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Box Quest (Part 3)

chair1 chair2I was finally able to acquire that Ikea chair to do my 7 minute workout routine. It turns out it’s made out of extremely lightweight unfinished pine. It feels like balsa wood. I bought some wood beams and screws from Lowes. The seat had to be reenforced by putting a beam in the center. I also screwed in additional beams on the legs. All the joints were slobbered in wood glue as an extra precaution.  My weight is lighter, but I still don’t trust it to stand on a $25 soft wood chair.

Tomorrow or the day after, I will sand it smooth, attach the seat (with more screws and glue), and apply several coats of clear polyurethane – which should add even more sturdiness to it. I entertained the notion of putting my name on the top and painting flames on it, maybe a skull, but I just want this finished and functional.

Almost there…

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Box Quest (Part 2)

It turns out that plywood is more expensive than I thought. For about forty to fifty dollars, I could own a 4×8′ mediocre piece of 3/4″ plywood. So suddenly, my quest has dead-ended. Due to my lack of funds, I’ve resorted to monetizing some of my talents. Unfortunately, judging by the amazing lack of interest from people so far, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be profitable. I would, technically, make more money begging at an intersection.

I did find the cheapest option so far, a $25 wooden chair at Ikea. It looks pretty sturdy, although I would reenforce the legs with some more strips of pine. But, again, it requires about twenty-five dollars more than I have.

That said, I’ve started the 7 minute exercise routine without a chair or a box. I’ve resorted to use the stairs for the step-ups by stepping up past the first step, hitting the second, and coming back down. I measured it, it’s about 18″, which is about the seat height of a chair. I’m using the sofa for the dips, just because I can’t dip properly on the stairs.

It is a tough workout, and I can barely get through it all. I add on another minute of push ups and sit-ups each to make it a good 10 minutes.

I’ve also had to switch to tap water from filtered water and drop some food options (like nuts) at the moment until the situation improves. It’s not my preferred way of losing weight, but I’m not at the point of starving (yet). I have lost 3 more pounds since last week.

Box Quest (Part 1)

box_cartoonFor the last few weeks, I’ve been going insane trying to find a cheap yet sturdy stool or chair to do step-ups on. The step-ups are part of the 7 minute workout that I’m trying to get started on. My only criteria for one was that it be eighteen to twenty inches high, be strong and stable enough to support my (dwindling) weight, and cost around twenty dollars. I almost resolved making a bench out of pressure treated 2x4s, but I was hesitant because I wasn’t sure of what I’m doing with power tools and I had no plans to start from. I also wasn’t sure of having it kept outside in the backyard. Winter is coming. I also looked into getting a rubbermaid step stool, but seemed too flimsy and small.

I finally found a good plyometric box DIY page. A plyometric box, from what I’ve read, is for jumping exercises used in Crossfit routines. Although I’ll be mainly using mine for step-ups and dips at first, I guess it would be nice if I decided to expand my routine later on. For now, I just want to complete that 7 minute routine – and I just need a freakin’ box.

So my plan this week is to go to Home Depot or Lowes and have them cut me out the plywood. I have a circular saw, but frankly, I’m not keen on cutting a large sheet of plywood with it. I’ll then buy some glue and some screws and hope for the best. At least it’s not like some of the slanted plyo boxes DIY I’ve come across – those look hard to assemble. Hopefully the box won’t take up too much space in our small townhouse livingroom.

I’m also considering getting a chin up bar for under the backyard deck. I was going to make one, but sanity kicked in and I found a cheap one on Amazon. My exercise goals over the next few months are modest but important. I want to be able to do one hundred push-ups, two hundred sit ups, one hundred fifty dips, two hundred squats, and twenty pull ups. These goals are outlined in the “Just Six Weeks” app I have. I figure if I can do these, then I’m in pretty good physical health and will have decent muscle tone.

I just need a box to start this, man.

This Week’s Weigh-In Update

Stats updated on Aug 28 2013

Stats updated on Aug 28 2013

264 from 316. I just like looking at the Wii Fit chart. It fills me with a sense of accomplishment. I also had to reset my “goal” in Wii Fit – it only allows for 22 pounds losses at a time, so I moved it down that far and set it for February. Even then I’ll still be considered medically obese. *sigh* Such a long bumpy road out of hell.

