Tuesday, February 28, 2012

the process creates the results


The process creates the results - in weight loss, and in just about everything else.  Set up a system to make lots of sales calls, and you'll get lots of clients. Hit hundreds of forehands each day, or shoot hundreds of free throws, and your game will improve.  Exercise everyday, and your weight will drop.  (so will your heart rate, blood pressure, and cholestoral.)  But it takes a consistent effort and may take longer than you thought.  Here's my story:

I ran a 10-mile race last Thanksgiving.  It was the longest I had ever run at one time, and the three months leading up to the race saw my highest training mileage ever.  I'm a fairly thin guy with a fairly fast metabolism (yes, I'm lucky in this regard), and I had to eat a ton just to maintain my weight when I was running this much.  Then, after the race, I took the month of December off, partly to rest & recover, and then due to the Holidays.

Unfortunately I didn't change my diet, and I ended up gaining 7 pounds in December.  When I went back to the gym in early January, I weighed more than I ever had in my entire life!  But I wasn't worried - once I started working out again the weight would fall right off, right?

Well, six weeks later I had only lost 1.5 pounds, and I was getting frustrated.  It wasn't a body image thing - heck, most people would still call me thin.  But my pants were a little tight, and I didn't like running while carrying an extra dumbbell's worth of weight!  So I decided to get a little more aggressive with my diet.  Here's my plan:

  1. Eliminate all the grazing & sugar-snacks from my diet.
  2. Reduce my lunch to be a more modest portion.  Doesn't matter what I eat, or where it's from - just eat a little bit less than I normally do.
  3. Continue to work out at a similar frequency and intensity.

By doing those three things, I should eliminate lots of calories from my daily intake, and the excess weight around my belly should quickly melt away.  Here's what I eliminated:

  • Sunflower seeds (200 cal) - I normally graze on seeds in the mid-to-late morning while I work.  But I've stopped.
  • Extra juice (200 cal) - I drink at my desk a mix of 8oz fruit juice with 24oz water, just because when it's plain water I find I don't drink enough of it.  I've reduced the amount of fruit juice to 3-4oz per cup.  This has eliminated 12-15oz of fruit juice from my daily intake.
  • Extra lunch (250 cal) - My smaller portions at lunch have eliminated some calories each day.
  • Afternoon soda (140 cal) - This is the thing I miss the most, but I haven't had a Coke or Dr Pepper in the last 9 days.
  • Afternoon candy (150 cal) - My office always has Red Vines, cookies, pretzels, or some other snack in the kitchen which made for some afternoon grazing.  I've stopped eating these snacks.
  • Evening sode (140 cal), with 1 shot of bourbon (100 cal) - My "dessert" at home most nights is a bourbon & Coke - mmmmm.  But I've laid off that as well.

Add it all up & I've eliminated 1,180 calories PER DAY from my diet.  That's 8,260 over the course of a week!  I figure I should drop those pesky 6-7 pounds in a week or two.

On top of all that, I also stepped up the intensity of my workouts.  (I'm a very goal-driven person, and once I set up a goal I sometimes push harder than I should to achieve it.)

So what happened when I weighed myself at the gym yesterday morning?  I was UP 3.5 pounds.  2 pounds heavier than I was at the end of December, and setting a new record for the heaviest my body has ever been.  I even had to move the bottom weight on the scale to a new marker..

The only reason I can think of is that I added muscle mass.  I added cross-fit workouts to my training regimine this year, in addition to running, biking and swimming.  And last week was a cross-fit week.  I did more squats, pull-ups, thrusters, and burpees than I can count, and I was insanely sore.  Hopefully I burned off some fat & added some muscle; time will tell.

In the meantime, I know I have the right process in place, and it's just a matter of executing the process each day to see the results I'm looking for.  Let's see what happens over the next few weeks (biking, swimming, and running)…

-Chris Butterworth