Journal

Fat to Fit: Week 3

November 30th – 6th December 2020

It’s week three of my fitness journey. After being away for Thanksgiving, it’s time to get back into a routine full of exercise. The weather is bitterly cold, so it’s all indoors for the foreseeable future!

Starting Stats:

Highest Lifetime Weight: ~225 lbs.
Week’s Beginning Weight: 183.6 lbs.
Week’s Ending Weight: 183.6 lbs.

Body Fat%: 31.9%
Muscle Mass: 117.6 lbs.

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Monday 30th

Workout and Movement:
Active Calories Indoor Walk: 88 Avg. HR: 90
Exercise Ring: 32/30
Move Ring: 576/500
Total steps: 8,554

First day back home and fatigue had a big part to play in my exercise selection. When I want to close my rings but don’t want to workout, I will march on the spot at home. It’s not much of an activity, but I always practice in the belief that something is better than nothing. After getting home from work, I did a 20-minute fast walk in my living room to close my rings. It’s actions such as these that highlight the benefits of gamification of fitness trackers. If I didn’t have an exercise ring to complete, I wouldn’t have cranked out those 20 minutes of movement.

Nutrition:
Calorie Intake: 1534/1797
Fat: 12%
Carbs: 76%
Protein: 12%

Back home and right back to my regular eating habits. As per usual, I had a coffee and bagel for breakfast to kick off my day. I filled up on a cup of jasmine rice with pad Thai sauce that I got at the Asian market for lunch. Yes, I like food options that aren’t incredibly time-consuming in preparation and yet, are filling. To satisfy my sweet tooth, I made half a cup of rice with a tablespoon of apricot jam. All in, I felt satiated with my lunch of 478 calories.

To work, I took a cup and a half of rice with tomato and basil sauce. I sprinkled some bacon bits on top. Bacon bits are a pretty low-calorie way to get that salty fix. The kind that I bought are 25 calories per tablespoon. They are highly flavorful, and a little goes a long way to stimulate the taste buds.


I had a few snacks, including some Mike and Ike candy and a couple of Soylent squares to help with hunger as the night shift rolled on. Pretty decent start back to keeping the calories in check. My entire nutrition mantra follows CICO, so staying a little below the calorie budget was vital after the number of estimations I had to make last week.

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Tuesday 1st

Workout and Movement:
Active Calories HIIT: 151, Avg. HR: 137
Exercise Ring: 35/30
Move Ring: 618/500
Total steps: 7,202

After recovering from my trip, it was time to log a real exercise. While snow fell outside, I took on my go-to YouTube workout at the moment – Pamela’s beginner workout (see below). I felt the effects of a week’s worth of limited movement as I forced my body to squat, jump, and lunge. The workout was challenging, causing me to hit 161 BPM as a peak HR. It felt good mentally to get back into the routine, however. I wouldn’t recommend taking this much time away from doing exercise. You feel the gains quickly, but the losses are equally fast-paced at diminishing.

Nutrition:
Calorie Intake: 1691/1797
Fat: 15%
Carbs: 66%
Protein: 19%

To make these summaries more interesting, I should diversify my meals a little more! I apologize for my lack of meal creativity thus far! Oh well. Breakfast was the standard Thomas cinnamon raisin bagel with a cup of coffee complete with a dash of soy milk.

For lunch, I made ziti pasta (1.5 cups) with tuna and green beans. For dessert, I cut up half a blueberry cobbler protein bar into pieces to munch on. all in, it was fewer than 500 calories.


For dinner, I mixed ziti pasta and rice with tomato and basil sauce. I find this such a delightful meal! I had a cup and a half of each carb, so it came in at 628 calories.

At work, I ate Soylent bars for snacks when I got hungry. Staying a solid 100 cals under budget feels good as it’s good to know I had enough for another snack if I needed it. What is encouraging is that I am not maxing out my calorie budget daily. I think if I were, I’d feel restricted, and it would be harder to keep on this path. A larger calorie allocation is a blessing that comes with my height!

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Wednesday 2nd

Workout and Movement:
Exercise Ring: 30/30
Move Ring: 618/500
Total steps: 9,064

I can tell from my movement ring stats that I barely moved until I was at work. I work in a lab, so there is usually plenty of opportunities to walk (and march in place) to get my rings closed. That is assuming I don’t have a lot of data to process; then, I have more of a desk job. Luckily, I put the effort in to rack up my move calories. Otherwise, it wasn’t a great day for improving my fitness.

Nutrition:
Calorie Intake: 1621/1797
Fat: 10%
Carbs: 77%
Protein: 13%

Started my day with my usual ~300 calorie breakfast of a bagel and a coffee. I cut the bagel in half and toast it every day. No spread needed.

