So I marked the occasion, this being the 64th day of the Gigacalorie project by tidying up my progress marker. It's just a simple Excel spreadsheet that tallies up my daily contributions, weekly totals and my average progress per day and per week.
It was interesting to look back at the past 2 months, for which sweaty rides home and constantly aching muscles have dominated my schedule. Beyond the initial 'breaking' of my daily routine I have consumed 4 containers of protein powder, 12 gallons of milk (skim all the way baby!) and my workout/post-workout water consumption is probably something like 14 gallons of water.
Now granularity is nice but there's no real secret to what I am doing. You push the body hard enough and primal forces carry you the rest of the way. There are a few additional forces that make the task at hand both easier and harder. I'll start with the bottlenecks and conclude with the boons.
First and foremost, as I have said before, the enormity of burning 1 million kilocalories is as daunting and vast as the horizon inside the eye of a hurricane. Every day that I work out I come home and gleefully tally my progress like a pasty gamer tracking his experience points onto worn out graph paper.
Today the total stands at 42,930. Two months of cardiovascular brutality and anerobic malevolence done to my person has brought me 4.293% of the way to my goal. Or you could say I only have 95.707% to go until I am done.
Hell and damnation it's almost unbelievable. I could have moved a volume of bricks the size of my house (solid mass, not hollow) BY HAND in the same interval. Or I could have walked to texas and back by now. That would be a decent workout in and of itself but no, I am making scandalousy slow progress by the usual standards. It's terrifying of itself but when you consider that I am actually 8 Mcals AHEAD of schedule (more than 2 weeks progress at the alloted rate) it is all the more frustrating.
So there's that, and the physical toll is not much better. My arms, legs and back ache more or less constantly. My hands tremble at the keyboard and my voice is strained when speaking to clients, my wife and my daughter. I am the alarm clock whose snooze button has been pressed many thousand times too many.
Finally there's the whole body image issue to consider. My current progress (assuming naively that it's all net calories) equals about 12 pounds of body mass. My actual weight loss dipped down to ten pounds a few weeks ago and has since flatlined at around 8. Maybe that's positive because I am growing muscle or my bones are miraculousy hardening into granite from my considerable intake of bovine lactose but I sure as shit don't 'feel' like I am much lighter.
Natalie and friends swear I look different but my mental self portrait as a chubby guy with moderate body hair has yet to be at odds with its optical counterpart. I try to assuage my anxiety with the intellectual notion that even if I'm not flinging fat particles at escape velocity that at least I'm getting healthy and that's a noble goal without the secondary side effects of increased social acceptability.
There's just not enough positive reinforcement. But there is some, which I will outline now before things get too depressing.
Perks include getting to see scantily clad sweaty chicks of various levels of attractiveness on a tri-weekly basis. This might sound shady coming from a married dude but it's nice to add a simple addendum to my mental assessments of the girls around town. For years it has just been 'well i'm not gonna bang that girl' and hopefully in a year or so i'll be able to append: 'but I could if I really wanted to.'
I guess that sounds shady from any perspective but it motivates and I need all the momentum I can muster.
Secondly food tastes so fucking good when you're starving that it's not even funny. My second greatest meal of all time was a hot bowl of noodle soup on the fringe of Bangkok's red light district in no small part because I was ravenous at the time. Don't get me wrong if I could get it that soup would be my breakfast every day that I didn't feel like fresh pad thai but being hungry as hell made it all the better. Now thanks to my jacked up metabolism I am more or less constantly hungry so most of what I eat tastes great.
Some might consider that a negative aspect but I try to see it as a constant opportunity to make the right choice and reach for the banana instead of the bacon. (Side note: I have actually had banana wrapped in bacon and it's quite good)
Finally, and I know this was included in the negatives already, but what little progress I am able to measure cheers me greatly. It never ceases to amaze me how much effort, will and saline go into my weekly regimen and I need look no further than my bicep for proof that I am doing something right.
What once lay undefined amidst a slab of adipose tissue I can now trace with a finger or pinpoint with my eyes. It's not that much, a little crest of whipcord rising above a sea of pudge. Yet however much the body and mind wail for attention and results I can take solace that my little friend is already there to greet me.
All I need to do is keep feeding him and he will grow to dominate my self-image. I'll also need every scrap of muscle fiber I can wield to hold up my own ego when I triumphantly announce my victory in some format or another.
According to the projected outcome that date will be Feb. 1 2014. However at my current rate I will be toasting my victory with a frothy protein shake more than one year early. If I can sustain this rate of expenditure I may just modify the terms of the project.
I think I'll wait a year or two before I make that canonical though.