a serious note on current events and weekly reflections: 6/2/20 – 6/8/20

This morning’s ‘Leave me alone’ look

Starting with a serious note:

I have been emotionally struggling with what is going on in the US right now. I grew up in a bubble of suburban and rural New England. The types of racial tensions that exist here can pale in comparison to what people experience in other parts of the country and that can give me, as a white male, a sense that I am not part of the problem. What I am grappling with, is that you can be a good, even great person, yet that doesn’t mean that we do not fail at ‘not being racist’. This is because racism goes far beyond (and can be far more subtle) than the evil and drama of the KKK or open hatred of other skin tones. I have walked down the street in Boston and without consciously meaning to, assumed different precautions based on the dress or color of somebody near me. That right there suggests that deep inside of me I am using race as a primary determinant of a trait of an individual… which is part of the textbook definition of racism! “WHAT, ME!?!?!” I am realizing that the classic Ben has been a good person, but has also allowed these issues to continue. So how do I better myself through this betterment journey and how do I change so that new Ben is more aware and more of a force for good?

I am starting to get it. I can, despite my faults, be anti-racist and do my best to get better. Part of this involves educating myself more on what is happening today and what has happened historically to bring us to this point. How can I change to be a better ally to those who need allies? How can I raise my daughter to be the same? How can I support such a necessary cause, and not just let this continue on? I do not have all the answers to all of these, but I am trying and I am listening to the voices that need to be heard. Can I try to start with simple loving conversations with those I know? Maybe a new avenue will open up from there. I am confident that although initial education of myself may not change what is happening on the street, it will inform and influence my decision-making far into the future.

Please do not mistake this for me looking for praise or forgiveness, or for talking politics. I am talking about humanity. I am talking about how I do not want to live in a country where we accept such overt abuse of our fellow citizens. This is me starting another part of my betterment journey, to be a better neighbor, dad, and citizen. To be a better ally for my brothers and sisters who were created in the image and likeness of God, just like me. I would like us all to consider that the movement going on right now in this country is not to personally attack you, but to get us all to take a moment and reconsider what progress we think we have made, and act to continue towards progress. The Civil War was not enough. Ending Jim Crow was not enough. MLK Jr. and Malcom X were not enough. The Civil Rights movement was not enough. Ending credit and geographic redlining is not enough. And sitting on the sidelines is not enough.

Thank you for listening to me. Just because below is a classic weekly update, does not mean that the above hasn’t consumed my mind and thoughts. I broke them out because I do not have the literary skills to give each the proper gravity if talking about both together.

Now reflecting on my week:

Change in weight (6/2/20 –6/8/20):  -0.4 LBS

I woke up this morning in a mood. I felt like crap, I was in a fog, and I looked horrible. I sat down in my chair to log into work (I usually boot up before I do my morning weigh-in) and had a moment where I did not know if I could function today and if I should just call in ‘sick’. Well I stepped on the scale and saw that I have lost another 0.4 pounds. This didn’t even please me. I was muttering about how it should have been more and “why didn’t you do this?” or “why didn’t you do that?” I was a mess. I realized I just need to take a shower, shave, and maybe getting cleaned up will help.

You can talk to me now

Sometimes you just need to clean up. I left the shower feeling great and the shave made me feel like a new man. Now I can say I’m happy with my continued weight loss. Even though this week’s drop was small, it was still a drop. I need to remember to celebrate my effort and cherish the victories, not matter how trivial they may seem.

I listened to my body this week. I have been doing 3 runs per week for about 3-4 weeks now and until this week I have been feeling pretty good. But during my last run, I had to stop because the pain in my ankle was significant. I need to remember that it is one thing to push through fatigue to get stronger, but pushing through pain risks hurting yourself and setting you back on your goals. My plan is decrease to 2 runs per week, allowing at least two days in between, and I will continue the low impact Peloton rides to keep my cardio progress going.

I did hit another PR on the Peloton the other night! I again did the Greatest Showman ride by Robin, which I have coined my PR ride, and I kicked ass. It also helped that my good friend just got a bike so we did the ride together. My calves started cramping with about 90 seconds left and I am screaming “noooo” in my head because my daughter was asleep in the room next to me, so I had to be quiet! But I was able to get through and felt super happy,.. and breathless.

