Monday, March 31, 2014

Workout night

Blogging is getting pushed later in the day as my days are getting busier! Tonight, I had my Monday night Goalbusters class.

I got to class about 15 minutes early and spent that time warming up on the heavy bag and stretching. Then, the 11 of us started our circuit!


  • Pass medicine balls in a circle, clockwise, one minute
  • Pass medicine balls in a circle, clockwise, one minute
  • Jumping Jacks, 30 seconds 
  • Ankle mobility, 30 seconds
  • Split squats, right leg front, 30 seconds
  • Split squats, left leg front, 30 seconds
  • Push-ups, 30 seconds
  • Mountain Climbers against the wall, 30 seconds

Partner Warm-up (repeat 3x)

  • 20 body weight squats
  • Hold a wall squat while partner does 20 squats

For this circuit we had one half of the room with weight exercises, and the other half for cardio. After each of the exercises below, we then ran for 40 seconds and then went to the next station, so we ended up with 7 weight stations and 7 cardio runs.

  • Lunges with an 18 lb body bar, 40 seconds
  • Alternating Waves on the heavy rope, 40 seconds
  • Squats against a body ball, with a 25 lb kettlebell, 40 seconds
  • Dumbbell clean and press, 15 lbs each hand, 40 seconds
  • Monster walks, blue band, 40 seconds
  • Standing cable rows, 80 lbs, 40 seconds
  • Heavy Bag, freestyle, 40 seconds
Mat work
  • Jackknifes, 40 seconds
  • 6-inch leg raises, 40 seconds
  • Jackknifes, 40 seconds
  • Scissor kicks, 40 seconds
  • Stretching
And that was it! Class again on Wednesday. Tomorrow I've got a dentist appointment and meetings all day so I can't workout at work, but I might try to get a workout in tomorrow night.

Now lets just hope I've had enough water today to be down some tomorrow!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Late night blogging!

I just realized I hadn't blogged today!
Today was a busy day.  I took Lauren shopping to spend birthday money,  went grocery shopping,  and hit the gym for some cardio. Then I cooked dinner and we went to play Pathfinder/D&D.
That got cut short and we ended up playing Lords of Waterdeep instead.  I won by always having reasonable quests to complete.
Good night!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Short workout today

I put in a brief but intense workout this morning:

  • 12 minutes EFX at level 17, 5 mph pace
  • 5 sets of 5 cable rows, 180 lbs
  • 5 sets of 5 barbell squats, 205 lbs
  • 1 set of 5 bench presses, 165 lbs

I knew I had a short workout, so I killed it on the weights. and managed to get that all in in just under 40 minutes and was still able to get home in time to get Lauren to art class.

In other news, I hit a new personal low this morning, and am nearly 53 lbs down! I'd had a spotty week last week and so I'm happy to see I'm back to a new low after being up from my previous low for several days in a row.

Weekends are tough days to blog, so that's it for today!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Reese's Cup Brownie... now with pictures

So, I've talked about this brownie a lot, but I thought it was time to do it a little justice, so last night when I baked them, I took some pictures.

So, once again, Reese's Cup Brownies, Medifast-style!

You need:
  • One Packet Soft Bake Brownie
  • Two tablespoons PB2 (prepared)
  • A Ramekin
  • An Oven, preheated to 350F
  • A Refrigerator
  • Time
Step one, prepare the Brownie mix according o the directions. I like to use a little extra water, but not much. Then, pour half the brownie into your ramekin, like so:
You can try to not get a drop on the side when you do it.

Then, once you've added half your batter, make a little hockey puck of PB2 (this is easiest if you make the PB2 with a little less water than normal) and drop that on top of the batter.

Doesn't that look tasty? Sure it does.

Then, cover with the rest of your batter, like so:

If you're lucky, your brownies will also magically clone themselves. 
Then, pop your ramekin into the oven for 15 minutes. While you wait, keep preparing your lean and green. Eventually they'll be ready and you can pull them out and see them. they should look like this:
Probably too hot to eat at this point.

Stick them in the fridge for a couple hours, or the freezer for less time. After dinner, they should be chilled well and you can eat!

Doesn't that look tempting? No? You haven't been on Medifast long enough.

And that's it. Looking at the pictures, it's obvious some things I could do better. If I baked the ramekins sitting in a pan of water, I'd probably lose the cracking on the surface. And if I flattened out the Peanut butter more, I'd lose the 'glop' in the middle. Overall though, this is a quick and easy dessert that adds a lot to the basic Medifast brownie.

As we keep eating these, I'm coming to the conclusion that I prefer the smoothies I make out of Pudding and Chocolate Chip Cookies, but I like having this as an option. I doubt I'll ever eat a 'normal' brownie again, though.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

10 Weeks! That means it's time for spreadsheets and graphs!

I've made it 10 weeks through Medifast and am at a lower weight that I've been in years. In fact, I'm not sure when the last time I weighed 280 pounds was. It's been a while.

But, 280 pounds is one thing, another is how this week went. Let's take a look at my numbers.

Click me! Click me!
So, first off, a 3.4 pound loss, which is right in the area I want to be. That's great! However, my low weight was actually on day 3 of the week! Sunday I barely drank any water, and it showed. Then I has a workout class and still didn't drink enough water. I finally did start drinking my water again on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then had another workout class. So the lesson of the week is: DRINK YOUR WATER!

A secondary lesson is: Eating out on this diet is definitely doable!

That said, the fact that we managed to go out to eat twice in two days and stay on plan doesn't mean I want to start eating out 2-4 times a week again. Eating out is almost certainly the biggest culprit in our weight gain, so we need to plan around it and have eating out be a social vector for time with our friends, and limit the 'I just don't feel like cooking tonight' to as close to zero as possible.

How are we doing on our goals? Let's look at my weekly chart and see!

You could click me too, if you really wanted to.
Not as impressive this week. I only ticked off two new boxes, a 3 pound box and a 2 pound box. I was a couple tenths of a pound away from snagging a couple more. However, I'm still on track to be at 275 for PAX and 260 for Geekway. I'll take it! Any week I lose over 3 pounds is a good week!

Now for my graph. Again, it's pretty basic... I should probably add some more data points to it to make it more interesting, especially since I'm tracking calories, but that gets really mathy, and while I can make excel do some cool stuff, I'm not terribly interested in digging deep into writing formulas to calculate my projected losses based on calories in vs calories out.

In almost all my hobbies, I want to watch numbers go up instead of down.
This is the exception.

We've got a nice, fairly steady drop resolving itself over the last few weeks, and if you take out the one anomalous week at the start and a second anomalous week 7, then it's a very steady decline. Of course I will keep tracking, but I think I'm settling into a ~4 pounds a week drop as of now. As I continue to lose weight I expect this to keep slowing down a bit.

10 weeks down and at my current rate another 13 to go to hit 240 pounds and then I will take stock and revisit my goals.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Prepping for PAX East

It's two weeks until I go to PAX East and it's time to plan out my attack so that I can stay on my Medifast plan as much as possible while in a convention center.

The first part is relatively easy, my Medifast meals. Unfortunately, I'm not going to have easy access to a microwave, so that is going to limit some of my choices. In addition there's no mini fridge, either, so that limits a few more choices.

