Tuesday, July 23, 2013

How can an Australian get a job in the USA?

I'm constantly amazed at the amount of traffic my immigration posts generate. I get at least one question a week from people who have found my blog through Google. I respond to every email and I'm more than happy to help, as I like the idea that I can demystify the process for some and help them avoid many of the mistakes I've made along the way. I'm going to make an effort to answer some of the more common questions I get starting with this post. A popular line of questioning relates to jobs and how difficult is it to get a job in the US, or if it is possible to get a job in the US from Australia. Before I start, I have to call out the image I selected for this post. It is part of a game we play at work when brainstorming called, "What would the world's laziest marketer do"? Generally the answer is either use the word smart in a product name or stick a picture of two hands shaking in front of a globe. It's our way of avoiding hackneyed and trite cliches. Unfortunately in this case, I couldn't think of anything better to use. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Week 33 - Confession Time

Forgive me Internetz, for I haz sinned. It has been 5 weeks since my last confession/blog post. During this time my weight has fluctuated between 255-265 lbs. Although there is a lot of science on the role of leptin in the body and the metabolism's ability to over time down regulate and establish a set point for body weight,  I attribute a lack of adherence to diet as my biggest issue in causing me to be stuck in this weight range. My body fat percentage is in the 20s, so there is still plenty of potential for improvement. Allow me to provide you with my list of excuses.

Firstly, stress and tiredness have always been triggers for me making poor diet decisions. I've had a huge amount of stuff going on that has increased the stress and tiredness levels. The end of March was very hectic at work as we attempted to close out our billings for the quarter. This was predominantly with Europe, so lots of late nights and early mornings dealing with our sales team and customers over there. It's 2AM and you've just worked an 18 hour day that isn't over yet, the body is telling you it needs a quick sugar hit, not some slow burning protein. I've had a few more nights out over the past few weeks than would be normal for me. When I drink too much, my restraint is lowered and it is a well known fact that late night kebab stands exist primarily to service inebriated males. Far too many times recently I've indulged not just in the excess consumption of liquid calories in the form of alcohol, but then topped it up with something nasty and calorie ridden with little nutritional value. I'd previously mentioned the sale of our house, which has thankfully now closed. This did not help things, because rather than being very settled in the aforementioned house where I had a separate home office and an established routine, we are living a 2 bedroom rental as a temporary measure. It frankly looks like a bomb site given we know it is only short term, so no reason to unpack and much of our stuff has been put into storage. We now have the task of looking for a new place, which is not an entirely stress free experience, but luckily is kind of fun. There is also another factor at play which I'm not prepared to reveal just yet, but watch this space. The one saving grace for me through all of this is that I have been very consistent with my strength training and continuing to make great gains using 5X5. In the next 12 weeks or so, I should get to the point where there are no further gains to be made on 5X5 and I'll have to switch to 3X5, where the number of reps are lower and the weight added each workout is smaller. I do still however need to increase my cardio. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Week 28 - New DXA Scan

I have been a slack with the updates because things have been a little mental as of late. Just in case the pressure of work and general life is not enough, throw in a week long business trip to Europe and moving into a short term rental property so we can sell our house and buy a new one, you can understand how my blogging may have been a lower priority. During my break from not blogging, I passed the 6 month anniversary of when I first committed myself to getting fit. My weight has hovered around the 255 lb / 115 kg mark for the past month or so. My belief is that I am in a place where I can comfortably maintain that weight without a huge amount of effort. However, I do want to reset my goals and push myself harder to see where I can get to in terms of radically changing my body composition. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Week 24 - C'est La Vie

I have viewed the last 5.5 month of focusing on my diet and exercise as a science experiment. I've done more reading on diet and fitness during this time then I have on any other topic. As an allegedly intelligent consumer, I like to read broadly and choose the pieces of each approach that make sense to me and more importantly achieve a result when I practice them. I've employed technology to provide me with data that allows me to understand what is going on with my body. I use an activity and sleep monitor, apps for tracking meals and workouts and had a DXA scan to get a true picture of my body composition.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Week 22 - Suddenly, I'm Not Half The Man I Used To Be

A little early on the update this week, but I couldn't resist. I've been meaning to get my work ID photo printed for a while now. I laughed when I saw the photo they had on file, as it was taken 6 months ago. The 2nd photo was taken this week. I won't call these before and after photos, because that would imply I'm done. Still many more fitness goals for me to achieve.

Before - 312 lbs   

Work in Progress - 256 lbs

As proud as I am of what I have achieved, I can't help but be a little shocked at how out of shape I had allowed myself to get. My number 1 priority is ensuring that never happens again.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Week 21 - Accountability

Quick update since I am long overdue. Continuing to trend in the right direction, despite a small amount of weight gain in some weeks since I last provided an update. I am down to 258.8 lbs / 117.4 kgs, meaning I have lost a total of 53.4 lbs / 24.2 kgs. I remember the last time I weighed 117 kgs was when I was playing rugby in high school. I do feel like this next 20 lbs is going to be as hard to lose as the first 50, but I'm up for the challenge. I've been very good at maintaining my workout routine with my main activity being the StrongLifts 5X5 program 3 days a week. This has been tough given a hectic Xmas and New Years period. I find that I am more easily able to keep discipline with my diet while working out regularly. Must be a subconscious choice to not sabotage my hard work. I've also stuck with a 24 hour intermittent fast at least 1 day a week, but usually 2. Seems a good way to perform a rapid detox following a day where I've been more liberal with my diet than I ought to have been.  

On a personal note, thank you for all your kind words and encouragement. It really does help keep me motivated. One of my drivers for starting this blog was as an accountability device. My desire to succeed in my fitness aims is obviously a powerful force, but one shouldn't discount the fear of failure as an equally strong motivator. As silly as it sounds, putting all my thoughts and stats out publicly and making a commitment to do so regularly on an ongoing basis, pushes me to continue to work my butt off to achieve results. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Week 17 - Fluctuations

Apologies for the lack of update over the past 3 weeks. Very busy time of year. I've had a good few weeks, despite the fact that is not necessarily what the scales show. Initially I saw a spike in my weight for 2 weeks, before getting back on track this past week. I need to keep reminding myself that this is a marathon not a sprint, so no need to get too hung up on a few pounds here or there. I also need to consider that hydration levels and diet can easily make a few lbs difference when I do my weekly weigh-in every Sunday morning. All up, the weight loss has been treading water for the past 3 weeks, with me now being slightly heavier than I was in week 14, at 264.1 lbs / 119.8 kgs. The graph shows my overall weight loss for the just over 4 months I have been at this. I need to remind myself of how far I've come in losing nearly 50lbs / 22.5 kgs to help keep things in perspective. My current short term goal is an additional 20lbs / 9 kgs, as this should take me under 20% body fat. It is unrealistic to expect my weight loss to continue at its current rate, because as each week goes on there is simply less bad weight to lose.