Sorry for the image quality, I haven’t been working on my food photography skills

My favorite (and healthy) meal of the week was a last minute, throw it together meal. We had Tempeh, sweet peppers, and broccoli. I ended up tossing together a stir fry with some Trader Joe’s Soyaki sauce and boom! It was fantastic. I must admit, this meat lover does dig himself some tempeh. I will say that one struggle I need to fix is my giving up on cooking when I am sick of it. I just say “screw it” and order food. This continues to be a struggle of mine.

I am 6.8 pounds away from 300. I want to drop below 300 by July 4th. This would be a huge step for me when looking at the lifelong struggle I have had with weight.

What is your favorite ‘quick hits meal?’ I need more ideas. My sister sent me a few the other day, but I need a treasure trove of quick, easy meals. Do you have any advice for me with running?

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.

Please leave a like or a comment!

How did I do on last weeks action plan?:

  1. 6 Cardio workouts. 1 45 min ride, 1 HIIT Ride, 1 Low Impact ride, 3 runs (Mon/Wed/Fri). Partially attained. Only did 2 runs
  2. 2 Strength Sessions (Tues/Sat). Not Attained
  3. Plan out my meals, stick to them, and portion snacks. Partial – Too much take out
  4. 2 additional outdoor activities. This can include walks with my daughter, disc golfing, skiing, etc Attained
  5. 3 dedicated stretch sessions. 2 10-min lower body and 1 10 min full body (Mon/Wed/Fri) Attained
  6. 20-30 minute midday walk on work days Attained
  7. Track every bite Attained
  8. Drink 10 glasses of water per day Attained
  9. Find some quiet time to calm my thoughts and mind. 2 5-10 minute sessions Attained

Action Plan

  1. 5 Cardio workouts. 1 45 min ride, 1 HIIT Ride, 1 Low Impact ride, 2 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
5/4+2.4 lbs
5/11-5.2 lbs
5/180 lbs
5/25-1.0 lbs
6/1-1.2 lbs
6/8-0.4 lbs

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

-Ben

my 6 month health recap

June 1st marked six months since I began this journey. I have said from the start that my journey is not a weight loss journey, but a betterment journey. I still believe that and want to emphasize that, but the majority of my content thus far has been on my health and weight loss progress. Because of this, I want to recap what I have seen over the past 6 months.

On December 1, 2019, I had a moment. My shirts were not fitting well, I hated pictures of myself (confession, still do), playing with my daughter on the floor was uncomfortable, and getting off the floor was more difficult than I should admit. In addition, this lifelong skier put his winter jacket on only to discover how snug it was. On top to the physical, I did not feel good about myself. I was more self-conscious than ever, struggling with anxiety, and I lacked drive. I then stepped on the scale for the first time in years.

Let me preface my weight by noting that everybody should take pride in who they are, however they are. You are beautiful people with attributes that impact yourself and those around you than you may ever comprehend. Your potential in this world has little to do with your physical and almost everything to do with your mental. I encourage you to seek to be who and what you want to be and the best you can be, regardless of me, my numbers, or how I express the emotions that I feel and have felt.

I stepped on the scale and my eyes nearly popped out of my head. 343.2 pounds. I still am having trouble typing this right now. I still worry far too much about what others think, despite my preface above. I have always been big. I have been +300 since high school with some brief stints below depending on the fad diet or outlier circumstances. But this number seemed beyond real. I was expecting in the 320s, still much higher than I want to be, but not in the 340s. “But I have a lot of muscle.” True, but not 343.2 pounds of it. This put me in a rotten mood and was incredibly mad at myself. I was mad at myself because the Ben I want to be does not let himself eat his emotions to a weight so dangerous for his health. What I want to be is a person, husband, dad, friend who will be around for a long time and can get the most out of life. That life I want include sports, exercise, skiing, outdoors, activity, and longevity. So as I mentioned in my first post, I made a promise to myself to crack down and get better. I told myself I need to get better in my body and mind, and I need to do it in a long lasting and forever way.

