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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Body Fat 101

The To Be Continued Corrective actions are going to be discussed in another post.  Today we moved on to body fat.

Have you ever had your body fat tested?  This goes on my list of favorite things of all time.  Seriously.  Who doesn't love some skinny trainer at the gym taking your roll(s)(s)(s) of fat and pinching them with a set of calipers?  Humbling for some.  Embarrassing for others.  

For me, well, mostly I just feel squishy.  Then I'm over it. 

Having your body fat tested can be a good indicator of how healthy you are.  For me, body fat is another way for me to track my progress and success.  In addition to weight and body size measurements, I'll keep track of my (hopefully) diminishing body fat percentages.

"Excess fat has been linked to numerous health problems such as increased risk for diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.  Having excess fat, especially surrounding the internal organs, can damage your health and contribute to serious medical conditions such as liver disease."  For a good description about what body fat is, click here:

I've had my body fat taken at the gym several times.  These tests confirmed what I had been suspecting: I'm still squishy.  And calipers don't get washed between squeezing's.   Try not to think about how many people they have been used on.  *shudder.*  Panis Party!

One non-invasive way to get your body fat tested is at the Bod Pod at The University of Utah.  This is a machine that uses air pressure to measure your body fat and correlates it to your height and weight.  I had this test performed on me about four years ago and knew what to expect.  

For the test, men strip down to a pair of biker shorts (ladies can wear a swim suit) and you apply a swim cap on your hair.  Then you step on the scale to be weighed.  Then you sit in the Bod Bod for a few rounds of tests.  (Butch-looking Bod Pod operator, optional.)  You can hear the machine whir and click as the air pressure changes inside as readings are taken.  When you emerge from the test you can pretend you are Mork from Ork emerging from the egg.  (Ok, that really dates me.)  How about Lady Gaga instead?

Bod Pod.jpg

Here are my results.  I'm 36.3% fat.  Just about 94 pounds of jiggle.  That's a lot of fat on my 6-foot frame.

So where does that put me on a scale of healthy to not so much?  Well, the big BOLD purple X points out that I'm fat.  No surprise.  Am I healthy?  Sure.  Over the next few months I'd love to be in the Moderately Lean category.

I plan to return every few months to get tested so I can measure my progress.  You do have to fill out a bunch of paperwork and release forms.  I always check 'Yes' to the question of if they can use my results in research.  Of course--because it is for Science!!  (And I've been in the same spot as a former grad student needing people to submit data for my course work.  Help a brother out and say 'yes' as well!)  

Tests are $25 for non-U students/employees by appointment only.  If you want to schedule your own test, contact the University of Utah PEAK Health and Fitness at 801-585-7325.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It's Business Time

Hey Folks!

Sorry about missing the post this past Tuesday.  Cameron was out of commission much of last week.  Seems like for the past few years at the turn of the seasons in the Spring and Fall I can count on becoming sick for a week or two with some nasty crunk.  Not really allergies.  Not really a cold.  Just a mix of me not feeling well, wanting to drink homemade Orange Julius, and lying in a dark room, hacking and sniffling, waiting to die.  I actually missed about a day and a half of work last week.  And Cameron never...ever...misses work.

When we get sick don't we often automatically throw out any rules or habits we've carefully crafted for ourselves?  It's almost like a video game where the field of play stops and it is GAME OVER.  When I'm sick I don't want to go to the gym.  I'm not motivated to track my food selections.  When I'm sick I want comfort food (which last week turned into a hot mess of chicken and melty cheddar cheese whipped into those horrifying instant mashed potatoes.  It was amazing while sick.  I would not touch it when feeling well.)

Why is that our well-laid plans of weight loss and healthy living often are cast aside when we don't feel 100%?  I'll be the first one to admit that when I'm sick I don't want a salad.  I don't want to battle people at the gym for equipment.  I will eat that ice cream in the freezer.  And that sleeve of Thin Mints that I resisted so well two weeks ago?  Nom Nom Nom!  All gone now!

It happens to me and I'm sure it happens to you.  Please don't beat yourself up over it.  One day or one weekend won't derail your progress.  But two weeks of slacking off will!  Case in point:

I'm back up to 260 lbs.  Sigh.....

What emotions do you feel when you gain weight?  Here are some of my feelings:

Shame is what I felt going in to my weigh-in today.  I knew I was up a few pounds and was dreading the scale.

Guilt/Anger. Cameron--you're an idiot!  You worked so hard to lose the weight two weeks ago.

Denial/Blame:  Stupid scale must be wrong.  Or I must be wearing my heavy denim pants.

After we go through all the negative feelings, the positive ones usually start to appear.

Acceptance: It's all my fault.  It's ok.  Let's pick up where we left off.  I'll try to do better.  No, I WILL DO BETTER!