So I plan to bring a selection of meals that don't require that type of prep. This means crunchy and chewy bars, shake powders, crunchy snacks, and that sort of thing.

So, we're looking at a standard day as being:

  • 1 bag of cereal (without milk)
  • 1 crunch bar
  • 1 bag of pretzels
  • 1 Bag of bites/puffs
  • 1 chewy bar

For Thursday I'll get to have a couple meals prior to my flight, so I can get a normal shake and a Hearty Meal in, and I'll be home Sunday night at 9:45 (after a stupidly long layover) but I'll likely plan to eat a smoothie when I get home.

So that means I need to pack with me 17 meals for the 4 days:

  • 3 bags of cereal
  • 4 crunch bars
  • 3 bags of pretzels
  • 4 bags of bites/puffs
  • 3 chewy bars 

That will cover all four days of meals and will work whether or not I'm in a terminal, on a plane, in a cab, in the hotel, or on the convention floor. That's actually better than my normal convention food schedule, and this stuff all fits nicely inside a Bag of Holding or my leather satchel, as well.

I don't have a picture of my Bag of Holding, apparently.

So that leaves Lean and Green. If I'm lucky, there will be a reasonably priced or even free breakfast where I can get egg whites, low fat cheese, mushrooms, and lean chicken in an omelet. While I'm eating that I'll wave at the flying pigs that sail past, as well. In reality, I'm likely going to be stuck with sub-standard convention food and will be lucky to find something that even resembles healthy.

Unfortunately, I'm not really sure what my other options will be until I'm there, I have no idea how easy it will be to move around and what will be within walking distance. On the plus side, I should burn tons of calories with all of the walking, so that will help, but in the end I'm just going to have to do my best. Maybe I'll end up eating a salad. That would be a first.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Goalbusters class and Fitbit weekly update

Last night started the Spring Session of our Goalbusters fitness class. Whenever we start a new session, the intensity is ratcheted down a bit for the newbie, which means I try to increase my effort on the exercises.

I partnered with Bob last night and we had a good circuit. I'm up about a pound today, I expect that's part of the reason I saw such big losses recently... no gym workouts this weekend (we were too busy), so my muscles aren't holding onto as much water.


  • Pass medicine balls in a circle, clockwise, one minute
  • Pass medicine balls in a circle, clockwise, one minute
  • Jumping Jacks, 30 seconds (I did 42 jumping jacks!)
  • Ankle mobility, 30 seconds
  • Split squats, right leg front, 30 seconds
  • Split squats, left leg front, 30 seconds
  • Push-ups, 30 seconds
  • Mountain Climbers against the wall, 30 seconds

Partner Warm-up (repeat 4x)

  • 15 body weight squats
  • Hold a wall squat while partner does 15 squats

Station 1 (repeat 2x)

  • Kettlebell Squats, 35lbs, 30 seconds
  • Triceps Extensions, Blue band, 30 seconds

Station 2

  • Cable machine 'woodchoppers', 27lbs, right arm, 30 seconds
  • Dumbbell clean and press, 12 lbs each hand, 30 seconds
  • Cable machine 'woodchoppers', 27lbs, left arm, 30 seconds
  • Dumbbell clean and press, 15 lbs each hand, 30 seconds

Station 3 (repeat 2x)

  • Double waves on the heavy rope, 30 seconds
  • Bicep curls, blue band, 30 seconds

Station 4 (repeat 2x)

  • Bosu Balance, 30 seconds
  • Lunges with a body bar shoulder press, 22 lbs, 30 seconds

Station 5 (repeat 2x)

  • TRX Pull-ups, 30 seconds
  • Medicine Ball bounce passes, 15 lbs, 30 seconds

Ab Work (on mats)

  • Bridges, 30 seconds
  • Hip thrust, right leg up, 30 seconds
  • Hip thrust, left leg up, 30 seconds
  • Bridges, 30 seconds

Cooldown and Stretching

As I was writing this, my Fitbit weekly report came in. I should probably save it for tomorrow's blog post, but it's here now... so I'll at least post it. I may go into detail on it tomorrow though, so maybe this is just a teaser!

Click to embiggen!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Visual progress!

So today I decided to go troll up some 'before' pictures. I never really took any specific ones, but I was able to find a few... let's take a look.

At Desh and Jen's Wedding
Being goofy at Thanksgiving

Vegging out on the couch

Ugh. That's basically all I really have to say about these, is 'Ugh.' And yet, this was me. At a wedding, at home for Thanksgiving, at my parents' house at Christmas.

I've got a few other pictures from around this time, and some from earlier, and they are all similar.

But, since starting Medifast, I've actually had a few decent pictures, and taken a couple of selfies.
I'm going to drop down a few lines of text and then do a reveal!









Here we go! These are from Mardi Gras, late February and early March, about 6 weeks after starting Medifast.

Hanging out with my sisters before a parade!

This is my squid hat.
There are many like it,
but this one is mine.

And finally, here's a picture from today. 9.5 weeks after starting Medifast and 51 pounds lost:

Yes, it's a selfie. In a mirror. I have no shame.

At some point the weather will be warm enough to wear lighter clothes, and then these pictures should be a little bit more revealing. Until then, though, you get me in hoodies and sweaters.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Back in the Kitchen!

After eating out two days in a row (oh, the luxury!), I was surprised to see I'd lost weight again! But, we can't keep eating out every day, so I hit the grocery store and spent some time in the kitchen tonight.

Today was a stay home and clean house day for most of the day, doing laundry, cleaning the bathroom, organizing some board games for Geekway to the West, cleaning the kitchen, putting away boxes, that sort of thing, but I did get out this weekend to buy groceries and go to The Container Store and Target.

The Container Store allowed me to pick up an extra shelf for our Elfa unit that is now 'Medifast central'. It also let me pick up a dozen little containers perfect for Medifast-sized almond snacks. We re-organized the unit and got more cereal and crunchy snacks in there, and have a lot of ready-to-go almond containers as well.

Target, I got two new pairs of jeans in a smaller size... they should end up being too big, but they were on sale so they will do for now. We also picked up a bunch of plastic shoe boxes to try to increase our organization some.

But, this blog post is about getting back in the kitchen! I made Ginger Orange Chicken with peppers, seasoned white mushrooms, and baked Medifast Reese's Cup Brownies.

The mushrooms were tossed into a pan with water, rice vinegar, hot mustard, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and soy sauce and boiled until they were well seasoned.

The chicken, I diced it and tossed it in a large bowl with soy sauce, ground ginger, orange peel, and green bell pepper, and then stir-fried it in olive oil with a dash of sesame oil

While it was missing rice, dumplings, and eggrolls, it was still excellent. I baked the brownies in the oven while cooking and let them chill in the fridge for a couple hours.

At some point I'm going to have to start taking pictures when I cook, so I've got something interesting to show on the blog posts!

Finally, tonight I made some edits to my blog layout... I added my HabitRPG character (just an image capture for now, I'll have to manually update it until I find a way to automate it). I also edited my World of Warcraft banners so that if you click them it takes you to their Armory pages. Now you can see just how much I ignore my poor Horde Druid compared to my Alliance Warlock.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Eating out on Medifast

My wife and I have been very good about not eating out on Medifast, but this weekend we finally had a couple meals out... dinner alone on Friday night, and then dinner with friends tonight.

