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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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Okay.  So, yesterday went well.  I was not “hungry” per se, but I was missing chewing and the act of eating.  Anyway, I got through it.
Last night was my first visit back to Planet Fitness in ages.  Well, in ten days; but it felt like ages.  Nothing was “hard” like when you’ve stopped exercising for six months and you’re just starting up again, but I had little to no energy stores.  I walked / jogged 1.27 miles in 26:15 minutes.  Yes, I know.  Most people walk faster than that.  The truth is sometimes I do, too.  Rarely, but sometimes.  Anyway, it felt like I was in molasses.  I was okay for my 2 minute warm-up walk, but as soon as I started to jog – forgetaboutit.  So, I had to alternate slogging and walking to get through it.
I moved on to the calisthenics portion of my workout.  I have a cycle of crunches, inclined pushups and air squats which I run through.  I started out at five cycles, then eight cycles and for the last couple of days (about a week) before my Christmas break, I was up to ten cycles – about 45 – 50 minutes.  Last night I struggled to get to eight.  It wasn’t “hard”.  I just felt exhausted.  After my cycles, I did a few minutes of rowing.  And that was it.  My “normal” workout usually runs about two hours and includes stretching and lots more weights (light weights, but high volume reps).  Last night was cut short and was still about 90 minutes because I was moving so slow.  Still, I went to the gym and plowed through it…
One interesting point:  My face is already starting to get the “oily / waxy”, moist feeling on my forehead, nose and cheeks.  This normally happens around day 6 or 7.  I don’t know why it seems to be happening sooner than “normal”.  At first, I used to worry about acne when this started, but in all of my fasts (long and short over a dozen in my life), it has never ended up causing a breakout of  acne.  Actually, I find it kind of makes my face look younger – smoother and better hydrated.  So, that’s a good thing.
And before I forget:  this morning’s weigh-in was 349lbs.  That’s down from Boxing Day weight of 360lbs.  Day Two’s weight was 353lbs.  Basically, that’s water retention loss from all the salt and sugar consumed on Christmas day.  My weight on Christmas morning was 355lbs.  So, really we’re talking about six pounds from then, and not  eleven pounds from the “start” of the diet / fast.  Please recall I am trying to not worry about day-to-day losses and gains as much as I am three and four day trends.  Of course, first I have to get past four days…  LOL
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On This Day In:
2017 Daily, Mr. President, Daily
2016 We Did This
2015 I’m Talking To You
Forced (Again)
2014 We Are Not A Fearful Nation!
2013 Risking Truth
2012 Working On Reality
2011 Massive Contradictory Changes

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Back in July / August I completed a 42 day juice fast.  It was originally scheduled as a 7 day starter to kick off an attempt at changing my eating habits.  I began the fast at 380 pounds and finished at 311 pounds.  In the past, I tended to regain any weight lost from fasting at a rate of about 5lbs  per year (after regaining immediate stomach content and water weight).  This time, that hasn’t happened at all.  As of this morning, I am at 353 pounds – give or take 5 pounds for variations in clothing.  While I am still down 25 pounds, I’ve regained (almost immediately) close to  2/3rds of the weight I lost in the fast.  That’s the bad news…
The good news is that I joined Planet Fitness at the end of last month and the results of the workouts have been good physically, even if not demonstrated on the scale (yet).  I promised a review of Planet Fitness and the rest of this post will be about that…  (This is kind of a long post.  So, if you are not interested in a Planet Fitness review for any reason, feel free to leave now and come back tomorrow…)
Planet Fitness (PF) is a relatively low cost, 24 hour access gym who’s mottos are: “no intimidation & judgment free zone”.  In other words, it caters to those who don’t have money to go to a “normally” priced ($50-$100 / month) gym AND to those who really don’t know much about working out (newbies) AND those who are not serious about lifting heavy weights.  FP has two plans: $22 and $10.  The “Black” card membership gets you access to a few “perks” (bring a friend, use any PF facility, free tanning and free hydro-massage bed).  The cheaper, “White” card is the plan I chose.  I don’t have any friends to come workout with me.  I don’t want to travel to another facility.  My club is a 3 minute drive from my house.  Five minutes if I miss the one light on the way there.  And lastly, I’m not sure I’m interested in tanning or massages.  In addition to the monthly dues, there is a joining fee ($40) and there is always an annual fee ($40).  The joining fee is normally discounted at least one week a month.  I waited until  it was $1.50 to join.  The annual fee is normally scheduled at two months after you join and payments are auto-debited from your bank.  So, reaaalllyyy, it works out to either $13 / month for the “white” card membership or $24 / month for the “Black” card membership.  Either way, it’s less than $1 per day for 24 hour access.
