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Archive for the ‘Workouts’ Category

Try to keep your expectations reasonable.  You’re beginning the journey of a thousand miles with a single step.  Each step is important;  every step counts.
    —    John “The Penguin” Bingham
From his book:  “No Need For Speed
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On This Day In:
2020 Perhaps There Has Been Some Method In My Madness
2019 An Accidental Escape
2018 And I Thought It Was Just My Deodorant
2017 Hannity And Limbaugh
2016 Or He Could Just Be Lazy
Small Hero
2015 Seeking Cultured Leadership
2014 Examining Failure
2013 Driving Passion
2012 Cannibal, n.
2011 Moments Of Truth

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My “Do It Yourself” (DIY) efforts on setting up a home workout station are proceeding.  Below are some images of the yesterday’s progress…
Yesterday, I assembled my “double-double”.  Basically, it’s two striking targets attached at two ends.  The bottom target is roughly the height of a body shot (waist to lower ribs).  The top target is roughly the height for head shots (chin, front and side of the head).  You may notice a few things:
1)  the top attachment is vertical while the bottom is horizontal.  The bottom target would normally be either fixed to the flooring below or (using some type of rope or bungee) attached to a weight to stabilize the target and limit random / excessive swinging movement.  In this case, I had to work within the “command structure” of:  “I don’t want any of your weights damaging my concrete!”  So, I used a horizontal bungee (with a loop to keep the rope from sliding left and right).  The practical limitation to this setup is I cannot work around the target;  I am limited to the 180° on the front side.  Still, I can live with it…
2)  less obvious until you start hitting the targets…  They are not “fixed” within the netting.  There are gaps above and below the balls where they can move when struck.  The practical effect of this is they are not staying in the same place in the netting when you try to do a double-up punch (like two jabs to the head).  I will try to correct this by tying rope / paracord around one end of each ball / net to “lock” them into a more standard position within each net.
3)  FAR less obvious, (but which I have learned from recent experience,) is that these targets hit back at you – and from unexpected angles (at least up to now unexpected).  In my initial setup (prior to my wife’s objection), I had the bottom ball / net secured by weights.  This tended to produce reaction motion for both balls in a relatively circular motion around a vertical axis (much like an up-right cylinder).  After the modification to the bottom to include the horizontal bungee, a solid right punch to the bottom target resulted in a solid left hook by the upper ball to the right side of MY head.  My wife started laughing and said:  “It hits back!!”  (Note: NotAre you okay, dear?“)  As near as I can tell, this is due to the back and forth (back to front) motion of the lower horizontal bungee and the circular (like a vertical cylinder) motion of the upper vertical bungee.  My response:  “I’m gonna need a head-guard.”  Her reply:  “You sure are!“, still giggling.  Fortunately (for me), there wasn’t sufficient mass / speed in the basketball to knock me out, because it certainly struck me full on the side of my head at roughly temple / cheek height.
My next brilliant (okay, obvious) idea was to attach the original horizontal double-end target (“bag”) and see what that felt like.  To my surprise, a “triple-double” and it is terrific!  I now had a target (the bottom ball) for body shots, a target (the middle ball) for upper-cuts and body jabs, and a top target (the top ball) for chin and head shots.  The only trick now is to find a way to attach the original double-end to the double-double which keeps them together (when used together), but which also easily separates so I can continue to use the single-double on its own.  The original horizontal “single-double” works as a “slip-rope”.  A “slip” is when you move your head side to side (like a metronome) to avoid an incoming punch.  It is frequently accompanied by a “bob” (up and down head movement).  Together, they are referred to as “bobbing and weaving”.  Basically, I stand next to one post and move to the other ducking under the rope with each step to the side.  When I get to the middle, I release an upper-cut.  I then continue to the opposite post.  When I reach the post, I turn around and start back, trying to time the steps so my next upper cut with be with the other hand.  (Always try to practice every punch with both hands.)  Anyway, there is still some tweaking to do…
The next image is what’s happening in the background.  I attached a “hook-screw” to the back post and then I just swing the weighted chain up to it and hook onto it.  The lat-pulley set up is then out of the way for the boxing.  It is adjustable for more clearance, but because of the angles, it (the chained weights) doesn’t have to be as far back as I initially expected.
And, finally, here’s an image of the “normal” lat-pulldown.  We timed the set up and take down and it takes under a minute to set up or take down!  It takes longer to put on a single boxing hand-wrap than it does to set up the station for boxing.
And so the adventure continues…
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On This Day In:
2020 Posting As A Continual Exercise
2019 Border Security – Yes, Border Wall – No
2018 Supporting Survival Values
2017 Inauguration Day 2017 [Sometimes, I hate it when I’m right! — KMAB]
2016 Or A Pot Of Gold After The Storm
2015 One, Two, Three…
2014 Lend Your Hand
2013 Amnesty, n.
2012 Best Resolv’d
The Clock Is Running
2011 Magic

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Some of you regular readers may recall I had a pull-up rack set up in a corner of my backyard.  Image below…

Pull-up Stand with Double-End Target

I was always intending to use the setup as a multi-function station for working out going forward.  My initial modification was the addition of two “eye-screws” to setup a horizontal double end punching bag.  As you see, I made it out of an old basketball, a basketball net and a couple of bungee cords.  This has worked out reasonably well…
The “main” goal of the setup was to have a pull-up station.  Unfortunately, it turns out I am FAR too out of shape to hang from the bar, let alone try to do a pull-up.  In my first (aborted) attempt, I nearly pulled my arms out of their sockets “trying” to hang.  I was able to hang for just long enough for me to remember my age before letting go (aka: “falling”).  Also, despite my interest in adding “DIY” boxing options, I will NOT EVER be boxing / sparring.  I have a heart condition and am on blood thinners which (technically) make me a “border-line” hemophiliac (a “bleeder”).  The boxing options are only for their fitness / exercise value.
To make a longer story short, I scavenged some parts from my old “Total-Gym” and have now set up a “Lat – pulldown” system which I can use to build up my strength until I can hang from the bar and try another pull-up.  Image below…

