Week 37: Continued Progress, Almost There

This was an interesting week in my journey and I made continued progress towards my goal. That won’t mean that I am done, but that I have achieved my first big goal. The next goals won’t be so much about a number but about other things including activities and tone.

97 Pounds: Crushed

My weight isn’t falling as fast as it used to when I was larger. This is to be expected, but at least I am still moving the right direction in general. This week, I hit both the 96 pounds lost mark and the 97 pounds lost mark. These are big wins for me!

Meanwhile, as my weight has ticked down 2 more pounds, my daily calorie budget has decreased too. For the first time, my calorie target has dipped below 1900 calories per day. At my new 97 pounds down weight, my daily calorie target is 1893 calories. This means that eating wisely and working out vigorously is even more important.

Visible Results

On the topic of results, I had another moment this week where I saw the visible results. I worked with a friend who is a professional photographer to update my professional headshot. My last headshot was taken 5 years ago and no longer looks like who I am today. So, she took the photo and delivered it after some retouching and I created a side-by-side of the 2 headshots. The difference is very clear!

Additionally, I continue to see visible results in muscle tone in my arms. I see growing biceps and more well defined triceps. I see increasingly muscular legs and slimming down of many areas of my body. Unfortunately, I still have many problem areas that still need to go away in my stomach and chest.

Performance Results

The other place that I have started seeing more results is in my performance at the gym.

While I am not seeing the improvements in running endurance that I want to see, I am seeing it in other areas. In weight lifting, I have already increased the amount of weight I am lifting a few times and recently went from 50 to 60 pound barbell for bicep curls. Now, the 60 pound barbell is getting a little too easy and I am preparing for an increase to 70 pounds. Other weight exercises are going the same way and I am increasing weight in ab crunches, rows, bench press and other exercises.

I am really working to boost my running endurance and want to sign up for my first 5k. But, the longest I have been able to run without slowing to walk, is 2.1 miles and that was just one time. I am not confident that I will suddenly tack on another mile just because I am in an organized race. I really want to get to the point where I can run 3 miles, even if I am slow, before I go out and embarrass myself with others.

Medical Results

Another place that I saw results this week was when I had a follow-up visit with my doctor. The goal of the visit was to check in on where I am with my blood pressure. Ideally, the result would be to decrease or eliminate all medication. I also had some other goals of questions I wanted to ask to get some guidance.

The bad news is that I did not completely eliminate medication. But, the good news is that my blood pressure is doing great and the doctor changed my medication to something with a much lower dose. We also talked about me potentially coming completely off the medicine in 3 months.

In addition to the blood pressure, my doctor was also very happy with my weight progress. He referred to it as me no longer carrying an extra cheerleader around with me. We set a goal of being down another 15 pounds at my follow-up visit in 3 months. That will put me within reach of being under 200 pounds!

My biggest question for the doctor was about my daily target for protein. I had read lots of sources lately that recommended that I consume over 200 grams a day and that seems unrealistic. My doctor confirmed that my target protein intake should be 100-150 grams per day. That is a lot! I struggle to get to the 100 grams and stay within my calorie target each day. So, I am not really sure how to consistently get there.

Am I an athlete?

When looking up my protein target, my doctor said something that was surprising to me. He said that my level of exercise means that I need to follow the guidelines for athletes, not just normal protein intake.

This surprised me because I don’t consider myself an athlete.

When does somebody cross the line from being somebody who works out and is interested in their fitness to being an athlete? Don’t you have to be a competitor to be an athlete? Don’t I have to participate in my first organized event?

Could it be that I became an athlete and didn’t know it? I don’t think I am an athlete, especially after just watching the Olympics for a few weeks. I am nowhere near that league. In fact, I am not even in the league of many of the people I see at the gym.

Arnold Sports Festival

Another thing that I did this week that reinforced my opinion that I am not an athlete is that I went to the Arnold Sports Festival or Arnold Classic. I have lived in Columbus for my entire life and have never gone to this event in the previous 29 years that I was here. But, this year, on the 30th anniversary, I decided to go. My goal was to get inspiration from some of the athletes, learn new things and to get some free samples of stuff.

My first impression was that I could not believe how many people were there on a Friday afternoon. It was packed. This is a picture just from one corner of the expo while watching a strongman competition. Look how packed.

There were lots of interesting events that we got to see. For example, the Spartan obstacle course was kind of amazing and I could not believe what those people could do. We saw the Crossfit games competition and it really made me question all of the people who suggest that I should try Crossfit. One of the coolest events we saw were the Scottish Highland Games. Here is a picture of guys trying to toss a heavy weight over a bar that was 18 feet over their heads.

I did get some free samples of various products, mostly foods and supplements. The only one I have tried so far was a whey protein powder that mixes with liquid to deliver extra protein. I mixed this with coconut milk and had a pretty delicious protein shake with 25 grams of protein at under 200 calories. Plus, I drank it just before working out and I had tons of energy through the workout.

In all, I am glad I went to the Arnold, but probably won’t go back unless I compete in something. There are just WAY too many people for my comfort.

Check back next week for more!

Last week’s stats (2/19 – 2/25):
Distance walked/run: 38.38 miles
Total calories burnt: 26,419
Total calories consumed: 12,976
Weight change: 3.2 pounds lost

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