SGX Journal C4W5D2 (Shifting Mental Gears)

Thoughts: It’s been very difficult for me to shift gears mentally from bulking on BFL ratios to cutting on SGX ratios. The eating patterns were so different from the BFL standard that I’ve been following since last May that it forced me to pay very strict attention to every bite that I ate, something I haven’t had to do since my first few weeks of BFL. I’d gotten used to 40/40/20 and knew how much of each macro to look for in each of my meals, whether I was cutting or bulking. BFL was easy because it was automatic for me.

Switching to SGX has reminded me that my first 4 weeks of BFL eating weren’t exactly a piece of cake either. I struggled to get my ratios and calories right for nearly three weeks when I started out because I was coming from a very high carb Asian diet and simply wasn’t able to get in enough protein until I got over my cottage cheese phobia and picked up a canister of whey protein. I also hadn’t compiled all of those recipes from In2nutrition yet, either.

So now I’ve hit the 4 week mark with SGX, and as before with BFL, I’m finally psychologically ready to embrace this new way of eating. As with BFL, it’s been a period of trial and error as I revise my menu, tossing out the familiar favorites and finding new ones. Armed with a box of sugar free Jello every day and a selection of sweetened shakes, I am prepared to tackle the last 8 weeks of this challenge. I am also giving myself license to munch on low cal fruits like strawberries or plums if I feel the need. In my opinion, a 36 calorie splurge on a plum is still way better than inhaling a handful of snack size Twix from the recently-restocked candy bucket at work.

On the workout front, I am sticking to the SGX plan as much as possible, but I’ve decided that if I feel like running for 10 minutes or so during my daily cardio, I’m just going to do it instead of plodding along and resenting the restriction in my activity.

As far as progress pics go, dang it, the ex-bf finally asked for his tripod back, so I’ll have to figure out a way to set up my digicam on a counter top or bookshelf to take my pics. I think I have a cheesy little mini tripod with bendy wire legs somewhere in my closet. I’ll dig around tonight and see if I can find it.

========
Nutrition: SGX Training Day eating pattern
(Details omitted by request)

Regular (Non-SGX) Daily Supplements: multivitamin with iron, calcium 500 + D
Water for yesterday: 18 cups

========
Workout:
12:00 PM Upper body/chest emphasis workout
8:00 AM Steady-state treadmill (4 mph / 7-10% incline / 30 minutes)
8:25 AM Steady-state treadmill (6 mph / 0% incline / 15 minutes)

========
The Awful Truth:
1. Had a Luna bar around midnight last night. Oh well…could have been worse.

========
Brownie Points:
1. Finally realized that the key to SGX is to stop constantly comparing it to BFL.
2. Planned workouts complete for the day.

========
Short-term Goals:
1. Fold the mountain of laundry on my bed.
2. Come up with a leisure time exercise DVD rotation.

SGX Journal C4W5D1 (Oops…I did it again)

Thoughts: Between work on Saturday and being on the other side of town for the rest of the weekend, I didn’t have a chance to take progress photos. ๐Ÿ˜ณ

I’ll get those done tomorrow morning even if I still look like the Pillsbury Dough Boy from my free meals this weekend. At least I hopped on the recumbent bike for an hour at my parents’ house last night after dinner while watching the extremely cheesy earthquake disaster movie “10.5” on USA.

Here’s a quick recap of my weekend:

Friday night–Sushi (free meal 1) and karaoke at Kimonos (a sushi bar in the Disney Swan Hotel) with regular karaoke sidekick Ed

Saturday night–Work, Microsoft Money budget revision, and 80’s Hair Band party at Odin’s Den with bf Chris (I got to bring out the Megacon eBay wig again)

Sunday–Breakfast with Chris, Karen, Sean, and a visiting Oom Yung Doe (the school of martial arts Chris studies) instructor from Boston at Bakely’s in Winter Park, a quick jaunt to the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival to look at overpriced art work that I can’t afford, some condo/house window shopping with Chris, and then dinner, weekly cable TV fix, and bi-weekly computer tech support service for my mother at my parents’ house

========
Nutrition: SGX Non-Training Day eating pattern
(Details omitted by request)

Regular (Non-SGX) Daily Supplements: multivitamin with iron, calcium 500 + D, flax seed oil
Water for yesterday: 12 cups

========
Workout:
7:00 PM Steady-state treadmill (6.0 mph / 0% incline / 20 minutes)
7:20 PM Steady-state treadmill (40 mph / 7% incline / 25 minutes)
9:30 PM NYC Ballet Workout

========
The Awful Truth:
1. Missed morning cardio today and will have to do it tonight.
2. Didn’t have a chance to take progress photos.