Resolve: It's Business Time

For me I seem to have a very organized and well executed professional life.  I'm extremely detailed and love to follow proven and established process.  My personal life could use a little tune-up.  Sometimes I don't pay attention to when I slowly getting off track and engaging the necessary actions to get me focused on weight loss.  Applying some of the proven tactics from work to weight loss and healthy living would be beneficial.

At work when something goes wrong on the production process I do an analysis to IDENTIFY AND ISOLATE the root cause of the problem.  Then proactive measures are established to prevent the mistake from happening again.  We call this creating Corrective Actions.

So far as I've been on this weight loss journey I've seen positive and effective things that help me to lose weight.  I'm also becoming very aware of bad habits that are preventing me from enjoying greater success.  I need to IDENTIFY AND ISOLATE the root cause(s) of my problems that are preventing me from enjoying weight loss success and replace them with effective measures.

To Be Continued:  I will continue this post tomorrow night (as it is well past midnight) and describe some of the Corrective Actions I am enacting for myself to get myself back on track.

In the meantime, I've had requests for healthy recipes that I've created.  Since I'm short on time I'll instead post some lovely recipes from a blog that I follow that uses one of my very favorite fruits--Strawberries!  Enjoy!

This one is funny...the recipe is so-so.

Not really a funny story, but a much better recipe.  This is what I imagine when I think of a strawberry salad.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Portion Perception

First of all, I want to thank each of you that are here reading the blog.  Being publicly accountable for my weight is very liberating.  Putting it all out there for everyone to see removes much of the self-inflicted shame and guilt I often harbor about the way I look.  Your positive words of encouragement, either on posted blog comments, on Facebook, or to me privately are really helping stay focused and motivated.

I’m down to 256 lbs!  (Well, actually 256.2  For the purposes of this blog I will always round up or down to the nearest pound.  I split hairs all day at work.  My personal life is allowed a little fudging.  Mmmmm….fudge!  Anyways…) 

256 pounds!  Isn’t that fun?  While I don’t visually notice much change in my body, I can zip up my jacket again!  I haven’t been able to do that for a while.  Win!  Love it when clothes start to fit better!

I guess I decided to get (more) serious about this weight loss thing last week.  I’ve been sitting at 260 for far too long.  I think it helped that I had a fairly calm work week and could maintain motivation to make good food choices and fit in my workouts.  Did I do everything I “should” have done this week to stay on track?  Of course not.  I ate a half sleeve of Girl Scout Thin Mints.  In one sitting.  By myself.  And relished every bite!  But I did a lot of things right.  For instance, I:

  • Left work by 5:30 pm each day and went straight to the gym four days last work week. 
  • Took my road bike out of the garage, tuned it up, installed new tubes, and went on some lovely rides Saturday and Sunday. Oh how I have missed biking over the winter months!
  • Tried to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.  Usually I get 5-6 hours.
  • Paid attention to my portion sizes. 

Yay!  All good steps for success! 

I want to go into more about portion sizes.  The mental game is alive and well when trying to lose weight.  I need every trick I can get to make myself think I’m not being robbed of precious food.

One of my most trusted tricks is choosing a smaller serving dish on which to serve my meals.  When I give myself a reasonable portion of food on a large plate I always seem to want to add more and more food to it.  Visually I don’t like empty space on my plate.  When I put the same amount of food on a smaller plate then my eyes tell my mind that I’m getting a lot more food than I really am.

 Here’s a better example.  I placed 1 cup shredded carrots on a standard plate.  My mind says that I need to add more carrots to fill up my plate.  (I don’t really like carrots.  Why do I buy them?) For illustrative purposes carrots will suffice.  But if this were Chicken Enchiladas I would go to town and pile them on that plate!  Now insert your fav food here.  Don’t tell me you couldn’t fill that plate with something you really love!

Here is that same cup of carrots on a smaller plate.  It completely fills the space.  My mind says that there is no way I need to add more food to that plate.  But at the same time it says that I could eat twice as much that is on that plate (and we all know I have done just that in the past!)  But once I eat that portion of food, I try to listen to my stomach.  If I’m still hungry, I’ll reach for an apple or banana or big glass of water.  Then I check with my stomach again.  By the time I’ve supplemented my smaller portion of food with a piece of fruit or water, nine out of 10 times my stomach will say “I’m done” and I’ll go on my merry little way.  No more food babies for me!  

If anyone knows me well, then you know I love, love, LOVE cold cereal.  But much of the time those are filled with empty calories.  Plus, cereal bowls are so big!  Most are just perfect for fitting in at least two servings in one bowl!  

Let’s use my portion control trick again.  1 cup Kashi Go Lean Crunch.  Big bowl.  It looks lonely.  I should add more so the bowl looks full, right?