Image of Lower Bar & Lat Pulley Setup

Lower Bar & Lat Pulley Setup

A “Lat – pulldown” is an exercise which concentrates on the latissimus dorsi muscles.  These are the muscles used to pull something down from above your head or to pull your head and body up to something which is above your head / shoulders.  In this case, I am using four(4) ten pound weights.  At the moment I have completed day four(4) of a 30 day challenge to do five(5) sets of fifty(50) “reps” (repetitions).  After each set, I turn 45° and do a cross-body pull down Left to Right (50 reps) and then Right to Left (50 reps).  In all, 250 reps of the double and 250 reps per side.  As I get stronger (and less sore), I hope to get up to 10 sets per day.  Hopefully, by the end of the 30 days I will be able to suspend myself in a hanging position for a few seconds.  Then I can proceed to descending pull-ups, which will lead to actual “up” pull-ups.
I have an additional five(5) modifications under consideration:  1) adding a “slip bag”;  2)  adding a “heavy bag”;  3) adding a vertical “double-end, double bag”; 4) adding a “speed bag”; and, 5) adding a two-grip, low level pulley systems to create a “rower”.
So, that’s the progress.  And, that’s the future plans…  (Oh, yeah.  The posts and the rest of the back fence have to be painted / stained to help reduce / prevent weathering.)
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On This Day In:
2020 Still Crazy After All These Years…
2019 20 / 20 Foresight
He Knew Damned Well…
2018 Be Someone’s Kindling
2017 When The Moment Comes
2016 Changed Clothes Lately?
2015 Like Stone
2014 Resistance Is Futile
2013 Subtle Humor
To Look Behind Green Eyes
2012 The Path Is Endless
2011 Happy MLK, Jr Day!!!
A Factor Of Ten
Better Late Than Never?
Whoops!
Acceptable Beginnings
Slow Progress
Useful Confrontation
When Phenomena Are Different
Creative Avoidance
Thinking
Fast And Flexible
Surrender Certainty
Techniques
Vive La Difference
Destiny
Completeness
Art

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After a couple of days off resting my knee, I got back out and tried to get in a little heavy breathing.
The first picture is of the pull-up stand I had built.  It’s a fairly basic tri-pod (tri-pole?) stand with a solid steel bar running across the two front 4X6’s.  At just about shoulder level, I put in two “eye-screws” to hook things to.  In this shot, I’ve used a pair of bungees to suspend my punching target – a double-end ball.  This is mostly on the “Do-It-Yourself” project list to save money.  The basketball and black / orange nylon cord, I already owned.  The two screws were about $3 each.  The package of bungees was $10 for a pack of 14 assorted lengths.  And the basketball net was another $3.  So, all told, a functional double-end boxing target for under $20.  One of my neighbors moved and he was tossing out three basketballs, so I still have two more to use to set up a “double-double-end” with basketballs (instead of tennis balls).  (Reality check:  a “cheap” double-end ball runs between $12 and $20 on Amazon.  The “decent” ones between $25 and $40.  The “pro” models upwards of $80.)

Pull-up Stand with Double-End Target

This target is a lot more substantial than hitting tennis balls and is fine for the “rough” motor skills of a rank amateur like me (reading between the lines: that means I miss a LOT).  It’s a good target for jabs and straight punches from both a regular and southpaw stance.  It’s particularly fun for practicing side-slipping and upper-cuts.  I have also learned to use it to practice bobbing with following upper-cuts.  That is how I “learned” about wearing a mouth-guard and the abrasiveness of the basketball hitting you in the forehead and side of the head.  The image below shows the basketball in the net more clearly.

Close-up of Double-End Target

I’ve tried hitting the target with hooks (which are horizontal punches), but I’m not confident in the bungees ability to stay attached on the side the hook is going to.  I think it may be best to wait on those punches until I have the “double-double” set up vertically.  I’m also debating adding extra bungees to make the rebounding response stiffer.  Finally, I’m a bit concerned the bungees might unhook or the cord simply snap off the metal hook at the end.  I’m thinking of using duct-tape to secure the hooks to the eye-screws, but I haven’t yet thought of a way to ensure the cord doesn’t snap free from the metal end hook.  If anyone can think of something, please let me know…
I’ve been trying to get in 45 minute sessions.  Today’s was a bit shorter due to light rain / sprinkles.  The two days off really helped with my shoulder stiffness.  They still tire quickly, but they were definitely better than on day #2.  If anything, it was my hips and hamstrings which were giving me the most issues.  I felt like I was lead-legged and struggling to lift them in treacle.  LoL!  The price of being “mature” and trying to get a little fitter.
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On This Day In:
2019 Stand Up, Hook Up, Shuffle To The Door…
2018 Ridiculous Idea
2017 Waddle On!
A Severe Challenge — When The President Is A Liar
2016 The Best Of Circumstances
2015 Reverberating Silence
2014 Wrong Again?
2013 Improper Faith
2012 One More Rung
2011 Sunday Morning Earlies (Hugging trees and smiling…)
Hurry
Updates On Life
2010 It’s Gettin’ Deep In Here

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No practice today.  I tweaked my right knee walking our dog and then aggravated it more with a LONG walk around Costco (and unloading the car).
Instead, I’m posting an image of the “precision” target I mentioned in my prior post.

Tennis balls adapted for precision punching practice.

As you can see, it’s just two tennis balls strung up on a nylon cord with a bungee cord and a weight on the bottom end and more nylon cord (and rope) tying the top end to a hook in one of my rafters.  Simple, yet effective.  There are knots tied in the cord at either side of the tennis ball to prevent the ball from moving up or down the cord.  The base weight is just so I didn’t have to make any attachment (damage) to the floor.  The weight is just a single 10lb free weight.  I tried lighter and heavier weights.  Lighter (5lbs) and when the balls were struck, the weight moved  and banged into things.  Heavier (25lbs) was just too much of a hassle to move around to set up and take down.
This type of target is sometimes called a “double-end” target (“bag” when actual punching bags are used) or a “kangaroo” target.  My modification to the basic target was to add a second tennis ball.  This gives me a target at roughly chin height and one at roughly rib / solar plexus height.  This is the target I was using when trying on my gloves every couple of days.  Although it was “safe” in this location, it wasn’t particularly useful as I could hit it without “it” hitting anything else, but I couldn’t move around much (at all).  Now that I think about it, this was probably one of my earliest lessons:  “punching” is hitting things;  “boxing” is hitting things while you move around so they don’t hit you back.  (LoL)  Yes, I still learn the hard way every time!
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On This Day In:
2019 Yet We Should Keep Trying
2018 Let Us Dare
2017 Two Good To Be Real
Secrets
2016 Learning Subtle Differences
2015 Dog Eat Dog World?
2014 And Sometimes Blogs About It
2013 Outside-In
2012 They Are All Perfect
2011 Delegation – The “How-To’s”
2009 Diet Update and Other Bits & Bobs…

