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Juicing: Three Days of Misery

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
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on Tuesday, July 09, 2013
in Weight Loss

 

If you followed the weight loss journey my brother-in-law lived last year then you know about juicing. (check out his story here) He lost over 60 pounds by juicing and then switching to a vegan lifestyle. All you hear about these days is juice fasting. People that "juice" claim it is not only a great weight loss program but also can cure joint pain and other physical problems. I may be a little jaded about juice fasting due to the amount I had to hear about it from my bother-in-law for the last 18 months. One thing I can't argue with is the results. Everyone who juice fasts loses a ton of weight quick. Why? Well, basically because you are starving yourself. I am sure there are plenty of people that gain the weight back in a short amount of time but my bother-in-law has kept the weight off and is in much better shape than he was 70 pounds heavier than he is now.

Despite my skeptical feelings on juicing I felt it would make sense for me to try it. How can I comment on something I know nothing about? I figured I would try juicing for three days to see what this was all about. Now three days is not much of a commitment but I figured that would be enough to get a feel for this latest weight loss fad. I have heard everything about juicing. The pain of the first few days, rapid weight loss, cleansing of the mind and body,....blah, blah, blah....I will let you know the true facts.

Now I made sure that I did not tell anyone about what I had planned. The last thing I wanted was my brother-in-law to hear what I was planning and make a big deal out of it. I would simply go out and buy a juicer and then "juice" for three days. Easy..right? It would probably suck but at least I would know what people are talking about.

Sunday

Since I do my long runs on Sunday I figured I would start my 3 days of juicing on Monday. I ran 12.2 miles in the heat and then went out and bought a juicer. There were a few choices but I bought a Dash Juicer. My next trip was to the grocery store to buy the fruits and vegetables I would be juicing.

Now you have to understand. My diet consists of the three food groups....meat, potatoes, and beer. I do eat an occasional fruit but I hate vegetables. My wife makes me eat a small amount of veggies at most meals (yes, like a kid) but I absolutely hate the taste and avoid veggies at all costs. Because of this I loaded up the cart with apples, oranges, grapefruit, grapes, blueberries, strawberries, etc. Basically if it was a fruit...it went into the cart. My wife made me grab some carrots and broccoli as well. Later in the day I setup the juicer, had a nice dinner of grilled chicken and a baked potato and then relaxed with a few beers. Good last meal before my three days of juicing.

Monday  Day 1

Weight: 183

I woke on Monday feeling normal but knowing (dreading) the fact that I was basically going to starve for the next three days. I also immediately missed my coffee. Oh well...I had my first "juice" which consisted of strawberries, blueberries, grapefruit, apples, plums, and nectarines. I had no recipe. I just threw a bunch of stuff in....Once the container was full I mixed it up and drank it. Not bad....Over the next several hours I kept sipping juice and I had a ton of water. I was hungry but not too bad. I did question why I was doing this several times but decided to keep going. I was fairly busy at work which helped. I noticed when there was a break in the action I was starting to feel hungry and think about food.

Through breakfast and lunch I finished my first juice which was about 4 cups of liquid. Dinner time came and I was considering just having water and skipping the juice. I was really sick of drinking juice and I was only 12 hours deep! My wife suggested we make a totally different mixture of juice so we made one with apples, grapes, strawberries, carrots, peppers, and even a few pieces of broccoli. I agreed to adding the veggies only because I knew I would never taste it. I ended up drinking 24 ounces of this new mix and it wasn't too bad and did taste a lot different. A couple of glasses of water ended my day. This sucks!

 

 

Tuesday Day 2

Weight:  180.5

I woke up on Tuesday not feeling too bad but again dreading the fact I would miss my morning coffee and I couldn't eat anything. I lost 2.5 pounds in one day but I think if you only ate a small amount of Cheez-its a day I would lose weight too. I had my juice and now the real test. I have to run. Now I would usually run an easy 5-6 miles on Tuesday but I have heard (and assumed) that due to the lack of eating I would have no energy. I decided to run an easy 4 and see what happens. Now it had only been 32 hours since I had eaten real food so I figured this run would not be too bad and I was right. My energy level was a little down but I completed the 4 miles in 32:20 (805 pace) and felt OK.

The remainder of the day was absolutely terrible. My energy plummeted and I felt very lethargic and unmotivated. I found myself craving food and watching the clock hoping the day would end quickly. I did not have the energy or motivation to get anything done and basically wasted the day. I did perk up a little later in the day.  I found a juice I enjoyed drinking (pineapple, melon, apple) and pounded 3 glasses of juice in a row. This energy was short lived and I soon felt weak and lethargic again. The good news was that by then the day was over and I went to bed. Day 2 complete!

What really sucks is there is a lot of enjoyment in eating and drinking. I am not talking about eating terrible foods like fast food, cakes, candy etc...I am talking about a nice piece of grilled chicken or fish, nice potato, pasta, etc. Not to mention a great cup of coffee and a cold beer. I look forward to great meals and going out to dinner with family and friends. With juicing you eliminate that entire part of your life. No more bars or restaurants....it is hard core. My first thought is that if you have to juice to lose weight then you probably should have a serious health issue and need to take extreme measures to turn your life around. This is not easy.

Wednesday Day 3

Weight: 179.5

I woke up knowing I only have 24 hours to go. I can do this. I really can't believe people have gone 7, 10, or even 60 days with just juicing. This totally sucks. I can understand having a juice to replace one meal of the day but to only drink juice for all meals is terrible.

I wanted to get the full experience so I decided to run 6 miles easy with my wife despite my lack of energy. I had my juice and then headed out on my run. Based on my energy level on day 2 I wasn't sure I would be able to get it done. I managed to run about 4.5 miles before I bonked..no energy, weak, etc. I got dropped on the run but managed to finish in 55 minutes. I ran the last mile in 10 minutes. As soon as I finished I had juice and water but felt dead.

The remainder of day three was pure hell. Hunger pains, weakness, and for several hours I felt sick. Everything I thought about was related to food. The hours slowly ticked by and I somehow managed to only drink juice. I tried drinking multiple juices to bring myself back but at this point the juice seemed to have no effect on my hunger or energy level. I suffered miserably for the remainder of the day.

I planned the ending of the my third day to be no earlier than 4 AM on Thursday morning. In reality I had not eaten anything since dinner Sunday night. This did not seem like an issue before I started juice fasting but on day three I was kicking myself for adding on an additional 10 hours of juice fasting. I had my wife make me a nice plate of chicken and rice and put it in the refrigerator for Thursday morning. Finally the day ended.

Thursday Day 4

Weight: 178

I woke up at 4 AM and immediately made a pot of decaf coffee and heated up my plate of chicken. Wow! That felt good! First food in 3.5 days!

 

Facts and Commentary

* I lost 5 pounds in 3 days- I truly do not believe juicing would be any different than extremely limiting your calories eating/drinking anything else. While only eating fruits and vegetables may appear healthier, you are definitely missing key components to a healthy diet such as protein, fat, fiber, etc. You will lose weight but you are starving yourself...why wouldn't you lose weight?

