Category Archives: Healthy Eating

Skinny Husbands, Fat Wives

Sometimes you have a post you have no idea where it’s going when you start.  This is one of those posts. I’m guessing it’s a long road to nowhere..nowhere but fat bashing that is. [Edit: Now that it's done, if you suffer through the beginning, there is some redeeming qualities at the end - AMD]

Usually couples match up pretty close in body rank.  You usually see men or women matched up to their rank number within one or so, or at least at first.  So good looking man with good looking wife.  Fat man with fat wife.  Skinny athletic man with skinny athletic wife.  It makes for stable relationships when you’re generally close in body rank.  That’s why Athol’s plan for improvement of body rank is so basic… if you improve it forces the wife to improve…usually, so you (usually) both end up hotter and hotness and attraction leads to more sex. True story.

I’ve got a number of male friends who’ve put on a bunch of weight while their wives stayed generally the same, which is to say, pretty lean.  This “fat husband, skinny wife” routine is seen in a lot of television hows and seems to be the more socially accepted practice.  Here’s a list of shows I could think of off the top of my head:

  • King of Queens – Fat Doug and his loud mouthed hot wife
  • Sopranos – Tony and Carmella Soprano
  • Family Guy – Peter and Louis Griffen
  • Game of Thrones- King Robert Baratheon and Cersei Lannister
  • Fresh Prince of Bell Air – The dad and Vivian Banks (Fresh Prince’s uncle/aunt)

So with the exception of maybe Family Guy and King of Queen, both sitcoms, the fat guy/skinny wife works when the husband is a strong dude or has Alpha qualities.  One of my best friends is a big dude (6’6″) who got way fatter after college, and his wife is a skinny minny, but dude is an super confident AMOG and could punch well above his rank if he wanted to.  This is sort of beauty and the beast theme, and I think part of it is many women are ok having a big bear of a man since it makes them feel smaller and safe.  If you are a fat beta man, with a skinnier good looking woman, look out… ticking time bomb unless she is incredibly grounded and into you for other reasons.

“Jack Sprat could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean”

fatty-thinny

On the other end of the spectrum is something you rarely, if ever, see in sitcoms or shows but see it every day and that is the skinny husband, fat wife situation.  The reason you don’t see it in sitcoms is that it’s not funny, it’s sad.  And seeing it in real life is really sad too.  Now I totally get that women gain weight when they have kids and for many its tough to take off.  It can be done though, and many, many women get back to within sight at least of their pre-baby weight.  I’m not talking about the “average” woman who may carry a few extra pounds, but those that just say “fuck it” and eat their way into a MuMu as a preferred fashion statement.  Recognize that I believe there’s a big difference in those actively trying to get back to their fighting weight and simply struggling a little versus those who choose to simply throw in the towel and turn out to be mentally miserable (when being honest with themselves) and subsequently are miserable to their husband.

For a husband this is difficult territory as he’s afraid of the inevitable blow-up if he gives it to her straight, so instead Mr. Beta-Boy’s response is “No, I love you for who you are honey…I still think you look great!”  What else can he do?  And she doesn’t respect him.  How can you respect someone when you can’t respect yourself.  He’s married to a pig, and therefore he’s a pig-lover.  How can she respect a motherfuckin’ pig lover? That’s just sick!  This miserable cycle just continues on, she busts his balls, doesn’t respect him, and he’s walking on eggshells and acts even more beta.  I  can almost guarantee you men in this situation aren’t getting “laid like tile” and are getting, at best, crappy drip fed sex.

Their wives don’t see this pig-lover as having a shot at anyone better than them, so why should they shape up their act, sex up their man properly, appreciate their man properly and lose weight?  You can’t really call it baby weight when your “baby” is 9 years old.  One of Holly’s old boss’s had a wife like this.  She was pretty heavy, always seemed really insecure to me and sort of a battle axe, but who knows what she was really like in private (I’m betting my paycheck on l0w-sex battle axe).  Her boss, this sow’s husband, was a lean mean triathlete type and they always looked odd together.

However, despite men having less attraction for their fat wives, most won’t leave.  Some stay for the kids, some because they hold out hope she’ll turn things around, but most just don’t really think very highly of their own options or have stopped caring enough t0 put in the effort.  Take for example this article on some UK rag website by Samantha Brick (who is hated by the fat acceptance movement and admittedly is a bitch I guess, but supports my thesis for today): My Husband Says He’ll Divorce Me if I Get Fat.

You see, in my household being slim isn’t something to aspire to — it’s an obligation. As Pascal likes to remind me: ‘I married you because you’re slim — I don’t want a fat wife.’

When I read in a recent survey that 42 per cent of men would be less attracted to their girlfriend if she gained half a stone, it didn’t surprise me. What did astonish me was only 5 per cent of men said they’d leave the ­relationship.

For in my marriage, the brutal truth is: if I get fat my husband will most definitely divorce me.

Or this one: Help my wife is FAT!

my-wife-is-fat

I barely got married 3 years ago and in short time span I’ve watched my wife balloon up by at least 30 pounds.

I haven’t said anything yet because I don’t want to hurt her feelings.  … I don’t want this fat wife, I want the hot wife I married.

Or this pulled from the GodLikeProduction forums:

I don’t have the balls to divorce my fat wife — afraid of what that would do to me financially — and don’t want to lose my kids.

But sometimes I dream of what it would be like to reenter the dating scene.

I am very fit, jog daily and work out regularly. Very young looking 35. I could easily get an attractive girl. Have had many opportunities, but I could never bring myself to cheat.

My wife, while 3 years my younger looks like she’s 50 — gained 100 lbs since we married. Very lazy and unmotivated to do anything. She is no longer the woman I fell in love with. Can’t bear the thought of sex with her.