I’m also waiting for this “Low carb plateau” I keep reading about. Maybe it’s made-up nonsense, like Bigfoot, aliens, or the Loch Ness monster.

My Butt Looks Like a Shar-Pei


saggy_butt
My butt looks like a Shar-Pei puppy, and not in a cute way. This may be a little TMI, but one of the fears I had starting this weight loss journey was having to end up with saggy skin. I’ve tried to do my best at keeping my weight loss slow and steady to allow my skin’s elasticity to ease into it’s new shape. Unfortunately, my age and my skin type have a lot to say on how that happens. While I think I’m lucky that my stomach won’t have excess skin, I think my butt and the insides of my thighs won’t be so lucky. Years, no decades, of being large and filled with cellulite have taken their toll. The term “Cottage Cheese” thighs are now more unsightly as ever, because even though the fat cells are shrinking and exiting, their lumpy landscape still remains – like a deflated balloon of eww.

It goes to show what type of obesity I am/was faced with. I was jammed packed with visceral fat, the type of fat that’s packed inside my gut and nestled around my organs. Most of the fat I’ve lost so has been this internal. The subcutaneous fat, the fat that’s in my ass, thighs, arms, and man boobs, are slower to leave the building. I read about this in Dr. Lustig’s book “Fat Chance“, in which he explained that it is harder to get rid of this type of fat. The good news is, however, subcutaneous fat isn’t dangerous; the fat you have to watch out for is the visceral fat, which is a marker for metabolic syndrome. Once I lost most of the visceral fat, my apple-shaped gut now looks more like, er… a banana. My mid-section looks and feels skinnier.

Despite that win, I still have flab and loose skin. The more flab goes, the more likely I’ll have some sag. The sucky part is, I don’t think I’ll have the surgery to remove it once I’ve reached my final goal. I’ve seen those results on TV and it doesn’t appeal to me. Some people *have* to have that surgery because that excess skin hangs off them like a skirt. Thankfully, my fat at my heaviest wasn’t that extreme. I’ll have mud flaps, not a kilt.

My other options are nonexistent. Other than surgery, there are no other methods for shrinking the human skin. Creams and lotions offer slight tightening, but fail to take up the slack. The research I’ve done only points to the obvious. Lose the weight, exercise and tone, and let time do its thing. Keeping my fingers crossed.

I don’t want to end up teaching my butt to fetch my slippers or catch a frisbee.

Mean People Suck

I saw an article on CNN today about a young Saudi man who weighed 1,345 pounds. While the story is tragic and sad, what was even more horrible was the comments. The CNN comments, in general, are one of those train wrecks I can’t help myself looking at, and I haven’t been able to teach myself to avoid them. Each and every time I read them my blood boils. Anonymity of the internet allows people to be cruel and mean-spirited, and they are. And I don’t buy the nonsense that people aren’t that cruel. If some feel the need to write that sort of passive aggressive hate on a website comment, then they are, in fact, assholes in real life. And if CNN comments are a marker for that, then we are doomed as a species.

saudi_commentsHumans have developed, in recent years, a remarkable lack of humility with the invention of the internet. A sort of alpha dog hubris that allows them to judge the less fortunate. I experienced that in real life quite a few times, especially when I went to places like the gym. There were always guys there who thought that if people weren’t at the same level of fitness they were, those people were overweight and/or unhealthy. I am well aware that I am not sculpted like a Greek god – it’s just that I have other shit I need to do during the day besides pumping iron. What I consider healthy is probably different from what they consider healthy.

This guy in Saudi, in one way or another, got himself into a situation. That is unfortunate. Why and how, that business is his. It is a matter of prevention up until it is a matter of treatment. People smoke, drink, do drugs, and get fat, no matter how much they are told that it is bad for them. I am guilty of it. One day a person wakes up and realizes the problem, but some are never able to wake up. Ridicule doesn’t help solve the problem.

