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The Dilemma: Love to exercise & Love to eat

Friday, February 04, 2011

I've hovered around 200 lbs the last few years. Was down to 188 during serious marathon training and up to 205 during serious work periods where I sacrificed exercise for the job.

Recovering from surgery, I knew I had to change something fast or I'd pack on the pounds with no aerobic outlet for months.

Enter the SparkPeople. When I Googled, "best weight loss website", there you are #5 on the search list. Still a little suspicious though, I had to check it out in a few places (Amazon,, Fortune review).

Anyway, I signed up so I could get a peek inside, and here I am 5 weeks later and 5 lbs lighter than when I started....sitting at 192 as of this AM.

2 Weeks after surgery I got cleared to hit the gym for upper body work only, no weight bearing on the leg. Bottom line, I've been able to get a great routine going again after some chronic pain.

I love working out; running not so much anymore, but biking, weight lifting, and the occasional fitness class. But man 'o man do those workouts bring on an appetite. And it's a sneaky appetite, the kind of insidious thinking that says, "it's OK to eat whatever you want, you worked out real hard!"

But it's a lie and I've really learned that no amount of exercise will make up for excessive eating....just ain't gonna happen. I pride myself on being rationale and precise and the evidence clearly demonstrates lots of eating = lots of pounds gained....even if you work out like mad

So I'm digging the food tracker, trying not to turn it into an exact science. And I'm acting on the knowledge that the lbs won't leave till the calorie intake goes down.

Damn I hate the facts!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUNEBUG1944 2/6/2011 4:05PM

    I hear you, Pal! It is really a trap because after exercise you can be ravenous and all hell breaks loose if you aren't careful! We know what we have to do...but it is so hard to do the right thing all the time! Congrats on your weight are winning this war! I was going to say "game", but it isn't a's war!

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HEALTHIERKEN 2/5/2011 9:45PM

    You're probably paying attention to "What to eat before a workout" and "What to eat after a workout", two articles in the Men's Health section of Spark People. The other thing I've really come to appreciate is the 'five small meals a day' concept. It lets me give in to my body's demands that I eat often, but because I've programmed snacks into the nutrition plan, doing so doesn't wreak havoc with the caloric intake.

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ELISA322 2/5/2011 4:35PM

    This is definitely a dilemma most people face. I'm impressed you were able to keep your weight down during marathon training, I've read stories of people who were not as fortunate and gained weight from it. I'm defnitely going to continue to track my calories as I train, because I don't want to have the mindset that I have the license to eat everything in sight because I ran 18 miles!

Comment edited on: 2/5/2011 4:35:17 PM

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SAFARIBABE 2/5/2011 6:43AM

    It's funny you should blog about this because I just read an article in SP in the last couple days about what to eat after you exercise. Said you should eat more carb than protein and obviously keep the fats low. You should be able to find the article in the Healthy Lifestyle section. Also, as you increase your cardio, the fitness tracker lets you adjust the amount of cardio you're going to do each week or day or whatever. So for example, I started out saying I was going to do 30 mins of cardio 4 days a week, and the nutrition tracker automatically set my calories at the range of X - Y. Now I'm actually doing 60+ mins 5-6 days a week. I've changed the fitness goals to reflect that and my calorie range was increased slightly fro Q - R. The rationale is that if you don't get the energy (food) to support the increased exercise your body goes into starvation mode and hordes the calories you do give it as fat while fueling your exertions by feeding off the muscles. Bottom line...It's about loosing healthily not speedily! And this concludes our lecture for this morning. LOL emoticon

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SUE5007 2/5/2011 12:39AM

    Oh yeah, we know how you feel. Be sure you are tracking your calories burned and realign your fitness goal to match closer to what you're doing. It may change your number of calories to eat each day.
Try drinking water instead of snacking. Easier said then done though. Try flavored water or those singles of flavoring that you add to a bottle of water. The water will help keep the hunger pangs at bay.
And try to notice if certain foods make you more hungry. For me, if I have a banana with my cheerios I am hungry an hour sooner. Even though I ate more! Flavored yogurt fills me up but I am also hungry sooner...I think it's the sugar in it.
Congrats on your success so far. Keep up the good work!

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KIMERZDE 2/4/2011 10:20PM

    I personally like a nice smoothy. I make it with fat free organic yogurt, a spoonful of protein, ( bulk and cheaper) frozen blueberries, frozen strawberries, part of a bananna if around and a little organic milk to thin it out. It gives me a large drink, which is not only healthy, but full of protein my body needs. Plus it is quite filling. emoticon

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O Tracker! my tracker! my fearful dining out is done

Thursday, February 03, 2011

I've had a hectic week, going out to eat a bunch of different times & places. Overall it went very well thanks to the Sparkie Community and an app that lets me real-time track what I ate throughout the day.

