Saturday, January 31, 2009

Saturday Update

So last night I went home and had a bite to eat, then rolled out to find the taekwondo school - it's since moved twice since my last serious go at it.

Nice location now - it's merged with a gymnastics school for kids, but it's got it's own walled off space, and a nice spine-friendly floor now. The guy running it is one of my favorite people and he was still there, so I caught up with him. It was funny - I approached and he nodded a quick hello, then after about 30 seconds one of the women in the class blurted out, "Andrew?!?!" and people came over to chat. Looks like they've got a great financial deal in place where they only pay a percentage of their earnings, so regardless of student count they've got a place. And that's good, because attendance has dwindled. Seems everyone that's interested in martial arts wants to participate in MMA these days. I can't say that I blame them, it's cool, it gets press... people have to pick and choose, and an old Korean fighting style just isn't as dynamic as what is available these days. But I'm not going to be the next Ken Shamrock or Tito Ortiz or whoever, I just want to kick and jump and sweat. So now I'll dig out the uniform and see how it fits... yikes!


Friday, January 30, 2009

Adding on to the program

This morning I weighed in and was down another 0.7 pounds, taking me to 271.3. Overall a pretty weak week, but that's okay, I'm not stressed. We're taking the turtle route here, and sometimes it's slow-going. I've had four good lunches this week, hit the gym five times, and I'm seeing changes in the mirror. All good things.

Some eight years ago or more I left my old college town and came down to the Twin Cities, for various reasons. At the time I had a bit of chub on me, but nothing serious. I was searching for ways to improve myself then, and one of them was martial arts. I took taekwondo lessons 3-5 times a week for a couple years straight, losing a bunch of my chub and becoming quite agile in the process. Unfortunately some time after, things started going south for me and I stopped attending regularly. Once I dropped out of the sparring I wasn't losing anymore. In fact, after a few years the economy of movement my body had developed meant that throwing high kicks wasn't the full-body workout it once was. That, coupled with a serious change for the worse in my diet saw me start to put a few pounds back on. And once I officially stopped going? Yikes.

Tonight I'm headed over to my old taekwondo school. I'm going to sit in on a class and refresh myself with what it's all about. I'm planning on adding it 2-3 times a week to start, and will progressively add to it from there once my weight is down and my kicks are quicker. I miss the competitive spirit, and the trust and camaraderie that comes from taking and giving kicks to someone's face. :)

It's a bit of an emotional hurdle as I haven't been there in four years. I feel like I've let them down and let myself down by leaving and letting go. Logically I know that I'll be welcomed back, but still, sometimes it feels a little weird in my head...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Up and Down and Up

You know how on The Biggest Loser, when the person climbs onto the scale for the weigh-in, the numbers tumble up and down while some suspense music swells? I used to sit there and hope for the best for these people. Now I realize that I hope we're not going to get gasping reaction shots from Jillian or Bob or the other contestants as NBC breaks to commercial. But that's not the point, the point is the jumble.

My scale gives me the jumble too. As I step up, the numbers roll up and down, teasing me with numbers higher and lower than the day prior. This morning she teased me. Bad. 268.4... 276.3... back and forth, up and down... Finally she settled on 272.0. Hmm.

Two days ago I had my best weigh-in yet. Unfortunately when I got to work, I was invited to lunch by a co-worker. That's not really the unfortunate part as I do enjoy the social aspects of work. What was unfortunate was that we went to my favorite Chinese food place for lunch. I didn't get the soda, but I did get the fried lemon chicken with the fried rice. Naughty!!! And yesterday I was at 272.5, up 0.7 pounds from the day prior. So this morning I've shed half a pound and I'm feeling better. However, it's so discouraging in that I'd had big hopes of being in the 260s by tomorrow and it looks to be out of reach now. I'm no longer losing 2+ pounds a day. I'm lucky to lose half a pound. So... hmm. Perhaps I'll weigh in on Saturday morning? Friday workout is legs and I always burn a huge amount of calories as a result, but I don't get a good weigh-in on Saturday because I've usually gone out Friday night and started my weekend slide.

Gotta work on that. And I need to do a better job of eating healthier when I'm invited out for work lunches. I don't know that LeeAnn Chin has any good options (the healthiest thing looked to be the Beef and Broccoli, and even that was smothered in gravy and soy), but I can at least order the smaller bowl instead of the larger plate.