* Juicing resets your system- Utilizing an extreme diet can be helpful to break bad habits and totally shake up your life. The key is after a short period of turning your life upside down you cannot go back to your bad habits. It is just as important to have a plan post juicing. Juicing alone will not solve the problem. If you return to your old ways you will gain the weight back. That is why my brother-in-law has been successful. He had a plan post juicing to make sure he would not gain the weight back. Again read his three part story here.

* Juicing is great!- Anyone who tells you juicing isn't that bad is lying. Juicing sucks! Maybe it is easier for people who actually like to drink liquid fruits and vegetables. Not sure...for me basically I decided to spend 3 days drinking things I would not normally eat. On the flip side I may have had it a little easier because I switched to decaf coffee a few months ago. I never had a "caffeine" headache which many people get when juicing.

* Energy level?- I can only speak for myself. During my three days of juicing I was weak and had a total loss of energy. My energy levels were way below normal. Food=Fuel=Energy  It is that simple. If you do not fuel your body then you will not have energy. I could still get things done but it was much more difficult in my weakened state. If you do not currently exercise then don't even consider trying to workout during the juice fast. In hindsight I probably should not have ran 10 miles during the fast as this probably took away a lot of the energy I had left.

Final Thoughts

I am happy I went through this exercise to see what juicing was all about. At this point I have no intention of ever trying to "juice" again. This exercise gives me more respect for the effort others have made to turn their lives around by juicing for extended periods of time.

Is juicing right for you? If you are looking for an extreme way to kick off a weight loss program then consider trying three days of juicing followed by a calorie restrictive diet. Hopefully you do not need this type of extreme dieting to lose weight. Exercise and calorie control is a much better way to go and a lot less painful.

Anyone want to buy a slightly used juicer?

 

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Living Gluten Free on Vacation

Posted by Cole Millen
Cole Millen
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on Tuesday, June 25, 2013
in Weight Loss

Eating only gluten-free products is an easy part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle while at home.  Thanks to the added emphasis on health that is sweeping the nation, grocery stores and markets now provide an abundance of options that eliminate the need to stop eating many of our favorite foods simply because they contain gluten and other unhealthy products.  However, maintaining a gluten-free diet when it is time to go on vacation can present quite a challenge.  In addition to facing the temptations of exotic foods and the mental excuses one makes to break the rules of their diet, you can easily find yourself in situations where gluten-free meals or snacks are not even an option.  If you have pledged to yourself that you will not make sacrifices when it comes to the health of your diet despite the circumstances, then consider some of this advice on how to enjoy your vacation free of gluten.

The first challenge you will potentially face is food and snacks that are being served aboard an airplane.  Most airport restaurants and meals served aboard flights lack gluten-free options.  The vegetarian meals are a healthy alternative, but there is no guarantee that the specific ingredients will be available.  It is wise to eat a healthy snack or meal at home directly before leaving to board your flight.  If you are forced into eating due to flight delays or cancellations, then choose unprocessed food items that can only be served fresh such as fruit or salads.  People flying on a regular basis also find that it’s easier to maintain their diet when they pack healthy snacks that are free of gluten into their carry-on baggage.

The next place that one is likely to face pitfalls, are hotels along the way. Make sure to do your due diligence before hand to determine which hotels can accommodate your needs. I have found travel reviews to be the most honest and unbiased form of information in this regard. I recently took a trip out west and found a great site called Gogobot that offered reviews on every aspect imaginable. I was then able to find a list of reviews for Las Vegas hotels regarding their amenities as well as restaurants in the nearby area that resulted in finding a complete gluten free restaurant. Tools like these make it easier than ever to maintain your lifestyle regardless of your destination. If you are one who easily succumbs to temptations and the whims of the small snack, avoid the temptation altogether by turning down the key to the minibar.  In this instance, we have another situation where packing gluten-free snacks from home can be beneficial.  Bring along instant soups and other food items that can be prepared using nothing more than the hot water from the coffeemaker.  Should you desire to prepare meals on your own in the hotel room in order to know exactly what is going into your body, pack a crock-pot that works with any traditional wall socket.  Stocking up on gluten-free products that can be prepared using this item allows you to take advantage of the healthy choices at the local grocery.

Eating out while on vacation is the kind of situation that provides the greatest amount of danger.  Typically, servers are not even aware whether or not the items on their menu contain gluten.  The first line of defense is to choose restaurants that have a healthy approach to the food they serve in general.  It will be much more difficult to locate an appropriate dish at a restaurant that is geared towards heavy meats and seafood than it will be at a place that is geared towards sandwiches and wraps.  Be discerning before you even walk in the door.  You can also save valuable vacation time by researching restaurants and hotels in the area online before you even depart.  The majority of good restaurants will post their menus on their website.  If you find yourself in a situation where you had to eat an extremely light meal in order to safeguard your diet, then be sure to have multivitamins at your disposal in order to supplement the minerals and vitamins you may have missed during the dinner service.

Cole Millen, is an avid traveler and foodie who never forgets that life's best memories are made through real life apprehension of legitimate "experiences." Follow his blog at Cole’s Mill.

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So This is Spring?

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
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on Wednesday, April 03, 2013
in Weight Loss

Today is the 10th update of my goal to to return to race weight by April 13th. I am in a "sort of" competition with my brother-in-law Mike to reach our mutual goal of 169 pounds. See my first blog for details on where we started. I think you will see we both tackle weight loss in a completely different way. The goal of this series of posts is to show how a couple of average guys get back to their goal race weight.

 

 

 If you have read any of my previous posts you know that I have not exactly been losing weight fast. I have been enjoying my post-Ironman off season. (Maybe a little too much) After focusing on Ironman for the last two years I am having a difficult time getting back to that same level of motivation. Finishing the Ironman was a life long dream and everything else seems irrelevant. That is not to say I haven't been working out. I did run 125 miles last month and rode the bike trainer for an hour once a week. I enjoy running but I just have not been able to generate the internal motivation needed to tackle another major event.

So where am I? With exactly 10 days to go before my self imposed weight loss deadline of April 13th I am far off the mark.

Current weigh-in:    180          Goal Weight: 169

I have lost exactly 9 pounds this year. According to my math I would have to lose 11 pounds in the next 10 days to reach my goal. My brother-in-law Mike already reached his goal 3 weeks ago.

In case you are wondering the picture on this post is what I call my Poster of Shame. I started this years ago whenever I needed to lose some weight. Basically I write my weight on a poster and hang it up in my office so I have to look at it all day. Even this tactic has only had minimal impact on my motivation to lose weight. Not to blame the weather but it is hard to get motivated when it is snowing in March.

