LGN 12: You know you want to look good naked

Click here to see all of my LGN (I want to Look Good Naked) posts.

Or maybe you don’t.  Maybe you don’t think you can.

I’m back on track.  Between April and September ’09 I shed 20 lbs.  Fall was tough all the way ’round and I stopped tracking my calories thinking I had it under control.  That was definitely a mistake.

Bottoming out the downward spiral meant that there was nothing left to do but to get my s— together again. Get out of my own head.  Work off stress, get better sleep.

I started doing pushups.  Added them to my treadmill/elliptical stuff because the weight machines just weren’t doing it for me.  Couldn’t do more than a total of 25 when I started.  10 + 7 + 8.   Gotta mix it up a bit.  Now I’m up to 10 + 10 + 10 + 10 + 11.  Shed 2.5 lbs. in the past few weeks.  That means I’m building muscle and starting to lose fat again.  It’s a good stage to be in.


For me, the magic bullet is being aware of calories.  So I’ve been using LoseIt (the iPhone app), which also has a website now.  It’s good.  Gets the job done.

In a moment of boredom with the norm, I decided to try to find new podcasts to listen to.  This was inspired by my efforts to find a podcast hosted by a female with a Scottish accent, but that’s another story for another time.  I browsed by category and found a lot of health and fitness podcasts.


I found Fat2Fit Radio.  It’s great.  One of the hosts is in the process of trying to lose weight and succeeding in fits and starts.  They answer viewer questions, have a topic of the day, recipes.  The advice is solid and reasonable.  One of my favorite eps. was when they explained how and why the online dieting industry is so crappy and full of noise.


The Daily Burn

They also recommend interesting websites, one of which is The Daily Burn.

My screen name is mcstrings on there.  Look me up and motivate me.

My friend Tony — he’s in the Bay Area — decided to try to find a site to track workouts and such.  We tried FitLink but … eh.  Not quite.  Then we started our own personal, more or less, blog where we track our logouts and discuss various things and keep each other motivated.  No ads.  They’re not trying to hock you any products.  As far as I know they’re not sponsored by any company.

It gets me into the fitness room here at the apt. complex on those mornings when I’d rather just veg to The Daily Show via Tivo before being late to work.

Then I heard about The Daily Burn on Fat2Fit and here we are.  The cool thing is that they also have an iPhone app (free).  It’s okay.  On its own I wouldn’t be hyped up about it, but it helps to be mobile.

BUT what I’ve been getting a kick out of is the FoodScanner iPhone app ($.99).   It’s magical.

You can pick up a box of, let’s see.  I’ve got a box of Kashi Whole Grain Crackers here.  Pick it up, start the Food Scanner app, line up the barcode on the box with the screen and it automatically grabs the barcode, shows a nutrition label and voila.

Daily Burn iPhone apps

I’m still just playing with it and deciding whether or not to totally switch over.

Let’s get real

Despite how it may sound I’m not trying to sell you anything.  I’m not hocking anything.  This isn’t an ad.  I don’t any kind of benefit if you use some of these gadgets other than some conversation or moral support if you join in on the fun.  It’s just me trying to do whatever I can to enable myself to move more and to eat in moderation.

But here’s what I want to say.

If you’re trying to lose 20 lbs., as an example, for whatever by next month, you’re doomed.  I’m not saying it’s impossible.  You could do it, but it’s not healthy.  And I’d bet that you’d gain the weight back and more soon after.

Things I’ve tried

  • Atkins diet
  • Hydroxycut
  • Fat absorbing pills
  • Not eating

Over the years.  Each kind of worked.  I mean, I was half-assing it on the Atkins diet because I have enough common sense to know that you can’t eat all kinds of fatty food without doing some damage so I did my own version.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the discipline to stick to a regimen.  Who does?  You can’t enjoy yourself if you’re a slave to somebody’s list. And then you feel guilty.  You feel miserable because you tried again and couldn’t do it and obviously you just won’t ever be “thin” or fit again.

But you know what?

I like food

I really do.  I’m a mixer.  I’m always mixing things together.  My latest?  Beer (Negra Modelo or something hoppy) and apple cider.  Even better with spiced apple cider.  Burgundy and Naked Juice Mango Passion.   Kashi’s Oatmeal Dark Chocolate cookies (warmed gently in the microwave) with Haagen Dasz vanilla ice cream and a mug of Ghirardelli’s Mocha Hot Chocolate.  Every now and then I’ll make my own Chili Bubba a la Hard Times Cafe.

Obviously, I’m not pigging out all the time (anymore).  I didn’t realize it at the time, but I used to binge.  Didn’t purge but I was a binge eater.  I would sit down with a large Pizza Hut Meat Lover’s pizza, some soda, turn on Star Trek: TNG or something like it and eat 3/4ths of it.   That’s just abusive.  So I don’t do that anymore, but I look forward to a good decadent meal every now and then.