Late last night as I updated the numbers and my blog, it occurred to me that all the numbers in the tracker are approximations....I'll never totally nail the calories that my body actually takes in....they are averages. I can look up what 5 oz of London Broil is (280 calories), but it could be 50 more or less depending on the specifics of the cow that came to market. I can weigh out proteins, starches, and fruit, but in the end, only my body knows how many calories I ate.

Same with the workouts.....the cardio machines, the heart rate monitors, the websites that translate exertion into calories only give an average.

So what does it this in any way constructive?

Well it helped me realize to not look so hard at the numbers so that if I'm a 100 calories near or over my limit, well maybe maybe not. Nor is a reading of 500 calories burnt working out necessarily true.

The goal is to get things going in the right direction....calories in should overall be less than calories burnt, say over the course of a week. Any given day is not nearly as important as any given week or a month. The longer the time horizon we work towards, the easier it is to make and stick to a solid plan and to actually get there

my $.02

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REBECCATKD 2/6/2011 2:24PM

    You're already doing great because you are so aware of what you are eating all day long. Think about the healthy decisions you make each day...Now, that's the prize!

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MAIA2011 2/5/2011 10:52AM

    It's the trend!

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MOM23JS 2/5/2011 8:25AM

    I think you must be residing in my head lately- it seems like all this last week I am either under my calories or over my calories by about 100-- and rather than start to panic I just figured this isn't exact science so if I am off a bit it's okay. Thanks for writing what I was thinking :D

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BRADOS 2/4/2011 1:16PM

    well said


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ELISA322 2/4/2011 7:02AM

    Very true and good points!

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SAFARIBABE 2/4/2011 5:18AM

    That's the ticket. Keep it consistent and keep it moving! emoticon

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JUNEBUG1944 2/3/2011 10:53PM

    You are absolutely right! You are so wise!

Glad that you were able to handle all that eating out with good choices and not go food is the pits (although I do love it!)

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HEALTHIERKEN 2/3/2011 10:34PM

    Very wise conclusions, GetStrongerrrr!` emoticon

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Dinner out - Part 2 - the Formal Affair

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Groundhog Day right? So tonight I had another evening out, an awards banquet, tuxedos, formal gowns, speeches, lots of food, desserts, mingling, munching, etc.

Yesterday I made a pretty decent night of it, planned ahead, worked out, and hit my upper calorie limit at the end of the day.

Today was going to be a little tougher. Busy all day with a high roller visitor, breakfast snacks in the AM, working lunch, finish up at 4:00, rush home, change, pick up SWMBO, drive back to cocktail hour, and let the games begin.

I thought I'd be screwed.

But lo and behold, with my new found Spark tracker in mind, I opt for fresh cut fruit instead of the bagels at the breakfast, salad with broiled chicken and light italian dressing at lunch, a half sandwich midday to not arrive at the banquet famished.

Diet cokes & water at the cocktail mingling, salad with 1 Tbsp of ranch, 5 oz of London Broil, some roasted potatoes and grilled veggies on the dinner thing you know old Jed's a millionaire!

I'm logging it all in during breaks into the Sparkpeople app and I'm sitting at 1250 calories for the day at the end of the meal! So then there's a small wedge of peanut butter & chocolate mousse pie served with the coffee and still an hour more of speakers and presentations to go.

Well I could claim a steely discipline that looked the other way, and besides, could I really be sure that all these calories in the tracker were true.....they really are only approximations.....who knows what really goes into these things.

What the hell, I figured dessert was about 300 calories, keeping me 250 under my daily max of 1800.

I've been thinking about how accurate all these calorie measurements are lately.....but it's late, I'm off to bed....will have to ponder & blog that thought out later.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ONESILLYME 2/5/2011 2:08PM

    Half a dessert? Sounds like you had a great day! I agree that the calories are "approximate." If I find one that's clearly waaaay off I'll enter it myself, but for the most part I'm OK with approximate. It's a life, not a science experiment :-)

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JUNEBUG1944 2/3/2011 10:56PM

    Mmmmmmm chocolate peanutbutter pie mmmmmmmmmm! It would be a sin to leave that...waste not, want not! So, what does SWMBO mean?

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ELISA322 2/3/2011 8:57PM

    LOL at SWMBO. I had to look that up.

It's hard to measure calories at these kind of events. You did the best you could and what matters is that the tracker made you conscientious of what you were eating. Good job!

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SAFARIBABE 2/3/2011 7:22AM

    WTG at the dinner! Just one thing tho...Scotch and water I get, the water enhances the flavor of the scotch, but DC & water???....oh my no!!! There I draw the line! LOL Have a great day!

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Dinner with my co-workers---Sparkers on my shoulders

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

I love going out to eat and have written a couple of blogs about it already. I also HAVE to go out to eat a few times a month, some of them formal, some of them semi-formal, most all of them involving lots of good food as part of the gig.