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So, what did I learn from my first lesson (yesterday) and today?  This is hard training.  Even with a very basic session…  I am old, and I am sore!  I had a difficult night sleeping because both of my shoulders and my neck are painful when pressed on or when moved.  Net result: I’m even more tired today from lack of sleep.
I slowed down my punching (attempts) as yesterday I missed the target at least a third of the time.  The target is a basketball suspended with bungee cords.  You would think it would be “easy” to hit something as big as a basketball…  It ain’t!!  Particularly when it’s moving / rebounding from an earlier strike.  So, the first lesson is start slow.  Learn the correct form.  Form leads to accuracy.  Speed will follow from form and accuracy.  (Eventually.)
The nice thing about never intending to hit (or get hit by) anyone is I can take as long as I want to practice individual punches:  left and right jabs, hooks, upper-cuts, straight punches.  Standing traditional and “peek-a-boo”;  conventional and southpaw.  I can also practice slipping and bobbing to my hearts content.  (My heart is pretty content after about a 30 second stretch.)  Then, it’s pause for 5-10 seconds to catch your breath and then start something else (or do it again).
I learned I need to wear my mouth guard and I’m going to need to get a head protector.  The ball “hits” back.  Not hard, like a real person.  But it’s hard enough to bite your tongue or the inside of your cheeks if you’re not concentrating.  The lacing holding the ball can slice you (forehead and cheeks) if you’re not careful.  And, lastly, basketballs have a course “pebbled” surface which makes them easier to dribble, but it will chafe you pretty good if it hits you at the wrong angle.  It might have been smarter to start with a smoother surfaced ball, like a soccer ball.  Oh, well…
End result:  pouring sweat, exhausted, exhilarated – fun!
Wife’s reaction:  “You’re too old to be doing this everyday.  You need to start with every other day or just a couple of times a week.”  When I pointed out she made me promise to use the gloves if I was going to buy them, she replied:  “Yes, but you’ve already used them twice as much as I EVER thought you would.
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On This Day In:
2019 A Surprisingly Good Way
It’s Official X-mas (Tree) At Home
2018 Weight / Health Update
What’s Happening With You?
2017 The Great Leveler
Conservative Depressions
2016 Election + 1 Month
2015 Dance And Sing
2014 A Measuring Stick For Progress
2013 Courtly Love Or Victory Over Habit
2012 Have We Met?
2011 Efficiently Useless

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My wife isn’t sure if I’m having a mid-life crisis or just going into my second childhood…
This year I’ve been watching A LOT of YouTube.  Well, okay…  It started last year, but that’s just a detail.
I was viewing a bunch of videos on working out and I found myself going through reams of “30-Day Challenge” videos.  Of course, I decided to give one a shot.  My choice:  the “30-Day / 100 pushup per day challenge”.
Day One (Test):  Zero.  That’s correct.  I could not do a single pushup from the floor.  I could get into a plank position, (with effort,) and lower myself to the floor, but not get back up off the floor.
Obviously, some modifications would be necessary…  Inclined pushup from the back of the sofa.  Five.  Okay.  It’s a start.  First day:  20 sets of five, spread through-out the day (and evening).
Days 2 and 3 were more of the same.  Day 4, I was able to do 10.  So, 10 sets of 10, spread through-out the day.
To make a longer story shorter, about day 10 I was finally able to do ONE pushup from the floor.  By then, I was doing five(5) sets of 20 inclined.  At the end of 30 days, I could do 5 pushups from the floor.  (And shorter again…)  At the end of 60 days, I was able to do 15 pushups from the floor.  By way of comparison, Google says an “average” 65 year old man should be able to do between 6 and 16.  In other words, I went from abject failure to the top end of “average”.
And then I got hurt…  (But that’s another story.)
While browsing YouTube, it started feeding me boxing and martial arts videos (over and over again).  So, (of course) I started watching them…  Because I wasn’t able to do much other than walk, I started shadow-boxing in front of a mirror…  And then I bought gloves…  And then I bought hand-wraps…  And then I bought focus pads…  And then I started making home-made (read: inexpensive) boxing targets.  It turns out YouTube has videos on how to jury rig most of the expensive kit you need to practice boxing.
Here’s some pictures of my gloves…  They are RDX F12 Training Boxing Gloves (16oz.)

Fresh out of the box and still in plastic

Palm side up

“Business” side up

And, after trying them on a few times a week for the last month or so…  Today I did my first “workout” with the gloves.
Now to be fair,  I did actually try them on and use them for a few minutes when I would set up a new target and once for a few minutes of shadow-boxing in front of a mirror, but until today, my wife had put it down to another one of my “phases”.  When approached on the possible purchase, she did insist on a $50 limit on my gloves because she was convinced they’d be gathering dust by now.  So, yes, they’re an inexpensive pair.  Not “cheap”, just inexpensive.  And, no, they are not leather.  They are “engineered” leather.  (LoL!)
Today’s workout was about 45 minutes long, sweaty and exhausting.  But, it was loads of fun and I felt terrific after my hot shower.  Tired and relaxed and starting to get sore in strange (and not so strange) places, but all things considered – terrific!
I’m really not sure if this is a “phase” or not, but I’m going to put up a post every now and then about this “journey”.  I’ll try to come up with a way to let you know in the “post” title when I’m on this topic as I have no idea how many of my blog followers have the slightest interest in this side topic.
A final note (reality check):  I am a 65 year old man, morbidly obese, with a heart condition (AFib) and on blood thinners.  So, NO, I will NEVER be in a fight or EVER sparring.  This is just a way to try to add some fun to my efforts to raise some sweat (and maybe learn a bit about the “sweet science” while I’m at it.)
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On This Day In:
2019 I Think I’m Repeating Myself
It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like X-mas!
2018 No Reason To Turn
2017 Talking Knuth
Seeing It Through
2016 Hoping For The Best Come January
2015 Adaptive Security
2014 Wants
2013 Side Effects
2012 Just Trying To Earn A Living
2011 Productive Worry