Lunch was a little different today, one that reminded me of being in college. I had spaghetti O’s with three turkey meatballs from Trader Joe’s. I have to admit that I really enjoyed this change of pace despite the fact it is processed food. What made it even better was my meal only came to 468 calories.


Dinner was the same as yesterday with half and half pasta and rice with tomato sauce. I did have 25 pieces of Mike and Ikes and a single Soylent square bar. I felt satisfied today and liked the little bit of variety.


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Thursday 3rd

Workout and Movement:

Active Calories Dance (VR): 122, Avg. HR: 118
Exercise Ring: 31/30
Move Ring: 698/500
Total steps: 10,185

Over Thanksgiving, I was blessed to be given an 64 GB Oculus Quest 2. The first game I purchased was Beat Saber, which I tried for the first time today. Despite playing for 23 minutes, there were a few interruptions as I tried to work out what I was doing and feel comfortable in the headset. I play the game all out: I make large elaborate swings, I stay on my toes, bopping from side to side, getting ready for the need to reposition. By doing so, I able to build up a decent sweat. Near the end of my session, my HR peaked at 148. Playing for longer would crank up the burned calories and defeat the fat. That’s my plan for this device!


Nutrition:
Calorie Intake: 1420/1797
Fat: 12%
Carbs: 74%
Protein: 14%

As expected, I began my day with a sub 300 calorie breakfast of bagel and coffee.

Lunch was a little different as I made Pad Thai. At the Chinese market, I purchased the noodles and the Thai paste. To it, I mixed in a bag of frozen stir-fry vegetables. A delicious meal coming in at 570 cals.

I took some ziti pasta leftovers for dinner and mixed in a cup and half of butternut squash — an easy yet filling meal for only 363 calories. At work, I had a couple of Soylent square bars as snacks to tide me over. I found it easy to stay well under my calorie budget, though it wasn’t my intention. I must not have been too hungry today!

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Friday 4th

Workout and Movement:
Active Calories Dance (VR): 188, Avg. HR: 119
Exercise Ring: 39/30
Move Ring: 801/500
Total steps: 11,024

I was desperate to play Beat Saber again. Playing VR can be intense exercise, challenging your body, but most importantly, it is fun. Therefore, time passes faster, and before you know it, over 30 minutes had elapsed. I only stopped because it was time to get ready for work I should have started playing sooner! My stats are similar to yesterday’s, with a peak HR of 142 BPM. Playing the game helped me quickly close my rings.

Nutrition:
Calorie Intake: 1617/1797
Fat: 21%
Carbs: 56%
Protein: 23%

Breakfast was a smaller affair today because there was only half a bagel left in the cupboard. Shira had eaten the other half at some point during the week. As a result, my breakfast was only 150 calories, meaning there was plenty left for a bigger lunch.

I made an epic, near 570 calorie sandwich for lunch. Between two slices of Tuscan bread, I packed in a slice of turkey bacon (30 cals), 3 oz. turkey breast (91 cals), 1.5 oz. of shredded sharp cheddar that I melted (165 cals), 1 tbsp. of gold BBQ sauce (30 cals), shredded carrots (12 cals), and a handful of arugula (12 cals). Utterly fantastic and satisfying. The turkey bacon is a lot of flavor for the calories, and indulging with some melted cheese was something I thoroughly enjoyed. Adding in shredded carrots is an excellent tip for an otherwise basic sandwich as it adds a lot of texture for very few calories. Before heading to work, about an hour later, I had some Greek yogurt.

I made myself a cup and half of rice for dinner, mixed it with some Rao’s marinara, and topped it with a 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. I added in a mini bagel for 100 calories to my meal. All in, that accounted for 575 cals of my daily intake. For snacks at work, I had a couple of Soylent squared bars.

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Saturday 5th

Workout and Movement:
Active Calories Dance (VR): 238, Avg. HR: 122
Exercise Ring: 45/30
Move Ring: 746/500
Total steps: 9,030

I moved a lot today compared to most Saturday’s – they tend to be decompression days of late to recover from the week. However, this day was quite the exception. I kept my movement ring ticking over throughout the day doing errands and then decided to close the rings with another dose of cardio.

I started my Beat Saber session today a fair bit later – at 21:45 – which is when I’d generally be thinking about winding down for the night. I spent 35 minutes in the game, sweating and breathing heavily. After about 24 minutes, I hit my peak HR of 157. By this point, I had progressed to more challenging levels in the game, meaning I was moving more. You can appreciate from these stats how the intensity has increased in only a short period.

Nutrition:
Calorie Intake: 1405/1797
Fat: 14%
Carbs: 72%
Protein: 14%

With resupplied stocks, I had a full bagel for breakfast today. As I shopped at Trader Joe’s, the bagel is 50 calories fewer than the Thomas brand version. Although the TJ bagel is a bit drier, it is barely noticeable once it has been toasted. My breakfast was also supplemented with half an apple knish. It is like a little bit of apple pie heaven. If you have a knish place near you, I cannot recommend these enough.