Even the Good Times Spring Series has been affected by the terrible weather. I look forward to running in this series every year and was hoping the competition would increase my motivation. Well, last night was the first race and guess what....Coldest Good Times ever! Thirty-something degrees with a heavy wind...I had to wear my winter running gear...Winter will just not let go....check out the story and video here. (your VTR host placed 17th)

The good news is that we are now in April and the extended forecast looks much better. (Of course as I write this post the windows of my house are rattling from the wind and it is freezing out) As soon as it gets warmer I will start to get some outdoor rides in and running will be much more enjoyable. Good weather is motivating for everyone. The first day it is 60 degrees on a weekend day you will see a ton of runners and cyclists on the roads. It makes you wonder where everyone has been for 6 months.

The bottom line is that training without a goal is tough. If I didn't truly enjoy running I would have slacked off big time. With no impending events that "scare" me, I don't feel like I have to get serious. We will see what happens....for now I will run in the Good Times Series every week and see if I can be competitive in my new age group.

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Weight Loss Success Story

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
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on Saturday, March 16, 2013
in Weight Loss

Today is the ninth update of my goal to to return to race weight by April 13th. I am in a "sort of" competition with my brother-in-law Mike to reach our mutual goal of 169 pounds. See my first blog for details on where we started. I think you will see we both tackle weight loss in a completely different way. The goal of this series of posts is to show how a couple of average guys get back to their goal race weight.

 

 

 My Results


With exactly 4 weeks to go to reach my goal I am still losing weight at an extremely slow pace. I now weigh 181. I have seen 180 on the scale numerous times over the last few weeks but the facts are I have only lost 8 pounds since January 1st. I think I was confused with the contest. I thought it was who could lose the weight the slowest. I still have 4 weeks to go....I won't bore you with the details....Focus on Mike....He's the man!

Starting weight: 189   Mar 16th weigh-in: 181   YTD loss: 8 lbs

Mike's Results

I did it!!  169!!

For what is is worth, I would have won the biggest loser for the second year in a row. Check out my weight loss blog from last year to see how I lost over 60 pounds and won the biggest loser competition at my work in 2012.

Since January 1st I have lost 13% of my body weight.  At that weight I would have been runner up overall in last year's competition (and I still have three weeks to go and weight to lose).  I am writing this on the eve of my March 16th weigh-in, and to be honest I did not want to get off the scale this morning.  I saw a weight I thought was impossible to ever see. I know I talked about it a lot.  A real lot for anyone that would listen...possibly too much (sorry family).  But I said it, and kept saying it until it happened. This morning I was at a predictable 170.8. I know I have been talking about 169 for a while now, but at 170.8 I feel I accomplished what Dave and I set out to do. Tomorrow I will wake up and I will be 169.  But at the end of the day, a number is just a goal, an ideal.  

When I see success, I do not see it in black and white.  In my life I have seen that successful people understand this.  The "Success" they set out for is rarely what they end up with. It usually is close to the original form, but not exactly. Happiness is realizing this and growing into new adventures. 

Since I won the Percussion biggest loser competition last April, I have lost another 25 pounds. In the last year I have lost over 75 pounds and kept it off. People say that I inspire them, but frankly, I would not be here without the support of those who reached out to me and told me I encouraged them. You are the inspiration that drives my success!

 Continued success is not resting on the triumphs of the past, but pushing on to new outrageous goals and adventures, repeatedly claiming the new goal until it becomes reality.  My old goal is met. Life is fully available to those who take it by the horns, I may hit it or I may not, but anyone that knows me knows that I believe that true failure is not pulling yourself off the mat. I will acknowledge my success, cheer on Dave (as I always do) and set my new goals.
 
When I graduated from high school, I was 165 pounds.  June sounds good, I will be 40 then.   160, get dressed up in your best suit, I will see you soon....

 Starting weight: 192.5   Mar 16th weigh-in: 169.8  YTD loss: 23 lbs

 Next Update March 30th!

 

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Runners Can Eat Anything They Want, Right?

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
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on Saturday, March 02, 2013
in Weight Loss

Today is the eighth update of my goal to to return to race weight by April 13th. I am in a "sort of" competition with my brother-in-law Mike to reach our mutual goal of 169 pounds. See my first blog for details on where we started. I think you will see we both tackle weight loss in a completely different way. The goal of this series of posts is to show how a couple of average guys get back to their goal race weight.

 

 

  I have learned over the years that unfortunately just because you exercise a lot doesn't mean you can eat anything you want. Does exercise allow you to take certain liberties with food and drink? Absolutely...I am the perfect example of someone who if they stopped exercising would immediately gain 20 lbs. The thing about exercise is that burning a ton of calories makes you hungry. In addition in order to keep up a big exercise schedule you need to continuously fuel your body to get it done. What happens (at least with me) is that since you are hungry all of the time you inevitably end up eating more than you are burning.

I have several examples over the years where I have trained for a marathon and ended up gaining weight. The most frustrating part is that after all of the training I ended up running the marathon at my heaviest weight of the season.

In 2010 I started training for the Disney Marathon in August and weighed 174. Over the next few months I had some great training, never missed a workout, and ended up weighing 185 on race day. Ouch! I ran an average of 160 miles a month September-December and gained 11 pounds! How does this happen? I am not a doctor but I truly believe there are a couple of factors.

1) If you eat more than you burn you will gain weight. It doesn't matter if you burn 5000 calories a day. If you eat 6000 then you will not lose weight.

2) I think after running for almost 25 years my body is so used to the exercise of running it just doesn't take many calories to get it done. It is almost like I don't burn any calories when I run. That doesn't mean I am fast...it just means I have to find other ways to lose weight.


My Results 

Since our last update I have not lost any weight. The goods news is that I didn't gain any weight. I could definitely try harder in the eating/drinking department but I am averaging about 26 miles a week of running and cycling for 30-60 minutes a week which I thought would be enough to continue losing. The beat goes on....6 weeks to go...it's not easy.

 Starting weight: 189   Mar 1st weigh-in: 182   YTD loss (2 months): 7 lbs

Mike's Results

Two Months...Melancholy success. Losing weight in the winter in New England is exhausting.  Everything about it is terrible. Cold dark mornings, snowy freezing evenings, snow covered roads and sidewalks, freezing buildings, your body just craving the warmth the extra 5 pounds brings. Weight loss is possible though, with hard work, perseverance, and a plan. With April right around the corner, it is now possible to see the clearing through the weeds.

Exercise season is right around the corner (the time when normal people decide to lose weight).  I think the work Dave and I have done over the past two months puts us in a good position for running, which was the goal all along.  Any weight loss is the right direction in these months and even staying the same weight could be considered progress. So the last two weeks I really only practiced yoga and mostly plateaued with my weight loss. With only one week until spring ahead, I think I should be more focused on the positive direction of my success, but winter is long in Massachusetts. Over 20 pounds in two months and I am tired. I am looking forward to the renewed energy running outside brings. Time to lace up and start running, only six weeks until my first 5k.

 Starting weight: 192.5   Mar 1st weigh-in: 172.4   YTD loss (2 months): 20.1 lbs

 

Next update March 16th!

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Do You Have the Winter Blues?

