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Posts tagged ‘20/20 Lifestyles’

April 7th: Weekly Weigh in – (week 14) down 0.8 lbs (to 212.8)

Well, I guess I should be glad that I didn’t put on weight after yesterday’s weigh in scare. I am down 0.8 lbs (0.36 kg) to 212.8 lbs (96.7 kgs) this week. See the Scorecard page for progress.

This week’s weigh in tells me that I am not ready for prime time (as in being out and about, traveling on the program) and that I have much to learn.

I am pissed, frustrated, disappointed, upset, etc. My primary reason for that is NOT that I haven’t lost any weight this week. It is the fear of losing the momentum, the forward progress that has become so addictive… I want to continue succeeding.

April 6th: Another Swim, Then An Idiot Move

I swam for 55 minutes this moring. Afterwards, I went up to the 20/20 offices to see Dr Perkins for my 10-week check up (with a 2-week delay due to my travels). He told me what I know mostly: I am doing well, I’ve lost millions of inches around my body (not really… just 26-27 of them). Pat in the back, keep it up, etc.

As I was leaving, I went ahead and stepped on the scale that I always use to weigh in. It said 217.4 lbs. Usually, 3 lbs is subtracted from that amount for clothing allowance (2lbs if wearing workout). That would mean I would weigh around 214.4 – that would be a weight gain from 2 weeks ago of 0.6-0.8 lbs (0.25 kg).Of course, it is not official, since we do that during lunch time on a different day but still that means there are no 2-3 lbs weight loss that I was hoping for (I’ve been traveling… That means eating more and also eating foods that are either unfamiliar or consuming foods for which you are not sure of the nutritional value).

That “hope for 2-3 lb loss” I mention is based on a spreadsheet I’ve been keeping while I am away. I tracked the calories I burn against calories I intake and then calculate a best, worst and medium case scenarios. Worst case consists of reducing calories expended by 20% and increasing the calorie intake figures by the same amount to allow for overages and underestimation. Best figure is when I take the measurements literally. Medium case is when I take the calories expended literally but degrade the calorie intake figure by 20%…  That’s some work for a hokey, non-scientific approach, huh? Anyway, according to my spreadsheet, I could lose anywhere from 1.35 lbs to 5.01 lbs, with a midpoint of 3.68. Clearly, my math does not account for water retention, gas or constipation. Anyway, it sounds like I am not going to achieve even my worst case scenario… Could it really be that I underestimated the calories consumed by more than 20%? Same for bodybugg data being off over 20%?

My Sad Spreadsheet

I shouldn’t have gotten on that scale. Now, I will spend the next 24 hours or so obsessing over this, until the weigh in. And at the weigh in, I will be sorely disappointed. Ah, the pressure of weigh in. I guess that is one thing about the routing I didn’t miss while I was gone.

April 5th: A Good Swim, Then Shiatsu

I woke up at the usual time this morning (5AM) and swam for cardio. A good 60-minute session with some kickboarding included this time around for variety.

I had a much needed shiatsu massage afterwards… Because of all the traveling and sitting down in planes for 9+ hours, my legs were all tired and achy. The massage unblocked the blood flow and really made a difference.

Still feel worn down a little… I really need to take a day or something to recover but I can’t (too much going on).

My shiatsu massage therapist thought I was under a lot of stress. Maybe I am and I don’t feel it. I know there is stress in my life at all times but am I under extra levels of it right now and if so, how come I am not aware of it? How do you tend to stress that you are not aware of? Discuss among yourselves.

I am happy about my food intake going back to reasonable levels… I like the idea of being able to eat less and still feel the same sense of fullness or satiety as when I eat whole lot more.

April 4th: I Heart My (Dull as Dishwater 20/20) Life (of Routine)

I woke up at 5AM as usual. My loving routine. The idea of doing what I’ve been doing almost everyday for the last 3 months is probably very boring to some (of you) but I love it. I seek it. I miss it.

Back to 5 AM… I was so happy about being in my bed and feeling sorry for myself for having to get up. Tired (especially my legs) from the time zone change of course but happy.

I worked out with Christina this morning at the usual time (I love you 6AM… you are my favorite workout hour). I started with a 25-minute elliptical workout and then we did stability, balance and endurance exercises. We are moving away from the machines these days. Feels pretty good. I was really off-balance today. Probably tired.

