That picture is me back toward the end of 2010 when I was at my heaviest.
One of the things I’ve used the blog for is to track my personal fitness progress. My philosophy has been more of “do what makes you feel good” rather than track every calorie in and out and follow complex metrics to track progress. I’m not a big believer in scales and BMI.
However, scales can provide some information to put things into perspective. Right before I started working out (That would be 1/1/11), I measured my weight. It’s not important what it was, but it was alarmingly high. Let’s put it this way: I weighed 10% MORE than Hulk Hogan did when he went over the Iron Sheik at Madison Square Garden in 1984. Hogan was muscular and a foot taller than me. If the picture above is any indicator, I was at severe risk for things like diabetes, sleep apnea, heart disease, and other physiological dangers.
I didn’t step on a scale until 1/2/13. That’s because I could tell that my weight was decreasing. But weight is a poor indicator of progress. As you train, your body builds lean body mass, and, if you’re dieting right, your body also metabolizes fat. But it’s not always a perfect 1-to-1 ratio, so you hit plateaus and sometimes the scale surprises you with the sudden increase.
By that date, I had lost 60 pounds.
I want to make my goal perfectly clear before I finish this story. I don’t want to hit my all time lowest, 163.5 pounds. Getting to that point was miserable, unhealthy, and I didn’t even like the way I looked then.
What I want is to reach a comfortable weight where I can easily buy nice clothes and be comfortable maintaining my shape. I don’t want to have to train 10-20 times per week to do it; I just want a rational plan that fits with my lifestyle.
So I’ve actually been checking my weight weekly. Since the start of the year, I’ve also made a few additions to my workout schedule. I incorporated FocusMaster workouts at Vent Fitness after my friend, Crystal, motivated me to try it with her. At first, I was going once a week; now, I try to go 2-4 times per week as my schedule allows.
The other thing I’ve done is a thing called DDP Yoga. I have a whole lot more to say about this program and how I got into it, but suffice to say, the three or four 25 minute workouts per week have really boosted my progress in the last 3 months.
This past Saturday, when I stepped on the scale, the number that came up was 100 pounds less than the number on 1/1/11.
I lost 100 pounds.
It’s actually a pretty impressive number. When my friends on Facebook and Twitter saw the number and picture, they used adjectives like awesome, amazing, excellent, nice, inspiring, and great. Have you ever picked up a 5 pound bag of sugar and scoffed at how heavy it is? Well, imagine walking around with 20 of those pinned to your body.
The training is a big part of it, but diet is the absolute key to my progress. My running joke with people is that I’ve lost all my weight by eating scrambled eggs with butter and sour cream every night. The punchline of the joke is that this is absolutely true and unfathomable for most people. It’s less about what I eat and more about the portion sizes. I mainly stick to unprocessed and natural foods, and I eat small 300-400 calorie meals 5-7 times per day. That’s what I’m eating to lose weight; when I switch to maintaining, the portions will be a little bigger. A couple of eggs, a half tablespoon of real butter, a tablespoon of sour cream, and a slice of toast barely comes out to 300 calories, so why not eat breakfast for dinner every night?! (Before you start, yes, I get my cholesterol checked regularly, and it’s impeccable; eggs aren’t the demons people have made them out to be.)
I avoid most sugary foods, but I really try to avoid things that contain fructose, corn syrups, and especially high fructose corn syrup.
I do (over)eat out a couple of times per week (I’ll never stop loving to dine!), but I try to limit it to the weekend, and I’ll adjust my meals during the day to accommodate it. It seems like work, and it is, but it’s easy once it’s part of your lifestyle.
Of course if you train and eat right you’ll lose weight and feel better. What I do hope is that something about what I say inspires you to improve. Whether it’s something like switching from synthetic “butter” spreads to real butter (just use a little less!) or by deciding to take a 5-10 minute walk every day, these little changes will snowball into real results. Even if you don’t have something to lose, I promise you’ll feel better physically and mentally by (to steal Diamond Dallas Page’s expression) “owning your life!”
I did have a celebration meal (a night early).
I defrosted a beautiful bison NY strip steak, pan seared it, and ate it with some sauteed broccolini (spiked with garlic and pequin chiles) and a baked sweet potato (and I had a Brooklyn Brewery East India Pale Ale to wash it all down).
(And to really celebrate on Saturday, we ordered some pizza.)