So I'm paying for my mistake this week. Damn.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Not a whole lot to discuss today. Dan the Workout Partner™ was insistent that we mix up the cardio today, so we rode the bike. Not a fan. Boring, don't sweat as much, and I don't think that it's made for a 20 minute spin. I think that if I were to do the bike, I should be doing a long, slow burn on it and riding for at least 45 minutes. I hope his itch has been properly scratched and tomorrow we do the elliptical again. Or perhaps it's time to investigate the Stairmaster. Yikes.

btw, chest day? Sucks. Dan and I have the same lifting program and can do the same weights for everything, with two exceptions. He can handle more weight on chest day, specifically the incline bench. I can handle more weight on leg day, specifically the leg curl. I recognize that we're all different and have different skills, but like most men (I think) I fantasize about having a nice, broad chest that fills out a t-shirt - or at least sticks out further than my stomach. Instead, my gift is extra strength in my hamstrings - a muscle that to see properly I have to remove my pants, find a mirror, do a three-quarter turn and squat down as though I was deucing in the woods. Not so much a fantasy of mine as a reality when camping.

I took 20 pounds off Dan's lifts for incline when doing my reps. But I still did 'em. So there. :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Well, I'm down again - yay! I'm so close to a new weight decade, and thank God for that as I've been trying to get the heck out of the 70s for quite some time now. Holidays, then that plateau... yuck. But with the exercise routine switch-up and the renewed focus, I'm feeling really, really positive again.

Things are going well friends.


Monday, January 26, 2009

The weekend

"Are you nervous?" she asked me, no doubt feeling my anxiety level rising.
"No," I lied. "I'm sure it will be fine."

And it was. Really, it always is. The lesson is that for the most part, the difficulty is in my head. However, my friend and I were meeting up with a woman who I last saw 15 years ago on the steps of my high school, dressed in purple graduation robes. She and I were never close back then, so at best I'm a superficial curiosity, someone to add to the stack of names when getting together with old classmates to play "Guess who got fat and bald!"

I'm really not sure how to address it. One of the first questions was, "what have you been up to for the last 15 years?" and while I was able to rattle off a laundry list of events, I seemingly avoided the elephant standing in the room, which was that I'm 100 pounds heavier than the last time she saw me. How does one say, "oh, and somewhere around three or four years ago, I threw in the towel and gave up on myself. I decided that I was going to use food as my drug of comfort and bear the scars by allowing myself to walk with a waddle and have a self-esteem that bottomed out somewhere in the Sunda Trench? Do I immediately talk about how I've turned a corner and lost 60+ pounds and like myself again? Do I avoid talking about much at all? Do I just ignore it and act normal? I did my best to go with option 3. And after several cocktails, it got easier.

Bottom line, I'm really *really* ready for my body to catch up with my brain. It's just such a long goddamn process. And you can say that Rome wasn't built in a day, or that I didn't put it on overnight so I can't take it off overnight, but man... I'd like to be comfortable taking pictures again.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Just a quick note this morning. It's casual day at work today. I'm wearing the jeans my parents bought me for Christmas. Size 36" waist. Boom.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Last night was a 3 hour Lost marathon to kick off the new season - love it! I invited a couple people over and ordered some pizza and turned on the TV and settled in. I knew that I was eating outside... outside what? Plan? No. Diet? Not really, I'm not on a diet. I'm not sure what word it is that I'm searching for here. I don't restrict myself in terms of what I can and cannot eat. That doesn't work for me. I obsess about that which is forbidden until I find myself binging on Big Macs or whatever. So for me part of this is controlling my portions and doing the right thing when it comes to making healthy choices, but not restricting myself and allowing me to enjoy whatever food I'd like to when I feel like it.

So I ordered Green Mill pizza and an appetizer. I had one soda. I didn't go nuts. I'm up a pound this morning. So be it. I had a fine time last night and don't regret a thing. Plus? I went to the gym this morning. The 260s aren't too far away...


Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Interesting feel to the workout this morning. Doing 15 reps on the benchpress and the incline press is tough. I specifically was on the second set of the incline presses, thinking, "oh, this is easy!" for the first 5 reps (I count in sets of 5 in my head - just makes it easier for me I guess); the second 5 reps was a mixed bag, and by the third set of them my pecs were ready to give out. My body is sore right now.

I love it.

Today I only shook off only 0.3 pounds. It's okay - yesterday I dropped 1.4, so I guess it's just the readjustment of the body. Though I ate better yesterday than I did Monday. This stuff is just goofy sometimes. That's why the day-to-day can suck, but weekly trends is possibly a better route. Though I'm not taking that route. I enjoy my scale too much!