Both meals worked out great, were on plan, and were a total success.

For Friday night we went to California Pizza Kitchen. I had Grilled Chicken Chimichurri, which was a 6 oz grilled boneless skinless chicken breast and a pile of roasted vegetables... broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, spinach, eggplant, squash, and carrots. It also had a spicy chimichurri sauce on the side.

Stock photo, but this is EXACTLY
what my food looked like!
The mushrooms and eggplant were good, and the cauliflower and spinach were edible in small doses. The carrots were nice and crunchy but not really on the diet so I only ate a couple, and the broccoli was atrocious, but I tried it anyway.

The full meal was under 450 calories and only 19 grams of carbs. Fit perfectly in my macros. It was tough seeing all the pizzas, and turning down the plate of bread, but it worked out in the end!

We'll have pizza again one day, though! And at the rate we're going, it will be pretty soon!

I had expected to cook tonight, but after we hung out at Citygarden taking some pictures, we ended up going to hang out with Zac, Inez, Ezra, and Rose. We wanted to go shopping at the outlet mall and decided to do dinner. We were going to go to Espino's, but the wait was too long and we ended up at El Maguey.

Normally Mexican food would be off the plan entirely, but I ordered off the a la carte menu and got grilled chicken and mushrooms. I ate it with green habanero salsa, and skipped the rice, beans, tortillas, chips, and queso. It was perfectly good, and was a nice change of pace.

El Maguey! I missed you, queso.
So! We managed to go out to eat, stay on plan, and keep our nutrition where it needs to be! We'll still be eating at home most of the time, but it's nice to have a couple of options out there for us that stick to our diet.

And while I'm here... NSV for the night, grabbed a sweater from Eddie Bauer. The XXL was too big for me, but I got it anyway, since I like my sweaters oversized. Woot!

Friday, March 21, 2014

50 pounds down! Also, I jumped back into HabitRPG!

50 Pounds? Seriously?

I weighed last night before bed and was shocked to see that I was only up a few tenths of a pound, and sure enough, when I weighed in this morning, I was down a couple of pounds. Those pounds took me to 50 pounds lost! I'm on the other side of halfway now.

Today was also a measurement day... I haven't posted about these in a while (if ever?) and so let's see where we stand!

Neck: 19 inches (was 21 inches on January 16)
Biceps (relaxed): 14.5 inches (was 16 inches on January 16)
Biceps (flexed): 16.5 inches (was 17.5 inches on January 16)
Belly: 46.5 inches (was 53.5 inches on January 16)
Thigh: 27 inches (was 28.5 inches on January 16)

Overall, this is a good trend. I'm sure I'm losing a little lean mass as I lose weight, that is to be expected. But I'm doing better than expected and I'm sure I'll end up at a point where I need to bulk up a little on the muscle mass once I get to transition and maintenance.


While on MFP today, I saw a post talking about HabitRPG, and I reminded myself that I was an early adopter of this, but I never really used it. I decided to get back into it and see what was up.

The first thing I noticed was that it works a lot better than it used to. I was dead, back to level one, and my training sword was damaged, but everything made sense and worked nicely.

In just a few minutes, I was back in and had updated my tasks, keying off all the things I should do every day. You can set up dailies that only fire off on certain days of the week, as well, so things like 'take out the trash' are easier to set up as well! You can also set difficulites for yourself, so that things you don't want to do give you more gold and XP.

An adventurer is me!
I was able to add a lot more tasks to my sheet and we'll see if I keep up with it this time. I've downloaded the app to my phone, and added it to my status bar. If it is fun, I'll keep up with it. I did notice that you can 'cheat' and just give yourself XP and Gold, but there's little point in that. Despite losing my previous progress, I'm ok with starting fresh as well.

Anyone else using HabitRPG? Has it worked for you?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Week 9 defeated!

This week wasn't looking great for the first half... I wasn't staying hydrated and combined that with a couple heavy workouts and I had gains early. But then, I focused on my water, made sure I was eating reasonably, and the last three days saw me ditch all that water I'd latched on to.

Here's my stats!

Click to embiggen!
Saturday was a crazy day, I know I already posted about it, but a giant workout, cleaning house, a couple of long walks... I made the continually sub-par choice of turkey jerky as a snack, as well.

That said, I recovered well and saw the water weight melt off. My average is still trending down towards 4 pounds a week, as well.

How are we doing on our goals, though?

Click to embiggen
284 pounds! This weigh in was when it clicked that I was no longer 'Over 300 lbs'. I haven't been for a few weeks, but this was the week when I realized that if I quit Medifast right now and just followed a reasonable diet and exercise plan, I'd stabilize under 300 instead of over 300.

Obviously, that's not good enough. But it's nice to see! I'm three weeks ahead of the 4 pound/week schedule, and nearly 2 months ahead of the 3 pounds/week schedule. 

I've got a couple of mini-goals ahead. First, I'm going to PAX East in 3 weeks. I really want to be 275 pounds for this. That will have me in better shape than I've been in for a decade if not more. Flying should be a lot more comfortable at this weight, as well... the last time I was on a plane I was likely between 315-330 lbs.

Second is Geekway to the West in two  months. I'd like to be 260 for this. Last year at Geekway I weighed around 325 or so (I wasn't keeping good records, so this is an assumption). Getting down to 260 is doable and would have me in better shape than I've been in for about 15 years. (Actually, more than that... the last time I was at 260, I was doing no weight training at all, it was all cardio and martial arts... I was in decent shape, but I'll be in better shape this time when I get back there).

Oh, and before I forget, I had a workout last night! Only 5 of us showed up so I partnered with the instructor and here's what we did! (it was the last night of the session, so we got hammered. Next week we start fresh and it will be easy again!)

  • Passing medicine Balls in a circle (5 people, three balls... 10, 12, and 15 lbs) 2 minutes
  • Jumping Jacks, 30 seconds (I got 37 in this time)
  • Ankle mobility, 30 seconds
  • Split squats, 30 seconds each side
  • Push-ups, 30 seconds
  • Mountain climbers against the wall, 30 seconds
Partner Warm-up (repeat 2x)
  • Hold a wall squat while partner does squats
  • 100 body-weight squats
Partner Circuit (repeat 3x)
  • Seated double waves with the heavy rope (simultaneous with partner, on a mat), 1 minute
  • Kettlebell squats, 35 lbs (alternate squats, handing off kettlebell each time), 1 minute
  • Isometric Holds, blue bands, 1 minute each side
  • Wall squat with a medicine ball bounce pass across the gym, 15 lbs, 1 minute
  • Stretching
That ended the session. Next week Christy and I are back to Monday and Wednesday nights for the new Goalbusters session. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Getting bored with chicken...

So, nearly nine weeks in and chicken is getting tiresome (interestingly enough, mushrooms? still awesome).

We eat a lot of chicken. We eat some ground turkey, and my wife has beef and I have seafood on occasion, but the vast majority of our 'lean' is chicken.

