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Major Bloodnok: Hunting the Extinction Bursts


Maj. Bloodnok

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Scene: a cardboard Trilby factory somewhere in suburbia.  Enter Major Bloodnok, 3rd Regular Army Desserters (not a misspelling) to the sound of explosions.

“Oh! Ohohohoho! Great green piles of splat!  My extinctions are bursting! It’s those blasted ancho chile peppers, there ought to be a law…â€

Ahem…

Now that the introductory silliness is over, on to the main silliness!

For the last year, I’ve been pretty well stalled out as far as weight loss goes.  I’ve been focusing on rehab and mobility work, trying to make sure I didn’t make my problems worse or add new ones.  I’ve mostly been successful at this, so now it’s time to reorient. I have a bad habit of not paying too close attention to my diet.  Mostly I eat low-carb, but I don’t count calories for the most part.  I also have a tendency to binge at odd intervals.

Thanks to the “You Are Not So Smart†podcast, I found a name for these little binge fests: extinction bursts. Essentially, when a bad habit you’re trying to kill is about to die off, it rallies and comes back twice as strong.  If you can ride through without giving in, the bad habit will keel over and start drawing flies. Not giving in is the hard part, though. I binge in response to stress, and I’ve got a pretty stressful life right now.

Before I dropped out of the last challenge, I had set up an account at myfitnesspal and was tracking my intake pretty carefully.  I’ve spent the last few weeks shaking up my exercise routine, rethinking my goals, and fine-tuning my descroggler, and I have a plan for the next six weeks.  It is a cunning plan. It is so cunning you could slap a tail on it and call it a weasel. It certainly can’t fail twice.

plan.jpg

Here goes:

Diet:

2000 calories per day.  100 g of good-quality carbs, 200g per day of protein, 89g of good fats.  On workout days I will allow an extra 250-300 calories, making sure to maintain a 500-calorie deficit.  No bingeing.

  • Limit exceeded not more than 4 times during challenge - A
  • Limit exceeded once per week - B
  • Limit exceeded twice per week- C
  • Limit exceeded more than twice per week -D

I will post a link to myfitnesspal account so everyone can check on me. I will take body measurements before and after the challenge to document the results. (+3CON, +3 CHA)

Exercise:

Workout at least 5 times per week, whether at home or at the gym.  At least 10 minutes of cardio per workout, whether Tabata intervals on the elliptical, cardio kickboxing, or capoeira drills.  Workouts will focus on posterior and rotational muscle chains, with an emphasis on increasing mobility and core strength.  Goals: move from rack pull to full deadlift without injuring myself, do 2 minute front and side planks, and improve squat depth.  Supplemental workouts will involve stretching and other mobility work, at least 10 min daily.

  • 5 or more workouts per week - A
  • 4 workouts per week - B
  • 3 workouts per week -C
  • 2 or less -D

Workouts will be posted in my Battle Log daily. (+3 STR, +3 DEX)

Life:

Prepare for Mcrosoft Excel Expert Certification exam.  Take online training courses provided by my employer, read books, practice with sample spreadsheets.

  • 2 hrs per week or more - A
  • 1.5 hours per week - B
  • 1 hour per week - C
  • .5 or less per week - D (+3WIS)

The fun starts Monday morning.  Off we go!

"If you get into trouble, you can always eat something, blow something up, or throw penguins." - Jim Henson

 

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First day of the challenge.  I spent the weekend giving in to my bad habits, so I'm starting at 230 lbs and a 46-inch waist.  However, I have all the necessary elements for success: a week's worth of good lunches and clean carb sources, ingredients for good solid breakfasts, and clean socks. *honk honk* And two hard-boiled eggs. I'm putting links to my battle log and myfitnesspal account in my sig, so you can see what abuse I'm putting myself through.

 

Ryoko: thanks for the good wishes. I'll need them.

"If you get into trouble, you can always eat something, blow something up, or throw penguins." - Jim Henson

 

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Yesterday was not too bad.  Went over my carb limits a bit, but nothing major. I did not get enough sleep, so I did not make it to the gym.  The weather's been cold and nasty, so an outdoor workout was not in the cards.  Guess today is a rest day for me.  Gonna hit it bright and early tomorrow, though.  I'm also committing to a Saturday morning workout in some form or another.  Whee!

"If you get into trouble, you can always eat something, blow something up, or throw penguins." - Jim Henson

 

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Or not.  Three days of the creeping crud were my fate since the last entry.  I've kept the diet more or less under control, but exercise... no go. Not even walking around or simple mobility stuff.  Pile on insomniac kids and incontinent cats peeing in my gym bag, and it's been a wonderful week.