There are three things which always get a lot of comments in reviews of Planet Fitness:  Pizza, Bagels and Tootsie Rolls.  A slice of pizza is free on the first Monday of each month at 6pm and at 8pm.  (These are the times for “my” gym.  Yours may vary.)  Bagels are for the morning of the first Tuesday of each month.  And, Tootsie Rolls (mini’s) are available 24 hours at the front desk / reception area.  If you want one, take one.  I have not indulged in the pizza or bagels, because I wasn’t there at the correct time to receive them.  I have had a single Tootsie Roll and, yes, they are the same as when I was a kid.  Are these items helpful to those of us trying to shed pounds?  NO!  But, if you are that upset by the give-aways, don’t take them.  I’m not normally one to promote temptation, but I also believe in a little personal responsibility…  In other words, they don’t bother me.
Facilities:
Weights:  limited.  There are free benches, fixed-weight barbells (up to 50 pounds) and fixed-weight dumbbells (up to 70 pounds).  There are also a number of racks for lifting (called “Smith Machines”) which can be used for variable weights and go up fairly heavy.  I believe the maximum weight would probably be “around” 450 pounds with 5X45lbs on each side.  I don’t care for Smith machines because they are designed for safety and sacrifice free motion for the increased “safety”.  Because the barbell / weights follow a track, you don’t really get to “feel” the weight the same as you would if the weight / bar were free.  If the machine happens to be a good track for your particular body structure, more power to you.  If it doesn’t, I believe you are more likely to get injured by not following a path “normal” for you.  Still they are better than nothing.
Other Weight Machines:  The PF I go to has 2 or 3 of about 15 different types of weight machines.  This include the basic “Nautilus” style circuit / cable setups and fixed “iso” machines.  I like the cable machines because I can alternate between one or two handed grips and they allow you the more natural range of motions which the Smith machines do not.  I have not used many of the “iso” machines, but they have the same issue as the Smith Machines and are even more limited in weights because you can’t add more weight to them.  Having said this, for the target membership of beginner users, the amount of weight is generous.  All the ones I’ve actually looked at went up to at least 250 pounds.  That is FAR more than any (99.9999%) new lifter will ever need.
Aerobic Machines:  PF probably has 75+ aerobic “type” machines…  Stairmasters, treadmills, stationary cycles (normal and recumbent), and elliptical.  Interestingly (to me), they don’t have any rowing machines (which I like using).  They do have cables rows and iso-machine rows, but not actual rowing machines.  This means you cannot exercise both your arms and legs concurrently.
Specialty Rooms:  PF has three “specialty” rooms.  One is for “Hips & Abs”.  One is for an “express” 30-minute workout.  And the last one is for Synergy 360.  These can be used for classes / group workouts or individually.  If you are not “in” the class, you may be asked to leave the room.  I have not joined any classes (and probably won’t).  I use everything by myself.  There are also a few (I’ve counted three) mats for you to use for stretching / floor workouts.  All in all though, there is not a lot of free floor space for stretching / yoga type activity.
Changing Rooms:  The changing rooms have toilets, showers and lockers.  The lockers are “supposed” to be day use only (take your lock with you when done), but there are four full sized  lockers and they seem to have permanent locks on them.  I have been there when there  were fewer than five male patrons and over 15 locks were on lockers, so obviously, the “day use” locker’s rule is not enforced.  Generally, the changing rooms and toilets look well maintained.
Staff:
So far, I’ve found the staff to be friendly, professional and competent.  They greet me when I come in and say good-bye (or wave) when I leave.  They will come help you with a machine, but they do not appear to watch the users to see if they are struggling or need assistance.  If asked, they will give you a tour of the facility and highlight the functions of some of the equipment, but I had the tour and they never specifically showed me how to use ANY single piece of equipment.  In theory, the labels on the kit solves / explains most of  this, but I still prefer human instruction.  But that’s just me…  They will stop their own “personal” conversations if they are approached by a member with a question.
Conclusion:  The price is very reasonable for the facility and access AND the gym is less than a mile from my front door.  Most of my initial soreness is gone and I’m just in my go and get sore for the day phase.  I will admit, I do NOT like crowds and I actively avoid going during their busiest times.  I have been there one time when almost every aerobic and weight bench was in use.  There were still some free iso-machine stations and you just have to get on with whatever you can.  Fortunately, few folks seem to stay as long as I do, so eventually, the machine / space I want to use opens up for my use.  After just about completing my first month (I’ve been 13 out of 24 calendar days), I am pretty happy with my decision to join.
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On This Day In:
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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