Reflections. Thursday marks six months that I have been doing some version or another of the 4 Hour Body program.
Prior to beginning 4HB, I did Weight Watchers and Atkins for most of 2009 and 2010, finally abandoning everything October 2010 and gaining almost 30 pounds by the end of the year (just three months!).
I decided over Christmas to change my life and began my transformation on January 1, 2011.
I started with the 4HB version of the slow carb diet. This was easy as I had previously done Atkins twice and thus knew the tactics of low carb living inside and out. To me, SCD = Atkins + beans + Free Days. Not a difficult concept to understand or carry out.
Aside: my wife hates Atkins. With a passion. I’m not exactly sure why there is so much animosity there, but it exists and every time I suggested going back to a low carb diet she let me know that was a bad idea.
I am not exactly sure why 4HB SCD was different enough for her to accept — maybe it was because I got her to read 4HB and she never really read the Atkins books — but it was and I am forever grateful for that. However it came to be, having her support makes all the difference in the world.
During that first month, I added PAGG and bought a kettlebell for doing the Perfect Posterior exercises. Unsatisfied with the PP routine, by the beginning of February I joined a gym and started doing Occam’s Protocol.
Since then I have done every imaginable experiment. I mean that almost literally — pretty much everything I thought of that might possibly help me lose fat, I did. Some things have worked and some have not, but all have taught me something about myself and how to lose fat and become healthier.
Rule #1 Eating takes Priority. The most basic conclusion I have come up with reinforces what I had already learned about myself:
Eating dictates my weight and fat loss.
Exercise makes me healthier.
You may be different, but for me, if I eat the wrong things, it does not matter how much I exercise . . . I will get fatter.
(Don’t believe me? Look at NFL linemen. There are plenty of them that are overweight but I dare you to think of them slackers or weak. They are strong as hell and have a stamina you and I can only dream of having. They are extremely fit but also fat.)
If I do nothing but eat well, I will lose fat. It may not be as fast as I would like, but it will happen.
So why do I exercise? To become stronger and live longer. I want to live a healthier and longer life so I have as much time as possible to spend with my family and friends. I want to do more, more easily, in the time I have and exercise makes this possible.
These changes are different parts of the puzzle, important aspects of any physical transformation, but I find it useful to view them in their proper roles: if something is not working as planned, I have a better idea how to handle it because of this understanding.
Rule #2 Free Days v. Cheat Days. This is a subtle shift in perception which has helped my understand the proper way to use what Tim (mistakenly, IMO) calls Cheat Days.
FREE = you eat things which are not normally part of your diet in a planned and controlled way
CHEAT = you eat things not on your diet in an uncontrolled, impulsive way
Free Days and Meals are explicitly part of 4HB and they make sense within that framework of the program. Cheating is not supposed to happen on any diet. It happens, though. I still do it. Most of us do it at one time or another.
The trick is to find ways to (1) minimize the temptation, (2) minimize the damage, and (3) provide alternatives when the lure is present. That way it is easier to consciously make the right choice and still satisfy our sweet/salty/savory/whatever tooth.
Free Days or Meals are purposeful releases, a mental and physical resetting of my dials to zero so that the plan can be sustained. It has always been hard for me to continue on a program when I hit those inevitable plateaus, but the regular use of Free Days and Free Meals makes it bearable.
Because I am not 100% denied the things I sometimes crave, I have found it easier to stay on the program, not to Cheat, and not to game the system.
That, gaming the system, is one of the rules I’ll discuss tomorrow. See you then. =)
Running. Slow today on average but most of the run was faster and slower than usual. When I was moving, I was doing pretty well. The rest of the time, I walked — briskly, but still walking. Stats for today:
- Distance: 5.83 mi
- Duration: 1:16:10
- Average Pace: 13:04 / mi
- Average Speed: 4.59 mph
- Calories Burned: 845
- Elevation Climb: 299 ft
Total for June is up to 80.2 miles. Knowing that in July it is going to be really tough for me to find time to exercise, I will run tomorrow and Thursday and push my personal best monthly total over 90. I want to get in as much exercise as I can before my life gets turned (happily) upside down.
Plan for Week 26:
1) I took an extra Free Day Sunday for no good reason.