I finished the morning workout with an 18-minute recumbent bike ride watching a 20/20 video. All in all, 88 minutes in workout activity, resulting in burning of 768 calories (average heart rate 113, max heart rate 138).

On my way out, I needed to buy some supplies but the Pro Club shop was out of vanilla flavored high-protein shakes. And they will be until mid-April. Blasphemy. I have to drink those stupid ready to drink shakes… They suck. I may go for a replacement shake shopping. It is probably cheaper to buy it in bulk elsewhere anyway. I was being loyal but if the club cannot manage their supply chain effectively, then I suppose I can find something else to be loyal to…

Anyway, I can’t wait to settle back into the comfort of my routine. It was OK to be away but I missed my calorie-controlled, satisfying food that somehow make me lose weight.

I think I need more time getting the training/learning I need to do well out in the real world (as in outside the U.S. As long as I am here, I can do what I do now knowing what to buy, where to buy it… Fat free plain yogurt sucked in the U.K. and Turkey… who knew?)

Today will be tough to get through. I have to work all day and then I have a 20/20 group session at 5:30PM. Then we are planning to go see Greg Laswell live at Crocodile Cafe at 8 PM. If I had to predict now based on how I feel right at this moment, I don’t see that last part happening but I really like Greg Laswell and it is my impression that he doesn’t venture out this way too often so I am going to try really hard to make it.

April 3rd: Food is too Bootylicious (for me, babe)

I am clearly not ready (for this jelly).The food is too bootylicious for me (apologies for reference to the mediocrity also known as Destiny’s Child, but it fits well).

Overall, my ‘control’ over food in Turkey intake started with a bang and ended with a whimper, a bust. Yes, I had the intended slip on Friday and the planned simit intake on Saturday but I think the ‘weekend’ (time for less structured activities, more time to get bored or ponder  about things which always leads to eating, temptation of foods that I am unable to obtain back home in the U.S.) did me in. Obviously, it is me who did me in and not the weekend but the stars (or factors) were perfectly aligned for spectacular failure. I am glad I have almost 5 more months in the 20/20 program to build up some more resistance and control.

Let me explain.

Saturday was fun until 4-5PM when we decided to go to dinner at Garaj (a seafood restaurant down a few blocks from where my brother lives, on the water inTarabya) with my sister-in-law’s cousin. My brother gave me a discreet out, asking me if I wanted to go. I should have taken the it but I figured that would be inappropriate. It wouldn’t have been. I was sitting at the kids’ end of the table, unable to participate in conversation. And it would have kept me away from tempting food (that was OK but not great).

The problem with giving in to temptation is that you eat food that may not be great. Luckily, I did a good job of controlling myself at the restaurant. I had a bit of everything but I did not over do it and I didn’t eat a main course (choosing, instead to sample things and resulting in an accetaple 620 or so calories). But it went down hill afterwards… I watched everyone eat and drink (wine). 2 hours of that and I was pumped for failure I think.

After we got home, we watched some TV. Everyone went to bed around 10PM. I stayed up to finish watching a movie (the pilot for Vampire Diaries actually so not even a particularly good one… it is essentially Dawson’s Creek with fangs).

Then it happened. I ate 3 PureFit bars and chased it with 4 toffee candy.

Deja vu, anyone? March 6th comes to mind. (That was when my largest customer came to town and after watching them  eat decent Thai food all night, I went home and had some decent amount of peanut butter for NO REASON)

So what is it? Watching people eat a lot of things I’d like to eat makes me want to eat shit food? It is certainly not the drinking as  I had no desire to drink in the first place. I sure do not like the bars all that much (PureFit bars are the ones I actually do not mind… they do not plug me up like the 20/20 bars do and I like the taste but I prefer real food to processed soy protein). If I will binge, then why don’t I just do it right there and then while there is opportunity to do it with good/decent food? Probably too shy to do this in front of people who think I am doing a good job with the program. I am probably ashamed. It makes sense.

Not the binge but the bad behavior continued this morning when I had 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and a tablespoon of nutella for breakfast (didn’t want to wake the whole house by making a shake but there were certainly other options to consider). Not the most nutritious breakfast but I guess it will have to hold me over until I get on my flight out to London.

Anyway, I will need to forgive myself and I move on.