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
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on Tuesday, February 19, 2013
in Weight Loss

Today is the seventh update of my goal to to return to race weight by April 13th. I am in a "sort of" competition with my brother-in-law Mike to reach our mutual goal of 169 pounds. See my first blog for details on where we started. I think you will see we both tackle weight loss in a completely different way. The goal of this series of posts is to show how a couple of average guys get back to their goal race weight.

 

 

Dave's Week Seven Summary and Results:  

You know what? Getting serious about losing weight is no fun. Why is that? Because everything we enjoy in life involves behavior that is detrimental to weight loss. That is why you need to change your behavior in order to lose weight and keep the weight off. 

Last week I had a case of the "winter blues". Maybe you are familiar with it...sick of winter, sick of cold, sick of snow, sick of the treadmill, etc. I ended up eating out a couple of times last week and made some bad food choices. Luckily I didn't miss a workout but every workout was a struggle mentally, and I felt like I was right on the edge of losing my motivation. When this happens I am usually rescued by my inner voice which tells me..."Stop being such a baby and get it done" or something like that. Sometimes there is an inappropriate adjective in front of the word "baby" as well...The bottom line is that if you are committed to an exercise/weight loss program you need to get it done. No excuses. I have mentioned this in previous weeks...if it was easy everyone would be fit and thin instead of unfit and fat.

I ended up losing another pound last week so I have continued my 1 pound a week average. So far I have lost 7 pounds in 7 weeks. Nothing special but I continue plodding along. I am hoping one of these weeks I'll really kick it in gear and speed up the process but it hasn't happened yet.

Exercise Totals: Ran 24.5 miles and biked 40 minutes on trainer

Results:

Starting weight: 189   Feb 19th weigh-in: 182   YTD loss (7 weeks): 7 lbs

 Mike's Week Seven Summary and Results:  

 A friend of mine once said you only have a certain amount of will power, and once you use it all on something you have nothing left for other things. When something that can be normally considered bad happens, your mind goes to processing it. Well when you are in a competition and something happens, it is best to process it quickly. This weekend my diet consisted of potato chips, beer, and french fries. I just lost it. My mind was processing something out of the ordinary and I had no will power left for eating right. I would hope that my rational side would have kicked in and my eating habits would remain unchanged, but Ruffles covered in Sriracha squeezed from the bottle, are way better than the lays rendition. All this good food coupled with video games, what a healthy lifestyle.

Another wise friend once told me that it is OK to be angry, but remember this. "Be angry for a day, a week, a month, or a year, but when you are done being angry, you will have to pick it up and start from that point. In other words, don't waste too much time being angry". When you are not really mad at anything, or anyone, it is harder to let it go, but you have to.  So I allowed myself two days to process it, and then rationally let it go.

The best opportunities I have been involved in have come from conventionally bad events. So I picked myself up yesterday, 90 Minutes of Bikram yoga and 75 minutes swimming later, I am back on track and not as mad. It may still be a few days mind you, but I am squeezing my will power to things I have control over and trying to move in a positive direction.  174.8..despite my let down I only gained a half pound...I can't wait to sweat this salt out of my veins.

 Exercise Totals: Elliptical 90 minutes +  biked 1 hr + swam 2.5 hrs + yoga 90 minutes

 Results:

Starting weight: 192.5   Feb 19th weigh-in: 174.8   YTD loss (7 weeks): 17.7 lbs

 

              Next weigh-in will be the 2 month mark.....March 1st!

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Surviving the Tough New England Winter

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
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on Sunday, February 10, 2013
in Weight Loss

Today is the sixth update of my goal to to return to race weight by April 13th. I am in a "sort of" competition with my brother-in-law Mike to reach our mutual goal of 169 pounds. See my first blog for details on where we started. I think you will see we both tackle weight loss in a completely different way. The goal of this series of posts is to show how a couple of average guys get back to their goal race weight.

 

 Dave

 Week Six Summary and Results:  
Surviving the tough New England winter and maintaining your fitness is extremely difficult. Let's be honest...you have every excuse in the book to miss workouts. It's freezing cold and there is 2 feet of snow on the ground. Time to cash it in and wait till spring, right? If you allow yourself to fall into this trap you will be very unhappy with what you look like in April. If you want to get in shape to perform well at spring road races or just want to look good at a Florida beach during April school vacation week the time is NOW to start losing the holiday weight. Don't wait! No excuse! There is no snow at the gym and if anything, it is too warm not cold.

Last week was a good one for me. I mentioned on my last post that I had a bad weigh-in, and I think this week's results prove that. I dropped 2 pounds last week, and I am still going strong.  And it's going to take some mental toughness over the next few weeks.  As the picture above shows, the New England winter dumped close to 2 feet of snow yesterday. It looks like I will be forced to complete all of my runs on the treadmill indefinitely, but I am mentally prepared and I will get it done.

 Exercise:

Sunday- ran 6 miles tempo

Monday- off

Tuesday- ran 5.25 miles easy

Wednesday- ran 10 miles (long run)

Thursday- off

Friday- ran 10 miles (another long run to beat the storm)

Saturday- off...if you call shoveling for hours a day off

Totals: ran 31.25 miles (first time over 30 miles in awhile)

 Results:

 Starting weight: 189   Feb 10th weigh-in: 183   YTD loss (6 weeks): 6 lbs

 

                                                                      Mike

 Week Six Summary and Results:  
Every great athlete will usually have the old adage "finish strong" drilled into his head from the time they first start competing. Finishing strong and pushing through the pain at the end of a game or a run is essential for realizing your best as a competitor. Hitting heartbreak hill and pushing through, or making sure your splits are faster in a 5k, both take practice and discipline. When I finish any training run, I usually am running uphill. I try to go as fast as I can and after I cross the finish line, I want to have nothing left for the day.

 The same is true when losing weight. The beginning is easy, you can see fast results, get caught up in the adrenaline of the "race", but after the pack weeds out, that is where it gets hard. Losing weight is like running, you are alone, most often racing against your own time and goals, keeping focus over long periods of time.  

 

 Like running, the only way losing weight works is to make it a lifestyle choice, not a goal.  When I was new to running, to finish a 5k was my first goal. When I finished my first 5k, I didn't stop because I met my goal, I just kept running. Do I train the same every day, week after week? Truthfully no, but I wish I did. Some weeks I am busy, some weeks I have other things I just need to do, and still other weeks, I find myself in "running burnout". Losing weight is a part of something bigger, being healthy. Like running a race is part of being a runner. So even if I have a bad week, bad weigh-in, or get sick, it does not matter. I have had slow races or have run injured, just to keep up the practice. And I have taken it easy, but have gotten back up and run faster or stronger.

 

Now I am approaching the end of this particular goal, and this is where the focus has to be greater, and I have to remember that losing weight is part of a lifestyle choice. The weight is not my ultimate goal, it is to be healthy.  Bell lap, under 5 pounds to go...174.2, see you at the gym!

