Friday, May 28, 2010

Food Map - Experiment...

Gonna try to eat from these two lists:

[X] are things I really like!


Brussels Sprouts
Cereal, whole-grain
[X]Citrus, fruits & juices
Cranberry Juice
[X]Egg Whites
[X]Fish, cold-water(salmon, mackerel,sardines)

[X]Garlic, fresh
[X]Grape Juice

Milk, nonfat
[X]Mushrooms, shitake and mitake
[X]Olive Oil

Rice, brown

Sweet Potatoes
Tea (green or black)
Tofu, light
[X]Tomato, sauces and products
Vegetable Juice

CATEGORY TWO: Excellent Food


Bread (rye, marble, Pumpernickel)
[X]Broccoli Sprouts

Cereal, dry (3 to 6 grams of fiber per serving)
[X]Chicken, skinless white meat
Low Fat Cottage Cheese
[X]Fish, freshwater

Graham Crackers
[X]Lettuce, romaine, leafy green or red
Lima Beans
Melon, honeydew
Milk, 1%

Pancakes, buckwheat
Pasta with marinara sauce, fish, or vegetables

Ricotta Cheese, nonfat
[X]Soy Milk

String Beans
[X]Sunflower Seeds
[X]Turkey Breast
Vegetable Juice, canned or bottled

Yogurt, low-fat (including frozen)

I'm going to try to eat mostly foods from the lists above for the next week or so to see how my body reacts to it. Also going to try to limit carbs and focus on proteins... We'll see what this shift will do.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Some exercises for your rear...

Wife is working out with me and I know she's trying to work her glutes, so I found a few exercises we'll be adding to the mix...


Prone leg raises work your glutes
Get on all fours and drop your upper body so you're resting on your elbows and forearms. Extend your left leg behind you so it's parallel to the floor. Keep it straight and, without locking your knees, lift, then lower back to where you started. Try doing 20 to 25 reps, then switch and do the same with the right leg. Three sets are ideal.


Prisoner squats work your quads and glutes
Stand straight with your hands behind your head. With your chin up (don't lean forward), your abs tight and your back as straight as possible, squat to a sitting position, then come back up to a standing position without locking your knees. Tighten those glutes as you come up. Try three sets of 15 to 25.


Calf raises target both major calf muscles from three different angles
These work best if you're standing on a step, but they can be done on the floor as well. Stand straight with shoulders back, feet shoulder-width apart and parallel to one another, pointing forward. Focusing on your calf muscles, raise yourself up onto your toes, then come down without touching your heels to the step (or floor), then rise back up again. Now do the same thing with your feet turned outward at an angle. Next, try it with your feet turned in (pigeon-toed). Try three sets of five in each direction.


Combine side and back kicks to work your outer thighs, glutes and lower back
Stand straight with feet shoulder-width apart. Straighten your left leg and raise it out to the side, then lower it. Try 25 reps before doing the same with your right leg. For back kicks, start in the same position but hold on to a counter or wall in front of you. Lift your left leg backward, keeping it straight, then lower it. Try 25 reps before doing the same with your right leg.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Getting to know what the vitamins do... Part One (A-E)

Vitamin A:

Vitamin A comes from plants and animals and is not stored in the body. Beta-Carotene is often termed as pro Vitamin A. Vitamin A helps benefit your vision, tissues, skin, teeth, hair, nails and bones in many ways.

Food sources of vitamin A include carrots, papayas, peaches, apricots, mango, plums, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, collard greens, and tomatoes.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)

Thiamin is a water soluble vitamin, meaning any excess is excreted and not stored in the body. It is highly beneficial for the nervous system and your mental disposition. It helps maintain healthy nerves and improve memory and mental clarity. Thiamin is also necessary to help convert carbohydrates in food to energy.