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Morning Quickie

Well, I'm on Day 2 of the new program. Heartrate is constantly elevated, and sweat is pouring off my forehead. And I'm out of the gym quicker! I'm going to do this new program for a couple weeks, then reevaluate, but so far I'm digging it. :)


Monday, January 19, 2009

Weird night

I seem to be having one of those weird nights. I didn't talk much to my buddy today via email. Always a bit of a bummer. Then tonight I didn't hear from her at all. And I was sitting there thinking, what's going on? And the old me just resurfaced. The version with the low self-esteem. I was wondering if she'd figured out that I really am as lame as I know I am. That maybe she'd made the decision to not talk to me as much anymore. Maybe pulling away slowly or whatever? I don't know. I don't know! And I was just filling myself with these weird, negative and shameful thoughts. And the thing is, she's not even like that. I have no idea why I was projecting these behaviors onto her, but I just was. And I hate that I did that. Totally not fair to her, or to me. You're probably just thinking, "why didn't you just call her?" I don't have a good answer. I kind of thought, well, if that's how it is then that's how it is, and I don't want to make it weird or difficult or whatever. Just... just thinking garbage I guess. Just feeling blue. No good answers here, just some self-awareness.

So then it's 10:30 (up a bit later then normal Roder, what's on your mind???) and I get up, start getting ready for bed. I go to grab my phone. Uh... where is it? Uh... oh, it's in my coat pocket. And it's dead. And now it's on the charger, and there's both a text message and a voicemail from her.

The thing is, losing weight really isn't hard in the logical sense. Do your cardio, lift some weights, eat healthy and control your portions. You can get into more detail, but if you apply those principles against a long enough timeline, you'll lose all the weight you want. It's the mental and emotional side that sometimes fall out of whack and leads you to not follow your plan. To blow it. To binge.

So right now I'm feeling three things - stupid for not plugging my phone in when I got home, pleased that I was wrong, and so very, very glad that I don't keep any comfort food in my apartment.

Goodnight peeps. Don't let you get you down. :)

The switch-up

Today at the gym I switched it up a bit. Instead of three sets of 10 reps each, increasing the weight each time, I went for three sets of 18 reps each, keeping the weight the same.

I did the overhead press, and then shoulder shrugs. Holy. Crap. I'm soooo gassed from the workout! Normally I do three different exercises, but with the extra reps I thought two was okay. And I still do. My shoulders are cooked, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow with a bit of fear - they're gonna be so sore!


Friday, January 16, 2009

Hi there

Not too much today, outside of a quick update - I'm back down to 276.2. Technically a new low. So yeah, we're on the march down again. Tragically it's now the end of the week and I'm not going to have an opportunity to build on this as tomorrow I'm headed out of town for the night for some eating and drinking and general merriment at a friend's birthday. But it's a good trade as I'm looking forward to hanging out with her - it's been like 15 years since I saw her (outside of a brief hello last weekend), so that'll be super sweet!

In other news, my pal Karen reminded me that sometimes I need to do a better job of listening and actually hearing what people are saying instead of hearing what I hope they're saying. Point taken. Thanks Blondie!


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Checking for Changes

So this morning I'm still 278.6. Fine. Such is my lot this week.

Last night I went back and grabbed one of the pairs of 36" pants I received for Christmas. I pulled them on, buttoned them and wore them for most of the evening while I did my domestic chores (laundry and dishes and cleaning - sweet!). Even though I can get them on, button them and manage just fine in them, I still feel like they're painted on my thighs and butt. My boy parts were also pretty smooshed. Is this what emo guys and the dudes in bands like Fall Out Boy feel every day? Because if so, no thanks.

Anyway, the point is that they fit much better than when I first tried them on Christmas morning. I'm reminded of a post I made back in August, when I wrote about alternative metrics to pounds lost. I guess that's still going on.

I want to give a quick shout to Tony at The Anti-Jared for sending me an email and letting me know what he was doing for his gym routine at 278 pounds. Significantly different from what I'm doing. I'm ready for a change at the gym, so I'll work with my gym buddy Dan to craft something new and fresh. The only issue is, Tony's program looks to need 1.5~2 hours, and I've only got 1 hour in the morning before work. So I may do weights 3 times a week and cardio twice (or three times, incorporating Saturday) to try out his program. We'll see how I can make the changes.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I don't know man...