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This post marks the first day of my 12th year of blogging here on WordPress.  This year, I won’t bother posting an image of the world map showing the “missing” countries (countries without a single visit to my site).  Needless to say, North Korea and Cuba are still among them…
On reviewing my content over the past year, I note a significant number have been diatribes against our corrupt President.  I apologize to any readers whom I’ve bored with this content and my snipes.  My only “justification” is I can’t help myself.  If he is re-elected in November, I imagine my posts will continue to regularly poke fun at him until he sends the “brown shirts” to cart me off.  Even if Biden is elected, I’m sure there will be plenty of politics and world events to continue to poke fun at.
I would say my blog has continued to be an increasing part of my “normal” retired life.  I currently receive about 15 to 60 emails (per day) from the roughly 300 blogs I follow.  My best guess is that two(2) are “known” deceased, which means it’s “probably” actually about ten(10).  By “known” I mean someone has gone onto their site and posted a death post for the original user.  By “probably”, I mean the author has passed and no one’s logged a final post for them.  Another five have said they are moving on to other pursuits (social platforms) and about another ten or so post randomly (a couple of times a year).  That leaves between 200 and 250 who just don’t update their sites and I have no idea what’s happened to them.  Monday is the day I regularly get 45 to 60 emails and most days (the other six days of the week), I usually get the 15 or so.  Some of that is because I relegated their site to a weekly update, but that’s as true now as it ever used to be.  The one’s I set to weekly were the one’s I used to get five to ten posts from each day.  These are VERY rare now.  I imagine most (all?) of those are just “zombie” (unused and undeleted) sites now.
I am still posting thoughts, quotes, movie reviews, book reviews, and favorite music videos.  I easily spend an hour per day reviewing the posts I get (via email subscription) and sometimes that is simply overwhelming.  It’s not always the average blogger’s fault.  If you post something interesting, I will go off and investigate it further: authors, artists, locations, books, movies, science / math / history topics – they will all lead me off down the rabbit hole.  And that hole can be DEEP!  Frequently, I’ll only get through half of the posts and after a week, I’m forced to delete many of the remainders or my email gets crammed with messages I’ll never have time to read.  I apologize to you if you are one of those authors.  I do try to hit as many of you as my better half will allow in any given session.
So, besides this blog, what am I up to?  Well, I’ve been on a “One-Meal-A-Day” lifestyle for almost eight(8) weeks now.  I would say it’s almost a habit.  I was on an Modified Intermittent Time Fasting (MITF) protocol before that, but I’m finding this (OMAD) easier, so I will probably stick with it.  My OMAD protocol is all I can eat for two hours – usually between 2pm and 4pm.  About once every week I have to adjust the two hour period (12 to 2 or 1 to 3pm) and about once a month life gets in the way and I just accept I’ll have more than one meal that day.
I’ve also been slowly adding to a daily workout since 24 April – just over three months now.  I started out with 100 pushups per day, and I’ve since added head-lifts, pull-downs, squats and side-bends.  I’ve been trying to “add” one new exercise every two weeks.  My most recent addition has been skipping rope.  I’m just learning that, but I can do five(5) consecutive jumps pretty consistently now.  I realize that doesn’t sound like much, but you must recall I am morbidly obese and am in excess of 345lbs.  That’s almost 25 stones to any British readers.  Anyway, I’ve had to start SLOW so as not to destroy my knees as I learn to skip.
As to the 100 pushups a day: I’ve missed five(5) days since I started in April.  By way of progress check: I could not do a single “true” (from the ground) push-up when I began.  I can now do 15 consecutive flats.  I normally do inclined push-ups (5 sets of 20).  I just throw the “flats” in every now and then to check  my progress.  My best guess is a flat push-up for someone my body weight is about 200lbs and an inclined push-up is about 150lbs (both are not bad for a 65+ year old).  I am dreaming of doing my first pull-up, but I imagine I will need to lose at least 75lbs before I can do that.  Only time will tell…  (Like I said: “dreaming“.)
Between the working out and the OMAD, I’m down about 16lbs from when I started in April.  That’s right around my target goal of 1lb per week.  Which is also misleading, because fat is lighter than muscle and my body is changing shape faster than I’m losing weight.  The main thing is I’m feeling better.  My blood pressure is down.  My water retention is decreased.  I feel stronger and am definitely more flexible.  So, for what it’s worth, slow and steady seems to be more effective (for health), than the rapid weight loss and re-gain of my veggie juice fasts.  At least, that’s how it is seeming at the moment.
Other than those (diet and workouts), my personal goals this next year are to learn some assembly language programming and to have a play with chat-bots.
That should keep me occupied (and mostly out of trouble).  LoL!!
Oh, yeah.  “Excelsior!!
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On This Day In:
2019 Happy 10th Anniversary — Thoughts On My First Decade Of Blogging
2018 Happy 9th Anniversary — Three Thoughts
Day 2 – Notes On Progress
2017 Happy 8th Anniversary
2016 Happy 7th Anniversary
2015 Happy 6th Anniversary
2014 Happy 5th Anniversary
2013 I Resemble That Remark!
2012 Happy 3rd Anniversary
2011 Is America Safe Tonight?
2009 Hello world! (See how it all began…)

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Whereas yoga in the late twentieth century began to splinter into scores of brands — all claiming unique and often contradictory virtues — now there are hundreds.  Yet, for all the activity, yoga makes only a small contribution to global health care because most of the claims go unproven in the court of medical science.  The general public sees yoga mainly as a cult that corporations seek to exploit.
    —    William J. Broad
From his book:  “The Science of Yoga
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On This Day In:
2019 Most Hire
Just The Three Of Us
2018 Sounds Like #45’s White House
2017 Have We Started Winning Yet?
2016 Still Springy
2015 Well Concealed
2014 The History Of Warriors
2013 A Cult Of Ignorance
2012 Counting Valor
Understanding Faith
2011 I Can Hear You Now
2010 Inception

