Taking care

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By now, you're all likely to be sick of my constant complaining about bad dieting, working out too much, and so on... but, man, July 2011 may have been the single worst month in my diet history - something has to change, and it has to change pronto.

I failed on my diet for 21 days in July. That's simply inexcusable. I gave-up during this month... I had friends in from out of town, a house warming party, several work functions at restaurants/bars, a skydiving celebration, and a solid week of "I don't care about anything" self-pity. The net result? I gained 27-lbs in July. I'm sitting at nearly 185-lbs, which is ridiculous given how hard I had to work to get to a healthy weight.

I consumed 99,655 calories over a 30-day period in July. For comparison, in July of 2010, I consumed a total of 39,012 calories. I burned a total of 10,300 calories through exercise in July of 2011, compared with 26,455 in July of 2010. It's no wonder I'm blimping-out.

So, I vow to get back on track. I feel miserable right now - my joints hurt, my face feels puffy, my stomach is flabby like it hasn't been in a long time... I've eaten so many donuts and cookies this past month that I honestly believe I'm burned-out on them, which is probably a good thing. It'll make me less likely to want to binge on them over the next few months.

I spent yesterday re-mapping a viable, long-term plan for nutrition and workouts. I created spreadsheets, daily meal plans, daily workout plans, and scheduled 2 specific cheat meals for August. If all goes to plan, I should be back into the groove and taking care of myself in no time.

It started today with a 58-mile bike ride, followed by a 4-mile run. As heavy as I currently am, and as painful as it was to run, I hammered out the 4-miles at an average pace of 8:12/mile... that shocked me because I'm usually an 8:30/mile runner, and, I hit that pace after an intense 58-mile ride.

I rode with a group of folks from the Capital Brewery; we left from Madison at 7:00am sharp and wound our way up to Prairie du Sac. At several points along the way, we crossed the Wisconsin river, which was absolutely beautiful:


A 58-mile ride sounds impressive, but we didn't ride "straight-through" - we stopped in Prarie du Sac for a breakfast break... I had a scrambled egg and 2 pieces of this awesome homemade cracked whole wheat toast. I gave 2 pieces away - my fellow riders thought it was "top 10 toast" (if there is such a thing).


The breakfast was made all the better by the surroundings - we stopped at the Blue Spoon Cafe & Creamery in Prairie du Sac, and scored outdoor tables, which overlook the Wisconsin river. Even though it was approaching 80F by 9:00am, it was quite enjoyable out there. After our break, we hit the road for the return trip; the total ride took about 3.5 hours, with a 30-minute breakfast break. I averaged just about 19-mph, which was really pleasing.

After the ride, I ran (in Madison) on a nice trail - I forget how glorious it is to run on crushed pea gravel. I like the sound, I like the feel, and I like the softer impact. After my run was finished, I headed to the house, where I hung out for about 2 hours.

My boss and I then went for a 12-mile bike ride; he just got his first real road bike and wanted to take it for a spin, so I joined him for a quick spin. I returned back to the house and hopped in the shower, at which point I noticed that the sun had gotten the best of me, despite my lathering-up with sunblock. :-)

Here's my arm and leg (note the bike shorts/watch tan lines):


Even my feet got tan/crispified... I ride my bike without socks, and here you can see where the sun worked its way through past the hooks/loops in my shoes:


For dinner I had 2 grilled fish tacos (4" corn tortilla, broccoli slaw, grilled fish, cilantro, lime) and 1 smoked brisket taco (4" flour tortilla, smoked brisket, onion, cilantro) and an iced tea. So tasty. I really enjoy and feel better when I eat "clean" - I have no idea why I crave crappy foods when the good stuff tastes as good as it does.

After dinner, I went grocery shopping and prepared meals for the rest of the week. I then gave Mack a good brushing... how she isn't bald is beyond me:


Tomorrow will be more of the same - ride/run and focus on getting back into taking care of myself. If the weather permits, I may try to sneak in a late afternoon/evening skydive... we'll see how things go.


I just love reading your blog and wish I could spend a month hanging out, eating and working out with you. You're an inspiration and I hope you keep posting about the fun stuff you do as well as your eating/exercising habits. No one is perfect and you really have come a long way, I’ve been in a funk for over 2 years and want to break it badly. Since spring of ‘09 I fell out of my routine and have failed to get back. My a job changed, the hours changed and we moved in 2 month’s time. My new job afforded me easy access to not so good for you food and the change in hours halted my workouts – I’d love to follow your lead.
Liz Woolever (Klein)

Hi Liz,

Great to hear from you and thanks for the vote of confidence. I don't think that I'm an inspiration by any means, especially given how poorly and irresponsibly I've handled my diet and lifestyle over the past few months - July was just the "icing" on the proverbial cake... I'm 4 days into the "reset" and I'm questioning how/why I go off the deep end when I cheat on my diet... I feel so much better after eating "clean" - I feel like a new person again, but have a long way to go until I'm back down to my ideal weight and full routine.

There's no real secret to my routine - it boils down to me "eating less and doing more." I became super-obsessed with finding the perfect meal system and an unrealistic training routine, hence the burnout and subsequent sharp fall. I looked back at what I had done from 2008 - 2010/11, and I basically ate conservatively and ran an average of 4 miles per day, with a few long bike rides on the weekends.

In 2011, I set a super aggressive racing schedule, and really pushed my training without increasing my calories at all. That caused me to become "lifeless" and probably contributed to my achilles injury. Once injured, I gained weight and lost a lot of fitness, and that started the downward spiral. If I had it to do over again, I'd worry less about racing and focus more on maintenance and consistency.

So, I know you can do whatever you set out to do. Just keep your goals reasonable and realistic, and know that you're going to want to cheat on your plan here and there. I found that if I kept my monthly cheating to about 10%, I was golden - no negative impact. So, if there are 30-days in a month, and I felt like eating bad 10% of the time, I could eat bad for 3 out of the 30-days. Unfortunately, I lost the ability to stop being bad after 3-days... it extended into 4-5 days, and then that repeated every 10-15 days... not good.

I wouldn't worry too much about what you eat; obviously, you don't want to get all of your calories from McDonalds or the like, but don't feel like you have to learn how to survive on carrots, broccoli, and tofu. I happen to like eating "boringly" when I'm staying focused, so I eat a lot of the same stuff. I'll make an entry in my blog about the new plan, and it'll have more details.

Wow, this is a long comment... :-) Simply put: eat less, do more, don't get discouraged, and don't try to be perfect. Just be consistent, and be able/willing to adjust here and there as necessary. Good luck!

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This page contains a single entry by Steve published on July 30, 2011 9:34 PM.

Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird, it's a plane, it's me!!! was the previous entry in this blog.

'Cause I'm free - Free-faaaaaalin'! is the next entry in this blog.

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