Men like women who look like women, not Jabba the hutt.  Fat is fucking gross.

jabba-the-hut-girl

 

We can live with curves, hell some of us prefer curves and a nice round booty.  But when the body rank discrepancy is high and you’re kicking ass and your wife is fat and not doing anything about it, it can be a tough road to hoe.  I’ve followed multiple threads on my “man forum” about fat wives and how they just grin and bear it… but a few of those contributors admitted that for their life, they had enough and got out.

guyswholikefatchicks2

 

Change has to come from within.  You, as a husband, can’t make your wife thin by wishing it or verbally beating her up or encouraging her.  She has to want it.  You can alpha up and improve yourself but sometimes it’s either deal with having a fat wife for the kids or because you are religious or whatever… or pull the rip cord.  Ironically, after you leave or get divorced will be when she “gets in the best shape of her life”.  What a bitch!  Seriously that is just a total bitch move.

So my advice for everyone: Eat Better!  Abs are made in the kitchen.  You need to create new triggers and new habits [I'm reading two great books right now that I'll summarize in upcoming post(s): The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown. and The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business] to reprogram yourself. It’s resetting the norm for you.  I always point people to MarksDailyApple, which as a great Success Story page with many people with fat or health problems that got better by eating better and exercising….some really amazing transformations.  Robb Wolf is another great resource.  If you are fat or obese, I highly recommend low carb, whole food (real meats and lots of veggies) diet – as Wolf says:

low carb is fantastic for the insulin resistant individual, as it addresses both glycemic load and satiety.

Translated, that means if you currently eat a lot of sugar and flour and are headed towards the ‘betes (diabetes that is), and are hungry a lot and have a lot of sugar rushes and crashes, this diet is good for you as it makes you feel full while keeping a steady source of energy from proteins and fats (not sugars).  Once things are set, you may be having such great success dropping pounds you stick with this.  By low carb I mean less than 50 g per day.  MarksDailyApple the book (AKA The Primal Blueprint) gets into this as well.

Anyway, good luck for those of you who stumbled here because your wife is fat and you’re unhappy.  All you can do is control your own behaviors and actions, you can’t control others.  It’s up to you to have the “come to Jesus” conversation with your wife (stop being so afraid and really give it to her about what you feel about her fat/eating habits and what it means to your marriage), and if it get’s to be something that impacts your quality of life enough, don’t be afraid to make drastic changes (separation or divorce) as you only live once.  And for those starting the journey to be thinner, make a commitment and make it happen.  Don’t get discouraged by the setbacks, be cognicent that your bad eating habits have a trigger and reset the trigger. The Power of Habit book (which has over 1,000 Amazon reviews, most 5 or 4 stars) really is a great place to start in resetting things.  Best of luck my friends, some of you need it.

Getting that Summer Body: Squats and Stuff

I finally feel like I’m back in the mix after the hand surgery a month ago.  Instead of following Outlaw for the last 6 weeks, which is a mix of olympic lifting, power lifting and short-intense-heavy crossfit sessions (usually), I’ve been on a more linear progression, mostly powerlifting approach with just a couple sessions of Oly lifting to knock the rust off.  Between being in the hospital, not lifting for a month and the back half of the Whole Life Challenge I dropped down to the lowest weight I’d been in nearly two years.  Along with that came a drop in strength… like, a lot.  I was surprised at how weak I came back and how out of shape.

Linear progression (Starting Strength style) is pretty dummy proof.  Start with a low enough weight, do three sets of 5 reps (Greyskull Linear Progression is nearly the same too, where you do as many reps as possible on that last set, either is fine) of a few key exercises.  I used this once per week for the following exercises: high-bar back squat, front squat, bench press, strict shoulder press.  Each time you do the same exercise you add 5 lbs (for squats) and 2.5-5 lbs for bench or press.  You may notice the lack of heavy deadlifts.  I deadlift occasionally with moderate weights, but my back has issues (spondylosis, and pelvis rotation) that are exacerbated with heavy deadlifts, or high volume deadlifts with poor form from fatigue.

I’m finally feeling some progress on the strength front and while I’m not back to where I was, I’m getting there.  In addition to the straight linear progression, I’m adding some lighter weight, higher rep stuff to supplement and to add a larger muscular appearance for the summer season.  This means some additional shoulder work (some push presses or thrusters), strict pullups, some squat-esque type work (squat cleans, thrusters, another squat day), and even some bicep work (curls for the girls, something I only work a few months out of the years).  Reps will range from 8-20 depending on what I’m working towards, and usually 3-5 sets.  In addition, I’m getting back into the Oly lifting again (snatch and clean and jerk), if only 3 days a week, and that has made a big improvement on explosiveness in the hips, and traps and shoulder development.  I expect to continue on this hybrid approach (linear progression plus higher reps) for the next couple weeks when I expect to stall out, then switch to either a straight Outlaw approach again, or something along the lines of a modified a Westside Barbell which Outlaw is actually based on.

For a man, I think a strong, good looking summer body has the following characteristics:  strong shoulders, nice chest, some traps, and not fat.  Abs are well and good, but a strong core from heavy squats and deadlifts are apparent, while skinny dudes can have visible abs but minimal core strength (think: Justing Bieber).

Finished Bulking

As long as you aren’t too fat, you can still look good if you chest is strong/large enough.. sort of like you overlook a little flab on a lady if she’s got big enough boobs, it’s a matter of perspective.  And while I’ve talked about squats a little above, the fact that most men aren’t wearing short shorts at the park, and the long board shorts are the norm, it’s not readily apparent you’re working on your legs.  However, there’s a lot of importance from doing squats and really, squats balance the rest of your appearance and support overall muscular growth.

From Outlaw Fitness (not to be confused with the Outlaw Way or Outlaw Crossfit by the way), comes the 15 benefits of squats, a few important ones [note: the below refers to heavy squats, not light or bodyweight ones which have a fitness/aerobic impact but don't trigger CNS recruitment and benefits noted below in the same way]:

1. Squats Create An Anabolic Environment. No other exercise on the planet (with the possible exception of the deadlift) does more to promote overall muscle growth. This means, not only will the squat build muscles directly related to the exercise itself – like your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves – it also indirectly promotes muscle growth across the rest of your body, in places like your biceps, chest, and back (for examples).

You get greater overall muscle and strength gains from the squat than from any other exercise….Squats create an overall anabolic environment in the body that maximizes gains from other exercises [in your workout]. says Jeff Volek, Ph.D., R.D., C.S.C.S., an exercise researcher at the University of Connecticut.

