weekly reflections: 5/12 – 5/18

My change from last week –

Change in weight (5/12/20 –5/18/20):  0 LBS

No change in weight. Zero, nada, nuthin’, zilch. That must mean nothing happened this past week, right? Wrong. A lot happened this last week. A lot of good things and some things that I should work on.

I really am not upset about a lack of weight loss. I have been able to put the scale in its place and look at this journey holistically. See how I think about weigh-ins from an older post.

We had salads for dinner last night. I am naive. We had salads from the Cheesecake Factory last night. It was delicious and it was too delicious. How could a bowl full of leafy greens and other tasty bits be so good? Well, because it is a 1200 calorie salad. I will say again, I am naive. It is all good. The salad was delicious and it made me happy. I got a good amount of veggies in and a good amount of other things too, lol.

The salad is almost a metaphor for my past week’s food consumption. A little too much disguised as something just right. My uptick in activity, which I will elaborate on below, has also caused and uptick in my hunger (or perception of hunger). I also may have celebrated my success last Monday by eating too much early in the week. This is a common issue for me, food becomes the prize or award for good behavior. Is this the same for anybody else? I feel it is a big one that needs work. Despite that, overall I had an okay week, but definitely was not as on point as I have been.

As I mentioned last week, adjusting to the more conservative caloric tracking of the Apple watch has been hard, but good. It has made this feel like more of an effort, especially on days where I have cravings, but I do like that it is forcing more discipline from me. This renewed focus on my intake has shown that I still eat too much (or reward myself too much 😩). You can exercise your butt off for 500 calories and one takeout appetizer can blow that out of the water. I have fallen a little too much into the mindset of, if I want to eat more, I will just workout more. But I need to be in the mindset that I cannot solve all cravings by working out more. I still need to step up and be more strict with my intake, along with my increased exercise, if I want to see real and lasting change.

I got back into running this past week. Wow. I forgot how much I actually enjoy running and also noticed how I have gotten used to the zero impact cardio that is my Peloton. My legs were sore but I am practicing the art of discipline and am making sure to give my body the ample time it needs to rest. This means 3 runs a week right now and low impact cardio on the days I do not run. I am setting a couple race goals for the end of the year as milestones. I think these will help continue to push me and also to help things stay mixed up enough so I do not struggle with the occasional monotony of working out.

I again failed to do my full body workouts this week but I did hit my cardio goals, getting all my rides in and my runs. I also finally got all my stretching in!!!! I am very proud of myself for this and it only took how many weeks? The other big thing I am very happy about is I have been making sure to get my general movement in. I have gotten my 10,000 steps every day this week and have made the time for my mid-day walks when working. It may not currently be reflected on my weight loss this week, but it really helps to make me feel better. I feel like I am treating my body right when I commit to moving it.

I have amended my goals for next week to include my new running plan. 3 runs per week and 3 bike sessions per week. I am still setting a goal of 2 strength workouts per week because these only help the running and biking, but have broken that goal out. I hope this might make me more aware of it.

I am feeling good right now. Although the scale did not reflect weight change, I am feeling healthier every day. My resting heart rate has now dipped into the 40s when it used to be in the high 60s/low 70s. My recovery times from workouts are faster and I am constantly feeling like I am in a better physical and emotional place. I tried an old dress shirt on that hasn’t fit in 3+ years and guess what, it fits with room to spare (now if only there was an occasion to wear a dress shirt…). I also keep noticing how strong my legs are… don’t tell me you’ve never admired your own muscles!!!!

If you know anybody who you think might benefit from reading my blog, please share it with them. I would love to reach more people because the success I am currently experiencing comes after years of struggle and frustration that I know many others face. If I can help myself through this, wonderful. If I can help others, even better! I am here to cheer on your effort and work, to whatever goal you are aspiring towards.

Check out the lists below for the full breakdown and let me know if you have any suggestions, feedback, inspiration, or thoughts. Stay safe out there and stay home if you can! I am thankful for all of you.

How did I do on last weeks action plan?:

  1. 6 workouts. 1 45 min ride, 1 HIIT Ride, 2 full body strength (Wednesday evening and Saturday evening), 1 low impact ride, and 1 other of my choice. Partially Attained
  2. Plan out my meals, stick to them, and portion snacks. Partially Attained
  3. 2 additional outdoor activities. This can include walks with my daughter, disc golfing, skiing, etc. Attained
  4. 3 dedicated stretch sessions. 2 10-min lower body and 1 10 min full body (Monday/Wed/Fri). Attained
  5. 20-30 minute midday walk on work days. Attained
  6. Track every bite. Attained
  7. Drink 10 glasses of water per day. Attained
  8. Find some quiet time to calm my thoughts and mind. 2 5-10 minute sessions. Attained

Action Plan

  1. 6 Cardio workouts. 1 45 min ride, 1 HIIT Ride, 1 Low Impact ride, 3 runs (Mon/Wed/Fri).
  2. 2 Strength Sessions (Tues/Sat)
  3. Plan out my meals, stick to them, and portion snacks
  4. 2 additional outdoor activities. This can include walks with my daughter, disc golfing, skiing, etc
  5. 3 dedicated stretch sessions. 2 10-min lower body and 1 10 min full body (Mon/Wed/Fri)
  6. 20-30 minute midday walk on work days
  7. Track every bite
  8. Drink 10 glasses of water per day
  9. Find some quiet time to calm my thoughts and mind. 2 5-10 minute sessions

Please stay tuned for more updates. If you have been enjoying this, please become an email follower or a wordpress follower. Having this public audience has been a positive motivation for me to continue working towards my goals and so I really am thankful for all of you!

DateChange in Weight
12/1*–
12/2*-5.4 lbs
12/9-5.4 lbs
12/16-3.4 lbs
12/23+2.8 lbs
12/29-1.2 lbs
1/6-1.4 lbs
1/13-1.6 lbs
1/20-1.4 lbs
1/27+0.4 lbs
2/3-1.2 lbs
2/10-4.6 lbs
2/17+0.4 lbs
2/24-1.6 lbs
3/2-3.2 lbs
3/9+1.8 lbs
3/16-3.2 lbs
3/23-0.6 lbs
3/30+0.4 lbs
4/6-1.6 lbs
4/13+0.8 lbs
4/20-1.8 lbs
4/270 lbs (no change)
5/4+2.4 lbs
5/11-5.2 lbs
5/180 lbs

* I first weighed myself on a Sunday night and began the regular weigh-ins the following morning

-Ben

dusting off the running shoes

Please note the quarantine hair, it is majestic. Please ignore the goober smile.

