Transformation 5.0

Cravings, Hunger, and a Mega July 4th Recap


Do you trust your stomach?

Do you trust it to tell you when it’s hungry?  Do you trust it to tell you when it’s had enough?

I don’t trust mine one bit.

The root of my distrust likely originated with my nutritional upbringing, which centered around Pop Tarts, Tastykakes, and TV Dinners.  Eating from that food pyramid for two solid decades threw my internal hunger pathways for a loop.

Eating from that pyramid for two solid decades also put sweets – specifically cookies and ice cream – all the way at the top of my food chain.  Start eating those things, and it’s damn near impossible to stop.

What to do?  How do you cope with broken hunger mechanisms and a sweet tooth to boot?

My early advice, which I still believe in with all my heart, is don’t go hungry.  In fact, in Relentless Nutrition, I call hunger the sniffles.  Sniffles are the prelude to a cold just as prolonged hunger is the prelude to a regrettable binge.  If you have the option and the right food choices around you, eat to satiety.  If you know you won’t have the option later, eat to the point of satiety now in preparation.

I’m adding an addendum to that rule.  Often times I listen to a client’s nutritional recap prior to them feeling significant cravings and/or having a regrettable moment, and I hear “but I wasn’t hungry”.  Famous last words.  I’ve heard them often enough to take a closer look.

Is it possible that they were hungry even though they didn’t feel that way?  Hell to the yes.  Digging into their food logs, there was almost always a significant caloric deficit building.

If a significant enough caloric deficit exists, it cannot be wiped out with a single normal-sized meal.  That’s when those “I just wanted something sweet after dinner” moments kick in.

Since I’ve been rolling down muscle building road (i.e. eating more), I’ve had zero cravings.  Zero.  As you’ll see below, I faced down some dessert spreads (didn’t have any) and drinks (had 2), and I felt no pull what-so-ever to indulge, let alone over indulge.  That got me thinking – was a periodically rampant sweet tooth a function of simply not eating enough?  I believe it was (at least in part).

What’s the takeaway here?

Many of us have broken hunger mechanisms.  Many of us cannot simply trust our stomachs to be our shamans.

Your body has multiple ways to tell you that it’s hungry.  One way is that familiar feeling in the pit of your stomach.  Another way may be the cravings themselves.

Next time you have a craving, ask yourself: am I simply hungry?

Results Round Five

I owe you results!  These numbers were taken prior to the holiday, and they mark the result of 5 weeks of sweat.

Weight is up a touch.  Muscle markers – chest, arms, and hips (widest point of the butt) are up.  Fat markers – waist and abdomen are down.  My shape continues to change.

These results are a message to all of the scale fanatics out there.  Think about it.  I’m up 2.4 pounds.  Nooooo – run for the hills!

But wait.  Somehow my abdomen has been reduced 2.5 inches.  People have said I look leaner, slimmer, tighter – all things that scale fanatics are after, right?

Is this some kind of voodoo magic?  Nope.  It is justification that the scale cannot be trusted as a sole measure of success.  Furthermore, if you do trust the scale as a sole measure of success, you’re in for a hellish and life-long rollercoaster ride.

I know society has drilled the scale and weight and BMI as the be all, end all.  And I know it’s very, very difficult to break societal conditioning.  Please try.  Trust me, it’s for your own good.

The official numbers:

  • Weight:  191 -> 191 -> 193.2 -> 192.6 -> 193.4  (+2.4)
  • Circumference (in):
    • Chest:  42 -> 41.5 -> 42 -> 42.5 -> 43  (+1)
    • Waist:  33.25 -> 32.75 – 32.75 -> 32.5 -> 32.25  (-1)
    • Abdomen:  35.5 -> 34.75 -> 34.5 -> 33.25 -> 33  (-2.5)
    • Hips:  40.5 -> 42.5 -> 41 -> 40 -> 40.25  (-0.25)
    • Thigh:  24 -> 24 -> 24 -> 24.75 -> 23.75  (-0.25)
    • Calf:  15.5 -> 15.5 -> 15.5 -> 15.5 -> 15.5  (EVEN)
    • Arm:  14.25 -> 14.25 -> 14.5 -> 14.5 -> 14.75  (+0.5)
  • Bodyfat (mm):
    • Back:  13 -> 12 -> 13 -> 14 -> 12  (-1)
    • Chest:  10 -> 7 -> 8 -> 8 -> 8  (-2)
    • Abdomen:  13 -> 14 -> 15 -> 13 -> 14  (+1)
    • Thigh:  15 -> 12 -> 15 -> 14 -> 14  (-1)
    • Bicep:  7 -> 6 -> 6 -> 6 -> 6  (-1)
    • Triceps:  9 ->8 -> 7 -> 7 -> 7  (-2)

Days 37 – 42 in Review

So much to recap!  That’s what I get for taking a long holiday off.  Let’s break this into chunks, shall we?