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Today in sports medicine and exercise physiology, peak oxygen consumption is known by the ubiquitous acronym VO2 for oxygen in its usual chemical notation, and “max” for maximum.  VO2 max is accepted around the globe as the best single measure of cardiovascular fitness and aerobic power.
In the early days, the question was whether coaches and individuals could raise the maximum uptake so as to increase athletic performance.  The answer emerged quickly: very much so.  Regular aerobic training turned out to increase the size of the heart, most especially its left ventricle — the heart’s largest chamber, which pumps oxygenated blood into the arteries and body.  A bigger left ventricle sent out more blood per beat and more oxygen to the tissues and muscles.  Scientists sought to measure the rise.  It turned out that the cardiac output of elite athletes was about twice that of untrained individuals.
The benefits extended to most anyone who took up vigorous exercise.  In time, scientists found that three months of endurance training could raise VO2 max between 15 and 30 percent.  Two years raised it as much as 50 percent.
The new perspective was a breakthrough.  At last, after many decades of mistakes and misapprehensions, scientists had uncovered what seemed like a dependable guide to human fitness.
The topic was long obscure.  Then Kenneth H. Cooper came along.  A track star in his native Oklahoma, the physician worked for the Air Force and early in his career devised a simple test that provided a good estimate of an individual’s VO2 max.  The test measure how far a person could run in twelve minutes.  Cooper’s rule of thumb let the Air Force quickly assess the fitness of new recruits.  Eager to popularize his insights, he invented a new word, “aerobics,” and in 1968 authored a by the same name.  It drew on his years of research to show what kinds of exercise produced the best cardiovascular workout.  Cooper found that such muscular activities as calisthenics and weight lifting were the least effective.  Participant sports like golf and tennis came in second.  And the big winners?  Challenging sports like running, swimming, and cycling, as well as vigorous participant sports such as handball, squash, and basketball.  His analyses caught on rapidly and helped get millions of people off their chairs and into the streets.  Starting in the 1970s, jogging became fashionable.
The surge of activity resulted in a number of scientific inquiries that examined what aerobic exercise could do not only for athletics but health.  The results were dramatic.  Perhaps most important, the studies showed that aerobic exercise lowered an individual’s risk of heart attack and heart disease — the leading cause of death in the developed world.  It also reduced the prevalence of diabetes, stroke, obesity, depression, dementia, osteoporosis, hypertension, gallstones, diverticulitis, and a dozen forms of cancer.  Finally, it helped patients cope with all kinds of chronic health problems.  Frank Hu, and epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health, praised the benefits as exceptional.  For general health, he called vigorous exercise “the single thing that comes close to a magic bullet.”
Why did it do so much good?  Scientists found that forceful exercise improved the performance of virtually every tissue in the human body.  For instance, it produced new capillaries in skeletal muscles, the heart, and the brain, increasing the flow of nutrients and the removal of toxins.  Scientists also discovered that it raised the number of circulating red blood cells, improving the transport of oxygen.  Still another repercussion centered on blood vessels.  It caused their walls to produce nitric oxide, a relaxant that increases blood flow.
    —    William J. Broad
From his book:  “The Science of Yoga
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On This Day In:
2019 Chained To #45
2018 Some Men Make Their Office As Small As Themselves
2017 Too Many
2016 Not Yet, Anyway
2015 On Pornography
2014 Nudge, Nudge
2013 The Journey Will Be Joy
2012 Hopeful Flights
2011 Irrationally Predictable
Lawful Restraint

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The following is the 4th monthly (120 days) update on my attempt to lose weight and get healthier.  Again, it’s a longer post than my “normal” daily post, so if your not “into” reading about “another person’s” diet (again!), I’ll understand if you stop here and come back another day.  You’ve been warned!!  Here goes…
(As in previous posts:) On September 16, 2019, I switched from my 18 days of “juice / blend” fasting / diet to an Intermittent Time Fasting (ITF) “Diet / Lifestyle”.  My starting weight on 29 August, for the juice / blending fast was: 373lbs.  My starting weight for the ITF was: 356lbs.  My current weight (this morning) was: 318lbs. Basically, I’ve lost 55lbs from the end of August, 38lbs from the start of the ITF and 11lbs in the last 30 days.

Calories Chart from last 30 days (Nov / Dec) of ITF

Calories Chart from last 30 days (Nov / Dec) of ITF

The observant among you may (again) notice in the above chart I had seven(7) days where my calories-in exceeded my calories-out… This is double (per month) than I did in each of the first two months, so definitely off the wagon for the X-mas season / holidays.  In the first three months, I was blowing my calories about once per week.  This month it was almost twice and it wasn’t “based” on my “one-meal-all-you-can-eat” day.  Again, it’s not a diet, per se, as much as it’s a lifestyle, so I’m happy to have been able to lose weight while eating and not working out.  It seems, sometimes “life” just happens and I go with it.
As mentioned in my prior monthly updates, when I switched to the ITF, I also began using my FitBit (FB) to begin tracking my food and gauging my calories-in versus my calories-out.  I’m not sure why, but the FB has set my calories-out “objective” at 3,800. The on-line BMR calculator I use said my initial BMR was roughly 2,370 calories. At my current weight (318lbs), my BMR is 2,239 –  about 50 fewer calories lower / less than the prior month and 130 from the starting calories.  This means I have to burn an additional measure of 1,550 calories during my waking hours to reach the FB objective.  In any case, FB is showing my daily calories out for the last 30 days at 3,940 (about 230 calories less than prior month).  By this reckoning, I am exceeding the FB calories (3,800) by 140 per day and my BMR by almost 1,700.  Multiply this by 7 days in a week and we get 11,900 – which works out to about 3.4lbs per week of weight loss.  My actual weight loss for the last 30 days is about 11lbs.  Divided by 30 days and multiplied by 7 days is 2.57lbs per week of “actual” loss.  So, the FitBit is either scoring my calories-out to high or I’m not inputting the calories-in correctly.  I feel I am diligent about the input, but I may be underestimating the portions and therefore the difference still isn’t as great as the charts suggest.  It is also still possible the difference is in both cals-in and cals-out.  Finally, it may just be my body is not burning the calories at the “normal” rate (meaning my calories burned is lower than the heart beat is suggesting it should be because of my AFib).  Basically, I’m saying the actual weight loss is about 1 pound less than what would be predicted by the FitBit calories burned…  (Still, 11lbs in a month is pretty good!)