In my first post, constantly inconsistent, I talked about running the Heady Trotter 4 mile road race a couple years ago. This was a really proud moment for me. I ran 2 straight miles, at 30, for the first time in my life. I was not my lightest by a long shot, but I was in the best running shape I have ever been in. After that, fatherhood and being a new dad took charge and did not sustain that success. I have ran very little since.

I think it is time to dust off the running shoes. I think it is time to get myself outside a bit more. 90% of my fitness routine has been my Peloton bike. I love it. It has help transformed my reality and has been a catalyst for my betterment journey. I also miss being outside. I try to get out for hikes and walks in the woods, but that is just a bit harder than running out my front door. I would like to get back into running and supplement it with my bike routine. This can only help me, right?

I do think I need to update the running shoes.

I thrive on competition. My wife and I avoid many games because we both recognize how competitive the two of us are. Apparently we are wise enough to understand what we should and should not do when it comes to things like that. But although it’s not always constructive for a relationship, this competitive nature is awesome for motivating me in more personal pursuits, like fitness. Running my first race was incredible for me. I specifically remember looking at one individual in front of me after a few minutes and saying, “I can tag along with this guy… do it.” This competitiveness helped push me through many moments where I wanted to stop and walk. It pushed me past seeing others slow to a walk. It eventually pushed me past the individual I was tailing as they slowed to a walk. At that point I picked the next goalpost and pushed myself towards it.

I want to get back into the game to beat my old time. I want to get back into the game to beat my old distance. I also want to get back into the game because I know I weigh less than I did when I ran that race and I want to accelerate my success. I also want to run a longer race.

I have done some reading of other runners and realized some misconceptions I have at what running success is. I have seen that runners, using a planned interval style, can have a faster time than somebody who runs as far as they can and then intervals the last bit. Others run the whole thing and crush it. What is success in running? I think it definitely depends on the individual and what they are going for. I have a dream to finally run a 5k start to finish, regardless of time. I also want to run a 10k, but care less about how far I can run straight and care more about finishing with a time that makes me feel accomplished.

I am going to try and sign up for 2 races this year. Who knows if they will actually be able to happen. With COVID, I won’t even try to guess. But I would like to shoot for a 5k in the late summer/early fall and a 10k in late fall. The 5k would be just for me and my personal pride. This is a race for Ben to prove to Ben. I have some other plans for the 10k that I will address in a new post when I find the race and date. I would like the 10k to be about others. The 5k is for helping myself, the 10k is for helping others. I plan on running in honor of a different cause. So stay tuned in the next couple months for me to write about that.

With this new drive I am setting up a plan to go along with my regular routine. I am going to start training for a 5k and a 10k. I ran twice this week and will shoot for 3-4 runs per week. At this point I am doing interval training. As I build back up my running abilities, I will probably shoot to make one of the runs a more distance oriented run.

This week’s runs felt great. It is such a different feeling compared to the bike and it felt so nice to be outside with the breeze. I do need to be disciplined and remember to pace myself. The impact of running is real on your body and if I am not careful, I can just push too hard and hurt myself. My speed is definitely slow, but I feel good about this and feel good about this trajectory. Let me know if you re going to run with me!

More to come!

-Ben

weekly reflections: 5/5 – 5/11

When the ride makes you yell…

My change from last week –

Change in weight (5/5/20 –5/11/20):Β  -5.2 LBS

Last week I talked about my check-in being a wake-up call. Well I answered it. I am super pumped this morning because I have been feeling really good the past couple of days and when I stepped on the scale this morning, it confirmed those good feelings. I love it when the feelings match reality!

I was pretty nervous about stepping on the scale this morning. Okay, I actually was downright afraid. I was going through my head thinking “I could just say work got busy and I lost track” or “will my blog really be upset if I miss one checkin.” The truth is, it is not about everybody else, but the commitment I made to myself… and cheers to myself for sticking with it. Bonus, I’m stoked for the scale showing me the fruits of my labor! One of my favorite Peloton instructors, Robin, loves to say “Do you want it more than you fear it.” This one is one of those motivational sayings that some might call cheesy, that I until recently would have written off as another filler for a pinterest board, but now it speaks to me when I need it to. I realized that this journey to better is full of fear and constant uncertainty. Is there anything that brings more comfort and less fear than staying with what you know and what is familiar? But branching out to work towards a new goal, well I don’t know how that might go. Fear is an incredible motivator that can keep people from moving and push them in the wrong direction. So do I want this more than I fear it? I keep telling myself yes. Last Monday I told myself yes when I was livid how far I back slid. I told myself yes this weekend when I had numerous opportunities to eat more and wanted to eat more, but I didn’t. I told myself yes when I just got up and got on the scale this morning. Does fear hold any of you back? How do you overcome it?

I have been trying to lock in the drivers of this weeks positive change. I can list a few things that I know contributed. My overall movement increased as I tried to hit my step goal every day, regardless of the weather. I was also more consistent with my workouts and I was drinking more water. I think one of the largest contributors was my intake decreased. I have felt that as I track calories, the calorie adjustments for exercise sometimes seemed large. My wife and I also just got Apple watches as the were $100 off online last week (win!). I have noticed that the Apple watch is more conservative in its allocation of burned calories due to walking. This means that the amount of calories MyFitnessPal tells me I can eat has gone down with similar activity, just by switching my tracking device. I think this is a good thing. As long as I am giving my body what it needs, some more strict calorie control can only help me.

This past week saw a lot of biking, walking, and getting outside. I am trying to stay moving. I was pleased with my performance on the bike, doing a 45 minute HIIT and Hills ride that hurt but felt great to accomplish, along with a few others. I also am pleased with the little things. Trying to take a 15 minute walk here and there or choosing water instead of a beer. The little things add up.

As per usual, I am failing at stretching and getting the amount of full body workouts in I want, so I am still struggling to hone in on why I can be so disciplined with some things, but not with others.

