31 Dec

December 31, 2005 – Survived the holiday season

Weight: 323
Difference from last entry: +1

Okay, it isn’t good that I’ve been able to do this, but I’ve managed to not gain much weight during this holiday season. I’ve done this without watching what I eat, and without much exercise. How’ve I done this? I have no friggin’ idea. Apparently, while I’ve been snacking on bad stuff, I’ve made up at least part of the calorie differential by not eating as much good stuff? Who can say? All I know is that I weight only a pound more now than I did before Thanksgiving.

Fortunately, I’m back to behaving now. There are still a few goodies around the house, but I’ve lost interest in them. And I’m ready to figure out how to get exercise back into my routine. I’m actually going to schedule it in, to make sure that I don’t let myself go a month without exercise again.

Here’s something interesting I found out while researching my End Of the Year entry for my LiveJournal: I actually weigh almost 10 pounds less now than I did this time last year! According to this post from January 2005, I weighed 332 pounds. I’m at 323 this year. So apparently my work the last half of this year wasn’t all in vain, after all!

Here’s my 2006 Resolutions from my LiveJournal:

I should probably make my New Years Resolutions here, to make sure they are recorded for posterity:

  • Lose weight! I was doing well for a while. And while I actually weight 10 pounds less than I did at this time last year, I’m still roughly the size of a small whale. I need to steadily improve that. I’d love to weigh 100 pounds less this time next year, but my official resolution is to weigh 50 pounds less. Attainable goals are good goals.
  • Along with the weight loss, I want to make exercise part of my daily routine. Exercise de-stresses, and as much as I like to say I don’t notice it, stress is a part of everyday life. Besides, exercise is good!
  • Be a better father. Colin deserves the best Daddy in the whole wide world. I need to make sure I am always striving to be the best father I can be for him.
  • Be a better husband. Erin deserves the best husband in the whole wide world. I need to make sure I am always striving to be the best husband I can be for her.
  • Finish my friggin’ thesis already!

13 Dec

14-Day Plan Improves Memory

This sounds very interesting: a 14-Day plan which has been proven to improves memory!

Memory Training: Brainteasers, crossword puzzles and memory exercises that emphasized verbal skills throughout the day.

Healthy Diet: Five meals daily included a balanced diet rich in omega-3 fats, whole grains and antioxidants. Eating frequent meals prevents dips in blood glucose, the primary energy source for the brain.

Physical Fitness: Brisk daily walks and stretching. Physical fitness has been found in other research to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Stress Reduction: Stretching and relaxation exercises. Stress causes the body to release cortisol, which can impair memory and has been found to shrink the memory centers in the brain.

Before-and-after brain scans showed the participants experienced on average a five percent decrease in brain metabolism in the dorsal lateral prefrontal region of the brain, which is directly linked to working memory and other cognitive functions. This suggests they were using their brains more efficiently. The subjects also performed better on a cognitive test.

Lord knows that I need a memory upgrade!

13 Dec

Ten Best Ways to Maximize Your Workout Time

Peter Lopez has a very interesting article about exercise on GoArticles.com. In this article, he gives 10 tips for maximizing the time one spends exercizing. My two favorite tips:

Double up your workouts.

Add weights to your cardio routine (or vice versa) and you can start to see results within three weeks! You really see the best of both worlds by using interval training. Interval training is highly effective because you introduce your body to a new challenge every five minutes or so. Traditional cardiovascular exercises focus on building aerobic capacity while weightlifting concentrates on increasing muscle strength. Combining the two into one interval training workout means you get benefits from both!

Add variety.

The fastest way to become disillusioned with your workout is to do the same thing over and over again, plus your body can become conditioned to the movements and fail to burn as many calories as you would like. Avoid all this by surprising your body with new and different challenges at least once a week. If you typically run several times during the week, try hiking at a nearby park. If you’re a Spinning devotee, take a Pilates class instead. The ultimate switch-up for most exercisers is swimming: an exercise that requires much more aerobic and muscle strength that imagined. Do a few laps in the pool and you’ll see what I mean.

I am a man of routines, so anything that messes with my routine can cause big problems. But I see the logic in what Lopez is saying. Especially with regards to keeping my body from getting used to a certain form of exercise. Walking at the rec center is very calming; I’m reticent to give it up for something else. But it’s time for me to vary my workout.