Vacation!

Not much to say today. I’m going on vacation next week, so I probably won’t post anything until I get back. You know, unless I do.

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Food Day

Wow. That could have gone better. It could also have gone a lot worse. Let me explain.

We had a “food day”, which if you’ve never had one is where everyone in the office brings in food and you have a pot luck. It’s pretty much what it sounds like, right?

Here’s the problem:  the food was right by my desk. I mean right by – I even had to move the table with the food closer to my desk. (We needed an outlet, and the only usable one was near my desk, and we didn’t have an extension cord…)

The down side, as a result, was that I grazed. A lot. Hey, everything was tasty!  But, on the up side, I think I might still come in on budget for my calorie count. I had to make a good-faith estimate, since nothing had a nutrition label, but I believe I made a realistic estimate.

Dinner may be pretty light, though…

Wacky Internet Challenges

I believe i may have, once or twice, expressed my skepticism of the common sort of sponsored weight-loss articles you see on Facebook. You know the kind – “This 70 year old man got totally RIPPED in just one week!  Doctors hate this amazing trick!”  Generally, I assume an inverse relationship between genuine health advice and number of exclamation points.  

So, naturally, I found one I’m going to try. And, by “going to try”, I mean “started yesterday”.  It’s called the Plank Challenge, and it will probably destroy me.

Here’s the deal. For 28 days you assume a plank position – essentially a starting push-up position – and hold it for a set number of seconds (a number that increases over time).  How many?  Well, if you didn’t click the link, here’s the schedule:

Day 1 – 20 seconds

Day 2 – 20 seconds

Day 3 – 30 seconds

Day 4 – 30 seconds

Day 5 – 40 seconds

Day 6 – rest

Day 7 – 45 seconds

Day 8 – 45 seconds

Day 9 – 60 seconds

Day 10 – 60 seconds

Day 11 – 60 seconds

Day 12 – 90 seconds

Day 13 – rest

Day 14 – 90 seconds

Day 15 – 90 seconds

Day 16 – 120 seconds

Day 17 – 120 seconds

Day 18 – 150 seconds

Day 19 – rest

Day 20 – 150 seconds

Day 21 – 150 seconds

Day 22 – 180 seconds

Day 23 – 180 seconds

Day 24 – 210 seconds

Day 25 – rest

Day 26 – 210 seconds

Day 27 – 240 seconds

Day 28 – Until failure 

So, yeah. I’m on day two. And I’ve noticed that my whole body begins shaking just a little about second 15. So I’m pretty sure I’m getting some exercise out of the deal.  Now I’m just curious to see two things:

  1. Will this have any actual, significant benefits?
  2. Will I manage to stave off “until failure” to day 28, as directed?

Watch this space to find out!

Snake!

My son would have gotten a huge kick out of this, which makes it a little sad that it happened at work. Still, as you’ll see, it’s probably just as well he wasn’t with me.

I’ve mentioned before that my office campus has some really nice nature trails. And, since the weather is beautiful and my steroid prescription is working really well, I’m getting out and taking advantage of them. I can sometimes see deer, and the occasional bird that isn’t sure whether to flee or try to get food from me, and some tiny little grass snakes.

This time, I saw a big old black snake. And that’s “black snake” as in “it was black”, not as in “I know how to identify snake species by sight”.  Also, “big” as in “about three feet long”.

(If it helps with the visualization, it happened right about here…)

So I see this thing and, like anyone who likes nature, I whip out my phone to film it so I can show it off later.  I get up above it, filming away, and suddenly it tears and coils and hisses. Which is when I realize “hey, I don’t actually know if this thing is poisonous or not” and decide to back away and keep walking.  I’m out here for myself, after all, and getting bitten (along with maybe a dose of neurotoxin or hemotoxin) isn’t going to promote good health.

Besides, I was the idiot annoying the snake. So, I should be the one to back off.

The best part?  I just checked my phone. It turns out that I didn’t actually hit record until I thought I’d stopped recording. So I annoyed the snake for nothing.

Still, good times. Like I said before:  exercise should be fun.

No, I’m Not Actually Disappointed

So I gained four pounds last week.  To tell the truth, I’m not all that surprised.  For a few reasons.  To start with, I was feeling under the weather – this led me to exercise far less than I should, and to eat far more than I should, and it all added up.  But I’ll take “feeling under the weather” as a good reason, in this case.  After all, it hasn’t been all that long since I had my sinus infection, and it also turned into a chase of bronchitis for me.  So, yeah.  “under the weather”.

Also, if you recall, I lost five pounds at my last weigh-in because I had hardly eaten anything for half the week.  This is not a sustainable model for weight loss, and I’m hardly surprised that I regained some of that weight.  I’m still down a pound from where I was before I got sick, though, so I’m not disappointed.

Still, no more excuses.  Just because I’m not feeling 100% doesn’t mean I can’t stay within my calorie budget.  Or that I can’t exercise (I asked the doctor, and she was fine with it as I felt up to it).  So I’ll be walking and continuing to do my exercise program and chasing my five-year-old around as much as possible.

And We Walked…

Yesterday did not quite go as planned for reasons I won’t go into here, but it didn’t stop me from getting to go for a walk with my son.  In fact, I was able to walk him to school and then back home again.  Which was great!  He was tickled by the novelty of walking to school, and we chatted about what he was going to do that day and how much fun he was planning to have.  And then on the way home, we went exploring (at which point I discovered that there are some places in the woods that are just too overgrown for a 6′ 5″ man to squeeze through) and then just sat and watched the clouds drift by (with intermittent bouts of my son sprinting and rolling around a field).

Was it exercise, per se?  Well, there was walking.  But the exercise was almost incidental to the point of the excursions – they were all about spending time with my son, and enjoying the day.

Keep It Fun

Sorry about not writing anything yesterday.  I’m studying for my level one Certified Equity Professional certification, and I just sort of forgot with everything else that happened.  I’ll try not to let that happen again.

I completely meant to write about the personal trainer, yesterday.  My wife and I go to Zen Zone, and – because he’s five and we can’t exactly leave him by himself – my son went with us.  And he had a great time.  So did I, for that matter, but for different reasons.  See, the workout room is a large open area with a padded floor, and a mirrored wall, and an assortment of things like yoga balls and yoga mats and martial arts gear.  So while I was getting put through a regimen of squats and crunches and stretches and the like, my son was making himself an obstacle course.  Sort of a track made of yoga mats, and a couple of those dome-like balancing things I don’t know the name of, and yoga bricks.  He’d sprint around, and then come over and join in on an exercise, and then declare that he’d be my trainer.

Really, it was cute.  And it was a great way to get him involved in exercise in a positive way.  Because it gets him thinking of exercise as a game, and of Zen Zone as a place we get to go, and it makes him want to be healthy.  Because it really is just a game to him, one he gets to play with mommy and daddy.  Which, I’ve noticed, is really the best way to approach all of this weight loss and exercise – the most success I’ve had with it all is when I’ve enjoyed it.  Walking two miles on a treadmill is tedium.  Walking two miles in a park, with my family or my friends, ends before I even realize I’ve started.

There’s a good lesson there, one that I didn’t quite realize I needed.  I’ve been a little down recently, feeling like I’m not making progress the way I wanted or hitting my goals the way I should.  But that shouldn’t be my focus.  My focus should really be on the way I’m changing my life, and the success I’ve had, and the fact that I’m enjoying being able to be more active and being able to do more things with my family.  I need to just enjoy what I’m doing more, and let the health benefits follow from that.

So I think I’m taking my son for a walk tonight.