Week 45: A good week!

Overall, this was a pretty great week for my Operation Melt journey. The weather was nice, which made outdoor exercise possible, I got some good press and I had an epiphany moment. So, not a lot of complaints from me about week 45!

Good press for my journey

This week, The Fitness Loft (my gym) in Columbus featured my Operation Melt journey on a member spotlight on their blog. This gave me a chance to start telling my story in another way to help other people with their journeys.

Hopefully, this is the first step of several upcoming things that I am going to potentially be working on with the fitness loft. They are helping me help people with my story while getting more experience in the coaching space. Plus, I am going to help tell their story along the way. Talk about a win-win!

Click here to read the Fitness Loft blog post.

Spring time in Columbus

The weather in Columbus is finally almost consistently spring like – it is almost May, it is time! This means that I can do way more outdoor workouts and not always have to be in the house or in the gym. But, I can enjoy the sun and the fresh air and the changing scenery.

This week, I went outside every day for walking or running. This included a day when I did a 2-mile run through the neighborhood before returning to the park where I slowed to a walk. I ran into my neighbor in the park and we ended up doing another 5 miles in laps around the park. How’s that for a good workout?

Then, on Friday, I decided to go for a run at one of Columbus’ Metro Parks. I went to Scioto Grove in the southern part of Columbus, almost to Grove City. I ran around the park where there was plenty of nature and beautiful sights. Here is an example of one of the spots along the running trail.

Continued progress with weight loss

I hit a new low weight this week at a total loss of 107 pounds. That brings me to a total weight loss of 33% of my body weight in 10 months. While I continue to fluctuate up and down nearly daily, it is great to see a consistent downward momentum.

When I hit my 100 pounds mark, I set a new, adjusted goal of losing 125 pound by 6/15. At 125 pounds lost, I will be under 200 pounds and that is where I planned to stop focusing on losing weight as my primary goal. Based on where I am today, I am not sure that I am really going to meet that revised goal on time.

You know what… I am completely ok with that. I did make my first goal and I am still making progress. I will hit the 125 pounds lost mark eventually. Plus, the work I have been doing with my trainer and the ongoing weight training is causing me to add some additional muscle weight. Plus, I am really seeing the visible results, so I am still making great progress!

Half marathon “remorse”

On Saturday, the Cap City Half Marathon was run through the streets of Columbus. The German Village area was mile 1 and 2 of the course, so I went to watch. I had many friends running the race so I got to cheer them on and show support. I even had a friend who was walking it and I jumped out and walked a few blocks with her.

Watching the race, I kind of kicked myself a little bit. Lots of people were suggesting that I sign up for the 5k or to walk and walk/run the half or quarter – I have not desire to run a quarter, half or full marathon. But, I decided I wasn’t ready. Then, as I watched the people run and walk by, I figured out that I am in as good of shape or better than many of the people I saw.

I should have signed up to walk the quarter or half, but I talked myself out of it. I convinced myself that I am not in that type of shape or not good enough to do it. It is really taking time to adjust to the new me and I need to get my brain out of my way.

Getting my brain out of my way brings me to my last point for today.

Operation Melt First Time 5k

I want to run my first 5k, but I have been struggling with convincing myself that I am ready and finding a race that I want to be my first. Everything seems big or at a time I don’t like or a million other excuses. So, I needed to figure something out.

I returned to the basic tenants that I used when I started my journey. Don’t overthink it, start small and do not let panning get in my way, leverage friends and family as support and try to give back along the way. Plus, the most important strategy, do it my way, not somebody else’s way!

That led me to an epiphany, I need to host my own 5k to be my first and run it with friends and family! That is just what I am going to do. I have decided to host an “informal” 5k run with my friends to commemorate the anniversary of my Operation Melt journey. Plus, I will use the race as a fundraiser for Central Community House to help give families the support they need to break free from poverty just like I did.

I am not going to over-think or over-plan the run. I am going to keep it basic and just do it. It may be a disaster and I might get nobody to sign up to do it with me. I may get way too many people that want to do it. There may be another competing event. There may be tons of things I am not thinking about.