My thought is to leave my goals the same for next week. I did pretty well with them last week and the outcome was great! I would like to log 2-3 weeks with some managable, consistent weight loss. Here we go!

Check out the lists below for the full breakdown and let me know if you have any suggestions, feedback, inspiration, or thoughts. Stay safe out there and stay home if you can! I am thankful for all of you.

How did I do on last weeks action plan?:

  1. 6 workouts. 1 45 min ride, 1 HIIT Ride, 2 full body strength (Wednesday evening and Saturday evening), 1 low impact ride, and 1 other of my choice. Partially attained. I did 6 rides and 1 strength.
  2. Plan out my meals, stick to them, and portion snacks. Attained
  3. 2 additional outdoor activities. This can include walks with my daughter, disc golfing, skiing, etc. Attained
  4. 3 dedicated stretch sessions. 2 10-min lower body and 1 10 min full body (Monday/Wed/Fri). Not Attained.
  5. 20-30 minute midday walk on work days. Attained
  6. Track every bite. Attained
  7. Drink 10 glasses of water per day. Attained
  8. Find some quiet time to calm my thoughts and mind. 2 5-10 minute sessions. Attained

Action Plan

  1. 6 workouts. 1 45 min ride, 1 HIIT Ride, 2 full body strength (Wednesday evening and Saturday evening), 1 low impact ride, and 1 other of my choice
  2. Plan out my meals, stick to them, and portion snacks
  3. 2 additional outdoor activities. This can include walks with my daughter, disc golfing, skiing, etc
  4. 3 dedicated stretch sessions. 2 10-min lower body and 1 10 min full body (Monday/Wed/Fri)
  5. 20-30 minute midday walk on work days
  6. Track every bite
  7. Drink 10 glasses of water per day
  8. Find some quiet time to calm my thoughts and mind. 2 5-10 minute sessions

Please stay tuned for more updates. If you have been enjoying this, please become an email follower or a wordpress follower. Having this public audience has been a positive motivation for me to continue working towards my goals and so I really am thankful for all of you!

DateChange in Weight
12/1*–
12/2*-5.4 lbs
12/9-5.4 lbs
12/16-3.4 lbs
12/23+2.8 lbs
12/29-1.2 lbs
1/6-1.4 lbs
1/13-1.6 lbs
1/20-1.4 lbs
1/27+0.4 lbs
2/3-1.2 lbs
2/10-4.6 lbs
2/17+0.4 lbs
2/24-1.6 lbs
3/2-3.2 lbs
3/9+1.8 lbs
3/16-3.2 lbs
3/23-0.6 lbs
3/30+0.4 lbs
4/6-1.6 lbs
4/13+0.8 lbs
4/20-1.8 lbs
4/270 lbs (no change)
5/4+2.4 lbs
5/11-5.2 lbs

* I first weighed myself on a Sunday night and began the regular weigh-ins the following morning

-Ben

weekly reflections: 4/28 – 5/4

My change from last week –

Change in weight (4/21/20 –4/27/20):  +2.4 LBS

This weigh-in is a wake-up call. I have gotten fairly complacent and have taken for granted the relative consistency of my weight decrease. I really thought I had stayed around the same or lost a little weight before I stepped on the scale. I was wrong. I guess you can pull multiple things from that. On one hand it must be good that I am feeling that positive about myself, but on the other hand, it shows that I didn’t really have a good handle on my week if I had a 2-3 pound discrepancy between what I thought and what is actually.

I could write some excuses here and reason out the recent weight gain. The more I think about it, the more I understand where it comes from. My activity, though my walking still needs to increase, is fine. I need to dial in and control my intake. I am eating too much and am eating too much crap. There is too much takeout, too much over eating, too much eating for comfort, and too much eating to manage stress. I could blame the fact that we are in the midst of some home projects, so it is torn apart and cooking is harder. I could blame working full time and taking care of a toddler. I could blame a host of things, but ultimately it comes down to how much I want this and how much I am willing to discipline myself. I need to do better. I need to expect more from myself because I am capable of far better.

Looking back at the week, I did not quite attain the full level of activity I planned, but still did pretty well. I was 1 full body workout short and did not get my 45 minute ride in, but did have some really successful rides this week, with two PRs. I also got out for a hike yesterday, which felt great. It was a real beauty on the South Shore.

I did better about stretching this week too, though I still did not do all I planned… and I did find some quiet time. My mental state this morning is definitely improved from prior weeks. I also have been pounding water lately. I can be super bad about this so I am proud of myself for working to stay hydrated.

I am going to leave my plan for next week the same. I would like to hit it and check off all points. I would like to do a better job about checking in daily on how I am progressing with my weekly plans as I have not been very good at that. I am not writing a super long post this morning because I am annoyed and a bit bummed. I do not want this setback to hamper my motivation and progress, but I definitely am upset today. I would love some encouragement and some reminders to stop being so dramatic.

Anyway, how much do I want this? Do I want it more than the inconvenience of pushing myself, yes. Okay, now I have to do it.

Check out the lists below for the full breakdown and let me know if you have any suggestions, feedback, inspiration, or thoughts. Stay safe out there and stay home if you can! I am thankful for all of you.

How did I do on last weeks action plan?:

  1. 6 workouts. 1 45 min ride, 1 HIIT Ride, 2 full body strength (Wednesday evening and Saturday evening), 1 low impact ride, and 1 other of my choice. Partially attained. 4 rides and 1 full body
  2. Plan out my meals, stick to them, and portion snacks. Not attained
  3. 2 additional outdoor activities. This can include walks with my daughter, disc golfing, skiing, etc. Attained
  4. 3 dedicated stretch sessions. 2 10-min lower body and 1 10 min full body (Monday/Wed/Fri). Partially Attained. 2 Stretches
  5. 20-30 minute midday walk on work days. Partially Attained
  6. Track every bite. Not Attained
  7. Drink 10 glasses of water per day. Attained
  8. Find some quiet time to calm my thoughts and mind. 2 5-10 minute sessions. Attained

Action Plan

  1. 6 workouts. 1 45 min ride, 1 HIIT Ride, 2 full body strength (Wednesday evening and Saturday evening), 1 low impact ride, and 1 other of my choice
  2. Plan out my meals, stick to them, and portion snacks
  3. 2 additional outdoor activities. This can include walks with my daughter, disc golfing, skiing, etc
  4. 3 dedicated stretch sessions. 2 10-min lower body and 1 10 min full body (Monday/Wed/Fri)
  5. 20-30 minute midday walk on work days
  6. Track every bite
  7. Drink 10 glasses of water per day
  8. Find some quiet time to calm my thoughts and mind. 2 5-10 minute sessions

Please stay tuned for more updates. If you have been enjoying this, please become an email follower or a wordpress follower. Having this public audience has been a positive motivation for me to continue working towards my goals and so I really am thankful for all of you!