Exercise:

 Sunday- 1 hour elliptical

Monday- 75 minute run

Tuesday- off

Wednesday- 1 hour yoga

Thursday- 1 hour spin

Friday- 1 hour run

Saturday- 1 hour run

Totals: 1 hr yoga + 1 hr cycling + 1 hr elliptical + 3.25 hrs running

  Results:

 Starting weight: 192.5  Feb 10th weigh-in: 174.2  YTD loss (6 weeks): 18.3 lbs

 Week Six Recap:

 Losing weight is a marathon not a sprint. As we get closer and closer to April, the key is to know you are on the right path and continue moving forward. You have to maintain focus on your goal day after day week after week. Mike survived his vacation last week and has returned to juicing. He is determined to hit his goal weight ASAP...he isn't content to wait until April like I am. Since I was training outside for most of my runs the most recent blizzard will put more pressure on me than Mike to maintain focus. Training indoors is tough and gets boring quick, especially for long runs. We will see what happens....

As you can see from the results of the past 6 weeks Mike's strategy is extreme but really works. He has lost over 18 pounds in 6 weeks. If you would like more detail on what he is doing check out his blogs from last year. He used this strategy to lose over 60 pounds in 2012.

Mike's Story

 

Next Update February 19th!

 

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Week 5: Exercising on Vacation

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
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on Sunday, February 03, 2013
in Weight Loss

Today is the fifth update of my goal to to return to race weight by April 13th. I am in a "sort of" competition with my brother-in-law Mike to reach our mutual goal of 169 pounds. See my first blog for details on where we started. I think you will see we both tackle weight loss in a completely different way. The goal of this series of posts is to show how a couple of average guys get back to their goal race weight.

 

 

 Dave

Week Five Summary and Results:  
Back to Back solid weeks! I think I am finally over my sickness. Last Sunday was the first time I was able to attempt a long run outside and it felt great despite the 15 degree temps at the start. I was able to complete all of my workouts and ran a solid 27.5 miles for the week. I ended up only losing a half pound this week but that was due to an ill-timed, late Mexican dinner last night. All week I have been showing 1-1.5 pounds of loss until of course...weigh-in morning. I will make sure I don't sabotage my weigh-in next week.

On the diet front I also had another good week. I have continued drinking tea to curb my appetite and I am beginning to get used to the smaller portions at meals. Losing 20 pounds takes time and every week just builds on the last. Losing 1-2 pounds a week is about all I can ask for without going crazy like Mike. I am happy to continue plodding along week after week sticking with my strategy. It is pretty clear to me at this point that my sickness and the antibiotics definitely held back my weight loss at the beginning of the month. Not sure if there is a medical reason that prevented me from losing weight or maybe it was my body holding on to the weight to protect itself. Who knows?  I finally have my energy back and that is all I care about.

 Exercise:

 Sunday- ran 10.4 miles (longest run this year!)

 Monday- off

 Tuesday- ran 6 miles (tempo workout)

 Wednesday- ran 5.1 miles (60 degrees...Wow!)

 Thursday- off

 Friday- ran 6 miles (30 min of it was track workout)

 Saturday- biked 40 minutes easy on trainer

 Totals: ran 27.5 miles and biked 40 minutes on trainer

 Results:

 Starting weight: 189   Feb 3rd weigh-in: 185    YTD loss (5 weeks): 4 lbs

                                                                      Mike

 Week Five Summary and Results:  
If you can't measure it, you can't improve. It has been said in business and it is true in training.  Sure, when I step up to the start line in a 5k, I am watchless, but as I look to increase my speed, I will measure everything. Carefully keeping track of my progress allows me to see what works and what does not. I am tracking every workout now using time (not distance), as speed and distance will come with a good base.

So here I am on vacation, no scale.  One of the best ways I have found to lose weight and keep focus is weighing myself every day at the same time. I know that when I eat sushi, I gain 1.5 pounds, mostly as my body keeps in water to flush out the salt. I also know that after my long workout on Saturday (my fasting workout), I weigh myself and if I am disciplined, I can reach that weight by the following Saturday. No scale is good and bad. No daily reminder that I am losing weight, but no real penalty if I eat a little too much for enjoyment. So, I take a break from weighing myself, but not from losing weight.

Traveling and eating right is difficult to say the least. Ordering a salad with no cheese, no egg, no dressing, no oil, only to have it come out with salt and pepper..(who salts and peppers a salad?)  I guess people will be people. It is a sign of how terrible our eating habits have become. I am sure the chef felt that the vegetables needed "something" on them to make them taste good. So that "something" gets added to everything we eat, and we really don't need it. Anyway, adding another 60 minutes outside running in California is not bad. Hopefully the added exercise will make up for the eating.

One final note, as I was getting ready for a drop-in yoga class, the instructor said she never thought of visiting a yoga studio while traveling. One of the best parts of vacationing is changing up your workout routine, running in new places, dropping in on a different style of yoga than you are accustomed.  If you stay poolside drinking a tropical drink, you lose out on experiencing what could be the best part of traveling, running on a new road...

 Exercise:

 Sunday- 1 hour elliptical

 Monday- 1 hour yoga +75 minutes swimming

 Tuesday- 45 minutes yoga + 1 hour spin

 Wednesday- off

  Thursday- 1 hour run

   Friday- 90 minutes Yoga + 45 minutes run

   Saturday- 1 hour elliptical + 20 minutes bike

 Totals: 3.25 hrs yoga + 1.33 hrs cycling + 2 hrs elliptical + 75 mins swimming + 1.75 hrs running

 Results:

 Starting weight: 192.5    Feb 3rd weigh-in: vacation  YTD loss (5 weeks): 15.7 lbs

 Week Five Recap:

Even though I didn't have the results to prove it I had a great week. I am feeling stronger and stronger and with Mike on vacation this week I have to think I am gaining ground. Losing weight takes time and hopefully I can build on this week. 

As you have seen both Mike and me approach weight loss and exercise in a completely different way. What works for Mike would not work for me and vice versa. Everyone's body responds to diet and exercise differently. In addition everyone has different personalities and ways of staying motivated. I hope that lesson learned is that you have to do something....If you have been on the sidelines take that first step today to improving your health and fitness. You will be glad you did!

Next Update February 9th!

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Drinking Tea for Weight Loss?

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
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on Sunday, January 27, 2013
in Weight Loss

Today is the fourth update of my goal to to return to race weight by April 13th. I am in a "sort of" competition with my brother-in-law Mike to reach our mutual goal of 169 pounds. See my first blog for details on where we started. I think you will see we both tackle weight loss in a completely different way. The goal of this series of posts is to show how a couple of average guys get back to their goal race weight.

 

 

Dave

Week Four Summary and Results:  
This is the first week this year that I felt fairly close to normal. I have been sick and on/off antibiotics since December 18th. Crazy! I am still congested but I finally got rid of the constant malaise and lack of energy that has been killing my workouts. I had a strong week with 2 really good runs (long run and track).