Good sources of Thiamin are Romaine lettuce, Tomato, Green peas, Eggplant, Mustard greens, Brussel sprouts, Watermelon, Carrots, Broccoli, Green beans, Black beans, Pineapple, Oranges, Garlic, Grapes and Sesame seeds

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

You have an increased need for Riboflavin during stressful situations and it is the most common vitamin deficiency. Its primary function is to work with other substances to metabolize carbohydrates, proteins, and fats for energy. It has a profound effect on thyroid hormone production, helps in the production of immune cells to fight infection, and aids in transporting oxygen to cells in the body.

The most abundant sources of this vitamin are milk, milk products and liver. Other food sources of riboflavin are oysters, lean meat, green leafy vegetables, mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli, avocados, Brussels sprouts and salmon. Brewer’s yeast is the richest natural source of vitamin B2. Liver, tongue, and other organ meats are also excellent sources. Oily fish, such as mackerel, trout, eel, herring, and shad, have substantial levels of riboflavin, too. Nori seaweed is a fine source. Milk products have some riboflavin, as do eggs, shellfish, millet and wild rice, dried peas, beans, and some seeds such as sunflower.

Vitamin B6

One of the more important vitamins, B6 performs over 100 valuable functions for the body. According to a government survey, only 1/3 of adults and 1/2 of women get enough B6 in their diet. B6 helps convert amino acids into serotonin. It helps red blood cells, makes proteins, and manufactures brain chemicals. B-6 is believed to play a vital role in disease prevention and treatment.

Excellent sources of vitamin B6 include spinach, bell peppers, and turnip greens.

Very good food sources of vitamin B6 include garlic, tuna, cauliflower, mustard greens, banana, celery, cabbage, crimini mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli, kale, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, cod and chard.

Vitamin C

A potent antioxidant that may prevent premature death from heart disease and cancer. A vital protector of cells. Plays a primary role in collagen formation, which is essential for the growth and reparation of tissue cells, gums, blood vessels, teeth, and bones. Due to its mild antihistamine effects, Vitamin C also strengthens immunity and helps to minimize and/or prevent colds.

Excellent food sources of vitamin C include broccoli, bell peppers, kale, cauliflower, strawberries, lemons, mustard and turnip greens, brussels sprouts, papaya, chard, cabbage, spinach, kiwifruit, snow peas, cantaloupe, oranges, grapefruit, limes, tomatoes, zucchini, raspberries, asparagus, celery, pineapples, lettuce, watermelon, fennel, peppermint and parsley.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin that is stored in the liver. It is a potent antioxidant that help protects cell membranes from free radicals. Its benefits are enhanced when combined with selenium. It helps protect against cancer and cardiovascular disease. Vitamin E helps improve immune function and slows the aging process.

Excellent sources of vitamin E include mustard greens, turnip greens, chard, and sunflower seeds.

Very good sources of vitamin E include almonds and spinach.

Good sources of vitamin E include collard greens, parsley, kale, papaya, olives, bell pepper, brussel sprouts, kiwifruit, tomato, blueberries, and broccoli.

More to come...


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

YoGut... Gonna Eat me some Yogurt... So I have NoGut

Color me surprised to find out that eating a daily amount of yogurt helps reduce belly fat... The article I read states:

Yogurt, Specifically, Significantly Increases Fat Loss

In just 3 months, 16 obese men and women on a reduced calorie diet that included three daily portions of yogurt lost 61% more fat and 81% more abdominal fat than 18 obese subjects assigned to a diet with the same number of calories but little or no dairy products and low amounts of calcium.

Not only did those in the yogurt group lose more fat, especially around their waistlines, but they also retained more lean, muscle tissue than subjects on the yoghurt-free diet.

How yogurt promotes fat loss while preserving muscle is still a matter of debate. It may be due to the fact that calcium reduces fat cells' ability to store fat, so cells burn more, and less is produced in the liver. Or, it may be due to the branched chain amino acids present in dairy products. Regardless, this study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, indicates that adding one or two servings of yogurt to your daily diet can help you maximize loss of fat and minimize loss of muscle-the optimal outcome for any diet.