"If you get into trouble, you can always eat something, blow something up, or throw penguins." - Jim Henson

 

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Aaand an even more wonderful weekend. 

 

I've recovered from being ill, enough to get back to working out.  The weather's been warm enough to exercise outside in the morning, so it's back to scaring the neighbors.

 

Saturday evening I went to see my father.  He's in the first stages of senile dementia; he's been taking medication for it, but the meds just slow down the process.  He's getting worse.  He can still take care of himself, but it's only a matter of time.  He's having spinal surgery in about a week or so, which means we need to arrange home health care or a recovery facility for him.  I also need to get some legal details sorted out; I already have a durable power of attorney, but there's other fine details that need to be resolved.

 

So I'm changing the life goal in the challenge.  Somehow, preparing for an Excel certification doesn't seem as important as making sure my dad is OK.

 

Diet-wise: I tried a little experiment, using sprouted chickpeas to get a little extra protein and micronutrients into the diet.  Ordinarliy, chickpeas turn me into Rocketman, but sprouting them seems to have made them much more digestible.  I had a small serving of chana dal with breakfast; some slight hunger pangs, more than I would have had ordinarily.  I'm pretty sensitive to carbs, and I feel more full if I only have them once per day.  I'm not gonna go full-on Slow Carb, but it's good to know that I can eat chickpeas and other beans without turning into a one-man wind section.

"If you get into trouble, you can always eat something, blow something up, or throw penguins." - Jim Henson

 

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I'm doing full deadlifts!  Sumo deadlifts, but still deadlifts!  No more rack pulls!  WooHoo! 

 

The ab work I did two days ago is still making my stomach hurt.  I'm pretty sure I didn't pull something, so that means it must have worked.  Gonna do some more tomorrow.  More time in the planks as well.  Frankly, my bum left shoulder gives out before my obliques do. It's a real pain, it is.

"If you get into trouble, you can always eat something, blow something up, or throw penguins." - Jim Henson

 

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I lika do da deadlift...  hee hee hee... did some more today, and added 10lbs! And I'm not sore, since I warmed up properly and stretched afterward!  Go me!

 

Now, we're heading into weekend territory, so this is where I tend to fall apart.  I need to make an Egg Monster for those crazy mornings, and plan for my next week's worth of lunches.  Maybe a suimono sort of thing with lots of bok choy and sprouts and mushrooms.  Nice change from curry.

"If you get into trouble, you can always eat something, blow something up, or throw penguins." - Jim Henson

 

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This seems to be my 'get sick' challenge, doesn't it?  I developed a full-blown upper respiratory infection over the weekend.  Still trying to clear the lungs.  Working on getting good-quality sleep, though that can be tricky.

 

Revisiting Tim Ferriss's '4 Hour Body'; I may try the slow carb thing for a bit.  Lentils are easy to make interesting.  It's been very easy to binge on carbs at dinner; I think I can start phasing those out entirely and see what happens.  As far as workouts go, my big takeaway is to slow down the reps and concentrate on the motion.  We'll see what that gets me in my next gym session. 

"If you get into trouble, you can always eat something, blow something up, or throw penguins." - Jim Henson

 

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1 day on slow carbs.  Half a cup of dal with each meal, no other starches, grains or sugars.  No cravings, no hunger pangs, no excessive gas (thanks in part to the turmeric).  I have some blackeyed peas soaking; I'm going to sprout them for the next big batch of beans.  I'm down to 223.5 pounds today; ordinarily I would have to work out like a fiend and weigh every bite of food to get that far down.  This just might work.

 

The weirdest thing happened this morning: I did my usual kickboxing workout in the back yard.  It was rather cool today.  As I was doing my cooldown stretches, I noticed that my breath was steaming. Then I held my breath.  The rest of me was steaming as well.  NEVER had that happen. Maybe an atmospheric trick, maybe me achieving a new level of awesome.  Either way, I'll take it.

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"If you get into trouble, you can always eat something, blow something up, or throw penguins." - Jim Henson

 

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The slow-carb thing seems to be working.  I was down to 221.5 yesterday morning.

 

Portion control is still my downfall; I cooked more than I needed for dinner last night, ate it anyway, then had a late-night snack of braised turkey.  Result: 222.5 today.  (At least I stayed out of the cookies, so go me!)

 

My Dad's surgery was delayed by two months due to an abnormal blood count.  I'm going to work with him to make sure he gets extra iron and folate in his diet (beans and greens,. baby!).  The dementia meds may be the cause of the problem, so he's going off those.  Hopefully he doesn't take a nosedive and lose the ability to take care of himself.