BMR on 16 Dec 2020 at 318lbs

BMR on 16 Jan 2020 at 318lbs

Anyway, the chart below shows I still have a calorie deficit of about 1,000 calories per day.  That times seven(7) days is 7,000 calories. Divided by 3,500 calories (1 pound of human body fat) equals to 2 pounds of loss per week.  My actual weight loss over the last eight weeks is 20lbs. Divided by nine(9) is 2.22lbs per week.  This is roughly the same average weight loss per week as recorded at the end of four and eight weeks.  Over the last 2 weeks I’ve lost 7lbs (3.5lbs per week) and over the last month (as mentioned above) 11lbs (2.5lbs per week).  Again, the numbers are more reflective of weight fluctuation (gain and loss) due to the holidays than from progressive weight loss due to MITF.

Calories Chart for Last 12 Months

Calories Chart for Last 12 Months

The goal of my long-term weight loss is (remains) to drop 1.5 to 2 pounds per week.  In theory, this will prevent the two worst parts of extreme weight loss: a permanent (and excessive) drop in BMR (which makes it easier to regain lost weight) and a large amount of floppy / saggy skin (pure vanity).  It looks like I’m continuing my promising start from the first two months.

Weight Loss Chart (Oct - Jan)

Weight Loss Chart (Oct – Jan)

Equally important: how does it feel?  So-so.  I was very good in November and December in my daily jogging.  I haven’t been very good since my 90-day update.  Sometimes life got in the way and sometimes (most times), I was just “tired” (lazy).  Is it noticeable?  Yes.  I’m not getting “fatter” in my normal areas (legs and hips), but I do seem to be getting a “little” bigger there.  More importantly, I seem to be losing my chest and shoulder muscles and retaining – if not increasing – my stomach fat.  My shirts “feel” looser, but they don’t really look looser.  It’s hard psychologically to see the scale go down, but not see a bigger drop in clothes and photos.  I have a nagging feeling I’m losing muscle and bone density instead of body fat.
Obviously, I’ve made no progress on my secondary goals (which remain): I am still working on my secondary goals going forward – smoothing out the “calories-in” numbers and to eat more healthy on my one-meal-a-day / all-you-can-eat day.  If there is a silver lining to my cloud, it’s that I didn’t have a single OMAD opportunity when I over-stuffed myself to the point of feeling sick, as I did in my first month of the MITF.  So, I am improving there, too. Slowly, slowly…
A final observation (again, pretty much the same as last month): although it is theoretically “impossible” to spot lose weight (or spot gain weight), I seem to be losing “size” in areas which correspond to my activity.  My waist is not shrinking much, but my legs, ankles, shoulders and forearms “feel” like they are getting smaller to me.  It’s not that big a deal, except it would be nice to imagine I was losing fat around my internal organs and not just legs and shoulders.  Oh, well, time will tell…
PS:  I went to Urgent Care for a pounding ear and then to my cardiologist about 10 days later.  My weight at the Urgent Care was 30lbs heavier than my home scale on the day.  Between that visit and the Cardiologist visit I lost 5lbs on my home scale.  At the cardiologist’s office, I had lost 5lbs from the Urgent Care, but it was still 30lbs heavier than my home scale on the day.  The bottom line is my home scale is probably 30lbs too light and I am 348lbs and not 318lbs.  While this is mentally hard to take, it means my home scale is consistently incorrect and therefore reliable for showing weight loss (and gain), even when it isn’t showing my “medical” weight.
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On This Day In:
2019 Stationary Target
2018 And Firmly
2017 Nearer My Goal To Thee
2016 Relatively Simple Actions
2015 And Yet, You Did
2014 Difficult Learning
2013 Four Things To do
2012 When I Was Young…
Emergence

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[The following are two excerpts from an article I recently read on the benefits / effectiveness of increasing exercise on long-term weight loss.  I highly recommend clicking on the links to read the original article(s).  —  KMAB]
University of Alabama obesity researcher David Allison sums up the research this way:  Adding physical activity has a very modest effect on weight loss — “a lesser effect than you’d mathematically predict,” he said.
We’ve long thought of weight loss in simple “calories in, calories out” terms.  In a much-cited 1958 study, researcher Max Wishnofsky outlined a rule that many organizations — from the Mayo Clinic to Livestrong — still use to predict weight loss:  A pound of human fat represents about 3,500 calories; therefore, cutting 500 calories per day, through diet or physical activity, results in about a pound of weight loss per week.  Similarly, adding 500 calories a day results in a weight gain of about the same.
Today, researchers view this rule as overly simplistic.  They now think of human energy balance as “a dynamic and adaptable system,” as one study describes.  When you alter one component — cutting the number of calories you eat in a day to lose weight, doing more exercise than usual — this sets off a cascade of changes in the body that affect how many calories you use up and, in turn, your bodyweight.
There are three main components to energy expenditure, (Alexxai) Kravitz explained: 1) basal metabolic rate, or the energy used for basic functioning when the body is at rest; 2) the energy used to break down food; and 3) the energy used in physical activity.
We have very little control over our basal metabolic rate, but it’s our biggest energy hog.  “It’s generally accepted that for most people, the basal metabolic rate accounts for 60 to 80 percent of total energy expenditure,” Kravitz said.  Digesting food accounts for about 10 percent.
That leaves only 10 to 30 percent for physical activity, of which exercise is only a subset.  (You can read more about this concept here and here.)
“It’s not nothing, but it’s not nearly equal to food intake — which accounts for 100 percent of the energy intake of the body,” Kravitz said. “This is why it’s not so surprising that exercise leads to [statistically] significant, but small, changes in weight.”
  —  Julia Belluz and Javier Zarracina
From the article: “Why You Shouldn’t Exercise to Lose Weight, Explained With 60+ Studies
The article appeared in (on): “www.vox.com
I found the article at: https://getpocket.com/explore/item/why-you-shouldn-t-exercise-to-lose-weight-explained-with-60-studies
The original article appears at: https://www.vox.com/2016/4/28/11518804/weight-loss-exercise-myth-burn-calories
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On This Day In:
2018 Speak Your Mind
2017 And I Thought It Was Just Me Getting Old
2016 One For Whole
2015 A Good Present
2014 And Your Point Is?
2013 Our Never-Ending Task
Furloughed
2012 More Mature Than I Thought
2011 Outlaw’s Music
Can Do!

