I finally hit up the new Whole Foods that opened just around the corner. It wasn’t my first time going to one of these stores, but it was the first time I went there for the expressed purpose of buying produce for my house. Previously I hit it up for a last minute cheese, or wine or some other product when it was the most convenient supermarket on my way. I was expected to be blown away by a wide assortment of produce, almost all organic, that would let me indulge my vegetable wanderlust (if there is such a thing). Instead what I got was a display that reminded me more of my corner Food Lion.
As I wrote a couple weeks ago I really need to start getting back ahold of my fitness. As my clothes got tighter and the scale (with body fat measurement) kept creeping up I was feeling more and more desperation. I needed to break my procrastination on this matter, which has been dragging on since late-July. After three years of tracking food, two years of sporadic but periodic exercise and eating solid during the week and lax on weekends I had pushed myself into my experiment and burned myself out on the whole matter. Yes, that was after personal trials that provided good excuses for going off the wagon, so to speak, but it’s still just rationalizations.
With my “fat clothes” that were supposed to be thrown away but instead put in permanent storage now what fit me easiest, I started the climb back yesterday by taking my measurements and setting my baseline. I can feel how off everything is, so it’s not like I needed the ruler (or the scale or body fat percentage reading) to tell me that things were off the rails. It just provides good feedback. The bottom line is that it is far easier to fall back than it is to claw your way forward or maintain a certain level of fitness.
I won’t post specific measurements, but suffice it to say that three months of not exercising, eating pretty piss poor even with reasonable (but negative) calorie balances and being overly sedentary have taken its toll. Weight wise things are deceiving. I’m still hovering just under 190 pounds. That’s where I’ve been basically since the end of May, with the exception of when I was on the Paleo phase. However I have had peaks as high as 193 over the last couple of weeks. As more proof that weight isn’t everything when you factor in body composition that’s where you can see the real bomb going off. Yes, my weight is pretty much the same but my percent body fat has shot up above 20% for the first time since March 2011. That trend is measured both with the on-scale body fat measurement and with skin fold calipers. This is actually the largest skin fold measurement I have taken since 2006, which just was less body fat on a younger body. In three months I’ve lost anywhere between five and six pounds of muscle. I’ve gained a proportional amount of fat.
That actually creates a double problem. Fat doesn’t burn as many calories as muscle. I’m therefore not only getting fatter, my base metabolism is also going down which will reinforce the fat gain feedback cycle. That’s a problem at any age, but when you hit your late-30s, early-40s the problem of muscle atrophy begins to accelerate. How did I have such a steep drop off? I hadn’t been exercising much this past year, but recently it has been none. I guess it turns out that a little is substantially better than none, even if it’s not as good as it should be.
The extra fat showed up in how my clothes were fitting, but that really showed up most in my abdomen measurements. In three months my chest circumference went up by one inch, my hip circumference went up by 0.75 inches, my torso went up by 1.25 inches and my belly went up by 1.75 inches. That’s the same weight but with a 5-6 pound swing in fat and muscle mass landing straight on my core.
If I just sulk and bitch and moan then this will continue to devolve into even more disasterous proportions. Instead I’m trying to clamp down on my eating, introduce at least 15 minutes a day of exercise each day to get into a rhythm and hope that some of these short term gains turn into short term losses.
I’ve had a lot of ebb and flow with my fitness routine over the past couple of months. I’ve gone periods of eating like shit to periods of eating huge quantities of vegetables and no treats. I’ve gone from doing no exercising at all to being really focused on my exercises. While my plans for a grand diet experiment fizzled, and I still don’t feel the urge to attempt something like that again. I do have an urge to get back into a better fitness regiment and to begin my QS practices again.
Through it all (from 7/28 until today) I consistently logged all my food, even during the couple of weeks that I was really feeling zero motivation to do even that. I therefore am now pushing four years of nutritional data. My weight has gone from 188 to 191 and back again. My diet has been pretty diverse, with 75% of my calories coming from foods that make up less than 2% of my calorie consumption. However there are some staples that I ate regularly that pop up above the 2% threshold, and for the most part they aren’t the best. I don’t mind the fact that eggs, sushi and Chipotle Buritto Bowls are in that list. I also don’t mind the fact that wine and beer show up on the list, I just wish they weren’t as prominent. Brownies and pizza on the other hand are a bit of a disappointment. It’s not that I mind having eaten them, I just can’t believe that over the last couple of months they have accounted for over 5% of my total calories. Despite the lack of eating nutritionally dense food and not taking any vitamins I did get by without any nutrient deficiencies except Calcium coming in a little under RDA.
So now it’s off to do some less ambitious experimentation with the relatively modest goal of getting my daily exercise routine re-estabilmed and to get my consumption of nutrient dense foods built back up. As a consequence this journal is really more for me than for anyone else, not that it ever was all about being outwardly focused writing in the first place. If others find my journey interesting then that’s great. If the only person that reads this is myself, that’s fine too. I just like having some accountability that comes with publishing this into the open versus a purely self-read private journal.