On the diet front I also had a good week. I have started drinking tea during the day which seems to be suppressing my appetite and has replaced some of my need for daytime snacking. I am drinking decaffeinated tea, mostly green tea and classic black tea. I now drink at least two cups of tea a day. I would recommend giving it a try if you haven't done so in the past. Especially during these cold winter days, sipping a warm cup of tea fills you up and can have less caffeine than a cup of coffee.

I also did a good job at reducing portions and did not eat out this week. On the negative side I did go out for drinks 3x  for meetings which added unnecessary calories. I ended up losing 2 pounds this week! About time! I look forward to building on this past week and start catching up to Mike!

 Exercise:

 Sunday- off

 Monday- ran 8.5 miles

 Tuesday- biked 40 minutes on trainer

 Wednesday- ran 5.7 miles

 Thursday- off

 Friday- ran 6 miles (30 min of it was track workout)

 Saturday- Ran 4.15 miles easy

 Totals: ran 24.35 miles and biked 40 minutes on trainer

 Results:

 Starting weight: 189   Jan 27th weigh-in: 185.5    YTD loss (26 days): 3.5 lbs

                                                                      Mike

 Week Four Summary and Results:  
I used to eat 100% of the time for enjoyment. Every bite of every meal was to satisfy my taste buds; overwhelming them with rich, salty, fatty, sweet foods. Eating was a constant search to find food that tasted better than the last meal. One year later, I have learned that eating is more of a survival mechanism, the fuel that your body needs to survive day to day. Fat is simply a storage mechanism your body uses to store calories for the day it has no food. So when I was overeating, my body simply stored the extra calories for that rainy day, waiting patiently to serve a purpose.

I have found if you eat for survival you tend to look at food differently. You end up choosing foods that are high in nutrition and not refined. Refining food concentrates calories, so you get more out of the same bite of food. Food, in its natural state, is almost impossible to consume in quantities that would cause weight gain. You see bread is NOT a food in its natural state, whole grain oatmeal is. Olive oil is NOT a food in its natural state, raw olives are.

Now do I think it is wrong to eat for enjoyment? Absolutely not. That is what happened last week, the night before the weigh-in I ate for celebration. I went out and had a great time with family and friends. Eating right has to have some component of eating for enjoyment and celebrating life, but remember, "its not a party if it happens every night..."  176.8. Looks like 6 pounds this week, but it is actually 3 pounds a week for the last two.

 Exercise:

  Sunday- 90 minutes elliptical

  Monday- 1 hour yoga + 80 minute spin class

  Tuesday- 1 hour yoga + 75 minutes swimming

 Wednesday- 1 hour yoga

 Thursday- 1 hour yoga + 60 minutes bike trainer

 Friday- 1 hour rock climbing

 Saturday- 1 hour yoga + 1 hour elliptical

  Totals: 5 hrs yoga + 2.33 hrs cycling + 2.5 hrs elliptical + 75 mins swimming

 Results:

Starting weight: 192.5    Jan 27th weigh-in: 176.8  YTD loss (26 days): 15.7 lbs

 Week Four Recap:

Although I had a decent week losing 2 pounds Mike is totally kicking my butt. The real difference is I am taking a balanced approach and haven't been real serious about my diet until this week. Mike is a very extreme person and has no middle ground. Since the beginning of the year he has either been juice fasting or eating only vegetables. In 26 days he has lost 15.7 pounds! How can I compete with that? Hopefully now that I have turned the corner on my illness I can start to catch up. I don't think there is anyway he can continue this extreme dieting. I am hoping I can lose another 2-3 pounds next week and start to narrow the gap. Of course if he continues to lose 6 pounds a week I am all done.

Next Update February 3rd!

 

 

 

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Dealing with Weight Loss Setbacks

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
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on Monday, January 21, 2013
in Weight Loss

Today is the third update of my goal to to return to race weight by April 13th. I am in a "sort of" competition with my brother-in-law Mike to reach our mutual goal of 169 pounds. See my first blog for details on where we started. I think you will see we both tackle weight loss in a completely different way. The goal of this series of posts is to show how a couple of average guys get back to their goal race weight.

 

Dave

Week Three Summary and Results:  
As I write my third update I feel like the last three weeks have just been a continuous string of excuses. Now, don't get me wrong. My excuses are legitimate and completely make sense. The problem is excuses are the reason people gain weight and also are the reason it is difficult to lose weight. The last ten days I have actually gained a pound. During this time I was still sick and on antibiotics, was on vacation in Florida for 5 days, and had a couple of late nights out. You could say that only gaining a pound during a vacation along with my other excuses was a victory. The problem is I could come up with legitimate excuses every week. The bottom line is that three weeks deep I have only lost 1.5 pounds.

 Exercise:

 Sunday- ran 4 miles easy

 Monday- off

 Tuesday- off

 Wednesday- ran 8.35 miles

 Thursday- ran 5.25 miles with a couple of pickups

 Friday- off

 Saturday- Ran 5.1 miles easy

Sunday- off

 Totals: 22.7 miles of running in 8 days

 Results:

 Starting weight: 189    Jan 21st weigh-in: 187.5     Total weight loss: 1.5 pounds

Mike

 Week Three Summary and Results:  
Well, week three was rocky. In the last 8 days I have only lost .6 of a pound. Transition from the juice fast, two Patriots playoff games, and a scheduled annual bar crawl. If you know anything about me, you know that I know any success has its share of failures. The only separation between failure and success is picking yourself back up. During the first Patriots playoff game, I kept telling myself I only want to eat because I am stressed, so I didn't. Success. The bar crawl started out good, but drinking and weight loss don't really mix in my opinion. Finished the night with French fries, but it was an example of the 5% of the time I feel I can eat for enjoyment. Failure. Two hours on the Elliptical and probably at least three days to wash the salt and bloat out of my system. So here I am at the end of week three, still at it, and excited to get to running season. I am looking forward to a three hour event in June and then a seven hour event in September. But for now, I will drink water, clean up my system and get back on the mat. About 10 pounds to go in two months.

 Exercise:

 Sunday- 40 minutes elliptical

 Monday- 75 minutes swimming + 45 minutes yoga

 Tuesday- 1 hour spin class

 Wednesday- 90 minutes elliptical + 1 hour yoga

 Thursday- off

 Friday- off

 Saturday- 1 hour run

Sunday- 2 hours elliptical

 Totals: 1 hour of running + 1 hour spin + 1.75 hours yoga + 1.25 hours swimming + 4.2 hours elliptical in 8 days

 Results:

Starting weight: 192.5   Jan 21st weigh-in: 182    Total weight loss: 10.5 pounds

Week Three Recap:

The last 10 days were not what either of us wanted. Both Mike and I enjoy having a good time. The challenge is how do you enjoy life and lose weight at the same time. The problem is most of the fun things in life are not conducive to weight loss. Eating out, drinks with friends, and big family dinners are not the recipe for weight loss. So what do you do? Stop having fun? Finding that perfect balance of moderation is the key to a happy and healthy life. Setbacks are a fact of life and moving forward is the only way to deal with a setback. After a devastating Patriots loss last night the only positive is now I won't have to write a post explaining why I gained weight during a Super Bowl party.