DateChange in Weight
12/1*–
12/2*-5.4 lbs
12/9-5.4 lbs
12/16-3.4 lbs
12/23+2.8 lbs
12/29-1.2 lbs
1/6-1.4 lbs
1/13-1.6 lbs
1/20-1.4 lbs
1/27+0.4 lbs
2/3-1.2 lbs
2/10-4.6 lbs
2/17+0.4 lbs
2/24-1.6 lbs
3/2-3.2 lbs
3/9+1.8 lbs
3/16-3.2 lbs
3/23-0.6 lbs
3/30+0.4 lbs
4/6-1.6 lbs
4/13+0.8 lbs
4/20-1.8 lbs
4/270 lbs (no change)
5/4+2.4 lbs

* I first weighed myself on a Sunday night and began the regular weigh-ins the following morning

-Ben

weekly reflections: 4/21 – 4/27

no news can be good news

Boston as seen from Blue Hills Reservation

My change from last week –

Change in weight (4/21/20 –4/27/20):  0 LBS

No news is good news, right? I am really okay with my weigh in this morning. Would I have preferred to be down 2-4 pounds? Absolutely! But I did not gain weight and despite my week having some good activity, I definitely did not feel like I ‘won’ or ‘deserved’ weight loss. Do you ever have those times where you just know you nailed it? Like you step on the scale with the deep satisfaction of knowing you crushed it? I have had those weeks and the scale rewarded those feelings with bigger drops – Hold up. The scale did not reward anything. I rewarded myself with the pleasure of seeing the fruits of my labor displayed on this inanimate object that has no control over me. That’s better. – This week I just felt good. I was active but there were some indulgences. I made gains in different places and that is okay. I feel the scale reflected my feelings… I maintained.

I took a mental health day on Tuesday and by 10am on Wednesday, it felt as if I never had. I think I need a staycation. Taking the time to take care for my mind, along with my physical is becoming more important. On Tuesday morning my daughter woke up and we hit the woods for an early morning hike in Blue Hills Reservation. This was everything for me. Listening to the birds, hearing the wind going through tree branches, watching the changing shadows as the sun rises higher in the sky, all of these things are medicine for my mind. It also is the greatest when your daughter is babbling away and chatting right behind your head in the backpack. It is so hard not to smile.

We also began painting in the house. We are doing a hallway, the living room, and the dining room. I like painting because the satisfaction of seeing the fruits of your labor is awesome. I hate the prep that goes into painting because I like to complain and just don’t like doing painting prep. I have no true reasoning. I just hate it. Thankfully I don’t have a choice. But anyway, we are trying to find the right off-white for the hall and living room. We want it to be warm, but still simple enough to be versatile for different carpet or curtain options. That is the current struggle in the Crosby household. Yes, it could be worse.

Yesterday we celebrated my wife’s birthday. I told her I would cook her anything she wanted and she chose eggs florentine. This was fun because I love breakfast, and eggs florentine is a fancy way to serve breakfast. I am proud to say that I did pretty well. My poached eggs were perfect, the creamed spinach was rich and decedent, and the hollandaise sauce did not break! I might not eat anything today because of all the butter I consumed yesterday, but she was happy and that is all that matters. We also ended it with a white chocolate and cranberry cake (I did not make this, I cheated and purchased this). It is definitely different trying to celebrate events and milestones right now, but I almost feel it can make them more special. I would have just taken her out to eat if the world was normal, spent a lot of money on a good meal, and we would have been happy. But this allowed me to take the time to make a meal for her, for us to do it together (with our toddler in tow), and really savor the whole process. There was no white table cloth or waitstaff, but it felt like a full and rich experience. I felt it to be a more enjoyable way to show my appreciation for her than just going out to dinner and having somebody else do all of the work. And going out to dinner would have involved just as much butter… restaurants cook everything with butter.

I did pretty well with meeting my goals this week but I fell short in a couple areas. I did not get a long ride in, I did not get a strength workout in, and I did not stretch. I have maintained a good riding schedule since I started this. Consistency has not been an issue on the cardio front. I have struggled to get into a stretching and strength training routine. I talked to my wife last night about putting 2 strength classes per week on our calendars and doing them together. I hope that this motivation of having them on the calendar and doing them together will help me get in the flow. I also plan on putting my stretches on the calendar. I need to get better about these.

I did have a big win ride on Monday. I, again, did Robin’s Greatest Showman Ride. I am now calling this my PR ride because it pushes me every time and I always get a new personal record. Along with that the playlist is so damn good. If you haven’t listened to the song ‘This is Me’, do it. It will pump you up and if you are working out, it will push you in all the right ways.

I know that I had a higher intake week this week. There was more takeout due to home projects and some special occasion meals. This week we have planned out our meals and I hope I can stick to them a little better and work on a better calorie deficit. In the past 6 weeks I have lost about 6 pounds. This is a a lower average loss than I saw prior. I would like to see this tick up closer to average 1.5 pounds per week, but I am still proud that the trajectory is going down. I think I can look like a new man and feel like a new man by the time I hit 1 year of this journey. I already feel better and know I am taking better care of myself.

Anyway, check out the lists below for the full breakdown and let me know if you have any suggestions, feedback, inspiration, or thoughts. Stay safe out there and stay home if you can! I am thankful for all of you.

