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130 Chances: Week 1 Summary

July 10, 2012

My first week of chances went amazingly well.  My official weigh-in Monday morning put me at 303 pounds – down seven!  My plan is to be in the 290’s during August, the 280’s during September, the 270’s in October, and the 260’s for deer season.  That’s averaging 10 pounds/month, which is pretty ambitious to keep up several months in a row.

Luckily, I think I have a great head start this month.  I’m hoping to be in the 290’s as early as next week, which would give me over six weeks to reach my next milestone.

So far, I’ve done surprisingly well with the parts of my plan I thought would be the hardest.  I’ve gotten up every morning to work out, I haven’t snacked at all outside of meals, and I’m solidly in the habit of going to bed before midnight.  Last night, it was even before 11:30! That’s  a big deal for me, I’m a night owl.

Sunday, I had trouble getting lunch ready ahead of time, and ran short of time altogether.  I ended up getting a big mac meal.  Other than that, I was pretty solid with my rules.  I think the results on the scale proved that.

It’s amazing, as I write this it’s tuesday morning and I’ve only been on the elliptical machine nine times in nine days.  That’s not very long in terms of building muscle or lung capacity, but I started to feel better almost immediately.  Part of it is perception – I went from avoiding physical effort throughout the day to welcoming it.  When you’re actively trying to get fit, you appreciate the longer walk to the store from the back of the parking lot, etc.

Aside from the almost immediate psychological boost, I literally feel like I’m in better shape, just over a week later.  It might be because I’ve been down this road before, and my body knows the drill.  My muscle memory has kicked in, so the elliptical isn’t as effort-intensive as it was the first few days.  And losing even a token amount of weight makes me feel less “full” and bloated around the clock.

Not a bad start.

130 Chances, Day #2: Success

July 5, 2012

Day 2 of any challenge is always a critical point, right? You’ve had a chance to sleep on the original idea, plus anybody can change their routine for a day. But will you do it another day, in a row?  I did.

Tuesday started out right away with an obstacle.  I woke up late, probably due to the cigar after dinner which kept me awake the night before. Now I was faced with a commitment test: I’m going to be even later starting work if I do my workout and drive to get my salad as planned.  But I managed to do it anyway, and it wasn’t too bad.

I have to look at it this way: it’s much more destructive to my productivity to stop in the middle of the day, get changed, and do my workout then.  Better to get it over with. Same with getting lunch.  I’ve noticed now that I’m getting it before lunchtime, I’m eating lunch *on time* instead of putting it off until 2-3pm.  That means I’m hungrier when dinner rolls around, so I eat enough that it’s easier to get through the evening without snacking.

I’d gotten in the habit of eating a light dinner because I’d only had lunch a couple hours before.  Dinner is when my life snaps back to reality and I’m on my family’s schedule again.  Working from home makes my days kind of free-form, which isn’t always a good thing for healthy habits.

I’m also refining my “no milk to drink” policy.  It’s really “drink only water”, with the exception of the occasional (2-3 times per week) alcoholic beverage, and a reasonable morning coffee.  No sugared up frappuccino from starbucks. This is easy, because we have an espresso machine and I can control everything I put into it.

FYI, if the espresso machine sounds fancy, it’s actually very practical.  If you ever get mochas, lattes, or cappuccinos from coffee places, you pay about $4-5. A nice machine at Wal-Mart (the best of the worst, heh) will cost you about $50-60. Even buying the *nice*, grind-it-yourself coffee at the grocery store, it’s going to pay for itself in the first 15-20 uses. If you have a wife, you can score some points and justify the cost even faster by making two every morning 🙂 The other big benefit is that it’s slightly more work than brewing a traditional pot of coffee, so you don’t overdo it.  I used to brew a whole pot of coffee, and end up drinking the whole thing throughout the day.  This way, if I really need an afternoon pick-me-up, I weigh it against the effort to make another serving.

By all accounts, today was a success.  I think I’m going to add another rule though, that I would have broken last night: go to bed before midnight.  So far so good!