3. Increase Functional Strength. Very few exercises are as natural as the squat. Since the very beginning of time, man has been squatting down to pick berries, gather food, light fires, and even cook. It makes sense than that the squat builds pure, functional strength. Not only do they build huge amounts of muscle, the squat also forces your body’s nerve networks to work your muscles more efficiently.

6. Entire Body Workout (almost). There is arguably no other exercise that works more muscles than the squat. If you were only to do one exercise for the rest of your life, the squat would make an excellent choice.

7. Growth Hormones and Testosterone. These anabolic hormones are vital for muscle growth, and the squat stimulates your body to produce these more than any other exercise. Want bigger biceps? Add squats to your routine.

8. Sports and Performance. Not only will it make you jump higher and sprint faster, as I mentioned above, it will make you stronger and more explosive no matter what your particular sport is. It’s no wonder squats are part of the regular training regimen of every professional athlete.

9. Increase Upper Body Strength. Due to the large amounts of growth hormone and testosterone released by squatting, your upper body will grow larger and stronger than it would had you not regularly implemented squats into your workouts.

10. Tone and Tighten Your Butt. I implore you to find an exercise that’ll give you a nicer looking rear-end than the squat. Don’t believe me? Go give it a try yourself. [AMD Note: So True!]

15. They’ll Give You Great Abs. If you’ve got a body fat percentage that’s low enough, and you squat regularly, you’ll quickly find that you have no need to do a lot of work on your abs. In fact, some of the best sets of abs I’ve ever seen have been the product of squats, and squats alone.

My biggest problem is balancing out nutrition to support muscle growth but not so much that I’m gaining [too much] fat.  Yeah, I’m vain in that I want to look good at the neighborhood pool, but that’s part of what I’m working towards. After pool season I may take a serious stab at the Lift Big, Eat Big approach and just try to gain as much muscle mass I can in 6 months and see what happens.  But for now, I realize I’m compromising to some extent on how strong I can get…sacrificing strength and mass for a leaner physique.  Trust me though, I’ve got some meat on my bones and look nothing like the Bieber-lookalike above.  When I feel confident enough, I still hope to post some photos of my progression from skinny-fat runner to skinny-ish HIIT training to lifting heavy crossfit-esque training bodies.

Hope your summer preparations for a better body are going well.

…and here’s my idea of a lady’s beach body (some muscles and curves – notice lack of flab and waif-like arms and legs).

Abbey "Pudgy" Stockton, Queen of the Beasts and Regent of Muscle Beach.

Abbey “Pudgy” Stockton, Queen of the Beasts and Regent of Muscle Beach.

Newton’s First Law of Motion in Life

Newton’s First Law of Motion is generally described as a body in motion tends to stay in motion, a body at rest tends to stay at rest (unless acted upon by an outside force). I think life is a lot like that.  It’s much easier to flip the switch and get into the groove and stay in the groove, than it is to get into the groove in the first place.  And if an outside force acts upon you to get you out of the groove, it is really hard to get back into it.  Some examples here:

Marriage and Family: very easy to get into a pattern where focus is on taking care of the “inelastic demand” items and then to have little gumption to refocus on those that are more elastic.  If you remember from high-school economics, Inelastic Demand is a demand that does not change no matter how high the price.  If you HAVE to go into work everyday and there is no way to car pool or take a bus, you’re going to purchase gas no matter how high the cost.  For family stuff, Inelastic Demand items that I see are making sure kids are fed, bathed, entertained and have their school work done; a house that is reasonably cleaned; laundry cleaned; yard and cars maintained; food in the pantry and refrigerator.  Elastic demand then is doing the things above and beyond this with your family or wife.  Things such as emotional bonding, sex, talking about things outside that Inelastic area, teaching your kids sports or crafts… those types of things aren’t necessary for living, but are necessary for a fulfilled family life and marriage.

If you get into a pattern where your groove is to not do those extra things, you may survive but you and your kids or marriage likely won’t thrive.  Instead, if you get into a pattern of making time for those activities, making emotional bonding, sex, and so forth a priority everyday, or nearly everyday, it is so much easier to maintain this momentum than it is to establish the momentum in the first place.

Self: Once you make it a pattern to change your eating patterns or exercising patterns, it almost seems silly at how easy it is to maintain this.  I’m not a Paleo-nazi by any means, but that is mostly how our family eats.. the old 80/20 rule applies.  We (as a family, though we let the kids be a little looser when not at home) usually don’t eat flour or bread and focus more on meats, fruits, veggies and nuts.  Once we made the switch, I think we’ve all felt better.  Holly doesn’t have nearly the blood sugar spikes that used to plague her and overall our family stays happy and healthy.  Whether you eat like that or not, I don’t care, but if you make a global diet change that works (and not trying to “diet”) it is ridiculously easy to stick with it.

Hobbies are another thing it takes to build momentum. It usually takes both a mental and financial commitment as well as a humble attitude as it’s hard to learn new skills.  Over the years I’ve picked up playing guitar, brazilian jiu jitsu, cycling, running, writing, brewing and wine making to name a few.  My commitment to any of these has waxed and waned from year to year but I find that once I get into something, it’s easier to stay with it for awhile than to try and bounce into it for short times.

Exercise is another thing people really struggle with.  In my early 20′s I was a fatter out of shape smoker and it obviously took some time to change this “body at rest” situation.  But once I got into motion, I stayed there over a period of 10 years now.  Once again, I find myself a little bit out of the groove.  With my infection, hospital stay and hand surgery I couldn’t do what I normally do (lift, run, compete) for about a month. It was just last week I got the go ahead to move my barbell again, but my hand is still sore, my range of motion limits my ability to grip the bar, and I’ve become out of shape and lost strength over the last month.  While I’ve lifted a few times thus far, to say I’m out of the groove is an understatement.  During the cold, dark winter I was able to get up at 5:15-5:30 a.m. most days to lift in a cold gym and make some nice strength and Olympic lifting movement progress.  Now, despite sunny mornings, it’s not happening.  I haven’t made the switch in my mind yet that I’m back at it. I’m slowly getting back into the mix and building my strength back up but I haven’t committed mentally.