  • Chicken cooked in Honey Mustard.
  • Chicken cooked in Italian Dressing.
  • Chicken cooked with Taco Seasoning.
  • Chicken cooked with Ginger and Soy Sauce.
  • Chicken cooked with Tomato, Basil, and Oregano.
  • Chicken cooked with BBQ Sauce.
  • Chicken cooked with Buffalo Sauce.
  • Chicken cooked with Mrs. Dash.
  • Chicken cooked with Lemon Pepper.
  • Chicken cooked with Shawarma Seasoning.
  • Chicken cooked with Fajita Spices and Peppers.
  • Chicken cooked with Ranch Dressing.

Chicken. Chicken. Chicken.

Turkey is more limited. We get 99% fat free ground turkey. It's mostly in an Italian sauce or in taco seasoning, and while it's a good change of pace, it's just not as good as chicken.

Beef and Seafood is pretty rare in general, since I don't eat beef, she doesn't eat seafood, and cooking two leans is a pain in the butt.

We have a lot of variety in our chicken, but it is still chicken nearly every day. It may be time to start exploring some new recipes.

Funnily enough, I don't really get sick of my Medifast meals, even when they have a similar level of overlap.

Anyone else have any ideas on how to stop the cycle of endless chicken boredom?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

NSV at work today, and NSV's in general

So today while I was working, my company IM pinged at me and I got a great NSV (Non-Scale Victory):
Co-worker [1:47 PM]:
today is other coworker's bday and we have some cake for her, if you want a piece stop by but it's going fast. 
Marshall Jansen [1:48 PM]:
Thanks! I'll stop by and say Happy Birthday, but cake is not on my diet  
Co-worker [1:49 PM]:
sorry to be the evil food pusher and i just said that you look like you've lost a lot of weight to someone.
How about that! People at work are noticing my weight loss. Also, I said 'Happy Birthday' and did NOT eat the 'Death by Chocolate' cake they had there.

What are some other NSVs?

  • I can visibly see my stomach is shrinking. When I 'suck in' it's impressively flatter than it's been in years.
  • I threw away a belt today. It was simply far too big and not worth dealing with. I have another belt that is good enough that I need to punch a couple extra holes in it, and the belt I'm wearing today is no longer tight on the last hole either. I now only have one belt that truly fits, and I bought it a couple weeks ago.
  • My cardio is going through the roof. I have to really hammer the EFX to break a sweat and keep cranking up the levels.
  • I'm taking the stairs every day at work and not winded at the top of them.
  • My glasses and ring fit better.
  • My face is slimming down and I'm losing the double chin.
  • Clothes are fitting better than they ever have before.
  • My XL and smaller XXL t-shirts are back in rotation (and my XXXL are on their way out).

45 pounds down, 47 to go. One pound away from my (relatively arbitrary) halfway point. I'm pretty excited about the next 47 pounds too, as I'm now lighter than I've been in probably close to a decade... and not only that, I'm now at a weight where I can tell that I'm in better shape than I was when I *was* lighter than this.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Final Monday morning workout

Today was my last Monday morning workout, and next week we go back to Monday nights. Only three of us showed up so it was another interesting circuit.

Warm-up (repeat 2x)
  • 1 minute medicine ball wall bounces (15 lbs)
  • 1 minute alternating dumbbell bicep curls (15 lbs each hand)
  • 1 minute TRX squats
Second phase warm-up (repeat 2x)
  • 1 minute wall squats
  • 1 minute monster walks (blue band)
  • 45 seconds TRX push-ups
  • 45 seconds TRX triceps extensions
Circuit - 2 minutes each station, repeat each pair of exercises twice

Station 1:
  • 30 seconds alternating waves on the heavy rope
  • 30 seconds isometric bicep hold, blue band
  • Repeat
Station 2:
  • 30 seconds farmer walk, 35 lbs each hand
  • 30 second step-ups, single leg, 35 lbs each hand
  • Repeat, switching legs on the step-ups
Station 3:
  • 30 seconds 'woodchoppers' on the cable machine while holding a balance ball, 33 lbs
  • 30 seconds, switch sides
  • Repeat
Partner work:
Partners sit opposite each other on mat stacks with the heavy rope doubled up between them, do double waves simultaneously
  • 1 minute waves
  • 30 seconds rest
  • Repeat
Stretching on our feet

It was a nice workout overall. I was up another .4 lbs this morning, and my arms are still sore from Saturday's workout. My plan for the rest of the day is to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate and get back on track. I've got to do a better job of drinking water on the weekends.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Rest day

After yesterday I didn't really feel up to a ton of exercise.  So today we did some house cleaning and grocery shopping.
Other than that we played D&D tonight. We brought Medifast food to Jay's house and ate that after doing an early lean and green.
Workout class tomorrow morning!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Super Active Day!

We've got one more day of faux Spring before winter smashes us again tomorrow, so we made the best of it.

The day started with a trip to the gym, where I did a ton of lifting...

  • 4 minutes EFX, 9 minute mile pace, level 13
  • T-Bar Rows, 3 sets of 5 at 125 lbs
  • Cable Rows, 3 sets of 5 at 180 lbs
  • Barbell Bench Press, 3 sets of 5 at 135 lbs
  • Barbell Squats, 3 sets of 8 at 155 lbs
  • Barbell Deadlifts, 2 sets of 5 at 185 lbs
  • Dumbbell Bicep Curls, 3 sets of 5 each arm, 35 lbs
  • Dumbbell Triceps extension, 3 sets of 13, 35 lbs
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press, 3 sets of 5, 70 lbs
  • Barbell Military Press, 3 sets of 5, 75 lbs
  • Cable Lat Pulldown, 2 sets of 5, 120 lbs
  • Machine Leg Press, 3 sets of 10, 345 lbs
After the gym I came home and played some Hearthstone, where I won three matches and earned my Hearthsteed in WoW (woo!)

It's not too gaudy, is it?
After that we took our daughter to her art lesson, and then my wife and I walked for 20 minutes or so around the pond at Vlassis Park. After we picked her up from art, we took her to her next appointment, and my wife ran her 5k training at Longview, and then Lauren and I went to Queeny Park and hiked for a couple miles taking pictures.

After we got home from the park, we all went out together and watched the Lego Movie, which was adorable.

All in all, a great day, and makes it easy to not think about the fact that we're getting more snow and ice tomorrow. Hopefully it will be a non-event and not cancel our D&D game.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Medifast 'dessert' recipes

Having a dessert on Medifast is pretty nice as a daily morale boost. My wife and have have come up with several that we really like that require only a little bit of extra preparation.
  • Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Smoothies
  • Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Shakes
  • Dark Chocolate Brownie Smoothies
  • "Reese's Cup" Brownies
I've talked about these before, but let's spell them out.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Smoothies

  • 1 Packet Medifast Chocolate Chip Cookie Soft Bake
  • 1 Tbsp Light Cream Cheese
  • 1 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup crushed ice
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • Put the ice in a blender and blend until it becomes 'snow'.
  • Add all other ingredients and blend until mixed. 
  • If necessary, scrape down the sides of the blender with a spatula and blend more
  • Pour into a glass and eat with a spoon or drink with a large straw.
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Shakes

  • 1 Packet Medifast Chocolate Pudding
  • 1 Tbsp PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter
  • 1 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
  • 1 cup crushed ice
  • 1/2 cup cold water

  • Put the ice in a blender and blend until it becomes 'snow'.
  • Add all other ingredients and blend until mixed. 
  • If necessary, scrape down the sides of the blender with a spatula and blend more
  • Pour into a glass and eat with a spoon or drink with a large straw.
Dark Chocolate Brownie Smoothies

  • 1 Packet Medifast Chocolate Brownie Soft Bake
  • 1 Tbsp Light Cream Cheese
  • 1 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup crushed ice
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • Put the ice in a blender and blend until it becomes 'snow'.
  • Add all other ingredients and blend until mixed. 
  • If necessary, scrape down the sides of the blender with a spatula and blend more
  • Pour into a glass and eat with a spoon or drink with a large straw.
You'll note that these three recipes are surprisingly similar. Feel free to experiment with other extract flavors, more or less cocoa powder, or other tweaks. IN every case, I'm a big fan of ice cream and shakes, and these are great ways to make a bulky dessert at the end of the day.

