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In the past 12 days I lost 1.8lbs setting me at 182.6lbs which is slightly slower than my planned 1.5lbs/week but very satisfying nonetheless.

I will be back home in California on March 25th so I will have to do a DXA scan to assess fat and muscle gains/losses by then #plan

Aside from that, the diet and workout have been going well and work stress is at a moderate level. In the past week I was focused on swimming which took away from my weightlifting routine. That's OK as I was meaning to do a de-load week at the gym after I read somewhere (I believe Scott Herman Fitness) that it's good to do one every 6 weeks or so especially when plateuing at the gym (which I was).

Just got back to my normal weight lifting routine today and I #plan to proactively focus on hitting some new PRs in all my major lifts.

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Finally back on track! This week (or actually five days), I lost 1.8lbs which puts me at a new weight minimum of 184.4lbs!

As planned last week, I did keep up with my walking routine this time (30 minutes a day on workout days and 45 minutes on rest days). Looking back on my previous mindcrumbs, there is definitely a very strong correlation between the two so I will take it even more seriously now. #lesson

As I mentioned last time, the #plan is to start weighing myself every 2 weeks instead of a week to minimize fluctuations. I will also weigh on Friday rather than Sunday to avoid the temporary (and unpredictable) increase in weight (and water weight) due to a weekend of a few cheat meals. #lesson

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Another week and another #setback! I gained 1.4lbs this week. It wasn't a surprise as I was feeling stressed from work and so I ate a little more each meal (no binge eating sessions though which is good). I also didn't walk as regularly as I should despite keeping up with the workout routine.

Anyways, work stress has been subsiding now so I will hopefully get back on track.

The #lesson learned is that forcing a caloric restriction will almost always fail unless you solve the underlying 'life' issue (work related stress in my case).

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This week I actually gained 0.2lbs which puts me at 184.8lbs. Not too thrilled about it but I think I know what's going on #setback

What went wrong this week is:

  • I didn't walk as much. My average per day is 20 minutes instead of 30-40 minutes.
  • Yesterday we had a takeout lunch dinner of chicken breasts, french fries and Lebanese bread. I'm pretty sure I overindulged a bit despite various restraints!!

Anyways, I won't stress over it. No takeouts this week and I will go back to my previous 40 minute/day walks and see what happens.

Also looking at previous trends I have noticed that my progress goes up every other week and stalls every other. So the #plan now is that after the end of this week I will start weighing myself every 2 weeks instead of every week to avoid witnessing those unnecessary ups and downs.

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This week I lost 1.6lbs which puts me at 184.6lbs. I have finally hit my sub 185lb initial goal #milestone

My original #plan was to do a full body DXA scan (bodyspec) once I get under 185lb in order to ensure I'm sparing the most of my muscles but since I'm still in Michigan I will have to wait till I'm back home (California) to do so.

I was a bit surprised I actually lost weight since I've had homemade pizza for 3 days this week but I replaced any excess carbs (including my fruit smoothie unfortunately) to be able to fit it in and it worked perfectly well. More proof that "If it fits your macros" methodology actually works. Although I prefer healthier options for 80% of my meals and to include a full array of vitamins and minerals in my diet in order to avoid getting sick and to keep my energy up.

This past week we had severe weather (the Midwest polar vortex) but I still was able to make it to the gym (I drove in the middle of the snowstorm to do so!!) and I also kept with my treadmill walking routine. Very proud of how far I've come and it doesn't feel like a chore or an event anymore. This is really important as a very important #lesson I've learned in the past is to make nutrition and working out a routine and a boring part of my day whereby they are no longer considered an 'event' that I have to prepare or psyche myself up for (or even congratulate myself for sticking with).

I also was able to fit a couple of quick wall climbing sessions after my workouts and swims just to keep progressing. I was happy that this time I didn't feel any elbow pain so probably my technique (and my nerves) are improving so this was great to witness as it's a great to skill to have.

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This week I lost 0.6lbs which puts me at 186.2lbs. This was a little less than my 1.5lbs weekly planned loss but that's OK since last week I lost 3.2 lbs. For this week I won't change anything but if next week I'm still losing less than 1lbs then I will have to make some changes.

Earlier this week I took my 3rd climbing session and was able to finish level 2 and level 3 and was 2 steps away from finishing level 4. I also got my climbing certification card #milestone

I won't do any more dedicated climbing sessions because I noticed that my elbows got really sore and slightly inflamed for 2 days after. I will do 1 or 2 climbs after my weight lifting or swimming sessions to avoid over-stressing them. My #plan is to finish level 5 (final level) completely before I go back to California. Climbing is the best workout I've ever had for my forearms so I would like to take advantage of that.

I also had a coached swimming session this morning and took my first progress video. I have created a separate journey for my swimming so if you want to keep up with my progress then follow my journey there.

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Last week's plan seems to be working well! I lost 3.2lbs last week and have finally got down to the 180s after more than a year in 190s and 200s! I'm at 186.8lbs #milestone

The changes I did were:

  • Eating slightly less every meal
  • Walking 15-30 minutes on the treadmill after 2 of my meals (a total average of 45 mins / day). Thanks Karim for the great advice!!

If I combine last week with this week then my weight loss average is 1.7lbs which is still inline with my original #plan to get down to 165-170lbs by this late spring. I will slightly increase my calorie intake today but will not change anything else this week and see if I can keep this going.