But, if I learned one thing when I started my journey, it is that the most important thing to do is to get started and don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis. I am just going to put it out there and see what happens.

Click on the image below to see the flyer for my Operation Melt First Time 5k.

Check back next week for more!

Last week’s stats (4/16 – 4/22):
Distance walked/run: 46.2 miles
Total calories burnt: 26,191
Total calories consumed: 16,214
Weight change: 1.7 pounds lost

Week 44: Just an OK week

After beast week last week, I only had an ok week this week. There was no way that I was going to compare to last week. I still moved forward this week and had some reasonable achievements, but nothing all that exciting.

Weight Mini Milestone

I achieved a mini milestone in my weight loss this week. It wasn’t big enough that I wanted to post it separately, but it was important to me. For the first time since I started my journey, I have dipped below 220 pounds and weighed in at 219 pounds. Just 20 more pounds and I reach my semi-final goal of getting under 200 pounds.

Working Hard to Eat More

I have been working on increasing my food intake a bit to avoid over training. I have ramped up my calories intake in order to hit my protein goal. I know it seems counter-intuitive, but I needed to increase my calories again in order to get to my nutrient goals and to offset the exercise.

My baseline calorie budget is 1863 calories a day right now before exercise. This baseline budget already includes a deficit needed to achieve 1-2 pounds per week of weight loss. Then, each day, I have been averaging about 1000 calories of exercise. So, that means that I can eat somewhere in the neighborhood of 2800 calories to achieve the same weight loss. I definitely want to eat less than that, but not go so low that my body goes into starvation mode.

It has been working, I seem to continue losing weight though I am ramping up my food intake. There have been days where I feel like I am always eating, but it is working for me.

Operation Melt Next Steps

This week, I worked on taking some of the next steps with my book. The first section has been edited and is mostly done. I also started working on finding an agent to help sell my book to a publisher once the rest is edited. I am pretty excited to get the book published.

In addition to the book, I had some discussions this week about some other venues where I can help people using my experiences and story. I have started giving some thought to a plan for how to build a business out of my new-found passion for health & fitness. If I can ultimately find a way to turn this passion into a career, my transformation will be permanent for sure and I can help others transform the same way. Stay tuned for more updates here!

Check back next week for more!

Last week’s stats (4/9 – 4/15):
Distance walked/run: 54.5 miles
Total calories burnt: 27,950
Total calories consumed: 16,474
Weight change: 3 pounds lost

Week 43: Beast Week!

Spring has sprung in Columbus and the weather has finally turned a bit warmer. With that, I ramped up my exercise a bit this week… a bunch actually! I decided to take advantage of the nice weather. So, I have taken to calling this beast week because I really was hitting it hard… I was in beast mode! I pushed my body harder than I think I ever have and it felt great – minus some minor muscle pains.

Personal Record: Exercise Time

My personal fitness tracker automatically records the number of active minutes each day. This measurement includes any exercise that I choose to track with the tracker plus any time I am active for over 10 minutes. This is a good measurement of how active I am in any given day or week.

Well, as I mentioned, this was beast week and I hit a new personal record of 860 minutes of activity. This is over 100 minutes more than the second most active week. By the way, that second most active week was last week at 748 active minutes.

Part of the 860 active minutes I achieved this week was driven by exercises that I tracked using my tracker. This week, I logged nearly 11 hours of exercise including walking, running, weights and my training session. My total walk/run distance was over 55 miles which is more than 10 miles more than last week and most previous weeks.

Eventually, I will not have the time available to spend this much time exercising. In the near future, I expect to have a new job which will consume my time, but until then, I am going to take advantage of this weather and this time to keep moving.

Personal Record: One Day Distance

On Friday, I decided to skip the gym and running and to just go for a long walk. I decided to walk from our house in German Village to lunch at the North Market in downtown (2.5 miles). Then, after lunch, I walked around Goodale Park in the Short North (about 1 mile or more) and then I took a long walk through downtown and back home. Afterwards, I walked to the restaurant where Liz and I would be meeting for dinner.

In all, I walked a total of 11.5 miles in one day which is 2-3 miles more than my previous best day.

Lots of Running

I spent a lot of time running this week.