"Reese's Cup" Brownies

  • 1 Packet Medifast Chocolate Brownie Soft Bake
  • 2 Tbsp PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter, prepared
  • 5 oz water
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F
  • Mix the Brownie in a bowl with 5 oz of water, it should be runnier than normal
  • Mix the PB2 with 1 tbsp of water (or less, you want it somewhat thick) and set aside
  • Pour half of your brownie mixture into a small ramekin
  • add the PB2, making a round flat 'biscuit' of PB2 that doesn't touch the edges
  • Cover with remaining brownie batter
  • Bake for 15 minutes
  • Remove from the oven and put in the Freezer for 30-45 minutes, or the fridge for 2-3 hours
  • Eat with a spoon!
These are amazing. I mean, they really are. You add extra water to get a good consistency, 15 minutes at 350 under-bakes them, and then you chill them and you've got a really fudge-like dessert. I cook them at the same time I'm cooking my Lean and Green, so they're ready to go a couple hours later.

These recipes all came from other sites and blogs, but I've tweaked them a tad to make them more to my liking. Oh, and seriously, invest in a ramekin for your brownies. So much better than the microwave-safe paper container. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Week 8 Complete! Lots of details and stats on this one.

After last week's disappointing gain, my body dumped tons of water and fat this week and I had another 6 pound loss. A pattern is starting to emerge in my numbers (patterns are good! They give some justification for all of this spreadsheeting!)

I'm gonna share a lot of spreadsheet images this week, so let's jump in. First, the Week 8 Detail:

Click to embiggen!
Showing off the tail end of Week 7 as well as all of week 8 here. Now, week 7 was an anomalous week. Visiting family, using a 'foreign' scale multiple days, lots of travel, TONS of stress (driving for hours on snow-covered highways at 15-20 miles an hour, eek!). At the time, last Thursday, I was pretty bummed, but looking back it is clear that with everything going on, it makes a lot of sense. I was worried about over eating and getting off plan, but I think it was all pretty much just stress related from travel.

Week 8, though, has been solid. I had one minor gain after a crazy intense workout day, but outside of that saw drops every day. Also, I baked a chocolate-orange zebra cake for my daughter with homemade dark chocolate buttercream frosting and didn't eat a slice of it. I got to the gym every day, as well, and my diet stayed on track with just the normal extra proteins I eat.

Now lets take a look at weekly progress!

Click to embiggen, not that you really need to on this one.

Here we can see that static week from 6 to 7, and then the 6 pound drop to week 8. I'm still three weeks ahead of my '4 pounds a week' aggressive target, 7 ahead of my desired 3 pound a week goal, and the 1 and 2 pound a week goals are becoming irrelevant quickly as I push them off the chart. This diet is a huge success for me right now, and in fact I'm now weighing less than I ever did when I was on Weight Watchers (Weight Watchers was fairly successful for me briefly, but then plan changes happened and it stopped working for me, and I never bothered to go back to the old way.)

I've also added a graph in my spreadsheet, just because I can. This was more of a joke to myself that came to talking to my friend Sarah about my spreadsheet. It's very basic and not as sexy as some of the other graphs I've made, though.

It's actually rather boring, isn't it?

So that's the story of this week, but I haven't shared a big progress report in a while I thought about typing it out like I did a few weeks back, but instead I'm just going to dump my entire spreadsheet here for you to look at!

This one you really will need to click to embiggen, unless you have Magic Eyes.

Since the last time you've seen this, I've made a few improvements. BMI now color-codes itself based on the number. BMI is a bogus number for me, since I'm male, tall, big-boned, muscular AND fat, and even when I'm not fat I'll still be 4 of those 5 things, but I still like to track it. I'm keeping track of my macros and calories, the super-high sodium days aren't really that much of an outlier insomuch as they are just days I bothered to track condiments in MFP.

Now, that's enough details. Let's talk about last night's Goalbusters class briefly. Christy skipped class to go run in preparation for the 5K she is running for charity (please donate! It's for HavenHouse, a great cause!), and so I went by myself. We had a medium turnout, 10 of us and I ended up being the only guy so I partnered with Mary Jane, as Bob didn't show up either. We got started and here was the circuit:

  • Pass a medicine ball (6, 8, 10, and 15 lbs) for 2 minutes
  • Jumping Jacks, 30 seconds
  • Staggered Squats, 30 seconds each leg
  • Ankle Mobility, 30 seconds
  • Push-ups, 30 seconds
  • Mountain Climbers against the wall, 30 seconds

Partner Warm-up (repeat 2x)
  • Hold a wall squat while partner does 80 body-weight squats
  • Do 80 body-weight squats

4 minutes of single-arm kettlebell work, no stopping, just keep going through this cycle until the 4 minutes is up:
  • 5 right arm kettlebell swings (30 lb kettlebell)
  • 5 left arm kettlebell swings (30 lb kettlebell)
  • 5 left arm imbalanced kettlebell squats (30 lb kettlebell)
  • 5 right arm imbalanced kettlebell squats (30 lb kettlebell)
  • 5 right arm kettlebell shoulder presses (30 lb kettlebell)
  • 5 left arm kettlebell shoulder presses (30 lb kettlebell)
Then, 4 minutes of partner work
  • 2 minutes alternating push-ups against a mat-stack (hold a push-up position, partner does a push-up, when they come up, you go down)
  • 1 minute isometric holds (right hand primary), blue band
  • 1 minute isometric holds (left hand primary), blue band
Then back to the kettlebells for double-arm work for 4 minutes non-stop.
  • 5 kettlebell squats (35 lb kettlebell)
  • 5 kettlebell squats into a high row (35 lb kettlebell)
  • 5 kettlebell shoulder presses (35 lb kettlebell)
And finally back to the mats for 3 more minutes
  • 1 minute alternating push-ups against a mat-stack (hold a push-up position, partner does a push-up, when they come up, you go down)
  • 1 minute isometric holds (right hand primary), blue band
  • 1 minute isometric holds (left hand primary), blue band
Stretching and then done.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

FitBit weekly update!

I just got my FitBit weekly update in my email, and thought this would be a good time to share another one, and give more thoughts on my FitBit Force now that I've had it a few weeks. So, first, here's the update!

Woot, 3rd place on the leaderboard! Go me!

So, let's take a look at these numbers... Step count is down a little from the week I was on vacation, did a fun run, and walked all over Fairhope, Alabama. I can live with that. This obviously affects my mileage as well.