I think I'm on another plateau. I've been regularly working out. I've been drinking my water and getting my rest and eating well. And I haven't been losing.

I'm still at 278 today. I've been hanging out around this number since Christmas. What's the deal here? What's going on? I've changed my workout routine and upped my resistance. I've increased the level on my elliptical machine. I tracked my calories yesterday (2200). Grrr....

This is the struggle. This is the reason people lose their bananas. Here I am, busting my hump, and I'm getting bupkis back.

Well, that's not totally true... I stepped out of the shower yesterday morning. Remember way back, when I saw the first small line of muscle in my forearm? I've been having that quite a bit. My shoulders are rounding out, and on Monday when I did my front and lateral dumbell raises, I could really see the nice shape of muscle under the shirt as the arms went up. When I'm buzzing my head with the clippers, I can see the way my bicep makes a round shape, even without flexing. There's something there, and it looks to be nice. When I'm standing in the bathroom or my bedroom with my shirt off and look down at my arm, I can see the shoulder muscle go out then back into my arm, then how the triceps muscle comes back out. It's not just one amorphous shape any longer.

Well this week I noticed a fresh line. My thigh. Stepping out of the shower, there was a perceptible line of divided muscle running down the front of my thigh. My quads are just starting to peek out. Because of the loose skin on my upper thigh, I almost have to get a small jiggle going to make the line appear consistently, but it's there now. So maybe this weight plateau is okay, as underneath changes are still occuring. I don't know. I'm going to have to sit down and review what I'm doing and see where else I can kick it up a notch to jumpstart the scale's falling numbers again.

Man is this frustrating though.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


So I've been thinking about this post on and off a bit today. See, Dale is a friend of mine. He's also one of the original four from the FGC. And today he admitted that he's wanted me to fail in my quest to lose weight and find the life I've been missing out on.

The thing is, I don't begrudge him for his feelings. I understand. Back when I smoked and someone in my crew of friends would decide to quit? I was the guy who secretly rooted for them to fail. I'd want them to come back to the sticks. Come back to me. Make me feel like it was alright that I smoked, even though I knew it wasn't. I didn't want to be the odd man out, my fingers reeking of burnt tobacco, my clothing dusty with ash and my teeth yellowing from the nicotine. Hanging out with others like me would sometimes let me forget to hate myself for awhile. Misery loves company and that whole bit.

When I walk into a room, I instinctively look for a man or woman who looks like me; a stomach and/or ass ballooned up, threatening to make sliding in and out of a booth at lunchtime a hassle, shirt tails pulled out from their waistband in an attempt to hide the shame, shoulders hunched forward so that the stretch of their clothing across the chest and gut aren't as noticeable. I understand the need to not be the only one. To know that I'm not a total freak.

Dale, you're not a freak. You're just a guy who's wishing he weren't as big as he is. I know man. I understand. I've been there. I'm still there. Lots of people reading this post and visiting your blog have been there and will know and understand too. Unfortunately I don't know how wishing you were thin turns into acting to become thin. If I did man, I'd totally share the secret. Maybe you read a blog or a book and find some motivation. Maybe you or your loved one has a medical condition that forces you to act. Maybe you wake up and decide to just do it. Maybe you just run out of wishes.

But wishing failure on me won't making you thinner. It will only make you hateful and spiteful and mean. Like me. Like I used to be. And then we'd both be miserable again.

Anyway, whatever it is man, I hope you find it. I can tell you this though - my self esteem has been climbing and climbing these past few months. I'm seeing it manifest in small ways: the way I take care of myself - shaving everyday, caring about how I dress, managing my general appearance. And it shows in the way I interact with other people too - I'm not just a total dick anymore. Turns out I'm actually a man with value. I'm worth something, to other people and to myself. And that? That's a pretty awesome fucking feeling.

I'm rooting for you man.

Sore, scratchy throat

I woke up today and feel kind of terrible. My throat is dry, sore and scratchy. It's negative 15 degrees outside, and I have a tendency to sleep with my window cracked open and lots of blankets on my bed. It creates a super-warm cocoon for me to snooze in, but it may have led to the sickies. Blech.

Oh well, still got up. Still went to the gym.

Yesterday I was pressed for time, which is why I had such a weak blog post, but I got all caught up at work and now the pressure is passed down the line to the next guy. I guess that's good?

Anyway, not much else is going on. This place is frozen and quiet and I'm continuing to do my thing.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A new week

Hit the gym, skipped the muffin, got the small coffee with the skim milk, and have generally kicked some ass. What you know about it???