Basically, being cognisant that Newton’s First Law has a lot of merit is a good first step. If we can make those changes to start the ball rolling, and give the amount of mental energy to stay in the groove, it’s pretty easy.  Falling out of motion is sometimes inevitable.  Being aware that it’s natural and then getting back on the horse of being more aware of your behavior in your marriage, with your children, and in your own hobbies and fitness world can make a big difference in the quality and enjoyment of life.

Sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear gets you

Before I get into the “fun” of the last week, I wanted to wax on a little about  life and marriage.  See, as a patient, a hospital is not an exciting place and you have a lot of time on your hands to sit there doing nothing.

So I was sitting there thinking that life and marriage is a lot like a growth stock that you buy for the long term.  You know that there are going to be dips and valleys but overall you’re thinking that it will grow and gain value over time.  The short term spikes (like a week in mexico having sex three times a day) are awesome, but even in the valleys where you deal with crappy things or short term crisis that throws you for a loop, when you get through together it can still contribute to growth of a stock or a couple or family knowing you stuck it through and grinded through together.  About a year ago we had a pretty good sized valley where intimacy was the last thing on our mind.  We were coming off the stress of moving, we put both our dogs to sleep within a week of each other and Holly’s dad was dealing with prostrate cancer.  Life was not good. We came out of that valley as sound as we’ve ever been though, and had a great 2012 where things for the most part were blissful, as good as they’ve been in our marriage in my opinion.

Then the storm of the last two weeks hit.  As noted in earlier posts, Holly lost her job and we were left figuring out our options.  Things will likely be fine on that end as she’s already had a number of opportunities come to light, but the stress and negative thoughts associated with that still take their toll.  We went to our spring break activities with a little bit of a heavy heart, and you could tell we weren’t hitting on all cylinders individuals, as a couple or as a family.

When we returned home late in the week, and before I did Crossfit Open 13.4 workout (a clean and jerk and toes-to-bar workout), I had noticed that a spot beneath the palm of my hand near my finger was pretty sore.   I soldiered through the workout though and afterwards my hand was really sore.  It started to swell up and I thought I had sprained a tendon or something.  The next couple days (through Easter weekend) I did the RICE approach, keeping it elevated when I could, icing it and taking anti-inflammatories.  I was also very tired, going to bed at 8 pm on Saturday night, sleeping later than normal and was generally pretty grumpy.  The pain and swelling were relatively stable, but after the weekend I wanted to wait a day to see if things got better.

To complicate matters, I was in the process of changing our family over to my health insurance since Holly’s ended with her employment.  So my insurance was in the processing limbo meaning I wasn’t going to be found in the system until after it went through all the administrative stuff.  As one who likes order, this was chaos and very stressful to me.  On Monday night, my hand became incredibly painful, and from about 7 pm swelled from localized swelling over the smaller two fingers to swelling my entire hand.  I took a couple of Vicodin I had leftover from my vasectomy and gritted my teeth through a sleepless night, knowing I would be headed to urgent care in the morning.

After a couple of hours taking care of some business at work, I headed to urgent care.  I still thought it was just fluid trapped in my hand that for whatever reason wasn’t draining.  When I got into the doctor, she said that it was cellulitis, a subsurface bacterial infection caused by nasties such as strep or staph.  She said that left unchecked, it can get deeper into the body cause septic shock which could result in losing fingers, organs or even dying.  At that point, the dam of stress of the last couple weeks came undone and I started crying.  I was holding it all together for Holly and our family but my own mortality and just scariness of the situation came to a head.  After a few moments, I composed myself and she talked about what was going to happen. I had, in her opinion, come in early enough to treat it and she would be giving me injections the next three days at urgent care.  So she proceeds to inject me, with so much antibiotics that it took two syringes and two butt cheeks to handle it all.  She gave me a prescription for 30 Vicodin for the pain and told me to come back the next day. Walking like an old man, I decided to forgo work for the day and head home.

After dosing up with Vicodin and spending the afternoon and evening sleeping, I headed back the next day this time Holly took me.  A different doc took one look at my hand and arm and told me to go directly to the ER. He said if it were him, he’d have orthopedics look at me and probably do an MRI or ultrasound of my hand to see if it was anything worse than just cellulitis.  Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.  Apparently things had gotten worse, the infection was spreading up my arm and the lymph nodes were swollen.  This had gone from bad to worse and I was pretty scared.  Holly was calm and her demeanor comforting so I held on to that instead of freaking out too much.

In the ER they started collecting blood samples to culture it to find out what nasty was growing in me.  Different bugs like different food, so depending how the cultures grew, they would know what I had and how to treat it.  Unfortunately, that takes 48-72 hours and until then the doctors are flying blind.  They put in my IV lines and started me on IV antibiotics and some narcotic to dull the pain since the pills had worn off, then shuttled me up to my room where I’d be for a couple days at a minimum.  Time to play the waiting game they thought. piece of cake they thought, just let the antibiotics work they thought.

After one dose, then two, of the intravenous drugs, things had actually gotten worse in my hand.  I was not impressed with my original doctor to say the least, and saw her once per day.  By the evening I wanted to talk to a doctor.  My nurse at that point wasn’t exactly a firecracker, so I wasn’t surprised when I heard that the doctor responsible for me at that point blew her (and me) off.  After the shift change I had an awesome nurse who had been around awhile and actually listened to my concerns and went to bat for me.  Shortly thereafter the doctor on call stopped by and checked me out.  After checking me out, he decided to humor me and would check with the orthopedic hand specialists to see if I was worthy enough to receive a visit.  This is the evening/night of my check-in day by this point.  An orthopedic resident then stopped in, took a  bunch of notes, checked my hand and took pictures. He acknowledged that he didn’t think there was too much to worry about, but he would pass that on to his boss (the actual orthopedic hand doctor).

