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Viking Dad Bod 2023: Week 2

Here's a story:

I used to work for a fertility clinic that I not-so-lovingly refer to as the Baby Farm (don't ask). We were a small team of contract workers trying to raise awareness for embryo donation and embryo adoption for a non-profit funded by a government grant. The owner of the non-profit was an OB-GYN and we worked in the same building as his private practice. When fully staffed and with no absences, the office maybe had 12 people counting both non-profit employees, private-practice staff and third-party employees.

This was before most of my tattoos, before my beard and certainly before my fitness obsession but I was in the early stages of trying. And trying meant drinking a daily V-8 in a can and having the occasional pre-packaged protein shake, though the name brand and flavor I cannot remember. The protein shake needed to remain chilled so I would pop it in the employee fridge in the morning. It wasn't long after I started doing this, however, that I noticed that someone had been drinking half of my shake every time I'd bring it in. The first time I thought it was an honest mistake but then after three or four more times, I'd had enough.


I raised hell about it in the kitchen during a busy lunch hour and was immediately shushed by the office's embryologist. With giant bug eyes she whispered, "Sshhhhhh! I think the doctor has been doing it!" I was livid -- why would the doctor be helping himself to my drink and furthermore, why did I need to be quiet about it? During my two-and-a-half years in that job I found myself, face in palm, asking how so many adults couldn't handle adult shit -- shit like not eating/drinking something you didn't bring or not talking politics in the office breakroom or not assuming everyone is a Christian or wants to have kids.

Those days are far behind me, thankfully, and even though I now currently work with mature, often-hip, intelligent and aware people on a daily basis, the fact remains that people are still people and they are inherently confusing and frustrating. Despite me no longer having to worry about folks talking about politics in the break room and being pretty happy the company celebrates all cultures, shit sometimes still goes missing from the refrigerator.

Last week I had put my name and date on a cup of Greek yogurt that I had planned to eat in the afternoon but got busy and left without eating it. When I was packing my lunch the next morning, I intentionally left out the yogurt because I was just going to eat the one in the fridge at the office. When my mid-afternoon hunger hit, I waltzed over to the refrigerator (or did I fox-trot? Or did I rumba?) and ... nothing.

It was heartbreaking because I was looking forward to it; Heartbreaking because that meant someone else had decided to take yogurt that not only wasn't theirs but also had MY name on it; Heartbreaking because I'm already having a hard enough time eating enough food.

Eating Enough Food? Aren't You Trying to Lose Weight?

Yes! However, just as it's important to remain in a calorie deficit of 500-1,000 calories per day for fat loss (I usually never suggest more than 750), it's also important to hit your calorie goal. Example -- my maintenance calorie level is about 3,500 so my fat-burning deficit is 3,000. It may seem like it's okay to only eat 1,500 or 2,000 calories if your goal is to lose weight but the reality is this:

If you consume too few calories, your metabolism will suffer. That means your body will, by nature, burn fewer calories. That's the opposite of what we want! We need to keep our metabolic fires stoked and we do that by adding fuel to the fire -- aka, eating food. A drastic cut in calories will also cause your body to go into a catabolic state where the body tries to save its life by burning its muscle mass for energy. This will cause us to lose weight, yeah, but not in the way we want.

100% of the time if a person says they want to lose weight what they mean is they want to lose fat. We lose fat more efficiently by also building muscle. We can't build muscle if we're not consuming enough calories, even in a deficit! Anyway, on with the show.


Some Things I've Learned / Observations From Week 2:

  • Only two weeks into the running program and I'm already starting to see that my endurance is being pushed. A little embarrassing considering I used to run half marathons but I'm not upset because I've not been doing much cardio in the last year.

  • I guesstimated how many calories I was consuming a time or two this week and barely got to 2,000. Like I said above, I need to remedy this. I guess this is a possible pitfall with intuitive eating. You can't guess and get big at the same time!

  • I've also randomly noticed that my jeans are already fitting a bit more loosely. It may be in my head because it's only been two weeks but I'm definitely feeling a little loose in the waist when my belt is in its usual notch.

Some Things I'm Changing Moving Forward:

  • Last week I mentioned changing hanging knee raises with regular supine leg raises. Well, I'm changing those again. When I laid on the floor earlier this week, I remembered doing the triangle-choke style leg raises in jiu jitsu and my abs immediately ached at the thought. This will be the selection moving forward (or until I change it again).

  • When I started this program, my first two runs were in the subdivision near my house. It was convenient but it was also dark and boring. Afterward, I hit the park a mile or two away and enjoyed myself way more. There's more to see, more distractions, more possible routes and it's well lit for both safety and post-run selfies, which are extremely important.

Highlights of the Week:

  • See below to find my weight is finally starting to go back down!

  • It seems my running pace has done nothing but get better with every run I do. I'm tracking each run to see if I can find any correlation so be prepared for some of that at the monthly check-ins.

  • I started following Nikita Fair on Instagram and have utilized many of his recipes in the meal plan this week -- everything has been SOOO GOOD omggggg -- check out his Turkey Burritos, his Pepperoni Pizza and his Buffalo Chicken Pasta!

  • Also on the meal plan this week was FitMenCook's Chicken-and-Rice Soup Recipe that came out more like a risotto but it was still delicious and healthy!

  • Found out about this Green Day side project called The Network. It's all three guys from GD playing wacky New Wave. It's pretty silly but it's also quite pleasing. Have a listen:

Weekly Stats:

  • Weight: 234.2 Pounds (1.2 pounds lost from last week, 0.8 pounds lost total -- Goal: 215 Pounds or 20 Pounds Lost)

  • Blood Pressure as of January 20, 2023: 176/116, Stage 2 Hypertension (up from 149/100 from last week but still down from 180/117 (barely) at the beginning)

This week I'm going to leave you with a quote by the Greatest -- Mr. Muhammad Ali. I've been reading his book The Greatest: My Own Story and this quote hit me hard this morning. He may have been referring boxing roadwork but it's a great metaphor for how to be successful at life:

"Early in my career I learned to run until I was tired, then run more after that. The running I do before the fatigue and pain is just the introduction. The real conditioning begins when the pain comes in; then it's time to start pushing. After that I count every mile as extra strength and stamina. The reserve tank. What counts in the ring is what you can do after you're tired."

Ever onward and see you next week!


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