Then we get to 'Floors Climbed' and you'd think 'Holy crap, the man is a stair climbing machine! Look at those numbers! And a 34 floor day!' However, you'd be wrong. Here's the reality: I go up one flight of stairs in the parking garage, and 2 flights of stairs in my office. That's 3 a day. Many days I go down to the gym, so that's 2 more when I come back up. And most days at home I go down to the basement once or twice, so that's a couple more. My average day should be 5 or 6, and a good day should be 7-9. So what happened?

The EFX machine at work, when it is over level 10, and I'm going fast, credits me with a flight of stairs every 45-90 seconds. Apparently, with my arms on the handles, I'm going fast enough that the wind force hitting the sensor is triggering a pressure change and it gives me a flight of stairs credited. Oh well, there's nothing I can really do about it, so now my stairs climbed number is terribly suspect. I can live with it though.

Calories Burned/Calories In VS Out is interesting. And shockingly accurate, apparently. I have a deficit built in for 7000 calories, or two pounds. Then I burned an extra 9460 calories, on top of that. With those numbers I should have lost 4.7 lbs for the week... and I lost 4.6. How about that! This is still terribly suspect because it can't really take into account the water weight issue when I'm retaining water, but it's still neat to see the math work out so precisely this week.

The we have our sleep tracker, I'm doing well keeping that going and I really like seeing the averages. I should probably be getting to bed a little earlier.

Further FitBit Force Thoughts

Unfortunately, the FitBit Force has been discontinued due to issues with people having rashes. I've not had any symptoms yet, so I'm not recalling mine (yet, at least). The Force was the first FitBit that I felt replaced the Nike FuelBand, and I'm not willing to go back to my FuelBand, or switch FitBit products. I hope that I can keep the Force until they come out with a replacement for it that is even better.

For me, the FitBit Force is still 'almost perfect'. It is easier to wear than the FuelBand, the screen looks good, the features are excellent. I wish it were truly waterproof, but that would cost the stair counting feature. I would probably prefer a Force that was truly waterproof without that feature, but that's not an option, and I'm unwilling to lose the display and go to a Flex.

The band clasp is still strange, but it's pretty easy to realize if it is seated properly or not. I've only had the Force pop off my wrist once, when I caught the edge of it on a shopping cart. Other than that, it's been perfectly secure, and there is no sign of the clasp mechanism failing or wearing so far.

If you could still find these somewhere, I'd still recommend it. If you can deal with the FitBit One's form factor, it's the same device so that would be the health tracker I'd recommend if you don't need a wrist-based form. But until FitBit gets a replacement for the Force on the market, I think the other wrist-based trackers all need to mature a little more.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Medifast at work

One of the nicest things about Medifast by far, is how easy it is to plan your meals and get out the door. One of the pitfalls I had pre-Medifast was skipping breakfast, not bringing lunch or snacks, and ending up getting chips and candy bars out of the vendo-bot and eating fast food or Chinese or Indian buffets for lunch.

Needless to say, a diet of buffet food and vending machine trash is not good for your waist.

Medifast fixes all of that, as long as you stay on plan. I have a small lunch bag, and every morning I grab a shake or cereal, a bar, a macaroni, a bag of pretzels, and throw in a Laughing Cow and an ounce or two of leftover protein from the night before.

So I get to work, I've already had breakfast, my lunch and two snacks are planned out, and everything is pretty easy to deal with! And if I do this long enough, I don't see why I can't do the same thing once I'm through with transition. A bowl of cereal (with unsweetened vanilla almond milk, that won't change!) or a protein shake, a couple of reasonable snacks and a simple lunch should work out great. I'm tempted to start plotting out possible menus, but that's insane, as it would just torment me a little when I'm doing well not thinking about it.

Luckily for me, I'm able to deal with very similar meals over time. While I do change out what bar I eat, and occasionally my pretzels are different flavors, or I swap out a BBQ Bites or something, most of the time my diet is very similar. And I like it that way. If you needed more variety, you could do it, but I prefer to keep things simple and only 'cook' one Medifast meal at work.

Today's Menu? Here you go!

Breakfast:Dutch Chocolate Ready to Drink Shake (in the car at 7:45 a.m.)
Snack #1:Peanut Butter Crunch Bar (at 10:15 a.m.)
Gym:Can of tuna right before workout, then EFX for 46 minutes while I watched Breaking Bad (at 11:30 a.m.)
Lunch:Mac and Cheese, 25 calorie Aldi's Laughing Cow knock-off, 2 oz grilled chicken (at 12:30 p.m.)
Snack #2:BBQ bites (soon, probably at 3:30 p.m.)
Lean and Green:Not sure yet, other than I know I'm going to use the last of the fresh mushrooms. But it could be ground turkey, chicken breast, shrimp, flounder, or tilapia as the protein. (around 6:30 p.m.)
Dessert:Brownie baked in a ramekin with a PB2 filling. Or maybe a Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Smoothie if we pick up some more cream cheese. (around 8:30 p.m)

This is a pretty representative day for me at this point, and it is working out well. I'm actually getting used to the portion sizes now, and they no longer seem tiny! A Medifast Crunch Bar looks pathetically small the first time you have one, especially when you've been known to eat Met-RX Colossal 100 bars as snacks before! Now though, it's just normal. And... it's teaching me something very valuable, and that is that I can be very hungry, eat a bar and still be hungry, but 15 minutes later be fine. This is something I inherently knew my entire life, but having it work in reality is a completely different thing.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Exercise class and 'eating extra'

I have an advantage when it comes to Medifast, and that is that I'm big, and muscular. I burn a ton more calories than a 'normal' person, and a lot more calories than most overweight people.

This means that while I'm on Medifast, I should probably be losing 6 pounds a week, or more, based on calorie deficits from diet and exercise if I was perfectly on plan.

However, there's another side to this, and that's that I am exercising a lot. If I don't eat extra protein, at a minimum, on heavy workout days, I feel awful. So... I get to cheat a little. Low sodium turkey jerky, cans of tuna, extra protein with my lean and green, a cheese stick, that sort of thing.

I think as long as I'm still losing at a solid rate, I'll keep doing what has worked so far.

Anyway, I've kicked my exercising up a notch, and this seems a good time to talk about exercising in general, since I've not been talking about it recently!


I worked out twice this day, once at work and once after. The strength training was relatively heavy for me, and I ate a couple of leftover chicken nuggets after I got back (after stripping off the breading) as my post-workout protein.

  • 32 minutes EFX at lunchtime, set on level 13
  • 3 minutes EFX prior to weight training as a warm up at level 10
  • Bench Press, Barbell, 3 sets of 5, 115 lbs each rep
  • Seated Row, cable machine, 3 sets of 8, 165 lbs each rep
  • T-bar row, 2 sets of 8, 70 lbs each rep
  • Squat, Barbell, 3 sets of 5, 145 lbs each rep
  • Reverse Incline pull ups, 3 sets of 5
  • Leg Press, machine, 3 sets of 15, 315 lbs each rep
'Extra' food
  • 1 oz Ground Turkey and 1 light swiss wedge at lunch (+60 calories)
  • 3.5 ozTrader Joes Tempura chicken, breading removed (+245 calories)
  • 2 Tbsp PB2 (+45 calories)


Saturday was a weird day. We had Lauren's party, so I was running around all morning, baking, cleaning, shopping. I got a ton of extra calories off my FitBit. I had an early L&G of tilapia but it was not filling at all, and I ended up eating some egg beaters later in the day.