Next Update January 27th!

 

 

 

 

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Week Two: Staying Motivated After New Years

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
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on Saturday, January 12, 2013
in Weight Loss

Today is the second update of my goal to to return to race weight by April 13th. I am in a "sort of" competition with my brother-in-law Mike to reach our mutual goal of 169 pounds. See my first blog for details on where we started. I think you will see we both tackle weight loss in a completely different way. The goal of this series of posts is to show how a couple of average guys get back to their goal race weight.

 

 

 

Creating a weight loss plan can be fun and exciting. Starting the plan and then sticking to it is a lot less fun. Since we are only in week 2, hopefully it is not a struggle at this point to stick with your plan. Take your plan day by day and try not to get short sighted. You didn't gain the weight in a week or two....Even to lose the 20 pounds I need to lose I expect months of behavior modification.


Dave

Week Two Strategy and Results:  
This week unfortunately I had a relapse of my bronchitis I suffered with at the end of 2012. I ended up going back to the doctors on Tuesday and have been taking antibiotics, cough syrup, an inhaler, and Advil all week. Strategy out the window...I have maintained my portion control but I have been sedentary most of the week. A couple of days I barely left the couch. Not a good week. The good news is I didn't use this as an excuse to overeat or completely throw away all of my workouts. I still managed some weight loss and I will push on to week three.

Exercise:

Sunday-40 minutes on bike trainer

Monday-ran 4 miles easy

Tuesday-Ran 5 miles with 4 "pickups" of 1 min

Wednesday-on couch all day

Thursday-on couch most of day

Friday-Ran 5 miles (9 x 2 minutes at 10k race pace at 2-3% grade)

Saturday- Ran 4 miles easy

Totals: 40 minutes on the bike and 18 miles of running

Results:

Starting weight: 189    Jan 12th weigh-in: 186.5     Total weight loss: 2.5 pounds

Mike

Week Two Strategy and Results:

Every war is won before it is fought, I heard someone in my sales bullpen say this week and it is true.  Strategy and preparation are the two things you can control going into any situation that will have a huge impact on the outcome. As I moved into my second week of the juice fast, I kept strong in remembering what Dave and I are working towards is a goal weight that will make our times better than last year. Being ten pounds lighter alone will knock 20-30 seconds off my mile time, and the confidence of being under 170 will carry me a long way in speed training come April.

Today, I come off my juice fast and will continue on my controlled calorie, single ingredient diet.  Last year I lost more weight eating that way than when I juice fasted. These last 13 pounds will be very difficult to take off, so I have no illusions of any more rapid weight loss. I anticipate months of focusing on the goal at hand. Some ask how I can spend 90 minutes on the elliptical in January, don't you get bored?  To them I say "the under 22 minute 5k I will run in May will be worth it."

Exercise:

Sunday-90 minutes easy on treadmill (running)

Monday-75 minutes in the pool (swim class)

Tuesday-60 minutes spin + 45 minutes yoga

Wednesday-yoga 45 minutes + elliptical 80 minutes

Thursday-yoga 45 minutes + 45 minutes treadmill

Friday-elliptical 75 minutes

Saturday-60 minutes treadmill

Totals: 3.25 hours of running + 2.6 hours elliptical + 2.25 hours of yoga + 1 hour spin +

1.25 hours swimming

Results:

Starting weight: 192.5    Jan 12th weigh-in: 182.6    Weight loss: 9.9 pounds

Week Two Recap:

After 12 days you can see the results..Mike has lost almost 10 pounds and I have lost 2.5 pounds. Believe it or not I am actually happy where I stand. After being sick for the entire week I still managed to drop a pound. It would have been very easy to end up gaining a pound of two or to skip a few workouts. I have to give credit to Mike...he has started the year hardcore with a 10 day juice fast and he worked out all 7 days last week. Kind of hard to compete with that....It must be nice to drop 10 pounds in two weeks! If you would like to see details on how Mike manages his juice fast check out his juice blogs from last year.

The next update will be 9 days out and I think it will be a very important status check. Both of us will be three weeks deep and hopefully we will both post some nice numbers. Can Mike continue this torrid pace? Can I finally post some decent losses or will I continue plodding along at a pound a week?

 Next update January 21st!

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Week One on the Road to Weight Loss

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
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on Saturday, January 05, 2013
in Weight Loss

 

Starting a weight loss program can be exciting. Setting a goal and creating a plan can be motivating as you dream about what the results could be. You imagine the "new you" down the road and how awesome it would be if you weighed your goal weight. Today is the first update of my goal to to return to race weight by April 13th. As I mentioned last week I am in a "sort of" competition with my brother-in-law Mike to reach our mutual goal of 169 pounds. See last week's blog for details on where we started. I think you will see we both tackle weight loss in a completely different way. The goal of this series of posts is to show how a couple of average guys get back to their goal race weight.


Dave

Week One Strategy:  
I already eat healthy...I have just been eating too much. This week I cut back on portion size and eliminated second and third helpings of dinner. In addition I have been eating out a lot during the Holidays so I made a point of not eating out this week. I am not counting calories or dieting; just following my instincts with portion control.

Exercise:

Sunday-40 minutes on bike trainer

Monday-off

Tuesday-Ran 5 miles easy

Wednesday-Ran 5.5 miles (track workout-15 x 1 minute at 10k race pace)

Thursday-off

Friday-Ran 5 miles easy

Saturday- Ran 7.1 miles (long run pace)

Totals: 40 minutes on the bike and 22.6 miles of running

Results:

Starting weight: 189    Jan 5th weigh-in: 187.5     Weight loss: 1.5 pounds

Mike

Week One Strategy:  
If you don't know my story I lost over 60 pounds last year by using a strategy of juice fasting and becoming a vegan. I wrote a number of blogs explaining in detail how I did it and you can read them here. This year I am happy to say I do not have to lose 60 pounds. I only have to lose 24. I like to dive right into weight loss so I decided to do what I do best right out of the gate....juice fast! Since January 1st I have not eaten anything. Last year I became a real believer in juicing and as you can see the results speak for themselves. In addition I have started exercising primarily with yoga and the elliptical.

Exercise:

Sunday-off

Monday-off

Tuesday-30 minutes easy on treadmill (running)

Wednesday-yoga 60 minutes + elliptical 60 minutes + 30 minute spin class

Thursday-off

Friday-yoga 60 minutes + elliptical 60 minutes

Saturday-yoga 90 minutes

Totals: 30 minutes of running + 2 hours elliptical + 3.5 hours of yoga

Results:

Starting weight: 192.5    Jan 5th weigh-in: 187.2     Weight loss: 5.3 pounds

Week one Recap:

After week one you can see that we both approach weight loss in different ways. On the competitive side you can see that Mike's extreme strategy really paid off. I chose a more measured approach and to be honest was content with the 1.5 pound reduction before I heard Mike's results. If you have not weighed yourself in awhile the initial weigh-in is always a little questionable. Weights fluctuate all the time so it is hard to tell if Mike had an inflated number to begin with. This week will be telling as it is the first full week without a Holiday distraction and also we both have a better idea of where we stand. Can Mike keep it going? Will I see better results next week? We will see. I know this is motivating me and I hope you have started your return to race weight!