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This is a long post!  (You’ve been warned…)
The end of day seventeen and the morning of day eighteen…  Elvis has left the building, folks…
Morning weight: 348lbs.  (on Day 18)
I am down / down “5/25”.  As in, 5lbs down from yesterday and 25lbs down from my fasting start weight: 373lbs (the morning of Day 1).
Yesterday morning (the early morning hours of Day 17), I didn’t sleep well.  I got out of bed a little before 3am and by dawn I’d “cheated” on my blend fast by having a two handfuls of nuts.  The rest of the day I was able to stick with my juice blend and felt pretty good in saying the cheats were aberrations and I was continuing my fast count.  Well, today the desire to chew (and taste something different) got the better of me and I had two slices of toast and two slices of pizza.  I said (in yesterday’s post) if I cheated again, I’d have to call the blend fast done, so that’s what I’m doing in this post.
The “interesting” thing is I’ve now had two five(5) pound changes in the last week.  I gained five pounds overnight a few days ago, and between yesterday and today, I’ve now lost five pounds.  It is routine to lose 5 to 7 pounds in the first day or two of a fast.  This is due to loss of stomach contact and some initial water weight loss (due to decrease of sugar and salt in the diet).  It is not common (in my experience) for this to happen after the first week without some significant change.  I have not restricted water or exercised excessively, so I have to assume there is “something” else going on in my body which is beyond my experience.  As such, and because of my prior comments about “cheating again and ending the fast”, I’m going to modify my behavior to more moderate eating habits (i.e. I’m going to start consuming / chewing food).
Below are the images from my scale to mark the end of the fast:
Image of scale at High end of Blend fast (348lbs) Image of scale at Low end of Blend fast (343lbs)
High end of Blend fast (348lbs) Low end of Blend fast (343lbs)
As per normal, there is a five(5) pounds variance between my “high” and “low” weights.  As explained in previous posts, the high is from me pressing my toes and the low is from pressing my heels.  When I last took my weight on a digital scale at my doctor’s office, their scale showed two(2) pounds less than my low for that day.  I wasn’t pressing forward or backwards.  And, again, I don’t know if their scale is programmed to subtract estimated clothing weight (or how much they might have subtracted).  As I’ve been using the “high” weigh-in, I feel I’m being conservative (and fair).
To summarize:  I started my “blending” fast with the parallel goals of completing one week without chewing while sticking to a plant (vegetable, fruit and legume) based liquefied diet; and, to jump-start myself on my Alternate Day Fasting (ADF) diet which I had started way back in February, but had not stuck to fairly.  I’ve ended up completing the first of the original goals and, in fact, doubling the time to two full weeks.  I said at the end of the second week, I’d like to push through for a third full week, but I was considering the process as “day-to-day” from there on.  I ended up making it through two days (Days 15 and 16), and now have cheated on two consecutive days (Days 17 and 18).  At this point, I’m calling the fast done and moving on to the second goal: switching to the Alternate Day Fasting (ADF) or a “Modified” ADF or to a Intermittent Time Fasting lifestyle – maybe trying “One-Meal-A-Day” (OMAD).
So, which will I choose?  I don’t know…  I’m not sure I have to choose one over the others.  With the exception of having a defined protocol, I’m not sure there is any advantage to picking one of them over the others, so for the time being, I’m leaning to trying a bit of a mix and match to see which “works” for me.
Having said that, what will be my criteria:
1)  Although only specifically stated for the ADF protocol, I believe it is necessary for me to establish a longer and more consistent sleep period and schedule.  I’m therefor committing to trying to get a minimum of seven(7) hours each night.  I will set my start time for 11pm and end to 7am.
2)  A “strict” ADF or MADF has a low-calorie day and a normal-calorie day, with both tending to use windows to extend the daily fast time period.  The preference is to wait until 10am or 11am to break the fast each day and to close the window for eating (and drinking) at least three hours prior to going to bed.  For me, this would mean, no more eating or drinking (the exception being the water required to swallow my heart pills and vitamins before bed), after 8pm.  This will give me a fasting period of 15 to 16 hours each day, with eating windows of 9 to 8 hours on both the “fasting” and “normal” days.
3)  No matter which day or time period, water, black coffee, black tea and green tea are allowed —  EXCEPT during the three hours before bed, when I am only allowed enough water to take my heart medications.
4)  On “fasting” days I will try to limit myself to between 700 and 1,100 calories per day.  These numbers are fairly arbitrary:  the low end is the “recommended” fasting number for adult males doing an ADF.  The upper number is from my prior experience using the “Fat Smash Diet“.  This “high” number is not a caloric limit that many people could live with for very long.  I no longer believe dieting is simply “calories in < calories out = weight loss”.  I now believe limiting “calories in” too severely, over too long a period of time (one or two weeks), simply tells the body to lower your normal basal metabolic rate (BMR – how many calories you need to sustain life in a state of coma).  This makes it difficult to continue to lose weight and even more difficult to continue to keep the lost weight off.  It has also been shown that it is much more difficult to restore or raise the BMR to a previous level once you have lowered it than it was to lower it to start off with.  Basically, we must somehow lose weight while not lowering the BMR.  This means your body must not sense it is ever in a prolonged period of caloric deficit.  The “trick” is to lower the average caloric input over time while convincing the body you are never “really” dieting.  This is the goal of the ADF and the ITF methods.  On ADF, you eat as “normally” as you wish during your eating window.  On the ITF, you not only can eat as much as you wish, you can eat anything you wish – as long as you stay within your eating window.
5)  I must also maintain a reasonable protocol for increasing and maintaining my “calories-out” portion of the formula.  I currently walk my dog each day for 30 minutes (about 1 mile).  I also swim a couple of times a week for 60 minutes per session.  Our local pool will be closing for the winter soon, so I will need to commit to using a “gym” more frequently.  Swimming has a natural advantage over typical gym workouts.  I believe the three main ones to be: swimming tends to be a continuous whole body workout; swimming tends to be less damaging to the support joints (feet, ankles, knees, hips, and spine; and, finally, water transfers heat energy significantly faster than air, which means you will burn more calories to maintain your own body temperature in water than you will do in air of equal temperature.  The combination of these advantages means I will need to go to the gym more frequently and stay (exercise) longer than I would have to by swimming.  The only advantages of the gym (that I know of) are: you can increase your muscle mass to body weight ratio and you can increase your flexibility.  Swimming tends to make bodies long and lean, but not strong and flexible.  Weights and calisthenics will tend to increase muscle density, muscle size and flexibility (if done in conjunction with proper stretching), but not provide a long and lean appearance.  Bottom line:  go to the gym 4-5 times a week and stay for 90 minutes, including weights, stretching and cardio work in each session.
6)  My new protocol will be a rotation of fast day, eat day, OMAD day.  All three will be time restricted, but the window will vary between days: fasting(8 hrs), eating(6 hrs) and OMAD(5 hrs).  Most fasting days will be two eggs, beans(1 can / 1.5 cups) and rice(1/2 cup), and fruits and veggies(no limit).  Most eating days will be two eggs or oatmeal, salad or fruit(no limit) for lunch, normal dinner.  Most OMAD days will be egg(1) and fruit, large dinner (all I can eat / anything I want); if I want a “snack / desert” on my OMAD, it must be eaten 75 minutes to 1 hour before the daily eating window closes.  Water, black coffee, and black tea are any day / any time.  Fruit juice or veggie-fruit blends are only allowed on eating or OMAD days and only during the windows.
I will begin the protocol tomorrow.  I will continue to post images on my MADF page each day and my weight on my “Sweat Equity” pages, but I will not be creating a daily post specifically about this protocol.  I will try to update (via posting) a couple of times a month if I have anything interesting to say.  If I have any significant health changes as a result of the protocol, I will post about those.  And, so it goes, a “lifestyle” with the simple acknowledgement that vacations, holidays, birthdays, and exceptions will happen…  And, you just deal with them.
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On This Day In:
2018 I’ll Trade You…
2017 Luv Me Some Meat Loaf
2016 Unless Your Name Is #AmnestyDon
2015 A Tentative First Step
2014 Making People
2013 On Reading Books
2012 On America
2011 Shiver, Me Timbers!
2010 Fiduciary Breakdown