So here we are 6 months later and I weighed 307.2 pounds on Monday morning. That is a 36 pound decrease, averaging 6 pounds a month and I feel so proud of myself. I still weigh much more than I want, but damn does it feel good to find that consistency that I have never had. It has not been easy every step of the way. The first few months I made far faster progress and these past few months have been much slower. The key is I am still trying every week to get better.

I laid out the 7 steps I have used to lose the weight i’ve lost in a previous post. Just because they are easy to list, doesn’t mean the process has been easy. I still struggle to track and control my eating. I at times just want to devour everything in sight and working from home due to COVID-19 makes that even harder. But with those difficulties come opportunities that I am trying to take advantage of. The same working from home which makes eating harder, allows me to do workouts at lunch or when I would normally be commuting. I also don’t have a cafeteria full of food to try and ignore.

The key to this all is I recognize that I need to treat myself with the respect it deserves. In every day life we expect people to treat us with kindness and respect, why can’t I treat myself that way? Why do I insist on investing in a shorter and harder life with the health choices I was making?

Does anybody else feel they need to respect themselves more? What do you do to show yourself you are great and deserving of the world?

This journey has seen exercise, cooking, eating, tracking, and everything in between. I have not denied myself cravings, but have fit them in to my broader calorie budget. I have found communities of people in the blogosphere, through my Peloton, and through my own friends network that have shown me support I could never anticipate or dream of. I have found frustration and elation. I have found sweat and soreness. I may have even found a couple yoga classes… who knew????? The best thing that I have found is a faith in myself that I can do it and continue doing it. By December 1, 2020, I hope to lose another 36 pounds. That will bring me 271.2 pounds.

Check out some of my photos along the way and leave a like or a comment! I am taking everybody on this journey with me and hopefully it continues to be one full of smiles and high fives!

weekly reflections: 5/18 – 5/25

Got to spend a little time on the water yesterday. That was good for the soul.

My change from last week –

Change in weight (5/18/20 –5/25/20):  -1.0 LBS

First of all, I received a tremendous response to my last post about how I have lost 30+ pounds so far. Thank you to everybody. That support helped carry me through the later part of my week, where I usually struggle the most. My drive in the early part of the week stems from the motivation and good feelings from my last weekly update and the end of the week is where work, life, and a lack of desire to cook usually derails me a bit.

I had a really good week with my workouts and fitness goals (outside of again missing my strength workouts). I did my interval run trainings and they felt great. My third of the week had the least ankle pain and the best splits. The weather for running was also perfect, 50s and 60s for most of the week. I also got my rides in and also did an extra ‘recovery’ ride. I have been doing a lot of exercise. This is contributing to both a very tired body and an increased appetite.

This increased appetite, combined with a lack of desire to cook, is what limited my weight loss this week. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy I lost a pound, but I feel I could have lost more had I been more disciplined with my food consumption. There were a couple days of takeout, which included pizza and chinese. These two are where I have trouble limiting how much I eat. There was also some ice cream mixed in…

I am not mad at myself, as I know what I did and was okay with it at the time. I understood these decisions and what they would do to my week when I made them. I do wish I was better at limiting the amount I ate, but we can continue to work on this. I will also note that, unlike when I posted about rage baking and cooking therapy, I have lost my creative drive again and am sick of cooking. I need help finding it again because home cooking is almost always healthier than takeout.

We did have these killer flatbreads for lunch this week.

For the next week I am planning on keeping consistent with my exercise as I did this past week. I know that my body will continue to get stronger and I am very excited for that. My wife and I planned some good looking meals for this week so I hope to lower my caloric intake a bit.

What do you do to maintain your motivation through the whole week? Do you find work and the weekend to throw off your discipline? How do you keep yourself excited with cooking?

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.

Please leave a like or a comment!

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 Cardio workouts. 1 45 min ride, 1 HIIT Ride, 1 Low Impact ride, 3 runs (Mon/Wed/Fri). Attained
  2. 2 Strength Sessions (Tues/Sat). Not attained
  3. Plan out my meals, stick to them, and portion snacks. Partially attained
  4. 2 additional outdoor activities. This can include walks with my daughter, disc golfing, skiing, etc. Attained
  5. 3 dedicated stretch sessions. 2 10-min lower body and 1 10 min full body (Mon/Wed/Fri). Attainged
  6. 20-30 minute midday walk on work days. Attained
  7. Track every bite. Attained
  8. Drink 10 glasses of water per day. Attained
  9. 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
5/25-1.0 lbs

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

-Ben

7 things that helped me lose my first 30 pounds

I see weight loss stories of people who lose 50, 100, 150+ pounds and it can make 30+ pounds seem relatively insignificant. We need to remember that it is all relative and depending on your goals, anything is an accomplishment.

