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less adipose. more muscle.

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  • less adipose. more muscle.

    So here goes something new in the getting in shape/losing some fat department.

    Background: I'm a 44 yo male, working as an IP attorney/corporate attorney for a small biotech company, which generally is mostly fun, but can be very stressful. I wasn't always a lawyer; I started off as a research biologist in the academic world.

    I was moderately active as a teenager, but didn't do sports, and subsisted on a pretty bad diet - lots of McDonalds (I worked there, after all), and traditional midwest fare. I would bike a little, walk a little, etc. I weighed about 165 at 5'11 1/2", very little muscle mass, and a pot belly. At 18!

    I lived a year in France with a French family from 18-19, and I experienced a revelation in food. Good wholesome food, although heavy on the grains (well, at least in the bread/croissant department). While I ate well, and often, I also walked everywhere (and had gym 2x/week), and instead of gaining the 5-10 lbs that I was warned that I would gain, I lost 10 lbs. But my overall shape was the same. College didn't change that much (I gained most of my weight back), and graduate school, while I commuted fairly frequently on my bike or walked 2 miles to the subway, I also lived on an incredibly high carbohydrate diet (it was cheap, and I didn't have a lot of money for anything!).

    After my post-doc years, I started working in law, and in 2002, got Epstein-Barr manifesting itself in an uncharacterized disease condition: somewhere delightfully between mono (not quite) and chronic fatigue. I had the best of both worlds - incredible tiredness and a long duration. I was trying to work full time and go to law school full time, and being sick killed my performance on both of those.

    When I finally got well, I had gained 10 lbs and did my best to imitate a skinny StayPuft(R) Marshmallow Man. Disgusted, in 2003, I picked up a weight training program from the internet (certainly something that promised transformation in 12 weeks!), and hired a trainer to instruct me on the lifts. I also started to bike to work (about 4.5 miles; anywhere from 1.5 to all of it city miles (Chicago)).

    I did get in better shape, but nothing swim-suit worthy. I didn't change my diet all that much, right away. But it wasn't long before I played around with it - classic weightlifter diets, Atkins, a few on the fringes. Nothing really worked. Except the weightlifter diet - I got up to a max of 200 lbs, which I quickly receded from to the low 190s.

    I tried other training programs. I worked with one of the top ten nationally ranked trainers (he was great, except he was too $$ to do it right, and we didn't spend much time on food, but you could punch me in the stomach, and once you got through the fat, you hit concrete).

    I decided that lifting and my genetics were not a good match. And it wasn't fun anymore. So I decided after running a 5K with the law firm I was with at the time, that I would strive for doing triathlons, and hoping that the side benefit would be a sexy body to compete with the best on Chicago's underwear-model-filled and frequented lake front trail.

    That was not trivial. First, I taught myself to run distance, at any pace (below 12 min miles). Then I paid some attention to biking. But swimming. Well, I had swim some as a postdoc, but only a wimp
    version of the breaststroke - not a triathlon-approved stroke! Freestyle and I didn't get along.

    So I took a class. I bought a triathlon swimming course. And I swam - lap after lap. In the pool, in the lake. I blew all my money from a side music gig on a wetsuit. I bought a tri training program (insane volumes). And I finally, after 2 years of training, did the Firecracker Tri in Benton Harbor, MI in 2008 (a sprint), and then the big goal, the Chicago Triathlon, Olympic (over 4,000 participants). Exhilarating. And while I looked the best I ever had, I still had that ring of fat on my belly. And I looked like an endurance guy. skinny fat! Oh boy! But I felt great proving to myself that a middle-aged guy could take up fitness activities and accomplish real things. That was pretty cool. I was probably around 185-189.

    That took a lot out of me, and I dialed it back. Fitness activities were sporadic, except running. I really wanted a better mile, and while not a diehard, I did manage to get it under 9:30 in a race. In 2009. I also changed jobs, and my bike commute went up to 10 miles each way, which I would do anywhere from 1-4x/week (year round, as appropriate). My bodyweight fluctuated between 185-190. Ugh.

    (but you know how my body looked, right?)

    2010, Fall: tragedy. Out for a run (in Vibrams, no less), and I partially ruptured a tendon in my foot. Thinking it a sprain, I rested it for 6 weeks, then while out of town, went treadmill running - and probably ruptured it all the way, and started in on the second - I was crippled with severe pain - but just for a day. I kept thinking it was one heck of a sprain. A week later, running for a subway, and the foot "collapsed" - another tendon rupturing, undoubtedly. The emergency room diagnosis: sprain, here's crutches. My doctor: not a sprain, but I have no idea; go see this surgeon. Surgeon: "completely and utterly inadequate care at ER. You've ruptured at least one tendon" Diagnosis confirmed. Surgeon's evaluation proposed that he not only repair the tendons, but remodel my foot so it wouldn't happen again.