========
Brownie Points:
1. Kept calories on target throughout the weekend.
2. Finished 2005 budget and projections.

========
Short-term Goals:
1. Update PDA Diet and Exercise Assistant with meals from past 2 weeks.
2. Take progress photos Tuesday morning.

SGX Journal C4W4D5 (Growing Up and Getting Practical)

Thoughts: I’ve been working on revising my budget and projecting my financial situation through the next 12 months with Microsoft Money 2005. (I’m one of those weirdos who enjoys fiddling with personal finance software almost as much as I like hacking and slashing my way through a dungeon in World of Warcraft. They are both vastly entertaining to me.)

In any event, after taking a good hard look at my accounts and cash flow forecasts for the next year, I’ve come to the realization that I could easily survive on a “necessities only” budget for the rest of the year, barring the occasional wedding, birthday, or Christmas present. I’m socking away $4000 a year in my Roth IRA, 15% (plus 2% employer match) into my 401K, and still have enough to pay for my day-to-day expenses and a bit of entertainment on the side.

On the flip side, I am not saving any extra outside of my (pretty substantial) retirement accounts, and I really need to get cracking on this if I want to get into my own house or condo next year.

With this in mind, I took the $25 Amazon.com gift certificate I earned with points on my Amazon Visa card and, instead of using it for another game, book, or computer thingie, I put it towards one of my monthly necessities: a 20 lb bag of Nutro Max Cat Gourmet Classics Roasted Chicken Flavor dry cat food for my two kitties.

Mark down yet another milestone in my road towards prosaic maturity–On this day I chose cat food over Half-Life 2. All future Amazon Visa GCs will be used for the same purpose, or for offsetting the costs of those unavoidable presents I mentioned earlier. My Discover cash back bonuses from my gas card (which pays 5% cash back on gasoline purchases) will be automatically used toward my balance on the same card, thereby reducing the effective cost of my gasoline by 5%.

Juliet Schor’s Overspent American really altered my mindset on spending in general. I’ve always been pretty careful with my money, but in my office, it’s pretty easy to get sucked into the see-covet-buy-repeat cycle with electronics, technology, games, and even cars. Someone is always getting a new laptop or smart phone, or making a run to EBgames to grab the latest game console or game release. Nobody ever says “You know, I think I have *enough.* There’s nothing more I need to spend upon except food, shelter, other necessities.”

I’m a bit less susceptible to the see-covet-buy-repeat phenomenon than many others, but I’ve done my share of impulse buying with fitness gear, games, books, computer upgrades, kitchen stuff and clothes. However, looking around my apartment now, I think I WILL say “I have enough.” I don’t want to acquire any more unnecessary things, because at this point in my life, they would just be clutter. It’s time to appreciate the things I already own now, and see if I can get through the rest of the year without picking up anything extraneous. I’m not quite ready to downshift completely, but I can certainly freeze excessive discretionary spending given the stockpile of entertainment options (games, books, movies, computer gear), clothing, fabric/patterns, cookware, and running shoes I already own.

The Joneses can do what they like. This gal isn’t going to be pressured into keeping up with them anymore.

========
Nutrition: SGX Training Day eating pattern
(Details omitted by request)

Regular (Non-SGX) Daily Supplements: multivitamin with iron, calcium 500 + D, flaxseed oil
Water for yesterday: 17 cups

========
Workout:
8:00 AM Steady-state treadmill (4 mph / 7% incline / 45 minutes)
12:00 PM Upper body workout/ back focus

========
The Awful Truth:
1. Mmm….cookies. 5 tea biscuits from last night’s dinner.

========
Brownie Points:
1. Had a decent deficit yesterday.

========
Short-term Goals:
1. Control myself at Kimonos tonight at the sushi bar.

SGX Journal C4W4D4 (Jello Is My Savior)

Thoughts: One of the toughest things to get used to on SGX is the lack of all dessert-like sweets and goodies. I can’t even use the nummy nutrition bars my sister invented for the 40/40/20 BFL plan.

๐Ÿ˜ฅ

I wouldn’t call myself a sugar addict, but I DO like contrasts in flavors, so a meal that is salty/spicy will make me want to follow up with something that is light/sweet. Diet soda just doesn’t cut it for me, so my options have been a bit limited, a state of affairs that led to the Kashi cheats of last week.

What I needed was an extremely low calorie, sweetened food that could serve as a dessert or snack to go with my SGX meals.

Enter Sugar-Free Jello gelatin.

I picked up 7 boxes of the stuff, one for each day of the week. I had lime yesterday and am slurping down a batch of cherry today.

Who would have guessed that simple Jello would be my salvation during this challenge? I’m reverting back to my childhood eating habits now.