Exercise Recaps

Step and mile day-by-day breakdown (add 20%):

  • Wednesday: 6,349 and 3.41
  • Thursday: 16,338 and 8.79
  • Friday: 3,152 and 1.69  (Rainy and filled with indoor 4th of July events.)
  • Saturday: 10,244 and 5.5 (Although I crossed 10,000 steps, I shorted myself at least that many.  I took off the Fitbit anytime I was outside at the pool, which meant I missed hours of frisbee and running time.)
  • Sunday: 11,490 and 6.17  (Ditto Saturday.  Much outdoor active time missed.)
  • Monday: 12,382 and 6.65

How about the workouts themselves?

Wednesday brought active rest.

Thursday was my opportunity to fit in a rock solid strength session prior to our holiday departure.  I introduced 6×6 sets for 4 exercises to shake things up.  Legs were beat up going into this workout, so it became skewed towards upper body.  Here’s the protocol:

  • 6×6 – Sets of 6 reps, followed by :30 rest:
    • Weighted Chin-ups
    • Machine Chest Press
    • Single Arm Dumbbell Rows
    • Machine Overhead Press
  • 3x through, no rest between exercises:
    • Leg Press
    • Cable Row
    • Leg Extension
    • Hamstring Curl
  • 3x through, no rest between exercises:
    • Front/Lateral Shoulder Raises
    • Shoulder Shrugs
    • Triceps Press
    • Bicep Curl
  • Assorted Closers: Farmer’s Walk, Grip Work, Hollow Body Rocks

Friday was complete rest.

Saturday and Sunday were all about fun in the great outdoors!


Marissa’s brother Nick and I kicked off Saturday morning with 18 holes of chip and putt golf, which were the source of my steps that day.  Later Saturday, we played hours of frisbee and swimming pool games, which included this gem:

  • 5x through, no rest – challenge style:
    • 10 Bodyweight Squats
    • Dive in Pool and Swim Sprint to Other Side
    • 5 Diving Board Muscle Ups
    • Exit Pool
    • 5 Elevated Push-ups (feet on diving board)
    • 10 Split Squats (rear foot on diving board)
    • Dive in Pool and Swim Sprint to Other Side

On Sunday Marissa, Nick and I walked over to a local middle school’s football field, which was crazy nice!  We hurled a frisbee around and took turns testing how far we could throw it on the fly (my personal best: 52 yards).


Then it was time for sprints!  The goal was to go endzone to endzone in 15 seconds or less (resting while walking back across the field), a workout I remembered reading via mega beast Keith Norris.  Two realizations:  I don’t have an explosive gene in my body, and it’s been a while since I rocked straight line repetitive sprints.  I nailed 7 consecutive sub-15 second sprints before retiring due to some groin/hammy tightness.  My cardiovascular fitness felt great, which was encouraging.  I will revisit this workout again and make 10 the target.

The remainder of the day brought – what else? – more frisbee, pool, and outdoor time.  Very active, very fun, very satisfying.

Monday was spent nursing a tight lower body.  Back to the strength Tuesday!

Nutrition Recaps

I’m saving you some of the repetitive photos, but you’ll get the gist of it.  I enacted my rule of no social pictures at times, but I did manage to snap a few in certain moments.

Wednesday Breakfast: Grass-fed yogurt, (28g) whey protein isolate, (5g) creatine, raw cacao nibs, chia seeds, coconut flakes, organic blueberries, banana, cinnamon.  Black gold.

Day 15 Breakfast

Wednesday Lunch: Road meal at Cafe Lift.  Scrambled eggs, house-made sausage, and kale, pepper, carrot, pistachio, and quinoa salad.


Wednesday Dinner: Duck breast, brown rice cooked in chicken stock, cauliflower, and sauteed greens.