130 Chances, Day #1: Success

July 4, 2012

Monday was my first of 130 Chances to get into shape for the most physically demanding week of my year – Deer Season in the Nebraska Sandhills.  Even though this was the very day I conceived of the challenge, I didn’t want to let the very first chance slip by.

I’m fortunate to work from home, so I took my lunch break on the elliptical machine in the basement before driving to my local grocery store for a salad.  I also setup some rules for my experiment.  After all, what constitutes whether or not I took advantage of a chance, or wasted it?  So I’ve posted the rules below.  If I achieve all of them in a day, I’ve succeeded.  If I miss a lot, I failed.  And if I miss one or two, I’ll have to make a judgement call as I go.

The Rules

  1. Workout first thing in the morning.
  2. Eat a healthy breakfast – high protein, or slimfast if it needs to be quick.
  3. Secure a healthy lunch *before* lunchtime. That means a salad most days, picked up *before* I start work for the day.
  4. Stop eating dinner before I feel full.
  5. Eat no other meals. Evening snacking is a big problem for me.
  6. No milk to drink, with the exception of slimfast shakes at breakfast. I tend to guzzle this stuff.
  7. No f***ing candy. Just don’t do it. You think you’ll stop, but you won’t.

The First Day

Monday was an unusual day. By luck, I ate a decent breakfast. And even though it was mid-afternoon when I got off my ass, I stopped work to work out for 20 minutes. That’s a lot at this point (sadly), and I don’t want to kill myself by overdoing it in the early, fun stages.  There will be plenty of time for pain.

I then got a salad, even though my inclination was to grab some junk from the kitchen. It was already 3pm, late for lunch, but I made myself go the salad route.  I knew I was going to have a late dinner anyway.

Mondays, I usually meet with a client in the evening.  After the meeting, he invited the small team out to dinner. I had a steak. This is not my normal life, this was quite a treat, and the steak was awesome.  It was also well-portioned, I ate the salad that came with it, and aside from a single small pimm’s cup (awesome british drink) it was all I consumed.

When I got home, there was an open bag of starbursts on the kitchen counter.  I grabbed a handful, poured some water, walked to the living room, put down the water, and walked back into the kitchen to return the candy. I’d picked it up without even really thinking about it!

After returning to my chair to watch some TV before bed (needed to unwind) I did a mental walkthrough of my usual routine. I’ll start with a small snack, but then there’s 10 minutes of the show left when I’m done.  So I grab something else to snack on.  The show ends, but I still have food left. No joke, I’ll go back and forth like this sometimes for 2-3 extra shows, eating the whole time. Yes, I understand just how stupid it sounds when you see it in writing.

In short, Monday was a total victory.  Onward and upward!

130 Chances

July 2, 2012

It has been a LONG time since I’ve updated this site, and I apologize.  Life has been happening. But now I’m back in the saddle, and on the rampage.  I’ll explain more below, but first, an update:

The chubby part of me has seen the ups and downs of two major weight loss efforts, but I’m currently back on the chubbier side of the fitness scale.  I was at my fittest last November during my home state of Nebraska’s deer season, where I tracked down a trophy (to me) mule buck. Then a few weeks later, I did equally well during Kansas deer season. How? A lot of hiking.  I wasn’t afraid to put on the miles in search of my favorite animal (on or off the table). But after those major undertakings, I started to slack off.  Sitting was easier than working out, and I fell into a rut.

Meanwhile, the survivalist part of me has been doing pretty good.  I still can’t survive in the woods for a week with nothing but a pocketknife and a ball of string, but I’ve really come into my own as a hunter, and I’ve been passing that knowledge along to my boys just as fast as I can acquire it.

So What Changed?

In short, shit got real.  This morning I received my annual e-mail notice that Nebraska deer permits will go on sale next week.

The first couple years I deer hunted, I did it with my dad’s group.  They’ve been making the annual trip to the Nebraska Sandhills for over 20 years.  They were very gracious to me and my brothers when we joined them, but it was clear that this is their group, and they weren’t looking for my friends to join up.  So I chose to duck out, and start my own traditions with my friends.

