For many years I was like most people, where Christmas would surprise me by being in December and I wouldn’t have enough saved up to buy presents for people. So I did what any other red blooded American would do. I whipped out my credit card, blew it up and then paid it down over the next few months. Holidays are a lot like that too but with calories rather than dollars. Up until a couple years ago I was in the same boat as everyone else. I’d gorge on holidays, blow up a few pounds and then go on a diet to lose the weight. I’m now in a different mode of operating, which means that whether it’s good for me or not I actually plan my holiday feasts and save up for the occasion.
Since my mid-teens I’ve always had a steady diet of sodas, mostly diet from the college on, all of which had healthy doses of caffeine in them. I’ve never been much of a coffee drinker, but just by the shear volume of soda, and periodically unsweetened tea, I managed to consume a good deal of caffeine each day for a period of years. Because I like to continuously wet my whistle I may have my last sip of caffeinated soda literally minutes before bed time. I swore it did nothing to me, while simultaneously reaching for it for my morning jolt of course. Once you do without it for awhile however boy can I say that it was obviously doing something to my system.
From a fitness and wellness perspective, October 2013 was a bit of a mixed bag. I did a good job keeping up with my running routine in preparation for the marathon at the end of this year. I didn’t keep up with my cross training at all. That is actually a pretty bad thing. While running does wonders for the cardiovascular system and does work some muscles, there are lots of other muscles that are important for running without injury that really should be worked out by doing other things. I did get some cycling in, but I totally skipped out on yoga, swimming and/or strength training. As I said this time last year when I finished my first half marathon, I’ll concentrate on that after the race. I didn’t hold to it last year, perhaps I will this.
Last month I got to experience the Disney World Food and Wine Festival for the first time in my life. For those not familiar with the experience, Disney World has a park called EPCOT. EPCOT’s origins are as a model of a future community structure which then morphed into a science and history educational theme park. While much has changed on the technology side, the World Showcase, with it’s 1.2 mile long oval track of countries has remained mostly intact. The premise of the Food and Wine festival is simple, Disney has about 30 host countries setup stations throughout the World Showcase where they can each exhibit two to three dishes, plus a handful of adult beverages. I went there fully intending to gorge myself on food, both at the festival and at the various restaurants for dinner. The end results aren’t exactly surprising, but I thought it would be good to put them out there to see exactly what a week of such eating looks like.
I’ve been meaning to start doing my body measurements monthly again, but I haven’t been able to get on the band wagon. The last set of measurements I took was at the very end of August, so that would be September 2013. It’s important to track at one month granularity since each of the diet phases is going to be only three months. I therefore need to get cracking with being consistent at measuring at the beginning of each month.
Although I’m banging out lots of miles training for my first marathon, I also had a series of vacations with lots of indulgences. The upshot of all that is that I packed on several pounds over the last two months. It shows up in my percent body fat, my weight and my various measurements. The weight is probably a little higher than it actually is since I ate a ton of sodium yesterday, but it’s not so off that it’s in the wrong direction or indicative of a trend. I’m not interested in cutting weight, but I will say that I’m at the upper end of the scale/percent body fat where I still feel healthy. My peak “this feels great” for me is between 14-16% body fat and about 173-180 pounds. Too much lower than that and I am ravenous. Too much more than that and I start feeling more sluggish. Since I’m training for my first marathon I’m not interested in cutting calories to reach some theoretical ideal weight. I’ll therefore address that after that is done, if I don’t just let it fall into some equilibrium status on its own during the experiment.
After spending a week of indulging myself at Disney World’s Food and Wine festival (will post about that later, unfortunately behind) I figured this week I’d get back to my healthy eating and exercise. Unfortunately a stressful and busy work schedule has conspired against that. Skipping the gory details I’ll leave it at that junk food of all sorts (candy bars, chips, cookies) have been in great supply. Lunches have been not that great either, today’s was some more pizza.
Between the two weeks of crap eating, hectic schedule and not exercising at all, my body has been really craving this junk food. What’s sad is how little willpower I have against the junk food at this point. Sure, I’ll have an extra slice of pizza, or a handful of chocolate covered almonds, or Reeses cups, or chips. What’s most interesting to me is how my appetite is never satiated. I’m not eating as much as I “could” but it’s still many hundreds of calories of nothing but junk food every day. Along with not being good for me, leading me to crave insane quantities of food and not feeling great I have a feeling it’s going to lead to my 20 mile long run being a complete disaster. Hopefully I’ll get some time to do some running tomorrow and/or Friday to get my body somewhat ready for the beating.