Monday and Tuesday, I did 5k runs on the treadmill at the gym.

Wednesday I did a 5k run outside through the neighborhood.

Thursday, I did a 4.5 mile trail run downtown along the Scioto river. This trail was very hilly and draining, plus it was a sun-burning good time. I need to start applying sunscreen before outdoor runs.

Finally, on Saturday, I ramped it up even more. I did a 5 mile run from my house to the Grange Audubon park and around the trail that circles the park.

All of these run were a mix of running and walking, but the majority has definitely been running. I am seeing improvements all the time in my endurance and how I feel after a run. I am getting more and more confident that I am going to be ready to run a real 5k within the next 60 days.

Check back next week for more!

Last week’s stats (4/2 – 4/8):
Distance walked/run: 43.7 miles
Total calories burnt: 26,473
Total calories consumed: 14,530
Weight change: 4.2 pounds lost

Recipe: Avocado Toast

Some of you have asked me to share some of my go-to foods that I have used to fuel my body along the way. So, I am going to start sharing some of them along the way. I can’t commit to a regular cadence of recipe posts, but I will do it as often as I can and will try to share pictures too in order to help you recreate my recipes.

Avocado Toast

The first recipe I want to share is one of my nearly daily go-to foods, avocado toast. Simply, it is smushed avocado on toast. It is delicious, nutritious and easy to make. Plus, it is pretty versatile with toppings and seasonings and never boring.

I have previously talked about some of my surprises along the way in my Operation Melt journey. One of those surprises was that my tastes changed a bit and this is one example of those changes. I used to hate avocado and would never have eaten it by choice. Now, I eat avocado in some form nearly every day. So, that is something!

Nutritional Information

Part of why I like avocado toast so much is the nutritional value. First, avocados are miracle foods loaded with health benefits. They are loaded with fiber, protein, potassium and healthy fats. This article discusses 12 health benefits of avocados. So, they are something I really want to put into my body!

Then, if chosen properly, the bread used for the toast can be very healthy too.

Depending on how you make your avocado toast, then nutritional information is something similar to the following. Just look at that fiber and protein content!

How to Make It

Making your avocado toast is really pretty simple. But, you need to start with the right ingredients. Start with a good ripe, not over-ripe, avocado and whole grain bread.

Next, this one is an easy step, just make toast. Toast to your desired doneness.

Now, it is time to cut your avocado. Cut around the outside to split the avocado into 2 halves. Then, use a knife to remove the pit and throw it out. Finally, insert a spoon between the skin and the avocado meat to separate the meat.

Next, dump the avocado meat onto the toast and smush and spread it with a fork.

Finally, it is time to season your toast. I like to use sea salt, pepper and crushed red pepper in order to make it a bit spicy.

And, there you have it, your final product.

Suggested Upgrades

I mentioned before that one of the best parts of avocado toast is its versatility. You can top it with whatever you like. Microgreens or other vegetables are pretty common additions to avocado toast.

One of my favorite upgrades is to add an egg – sunny side up adds a touch of challenge and ensures that you get some nice runny yolk! Plus, I like to add some fruit on the side to complete the meal.

There you have it, just that simple. Give it a try and let me know how it worked out for you. Plus, if you work in some upgrades, please do share back with me because I am always looking to try new things too.

Week 42: There’s always next week!

Another week of Operation Melt is in the record books and it was one of marginal success at best. I am struggling in some areas but making some progress in others. Overall, on a scale of 1 to 10, I would probably only rate this week a 5 in how well I did in my journey. But, there is always next week.

Losing at losing

Another week of weight struggles this week. After experiencing a major weight fluctuation at the end of last week – 5 pounds in one day! – I spent a portion of this week trying to get back to where I was. Then, Friday through Sunday, I didn’t weigh myself at all because I was at Indian Lake and didn’t take a scale with me. So, who knows where I will be tomorrow morning when I get back into my routine.

