Saturday, October 19, 2013

Mental More Difficult Than Physical

I believe that most people can lose weight on a program like Weight Watchers, if they follow the plan, discipline themselves, and work toward the goal. Physically, the weight will drop at a rate of 1-2 pounds a week and that is a healthy expectation. Once I got into the process I felt that it was rather simple, but effective.

If you want to lose weight and tone up, you have entered a whole new level. It is not nearly as easy physically and is much harder mentally. I did not say that it could not be done, but it is taxing mentally. Allow me to show you what i mean.

I increased my caloric count this week up to an average of 1,911 per day. I burned an average of 1,245 calories a day. That put my net intake at 666 calories a day. I had plenty to eat. I consumed 114 grams of protein each day. Still trying to increase that figure, but gaining ground. I had 4 workouts in the past five days and did cardio on the treadmill twice a day.

Now, what does that previous paragraph mean to me? I lost 1.7 pounds, but am also strengthening my body. It is hard work. It is much harder than losing 1.7 pounds on Weight Watchers. It is not so hard physically--in fact I enjoy it, but it is mentally taxing. You have to take one day at a time!

What change have I noticed the most? My waist is getting smaller and I have biceps now that literally make me laugh. I've never had muscle like that. If I can make that kind of progress and lose, say a pound a week, next summer I'll be where I've been wanting to go. It will just have to be accomplished one day at a time.

Change does not take place overnight. We don't go to bed being overweight, wake up at the most healthy weight, and be more fit than any time in our lives. It takes time and patience. It is the same with our spiritual lives. When we come to Christ there is a change from "spiritual death to spiritual life". We then need to start growing spiritually. It would be awful to remain as a spiritual babe the rest of our lives!

In order to grow spiritually, we must begin the journey and it is a day by day pilgrimage. It is like losing weight, working out, and becoming physically fit. It becomes a way of life and we can experience the changes our lives are taking. More than that, others can see the changes taking place. They will encourage you. More next time...

Friday, October 11, 2013

Adjustments: A Necessary Part of Life

It has been a busy week. I have learned something over the years. You can have a plan for the week, but depending on what happens, a wise person adjusts to the circumstances. A sense of fulfillment will usually be the by-product of "going with the flow".

I finished a study on Hebrews at Trinity Oaks Retirement Community on Thursday and will start a new one on Judges next Monday. We have done a verse by verse study of 21 books of the Bible since I started at Trinity Oaks and that is very satisfying.

I must be one of the most fortunate pastors in Texas. I had the opportunity to teach the Bible for three years at Eagle Heights Christian Academy and now I continue to have the opportunity to teach five times a week at Trinity Oaks. I don't know another minister who has had that kind of opportunity. I am humbled and thankful.

This week I have spent time in hospitals from the Medical Center to Clear Lake and in between. I have had the opportunity to visit folks in Nursing Homes, as well as apartment visits. I love visiting with people who need pastoral care, even if they don't realize it.  I feel at home in the medical environment.

Also created a worship guide for our Sunday service at Trinity Oaks and a table top promo for each person in the dining rooms highlighting our Sunday worship experience. I wrote a sermon on the subject of Fear for this coming Sunday morning.

What have I done on my own time? I have worked out twice a day---usually at 5:30 each morning and then sometime 5:00-9:00 at night. My trainer suggested this week that I increase my calorie intake to 2,000 calories a day. It doesn't sound like much of a change, but when you are used to about 1,600, it seems like a lot more.

Tony, my trainer, suggested two breakfasts per day---one before my workout and a lighter one after the workout. He said he wanted me eating a minimum of three eggs a day. I love eggs, but that is a tall order. He said to eat my primary meal at lunch and taper off for dinner. Lots of calories at the beginning of the day and dropping off as the day goes on. I have accomplished it at a cost of gaining one pound this week. That goes against my grain, but I know that Tony knows what he is doing.

I had a good workout with my trainer this morning and then followed it up with my usual upper body workout and cardio on the treadmill. Tonight I did another 45 minutes on the treadmill. I spent 90 minutes on the workout this morning. Wish i had the time to do that every day. Just don't want to get up earlier than 5:00!

I hope you have a great weekend. I am planning a trip to Lake Jackson for my grandchildren's soccer game and then watch some great college football on Saturday. Remember, be ready to adjust at a moment's notice. It will pay great dividends.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Nutrition Basics That Nobody Told Me

Don't try to change your eating habits overnight.  It will lead to "cheating" and maybe even giving up your new plan. Take it in small steps over at least a three month period. I started off, as you know by now with Weight Watchers. When I mastered that plan I cut out sweets, cut way back on starches, added additional vegetables and fruits, and then went to mostly chicken and fish, with an occasional beef entree. If you can make these small changes, you will find yourself adding other changes as you move forward.