It would have been easy to do forgive myself if I had stuck to the plan… The intentional, 2,800 calorie slip. Now it has exploded to 3,650 calories or so (2,800 plus 660 for 3 bars and a few more hundred for 4 toffee/caramel candies). Can I absorb that into the program? Absolutely. Am I upset? Yes. Why am I upset? Because I realize I am not up to the task of controlling food just yet. This, to some extent is normal. I’ve been operating this new way for only 3 months. The old way of doing things has 39 years on the new way of things so it is natural that it can overcome anything that I am doing to change… but still I wanted this new way to have firmer grasp on situations like this. So I am not as upset about eating as I am about lack of control on the final stretch of the trip.

Having said all that, I also need to pat myself on the back a little. I’ve been 3 days and I ate probably about 7,500-9,000 calories and burned about 8,200 (per my bodybugg device). So all in all, I haven’t done much damage. I  could have done significantly more damage given the opportunities I’ve had.

April 2: Simit, Thou Dost Me So Goooood… I lovedest thee so Much.

First things first… A primer on simit, thanks to Wikipedia:

A simit (Turkish), Aramaic qeluro/qelora, koulouri (Greek: κουλούρι), or gevrek (Bulgarian: геврек) (the last one from “gevrek” in Turkish, meaning “crisp”, which is, in some parts of Turkey, colloquial to “simit”) is a circular bread with sesame seeds, very common in Turkey, as well as in Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria and other parts of the Balkans and Middle East such as Lebanon. Simit’s size, crunchiness/chewiness, and other characteristics vary slightly by region. In the city of İzmir, simit is known as “gevrek,” (literally, ‘crisp’ in Turkish) although it is very similar to the Istanbul variety. Simits in Ankara, which is the capital of Turkey, are smaller and crispier than the ones in other cities.

Drinking Turkish tea with simit is the traditional way in Turkish culture. You can see many simit peddlers on the street. Those peddlers usually carry their simit trays on their heads. Simit is generally served plain, or for breakfast to tea with jelly, jam or cheese.

Simit and koulouri are often sold by street vendors, who either have a simit trolley or carry the simit in a tray on their head. Street merchants generally advertise simit as fresh (“Taze simit!”/”Taze gevrek!”) since they are baked throughout the day.

Simit is also known as “Turkish bagel” in the USA.

A type of bread very similar to simit is known in Poland as “obwarzanek”. The main difference is that the rings of dough are poached briefly in boiling water prior to baking (similarly to bagels), instead of being dipped in water and molasses syrup (although the end result is not sweet), as is the case with simit.

OK, now you know that simit (see image, left) is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

And I had two of them today. Although they were not the freshest (this is my last few hours in Istanbul so I figured it is now or never), they did the job. I am now a satisfied man.

Last night, we stayed in. I had a call with the U.S. at 7PM that would have been smack in the middle of a dinner engagement. My niece is 2 so it is tough to stay out beyond 7 or 8 PM anyway.

At dinner, we had some chicken, bulgur pilaf and salad. A tidy 400 calories or so. I finished the evening of with a full portion of quince… Quince (see image below, right) is a fruit that I overdo when I am in Turkey (since it is very difficult to get in the U.S. You can find them once in a while but they are usually tasteless… So far, I’ve had 3 quinces within the last 24 hours. With only 52 calories for a whole one, it is actually pretty darn good, filling food item).

This morning, I had quince and peanut butter for breakfast. And some yogurt. I was able to find some low fat plain yogurt at a grocery store nearby.  It sucked. Nothing like the Fage. I miss Fage.

We then went to a mall called Istinye Park. It is the shit these days apparently… Everyone goes to Istinye Park (not quite sure why… It looks like any mall really). At least I got some good pictures…

We had lunch at a place called HouseCafe inside the mall. I had something called, Diet Chicken Salad, which was chicken marinated in low fat yogurt and flaxseed, then grilled. It was served on a bed of lettuce, walnuts and cranberries. It was decent and only 280 calories.

That was about it so far for the day. Three tantrums by the 2 year old so far today. There were quite a few more yesterday since she couldn’t take her nap during the day (due to some construction work nearby)… Realizing how unaccustomed I am to this. And how low my tolerance is – a byproduct of that unfamiliarity. While I love spending time with my brother and his family (including the niece, she is a bundle of fun when she is not throwing fits and 90% of the time she is fine), it is time for me to go back to what I know as normal. My plane leaves in about 15 hours.

April 1st: Planned Slip Successful

I did a controlled slip today (well, I did the intentional slip… not sure if it was controlled enough).