The solution was probably handed to this guy many times, and for some reason or another, he couldn’t or didn’t want to see it. Most likely, he was handed a whole bunch of bad solutions, like I was. Starvation was the one I got handed the most. Exercise was the second.

Starvation isn’t appealing to anybody. You can talk about calories-in/calories-out all you want. Hunger is hunger. Whether the body wants it, or the brain thinks it wants it. When someone tries to starve themselves, they end up failing and eating more – and feel like a glutton and failure.

Telling a 300 pound or a 1345 pound man to exercise is not going to help things either. To begin with, the diet is probably bad so the energy levels are probably crap. Doing anything, even as simple as squats, aren’t going to be enough. It’s guaranteed failure, which only adds to the misery.

That leaves diet. With today’s food companies marketing the most outrageously malnutrition garbage and government guidelines so far out of whack, it’s no wonder people are helpless in making good decisions. We can’t rely on other people making these decisions for us.

I don’t need people who have never been as obese as I was to tell me the solution especially if they could be wrong. If I see another fitness guru/model say “You could look as good as I do” on TV, I’m going to scream. They don’t want your results, they want your money.

So people with a good fitness regimen and awesome metabolism – stop picking on us. Some of us will come around and see the error of our ways, despite the error of yours.

50 Pounds Gone

dd3k_50pounds

Today I reached my 1/3 point. I’ve officially lost 50 pounds since starting this life style change back in the beginning of April. That’s almost 20 weeks to lose what amounts to a giant bag of dog food hanging on my bones.

This also marks the beginning of my second week doing this blog. I’ve met a lot of wonderful people here and I hope their endeavors go as well as mine has. I like hearing about people in similar situations and how they’re tackling their demons.

I started this blog not as motivation for me to stay the course, but as a testimony to let other people know that what I’m doing isn’t really a struggle. I am not sick, hungry, exhausted or about to blow up from clogged arteries. My triglycerides and HDL have almost completely normalized from a year ago, when my doctor kinda gave me a worried look. My wheat belly is gone – my visceral fat in my gut is no longer the biggest kid on the block. I can suck my stomach in now. Check out those ribs.

When I tell people I’m on a low carb diet, they shutter. “Oh, Atkins…” they say and nod like they’re talking to a poor sucker. No, it isn’t Atkins, or Keto, or Paleo, or Clean, or the Mediterranean, or the cha-cha. I’m simply eating healthy real food, I tell them. I’ve cut out things that I think are bad for me, such as sugar, corn, processed grains, and starchy foods. They nod. Then I tell them I eat three eggs and four strips of bacon a day and they lose their minds again. I had to convince my own mother that I wasn’t going to keel over from a heart attack. I’ve heard term “clogged arteries” more times in the last five months than I care to. I try to explain (as I have before) that my cholesterol is fine, that plague build up on artery walls is due to inflammation of the tissue, the cholesterol is just there to repair it but gets stuck. The inflammation is caused by the metabolic imbalance caused by overdoing the carb… Then I become exhausted. I tell them about the books and the websites just to avoid explaining to them about how lipid transport works or what adiposity is. Then they look at me and nod again. “So what flavor is that Kool-Aid?” their eyes say.

So whatever.

keeptrack aug20I think I’ve stated this before, but I’ll reiterate. Someone else’s idea weight for me, based on my height 6’2″, is 172 pounds. I really don’t care if I get there. I just want to enjoy whatever time I have left on this planet as “not fat”. I definitely don’t want to go back to my starting weight of 316. I want to do better than my current weight of 266. At some point, in the distant future, I want to try to get stupidly cut like Bruce Lee just to giggle in front of the mirror, but for my goal, “not fat” is what I’m shooting for. I estimate it might take another five months to lose another fifty pounds, but even if it took longer, I’ll be okay with it. The important thing is that I now know what it takes to get and remain “not fat”. No more yo-yo diets. No more killing myself with over exercising. No more starving myself. And more importantly, no more hating myself when I fail playing by their rules. I’m not struggling with this at all.

I’ll make another spiffy self-congratulatory graphic for myself when I lose 100 pounds. Because I will.