1 cup Kashi in a ramekin.  Whoa!  That’s too much!  A half cup will suffice in this tiny bowl, thank you very much.

Ta dah!  Portion control via choosing a smaller sized serving dish.  It’s an easy way to cut the amount of food you are putting into your body.  Give it a try!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I Want A Do Over!

Week 1 went less than stellar.  55+ hours at work this week means less time and motivation at the gym as well a lessened desire to eat healthy.  My weigh-in today was 259.4 lbs.  I’m rounding up and saying that I’m still at 260.  Shame on Cameron!

I was in total binge mode this weekend.  KFC….have you tried it lately?  That chicken is ridiculous.  Don’t bother with the grilled.  It’s lame.  The original recipe is money.  Now I probably should have stopped at 1 piece, but I have to eat those other 4 pieces just to make sure.  (And I’m not even going to talk about those flakey biscuits or the mediocre mashed potatoes and gravy.  And coleslaw.  *Hanging head in shame*)

I seem to have something going on with fried chicken at the moment.  I downed 20 pieces of McDonalds Chicken McNuggets tonight.  By myself.  What would possess me to be such a food whore?  Was it the $4.99 price tag?  Was it the surprisingly delicious Honey Mustard sauce?  I’m terrified to even think of the calorie count.

When I catch myself binging I take a step back and see what can be adjusted in my life.  When I’m tired, sad, feeling lonely, or overwhelmed I am more prone to binge.  This past week I was exhausted mentally and physically from work.  And even though I always hang out with friends on the weekend I still can feel lonely at times.  

I will try to do better this week and try to leave work on time.  This will allow me to get to the gym after work.  I’ll also try to do better about getting in time to have 7-8 hours of sleep a night.

Life goes on.  We all have rough days.  Sometimes we have rough weeks.  I know I can do better this coming week!

I did have some success this weekend.  I worked out on Saturday with my friend Amy.  She’s going to school to be a certified physical trainer.  Saturday morning she led me through a fantastic workout of strength and stability exercises.  I left with many great ideas of what I can incorporate into my gym time.  As Amy wraps up her degree she is currently looking to fill some trainer internship hours.  If you live in Salt Lake and are interested in a great workout (weights, cardio, and even yoga!) contact me and I can put you in touch with Amy.  She’s currently training on Saturday’s and select weeknights FOR FREE to gain experience.  Check out her blog: 

Before I wrap up todays post here are my initial measurements.  About every month I’ll take new measurements to see how I’m doing.  I’d like to see my Chest, Thighs, and both Waist measurements go down.  I’d like to see my Biceps go up.  Everything else can stay the same.

Neck: 16.5”
Chest (measured over nipples…beep beep!): 47”
Waist Over Belly Button: 48.5”
Waist Under Belly: 44”
Bum At Widest Part: 47”
Left Mid Thigh: 28”
Right Mid Thigh: 28.5”
Left and Right Calf: 18” each
Left and Right Biceps: 15” each


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Better Late Than Never

Welcome to my healthy lifestyle / weight loss blog!

My goal is to reach a body weight of 200 pounds by November 30, 2011. My starting weight is 260 pounds. I'll reach my goal through healthy eating and lifestyle choices. Why am I doing this?  Because just as short as two years ago I was in shape enough to run marathons.  See, it's me at the 2009 St. George Marathon.  I want to run a marathon again in 2012 and come in under 4 hours.

The '10' in my blog title is the number of months I've given myself to accomplish the goal. The '200' is my body weight goal. During the next 10 months that gives me about 1.5 pounds to lose a week. That is a very healthy and achievable goal.

Hey wait a minute. Hold on now. If you picked up that March through November is only 9 months then you deserve a prize. You see, I wanted to start this blog in February. I thought '10 to 200' had a nice ring to it and I liked November as my goal date. (Because who wants to focus on losing weight during December!) Then work and life got in the way of my motivation and I didn't start my blog (aka public accountability.) And '9 to 200' just doesn't sound as fun as the current title.

So, it's actually only 9 months to lose 60 pounds. My goal is now 1.7 pounds to lose per week. Still realistic.

Now here comes the tough part--accountability and follow through.  I'm so much better at goals when I have to report weekly on my efforts.  I'm publishing this blog for all to see.  If my friends commit to check in every once in a while to offer support, words of encouragement, and harassment when I fall off the wagon, I in turn promise to update on Tuesday (or more often) and keep a weekly account of my progress and post my successes, challenges, and a few pictures along the way to me becoming hella sexy.

Do we have a deal?

Next post:  the measurements!  Neck, arms, chest, waist, thighs, and calves.  Weight is not the only thing I'll focus on.  Dropping inches is just as satisfying as dropping pounds.  And we have to track our progress so we can brag afterwards!