My friend Batu picked me up around 12:30PM and we drove to this famous fish restaurant. Not glamorous famous but awesome food famous. We started with some good ole salad (tomatoes, red onions, cucumber, olive oil, lemon, a little vinegar… believe me veggies taste better in Turkey). We accompanied that with some broiled eggplant, pickled king fish, grilled calamari (not fried and absolutely delicious), corn bread (pan fried, razor thin) and some fresh, warm plain bread… I had some of everything. I overdid two things: the bread… Batu said I had to dip the bread in the juices of the salad, which I obliged. To die for. I also had more than necessary pieces of corn bread… 4 of them to be exact, each the size of dollar pancakes. Then came the fish.

The fish, called Kalkan (mostly known as Turbot, but also referred to as Psetta, Maxima or Steinbut) is common to Black Sea, Marmara and Aegean. Some exist in Mediterranean. It is usually pan fried or grilled. The former makes it all gooey and fatty and the latter dries it out. This particular establishment actually bakes it in an old school, brick bread oven… Holly crap. It was amazing. It wasn’t as soft and gooey as it could be (like when it is fried) but it was full of flavor and depth. Much much better this way.

The way they cut and served it also made sure that we didn’t end up with any of the fairly massive bones (that you can see on the left hand side). This was one amazing feast. I’d say I had a good 6-8 oz portion and I felt absolutely good about it.

We took our time with the food and the drinks. Speaking of drinks… No slipping there. I stuck to still and sparking water, so did Batu and Esra, who joined us shortly after we started with the appetizers. We followed the water with some special tea (something that tasted like Ihlamur or Ada Cayi but with oregano). Of course, no lunch or dinner like this is complete without some Turkish coffee… The kind that is served in demitasse china… No sugar since sugar I think ruins the flavor of coffee.

We also sampled a selection of traditional Turkish deserts… I know, desert… Blasphemy, right? Well, not too bad actually. The portions were small and for sharing so I had about 300-350 calories of it. Worth every bit of it. You can see them on the right… The one with the white stuff on it… That is actually a baked, sweetened quince topped with clotted cream. The pair to the right is called sekerpare, a concoction of sugar, butter, semolina, honey, etc. The last one was a pumpkin desert topped with chopped walnuts. I’ve tasted better but I get to eat these once a year usually so I made most of what I planned… a tiny fraction of each. Tiny compared to how much I would normally have…  For example, I had one of the sekerpare… 133 calories… Not bad for once a year taste.

Anyway, I haven’t done the calculation for the lunch yet. I was hoping to keep the slip under 1,500 calories but I expect it to be over that threshold, probably closer to the 2,000 calorie mark. The day’s calories then should reach a healthy 2,800-3,000 range. All in all, I say, “well done, me.” This was a most satisfying slip and without any guilt. I prepared, I indulged and now I can move on. To the next indulgence, that is.

There is one more indulgence I plan to do before I leave the country in 32 hours: Simit. I will write about simit tomorrow or early next week. Simit deserves a book not a short blog entry… So gooooood. The simit slip will amount to 800 calories all in all (that is 2 simits but I may actually have one… we shall see… I say 2.)

One observation from the 2.5-hour lunch… I filled up MUCH SOONER than I would be before I started the program. Good news.

Anyway, my loving friends (of 20+ years) Batu and Esra gave me the gift of their friendship, love and awesome company today. It happened to come with some good eats. Cheers guys, I love you.

Esra, Batu... The best lunch of 2011. Awesome food, Awesome-r company.

March 31st: No Weigh In (since I am traveling)

Lack of a weigh in today does not make me feel any less worried about my progress in the program. It has been somewhat difficult finding some resemblance of normalcy in terms of food here in the U.K. Well, it is been impossible. I am coping with it well though.

My breakfast is modified: Instead of a blended shake with peanut butter and berries, I’ve been having just ‘shaken’ shake with ice and water, and then supplementing that with some fruit or something midmorning. The calorie counts are similar but the food does not feel as satisfying and fulfilling. I feel the need to snack more.

Lunches are shot to hell… One day it is pub food, next it is some bread with deli meats. No sense of normalcy at all.

Snacks are all over the place as well. I’ve done PureFit bars for a day or two but they are so damn high in calories. Not worth it. I’ve been having some soy nuts (I brought the Genisoy brand) but they are way high in calorie for the satisfaction they bring (very low).

