Thursday, September 24, 2015

Getting to the Exercise Routine Tipping Point

I don't think it's just me.  I'm sure a lot of other people have noticed that by far the time to get motivated to exercise is when we are first getting started, or restarted as the case may be.  I'm there right now.  I know that exercise is good for me.  I have strong reasons for why I want to get back into a regular exercise routine.  I even know that I'm going to like not only the result, but the process at some point.  But at the moment I'm still not a fan of purposely making myself tired and sweaty. 

The good news is, I know for a fact based on past experience that it WILL get much easier if I can just push through this difficult phase.  Somewhere down the line, maybe a week from now, maybe in just a day or two, I'm going to start to actually enjoy my exercise time again ... and at that point there won't even be a question about whether or not I'll be looking for some sort of excuse to "take a day off".  Exercise will just be part of my "normal" day.

Until then, it's just a case of trying my best to do at least something every day; then not feeling too guilty even if it only turned out to be 10 or 15 minutes worth of work. 

Of course, the greatest lesson about this is that it makes sense to not quit in the first place.  If instead of taking a "break" from exercise after I retired from the military, I'd just scaled back the intensity a little bit, getting back up to speed now would be a much easier task. 

Oh well, can't change history.  But the future is waiting ...

Monday, September 21, 2015

I Owe My Tummy To Pizza, Burgers and Grilled Stuffed Burritos

Little Caesars

I'm not going to lie, I love pizza!

But if I'm going to develop consistently better eating habits, my trips to Little Caesars are going to have to become much more of a rare treat (one ideally shared with others), as opposed to the several times a month staple of my diet that they've been for the past 18 months or so.  On the surface, my plan never really sounded too bad.  I would order the hot and ready supreme pizza, then eat half for dinner/lunch.  The other half would be saved for that night at work.  So basically, in less than a day I'd end up eating an entire pizza.  Oh yea, and apparently it's about 310 calories per slice ... times 8 slices = 2400 calories for 2 meals.  Yikes! And of course that's not the only thing I ate on those days.  :-/

Moving on ...


Okay, so taking my girls to McDonald's when we're driving to grandma and grandpa's house isn't really a bad thing ... it does kind of fit into that "treat" category.  My bigger problem is quick trips to the drive through here in Sierra Vista when I don't feel like cooking.  Because I'm a bit of a cheapskate, my favorite "meal" from McDonald's is to get 3 McDoubles (basically double cheeseburgers), because they're only like $1.40 each.  I rarely if ever get french fries, and my drinks are always either Coke Zero (if I get it from McDonald's), or Diet Mtn Dew/Crystal Lite if I'm eating at home.  So I suppose this meal could be worse ... except that it's already pretty scary as it is.  Each of those burgers is 390 calories!!!  Doing some quick math, that adds up to 1170 calories, or more than half of what I should be consuming in an entire day, gone in 10-15 minutes.

So yea, I need to starting driving by McDonald's instead of driving through.

Finally, one of my favorite places ...

Taco Bell

 I don't know about you, but I enjoy the heck out of some Taco Bell. 

I like to go there sometimes in the afternoon or evening after I wake up.  I eat in the restaurant, because I can get free refills of diet Mtn Dew while I eat my meal.  Oh yea, and which meal do I get? Of course I get the Steak XXL Grilled Stuffed Burrito, and the side taco with a soft shell. There's no denying it's delicious, but coming in at 890 calories + another 190 calories for the soft taco, this is another 1100 calories of pure gluttony.

The really sad part is, I actually like food that's good for me ... for instance the zucchini pasta that I made last night was not only yummy, but fairly quick and easy to prepare.  I'm not sure what drives me to the fast food restaurants ... well, my car drives me .. but I meant psychologically ... instead of simply cooking good stuff at home. 

This is going to be a short-term challenge for me.

On the plus side, as I get myself back into a more regular exercise routine again, my previous experience gives me hope that my bad eating habits will be easier to improve than I might think right now.  Last time (in 2012) when I was working out hard and regularly, I literally didn't even feel like eating things that were "bad" for me.  Basically, I think my brain would tell me something along the lines of "you just spent an hour sweating your ass off, why waste the benefits at McD's? ... go cook some chicken and broccoli".   :-)

So what are some of your greatest "bad eating" temptations?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Zucchini Pasta with Tomato and Onions

So last night I was really tempted to make myself a couple of grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner.  Not totally bad for me, but I knew that I had some better stuff in the fridge, and since I knew I'd probably write about what I ate, the veggies might be a better choice ... lol, this accountability thing might just work after all.   :-)

This was just a simple "pasta" dish using zucchini squash in place of the pasta, and tomato, onion, spices and olive oil instead of sauce from a jar.  I've cooked this dish before, both for myself and with a friend.  It's been delicious every time.  I suppose I could have just sliced up the zucchini, but a couple of months back I got on Amazon and ordered one of those Veggetti slicers  that you may have seen on TV.  It works pretty much as advertised.  It took me just over a minute to turn a medium sized zucchini into a pile of "pasta" strands.