How did I do on last weeks action plan?:

  1. 5 workouts. 1 45 min ride, 1 HIIT Ride, 1 full body strength, 1 low impact ride, and 1 other of my choice – Partially Attained. 5 rides but no strength workout and no 45 min ride.
  2. Plan out my meals, stick to them, and portion snacks – Partially Attained
  3. 2 additional outdoor activities. This can include walks with my daughter, disc golfing, skiing, etc – Attained
  4. 3 dedicated stretch sessions. 2 10-min lower body and 1 10 min full body – Not Attained
  5. 20-30 minute midday walk on work days – Partially Attained
  6. Track every bite – Partially attained
  7. Drink 10 glasses of water per day – Attained
  8. Find some quiet time to calm my thoughts and mind. 2 5-10 minute sessions – Attained

Action Plan

  1. 6 workouts. 1 45 min ride, 1 HIIT Ride, 2 full body strength (Wednesday evening and Saturday evening), 1 low impact ride, and 1 other of my choice
  2. Plan out my meals, stick to them, and portion snacks
  3. 2 additional outdoor activities. This can include walks with my daughter, disc golfing, skiing, etc
  4. 3 dedicated stretch sessions. 2 10-min lower body and 1 10 min full body (Monday/Wed/Fri)
  5. 20-30 minute midday walk on work days
  6. Track every bite
  7. Drink 10 glasses of water per day
  8. Find some quiet time to calm my thoughts and mind. 2 5-10 minute sessions

Please stay tuned for more updates. If you have been enjoying this, please become an email follower or a wordpress follower. Having this public audience has been a positive motivation for me to continue working towards my goals and so I really am thankful for all of you!

DateChange in Weight
12/1*–
12/2*-5.4 lbs
12/9-5.4 lbs
12/16-3.4 lbs
12/23+2.8 lbs
12/29-1.2 lbs
1/6-1.4 lbs
1/13-1.6 lbs
1/20-1.4 lbs
1/27+0.4 lbs
2/3-1.2 lbs
2/10-4.6 lbs
2/17+0.4 lbs
2/24-1.6 lbs
3/2-3.2 lbs
3/9+1.8 lbs
3/16-3.2 lbs
3/23-0.6 lbs
3/30+0.4 lbs
4/6-1.6 lbs
4/13+0.8 lbs
4/20-1.8 lbs
4/270 lbs (no change)

* I first weighed myself on a Sunday night and began the regular weigh-ins the following morning

-Ben

rage baking and cooking therapy

It was about 2pm in the afternoon when I received the email that put me over the edge. The frustration of weeks of working from home, increased work load, contractors arguing about simple requests, and a lack of sleep came to a boiling point. At this point I had been getting testier and testier. My tolerance was on vacation and my fuse was awfully short. Before writing a response I would regret, I shut my laptop, uttered a few words (only the most respectful and PG about my feelings…), and walked away. I needed space. I needed space from work, from thinking, from responsibility, and from my own mind. I walked into the kitchen and saw the mixer and one of my cookbooks. I decided to rage bake.

When I say rage bake, I mean baking to let off steam. I am thinking about putting all of my anger into crafting some decadent, delicious morsel that can bring a glimmer of joy into my current overly dramatic, angry world (I have also since learned there is a cookbook called Rage Baking, and I am not referring to it with my rant in this post).

Give me muffins or give me death… or something like that.

I decided to make some strawberry muffins. I love strawberry muffins. I actually love all muffins and would be doing a disservice to other types by limiting my praise to the strawberry variety. If somebody could find a way to have muffins be to healthy eating the way kale is… take my money. These muffins turned out so well for my first time making them. The recipe was so simple and that made the end product all the better

I have found that baking and cooking are therapeutic ways to work through frustration. The precise measurements in baking can make it an easy way to shut off the thinking in your brain. I just do what the directions tell me and turn this flour into something delicious. I also love general cooking because the instant satisfaction can take you from a place of frustration to a place of joy, reveling in the fact that you just made something that tastes so good.

The flaky salt on top just put them over the edge.

My wife recently made these incredible Brown Butter and Toffee Chocolate chip cookies (Thanks for the inspiration Rick: https://www.bonappetit.com/video/watch/from-the-test-kitchen-rick-makes-toffee-cookies). Ours did not come out quite the way they do in the video, but ohhh boy did they taste incredible. We realized the importance of gifting some away when we ate through a quarter of the batch before we knew it. I would like to think of that as bettering the soul, more than your heart health…

We have this unfortunate situation where we have no yeast. Because of this I need to make a sourdough starter. Until I overcome my fear of sourdough and just do it, I have been finding recipes that do not require yeast. So recently I made Irish Soda Bread and garlic flatbread. Both of these came out really tasty and have been a great supplement to our meals, or just a straight snack. Also, in case you haven’t graduated to next level living, heat your Irish Soda bread up in a pan with some grass fed butter. That bite is living your best life, FYI.

I will keep you updated on the sourdough situation. I am basically a coward who hasn’t let the words of his friends sink in when they tell him “it is not that hard.” So, stay tuned on that.

In the cooking world, I made a killer pasta with Vodka Sauce the other night (Thank you Molly Baz: https://www.bonappetit.com/video/watch/molly-makes-rigatoni-with-vodka-sauce. What amazing flavor from such a simple recipe. You all should do it!

For Easter, seeing as nothing is conventional about Easter this year, I made pork carnitas (Rick Martinez again: https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/double-pork-carnitas). These made my wife, who is not a pork person, say “Ben, these are soo good.” #Winning.

I cheated and used store bought tortillas and salsa verde. 😦

I have been doing a lot of the Bon Appetit recipes because their youtube channel has helped get me inspired about cooking again. I recognize that many of these recipes are not healthy, but that comes back to my goal of moderation and keeping a food diary. If I can eat good food that makes me happy and helps my spirit, while consuming it responsibly, and while taking care of my body, why not? Even with these meals, I am working to balance my macronutrients, get a balanced diet in, and maintain a calorie deficit.

These have helped me. Cooking and baking has become another calming outlet for me when not all traditional outlets are available. You should try some of these recipes and let me know how they go. Does cooking and baking help you? I would love you you to leave some suggestions of recipes, cookbooks, food blogs, or chefs that I should check out.

Ohhh, and what is next? Well, this week I will be going for this crispy roast chicken cooked over potatoes by Chris Morocco (https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/cast-iron-roast-chicken-with-crispy-potatoes). I will probably mix it up and make it my own in some ways, but the though of cooking the potatoes under the chicken, thus getting all that flavor, excites me. Anyway, stay safe out there and keep in touch.