“Losing” weight isn’t about harsh discipline or inhuman willpower.  It’s not about sacrifice and ascetism.  It’s all about reasonable expectations.  Realistic expectations.

We’ve been fooled.  By the way, did you know that Jenny Craig is owned by Nestle?  Yeh, that Nestle.

So here’s what I’m saying.  Come on.  Let’s do it.  It’s not magic.  It’s not easy at first, but mainly in terms of changing/transmogrifying habits.  But it’s not an impossible quest meant only for the disgustingly fit or naturally thin people.  It’s not instant gratification, though.  It’s reasonable, moderate, look at yourself in a mirror and step on a scale every few weeks and get some satisfaction.

Then one day, you’re the you you remember.  You’re the you that matches your self-image.

We’re on our way.


Add Yours
  1. Sarah Benelli

    “For me, the magic bullet is being aware of calories.”

    ^^^ This was huge for me as well. Once I realized what some of my favorite little indulgences added up to in time spent in the gym, I started choosing my transactions very carefully. Now, If I’m going to eat something calorically dense, I make damn sure it’s extremely tasty and nutritious as well. I have also realized that smaller portions of decadent foods are exactly as satisfying as large portions. This means I can follow a reasonable dinner with a small portion of my favorite ice cream and I don’t need to freak out about it at the gym the next day.

    • garyarthuryoung

      Sarah B.

      How’s your post apocalyptic training going?

      I just subscribed to your blog. You, my friend, are … you possess a high count of awesome.

      Yeh, since calories are fundamental I figured I would have to start there. I was shocked at the amount of calories in everything I was eating, thinking I was behaving myself.

      One Wendy’s fish sandwich is, like, 500 calories. And because fast food goes down so easily and quickly — practically melts in your mouth — and doesn’t really fill you up, I’d order two. Plus a drink. A baked potato because I don’t want french fries.

      You’re talking a 1400 calorie dinner at 8:30pm.

      Add that to a blissfully unawares lunch and I was eating 700 – 800 more calories per day than my body needs. If I did that consistently (and I often did) you’re talking 4900 extra calories per week. And 3500 calories is equivalent to 1 lb. of fat, right?

      So that’s constant weight, give or take, over the course of months and years. Ouch.

      Most people still have no idea. Just knowing what I was doing to myself helped to get the ball rolling.

  2. Janna

    I too, let my health routine spiral away over the winter, and I’ve just been getting inspired to get into a workout regimen again – started running and signed myself up for a 2 day a week for 12 weeks boot camp (I’m super -excited about the kick in the pants that will be).

    But I tend to really hate feeling deprived around food so I’m loathe to give myself rules. HOWEVER with your (virtual) encouragement I downloaded LoseIt on my phone yesterday and am pleasantly surprised that I’m not doing all that bad. I think just making the numbers of what I’m eating obvious to me has a positive effect on how much I eat and what choices I make.

    And it helps that with my height and weight, if I want to lose a pound a week, it still allocates me over 1800 calories a day – then when I add in working out, that’s almost an excessive amount of food, at least when I’m being conscious about it. Fast food is completely out, but lucky for me, trips to the local coffee shop aren’t. Jeremy always says you can’t quit your vices, you can only replace them with better ones, so I always consider it a victory when I can incorporate my “bad” choices into an overall healthy lifestyle.

    I’m looking forward to that Jamie Oliver show where he takes on the fattest city in America – http://www.jamieoliver.com/about/jamie-oliver-videos/jamies-food-revolution-trailer
    Hoping I can catch online somewhere.

  3. Tony

    I tend to eat whatever I’m craving. I swear I should weight 300 pounds. Fortunately, I guess my body is enough in tune with itself to keep me from becoming grossly overweight. So far, anyway. 😛

    And then Gary talked me into signing up for DailyBurn. Just keeping track of your intake really does make you a lot more careful about what you eat, doesn’t it?

    I’d like to share one piece of advice I read in Men’s Fitness a few years ago. They said that one reason people fall off the wagon with their nutrition programs is, indeed, feeling deprived. One way that really helps to mitigate that, they said, is to give yourself one meal a week (say, Saturday night) where you eat whatever you want. Be strict and stick to the plan the rest of the time, but for that one meal, just give yourself a break and enjoy. One meal a week won’t kill you. Think of it as a reward for being good all week. 🙂

  4. jspencer91

    I’m also dependent on LoseIt! and Fat2Fit radio. For me, one won’t work without the other. The calorie tracking of LoseIt is essential to me for losing weight, but until found Fat2Fit radio, I had the wrong goal. I lost 18 pounds in 6 weeks, then hit a plateau. It wasn’t until I found Fat2Fit radio that I realized I needed more calories, and adjusted by LoseIt goal to make what makes sense from their podcast.

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