When I started my weight loss and betterment journey on December 1st, I had a lot of hopes, fears, and emotions. I still do. My initial thought was to lose 30 pounds by June. I figured that was something I could accomplish in 6 months but to be honest, in the back of my head, I really didn’t know what to expect. I have gone through ups and downs with weight loss for my entire life. Whenever I get back to really wanting to change, I have that doubting voice in my head saying “you can try, but you won’t succeed.” Fast forward to May and I have done what that voice told me I could not do. I lost 30 pounds and am going for more.

I am trying to celebrate this success in the best ways I can. I deserve to give myself credit for this accomplishment and I deserve to be optimistic that I can continue on. As I have been reflecting on this, I wanted to document some of the key steps that helped me get to this point, and will drive me farther as I continue to work.

  1. Track everything you eat

This one step might have had the most significant impact for me, when I actually started to do it right. I have used MyFitnessPal for a long time to track, but I only began to see changes when I really disciplined myself to track every bite. That includes the random grapes, or the bite of food that my daughter didn’t eat. It also includes the ketchup or condiments I used to not log.

When you track every bite, mindless eating becomes mindful. It becomes part of how you think and how you plan. It also becomes a wakeup call when you track the three pieces of pizza you had and realize they are 800 calories… damn. That didn’t just happen tonight, or maybe it did. But I found this required more strength than I thought. I couldn’t stay in denial and trick myself. I knew if I wasn’t being honest with myself and isn’t it the truth that sometimes it is the hardest to be honest with ourselves? It can be so difficult to truly look in the mirror or at the tracker and admit that this, this is actually what I ate.

Once I got over the fear of being honest and tracking everything, it became my strength. Knowledge is power. I took the knowledge of my intake to power me to working those calorie deficits. I still am not perfect, but this has been a key step in my weight loss journey.

2. Increase activity of any kind

When I think about losing weight and being ‘active’, I can fall into the trap of thinking activity has to be big workouts with tons of sweat and sore legs. This is not the case. Sometimes, it just means moving more than you did before. This can be exercise, walks or at home workouts. I have found that the weeks where I struggled most keeping my weight loss goals, I not only had less working out or increased intake, but I had fewer steps and less movement. I was more sedentary. I make it a point to get my 10,000 steps just to make sure I am moving. Even if the walks are not strenuous, you burn more calories walking and moving than you do sitting!

I have tried to incorporate more movement and exercise in my daily routine. The 4-6 exercises a week I attempt works for me and my goals, but everybody should find what works for them. You can use baby steps with this as well. The amount of movement and exercise you can do on day 3 of your journey will not be the same as week 9. Be real with yourself and listen to your body.

3. Drink more water

There is endless data and studies that preach the benefits of drinking water (https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/6-reasons-to-drink-water#1). I have found that it has helped me tremendously. Not only does the proper hydration help your body in many ways and aids things like workout performance and metabolism, but I also have found it helps to decrease mindless calorie consumption. Instead of drinking a beer with dinner, or orange juice with breakfast, I drink water. I can still have those other beverages, but my water intake can displace potential other intake.

I have always been bad about hydration and get thirsty easily. Because of this I will drink almost any liquid as if it were water. Juice, tea, milk, beer, soda, you name it. If I feel thirsty, I will drink more. By drinking more water, I drink less calorie filled beverages. And plus, I would rather eat my calories than drink them.

4. Calories in / Calories out

There are many strategies and plans for weight loss out there. I myself have done many of them (I will discuss these experiences another time). I have found that focussing on the difference between my consumed calories and my burned calories is the method working the best for me. This point connects directly to my tracking and movement points. If I am burning more calories than I consume, I will lose weight. This method relies heavily on the honest tracking and measuring of our workouts and food intake.