My weight rollercoaster is being driven by a few factors, but the biggest of them is my sodium intake. Despite trying to manage my sodium to 1500-2400mg per day, I am frequently seeing 3000+ milligram days and even hit 4000 on Saturday night at the lake. Believe it or not, the biggest problem that drove me to 4000mg was that I had pickles on my burger and a pickle spear on the side. Those 2 things, which are so low in calories that I usually wouldn’t have logged them separately, are over 500mg alone, that is a third of my sodium budget!

Another factor impacting my weight is probably my weight training. I am definitely adding muscle and toning my body. That muscle has weight and is probably having some impact on my body, I just don’t know how much.

I am trying hard not to repeat my previous mistakes with over training and under eating, so I am consuming more calories on the days I workout. But, I am still staying well within my net calorie goal, though I have been really close a couple of times. I am also working hard to get to my protein goal each day, but almost always fall short.

My final factor that is likely impacting my weight is the lack of a routine. I am still in between jobs, so my daily routine tends to be anything but routine. Yes, I have some basic structure to my day, but nothing I would call routine. This means that the timing of my food consumption varies from day to day as does the timing of exercise. This may be confusing my body a bit.

Unfortunately, I am not really on track right now for my next weight loss goal of 25 more pounds by June 15. It is very frustrating, but I am trying not to be too upset about it because I am making lots of progress in other areas.

5k here I come

I am working on training for my first 5k race and just need to figure out which one I want to target as my first. I have plenty to choose from in Columbus because there seems to be one or more every weekend! But, I need to feel ready before I do it. So, I try to make my daily treadmill running and walking achieve at least the 3.1 miles. But, I have never achieved that in running and always have to walk.

For me to feel “ready” for a 5k, I need to have run a full 3.1 miles at least once without stopping to walk. I want to run at 10-minute to 10 and a half minute miles for my pace time. Faster wears me out too fast and slower feels uncomfortable.

This week, I tried to run my first 5k run outside on a nice afternoon. I walked down to the park and did some warm up stretching. Then, I ran. I got jut past a mile before I needed to slow to a walk for 30-60 seconds and then kept running. I repeated this process frequently until I got to 3.1 miles. I would run as long as I could run and then slow to walk for a bit and then run. In all, I would say I ran for at least 70% of the 3.1 miles. My time / pace was the key challenge.

My full 3.1 miles clocked in at an average of around 10:12 per mile. That is great because it is right in my target zone, but that is a challenge. I walked 25% to 30% of the time and still hit my target pace. This means that the time when I am running, I am running way too fast and that is causing me to get exhausted too quickly.

I need to figure out how to really control my running pace on my own or the preparation for a 5k is going to take forever.

Speaking of training

I am now on a weekly cadence with my trainer, I meet with her every Wednesday morning for a session. We usually target a full body workout and it is going great. I have learned a number of new things from her and really enjoy our time. Even when it hurts to walk the next day!

The best part about working with her is that she is helping me start to structure a true gym routine. That has been my top goal with her because I keep doing the same things at the gym and I think I am skipping major parts of my body. She has helped with that.

Lake season has started

This week, Liz and I opened our house at Indian Lake for the season. Every fall, we winterize the house and it stands all cold and lonely until spring. Since the calendar, but not the weather, says it is spring now, we opened and have kicked off the season.

Being back at the lake is exciting and fun, but it brings some fitness challenges. First, there are no gyms up here at all. When the weather is nice, I can go outside for running or just waking if it is chillier. But, if it is really cold or rainy, there are very limited options for exercise. Pair this up with less healthy food options and lots more beer and the lake can be very bad for my journey. It requires lots of discipline to stay successful here.

This weekend, the temperature was above 45 on Friday morning, so I was able to go for a run and did great with it. I ran almost 2 full miles and my pace was pretty good.

But, it was too cold to run all of the other days though I did get some walking in, including a good 5 mile walk around the islands on Saturday.

Yes, I know that some of your diehards will run in 30 degree weather, but I don’t have the proper gear for that and my body is still very sensitive to cold because it needs to acclimate to its new smaller size. So, 45 degrees is my low temperature mark for running.

Check back next week for more!

Last week’s stats (3/26 – 4/1):
Distance walked/run: 47.9 miles
Total calories burnt: 26,330
Total calories consumed: 16,028
Weight change: 5.2 pounds GAINED!