The Ideal goal of healthy eating is to develop a way of eating that you can do for the rest of your life. This took me way to many months to discover, but it is right on. I am not on a diet, I'm changing my lifestyle to something I can keep for the rest of this earthly existence.

We all need a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. It would be great if you could track that statistic and I would highly recommend My Fitness Pal. I plot my weight, food intake, exercise, and review the carbs, protein, and fat, not to mention sugar and sodium. It is a great little app.

Don't eliminate the foods you really like. If you like bacon, eat it once a week. If you eat something that you like that cost you an additional number of calories, cut that number on what you eat the rest of the day. You won't miss what you cut back on and the total calorie count will be where you want it to be.

Smaller portions are probably a must for most of us. The world "super-sizes" everything. We have to change that kind of thinking for ourselves. I weigh my entree when I am home and shoot for 1/2 cup of any vegetable that I eat. My trainer says, "Pile on the vegetables, They are complex carbs and will digest slowly and make you feel full." I don't know about that, but sometimes I add an additional vegetable in place of cornbread and obviously, I come out ahead as you can imagine.

I believe in eating breakfast. I usually eat oatmeal one day, cereal the next day, and an egg the third day. I started out with an English Muffin, but cut it back to 1/2 muffin after a short period of time. I have tried turkey bacon and turkey sausage with an egg and it does make you feel like it is special.

I am learning to eat a mid-morning snack (like a banana), lunch, a mid-afternoon snack, and dinner. It is like eating five small meals a day. Why do this? It keeps your energy and metabolism up.

I believe that green vegetables are a must for someone trying to change their eating habits. I like green beans, spinach, broccoli, but my favorite is lettuce, which is probably why I eat a lot of salad. I have been eating black-eyed peas and have recently added Great Northern Beans, pinto beans and just any other kind of bean that I can find.

Lastly, but not the least, reduce the amount of sugar you are consuming. I know you like sweet tea, you're from Texas, but try making the change. Sweeten it yourself. It will mean less sugar. Stop salting your food. That was difficult for me to do, but don't miss it anymore.

Good luck with your new way of eating. It will pay dividends over the next year and lifetime!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Eating Healthy Can Be Done

I didn't know what it meant to "eat healthy" for most of my life. My wife would say that in the past I lived to eat and she would eat to live. I guess she was more right than she was wrong. But, today I eat to live. Let me tell you how I did it with some tips to get you there if needed.

I always thought a person needed dessert as part of the primary meal of the day. I thought potatoes or rice was a staple with vegetables and bread----bread was the greatest from garlic toast to biscuits to cornbread. I didn't know what smaller quantities meant. I must have consumed 3,000 calories a day on my best days.

Then I got a handle on it in September of 2011. I went on Weight Watchers Online for Men and that helped shape what I would eat. I began dropping 1-1.5 pounds per week and had plenty to eat. After about six months I stopped and began gaining weight again. This went on for about a year. Then I got back on it seriously.

I cut out dessert almost completely and it doesn't bother me to see anyone else down a hot doughnut,  fancy piece of pie, or one of those homemade desserts that everybody's mouth waters over. I do eat a No Added Sugar Klondike Bar as a treat.

Then I drastically cut back on starches. I might have potatoes once a week. White rice has gone by the wayside. Mac & Cheese is a thing of the past. Casseroles have disappeared from my menu.  I have also cut out bread products after noon.

This morning I had cereal/milk, 1/2 an English muffin, 1/2 teaspoon of butter, and coffee. At lunch I had a salad with grilled chicken and a diet Pepsi. Tonight I plan on having a small salad, fish, and a vegetable. My protein comes from mostly fish and chicken, but occasionally I will have beef or pork. I usually weigh it when I am eating at home. The Klondike Bar usually comes into play after dinner (a throwback to my old days) and coffee. I know that I get plenty to eat and am satisfied.

What I have described has taken a while to put into place, but it is one of the best disciplines I have ever enacted. The other would be the exercise that I do. Together, they are making a stronger and leaner Mike.

This morning I did the treadmill for 40 minutes at 15 degrees at 3.0-3.7 mph. I also did an upper body workout for 45 minutes. I plan to go back to the gym tonight and do another 48 minutes on the treadmill. Sixty minutes on the treadmill and the body workout is a minimum for me. You have to custom design a regiment for yourself that will take you where you want to go. Don't be afraid to experiment.