Thursday Breakfast: Ditto Wednesday.

Thursday Pre-Workout: Raw Tea.


Thursday Post-Workout: Grass-fed whole milk.

Day 14 Post Workout

Thursday Lunch: This was scrap-it-together time.  We were leaving town for multiple days, so it was all about clearing out the refrigerator.  Leftover grass-fed burger, potato and green bean salad, purple kimchi, banana, almond butter.


Thursday Snack: Rise Bar.


Thursday Dinner: Sweetgreen salad just before departure.  Kale, quinoa, hard boiled egg, 1/2 avocado, carrots, cucumber, broccoli, and beets.


Friday Breakfast: We packed well and assured that we had breakfast materials on hand.  Getting the days out of our comfort zone off to great starts was a key!  So, in short, ditto Wednesday and Thursday.

Friday Lunch: The 4th of July party was at an awkward time (3:00pm), so we ventured to Whole Foods for a light lunch.  Salmon sushi and seaweed salad.


Friday Party: Ah, the spreads.  These pics were snapped to show you what we were working with!  I settled on a plate packed with plain steak and a small serving of potato salad.  I followed up with some grapes and strawberries off of the dessert spread.  And I had quite a few water bottles along the way.  Success.


Friday Late Dinner: Marissa and I ventured yet again to Whole Foods, and I put away some pork over brown rice.

Saturday Breakfast: Ditto the other days on the main course, but I picked up this gem at Whole Foods.  Stumptown Cold Brew.  Fantastic.  Especially when enjoyed on a nice early morning by the pool.


Saturday Lunch: Grill time!  Two grass-fed hamburgers, fresh guacamole, uncured hot dog, 1/2 white sweet potato, pickles, kale salad.  Shortly afterwards – Rise Bar and cherries.


Saturday Dinner: Mega grill time (courtesy grill master Nick).  Ribs, grass-fed burger, 1/2 sweet potato, pickles, and asparagus.  I went back for sausage, onions, and peppers too.  Phenomenal.


Saturday After-Dinner: A group of us took in the sights and sounds of UFC 175, and the big streak came to an end!  40 days without alcoholic beverages – it was a good run.  I decided to have my favorite concoction x2 – Ciroc vodka, club soda, ample amounts of fresh squeezed lemon and lime.  I’m pleased to report that I felt decent the next morning with only a slight fuzziness that went away quickly.


Sunday was a no picture day!  The same breakfast with morning coffee.  Leftover grill plate (looked much like the above) for lunch.  Whole Foods Apple Zinger juice (spinach, parsley, celery, cucumber, apple, and ginger) and a Rise Bar for a snack.  Rotisserie chicken, sweet potato, and mixed green salad for dinner.  And finally, a Rise Bar to cap the night (was hungry!) after the drive back to Philadelphia.

Monday Breakfast: Ditto on the main dish.  I carted back some Stumptown Cold Brew and enjoyed it one final time.


Monday Lunch: Oops!  We didn’t do a big preparatory shop upon return, and I got stuck with a greek yogurt to tide myself over until the evening.

Monday Snack: Rise Bar.

Monday Dinner: Ah, back to normalcy thanks to Chef Riss.  Free range chicken breast, roasted potatoes, sauteed kale, and organic bacon.


Sleep Recaps

Here’s the rundown:

  • Wednesday: 8 hours and 28 minutes (2 awake minutes, 13 restless minutes)
  • Thursday: 8 hours and 31 minutes (8 awake minutes, 15 restless minutes)
  • Friday: 8 hours and 38 minutes (3 awake minutes, 13 restless minutes)
  • Saturday: 7 hours and 20 minutes (3 awake minutes, 9 restless minutes)
  • Sunday: 7 hours and 50 minutes (0 awake minutes, 8 restless minutes)
  • Monday: 8 hours and 2 minutes (0 awake minutes, 11 restless minutes)

Thus concludes the longest recap section in history.  I’m never taking off for that long again!

Daily Fuel

Cheesy?  Maybe, but I’m not ashamed to say that I love it.  This is an old favorite of mine that I stumbled across today.  The Ali quotes alone are worth it – they give me the chills.


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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Family Matters and Training Transitions
    July 14, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    […] may recall that Marissa and I returned to her family’s house over the July 4th holiday.  We knew there was a brand new Whole Foods 5-minutes away, which reduced our packing pressure. […]

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