Dinners have been less of a sore spot, surprisingly. Last night for example was fairly straightforward: some chicken, very little potatoes, half cup of rice and bean salad. About 450-550 calories and good. Portions are good and small in the U.K. Yay for that.

I just reviewed my weekly averages: I am hovering around 1,485, with ideal (for me, for the current state in the program) breakdown of protein, carb and fat: 35%,40%, 25%.

If I look at the last 4 days I’ve been traveling the average calories go up to 1,547 (in 1400s for 2 days, 1 day in 1500s, and the one outlier day at 1648). Not sure what the balance looks like (the system shows only weekly ones) but just by looking daily indicators, I see a fat and protein advantage over carbs.

My exercise regimen has been a steady 55 to 65-minute cardio this week so I am hoping that it all balances out at the end.

So all in all, I am probably OK. I just feel strange and a bit like fish out of water. I’ve done so well with the routine that I am unhappy outside it. This is a new feeling for me. I usually appreciate routines but look forward to breaking them at every opportunity. Now, all I crave is the routine.

It is good that I am out of the routine though. This is how I am going to learn how to live a normal life outside the 20/20 routine, but within the confines of a healthy diet.

March 30th: 10+ Hours of Sleep

Yesterday, I got back to the hotel around 6:30PM. I had 2 PureFit bars for dinner (anything else I ate at the restaurant would have been higher in calories) and then fell asleep reading… Woke up at 1AM and then went back to sleep… Then I woke up this morning at 6AM and worked out… I feel like I wasted an entire evening (I had some emails to respond, some work to do) but oh well. I may be getting sick. My ear feels funny.

I fly to Turkey for just 2 days tomorrow evening after work. It will be fun to see mom, my brother and his family and couple of friends (I am having lunch with two on Friday). Then I am back on the road, going home through LHR on Sunday.

March 29th: Day 3 in the U.K.

I arrived in Oxford on Sunday (3/27) afternoon. It was about 65 degrees and sunny. I immediately took a bus from the hotel to downtown and walked around soaked the sun and the surroundings for a good 3 hours. It was just awesome. The buildings, history, the sun. Oxford was not hit hard in any of the wars so you can see some really old structures still standing and in use.

I ended up walking back to the hotel because it was so nice and warm and pleasant. I ended up buying some fat free yogurt and fruit to take back so I can have something to snack on before dinner. At dinner, I had a nice pork steak (small but delicious) and steamed vegetables (broccoli and peas).

Monday morning, I started the day with a 60-minute cardio: 2 25-minute elliptical sessions with a 10-minute rowing workout in the middle. I then went to the hotel restaurant to see options for breakfast. Nothing. Nothing I can eat. It felt like I was in Terrel, TX again. So I went back to my room with some ice and made a shake and followed it with a protein bar.

After work, my friend Jeff came up from London (he moved there from Seattle recently). We walked around and caught up at dinner. It was a good night and I was a good boy at dinner: We shared a meat antipasti plate and I had a feather steak (rump steak beaten down to a wafer thin layer of meat) with some tomatoes on top. I love the portions and the ingredients here. They are just right. And fresh. And per Jeff, they don’t know “high fructose corn syrup” here. Good.

This morning (Tuesday, 3/29), I started the day with 60 minutes of cardio and a repeat of Monday’s breakfast. We had lunch at a nearby pub (chicken breast with a slice of British bacon, two pieces of baked potato) and I had some soy nuts (a bit too much of it I think) as snack. Not sure what dinner holds or if I will have time to go to downtown to do some more walking around. I am a bit fried from the day (we had an all day meeting).

Food-wise, no major problems so far. Finding snacks is a challenge. I am relying on what I ended up bringing with me. There is one problem with that: They are all higher calorie snacks like PureFit bars (220 calories for one), Genisoy soy nuts (130 calories for 1/4 cup) and Hazelnuts (190 calories, with a lot of fat for 1/4 cup).  My food intake is hovering in the 1,450-1,600 calorie range per day. It is hard to say that range is accurate since I find defining calories very difficult when I am not familiar with local preparation styles (e.g., do they cook the chicken breast in butter or oil? Per Brits in the office, butter… Do restaurant grill steaks with lard, oil or butter? Butter. Are baked potatoes just baked? No, usually fried in duck fat for taste and browning, prior to oven time)

And oh, like I mentioned on Facebook, there are a lot of streets named after me here:



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