I will wait until the next installment to talk about 'Tips on Healthy Eating" I rambled on too much as I got into this one. Start doing something for yourself this weekend. There has to be s starting point!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

How Important Is A Number?

Many people today know their Blood Pressure, Heart Rate, Blood Sugar, Cholesterol, Triglycerides and many other bodily functions that notify us when something is irregular, or is within acceptable levels. Those trying to lose weight may need another reading in their inventory that they may not be aware of right now.

One's Basal Metabolic Rate, or BMR is important. Why? Your BMR measures the energy used no matter what you are doing, even if you are in a coma and lying in bed. Your body needs a minimum number of calories to sustain itself. 

Every year it becomes harder to eat what you want because this BMR indicator decreases with age. This is one of the reasons that some people put on weight as they get older. They believe that they can continue to consume the same calories that they have always taken into their bodies. Some dieters deprive themselves in hope of losing weight. This lowers your BMR and what you thought was the right thing to do actually works in reverse. You either plateau or gain weight.

If you are interested in finding out your BMR, google BMR and it will give you multiple sites to look at. The formula is simple -- all you need is your height, weight,sex,and age. My BMR is 1,788 calories. That figure will sustain my weight if I don't do anything else. You can also determine what your body needs based on your level of activity. Just follow the information that will take you to another link. When I am not working out, I have a sedentary lifestyle, so I would multiply the 1,788 (BMR) times 1.2 and this gives me what my body usually needs, which in my case is 2,146 calories. If you want to lose weight, you can make it really simple by subtracting 15-20% from that larger figure. It brings me down to 1,717 and I should be able to lose some weight by following that intake.

NOTE: 3,500 calories is 1 pound of fat. Reduce intake and increase "burn off" and you will lose over a period of time. Try out what I've posted here today. I am experimenting with it myself. Last week I increased my calorie consumption to 2000-2100 and I showed an incremental weight gain each day. I cut it back since Tuesday to an average of 1,850 and I've lost incrementally each day. I suspect that it will come out to 1.0-1.5 pounds by next Tuesday.

Yesterday's Results: Consumed 1,732 calories; burned off 954 calories with 60 minutes on the treadmill and a 45 minute lower body workout; leaving a net caloric intake of 778 calories. It showed up as a loss on the scales this morning, but I had to have gained muscle as well. Good luck to you through this weekend!

Next Blog Subject: Food (The idea is in my head, but don't know yet where I am going to go with it)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

We All Make Spiritual Choices

Tuesday, October 1

Today's Results:  Consumed 1,885 calories, burned 1,460 calories = a net caloric intake of 425

Getting fit and losing weight is a lot like the Christian life.  People make a decision to lose weight, or do strenuous workouts to tone their bodies. They make this a priority in their lives. Likewise, people choose to grow spiritually and they go about doing it. It is all about choices!

First, if a person takes in more nourishment than their body needs, they will gain weight. Their body will store what they don't need as fat until they do need it. Second, if one exercises their body, it will add muscle, burn further calories and make them lean and strong.

Far too many Christians try to live like the world and fail to take in the spiritual nutrients they need because they are busy living a worldly life. They are good people, just living like their friends during the week and trying to catch up one day of the week. They do not make time to read their Bible, so they lack the spiritual nutrition that can give them. They fail to pray because they do not think about it. This is another failure to pick up what their lives need.

My trainer told me about the first cavemen. They hunted for their food and eating took place whenever they were successful on their hunt. They might go days or even a week before they would find food. Their bodies stored fat because it did not know when the body would be fed again. Some Christians are the same way--they store the "fat" of the world because they are so into it and don't know when the next course will be available. Therefore, they become "spiritually flabby" over a short period of time.

Far too many believers do not work out, so they do not add muscle, the body eats on the muscle and then the stored fat and they fail to gain spiritual strength. They remain at a "spiritual stand-still" for extended periods of time an are surprised when they look around and see others pass them by spiritually speaking.

The next time you are out walking or working out with weights, stop and think about what you are doing for the benefit of your body. The body is the physical "tent" that you are living in for an average of 78-83 years. What are you doing for your spiritual life? Are you feeding it properly? Are you exercising it so you can get the most out of it?

Monday, September 30, 2013

Protein: Vital to Losing Weight

I keep hearing that protein is vital in losing weight, but I didn't really understand it until today. A person who is trying to lose weight and get fit should take in protein after a workout because protein helps repair and build new muscle. Now get this--the more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns at rest. 

