Tag Archive for super size me

Cutting Weight

A few months ago, I got to thinking about the phrase “fighting weight.” If I were ever dumb enough to take my karate into the cage, what weight class would I enter? Right now, I wouldn’t have a choice: heavyweight. I once saw Andrei Arlovsky at a comic book convention, and I couldn’t believe how huge the guy was. At 6’4″, he’s got 8″ on me.

I would be killed by those towering monsters.

Light Heavyweight wouldn’t be much better, but hey, I decided it would be a good goal. 205 pounds is still a bit heavier than the 185 I walked around in when people called me skinny, but it’s a lot more attainable. I’ve been scribbling that number here and there a as a reminder when I examine my workout routines, and I think it’s helped. I’ve dropped about 13 pounds since this summer. As I write this my running has been derailed by a muscle injury in my back, but I hope to be back on the track in the next few days. Watching the graph of my daily weight tracking dip downward has been very inspirational.

This week, I found a new source of inspiration. A guy named Drew Manning started a program he calls Fit 2 Fat 2 Fit, and his story is going viral. The short version: he’s a fitness buff and personal trainer who decided to take six months off exercise and eat anything he wants (which, honestly, looks a lot like what most people eat), and then he will turn around and see what it takes to cut that weight. This Good Morning America interview will bring you up to speed.

He’s about two weeks from the end of the fattening up side, and he’s gained over seventy pounds. His before and current pictures are stunning in their difference, and it shows how crummy our diets can be. I experienced that kind of weight gain, though not in that short a time, and as I read his Month 5 in Review post, a lot of it felt familiar.

I can’t say his plan is a great idea. Morgan Spurlock had the same problem on a smaller scale in Super Size Me a few years back, and it took him quite a while to lose the weight. I also think it’s going to be a lot tougher than Drew thinks to get back into an exercise routine, because his body is just not going to be able to do the things he used to do. He’s going to have to rebuild his old habits and break the new bad ones, making it as tough mentally as it will be physically.

Back to the inspiration bit. No, I’m not going to gain weight. Obviously I’ve done that part already. But I’m going to watch closely during the next part of his plan and see what he does to cut the weight. He’s a bit bigger than I am, but looking at his pics and the general shape of him, I’d say I’m in a similar position: I’ve got muscle, but I’ve covered it up with a layer of insulation. I plan to compare my routines to his, compare results, and see where I can improve.

I already draw a lot of inspiration and ideas from magazines like Men’s Health and Muscle & Fitness, but a lot of their workout routines and plans are built for guys who are already in shape. Like most of us, Drew is going to have to start slow. I’d lay odds he can pull it off, but again, I’m interested in seeing how long it takes and how difficult it will be.

In the meantime, I’ll be putting together a more detailed regimen for myself. The running will be about the same, but I feel like I need some more planning in handling the days between the running. That will make it a lot easier to compare my routine to Drew’s, as well as help introduce a little more variety in my workouts versus the “What do I feel like doing today?” problem.

Whether it’s specific karate drills and exercises, running, or weight lifting, it’s all going to be about cutting weight. I’m visualizing it like a weigh-in before a fight: I don’t make that fighting weight, I don’t get to fight. If I were a pro, if I can’t fight I won’t get paid.

205 pounds. I’ve got a ways to go, but I best make it happen so those towering monsters don’t tear me apart.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

I Got Super Sized!

The Wife and I finished our food-oriented flick mini-festival with Super Size Me this evening. Like Food, Inc., I think it’s well worth watching. On the surface it may look like a condemnation of McDonald’s, but if you’re paying attention you’ll find it’s as much a condemnation of the way we eat as it is the companies feeding it to us.

Like he says in the end, if they weren’t making millions, these companies wouldn’t be making this food.

Some people are saying the movie’s crap because eating nothing but that garbage for 30 days will make anybody fat, and nobody really eats like that. Maybe they’ve bought into the “it’s your own damn fault you’re fat” attitude, or they just don’t want to feel bad about their own trips to fast food restaurants. Either way, it’s the wrong attitude. I ate fast food a lot in my four years in retail management over a decade a go, and I packed on eighty pounds in that time.

Every manager did. With long hours and no time to get away for a real lunch shift, we ate whatever was close at hand. Driving in to work, it was whatever drive-through was open. Lunchtime, we’d hit another drive-through or have something delivered. Long commute home? Sometimes that meant another visit to a drive-through. We’d try frozen meals, but those aren’t really any better, and bringing lunches was a pain because you never had time to finish the prep of leftovers and cold sandwiches got old fast.

That’s a big problem the movie doesn’t address: fast food is cheap and convenient.

It’s cheap because of all the crap that’s crammed into it. Consider Taco Bell beef, which is allegedly less than 40% beef. Look at an ingredient list for McDonald’s fries and you’ll see it’s not just potatoes and salt. These companies are like a drug dealer cutting his coke with baking soda. Sure, the fast food people are doing it for flavor and preservation, but the end result is the core ingredient goes further and costs them less.

The convenience is why we keep buying it. These restaurants are everywhere, they’re fast, and you know exactly what they have. And before you say “No, Mike, I go for the taste!” sit back and think about that. Take time, cost and effort out of the equation. Would you rather have a McDonald’s burger or a 100% ground beef patty you just fried up on the grill? It should be a no-brainer.

I can address the cost side. The Wife and I just hit a local grocery store and bought what we needed for suppers for five people the next two nights, plus some extras, for about thirty bucks. Two suppers at any given fast food joint would run us $40-45, easy. People look at a pound of beef and cringe, thinking they can get a Whopper for that, but don’t realize that pound of beef is part of an entire sloppy joe meal for my family and leaves leftovers.

As for convenience, well, I don’t know what to tell you. That’s going to take some strategy and planning. I’ve been making sure I eat breakfast again, but unfortunately I sometimes run to the local Casey’s gas station/convenience store and grab one of their breakfast croissants. They’re not near as good as the scrambled eggs & cheese I make at home when I have time, and they’re probably as bad as any other fast food with their grease and preservatives. My only fix? Get up a little earlier and make that time to cook breakfast before work.

I’m still heavy, but at least my heart’s in good shape (verified by a stress test last year), I don’t have any blood sugar or blood pressure issues, and while I do have to take a small dose of statins, my cholesterol is in check. How? Diet and exercise. I’m far from a perfect eater, but I avoid fast food when I can and I’m in karate classes at least six hours a week. Now that I think about it, it’s probably time to reacquaint myself with The Abs Diet (stupid name, great program) and see if I can’t readjust my eating. Their smoothies are fast and tasty.

You get one life, folks. Do you really want to live it couch-bound and dependent upon a fistful of pills?

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.