-Ben

weekly reflections: 4/14-4/20

My change from last week –

Change in weight (4/14/20 –4/20/20):Β  -1.8 LBS

I chose the picture above because it makes me calm. It makes me think of fond memories and the feeling of a breeze on the ridge of a mountain.

The weight is moving back in the right direction. I had another morning where I did not think the scale would say I lost weight. The best thing about mornings where I think I have stayed the same or gained weight is being pleasantly surprised is the best kind of surprise.

This post is brought to you by inner reflections. My dear friend Sara texted me the other day about a Peloton ride she did with Ally Love (yes, we’ve established I drank the Peloton kool aide). I have mentioned these rides before, but they are ‘Sundays with Love’. They are meant to be a more spiritual ride. As the pandemic is making it harder to seek my faith spaces in ways I am accustomed, this ride helped my spirt. BUT…, Ally brought up this question, “What is the difference between faith and confidence?” It is one of those things where you know there is a difference, but how do you you explain it. Sara and I texted about this a little and I really spent some time thinking. I would also like you to as well. I don’t necessarily mean a faith in a higher power, but faith in something.

I am bringing this up because lately I have not been having confidence in my betterment journey. Not just the weight loss, but all facets. I have been angrier, I have been more stressed, I have felt like a worst dad and a worse employee. I also have felt that weight loss is becoming a lost cause. These feelings become the strongest the day before my Monday posts when I start reflecting. Then I get to Monday and realize these head games are not based in reality. I lost weight. My daughter and wife still love me. The odd thing is, I still have faith that I can do it, even when the confidence goes. I still have faith that if I remain committed, it can happen. I have faith in the process and faith in my support structure. I do not always have confidence in myself… Does that make sense or ring true?

My initial feelings about the distinction is I always consider confidence a brain/mind thing. It is something that we develop in our head with practice and repetition, but because it is our brain, it is still susceptible to the thoughts and doubts that can float around. On the other hand, faith is a heart/spirit thing. It almost touches at a deeper part of our being, or a deeper part of our soul. For me, digging in and having faith, and trusting in my faith is paramount to my success. For me, I feel my faith carries me when my confidence is weak. We can all get through when our confidence is riding high, but what about when it is not!? This is when you have to have hope in the things unseen. This is where I need to push through and have faith that the end will justify the means I am struggling with.

I needed that ride, that topic, and that conversation. Please let me know if you have anything to add to this, I think it can be good for all of us to think about.

Coming out from the deep, let’s look at my week. I did not quite get the activity I hoped for, but better discipline with my food/drink intake did help me go the right direction with my health. I, again, was tired this week. My body has been dragging. I have been treating it pretty well with food and exercise, but I am not giving it the proper rest and stretching it needs.

I tracked better than I have in previous weeks and did better at controlling mindless snacking. I also got a couple nice long walks in with my daughter. These helped clear my head. Looking at the list, I hit and missed some. I think that I have room to grow and to get back on track with some things, but overall I am pleased. I need to continue working on my mental state. I am adding a task for me to try and find some quiet time. If it is deep breathing, meditation, or just some alone time listening to the wind and the birds, I need to decompress.

Anyway, check out the lists below for the full breakdown and let me know if you have any suggestions, feedback, inspiration, or thoughts. Stay safe out there and stay home if you can! I am thankful for all of you.

How did I do on last weeks action plan?:

  1. 5 workouts. 1 45 min ride, 1 HIIT Ride, 1 full body strength, 1 low impact ride, and 1 other of my choice. Partially attained. I did 4 rides and no full body workout
  2. Plan out my meals, stick to them, and portion snacks. Attained
  3. 2 additional outdoor activities. This can include walks with my daughter, disc golfing, skiing, etc. Attained
  4. 3 dedicated stretch sessions. 2 10-min lower body and 1 10 min full body. Failed miserably. I did none and my muscles are tighter to shame me.
  5. 20-30 minute midday walk on work days. Not Attained. I blame the crappy rain
  6. Track every bite. Attained
  7. Drink 10 glasses of water per day. Attained

Action Plan

  1. 5 workouts. 1 45 min ride, 1 HIIT Ride, 1 full body strength, 1 low impact ride, and 1 other of my choice
  2. Plan out my meals, stick to them, and portion snacks
  3. 2 additional outdoor activities. This can include walks with my daughter, disc golfing, skiing, etc
  4. 3 dedicated stretch sessions. 2 10-min lower body and 1 10 min full body
  5. 20-30 minute midday walk on work days
  6. Track every bite
  7. Drink 10 glasses of water per day
  8. Find some quiet time to calm my thoughts and mind. 2 5-10 minute sessions

Please stay tuned for more updates. If you have been enjoying this, please become an email follower or a wordpress follower. Having this public audience has been a positive motivation for me to continue working towards my goals and so I really am thankful for all of you!

DateChange in Weight
12/1*–
12/2*-5.4 lbs
12/9-5.4 lbs
12/16-3.4 lbs
12/23+2.8 lbs
12/29-1.2 lbs
1/6-1.4 lbs
1/13-1.6 lbs
1/20-1.4 lbs
1/27+0.4 lbs
2/3-1.2 lbs
2/10-4.6 lbs
2/17+0.4 lbs
2/24-1.6 lbs
3/2-3.2 lbs
3/9+1.8 lbs
3/16-3.2 lbs
3/23-0.6 lbs
3/30+0.4 lbs
4/6-1.6 lbs
4/13+0.8 lbs
4/20-1.8 lbs
* I first weighed myself on a Sunday night and began the regular weigh-ins the following morning

-Ben

weekly reflections: 4/7 – 4/13

My “I’m running and smiling” look.

My change from last week –

Change in weight (4/7/20 –4/13/20):  +0.8 LBS

It is gloomy out this morning. We are supposed to have thunder storms today and potentially wind gusts of 40-50 mph! It is a gray day and I would prefer to be in bed. I find this morning to be kind of representative of my fitness week; sleepy and blahh.