 

I'm applying for a job in a different department, doing something completely different.  Wish me luck!

"If you get into trouble, you can always eat something, blow something up, or throw penguins." - Jim Henson

 

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Scroggle me dunglers and thud me plins! Great steaming piles of splat!

 

Or as that American icon Yosemite Sam would put it:

 

Yosemite_Sam.jpg

Great horny toads!

 

 

219.5 this morning! I weighed in at 228 on Monday!

 

It may be just water weight, but I'll take it.  My big problem right now is making sure I have enough cooked beans on hand.  La Feria refried beans are a good fallback, but man does not live by frijoles refritos alone.  There must also be dal, and fabada asturiana, and akora (blackeyed pea fritters) and all sorts of other leguminous goodness.

 

I can actually feel my clothes getting looser as the day goes by.

 

As far as this particular challenge goes, I'm totally blowing the exercise portion.  I'm not going to the gym as often as I said I would, nor doing all the complex stuff I had set for myself.  I'm also not updating myfitnesspal the way I said I would. However, my larger goal of dropping the pounds is definitely being met without doing these things, so I'm not going to fret about them too much. I'm trying to simplify this whole process as much as possible, after all.  I'd feel different if I weren't getting results.

 

 

Still trying to sort my Dad out; my sister lives in NYC, so she's helping out as much as possible via long distance.  Now we're delving into the insurance aspects and reviewing the legal documentation.  I'm going to enjoy as much time with him as possible. 

"If you get into trouble, you can always eat something, blow something up, or throw penguins." - Jim Henson

 

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They have cake at work today.  Sheet cake with the whipped-lard frosting that tastes like chemicals and childhood.  Sweet, carb-loaded, bad-for-you delicious cake.

 

marshmallow9cake.png

 

 

Help...

"If you get into trouble, you can always eat something, blow something up, or throw penguins." - Jim Henson

 

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Yes, yes, I must be strong, the cake is a lie... and the wages of gin are breath... Remember the last time, when they brought you home in a wheelbarrow, covered in frosting... AAIIIIIIGGHHH!

 

Oh.  It's gone. 

 

emily-litella1.jpg

"If you get into trouble, you can always eat something, blow something up, or throw penguins." - Jim Henson

 

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Last night I ran smack into one of the reasons why I had not tried a major diet modification plan before now.

 

My wife asked me how long I was going to be eating like this, because meal planning was driving her nuts.  She felt like she had to plan two dinners: one for her and the kids, and one for me. Furthermore, my new eating habits are giving my incredibly picky kids a reason to refuse to eat. "Daddy gets to eat something different; why can't I?"

 

Two of my three kids have ADHD and some sensory integration issues.  My oldest daughter has a rather limited palate, and she cannot eat something if she does not like the way it looks. We spent almost a year in food therapy, trying to get her to eat different things, but it didn't do much good. She's quite happy to not eat at all, rather than eat something she doesn't like. The ADHD meds she takes also suppress her appetite, which compounds the problem.  It's getting better as she gets older, but it's not ideal.  My son is mildly autistic, and would live on corn dogs and mac&cheese if we let him.  Certain textures and tastes are repulsive to him.  He likes spaghetti all right, but won't eat lasagna, even though the flavors are the same.  The textures are all wrong.  My youngest daughter tends to follow the leads of the other two.  If they don't like something, she will refuse to eat it, even though she might have eaten it at another time.  If my wife puts a lot of effort into cooking something and the kids don't eat it, she gets upset.  If she makes something I can't eat on Slow Carb and I elect to eat something else, she takes it as a personal insult.

 

I'd been working with the Carb Addicts diet for a long time, which allowed me to sidestep the whole issue.  I could eat whatever I wanted at dinnertime, as long as I watched my carbs at the other two meals.  But even with calorie restriction, I was getting diminishing returns.  I was stuck between 225 and 230 for over a year.  Now I'm dropping weight again, and it's creating conflict at home.  My wife is an advocate of the Weight Watchers approach: you can eat anything you want, as long as you control your intake.  She thinks that my concern with insulin levels and suchlike is kinda nuts.  We had a long talk about the whole thing last night, but it's not resolved by any means.

 

To be frank, I've been overcomplicating my eating to a certain extent.  I love Indian food, so I'd make these complicated curries and dals that would make a huge mess, take three hours to cook, and would stink up the house.  There's no need for that, especially now that I don't need to be so precise with my food measurements. It's a lot easier to bake up some chicken, pop some beans in the crockpot, and do up some collard greens for my meals.  Anything to make a peaceful house...

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"If you get into trouble, you can always eat something, blow something up, or throw penguins." - Jim Henson

 

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