At 3 a.m. the hand doctor came in, had a look at my hand, saying the description his resident gave him along with the photos left him with some unease.  After just a couple minutes with me he said I’d need surgery and that I likely had a collar button abscess, which an ultrasound a short while later confirmed.  Basically this bugger is a pocket of gunk that has walls that prevent the medicine from getting in and destroying it.  At about 7 am they wheel me down to surgery, knock me out and I wake up with a big splint and bandage on my hand.  Apparently, this thing was bigger than expected and they chased it to from the bottom to the top of the hand.  Below is a picture of my hand one day post surgery (there’s an incision at the top of my hand as well).

hand

They started me on the big hitter antibiotics by that point and I rode out the next two boring days in the hospital waiting for the culture results to come back. In total, I spent three nights and four days there until I got discharged.  Holly spent most of one day with me, and parts of the rest.  The kids came up a couple evenings after school.  Birdsnest had a tough time with me being there and really missed me, crying herself to sleep one night.  The dog too I guess kept searching around the house for me and was very barky and whiny while I was gone.

The results came back as MRSA, basically a Super Staph that’s resistant to multiple types of antibiotics.  I’m on some oral medicine now and am still pretty exhausted as my body is still fighting this bug.  Holly has been keeping the house held down along with a full disinfecting and cleaning of linens and the like.  It’s spread through open wound coming in contact with the bacteria, so lots of hand washing and hand sanitizer will go a long way from spreading it, and Holly is just being safe and doing what she can to minimize the chance for spreading or reinfection.  She still sort of has the heeby-jeebies towards me though as carrier to this nasty bug, so I expect it will be a bit before she sees me as the sexy man that I usually am.

We’re still feeling out our new roles here; her as home caretaker and me as patient. I got yelled at for trying to help do housework and basically was told “I got this. You relax and get well.”  Sort of hard as the Captain to play that role, even temporarily.  So I’ll be on the mend for a bit and likely not weight lifting for awhile (I think I will sneak in some back squats though once my body kicks the infection, just nothing with the hand).

It’s good to be home again and it went to show that we’re a lot more calm and happier as a family when we’re all together.  Holly said one day when I was still at the hospital, the kids were being little assholes: fighting, whining, tattling, and the like.  She was in the car and just lost it, and started crying.  She told them she HAD IT with the bad behavior and if they realized I could have died this week.  I guess the kids were angels after that.  Makes me appreciate the wife and life I’ve got when you go through something like this.

Thanks for all the thoughts and well wishes, and forgive any spelling or grammar mistakes here as I’m typing with one hand+a finger.

Real Men Like Curves

Every girl or women that I’ve seen romantically has had curves.  Now height, weight, slenderness or width has varied to some degree, but Sir Mix-A-Lot here likes some feminine softness.  The Crossfit pictures I see with the girls with the six packs and manish low-fat bodies isn’t really that attractive to me.

curves and bones

I was trolling around the interwebs on Sunday and found this article: Ask the Dude: Real Men Likes Curves.  The gist of the article is some woman, who has curves (which I’m guessing she’s fat, but whatever), asks if she can wear a bikini this summer or if it will repulse men.  While he gives the typical, PC, crap answer for fatties (everyone should just love their body), he does drop this pearl of wisdom:

Everyone wants to look better naked and/or near naked, especially in environments where your body can be constantly compared to others.

One thing men really don’t find attractive: stick figures. If we can’t tell if you’re a girl or just a cross-dresser, that’s less attractive than an hourglass figure. And let me tell you something, there’s a ton of stick figures on the beach who think they look great while a lot of guys are thinking: “Eat something!” “If I picked her up, would she break?”

That is something I can stand behind.  I understand your body type is what it is, and no disrespect to any readers out there, since some men LOOOVE your skinny body type, but to me, low body fat, slim body type represents a girl.  A woman should have a waist and hips and be soft in the right spots.  When you slide your hand, half on her back, half on her side, down her side, there is something beautiful as it transitions from ribs to small waist back around to her hips and ass.  Curvy women are where it’s at.

Now notice I didn’t say fat women are where it’s at!  If you’ve got GLH (girl love handles, usually accentuated by wearing pants with a too tight waist) and a FUPA (fat upper pussy area) [or the man's version of those] you have work to do.  Still figuring out your baby weight situation or trying to get into bathing suit condition?  Check out Robb Wolf and Mark Sisson for ideas on changing your diet.  Keep in mind, your body composition (fat percentage at least) is probably 70% diet related, 15% stress and sleep related and 15% exercise related [though as you drop to a fat percentage you're happy with, body comp will start to shift toward exercise - if you want muscle mass, you have to lift Bro].  Holly and I are trying to eat as clean as we can for another month and results are a little mixed on the scale, but more apparent in the pants size and mirror test.

Don’t be afraid of your curves, embrace them, but tighten them up the best you can for the upcoming summer months.

Whole Life Challenge Update; Thoughts on Body Comp Goals vs. Lifting/Crossfit

I thought I’d give an update on how the Whole Life Challenge is going.  As a reminder, it’s a challenge in name only, with a paid entry and logging of points each day for nutrition, working out and so forth.  My wife and I went into this with goals mostly to encourage us to eat cleaner and cut down on recreational alcohol consumption so we’d look good naked (LGN) in advance of summer. If you aren’t already making some progress to lose that winter bulk with the intention of looking good at the pool in June, you’re already behind.

So far, we’ve both leaned out, even though we’ve both been losing points primarily for social drinking at work events or work travel and on the weekends.  However, we’ve both been eating pretty well, and the nutrition points I’m “losing” have been for things like protein shakes after wicked workouts and bar-b-que sauce (that has sugar in it) on homemade pulled pork butt roast.  I can live with that.  I can tell I’m slowly losing the little fat that had accumulated on my midsection over the last couple of years and Holly is seeing the same as well.  While our weights fluctuate a little due to water intake, time of day, etc., I’ve seen about a 5 lb drop from my previous recent pre-WLC high to the low I saw late last week.  Not sure it will stick, and weight loss isn’t my goal really, but interesting to see.

If anything, I’m probably not eating enough for my other goals.  After recently competing in a two-day Crossfit competition, I’ve been struggling a little bit with what other goals I’d like to accomplish this year besides body composition improvement.  I’m not a top level competitor, and it isn’t my goal to try to qualify for the Crossfit Regionals or anything, so crushing myself on daily metcons isn’t really what I’m into right now.  I’m heavily leaning towards a more strength focus again, which is somewhat contrary to leaning out other goal.  I’m inadvertently following Martin Berkhans LeanGains from time to time with Intermittent Fasting, but don’t think I’m taking in enough protein or food to really fuel strength or muscle growth to a large degree.  So I’m generally continuing to follow The Outlaw Way programming for general strength growth, while adding more bench work so my man-boobs (moobs, chesticles, or pecs; whatever you want to call them) are solid for pool season.  I’ve made some decent progress following this program over the last 5 months, not sure if I’ll be hitting a plateau soon, but will keep plugging away.

