s just it for me: I feel like I’m not getting quality workouts in BECAUSE I’m carrying too much of myself around 24/7. I’m feeling sluggish. Unfocused. And my training plan has been a bit aggressive. Soooooo…..I burn 800 calories in an hour and then I take in 1400 empty calories as a “reward for a job well done”. NOT THE WAY TO DO THINGS. AT. ALL.

Instead of trying to get lighter, faster, and stronger all at once, I decided to prepare for what’s in store for me in phases…..

Phase One – Drop the Excess Me: Drop the piano that I’m constantly carrying on my back. This means six weeks of The Biggest Loser-type of training. Let’s get rid of the piano. In this phase, I’m expecting some headaches, hunger pangs, and some development of lean muscle (because I’m not ditching my workouts – I’m just altering them to sculpt a newer version of myself).

Phase Two – Crank Up the Mileage: As I begin to notice Phase One showing results, I will gradually up my endurance sessions (those high mileage run and bike sessions) while taking in slightly more calories and timing my meals to ensure healthy recovery post-workout. If Phase One has done it’s job, Phase Two should result in me having an easier time cranking up my running pace and hanging longer at 20+mph on the bike.

Phase Three – Play Mad Scientist: Once I have the body composition that is more conducive to being able to run 30-35 miles a day for 2 weeks (where I’ll need to be in 14 months), I’ll need to add some serious strength work to my routine, because long endurance events break down muscle, big time. So you gotta build yourself up to break yourself down.

So Phase One is geared toward making the load I’ll need to carry lighter, Phase Two will be focused on putting the tiger in the cat and using  my lighter weight to go longer and faster, and Phase Three will be adding muscle so that I can endure next August and defend against injuries. I’ve tried doing everything at once. Now I’m changing things up – I focus now on one issue at a time.  When you try to accomplish everything at once, you wind up accomplishing nothing well.

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TODAY’S REPORT CARD

Sleep:  A (Got 8 hours in.  A good way to start the week.)

DIET: B+ (Day One on this plan, and I stuck to it. I did have a couple of Twix bars though!)

Swim:  N/A (Not on the schedule today)

Bike:  B (I didn’t get a bike in in the morning – I was too chicken to start my day in severe calorie debt, so I waited ’til the evening to get an hour in)

Run:  C  (Dreadmill. That sucked.)

Strength:  B+ (I had a great evening upper body workout,  Felt like Hans and Franz from SNL)

hans-franz