Now, here is the key to increasing protein---when you take in more protein, you need to watch your intake of carbs and fat carefully, or, yes, you will gain weight. I think that has been my problem since I began trying to increase protein since around August 6. Now, I think I get it. People who double the amount of protein consumed lose more fat and maintain more muscle than people who only eat the recommended daily amount.

Let's apply this to daily living. How much protein should one eat in order to lose weight? Multiply your weight by 0.36. Then double that number. A 200 pound man would need to consume 72 grams X 2 = 144 grams of protein. Let me put that in perspective for you. I only consumed 105 grams of protein today. My top three "protein busters" were salmon, chicken, and a protein shake. As you can see, I have a ways to go to hit that "144". No wonder I felt stuck at my current weight!

What do I do for exercise? I burned 977 calories today via 63 minutes on the treadmill at 15 degrees from 2.7 to 3.7 mph. Also had an Upper Body workout with 11 pieces of equipment that lasted about 45 minutes. I don't convert the workout into calories burned. I guess it could be done, but I don't have the time to do it. It is best for me to do two sessions a day---I just don't have the time to do it all at once.

So, today I consumed 1,827 calories, burned 977 calories and that equals a net calorie intake of 850. My former trainer said he consumed 3,000 calories a day and burned 3,000 calories a day! I can't relate to that, but he is 20 and I am 68. I am pleased with what I'm doing.

I want to end this by talking about balance in nutrition. Today I was 8 grams over in carbs and 11 grams over in fat. I could easily cut out 110 calories in carbs and cut 180 calories of fat for a total cut of 290 calories. Then I need to add those 39 grams of protein or about 340 calories. I would end up gaining 50 calories onto my 1,827, but my intake would be balanced. It can be all I have to do is do it!  My sodium was under by 333 mg. and my sugar was right on the button. Maybe if I can pull that off, I'll be right where I want to be.

You can do it too. I didn't know squat 90 days ago, but I am learning and I see myself as the so-called "work in progress".  Looking to get even healthier and maybe lose another 35 pounds, inches, and generally tone-up. Join me---you can do it!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Amazed By What I Don't Understand

Just when I think I am comprehending how the human body works, I realize that I am still in the starting blocks. Let me share with you the latest that I've discovered.

I increased my calorie consumption by about 300 calories. It was difficult to consume those extra calories, but I have followed that change since this past Tuesday. I gained 1.5 pounds. That did not exactly get me excited! Yet, I was told that it will take a few days for my body to "catch up" to the change. I decided to give it a chance, but did not want to gain more than 5# in order for it to adjust.

This morning I worked out for about 55 minutes. It felt really good. I ate some breakfast (would recommend that to anybody starting out) and then got cleaned up to go to work. I decided that I would put on some new jeans I bought in Mobile during our vacation in early August. They were snug when I bought them (new size), but I knew I would grow into them.

Get this--since I bought the jeans, my weight has fluctuated 2-3 pounds and I have really not lost any weight. I put on the jeans and they fit! I think it would be safe to say that I am even closer to the next lower size than I am to a perfect fit. I don't really understand that fully, but I'll give it a try. If I am wrong about my understanding, just correct me.

Muscle weighs more than fat. I think I have lost some additional fat and replaced it with muscle,, yet I am not losing 2# a week like I did before I started getting serious about this working out. I would not trade what I've accomplished at Dynamic Fitness for the weekly two pound loss! I am interested to see what will happen over the next 90 days.

If you need some extra motivation, come and join me at Dynamic Fitness. I begin every Monday-Friday at 5:25 A.M and I'm through no later than 6:30. I'll even teach you what I've learned about food. If this kind of regiment is not for you, just get out and start walking. You will be surprised and maybe even AMAZED at your results, even if you don't understand everything! Later...

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Consistency and Dedication

The two words that stick out in my mind on this Wednesday afternoon are "consistency" and "dedication". As for me, that is what it takes to be on the road to healthy living.

My alarm goes off six days a week at 5:00 A.M. I am not an early morning person. Five o'clock has always been out of the question. It has never been in my realm of possibilities. But, when I took a hard right turn and joined Dynamic Fitness, I knew that for me to be successful, my journey would have to begin early in the morning. So, I am up by 5:00 and out the door by 5:15. I turn the radio on to Bill King, my favorite national sports talk show host and I am on my way to the gym.