I might have to look into some sugar-free popsicles the next time I go shopping, too.

๐Ÿ˜€

========
Nutrition: SGX Non-Training Day eating pattern
(Details omitted by request)

Regular (Non-SGX) Daily Supplements: multivitamin with iron, calcium 500 + D, flax seed oil
Water for yesterday: 18 cups

========
Workout:
12:00 PM Steady-state treadmill (6.0 mph / 0% incline / 20 minutes)
12:20 PM Steady-state treadmill (40 mph / 7% incline / 15 minutes)
10:00 PM NYC Ballet Workout

========
The Awful Truth:
1. Ratios were off yesterday and calories were only 200 below maintenance.

========
Brownie Points:
1. Completed cardio during lunch.
2. Logged all meals in Fitday.

========
Short-term Goals:
1. Pay taxes. Sigh.
2. Chop up veggies for salads.

SGX Journal C4W4D3 (Return of the CC Gag Response)

Thoughts: Okay, I just ate a disgusting quantity of cottage cheese with two packets of Equal and a teaspoon of cocoa as an emergency makeshift meal since my stock of SGX food on hand at work was depleted at 5:30 pm due to the inedible dinner provided by the catering company–cheesy scrambled eggs, potatoes, buttermilk biscuits, brownies, Caesar salad with the dressing already tossed in, and some kind of bacon quesadilla thing. I tried the eggs in the hopes that they were pure, unadulterated, unfertilized embryonic chicken goo, but alas, I detected the vile taint of CHEESE in the first bite and was forced to abandon the catered dinner in its entirety.

I polished off the last of my authorized meals instead, leaving me with only a few random fruits and a cup of Albertson’s cottage cheese (kept here for just such an emergency) to get me through meal 6.

Now regarding this cottage cheese…I thought I’d trained myself to enjoy it, but I am actively fighting a gag response right now. Apparently, I am trained to bolt down only 3/4 cup of CC, not a full cup, because I wanted to quit with 1/4 cup left to go and had to force the rest of it down.

On the positive side, I have no urge at all to dig into the carrot cake I stashed in the company freezer last night for my free day splurge Saturday. Thank goodness I took care of both planned workouts earlier today, because the thought of doing cardio with a stomach full of lumpy curds floating about in the 16 cups of water I’ve already drunk today does NOT appeal.

Nauseously yours,

Maggie

========
Nutrition: SGX Training Day eating pattern
(Details omitted by request)

Regular (Non-SGX) Daily Supplements: multivitamin with iron, calcium 500 + D, flaxseed oil
Water for yesterday: 18 cups

========
Workout:
8:00 AM Steady-state treadmill (4 mph / 7% incline / 45 minutes)
12:00 PM Leg workout with squats

========
The Awful Truth:
1. Missed yesterday’s planned cardio in the evening. No more evening cardio attempts. I hate sweating at night.

========
Brownie Points:
1. Both planned workouts are done. Hurray!
2. Halfway through The Overspent American by Juliet Schor. I no longer have any desire to buy more stuff for at least a month.

========
Short-term Goals:
1. Clean out the fridge.
2. Cook some chicken.
3. Check out the Lotte Berk workout DVDs I got from the library.
4. Finish the Schor book.

SGX Journal C4W4D2 (Getting bored with LISS)

Thoughts: Yes, it’s true.

The day has come when I have to say that I’m getting a bit bored with my cardio routine. The theory behind it all is that doing 45 minutes of low-intensity, steady-state cardio every day will burn fat directly while preserving muscle mass, but I have to say that it really makes me NOT want to wake up and do my morning workout every day.

I might try out the 5:30 am spinning class at my gym Thursday just for variety. I figure that the utter misery I shall feel during and after spinning should completely renew my enthusiasm for LISS on the treadmill for the remainder of my SGX challenge.

Gah, I hate spinning.

========
Nutrition: SGX Non-Training Day eating pattern
(Details omitted by request)

Regular (Non-SGX) Daily Supplements: multivitamin with iron, calcium 500 + D, flax seed oil
Water for yesterday: 17 cups

========
Workout:
7:00 PM Steady-state treadmill (3.5 mph / 13.5% incline / 45 minutes)
10:00 PM Yoga for Athletes DVD

========
The Awful Truth:
1. Had leftover Indian food (extra spicy Chicken Vindaloo with rice) last night instead of planned meal 6.
2. Also made myself a jelly sandwich with low sugar strawberry preserves and two slices of Roman Meal Carb Aware bread.

========
Brownie Points:
1. Avoided all MRPs today.

========
Short-term Goals:
1. Set aside one hour a day to draw or work on graphics on the computer.
2. Stop doing cardio at the apartment complex and switch back to doing it at Gold’s.