In the past it was too easy to jump into it with no forethought, chow down on appetizers, opt for beef & starch instead of fish & veggies, then comb the dessert selections for the chocolate-filled deathtraps.

Tonight was a dress casual dinner with a few of our top leaders at a local Italian joint. Knowing this ahead of time, I mapped out a breakfast, lunch, & snack plan that was low cal, and timed to make sure I didn't arrive at the restaurant starving, yet left me enough calories to not go psycho ordering nothing but celery stalks off the menu. I also started off the 100 pushups program this AM (thank you iPhone apps!) and ducked out for a quick 45 minute workout/physical therapy session early in the day.

It all worked out pretty darned nicely....the thought of having to come back home and log my calories in the privacy of my Spark World helped keep me honest & humble for dinner choices. I hit the high end of today's calorie goal, but that's OK......4-5 weeks earlier I'd have doubled that calories intake on any given day.

Tomorrow is a busy work day with a more formal dinner at night that has a set menu, so I need to go through the same drill again. Consistency, impulse control, and knowing that at the end of every day, I need to log in and fess up what I ate helps making the right choices a lot easier.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAFARIBABE 2/2/2011 2:58PM

    How awesome! Great planning and execution!! How were the pushups? The iPhone app is great, that's what I've been using and although I curse a blue streak when the alarm goes off, it does keep me honest and on-track! AND when you're done with pushups there's one for situps and squats just waiting for ya! mwahahaha!!!!

Good luck tonight! We'll be waiting to hear how you fare at your event. OH! and since I burned about 800 cals on the bike this morning, you can send that chocolate filled death over to me! OH what a way to go. LOL

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BRADOS 2/1/2011 10:56PM

    awesome - great discipline, I like to hear stories of people making the right choices to remind myself to do exactly the same

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    I always always box up half of my meals. Even when it's a formal. My success is more important to me than impressing whoever :) Keep your calories low during the day those days and try to ramp up the cardio.

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On being a mature gym rat

Monday, January 31, 2011

One of the great things about working out hard in your 50s is that you're over so many trivial things that seemed important in your 20s...they fade away into the noise and chatter

A late bloomer to distance running & bicycling and an even later adult onset weight lifter, I've grown to really enjoy slow, steady progress getting healthier and pushing hard, within limits and with an eye toward a longer objective

Today I can tell the difference between good pain and bad pain. I can push muscles to exertion, but not to the point that I hate every moment of a workout. I can stop even though I haven't completed everything on my list because I know that the gym will be there again tomorrow and I can pick it up next time. I can bike hard, then slow it down, and pick up the pace later when I'm up for it. I can keep pace with the toughest in a spin class, but enjoy even more cheering on a newbie on the bike next door to just pedal at whatever pace they can.

During my marathon training I had 4 goals:

- Enjoy the run
- Finish the race
- Don't be last
- Cheer everyone you pass

As long as I kept goal #1 at the top and enjoyed the exertion, I always ended a workout feeling great, and looked forward to the next one. It's working great so far and keep me coming back.

Now if I just didn't enjoy the post workout food so much too........but that's another blog entry

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEALTHIERKEN 2/2/2011 11:49PM

    I'm with you on all your 'pluses' of being mature, GETSSTRONGERRR. I don't think I could bear to be pre-middle aged again for anything . . . . : )

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JUNEBUG1944 2/1/2011 9:41PM

    It's not so bad being mature...I don't have to wear the most fashionable workout clothes because I'm OLD! emoticon

I can sing with my MP3 player while I exercise because I'm OLD!

I can leave a class I don't like because I'm OLD! emoticon

Yup, there are definitely upsides to being "mature!" We don't need to go into the downsides, do we? emoticon

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    Speaking as one of those newbies on the bike next door just struggling to go at their own turtle pace...THANK YOU!!! :)

I'm not actually in a class, but I feel embarrassed just getting on the bike in the first place. People like you make it so much easier to just do what I can and not worry what super human efforts the person next to me is achieving! :)

Thank you for being YOU! :)

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4EVERFIT011 2/1/2011 7:31AM

    Great post! Not caring as much about what others think is one of the benefits of being "mature". I also like pushing my body and surprising myself at what it can do. I go to the Y near my home for most of my workouts and there are quite a few members who are even older than I am. It is exciting to see how active you can be as you age, if you just move and keep moving.

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SAFARIBABE 2/1/2011 5:21AM

    LOL! Good post and well said. What I've found about the gym is that I just really don't care what anyone thinks anymore. I go do my thing, enjoy it, and all those 20 somethings flexing and preening in the mirrors just give me a chuckle.

As for that post workout food....I go a couple hours before a meal. First because I know I'm starving after and 2nd because the exercise kicks up your metabolism for about 1-2 hours after the workout.

Happy February!

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