Here is the entire ingredient list:
  • 1 zucchini squash ... spiral sliced 
  • 1/4 red onion ... thinly sliced 
  • A dozen or so cherry (or regular) tomatoes ... cut in smaller pieces 
  • 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil 
  • Italian spice, salt, pepper, pinch of garlic powder 
  • Parmesan cheese
After gathering and preparing all the ingredients, the first step is to heat up some oil in the pan, then add the sliced onions with a little Italian seasoning:

After the onions had cooked for a couple of minutes I mixed in the zucchini strands:  

The finally the tomatoes, with a little more Italian spice, garlic and some salt & pepper: 

After everything is in the pan, it really only takes a couple more minutes for everything to thoroughly heat and soften up a bit.  When it was all done, I toasted a piece of bread, sprinkled on some parmesan cheese and sat down for tasty, but healthy meal.  

I hope you found this post helpful ... and if you decide to make this yourself, please come back to let me know how it goes.  :-)


Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Beginning: Fat, Tired and Lazy

Today, September 19th 2015, I weighed in at a depressing 217 pounds.

I'm not grotesquely out of shape; I still don't look terrible in a nice shirt and a pair of khakis. However, I am a little more than 30lbs above my target weight of 185, and at least 6-8 inches larger around the waist than I'd like to be.

I can go hike or walk for 9 or 10 miles at a time, but I'd probably keel over if I tried to run more than 2 or 3 miles right now.  I think I can say that I probably "exercise" at least 3-5 times a week; but if I'm honest, it's not the vigorous type that gets my heart rate up, and would somewhat compensate for my less than perfect eating habits.  It's just enough to say that I'm not doing "nothing".

So how did I get to this point?  Easy.  Like many people who get out of the military (I retired in January 2014), it's a nice relief to not have to get up and go in for PT (physical training) at O-dark-thirty every weekday morning.  So I took a "break".  Unfortunately, that "break" has lasted for almost two years now.  And in addition to not being active enough, also included a few too many trips to places like Little Caesars, Taco Bell and McDonalds, on a much too regular basis.

As a result, this is me today (note: you're welcome that I'm not going to burn your eyes out with a shirtless picture):

The purchase of this shirt with no trip to the fitting room, is in part motivation for my change.  But the fact that it fits so revealingly tight actually works out well, as I'll be able to do my update and eventual "after" pictures in the same lighting and attire.  (so, no, you're not going to see me with a better tan and sitting in nice even light for the "after" shots; I promise).

Why am I doing this? .. and why now?

I'm 46 years old.  Unless I'm one of those folks who live to a somewhat freakishly old age, I'm almost certainly more than halfway done.  These first chapters of my life have been pretty exciting, and honestly fulfilling.  However, I sure would like to stick around to see what might be in store for me down the road.  I've got about 20 more years at a job that I love until I can truly retire.  It sure would be nice to be healthy enough to enjoy those "free" years when I get there.  In addition to that, I still have young girls right now:

Jaiden, Joey, and my other 5 kids are by far the best reason I can think of to stick around, and try to be healthiest me that I can be.  

Beyond that, of course there's a slight bit of vanity involved.  Pretty much all my life, I've looked in the mirror and thought something along the lines of "not bad, you've got potential".  Well darnit, at some point before I go, I'd like to have realized that potential.  And on a more practical level, when I'm at the pool or beach with my girls, I'd like to be able to take my shirt off and not worry about what anybody might think.  :-)

So this blog is here basically for my own accountability.  I'm going to keep track of my workout, things I'm eating, and my progress with the scale and tape measure.  I know myself well enough that if I don't have a good reason to say I did it, I'll probably find an excuse not to.  I'm putting that stuff here, so that I don't bore my Facebook friends with it.  That being said, I hope this blog won't be boring either.  In addition to my own stuff, I also intend to post things like recipes, workout idea, and interesting articles I find around the Internet.  Plus, if anybody wants to use my comments section for their own motivation/accountability, I'd be totally cool with that too.

So with all that said, let's get this show on the road!   :-)