Sunday, January 11, 2009


This isn't a real post, except to say that wow! - on Friday I went up 40 pounds on my last set of v-squats, just to say that I did it with three 45-pound plates on either side of the machine. That's 270 pounds. My ass, quads, hamstrings, and the insides of my thighs were so sore all day yesterday (every time I stood up out of a chair or off the ground my lower body was singing to me), and as of 11:30 this morning they're still sore. But I got through the whole exercise and I'm pumped! Next week I'll add even more weight. Just wanted to share.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Scale Slut

I'm a total tramp for my scale. I can't get enough. Every day, twice-daily at least.

Yesterday she rewarded me - I magically dropped 2 pounds, and I hadn't even worked out at the gym the day prior. This morning? She gave me the pimp-hand, and friends, her pimp-hand is strong. Up two pounds. My scale, she's a fickle bitch and I'm her whore.

Guess I shouldn't have eaten those salty chips yesterday.


Thursday, January 08, 2009

Thursday (creative title, I know!)

This morning I was so excited to hit the gym, I woke up wide awake 10 minutes before my alarm went off. I was at the gym early, and ran 2 miles in 20 minutes on the elliptical. After that was arm day - triceps pushdowns and triceps overhead pulls, then reverse curls and standing curls. I went up between five and ten pounds on every exercise. I think I can go even higher, though the third set for three of the four exercises was *tough*. Which is good. :)

To respond to yesterday's skip I went for a frozen walk/jog around the 'hood. I don't know how far it was - probably around 1.5 to 2 miles. I could probably drive it and watch the odometer, though in truth I don't much care. I did what I had to do, and that's what matters.


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

I skipped

This morning, I didn't go. First time I've actually skipped my gym workout. I've missed before, but usually due to an outside force pushing against me or I was on a mini-vacation. This time, I hit snooze when the alarm went off, then the second time I turned it off, grabbed my phone, texted my workout partner, and canceled.

I didn't get to bed until 2:30 or so last night, and I was *tired*.

I've also got quite a bit of stuff at work - we've got a big release coming out and the pressure's on to start hitting homeruns in 2009. Fair enough. So I wanted to get some sleep and be sharp for work rather than go to the gym. Which, in all honesty is true, but *feels* like an excuse. So... I skipped.

I have a commitment tonight so I can't go to the gym directly after work, but depending on when I'm done I'd like to either get there or get a walk in. Something. Pushups perhaps. Point being, even though I skipped, I want to hold myself accountable. I need to hold myself accountable. And I need to make it up to me.


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Huffin' and Puffin' and Sweatin'

Katschi asked us to post some post-workout photos, so here's my entry into the wet t-shirt contest. I'm thinking I've got a chance, though rumor is you gotta show skin to win. Also, no, I don't smile in pictures. I don't like having my picture taken. Whatever. Did that sound defensive? lol.

Today I decided that part of focusing on the workout meant stepping it up a bit. I keep a workout journal running, so when I checked it for deadlifts today, I saw that I'd been lifting the same weight for four weeks in a row. I haven't missed a rep yet. Obviously it's time to move up, so I kicked it up by 10 pounds. Same thing with the high-rows and the mid-rows. I need to get to a place with these lifts where they're hard again. Where I'm missing reps. Where I'm not yet strong enough to lift the weight. I think I've just been coasting on my improvements, and it's not doing me any good.

I also kicked the elliptical up to level 12. It'll be my new home for awhile - I think I've been on 11 for an entire month, when I used to go up every week or two. Yikes! Complacency has obviously set in, even when I'm at the gym!

Take a look at your routine. Are you challenging yourself? Is it time to reassess, adding time, distance, speed, weight or reps to your current workout? Think about it.


Monday, January 05, 2009


So again over New Years/this weekend I was hit with another wave of compliments and people noticing my weight loss. Great, right?

Bizarrely, no.

Currently all the praise I'm receiving makes me pleased. Pleased that people are noticing. Validating my hard work. But on the other hand, all the compliments are having this weird reverse reaction in me whereby I'm losing a bit of focus. Clearly I'm not as fat as I was - people can see that. So it's fine if I indulge a bit, right? Right??


So I'm making today's note to myself be to regain focus. Block out what people are saying. Don't focus on the external reactions, but focus again on the internal. I'm not done. I'm not even close. And I can't lose sight of that.

Where I've Been and Where I'm Going