  • 25 minutes EFX at level 15
'Extra' food:
  • 1.5 oz chicken breast and 1 light swiss wedge at lunch (+82 calories)
  • 2 oz tilapia (+12 calories)
  • 9 tbsp egg beaters (+75 calories)
  • 2 Tbsp PB2 (+45 calories)


I did a heavy cardio day today, and had some extra chicken prior to the workout, and an oz of jerky after.

  • 46 minutes EFX at level 13
'Extra' food:
  • 3.5 oz chicken breast and 1 light swiss wedge at lunch (+134 calories)
  • 1 oz Pork Jerky (+90 calories)
  • 2 Tbsp PB2 (+45 calories)


Today was my workout class day, and I ate the rest of my jerky prior to workout, and had a Medidfast shake after. I plan to have some extra turkey with lunch (about 1.5 oz) and may have a can of tuna in water if I feel like I need it.

Warmup (repeat 3x)
  • TRX Squat-into-pullup, 1 minute
  • Kettlebell swings, 30 lbs, 45 seconds
  • Walking lunge with a twist, down and back (about 45 seconds)
Circuit (repeat twice)
  • Heavy rope pulls, 1 minute
  • Moutain climbers on glides, 1 minute (no mats!)
  • Speed walking with the chains, 1 minute
  • Abs - various mat exercises, 2.5 minutes
Circuit (repeat once)
  • Staggered farmer walk (35 lbs each hand, 30 lbs each hand, 25 lbs each hand), 1 minute
  • Wall squat holding a medicine ball between the knees, 1 minute
  • TRX Pushups, 1 minute
  • Various foam roller stretches
'Extra' food:
  • 2 oz Pork Jerky  (+180 calories)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Blogging in bed just not to miss a day...

I am surviving Daylight Savings Time and the time change so far.  It was a hectic weekend with lots of activities for my daughter,  laundry,  shopping,  and working out.
The birthday cake is nearly gone and I have not had a slice.  I've been keeping up my cardio and I'm increasing the level on the EFX to keep my heart rate up and to brash a sweat.
I'm even getting further into Breaking Bad,    as I only watch it when doing cardio.
Not much has changed with the diet for a while... I should look for some interesting recipes.
OK that is enough blogging for now.  I'll have a real post in the morning. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

An exercise in thwarting temptation

Today is my daughter's birthday party. She's here with 4 other 12 year old girls, and they are having a fairly standard party with candy, cake, ice cream, pizza, corn dogs, juice, etc.

Baking her cake today (zebra-striped cake of orange and chocolate, frosted with homemade dark chocolate buttercream), I managed not to lick any utensils. I had one small dollop of frosting when I was done icing the cake.

I made sure to get ice cream I had no interest in eating, it's some neon birthday flavor.

Mini corn dogs and bagel bites normally don't tempt me, but today they looked good.

But, made it through. I ate my Medifast meals, and had an early Lean and Green of Tilapia and mushrooms, and some egg beaters to finish off my protein later.

Tonight I'll go to the gym and knock out some elliptical work. Also I need to drink more water, I've slacked off on it today after doing well yesterday.

Overall, though, today is a success, despite having party snacks and sweets all over the house!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Green Tea!

I've read many times that green tea is a magical drink with all sorts of good things in it for you to stay healthy and lose weight. I have no idea if any of that is true or not, but I've always liked Green Tea and I recently purchased some tea and tea accessories (by recently, I mean several months ago, before I started this blog).

I thought about posting yet another workout summary, or to talk about my Medifast order I made yesterday, but those seem boring, so instead I'm going to post about my tea! With pictures!

First, you can't be a proper tea snob unless you have a tea infuser:

Meet Mr. Tea Robot
My infuser came from Think Geek and is a little robot with adjustable arms and the tea goes into his body. You open him up with the little buttons on his head, and he sits in a tiny drip tray.

And of course, if you have a geeky infuser, you really need the right cup... or in my case, mug:

This cup is a triumph.
The front of my stylish black mug has the Aperture Laboratories logo on it.

I'm making a note here, huge success.
And the back has their motto. Who couldn't trust Aperture and GLadOS? I mean honestly. I can't say too many good things about this mug. It's clever and geeky and subtle, and if you don't know anything about Portal, it just looks like a relatively generic company mug that you'd get at a trade show.

So, what goes in the mug? Green tea! I've purchased a sampler pack from the Tao of Tea that I like a lot:

Every time I read the top of this to myself, I sound out 'The Dao of Dea'
This was a good purchase for a number of reasons... it looks nice on my desk, it's got amazing little tins of tea, the box is cool, it's all very aesthetically pleasing. When you open up the tins of tea, there's a second, internal lid, and then the loose tea is in there in the tin:

Jasmine Pearls, with both lids removed. I'm running low.
So you open up your tea, pop open your infuser and drop the tea pearls or leaves in, seal it up, and then hook the robot to the mug and fill with hot water:

Mr. Robot taking a relaxing boiling water bath.
The infuser hangs on to the edges of the cup and sits there, letting the water soak the green tea goodness up.

I have no idea if the tea is helping me lose weight, and I really don't care. All of the accessories look cool on my desk, there's a nice ritual to preparing the tea, and I like the taste. If you like tea (any kind) then I highly recommend getting an infuser and loose leaf tea, it is really a nice way to geek out over tea.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Week 7 - Posted my first gain for the week

So, I weighed this morning, and after yesterday's ballooning up of retained water, I did't expect much.

Yesterday when I weighed in, it was at 297.1, but I hadn't gone to the bathroom yet. After bathroom and stripping down, it was 296.1. Still bad, but not as bad. That had me backpedaling about a week. So I drank lots of water, and closely watched my sodium, and stuck to my standard Medifast meals and a very basic L&G of fajita turkey breast and mushrooms. However, I noticed something: I really wasn't going to the bathroom enough despite the water I was drinking.

So this morning, when I woke up, I was actually a little surprised that I'd dropped all of my gain from yesterday and a bit more. I was back down to 293.4, which is .4 lbs over my low from last week. However, I still am not peeing like I should be. I've decided that for whatever reason, my body is clutching onto water and not letting go. Maybe it is being a little sick, maybe it was too much sodium, maybe it was workout, maybe it was stress from driving on ice for 60 miles... probably a combination of all four.

After last week's 6.5 lb drop, a rebound week doesn't actually seem out of place. Even with a gain this week, my average is still 5.5 lbs. And, I fully expect to see things 'revert' to normal soon. I know that my caloric intake is within 100 calories or so per day of being accurate, and it is impossible for me to gain fat with my deficit. As soon as I start peeing again, I expect to see another big drop, and then go back to a more steady pace.

click to embiggen!