I fell back just shy of a pound this week. Truthfully, I am not super upset about this. I am still feeling good and am proud of myself for where I am and how I am doing. This week was a hard one for me. I was tired, our toddler is going through another sleep regression, and work has been overwhelmingly busy. So simply looking at my goals below, and what I attained, it makes sense that I gained a little back. I find that this is okay if I don’t let it set me back further. I recognize the fatigue hit me hard and I needed a few days to calm down. I also recognize that stress played a huge role in my cooking/consumption this week, but that same cooking also helped my mind (see future post on rage baking… hint: rage baking is a way I calm down by making delicious buttery treats). Simply put, I barely moved this week and I still gained back less than a pound.

Despite the lack of fitness gains, this week had some wonderful moments. My little girl is so quickly growing and we spent much time in the backyard letting her explore. It is therapeutic watching a toddler explore, learn, and process. She was so helpful in moving mulch from the garden beds to the grass and was quick to help pick up all the sticks and put them right back to where they came from. She also climbed and went down her little slide by herself for the first time. Those smiles and giggles are the type that stick with you. Along with that, Easter was the oddest I have ever experienced. We watched our church service online (which experienced technical difficulties), we saw no family, and we ate carnitas instead of Easter brunch. But it was the three of us, making the best of our time and that was special. We need to recognize these special moments and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

I have also rediscovered some of my inspiration with cooking. I have always loved to cook, but have recently found it to be nothing more than a necessary utility with all joy removed. I think my new obsession with the Bon Appetit youtube channel has assisted with this reset. I baked and made a killer carnitas this week. Coming soon, scones and a homemade vodka sauce.

Let’s look at my action plan. I only worked out three times this week with a run, and 2 rides. I did get my first 60 minute ride in! This was one of those things that had scared me, for no good reason, but felt so great to conquer for the first time. My legs felt sore, my butt was numb, and I burned a crap ton of calories. Hell yea. I don’t know how frequent I will do those long rides before I get padded bike shorts, but I am proud of the win. My lack of walks was directly correlated to the amount of rain we had midweek. It was gross and it wasn’t even the type where I could put a jacket on and push through.

Loved this. Also, Rage Against the Machine is clutch workout music

I did pretty well with food when I wasn’t eating Easter candy and some of our rage-baked goods. I still plan on getting a little cleaner with the meals this week and upping my veggie intake. My water intake needs to improve, so there is that. For the first time since I started this, I slacked at tracking my intake. There were a few days where it just escaped my mind. Those are the days where I am sure I ate too much but couldn’t actually tell you, because I do not remember everything I ate. This so perfectly shows why tracking throughout the day is so important. Last night I tried to remember all I ate through the day and I could barely remember breakfast, let alone the little snacks and bites throughout the day.

Anyway, I could use a little feedback on how people are dealing lately. Have you all found, if you are, working from home to be a bit overwhelming? Do you find you can bounce back from weeks like this easily? I feel I can, but right now I want to sleep for the whole day.

Anyway, check out below for the action plan and my goals for next week. I am going to keep my goals the same as last. I feel I need to get these back on track before I change them.

How did I do on last weeks action plan?:

  1. 5 workouts. 1 60 min ride (will be my first) 1 HIIT Ride, 1 full body strength, 1 low impact ride, and 1 other of my choice. Not attained. 3 workouts – 1 HIIT, 1 60 min ride, and 1 run.
  2. Plan out my meals, stick to them, and portion snacks. Partially Attained
  3. 2 additional outdoor activities. This can include walks with my daughter, disc golfing, skiing, etc. Not attained. 1 walk
  4. 3 dedicated stretch sessions. 2 10-min lower body and 1 10 min full body. Not attained
  5. 20-30 minute midday walk on work days. Not attained.
  6. Track every bite. Not Attained
  7. Drink 10 glasses of water per day. Partially attained – did for 5 days

Action Plan

  1. 5 workouts. 1 45 min ride, 1 HIIT Ride, 1 full body strength, 1 low impact ride, and 1 other of my choice
  2. Plan out my meals, stick to them, and portion snacks
  3. 2 additional outdoor activities. This can include walks with my daughter, disc golfing, skiing, etc
  4. 3 dedicated stretch sessions. 2 10-min lower body and 1 10 min full body
  5. 20-30 minute midday walk on work days
  6. Track every bite
  7. Drink 10 glasses of water per day

Please stay tuned for more updates. If you have been enjoying this, please become an email follower or a wordpress follower. Having this public audience has been a positive motivation for me to continue working towards my goals and so I really am thankful for all of you!

DateChange in Weight
12/1*–
12/2*-5.4 lbs
12/9-5.4 lbs
12/16-3.4 lbs
12/23+2.8 lbs
12/29-1.2 lbs
1/6-1.4 lbs
1/13-1.6 lbs
1/20-1.4 lbs
1/27+0.4 lbs
2/3-1.2 lbs
2/10-4.6 lbs
2/17+0.4 lbs
2/24-1.6 lbs
3/2-3.2 lbs
3/9+1.8 lbs
3/16-3.2 lbs
3/23-0.6 lbs
3/30+0.4 lbs
4/6-1.6 lbs
4/13+0.8 lbs
* I first weighed myself on a Sunday night and began the regular weigh-ins the following morning

-Ben

weekly reflections: 3/31 – 4/6

Mat workouts are more fun with a toddler. Photo credit: Benjamin L Crosby

My change from last week –

Change in weight (3/17/20 –3/23/20):  -1.6 LBS

I feel very upbeat this Monday morning. The sun finally has returned for a couple days, it is nice out, and I am losing weight again. Not only did I lose 1.6 lbs this past week, but I hit a benchmark that was starting to feel unattainable. I have now lost 30 lbs since December 1! The weight loss feels great and hitting 30 pounds down feels extra great after a couple weeks of leapfrogging. I do not feel like I am succeeding every day, but the commitment and the discipline to the little things is seeing me through.

Where to start? Well I am sore. I did a good bodyweight workout this week that torched my legs and my daughter did her best to make it harder by hanging out between my legs or climbing on my back during planks. I also had a couple rides that smoked me. I looked silly hobbling around yesterday but it was a hobble of success. I did one 20 minute HIIT ride that I did not expect to whoop me quite the way it did. My heart rate jumped and I could have collapsed on the floor if I was feeling more dramatic (Thanks Jess King). The rain made it hard to get out and walk, but I did my best. I definitely threw my rain coat on a couple times and went because I needed it. For me, the frustration that work sometimes gives me can be all the motivation I need to move.