    This was serious surgery, took way more out of me mentally and physically than I thought. 6 weeks of a non-weight bearing cast, and another 6 in a boot, I had a new foot with an ankle learning new way of moving, and muscles that had severely atrophied (we're talking losing over an inch in circumference on the calf; my other calf put on an inch from all the hopping around). I was careful during the cast time to eat not much, and I actually ended up losing a little weight. As soon as I was strong enough in the boot, I started swimming again.

    So much swimming, I got a chest. Not a lot, but something! And I got a little stronger. But I still looked like...

    Determined to lose the 15 lbs of fat that I figured were making me look skinny-fat (I'd rather be a skinny muscular looking guy than a fat skinny), I tried....Weight Watchers with the swimming. No avail. I started re-reading nutrition books, and after reading Taubes' What Makes Us Fat, I decided to look at low-carb options again, but knowing that Atkins and I hated each other. And I stumbled on Primal Blueprint, read the book and the ebooks from here, and immediately cut out the processed and grain carbs. I've been on vacation, and while not 100% compliant, but in a week, I've lost 4-5 lbs (some I attribute to water loss, surely?), and started the workouts (finally, my foot will let me do some floor exercises, although I'm not running anytime soon; maybe the Fall).

    So, hell, with an initial result like that, why not give it a whirl.

    A very long-winded introduction to my journal blog. But I know you just had to know!

    I posted as a before pic my running pic from the 2008 Chicago Triathlon as a physique to beat. Note that I had shaved my chest so that the chest hair wouldn't bug me in the wetsuit.

    I started at 185 lbs last Sunday, March 13. Today, I'm 180 and on my last day of vacation .

    Next entries will be some catch up blogging.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    History of eating for this week:

    Reporting violations only to simplify:

    A couple of crackers with a liver mousse, a couple of nights of more than one glass of red wine; a night of 1 glass of port, two unfortunate instances of potatoes being in my cup of soup.


    Monday: 1000 yd swim
    Tuesday: foot rehabilitation exercise
    Wednesday: 2 mile walk
    Thursday: 2 mile walk; foot rehabilitation exercise; Grok exercise assessment; 100 yd swim
    Friday: 2 mile walk, 1000 yd swim
    Saturday: 2 mile walk; first Primal Fitness lifting heavy things
    (round 1: 20 knee push ups; 20 assisted pull ups (130 lbs); 50 squats; 90" knee arm plank; 45" knee side plank ea side; round 2: 18 knee push ups; 20 assisted pull ups (vastly improved form after getting help from a gym rat); 50 squats, 45" knee arm plank; 45' knee side plank ea side). 100 yd swim.


    • #3
      From a fellow Chicagoan, welcome and good luck on your journey !
      "You can always do more than you think you can !" Sensei Scash


      • #4
        Thanks, Karate L !


        • #5
          Ancestral Nutrition Coaching
          Pregnancy Nutrition Coaching
          Primal Pregnancy Nutrition Article


          • #6
            Greetings, so vacation is over, but had to cut it a day short to go home to St. Louis to be with my family and attend my uncle's funeral .

            Monday was a hard day, and not very primal. I was reminded just how high carb my family's diet can be - doughnuts and apple bread for breakfast; ham (yay!), berry salad (yay!), bread, potatos, broccoli rice casseroles, etc.; then out for dinner for pizza, raviolis and more. Ugh. I was in two meals where I couldn't even make it work (and I was hungry). But being with my family was more important than my diet at that time.

            Tuesday was much better. Small omelet at breakfast and an apple. A yogurt in the afternoon. I lifted heavy and low level cardio. A carb-free dinner with a friend, and a couple of squares of chocolate.

            Today was another omelet and some fruit (berries, pineapple, apple mix), and an unwich from Jimmy Johns - tuna salad with sprouts, tomatoes, and lettuce and provolone. Today is a low level cardio moving day.

            That's all I got.


            • #7
              So sorry for your loss. Hang in there !
              "You can always do more than you think you can !" Sensei Scash


              • #8
                Greetings. Updates!

                Exercise: Wednesday was another hard day. I ate well, but no exercise - I ended up taking the cat to the vet for an emergency. *sigh*. Thursday, also ate well, and biked about 8 miles (city), which is challenging for my remodeled foot (surgery late October), but I was glad to be able to do it. Friday, more challenging, an exceptionally ugly work day that required chocolate (in the form of a small brownie a good friend had made for me just for such administration) and martini IV drip. However, other than those, I did eat well, even at the supper club where the IVs, I mean, martinis, were administered. Yesterday, I had 7 hours of rehearsal and some tasks associated with those orchestras, and I managed to fit in a short and fast swim (only 600 yards, but in record time for me; it was worth the 25 minutes at the gym, from in the door and out). Food was great - lots of salad, some beef and pork, a glass of red wine, and 2 squares of wonderful dark chocolate. I did have a perfect manhattan . Today, I'm doing another strength workout at the gym, and maybe more swimming, before playing a concert and attending a benefit dinner for that orchestra (which will be challenging - Italian, and I suspect pasta is the main offering).