This morning I started my warm-up at 5:25 with ten minutes on the treadmill and then proceeded to work out on 11 pieces of equipment all working my upper body. I was finished by 6:30 and headed home. I really enjoy the workout, just wish that I had started years ago. Then it is back to Bill King and home for breakfast, before I get cleaned up to go to work. Tonight, after I get through here at the church (7:45 ish) I will head home, change clothes, and head to the gym for 45 minutes on the treadmill.

I usually do an upper body workout/cardio on M-W-F, cardio on T, lower body/cardio on Th, cardio on Saturday, and rest my body on Sunday. That is where consistency and dedication come into play for me. If I take care of today, tomorrow I can do the same thing.

My physical trainer has moved to a new Dynamic Fitness gym that is opening on Post Oak, so I got a new trainer this week. He is giving me agility training that is much more difficult than doing a workout with weights or cardio on a treadmill, but I know it will pay off in the long run...if I survive. I am just kidding, but my anxiety was up going into our first meeting on Tuesday.

There is one thing that I am having to learn that seems to be a paradox. To lose I am going to have to increase my calorie count. Eat more to lose weight??? Well, I am going to try it. I started the increase yesterday from about 1,700 calories to 2,000. The additional calories seem like poison to me at this stage,but everything has been right for me so far. Besides, I believe in my new trainer.

What has happened to me over the past 90 days? I have lost 19# of fat and 5% body fat, while gaining so much muscle (can't remember that figure). My resting heart rate has dropped, my blood pressure has dropped, I look better, my pants size continues to decrease, and I continue to get healthier. I have lost about 60 pounds since I started this journey and plan to lose another 35 pounds over the next 6-12 months.

I have come to the conclusion that almost anybody can become healthy and as a result, become fit, lose weight, and take on a new lifestyle. It is making the decision to do it, taking one day at a time, and desiring to be healthy, as opposed to just losing weight.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Journey To Get Healthy

A friend at work suggested that I start blogging about my journey of getting physically fit, so here is the first of several installments that I'll be writing over the next few weeks.

Two years ago I decided to lose some weight and get healthy. At the time, I had no idea how far it would take me. I began by signing up with Weight Watchers. I was familiar with the program having used it about 30 years earlier. I signed up for the online program and got it going as part of my new life.
I immediately began to lose a few pounds.

As soon as I began eating right, I added exercise. I started out with 30 minutes a day and slowly increased it in 15 minutes increments. When I got to 90 minutes a day, I added stairs gradually until I reached 16 flights of stairs within the 90 minutes brisk walk. I dropped about 45 pounds. I was pleased with my progress.

In March of 2012, about seven months after I started this successful regiment, I went on a trip to Israel. I didn't do to badly during the twelve days I was there, but did not watch what I was eating and had to exercise when I could. Upon returning home, I lost the momentum that I had and fell off the wagon. By the end of the year, I had regained almost 30 of those pounds I had lost.

In February of 2013 I vowed to get back on my "healthy routine", so at the end of the month I began my journey back. I entered every crumb that went into my body, got my cardio back to where it has been and dropped 18 pounds in March, April, and May.

It was in May that I made the most profound discovery that I could make. I always thought my main goal was to lose weight. Then i discovered that it was really a change in my lifestyle that would remain with me throughout this life. I now wanted to not only be healthy, but fit as well. This discovery changed everything I thought was real.

It was the last week in May and I knew that my next step was to ascend to a whole new level.  I joined Dynamic Fitness, a relatively new gym about 5 minutes from our house. I checked them out closely and then visited the facility to see it. I had always felt like I didn't belong in a gym. Within the first 30 days, I knew I needed a Physical Trainer to help me know what to do and how to use the equipment. So, at the end of June I added a trainer to my life.

During the first 90 days I lost 19 pounds, 5% body fat, and gained lean muscle (can't remember how much). Needless to say, I got rid of my "big boy" clothes and continue to move into smaller sizes. I will tell you what I am doing in the next installment,

I want to end this segment by sharing what has helped me the most. First, joining Dynamic Fitness was the best thing I could have done at the time. All that I had done previously prepared me for this step. I now feel at home and love my workouts. Second, I got the My Fitness Pall app and it is great to enter what you have eaten, the exercise you've done, and the progress you're making with you weight. It is easy to use and I think has been significant to my progress. Third, the commitment to taking one day at a time. I discovered that I can't do anything about yesterday and tomorrow is not even here yet, but I can do something about today. I'll tell you what that is in the next installment.

Have a great day and if you know someone who is trying to make a change in their life, invite them to join me for Journey of A Lifetime!