In other news, the workout last night was insane. We had 11 people show up for our Goal Busters class, and Kevin set up two main stations... a circuit of 7 exercises in one half of the gym, and mats in the other half. So, we did our workout:

  • 2 minutes of passing the medicine balls in a circle
  • 30 seconds of Jumping Jacks
  • 30 seconds of staggered squats, right leg
  • 30 seconds of staggered squats, left leg
  • 30 seconds of ankle mobility
  • 30 seconds of push-ups
  • 30 seconds of mountain climbers against the wall

Partner work up (repeat 2x):
  • 60 body weight squats
  • Hold a wall squat during partner's squats

  • 1 minute: Standing Rows, Alternating arms (30 lbs each) on the cable machine
  • 1 minute: plank
  • 1 minute: 2 mountain climbers into a pushup against a mat stack, on glides
  • 1 minute: plank
  • 1 minute: Kettlebell Swings (35 lbs)
  • 1 minute: plank
  • 1 minute: Heavy Rope double-overs
  • 1 minute: plank
  • 1 minute: Bosu Balance with dumbbell clean and press (15 lbs each)
  • 1 minute: plank
  • 1 minute: run against an anchored heavy band
  • 1 minute: plank
  • 1 minute: monster walks with a blue band
  • 1 minute: plank

Cool down and stretch

After class I went home and watched Survivor (Yay! Survivor is back on!) and had a Medifast smoothie. Normally I use chocolate pudding for these, but this time I screwed it up and it was actually not bad. 

Medifast Dark Chocolate Smoothie
1 Package Brownie Soft Bake
1/2 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups crushed ice
1 Tbsp PB2 powdered peanut butter
1 Tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
Put all ingredients in your blender (I use a Ninja). Blend the ever-loving heck out of it. Check consistency and add ice  if too thin, water if too thick. Pour into a glass and eat with a spoon or drink through a straw.
It was thinner and less 'creamy' than the pudding-based smoothies I make. I think I can revisit this though, and add light cream cheese to it to thicken it up and give it that dairy hit that it was missing. 

Ok, my first 'bad' week is over and done with on this plan. Time to keep working and erase this! I've got 5 weeks til PAX and 7 weeks til Geekway, and I want to be in better shape for both of them!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Frustrating day!

I weighed in this morning and was significantly up from yesterday, and about where I was a week ago. This was a pretty frustrating thing to wake up to.

So I thought back to what I'd done over the past few days... I worked out with weights, and ate extra protein. We'd traveled recently, had an out of town visit.

Also, I've got a little bit of a sore throat. And I ate more carbs than normal and wasn't exactly on plan.

All things put together... maybe sick, weight training, inexact diet... I'm probably holding onto water, even though I don't feel swollen.

So, today I'm going strict Medifast with a couple of enhancements. 25 calories of Laughing Cow in my macaroni. No snacks, no extra protein at work. I'll eat my Lean and Green before workout class and make sure everything is precisely measured and make sure not to use high-sodium additions.

And, even then, I'll just keep tracking. One backslide of a few pounds isn't the end, I was on 'foreign' scales for several days, as well, so there's really no good way to track anything with precision. So... I'll just keep tracking, go from here, see what happens. I'm still way ahead of schedule!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Vacation update! Traveling on Medifast

It's time for a detailed blog post on the past few days.

We set out from St. Louis to the Gulf Coast to visit my family for Mardi Gras. We had two parades to attend, a Ball, and a Fun Run. We needed to navigate all of this while staying on plan!

On Thursday afternoon, we packed our bags and our Medifast meals. We needed 10 meals a day for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, as well as a couple more each for the Thursday portion of our trip. My wife picked out 30 meals for us, and then added about 10 more assorted ones, as well. The goal here was to have enough food options that we would have some variety. Also, Medifast meals aren't exactly large, so we had plenty of room in the food bag.

We decided to do Lean and Green at 3 pm, right before we left town, and to do Medifast in the car, and have a Macaroni and Cheese once we stopped in Corinth for the night and got through the day on plan!

We arrived in Corinth and checked in to the Hampton. I went to the workout room and did a brief elliptical session and then went to sleep for the night.

In the morning, I got up and did another stint on the elliptical and some weight lifting, had a couple of pieces of bacon from the buffet, and we checked out. We ate bars and pretzels in the car, and had macaroni and cheese as soon as we made it to Fairhope. Dinner that night was taco turkey, mushrooms, and salad, so we stayed on plan! I went to the grocery store and grabbed some almond milk and more mushrooms for Saturday's dinner, as well.

Friday night we went to the Maids of Jubilee parade in downtown Fairhope. NSV? Why yes! I didn't bring a light jacket and it was a chilly night, so I ended up wearing one of my Dad's sweatshirts, and it fit!

Squid hat!

The parade was hugely fun. We took the kids to Mr. Gene's Beans for hot chocolate, shopped in a couple of stores and then the parade started. We caught tons of beads, doubloons, a few stuffed animals, and lots of moon pies. My wife and I each decided we'd take one bite of a Chocolate Peanut Butter moon pie and then give the rest to Alex. That worked out well! We then went home and ate our last Medifast meal of the day.
Catching beads at the parade!
Saturday morning we woke up and went to Daphne for a 1-mile Fun Run with my sister, Amanda. We got there, got registered and got our shirts and numbers. Christy and Amanda ran the mile, while I speed-walked at my pace, and Alex and Lauren stuck together. I was in the lead with my speed walking when Amanda and Christy passed me in the first 100 yards. A little later Alex and Lauren ran past me. Eventually I caught up to them as they stopped running. At the end, Christy had a 13-minute mile, I ended up at just over 14 minutes, and Alex and Lauren came in at just over 15. Not bad! I really hope that my Achilles tendon magically repairs itself so I can actually start doing more running soon.

Just before the fun run!

We then went home and started prepping for Saturday's parade... the Krewe of Mullet Mates parade from Mullet Point to Pelican Point along the coast. We rode for 5 miles and threw thousands of beads, hundreds of stuffed animals, and 4 cases of moon pies to the people that came out. this was where the Medifast plan broke down a little, as I had a lot of cheese and meat during the day that wasn't exactly on plan. On the other hand, I was out and about and exercising more than normal, as well. We got home and did chicken, green beans, and mushrooms for dinner. Then I rested while all the girls got dressed up and went to the Shadow Barons ball. I kinda wish I had gone to the Ball too, but the rest of the guys stayed home so I did as well.

Prepping the float... zip-tying the dolphin to the front!

The 'float' for the KOMM parade!

Sunday we expected to drive straight home but an ice storm in Tennessee had other plans. We ended up staying the night in North Alabama, with my in-laws. I cooked dinner again (more chicken, green beans, and mushrooms), and we hung out with them. Monday morning I woke up and put in an hour of cardio on the EFX in their workout room and we waited around until 11:00 to get ready to go, hoping the roads would be clear.

...and they mostly were, until Dyer County, TN

We stopped for gas and I ended up eating Perky Turkey Jerky for a snack, since we were on the dregs of our Medifast meals, having had to stretch them out an extra day.

Overall, I was very happy how it went. We stayed on plan, had 'real' Lean and Green meals every night. We had an Atkins shake and an off-plan snack on Monday, but I got home after driving through crappy weather and went to the grocery store and cooked again. I think overall it was a success, with the biggest issue coming with hydration... I know I wasn't able to keep water in me as much as I'd like with all the traveling. I managed to keep up with my cardio, but didn't get a good weightlifting session in, but that's ok. Over the entire weekend, I ended up with a net gain of .6 lbs, but I'm drinking my water today to see what happens once I'm hydrated and get a full night's sleep. I think I'll be ok for the week!

Happy Mardi Gras, everyone!