I think part of my success with this weight loss has also been what is making it long and drawn out. I am allowing myself the periodic cravings and indulgences that spring up periodically. This week we had thai take-out and another takeout a different night. I have also had some Easter candy. But again, I am trying to consume it with the understanding of where it fits in a calorie budget. I also am finding that I like the slow nature of this weight loss. It decreases the pressure of weekly weigh-ins and it makes this feel like a more long-term and sustainable reality.

This week I am hoping to get a little cleaner with our food. I have been a little fat heavy and a little low on protein lately. We are making a healthy tuscan shrimp dish for Monday and Tuesday night, and then some sheet pan chicken and veggie dinners for the rest of the week. I find these to be easy, clean, and healthy. I also found this delicious looking sweet potato and arugula salad (and other fixins) for some lunches. For health and budget reasons, my wife and I are shooting to not have any takeout until next weekend, when we will try to support a local restaurant during this difficult time.

I have been starting to get more inspiration from individuals around me and on the internet. A lot of people have been making great points about our goals, especially during this current reality. I am not just trying to focus on my weight. I am soaking in the time with my daughter. I am focussing on taking care of my emotional side and also trying to temper my expectations with what is going on. I have also been getting back into my hobbies. I love working with wood and am currently building a desk. This all works together to help me feel like I am growing and advancing in the right direction. Weight loss plays into this, but it is not all of it. Have any of you gotten back in touch with a part of you that was lost in the rat race of adulthood?

With all that said, I am forging ahead. My next major goal is 50 pounds lost. I hope I can reach that this summer. I have come to the conclusion that I will publish my weight and progress at my 6-month mark from starting this. I am at four months now. I am still shy about the reality of my weight. I even struggled to talk to my wife about it the other day. Talking through my journey here has helped dramatically, but I am not there yet. When I get to 6 months, if I continue on my trajectory, I could be down 45 pounds. Fingers crossed. Stay tuned for more and see below for my weekly goals and how I did on last week’s!

How did I do on last weeks action plan?:

  1. 5 workouts. 2 HIIT Rides, 1 full body strength, 1 low impact ride, and 1 other of my choice. Attained. I did 4 rides, including the above mentioned and a full body strength class
  2. Plan out my meals and stick to them, and portion snacks. Attained
  3. 2 additional outdoor activities. This can include walks with my daughter, disc golfing, skiing, etc. Attained.
  4. 3 dedicated stretch sessions. 2 10-min lower body and 1 10 min full body. Not Attained. I only did one lower body stretch session
  5. Track every bite. Attained
  6. Drink 10 glasses of water per day. Attained

Action Plan

  1. 5 workouts. 1 60 min ride (will be my first) 1 HIIT Ride, 1 full body strength, 1 low impact ride, and 1 other of my choice
  2. Plan out my meals, stick to them, and portion snacks
  3. 2 additional outdoor activities. This can include walks with my daughter, disc golfing, skiing, etc
  4. 3 dedicated stretch sessions. 2 10-min lower body and 1 10 min full body
  5. 20-30 minute midday walk on work days
  6. Track every bite
  7. Drink 10 glasses of water per day

Please stay tuned for more updates. If you have been enjoying this, please become an email follower or a wordpress follower. Having this public audience has been a positive motivation for me to continue working towards my goals and so I really am thankful for all of you!

DateChange in Weight
12/1*–
12/2*-5.4 lbs
12/9-5.4 lbs
12/16-3.4 lbs
12/23+2.8 lbs
12/29-1.2 lbs
1/6-1.4 lbs
1/13-1.6 lbs
1/20-1.4 lbs
1/27+0.4 lbs
2/3-1.2 lbs
2/10-4.6 lbs
2/17+0.4 lbs
2/24-1.6 lbs
3/2-3.2 lbs
3/9+1.8 lbs
3/16-3.2 lbs
3/23-0.6 lbs
3/30+0.4 lbs
4/6-1.6 lbs
* I first weighed myself on a Sunday night and began the regular weigh-ins the following morning

-Ben

counting my blessings

I have mentioned a number of times that I am lucky enough to be working from home right now. At a time where things are so uncertain, I should spend more time being grateful, but this isn’t easy. My wife is essential hospital personnel. She still goes in, which has its own anxiety, and I have our toddler a few days a week while my wife is at work. Thankfully, my in-laws take our daughter at least one day per week. Many of you may relate to the current reality of working from home with your kids. How is that going for you? I find that I feel like I am failing as a father and failing as an employee all at the same time!

Anyway. The other day I was in the middle of a stressful work project and needed to focus. My daughter had been napping, but she woke up earlier than usual. I was irritated and went in to get her, upset that she was waking up after such short a nap. She probably could read the expression on my face, and looked super sad when I picked her up. I asked her what was wrong and asked if she wanted a hug. She nodded, proceeded to burry her head in my neck, lock her arms as far around me as those little toddler arms can go, and didn’t let go for maybe 30-40 seconds. This had a profound impact on me. This elongated moment of conviction, brought upon by an innocent gesture of love and dependency by a mere toddler was huge. It shook me and I realized that things are going off the rails all over the place. People don’t have work, families have sick relatives, and here I am getting the most wonderful hug from my beautiful, healthy daughter. And on top of that, I am annoyed because it is pulling me away from work for a few minutes.

There is a lot that we can complain about right now, and for good reason. The world is in a scary place. Living through a global pandemic isn’t necessarily a course taught in school, so for many of us, this is a whole new adventure and it can be hard to see the good things in life.  A simple hug brought me back to what is important right now. It reminded me to be thankful for what I have and to count my blessings.

Some of us have an opportunity that may not come again for a long time. Whether it is taking care of ourselves in a way that we don’t usually, reconnecting or strengthening our bonds with family/friends, or to sit back and view life from a different lense, we can try to find the good out of this terrible situation. I know I am speaking from a place of privilege right now. Saying how good of an opportunity this is while I work from home, employed, and in a home shows just that. I recognize this, but still feel that it is important. Despite our current situations, looking at the little things can help. The snuggle from a toddler did so much to change my perspective. What are you thankful for right now? Has anything become clearer to you in these past few weeks. Ponder this and maybe it will help.