My motivation for the high-intensity metcons has gone down tremendously since that Crossfit competition.  I still will do them a few days a week, but I’m much more likely to do a hard, heavy workout at the end of a lifting session that doesn’t leave me lying on the ground in a puddle.  Again, I’m sort of in that weird middle area of trying to get stronger, trying to lean out and not trying to lose too much of my conditioning because I am doing some other one-day fitness competitions later this spring and summer, and like to do other fun recreational activities like running, hiking and biking.  I have a feeling I’m going to not make the great progress in any of the three areas because I’m too spread out with my goals, but we’ll see.  Right now it’s mainly a problem of finding proper motivation.

To brag up a little on my wife.  Holly is continuing to crush on the Crossfit side of things.  She did great in the “scaled” division of the same competition I did (and she would have done well at the regular division, but she can’t yet do a muscle-up).  Crossfit also has their annual Open competition, where many just step up to see how they do compared to their world-wide peers, and the best of the best qualify for regionals then The Games where the winners take home $250k.  She finished in the top 15% of all the women for the first workout for our region and she’s a just few years away from the first Masters division (40-44). She’s like wine – getting better with age.  It’s a little humbling for me, as she’s more competitive in her division than I am, but what can I say, she’s just a really fit person (former D1 athlete) with a competitive desire to do her best.

Whole Life Challenge: Initial Thoughts

The Whole Life Challenge  is a scored pseudo-competition designed to make people look at their daily decisions and how it impacts their health and wellness. The 2013 version kicked off last Saturday and lasts for two months.  Every day you log in and record if you complied with the nutrition requirements of the challenge, exercising 10 minutes every day, the stretching/mobility component, supplement component (fish oil or multivitamin type supplements), and this week drinking 80 ounces of water every day.  We also got measured (waist and hips) on Saturday along with doing a “baseline” fitness workout for which we’ll measure improvement at the end and get scored accordingly.  Weigh in/weight loss was not part of this program since they want to promote fat loss and muscle gain instead of what the scale says.

The nutrition component is probably the hardest and worth the most on a daily basis (half your total).  No grains or starchy carbs (wheat, rice, corn, white potatoes along with breads, cereal, etc).  No sugar or sweetener.  No dairy (except butter). No alcohol, soda or fruit juice.  No artificial ingredients or processed foods (like dye or guar gum or other names you can’t pronounce).  If you slip up, you lose a point each time (out of 5 each day).

Holly did this same Challenge last fall, and lost 10 pounds and inches off her waist I think which she was able to more or less maintain. The organizers want this “experiment” to stick and to transfer over after this is over.  I know when she did it last time, they had other bonus points different weeks for “whole living” like getting 7+hours of sleep every night, meditating, doing 10 minutes of physical “play” every day, etc.

I’ll be honest in that while I’m following the rules, I’m not taking this thing as life changing or to the degree some people who participate do.  My wife and I eat probably 80% paleo/primal and kids slightly less than that.  Prior to this challenge, we frequently enjoyed wine or tequila, candy or ice cream (as part of our 20%) and for me, whole milk and yogurt along with a lot of whey protein shakes.  Cutting out this stuff I think will leave me in a coloric deficit compared to previously as since it is really hard to eat too much eggs, meat, veggies and fruit since they fill you up so much.

Right now, I’m not sure how my body is reacting.  It’s sort of having a hard time telling whether or not it’s hungry, which was something that occurred when I cut out eating the standard american diet of bread and processed foods.  Not eating dairy is somewhat hard for me, as it was an easy snack and I used it as an easy protein and fat source post workouts.  My midnight snacks are weirder too, instead of granola/nut bars or yogurt, I eat pickled herring and fruit.  I hope to cut out midnight snacking and hope to sleep better, but still wake up hungry and needing to eat, sort of a bad habit at this point.

My goals for this are to see if I can stick with perfect scores most days, see if I can lose a little stomach fat and lean up before spring/summer, and to not compromise my ability to maintain or put on strength/muscle.  I think the first two should be fairly easy (exceptions will be work functions/conferences where it’s difficult to eat/drink cleanly), but the last one I’m thinking is going to be hard.  I used to hammer 30+ grams of protein shake right after my daily Outlaw workouts, maybe another one during the day.  Much harder to eat a big hunk of meat or tuna or eggs immediately after.  I am still trying to eat a metric ton of meat to varying degrees of success, but I think getting adequate quantitites of protein may be challenging.  If I start to have issues recovering, I may reconsider the protein shake and may start taking a penalty for that.

We’re only a few days in, and things are going ok so far, here’s an example of meals so far:

Breakfast: eggs, bacon, banana/almond-butter/egg pancakes, , leftover steak fajitas (no tortilla with avacado)

Lunch: roast beef and veggies (restaurant), leftover dinner.

Dinner: pork roast with salad and sweet potatoes, beef and sausage “spaghetti” (with tomato sauce, no noodles), salad, steak fajitas

Snack: pickled herring, fruits, lara bars (made with dates, nuts and other “real” ingredients), nuts, avocado with spices, hard boiled eggs

I’m not in it to win it, just to see if I can tighten things up a little more.  Yeah, we’re vain, I admit it, we want to look good naked and look sexy for each other, that’s really the driving force here.  I realize I’ve got a little extra fat (not too bad and balanced by my increased muscle mass in all honesty), and Holly pointed it out that she’d think I’d look better without it.  What was interesting was that she said I had more of a pooch when I was doing lots of endurance stuff (like 10+ hours a week) than I do now (doing probably half that of mostly weights with short high-intensity crossfitty type workouts).

I plan to share some photos when this is all done that should chronical my body change over the last couple of years.  Good luck to everyone else as they work towards improving their own health and wellness in advance of spring/summer.  It’s never too early to start!