One random thought I want to throw in here is to try working out to loud music (e.g. rap station). I've read a lot about how this can help you lift more weights at the gym so curious to try it. I usually don't train with music but my #plan is to try this out for a while and see if it has any significant effect on my gains.

Last week I also took 2 introductory wall climbing sessions at the Dearborn gym. I figured it might as well come in handy some day especially if I decided to do outdoor rock climbing which is on my bucket list. I learned the correct techniques but I overemphasized the 'pull up' movement which made the exercise so much harder and left my elbows sore for a few days. I was able to climb to the top of the 2 easiest paths but struggled on level 3 where the wall is bumpier. The #lessons learned are the following:

  • Don't reach the arms too far up to grab the next handle. This will quickly tire the shoulders.
  • Keep the body leaning further away from the wall to avoid tiring the elbows and to better see the next handles.
  • Stand strong on the wall handles to distribute the weight away from the arms which tire much more quicker.

I'm taking my 3rd session this Monday where I will get certified in wall climbing on my own and so my #plan is to at least climb level 3 a few times without tiring my elbows this time.

I also had a swimming coach today to critique my freestyle front crawl technique. Overall my form is good but can use some improvements in a few areas. I also bought a swim lap counter and timer device so I can better track my swimming progression (I might start a separate journey for just my swimming actually). The main #lessons are:

  • Kick harder and faster (practice the kicking drill with the kick board)
  • Extend the arm further during the recovery phase
  • Practice the body rotation more (do the body rotation drills)

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I had my weekly weigh in this morning and it turned out I only lost 0.25lbs and I'm now at 190lbs exact #setback. This is shy of my 1.5-2lb weekly projected loss. A little disappointed to be honest, as I was finally hoping to see 180 something on the scale (like 189.9 lbs would have been psychologically pleasing haha) but that's OK and I think it's because of the following:

  • I had two extra servings of dessert than usual (but otherwise my diet was pretty clean)
  • I hardly walked during the day (but of course kept up with my morning workouts as usual)

For next week the #plan is to do the following:

  • Only have a maximum of 1 serving of dessert this week
  • Very slightly reduce my portion size in my meals
  • Walk for at least 15 minutes after lunch and dinner. My friend Karim pointed this out in my earlier Mindcrumb entry and I did some research on it and it seems that a 10-15 minute walk right after eating may reduce the blood sugar level and improve the benefit of the walk much better than a morning walk

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Two weeks in Michigan through the holidays and against all odds I actually lost 4 lbs!! #milestone

Back to 190lbs and still aiming for 165lbs by early summer while keeping up with my usual weight lifting routine. I'll be staying in Michigan for another 3-4 weeks so I'm happy that I found a nearby gym (Ford Recreation Center in Dearborn). I'm keeping up with my weightlifting routine and on my cardio days, I'm taking advantage of the swimming pool and basketball court to try something new.

My #goal for the next 3 weeks is to work with a swimming coach to improve my freestyle stroke. I prefer to do that ASAP to avoid any bad habits that are hard to break and to avoid injuries (I've had a swimming related shoulder surgery in the past).

The only #setback in staying in Michigan is the difficulty to do my usual 8000 steps outside. The weather has been pretty cold and snowy recently, so I changed my goal to 6000 steps a day. On days where walking with a heavy coat is difficult, I am forcing myself to walk on the treadmill (which I hate!!) while listening to an audio book.

Another #milestone is being super consistent with my eating and sleeping schedule. I wake up between 9 and 10AM daily. I have 3 major meals at 12, 3 and 7PM and a small snack at 10PM. My meals are balanced and tasty so nothing feels like a chore.

I also broke my bad habit of drinking a daily Matcha tea latte (300 calories) and replaced it with a 40 calorie cup of matcha-ginger-honey cup (which is way tastier actually!!) and 2 slices of dark chocolate. I usually have this after my first or second meal as my only source of caffeine. A #lesson I learned from this is how easy it is to break bad habits by replacing them with something else rather than simply abstaining.

My nightly routine involves a cup of chamomile tea at 12AM while dimming the lights in the room and watching some comedy before sleeping at 2AM sharp. The reason I'm sleeping a bit late is that I want to avoid any disturbance in my routine when I get back to California (3 hours difference).

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One #recurring_problem I noticed I have in the past month is that I decide what dinner I'm having right when it's dinner time and I'm already hungry. This is why I ended up choosing generally less healthy options that are closer to my apartment (e.g. the pizza by the slice place or ordering a large takeout).

As a result I have gained 3lbs in the past month instead of losing 2lbs! (194lbs now). #setback

Granted, I think some of those gains are muscle gains because my weightlifting personal records have been going up and I look buffer in the mirror. In my weekly weigh ins, I have started tracking my waist size, chest size and bicep size to ensure I'm accounting to muscle vs fat loss/gains. I also still plan to do my DXA scan once I hit 185lbs.

My #plan to counter this is to plan 7 meals at the beginning of every week (e.g. AFTER dinner on Sunday night). 3 of those meals will be home cooked (see my cooking journey for ideas). Obviously I'll still be flexible if I had a last minute dinner with a friend or whatnot. I think this is a great approach as I can also ensure a good variety and the inclusion of a balance between protein, carbs and fat types; as well as difference in texture and taste profiles which I have found to be important to curb all cravings (planning to write about the importance of that variety at some point).

I am visiting family in Michigan for the holidays tomorrow and in my experience I ALWAYS end up gaining weight during my time there. I won't attempt to lose weight in my few weeks time there, but will try my best to maintain my weight.