Due to a bit of a heavier breakfast, I required a far lighter lunch. One of my favorite items to buy at Trader Joe’s is their shrimp burgers. They taste beyond amazing, heat up in just fifteen minutes in the toaster oven, and are only 90 calories. I put one of these shrimp burgers on a slice of sourdough. To spruce up my sandwich, I used 1.5 tbsp. of mayonnaise, 0.5 cup of arugula, and 1 oz. of shredded carrots. This hot sandwich is delicious and mesmerizing on the tongue. The best things about it? It was fewer than 300 calories.

For dinner, I made a 630 calorie rice bowl. On top of a cup of jasmine rice, I added 2 oz. of turkey breast, 140 grams of sweet potato, 2 tbsps. of red cabbage, 90 grams of beets, 2 oz of shredded carrots, 1 cup of arugula, 3 tbsps. of sweet chili sauce and 3 tbsps. of soy sauce. You can see, there are many variations you can make in putting together a rice bowl. Therefore, no matter your calorie needs, you can make a tasty and varied meal to suit! I really enjoy making them as it is a meal full of color, flavors, and textures. It does add a little more excitement to eating that I tend to overlook when searching for foods the can reliably make me feel full and stay well within my calorie budget.

I did have a mini bagel later at night too!

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Sunday 6th

Workout and Movement:
Active Calories Dance (VR): 357, Avg. HR: 146
Exercise Ring: 87/30
Move Ring: 876/500
Total steps: 12,605

Yes, I am addicted to Beat Saber. I played mid-afternoon for a 48-minute session. My HR hit 169 BPM a few times. If you find an exercise you love, it can make all the difference. I didn’t want to stop; I had to stop because I was exhausted.

Nutrition:
Calorie Intake: 1617/1797
Fat: 9%
Carbs: 77%
Protein: 14%

Along with my bagel today, I had a medium-sized banana. I toasted my bagel, then mashed my banana on top. A positively delicious late morning breakfast.

For lunch, I had two traditional knishes from a local store. We buy them frozen, then heat them in the toaster oven for around 25 minutes. I love them because they are dense, crunchy, and filling — a great lunch for just 360 calories.

For dinner, I made the same rice bowl that I had yesterday with rice, sweet potato, beets, red cabbage, carrots, arugula, sweet chili sauce, and soy sauce. I had enough calories left to enjoy a strawberry mochi too! Mochi’s are a great way to have a lovely ice cream treat without overeating.

I had a few snacks during the day. First, I cut up a mint chocolate ProBar into small pieces and ate a few little squares of it with a decaf coffee. You can keep the rest of the bar for another day! Another great low-calorie sweet snack is meringues. During the holiday season, Trader Joe’s makes mini peppermint meringues that are 100 calories for 14. I would highly recommend them! During the year, they make chocolate and vanilla flavored meringues that are an excellent item to have if you have a sweet tooth that needs satisfying, but you don’t want anything high calorie.

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Week’s Reflection

I found a reliable, fun way to rack up exercise minutes and movement calories this week. Virtual reality is going to be a significant player in the fitness space in the future. Games such as Beat Saber only prove how beneficial immersive exercise can be. I am delighted that I have found this as I find working out in the classical sense sometimes takes too much motivation. Due to Beat Saber, I got back into exercising. I’m pleased I played longer and longer as the week progressed also.

My weight may look as though it stayed constant during the week, but it actually climbed to 185 and then dropped back down. In that sense, I am pleased that I ended the week where I started! Weight fluctuates a lot, so I don’t always expect the scale to tell the story of how my body is changing.

Upcoming Week

Potential Roadblocks

Heading further into the festive period makes two things difficult. 1) not overeating goodies, and 2) not being lazy as it is cold outside. However, the pandemic does make overindulgence a little harder, as there are fewer opportunities for parties and meals out to restaurants to celebrate. Being inside does pose both physical and mental challenges, and I will miss the feeling of being outside on my bike. I may have found a way to exercise indoors, but I don’t feel playing Beat Saber every day is sustainable for months on end. Perhaps I am wrong. Finding a way to mix it up and sustain a regiment is a mental challenge that I need to overcome.

Desires

I want to keep up the intensity of my exercise, as I’ve done well this week after being sedentary last week. Although I haven’t included it here, I am in the habit of doing squats while waiting for water to boil or when I stand up after sitting for a while. I’ve also been working on building up to a push-up by doing wall pushes. I want to continue that to build muscle and strength throughout my journey. Keeping up with these small habits will aid in that.

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