3 weeks out, Day 1, Bench press and my weight loss plan

After posting the in progress pics yesterday, a few people were curious about how I've been going about losing weight.  I'm old and a bit of a skeptic so I don't do anything really novel.  None of the fad diet stuff that's going around except for a month of mostly compliant Whole 30 to start because Vivian was doing it.

I say mostly compliant because that Whole 30 plan is super restrictive.  Among other things, no dairy, no artificial sweeteners, no legumes.  Well, I needed to continue using whey protein powder (that is artificially sweetened) because my budget could never afford to fuel my 100% of my protein demands with actual meat.  Especially not this year when meat prices have gone through the roof.  And I rely on a steady diet of lentils because they fill a role as both a carbohydrate and a protein source, plus they're filling.  After that first month, Vivian went back to a lower carb atkins-like approach that has worked well for her in the past so I was able to eat a larger variety of foods since I was no longer following her plan.

Once I was back in the routine of preparing all of my meals and avoiding eating out for lunch--this took about a month, I decided I wanted to pay more attention to calories and macro-nutrients.  Because I wanted to lose weight without losing strength, I needed to make sure I wasn't cutting too many calories, eating too few carbohydrates to fuel my workouts, and eating too little protein to recover.  I opened a free account at www.myfitnesspal.com and started tracking everything I ate.  I hadn't used a meal tracking app/website for a few years and they've really improved in terms of convenience.  I loaded the app on my smartphone and the app can scan the barcode on a package to instantly input the nutritional information if I'm eating something that has packaging.

I don't pay attention to the suggestions the site makes for creating a caloric deficit nor do I pay attention to the 'goals' the site sets for macro-nutrient intake (carbs, fat, protein).  I generally try to eat about 11-14 calories per pound of bodyweight and I try to get 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.  Since I've been steadily losing weight and maintaining or gaining strength, I'm comfortable sticking with that plan until things change for the worst.

example of a report from myfitnesspal for calories consumed

example of a report from myfitnesspal for grams of protein consumed
Study after study on weight loss and successful maintenance of weight loss mentions the significance of tracking what you eat.  Recording what I eat definitely makes it easier to stay with a strategy although I can see how those prone to disordered eating can get too involved with the process.  The combination of increasing my weekly activity and being much more mindful of what I'm eating has fueled my progress so far but because I'm enjoying the process, I've been able to sustain the effort without feeling like I'm making an effort.

I can't really put my finger on why it's different this time from all the other times I've said that I'm going to lose unnecessary bodyfat and try to optimize my powerlifting performance but I have to give Vivian a lot of the credit.  I've probably thought about starting on a project like this one every year since 2010.  This is the first time, I've actually been successful in making real progress.  My mind has always been willing but it was so easy to fall back into old habits and fail to lose significant amounts of weight.  When Vivian decided she wanted to try Whole 30 and needed me to do it too in order to remove distractions from the pantry and our eating choices, I think it was the full immersion in a process that I needed for the wheels to start turning.  Like I said, I didn't follow the Whole 30 plan to the letter at all but cooking all my own meals and not going out to eat changed me.  It re-calibrated my outlook towards meals.  We have eaten at restaurants a few times in the past 90 days but it's almost always been for occasions, not routine.  Sorta like how people treated going to a restaurant in the good ol' days before going out to eat became a convenience rather than a treat.

3 Weeks out, Day 1, bench press

Since next week will be largely recuperative, I'm going to try to push the volume and intensity for one more week.  My plan for bench press today and on Wednesday will be to work up to a hard single and then back off sets with 295.  This morning I was able to work up to a smooth, paused single with 335 before back off sets with 295.  I weighed 226 this morning and I am definitely the lightest by far compared to other times when I've bench pressed 335.  I still think 347-352 is possible on meet day but anything above 330 (150 kgs) will be a PR for me in the 105 kg wt class.

Bench Press:  all reps paused, 135x5, 135x5, 225x5, 265x3, add wrist wraps, 295x3, 315x1, 335x1, 295x4, 295x3, 295x3, 295x3

Parallel grip chins:  5, 5, 5, 5

Lateral raises:  35x6x3 sets

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