Calcium-rich Dairy Foods Boost the Body's Fat Burning After a Meal

Yet another study suggests those ads linking a daily cup of yogurt to a slimmer silhouette have a real basis in scientific fact. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition not only confirms earlier studies showing a calcium-rich diet is associated with fat loss, but may help explain why.

Normal-weight women ranging in age from 18-30 years were randomly assigned to a low (less than 800 mg per day) or high (1000-1400 mg per day) calcium diet for 1 year, and the rate at which their bodies burned fat after a meal was assessed at the beginning and end of the study.

After 1 year, fat oxidation (burning) was 20 times higher in women eating the high calcium diet compared to those in the low-calcium control group (0.10 vs. 0.06 gram per minute).

The women's blood levels of parathyroid hormone were also checked and were found to correlate with their rate of fat oxidation. (The primary function of parathyroid hormone is to maintain normal levels of calcium in the body. When calcium levels drop too low, parathyroid hormone is secreted to instruct bone cells to release calcium into the bloodstream.)

Higher blood levels of parathyroid hormone were associated with a lower rate of fat oxidation and lower dietary calcium intake, while lower blood levels of parathyroid hormone levels were seen in the women consuming a diet high in calcium, who were burning fat more rapidly after a meal. So, it appears that a high-calcium diet increases fat oxidation, at least in part, by lessening the need for parathyroid hormone secretion, thus keeping blood levels of the hormone low.

Interesting. Gonna make sure I have at least 6-12 ounces of fat-free yogurt daily! Let's see if it'll help me shed the gut!

~ Rob

Workout blues... Oh my knees

So yesterday I was doing "power squat jumps" and mid set realized maybe a man my age and size shouldn't be doing this move as aggressively as I was... I kept going and went to drop down into plank position (Push-up start) and my right knee went out on the way down and I buckled. SUCKS. So I ease back the intensity on the deep squats and take my time getting into plank position and complete the workout. Post workout my knees were aching and popping. DOUBLE SUCKS. So I get on the phone and call a few friends who all had great advice...

Steve - Cod Liver Fish Oil and Brace.
Mike - Brace, not the skinny one, but thicker one. Also, invest in "real" cross trainers and lose the running shoes.
Rod - There's a thin knee strap that won't limit mobility and Cod Liver Fish Oil.

So being there are a lot of quick movements and jumping, a brace of some sort does indeed sound like a great idea. Also, a decent pair of cross trainers. I'm using some skinny running shoes and I watched my feet a few times and noticed on some of the side to side movements with quick stops my ankle has a tendency to almost roll. A good pair of shoes would really help prevent that.

The Cod Liver Oil I had never heard about before and here's what I learned:
Cod Liver Oil (CLO) is packed with Omega 3 long chain fatty acids EPA and DHA which have been linked to many different health benefits. These fatty acids are anti-inflammatory so can help reduce inflammation throughout the body.

CLO is NOT a quick fix for injured knees, but more of a preventative measure. Most accounts it can take a few weeks before it has noticeable results.

CLOs are available online and at select local stores. The price point for 100 count bottle ranged from $7-$13. I'll be picking these up soon and letting you know how it goes. I'll also be grabbing some form of braces for my knees and ankles as well as a decent pair of cross trainers. If anyone has suggestions on cross trainers comment and let me know!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Did ya know?

- Adding blueberries instead of strawberries to your cereal will more than double your antioxidant intake.

- 1oz. of walnuts has as many omega-3 fats as a 4 ounce piece of Atlantic salmon.

- Cooking lemons, limes and oranges in microwave for 15 seconds before squeezing them will yield twice as much juice.

- Beverages now make up nearly 25 percent of the average American’s daily caloric intake—a number that has almost doubled over the past 40 years

- Bananas help create melatonin, which promotes calmness and sleep.

- A new study finds folate in breakfast cereals helps cut your chances of developing dementia by 75%.

~ Rob

Training Zen...