I like this method because there is nothing weird or hard to understand. It also leaves very little else to blame. I ate too much. I guess that is my fault. It has truly helped me to view my intake as a budget, allowing me to eat what I would like, in moderation, and to balance it with my movement and other meals. This has allowed me to plan for a special event, a holiday, or to simply know why my body is reacting the way it is. I don’t have carbs to blame or a type of food, I have my commitment and discipline.

It was not easy to get in the rhythm. I found that I still struggled to properly track and to get a true handle on how many calories my body burned. For burned calories I use MyFitnessPal, which has a calculator for how many target calories you should burn in a day based off of some body metrics. This then has an exercise adjustment the is informed by my apple watch (but any fitness tracker can do this). I have designed it to have a slow weight-loss progression, as I really want this to be a forever change. Losing weight too quickly scares me.

5. Weekly weigh-ins

With tracking, exercising, and watching my calorie deficit, I realized I needed to check if I was actually accomplishing my goals. I realized I had to weigh myself. I hate the scale and I hate the effect it can have on people, but I understand the need to know where you stand and how you are doing. I have written about my methods for how not to let the scale rule you here.

The first step was to figure out how often to weigh myself. I know people who weigh in daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc. I believe the answer to this question has more to do with you and your personality than anything else. I chose weekly. I did not choose daily because I know myself and I would start to become obsessive. The daily ups and downs would control my emotions. I also knew that monthly would not be enough feedback to keep me going. And 5 months in, the weekly weigh-ins have been perfect. It is enough of a gap to keep the daily ups and downs from controlling me and frequent enough for me to understand my body, what is happening, and to correct where needed.

That is really what the weigh-ins are all about. Get the feedback about your performance so you can make adjustments where necessary. Please remember, the scale does not reflect your effort!. It only gives you a snapshot of your weight in a singular place in time. It does not show your drive, your motivation, your effort, or reflect who you are. Only you can show that. I will forever cheer you on your effort regardless of what the inanimate object called a scale, says your weight is.

6. Long Term Perspective

If you want your weight loss to be a quick fix, this is not the post for you. If you are looking for lasting change, then you need a long term perspective. We didn’t get into our careers and jobs overnight (unless you did, then kudos to you!). Many of us had years of education and/or training and developed positions to get where we are. If we want to attain a goal, it sometimes takes time and effort if it is going to last. I am using that approach to weight loss.

I have lost weight quickly before, and every time I gain it back. When I began this new, and hopefully permanent journey, I recognized I didn’t want to rush anything, but wanted the process to be slow enough to make it a new norm. I have been averaging about 6.75 pounds lost per month since I started this journey. This has definitely fluctuated, but it is not a fast loss. I have found it to be a sustainable weight loss pace. I continue to shoot for 1-2 pounds per week, and know that I can still maintain a lifestyle that I enjoy while doing that.

I have lost 20-30 pounds before in 2 months. That is when I gained it back. Understanding I am in this for the long haul lets me recognize that 7 pounds a month, although it leads to slow changes, means 42 pounds in 6 months and possibly 84 pounds in a year. That is a lot of weight and something you can be incredibly proud of. But regardless of the weight, recognize how you are helping yourself for the long run. Weight loss or not, you are working to get your body healthier for you now, tomorrow, and in years to come.

7. Communicate Your Goals

I started this blog because I wanted to communicate my goals to others. I have incredible support in my wife and broader family, but when I am communicating to others, it almost fills my efforts with more responsibility. I owe it to those I am sharing with to continue on. I owe it to myself. By communicating with others, I am allowing myself to recognize that although I am, and you are, strong enough, there is no shame in accepting help and support from others. It can be a game changer.

It doesn’t have to be a blog and it doesn’t have to be public, but do you have people in your life who support you? It may be worth sharing your goals with them and asking them for that support. It can have such a positive impact. It may take some humility on our part, especially if we really want them to support us and give us feedback, but we have goals! As one of my favorite Peloton instructors, Robin Arzon, says, “Do you want it more than you fear it?”

I am here for myself, for my goals, and for my positive change. I am also here for you. I may know you or not know you, but I will support your effort and champion your goals. I will be a positive voice if you need it. Just tell me. To those who have supported me thus far, thank you. Your help has been incredible!

-Ben

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):  -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