A letter to 17 year old self from me now…

Dear Alex,

Hi, I’ve been able to alter the space time continuum to send you this letter.

The future is pretty awesome.  We don’t yet have flying cars, but we have basically phones that are more awesome than the computers you’ve seen in class, virtual vaginas called “fleshlights” and you remember those hoverboards from the movie Back to the Future?  We’ll pretty much everyone has one of those now… The high-school girls in the future dress a lot sluttier than what you’re seeing now with all the baggy clothes and flannel shirts (they’ll eventually refer to the time you’re in now as the Grunge Era), which will make you want to kick yourself, but what can you do?  By the way, while I know you’ve experienced the joy that is thong underwear on girls at your young age already, you’ll eventually see it’s not that common.  Here in the future, I’d say with many women it’s probably a 50/50 shot that is what they’re wearing, much better odds than in your time.  Unfortunately, many of us in the future are fat. When the movie WALL-E comes out, take note since that’s the way we’re headed.

Anyway, I’m not going to provide the lotto numbers or winning team for any gambling, since that would be too easy. I will say though, put all your available money into Apple computers.  It may take awhile to play out, but trust me on that one.  I’m going to give you some advice from yourself gained at a cost of nearly 20 years of life experience.  I’m hoping that giving you a little advice now will result in an improved experience than what I went through, and allow you to be even happier, have more money in the bank, and more healthy relationships.

First, being you has worked out pretty awesome, but it’s been a lot of grinding at times when it didn’t have to.  You have a hot wife and are usually getting laid a couple times a week.  Not bad huh?  Oh, and you remember those thong underwear I talked about, she likes to wear those a lot of the time.  You’re still in good shape, but weigh probably close to 50 pounds heavier than you do now.  Don’t worry, it’s all muscle.  You have a house that you could have only dreamed about as a kid, and are pretty financially solvent and on the right track.  AND, you have two beautiful and intelligent and sweet kids, so like I said, you end up pretty awesome.

Now to the advice part. That girlfriend you’re with now?  Enjoy it while you can, it was a fun ride being in HS and having a girlfriend without too many real cares in the world.  But when she starts to act crazy, and before you head off to college, you need to dump her and move on already.  Second, you don’t have to move 300 miles out -of-state to a school that charges more “to find yourself” and to prove to yourself you can make it in a new environment and make new friends and reinvent yourself.  You’ll eventually realize that the out-of-state tuition isn’t worth it and your state school in your backyard is just as awesome.  You’ll likely have some different experiences than I did as a result, but the friendships you make there and the family you have are the most critical life relationships that you’ll have, not the expensive school people who you stay in touch with but aren’t close.

Let’s see… what else can I tell you that will be valuable along your life journey…start playing guitar as soon as you can.  While you eventually learn how to play a little for fun, you could be a lot better if you started earlier.  Same with judo.  Also, when something called Brazillian Jiu Jitsu hits your area, sign up.  It’s a lot like the wrestling you’re doing now, but with submission. With that and a little striking you’ll be a complete bad ass.  Also, with your lifting, you need to squat more, and ass-to-grass, not this half-way shit that you call a squat now.  Finally on the health front, don’t take up smoking. Yeah, I know you think it’s gross now, but follow the path I did and you’ll be smoking half a pack, sometimes a whole pack a day.  Gross, and a complete waste of money.

Your major and path you took through school is solid and fits who you are, so no issues there.  Do what you can to not get into as much credit card debt as possible, that was a mistake.  Also, when you do start to work, try and put more money away for retirement than what I did.  It should hurt a little, but once you get used to the smaller paycheck, it’s relatively easy.  That’s really the only financial advice I’ll give, as you’ll learn the rest through your research (hint – check out the teachings of Jack Bogle as soon as you get a chance).

As far as women go, use this time to enjoy the fruits of young, nubile women that live in your area, since my path followed one with too many long distance relationships with not a lot of payout.  Stop pining for individual women, stop putting “the pussy on a pedestal” as they say today.  Stop being a nice guy to women in the hopes that they’ll reward you with attention or :gasp: sex, because you are delusional.  It doesn’t work like that, which you’ll eventually realize in your mid-30′s.  If you want to be more of a ladies man, get strong, get confidence, practice your talking skills, work on being more light-hearted, funny and cocky.  Look at the guys you’re jealous of now?  Are they nice guys, or are they kind of dicks?  You don’t have to be a dick, but you need to be less like a lap dog and more like a funny lab that’s sniffing crotches with that goofy smile on your face.  And always have protection, don’t trust the ladies to take care of that or you might be faced with an “oops” you didn’t intend.

Don’t be afraid to take risks.  That’s how you’ll eventually meet your wife.  I don’t want to give it away, but follow your instincts and act like a 5 year old around women (think along the lines of pulling their hair, teasing them, that type of thing), especially one you’ll meet on a field trip.

Those general rules of ladies man above apply before, during and after you get married.  Be the leader of the relationship, be a MAN!  What will happen if you don’t and just go along with the flow without taking that leadership role is that she’ll lose respect for you and when she loses respect for you she’ll lose attraction to you and when she loses attraction to you, the sex will dry up.  True story. She may not even realize this is going on, and in some ways may be happy you always do what she wants.  But deep down inside, she won’t respect you. Be the rock.  Don’t get pulled into bowing down and lapdogging for pussy, stand up tall, strong and make your expectations clear.  Do that, take care of your body, have a life outside of her, and you’ll have a strong, healthy marriage with the intimacies that are shared between couples.

Like I said, you’ve built a pretty awesome life, even with the slips, trips and falls you’ve made along the way. But heed my words and you may yet find an even better experience than I did.

Your Future Self,

-Alex

P.S.  I almost forgot, when you get that chinese food with your future wife, and put the leftovers in the back seat of the hot car, and run other errands.  DO NOT EAT THE LEFTOVERS LATER!  I promise you’ll regret that decision if you do.  Peace out!

Let me tell you about Pottenger’s Cats

In the 1930′s, a doctor and scientist by the name of Fancis Pottenger did experiments with cats that involved diets over a period of more than 10 years and several cat generations.  Certain groups of these cats were fed quality, fresh food and others were fed varying degrees of processed food and the effects were noted over several generations.