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The speed at which you walk, for example, can be eerily predictive of health status.  In a study of nearly 35,000 people aged 65 years or older in the Journal of the American Medical Association, those who walked at about 2.6 feet per second over a short distance — which would amount to a mile in about 33 minutes — were likely to hit their average life expectancy.  With every speed increase of around 4 inches per second, the chance of dying in the next decade fell by about 12 percent.  (Whenever I think about this study, I start walking faster.)
    —    James Hamblin, MD
From his article: “The Power of One Push-Up: Several simple ways of measuring a person’s health might matter more than body weight.
Appearing in:  The Atlantic, dtd: Jun 27, 2019
The specific article can be found on-line at:  https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2019/06/push-ups-body-weight-bmi/592834/
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On This Day In:
2018 Modern Day Behaviour
2017 On Misogynist Tweets From #DumbDonald
2016 Cowboy Boots & Missing Teeth
Or Electricity
2015 Oh, To Be Vulnerable
2014 Neglected Horror
2013 The Price Of Illusions
2012 Once Again
2011 And The “Market” Isn’t Always Right

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Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.
  —  Quoting one of my Drill Sergeants and numerous other NCO’s I knew while in the Army
Today was supposed to be Day 6 of my juice diet / fast.  I fell off the wagon hard…
The plan this morning was to get a number of little chores done and then relax with the wife.  It didn’t end up that way (so far).  To start off with, I woke up feeling bad – nasal congestion and overall feeling “off”.  I was supposed to get a blood test in advance of a doctor’s appointment.  They were closed for the 4-day holiday weekend.  (The things you don’t think about when you’re retired and everyday is a holiday.)  Check, next.  Pick up brake light for car.  Check.  Wow!  Do I have a bad headache!!  Plug on.  Get cash at the bank.  Check.  Look for cooking book for wife.  Check.  Well, so-so.  I can’t find the book for her so I get myself a book from the $3 rack.  Does that count?  Yes.  Okay, check.  Wait.  I already gave myself a check for that…  On to the drug store to pick up some topical disinfectant.  Check.  Since the sporting kit store is right next door, why not?  Lots of interest, but nothing I want enough to spend money on today.  Check.  Man, my head is pounding…  I’m considering taking a Ricola drop for a shot of energy, but decide against because my stomach is also a bit upset.  I can’t tell if I’m going to heave or get the runs.
I got home and decided I was going to eat something bland-“ish” to settle my stomach and maybe help my head.  I settled on a square of cornbread.  It does help both my stomach and my head, but I’m still congested and feeling drained.  The wife says: “Just take a pill.”  I do and by the time I’ve finished walking the dog, the nasal congestion is clearing and my stomach is feeling better (more settled).  The wife asks me to go to the store and get some soup and ginger ale for her (she’s been under the weather for two days).
…Bad move!  Sending me to the store without adult supervision.  I buy her requests, but also get myself some “unhealthy” stuff for myself – as well as some okay stuff.  And…  We both have lunch.
And that’s why I didn’t make it through Day 6 of my seven day “diet / fast”.  Lesson learned?  The 6-P’s.
Moving forward, I’ll be taking tomorrow (New Year’s Day) off from the diet and I’ll be trying to start back up on either Wednesday or Thursday.  My initial plan for those two days was salad and more salad (and maybe some soup), so maybe I’ll just go ahead with that.  At this point I’m playing by ear.
And the results:  Starting weight on 26 December: 360lbs.  Ending weight on 31 December: 343lbs.  The scale is analog and was fluttering between 340lbs and 343lbs, so I’ll be conservative and call it 17lbs for the five days.  The question is was that any more than my other fasts?  Only slightly.  My last juicing fast (started in July) I lost 15lbs in the first five days and I was swimming for at least an hour three of those days.  I put it (the slight difference in weight) down to hard workouts on three(3) of the five days.  The workouts were 90minutes, 2 hours and 2 hours.  So, really, the longer duration of the workouts is marginally responsible for the extra pound or two of loss.  The big difference is how I felt.  The pool and veggie juice was invigorating me.  The weights and processed juices has seemed to be making me feel exhausted.  Well, it’s all purely subjective, but it’s something for  me to consider going into my next round – this week or next.  Small steps to better health…
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On This Day In:
2017 Best Wishes For 2018!
2016 Best Wishes For 2017!
2015 Better Red Than Dead
Tomorrow Starts A New Year
2014 Recovering
Best Wishes For 2015!
2013 Best Wishes For 2014!
2012 My Creed
2011 It Probably Isn’t So

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