"People who carry 40 extra pounds of body fat earn 20% less than their slimmer colleagues, according to an NYU study."

Well hell, is that why I'm broke? Cause I'm fat?!!!! Guess that means at the end of the road here, there'll be more cash as well? According to that stat I'm making less than 40% of my peers.

~ Rob

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Oh Cha Cha Chia

So Sunday morning I was stacking Zzzz's when my cellphone rang. Glancing at my watch told me it was 10am on the dot... I glanced at the caller ID and it was my friend Nate. I hit silence and contemplated going back to sleep but then figured it was time to get up.

I got up splashed some water on my face and called Nate back. He was jazzed about something, that was apparent. He excitedly told me he had stumbled onto a "miracle" food. I nodded sleepily and he said "I can't explain on the phone I need to come over and show you something." I shruged. "Sure thing." and he hung up. Little did I know how right he was about his "miracle" food.

I gather my thoughts and pondered what he was bringing. What could it be? I had been reading and learning lots since I started this journey and he and I had been kinda competing with each other in exercise routines and diets.

A little while later I heard a knock at the front door. I opened it up and he was grinning at me.

"OK, so what is it?"

He handed me a bag with tiny little seeds in it.

"What am I looking at?"

"Chia seeds."

"Chia seeds?" I blinked once... Paused...

"Yeah, Chia seeds." He was still smiling.

"Like Chia Pets, Chia seeds?" I blinked again.

He nodded smiling.

"OK, I didn't know people ate that."

"Oh yeah people eat em. Ultra athletes do. Runners who run 100 mile marathons eat it."

He pointed at the bag and asked me, "Do you have a glass?"

I grabbed one and he instructed me to put water in it. I brought it to the table and he added in a few spoonfuls and I just stared at it.

"What's going to happen?"

"It's gonna turn into gel."


"Yup, one spoonful of the gel has mad nutrients and stuff. We take it three times a day and it should help with the workouts."

"So if I eat the gel, is it gonna sprout inside me and turn my stomach into a inverted Chia Pet?"

"Naw, it's supposed to be really good."

I nodded and waited for a little while and 30 minutes later there was a gelatinous mounds of semi-transparent seeds.

"Dude, is it gonna taste like crap?"

Nate shook his head. I took spoonful and took a bite. It reminded me of the subtle flavor of cucumber.

I decided to take a look into Chia and we hit the internet... Here's some info on Chia seeds:

-From wikipedia:
Chia seed may be eaten raw as a whole seed and is a excellent source of omega-3 and dietary fiber (both insoluble and soluble). Ground chia seed is sometimes added to pinole, a coarse flour made from toasted maize kernels. Chia seeds placed in water or fruit juice is consumed in Mexico and known as chia fresca. The soaked seeds are gelatinous in texture and are used in gruels, porridges and puddings. Ground chia seed is used in baked goods including breads, cakes and biscuits.

Chia sprouts are used in a similar manner as alfalfa sprouts in salads, sandwiches and other dishes.

-Other sources:
Adding just 2 tablespoons of chia seeds to your daily diet will give you approximately 7 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, 205 milligrams of calcium, and
a whopping 5 grams of omega-3!

More Omega-3 than Atlantic Salmon
More Antioxidants than fresh blueberries
More Fiber than bran flakes
More Calcium than 2% milk
More Protein, Fiber & Calcium than flax seed

I read these snippets and stared at Nate. "Dude you're right! I'm gonna add this the regiment."

I'll add more in here when I do more research...


Catching up to this first post

Hello my name is Robert Ricks. I was 330 pounds three weeks ago and as of today I am 307.9 pounds. Things have been going pretty well and I wanted a way to document my journey and have a location where I could share information as I came across it.