My best friend (going all the way back to 6th grade) is a guy who still lives in Nebraska, named Jonathan. Last year, I took him on his first deer hunting trip.  It was amazing, and not just because of the prize buck I took home.  Not living in the same state anymore puts a damper on casual hanging out, so a week of hiking, camping, deer, and beer was a blast. By the end, he was just as hooked as I was.

Now that we’re both relatively competent hunters, it’s time to expand the group.  This year, we plan to have 4-5 guys – some new to hunting, some veterans. Within hours, we had confirmation of our first new member.  I’m so unbelievably excited, and so unbelievably fat.  It’s time to get back in shape.

What Does Chubby Plan to Do About It?

I have four  months before deer camp.  That’s about 130 days to get in shape for about 130 hours of the most intense living I will do all year.  The Sandhills are brutal to dumb saps (ie, myself 3 years ago) who don’t prepare.  In 2009, I was so out of shape I could only hike about 10 minutes before needing to rest for at least five.  And although I *was* very out of shape, it’s the terrain that can humble even stringiest, walkeverywheriest vegan.

Normally, I’m a big (literally) fan of starting tomorrow.  But I’m fired up.  130 days before deer camp is 130 chances to prepare.  And I’m going to chronicle all of them.  Today, even though I got little work done after reading the news about deer season, I cleared the boxes in the basement from around the dusty elliptical machine, and I did 20 hard minutes.  Then after a shower, drove just up the road to my grocery store.  They have a great salad bar, and I brought home lunch. It was already almost 3pm, and normally I would have gotten something cheap and fast at a drive-thru.  Those days are done.  I’m in training.

My next plan is to check out my bike this evening. If it’s in good shape I’ll bike to the store first thing in the morning, to get my salad.  It’s fresh, so a couple hours in the fridge until lunch won’t hurt it.  And then I won’t be so wrapped up in work that I feel like I can’t take the time to drive/bike to the store in the middle of the day.  That’s the plan – I’ll have my healthy lunch and workout taken care of before I start the work day.

Let’s see how it goes.

Nebraska Recognizes Other States’ Concealed Carry!

September 3, 2009

It’s finally happened, and I’m thrilled!  My home state of Nebraska now recognizes most other states’ concealed carry permits.  This includes the states on either side of Kansas City, where I live.  I’m thrilled personally, because aside from the Missouri side of KC, Nebraska is the only other state I ever really visit.  Both my immediate family and my wife’s entire family are up there.  I’ll be hunting there in November, and with a little luck I should have my permit by then.

On a grander scale, looking at how this law affects more than just me: concealed carry permits from at least 34  states are now recognized by Nebraska.  They enacted basically the same law that Kansas did this year.  If another state has concealed carry requirements that are equal to or greater than our own, we recognize them as valid.  It took a while for the Nebraska Attorney General’s office to compile the list, but they finished it recently.

This is definitely a step forward, but I feel for states like Vermont that put no restrictions on a person’s right to concealed carry.  You don’t even need a special permit there.  Perhaps they should offer the option of a state sponsored permit expressly for the purpose of taking advantage of new reciprocity laws.  I’d spend money and take a class in order to open up more states I could carry in.  Heck, I’d toyed with the idea of an Arizona permit just for that reason.

Of course ultimately, I think it’s a person’s right to carry, and that means no state should be able to put any restrictions on that.  Between the certification (class and ammo, $120), filing fees ($150), and permit issuance ($20) It cost me almost $300 total.  I’ve spent all but the last $20, since I’m currently in the 45-90 day wait for the permit approval from the state.  This is cost prohibitive for many Americans, which isn’t right.

It’s only when criminals know there is a very real chance of victims being armed that it will begin to have the greatest impact on crime.  Who would rob a bank if you knew 2-3 of the customers on average were carrying guns?  That’s why Vermont’s law makes the most sense.

The one upside, for now, is that permits add legitimacy.  We can obviously see how states like Nebraska, Kansas, and others value requirements when deciding what other states to honor.  Also more businesses are taking down those no-gun signs from their doors, after responsible concealed carry holders explain the difference.  The general public is already prohibited from carrying in most states.  The sign only serves to restrict the people who have been properly trained, certified, and background checked.  No bank robber’s plans were ever foiled by a door sticker.