For the first-generation cats, the results between the diets weren’t that great.  However, for each subsequent generation the impacts were greater and greater.  The processed diet cats started showing higher and higher incidents of structural deformities, birth defects, stress-driven behaviors, higher susceptibility to illness, allergies, reduced learning ability and reproductive problems.  When Pottenger tried to reverse the genetically weakened later generation cats by greatly improving their diets, it took FOUR GENERATIONS for the cats to return to “normal”.

So based on this information, I believe we humans are somewhere along the spectrum of Pottenger’s experiment based on our diets.  We all know high fructose corn syrup (pure devil of an ingredient) is in everything now, but it wasn’t until about 1970 that it took off.

sugar breakdown

HFCS has been linked to diabetes, cancer, obesity, gout, heart disease, cirrhosis of the liver, elevated cholesterol levels and mineral deficiencies   Please, oh please corn growers and processors of the world, give me some more of the delicious nectar of the gods!

The brainwashing of USDA and other organizations (see lobbyists and those with vested interests in these determinations) that grains are good, eggs are bad, soy is good, meat is bad, ad nauseum has directly impacted to our health epidemic here in the United States.  Grains have been linked to autoimmune diseases such as celiac disease where your body identifies grains as an antigen and attacks it.  Even if you can tolerate grains, they don’t have much nutritional value compared to “real” food.

I’m not here to preach this diet or that, but know that a whole food, nutrient dense diet will kick the ass of one with grains, sugars, processed foods and rancid oils.  Our family isn’t perfect, but we try to do our best.  Holly and I are both going to be doing the Whole Life Challenge that starts in a couple weeks that promotes and scores you based on healthy (and very restrictive) diet, exercise, sleep and other things over 8 weeks. I think she lost 7-8 lbs the last time she did this, and we’re both looking to LGN in time for beach season.   Regardless of how you decide to live your life, try and improve for your sake as well as that of successive generations.  Let’s try and stop the growing obesity and health epidemic one person at a time.  Let it begin with you.

Why are you doing it all?

Why are you improving your self?  Why are you lifting weights, eating right, gaining fitness, running, trying to get a beach body?  Is it for you?  For someone else?  To “beat” someone so that your ego feels satiated that you’re better than someone?

As I’ve mentioned my wife and I, to varying degrees, both do Crossfit and lifting and running.  We’re also generally focusing on looking good naked – LGN.  While I can’t fully speak for her, I’m guessing that the primary goal for both of us in these matters (and in general self improvement areas) is to be a better individual and feel better about ourselves.  This then inherently transfers over to more confidence, less body image issues or general insecurities and subsequently indirectly contributes to a better relationship without these barriers.  While the positive reinforcement from your partner is nice and feeds the ego, it’s not the driving force behind this change.  Sure I want to look good, partly for her (and vice versa), but even if she doesn’t like the improvements, I do and I get comments all the time now about how beefy I am.  Holly herself looks really good, especially comparing to the average mom I see at kid events with the mom Bob’s and 50 extra lbs shoved into yoga pants with a long sweater trying to hide the two thanksgiving turkeys of a butt.

Most of the members of our gym are just wrapping up a specific programming cycle and doing test out.  This means that everyone has black and white numbers showing how they progressed during this programming.  It’s really a measure of self-improvement of strength gains, but some people choose to use this as a measure of self-worth when comparing themselves to other gym members.  Without exception, most of the people who care about comparing themselves to others, and how that puts them in the social/gym hierarchy, are really insecure.  They use this as a way to boost egos, and if someone beat them, there’s always an excuse. These are the same people who have an excuse for everything in life… why they have a shitty job… why they don’t have a steady relationship….why the relationship they’re in sucks…. why they’re fat/sick/unhappy … and so on ad nauseum.

Holly was a lot more like this previously than she cared to admit.  She had a habit of using the scoreboard (or in Crossfit’s case, the Whiteboard) as a measuring stick of if she was “better” or “worse” than someone else.  Part of it is human nature, and she admittedly didn’t get too wrapped up in the results, but still seemed to comment incessantly about girls at the gym and how she stacked up against them.  This was a carryover from the running and triathlon races where she constantly evaluated times and places compared to other women in her age group or women she knows.  I think on a recent introspection trip, she’s come to a conclusion I reached many moons ago – it’s better to enjoy the journey and to work towards improving your SELF than to care how others do.  There will always be someone stronger, faster, better than you and always someone who is weaker, slower and worse than you.  WHO CARES?!  My wife, thank goodness, has gotten off this train and on to one more at peace with who she is and where she’s going.  To me, that recent milestone for her is a really positive one and one I’m glad to see she’s made.

For me, I’ve always enjoyed the journey.  I certainly liked placing high in any sporting event, but it was always secondary to A) Performing as well as I could and B) Enjoying the process of self improvement.  During Ironman (triathlon) training, if you don’t like the process you are going to be miserable.  As a geek, it was super awesome to see hard metrics of how you’re performing during training, and isn’t that much different than what I’m doing now but the metrics are different.  Before it was based on running pace at a certain heartrate (lower heartrate at a faster pace = improvement), bike wattage at a certain heartrate (same deal, yeah I had a watt-meter on my bike and. it. was. AWESOME for geeks like me), and swim pace improvement.  Now it is the raw amount of weight lifted for any number of lifts, or specific workouts that you can repeat to see how your time can improve.  While individual days aren’t always going to be a personal record due to any number of factors (health, amount of sleep, stress, fatigue, how well you’re eating, so on), the trends should give you some feedback if what you’re doing is working.  I know eventually there will come a day when the trends start to decrease (due to age) so then I’ll be fighting to keep that downwards slope as low as possible.

I guess my point is that we’d all find more peace in life if we look more internal than external for validation of who we are and who we’re trying to be.  Tying up your value as a person to how others perceive you, even your spouse, isn’t good in the long term.  The whole “outcome independence” of self-improvement is really the goal.  Hopefully the improvements we’re all working towards indirectly improves things in our family, with our spouse and in our relationship, but even if they don’t the fact remains that you’re still better than who you were before. Whether anyone else cares or not shouldn’t matter.