 

Next update January 12th!

 

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Lose the Holiday Belly and Return to Race Weight

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
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on Monday, December 31, 2012
in Weight Loss

 

 

 As the calendar turns symbolizing the end of the holiday season, every athlete should begin to switch gears from the "off-season" mode to 2013 race season preparation. At VTR we will focus on two athletes who gained some weight this off-season and are starting the process of returning to race weight. This will not be a scientific examination of the process. The goal is to give helpful tips and hopefully some motivation to start losing the extra weight you inevitably gained over the holidays. I think you will find it interesting as both athletes begin to return to race weight in two completely different ways. The focus will be on total weekly mileage, general nutrition strategies, and of course the results of the weekly weigh-in.

This is not a weight loss contest but what usually happens with competitive people is that everything turns into a competition. It will be interesting to see who reaches their goal race weight first but the focus will be to gradually lose the weight and increase fitness as we get closer to serious racing in the spring.

Profiles below:

Athlete #1: Dave   (your VTR host)                                                           

Goal Race Weight:  169         Current weight:  189

Last year: Great season as I completed the Ironman in Montreal on September 10th. In addition completed 18 races including a half-Ironman, 3 half marathons, and a failed Ironman attempt at Vineman.

Off-season: Mostly ran; averaging 100 miles a month since September.

2013 goals: Break 1:30 in the half marathon on April 13th. I want to be at my goal race weight on that date as well.

 

 

Athlete #2: Mike (popular juicing blogger)                  

Goal Race Weight:  169         Current weight:  192.5

Last year: Incredible year losing 65 pounds in the first 4 months of 2012. After completing all 10 events in the Good Times 5k Series, started training for triathlons and completed the Montreal Olympic Triathlon in 3 hours on September 10th.

Off-season: Yoga 3x a week and several spin classes. Limited running and swimming.

2013 goals: Finish a half-Ironman. Goal to return to race weight by start of Good Times Spring Series. (mid-April)

 

 

 First progress update Jan 6th.....Time to get moving!!!

 

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Win the War Against Holiday Weight Gain

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
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on Wednesday, October 10, 2012
in Weight Loss

 

As many of us have completed our goal races for the year or are in the final stretch before that big event, we start to look towards the off-season. Now whether your goal race was a half-marathon, marathon, or an Ironman, chances are you went through months of hard training and sacrifices to make your goal a reality. At this point you probably feel mentally and physically drained and need some much deserved time off. Guess what? You are right...you deserve it. This is a great time of the year to take some time off. The weather starts to get cold, plenty of holiday feasts and parties to enjoy, probably much needed vacation time from work..etc.

The big question is...Can we enjoy the off-season and re-charge our batteries without gaining weight? The answer is NO. Now you may have read a hundred articles about this subject and you may have got a candy coated answer about how you can avoid gaining weight. I am telling you it is impossible and you will gain weight. The real question is will you gain 5-10 lbs or will you go crazy and gain a ridiculous amount of weight.

If your big race is over and training for your event is done then guess what? You have started the war against weight gain. Make no mistake...you are in a war. Denying it will not keep the pounds off. I look at the battleground as the day my final race ends in the fall until after the New Year. Usually this is 2-3 months of time. My goal is to enjoy every party, holiday feast, and family gathering and weigh no more than 10 pounds heavier than I was before my end of season event. Ten pounds is manageable. What you don't want is to step on the scale and see 20-25 pounds or more on January 2nd...then you are looking at a major struggle to begin next season.

10 simple ways to avoid gaining crazy amounts of weight during the Holidays

1) Slow down your training....but don't stop! The off-season is a time to scale back...not completely shut it down. If you were running 5-6 days a week cut it down to 3-4 days a week. I try to run at least 4 days a week and I run 4-6 miles every time. I don't care about pace and I don't care about distance. I have set a mental minimum of 4 miles. If I want to run more I do. If I don't, then I run the minimum of 4 miles. Simple.

2) Try something new...some people like playing hockey, hiking, hunting, skiing, etc. If you have a sport you couldn't fit into your life due to your training, now is the time to enjoy it. Keep in mind hiking one day on the weekend does not replace a week's worth of maintenance runs.

3) Everyone has holiday parties to attend. If you are the host, here is a simple tip. As people leave give them something to take home. Get rid of the leftover cakes, pies, candy, rolls, etc. Anything left behind will be eaten by you...no question. Do not let people leave empty handed.

4) This goes against #3. If you are not the host, then do not accept anything to take home. Anything you take home usually does not last the car ride home or is eaten in the middle of the night. Politely refuse to take any food home with you. Instant savings to the waist line.

5) If asked to bring something to a party offer to bring a healthier dessert such as a fruit salad or some other low calorie dessert. Just about everyone is battling weight gain and although they won't ask you to bring something healthier they probably won't object if you offer.

6) If you know you are going to chow down at a big meal (such as Thanksgiving) then try to take it easy on the desserts. Maybe just a small piece of pie (just to be social). Limit the damage by choosing to overindulge on the meal or the dessert. Not both. The flip side is if you are at a work holiday party or another small gathering you could choose to eat a lite lunch and then have a big piece of pie. This is basic math folks...everything has calories and they all add up.

7) If you know you are having a huge meal, pie, snacks, etc. at a series of upcoming parties then limit the damage to just those days. It is nice to not have to think about calories or dieting and just be able to eat anything you want at Christmas Dinner. That is fine. Just don't turn every day into Christmas Dinner. Once the dinner is over, it is time to go back to normal eating habits. Don't allow any carryover into "normal" days after the parties are over.

8) Enjoy the parties and dinners but know when to say when. There is absolutely no excuse to have the second, third, or fourth piece of pie. It is OK to let yourself go a little bit, but don't commit dietary suicide. No one enjoys the third piece of pie anyway. Let's be honest. How do you feel later that night?

9) Don't forget that beverages also have calories. Try not to grab the big glass of eggnog with that piece of pie. Again it is all about the math and adding up the calories...one or the other...not both.

10) The Holiday season is the time that chocolates, candies, and baked goods start to show up at work. You must avoid workplace "grazing" at all costs. This is where you could really start to lose the war. You can overcome several parties spread out over a month or two but you will not win the war if you start eating 200-500 additional calories a day from candy jars at work. I know how it starts...you grab a piece of chocolate out of a dish at work and next thing you know you are having one every time you walk by. Then you are finding reasons to walk by the dish so you can have another one.....and then before you know it...

 

 The bottom line is the off-season is a time to relax and re-charge your batteries both mentally and physically. It is also an opportunity to enjoy the Holiday season and spend time with family and friends without strict dietary restrictions or workout plans. The reality is you will go back to training and when you do it will be a lot easier if you have only gained a few pounds. Good luck.

 

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