SGX Journal C4W4D1 (Accidental Run)

Thoughts: I thought I could stick out the entire 12 weeks of SGX without running, but it turns out that I didn’t make it past week 4 before caving in and hitting the treadmill at something a bit faster than 4 mph.

I think I was so carbed up this weekend from my two cheat meals that I simply couldn’t help myself. Between the Indian food with the huge pile of rice I had Friday night and the grilled chicken sandwich (with bun!), fries, and crock o’ beans at Steak and Shake Sunday night for dinner, I just had too much energy to NOT run.

So last night around 11:15 pm, I stopped at the gym on the way back from dbf’s place and hauled some ass on the treadmill in classic BFL HIIT style. It was nice to find out that my lung capacity and endurance were still pretty much the same even after three weeks off from running. I kept up the same basic intervals I used before starting SGX without needing CPR at the end, and even finished off with another 25 minutes of SGX style low intensity steady-state cardio (LISS, as they call it at the JSF Forums).

I think I may do the HIIT once a week just to make sure I can still handle the running.

Oh, and the gym wasn’t that weird at midnight. There were a surprising number of people working out at that hour, believe it or not.

========
Nutrition: SGX Training Day eating pattern
(Details omitted by request)

Regular (Non-SGX) Daily Supplements: multivitamin with iron, calcium 500 + D
Water for yesterday: 12 cups

========
Workout:
12:00 PM Leg workout with squats
9:00 PM Steady-state treadmill (4 mph / 4% incline / 45 minutes)

========
The Awful Truth:
1. Broke down and went for a run last night. ๐Ÿ˜ณ

========
Brownie Points:
1. On target today for food and workouts.
2. Cardiovascular endurance is still pretty good after 3 weeks of no running. :mrgreen:

========
Short-term Goals:
1. Clean out the fridge.
2. Restock the egg supply.

SGX Journal C4W3D3 (WoW Woes)

Thoughts: It will be another week and a half before I take my 4 week progress photos and measurements. So far on the program, I’ve bounced between 134 to 139 lbs depending on various factors ranging from PMS to free day water retention. It must be a lot easier to be male and not have to account for two weeks of crazy, hormone-influenced water weight gain.

I’ve retained all of the strength and size gains I put on during my bulk and might even be adding more with the change in lifting routines. Whereas Max-OT had me doing 2-3 sets of only 4-6 reps at maximum weight, my SGX training plan averages 2-3 sets at 12-20 reps. Even though I am using slightly lower weights, my arms are responding very well to the change. The measurements I took last week indicate that my lower body is getting a tiny bit smaller while the upper body is holding steady and even gaining a bit in size. I honestly wouldn’t care if I only dropped 5 lbs or less this challenge as long as I retain my muscle mass and simply shed the fat covering the good stuff. ๐Ÿ˜†

The main difficulty I’ve had (besides starting SGX on PMS week) has been due to two things:

1) On BFL/LL, my last meal was taken around 10:30 pm every night. On SGX, let’s just say that my meals get cut off a bit earlier.

2) I’ve become semi-addicted to the online roleplaying game World of Warcraft, which causes me to stay up past 10:30 pm and therefore get HUNGRY. My body doesn’t care what my meal plan says; it wants to be fed every 2-3 hours. ๐Ÿ™„ I’m also not quite getting enough sleep, which is a big no-no when it’s time to cut.

I’m focusing on having a very clean weekend and week now so I can give an accurate report on the program next weekend.

========
Nutrition: SGX Training Day eating pattern
(Details omitted by request)

Regular (Non-SGX) Daily Supplements: multivitamin with iron, calcium 500 + D, flaxseed oil

Water for yesterday: 14 cups

========
Workout:
8:30 am steady state treadmill walk (3.5 mph / 15% incline / 45 min)
12:00 pm Lower body workout
10:00 pm calisthenics challenge (20 min)

========
The Awful Truth:
1. Finished off Kashi (1 cup?)
2. Didnรขโ‚ฌโ„ขt drink enough water

========
Brownie Points:
1. Had my planned veggie omelette meal for dinner instead of the crapload of pasta that was delivered by the catering company–lasagna, mac and cheese, salad with dressing already mixed in, potatoes, and brownies. Not a single clean dish in the lot.
2. Fully on track today with meal contents and timing.
3. Raised my 3 x 20 squats up to 105 lbs today. Will shoot for 115 lbs next week. It would be rather splendid to do three sets of 20 squats at my body weight by the end of the 12 weeks. :mrgreen:

========
Short-term Goals:
1. Do the laundry (still)
2. Recharge PDA before I lose my data again.
3. Mail out old PDA to friend in California.
4. Bring more Equal to work.