First a little history of me. I was a fairly lean kid growing up and was involved in sports in High School (Track & Field and Cross Country). Out of high school I started working almost immediately in the computer industry. I became a work-a-holic and have been working nonstop ever since. I'm getting older now and can't pull the two-day straight marathons that I used to do when younger, but still do the occasional all-nighter. I used to drink up to 12 cans of soda a day and my standard calories were probably near 4,500. (One of my favorite meals was two Double Whoppers with extra ketchup and onions, a large drink, large fries and sometimes a shake!).

I was diagnosed with sleep apnea roughly seven years ago and also have two herniated discs in my back which causes constant pain down my right thigh. A few years back I was diagnosed withe fatty liver and was warned by my doctor that if I continued with my diet I would most likely develop diabetes. My mother and mother-in-law would lecture me on how I needed to change my habits or it would lead to an early grave. My wife tried many different tactics to try and get me to do exercise and eat better. All of them failed. I would look in the mirror and say to myself, "Damn what a fat ass!" and yet made no moves to change anything.

Being fat bothered me to a point but food was more important to me than how I looked, especially my beloved sodas. Which to me was my one vice. I felt since I didn't smoke, or drink or do anything else that I was allowed at least one vice. To say I was/am addicted to soda is not an exaggeration.

Everything changed for me in the oddest of situations. I had a good friend named Steve from Idaho stop by my place and while loading a car for him to bring to Idaho I got curious while watching my kids run around. I wondered how fast I could run and asked Steve to time me while I ran from one end of the trailer to the other. Such a short distance couldn't pose a problem to a former runner who used to run 10 miles a day in the Hawaii heat. I used to run three miles in under 15 minutes. This would be a piece of cake. I stretched a bit, jumped up and down and made a show of prepping as if I was about to run a marathon. I got into position and when Steve said "go" my mind sent the signal... Unfortunately my legs got the message all wrong and I stumbled along like a mega-gimped two-legged elephant and was fortunate I didn't eat asphalt. I made it to the finish line and gasped for air. I felt my chest exploding and running like a mule on speed. Something was wrong in the land of Rob. I was like "what the hell?" It was at that moment that I realized there was a total disconnect from what I 'thought' I could do and what I 'actually' could do. I realized that I truly was broken. I decided soon after things would have to change.

So I ditched the thing I loved the most, soda. It was hell. Each day the cravings would torment me and I would have horrible headaches. I tried to quench my thirst with water and it tasted so bland and there was no familiar tickle and tingle as I gulped the liquid I allowed myself. It was the first step in fixing me. I struggled and told myself I wasn't going to be a slave anymore. My wife and kids would still drink sodas and it made it substantially harder but then my competitive nature kicked in and I told myself "I will not lose!" and I have not had a soda since. As of this post I have been soda free for almost 2 months. I drink water, orange juice, vitaminwaters and propel sometimes. While these aren't the absolute best they do provide extra vitamins and I don't consider them empty calories like my Coke and Dr Pepper used to be.

I started working out with some equipment I had around the house and then came across Shaun T's Insanity workout after reviewing P90X. What I liked about Insanity was the fact that I didn't need a lot of equipment to get going with it, it basically used my body against me. I figured even though I am somewhat gimpy and need a lot of work that I would at least 'try' Insanity out. I started by posting some of my stuff on Facebook and friends and family were very supportive. I pushed the best I could and barely survived my first encounter with Insanity. I stuck with it and started to get stronger... Here we are three weeks later and my results on my "fit test" were twice what I started with and I feel really good. I'm not doing the full routine 'exactly' the same (due to the herniated discs), but I do still work it hard enough to have a pool of sweat around me when I'm done. I have a long way to go, but I just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep pushing (if you're curious about what Insanity is, check the video below).

Here's my current stats:
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 307.9 lbs
Age: 38
Waist: 49"
Chest: 53"
Stomach: 54"
Right Bicep: 17.7"
Left Bicep: 17'3"
Right Thigh: 26"
Left Thigh: 26"
Right Calf: 19"
Left Calf: 18.5"

That sums up where we're at currently. Onwards and upwards!!! I'm motivated and can't wait to share the things I learn along the way.

- Rob